Florida Creationism: Signs and Portents

The Florida legislature begins its new session in March of 2011, but it convenes today, 16 November, for an organizational session. From that, we can get a hint of what to expect from those august personages regarding The Controversy between evolution and creationism.

As most of you know, Florida has had a recent history of creationist initiatives. Back in 2008 they almost passed one of those anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism “Academic Freedom” laws modeled after the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

That piece of legislative lunacy nearly became law, but at the last minute the House and Senate were unable to reconcile their different bills, so nothing came of it. The leader of that effort in the state Senate was our old friend, Buffoon Award Winner — Ronda Storms. To remind you of those glorious days, see Her Most Rapturous Moment.

You will be pleased to know, dear reader, that Rapturous Ronda has been re-elected. According to this article in Sunshine State News, which reports on Florida politics, although her official page at the Florida Senate’s website doesn’t yet reveal it, she will be the Chairman of the Senate’s Children, Family and Elder Affairs committee. Ronda is well-positioned for future mischief.

But that’s not all. As we discussed here, Ronda Storms, Ronda Storms, the creationism queen has a Democrat ally, Senator Gary Siplin. According to Wikipedia, Gary Siplin “is the first convicted felon to serve in the Florida Legislature, and sponsored legislation that would restore voting rights to himself and other convicted felons.”

Siplin has also been re-elected, and although the Senate is dominated by Republicans, Sunshine State News says that he will be chairman of the Agriculture Committee. That’s a powerful post in Florida.

But wait, there’s more. We’ve also written about the sneaky and unsuccessful creationist endeavors of Senator Stephen Wise in 2009. See Florida Creationism: Stealth Bill Filed. He too is returning, and he’ll be chairman of the Senate’s Education and Pre K-12 Committee.

There are undoubtedly numerous creationists in the Florida legislature, but those are the ones we’ve been watching. Two others have gone on to higher office. One will be in the US Senate (see Marco Rubio: Creationist Theocrat for Senator?). The other is Daniel Webster. Having defeated the odious Alan Grayson, Webster will be serving in the US House of Representatives. During Florida’s 2008 creationism crusade, he was majority leader in the state Senate, and supported Rapturous Ronda’s creationist legislation (see Florida’s Axis of Creationism).

So that’s the situation in Florida. The flaming, hard-core creationists are still in the state legislature, except for a couple who have moved on to higher office. Don’t be surprised, dear reader, to learn of some old-fashioned, down-home creationist legislation coming your way from those righteous people.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Florida Creationism: Signs and Portents

  1. Webster and Grayson pretty much epitomized “Douche and Turd.”

  2. True, RWA, but I was nevertheless glad to see Grayson lose.

  3. I had mixed feelings. I would have liked to kept him in office just so people could see that the far left is every bit as stupid, bigoted and insane as their equivalents on the far right.

    Did you see this article in CS Monitor? Creationism is not mentioned, but hopefully, the new freshman class will take heed, and recognize that it constitutes one of those vote-killing social issues they’re talking about.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Election-2010/Tea-Party-Tally/2010/1115/Tea-party-groups-push-GOP-to-quit-culture-wars-focus-on-deficit

  4. RWA says: “Did you see this article in CS Monitor?”

    I’ve seen a few articles like that. There’s definitely a silent civil war going on between the libertarian conservatives and the religious conservatives. The Tea Party types are mostly on the libertarian side.

  5. So the odds are pretty good Florida will try and tread that dangerous path again. Well let us hope they will continue their ‘success’ from the past.

    Ted

  6. The Tea Party types are mostly on the libertarian side.

    Except Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, etc., etc. The theocrats have infested the Tea Party pretty thoroughly, especially at the leadership levels.

  7. @ Curmudgeon and James F:

    You’re both right. If ~45% of Americans fall for anti-evolution nonsense in various degrees, one should expect at least that big a % among Tea Party types, as long as they are clueless of science and a slave to sound bites (as all politicians are).

    I don’t think it’s enough to remind them of Dover to show how risky introducing anti-evolution legislation is, because they know that there’s a virtually endless supply of rhetotical strategies such as “academic freedom” (aka “academic anarchy”) that could avoid Dover traps. Especially if the judge is a theocrat instead of a sane conservative like Judge Jones.

    What I think might help is to force anyone who introduces anti-evolution legislation to elaborate on exactly what alternate “theory” they want taught, and to spell out its weaknesses. When they make it clear that they have no “theory” and only want to promote unreasonable doubt of the only one supported by a convergence, neither sought nor fabricated of evidence, ask them why they demand that taxpayers pay for students to learn long refuted arguments that they are already free to learn on their parents’ dime.

    If that makes them lose even a few % of votes from conservatives who value both science and “thou shalt not bear false witness” it might be enough to tip the scales.

  8. Frank J: there’s a virtually endless supply of rhetotical strategies such as “academic freedom” (aka “academic anarchy”) that could avoid Dover traps.

    Just a quibble: while there may be a virtually endless supply of creationist rhetorical strategies, none of them have avoided ‘Dover traps.’ Two extremely consistent observations about creationist attempts to put creationism in school is (1) the religious aspect always comes out, and (2) they lose.

    Off topic comment to SC – that two-part creationist piece in the UA student paper has stirred another response. This one by another professor at the school. He doesn’t seem to be creationist so much as just plain wrong about everything.

  9. eric: “Two extremely consistent observations about creationist attempts to put creationism in school is (1) the religious aspect always comes out, and (2) they lose. ”

    I’m a pessimist as evolution-defending conservative George Will described as either proven right or pleasantly surprised. So far we’ve won in courts, but only because of sane judges like Judge Jones, and “breathtaking inanity” like “cdesign proponentsists.” I fear, wrongly I hope, that a combination of a Scalia – who in 1987 would have let an even more blatantly Biblical pseudoscience be taught – and strategy that omits “design” as well as “creation” might succeed.

    Then again. I think that the scam artists already won in the way that counts – keeping ~45% of the public in denial of evolution and another ~25% sympathetic to “teach the controversy.” But it’s a “win” that I think can be slowly reversed. In that respect might be more optimistic than most “evolutionists.”

  10. Frank J says, of anyone who introduces anti-evolution legislation, “… ask them why they demand that taxpayers pay for students to learn long refuted arguments that they are already free to learn on their parents’ dime.”

    That’s good!

  11. http://scienceantiscience.blogspot.com/2010/11/florida-academic-freedom-coming-soon.html

    Great minds think alike although you missed some connections.

  12. Joe Meert says: “… you missed some connections.”

    I didn’t know about Dennis Baxley.