Florida Creationism Bill for 2018

Like most states in the US, the Florida legislature isn’t in session right now, but bills can be pre-filed for the next session which begins in January. We learned about this one in the Orlando Sentinal of Orlando, Florida. Their headline is Sen. Baxley files school bill to require ‘controversial’ science topics be taught in ‘balanced’ way, and they have a comments section. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Sen. Dennis Baxley, who once said controversy over evolution being taught in public schools “will never be over,” wants to make Florida school districts teach “controversial theories” in science subjects in a “balanced” manner. Baxley, an Ocala Republican, filed a bill Friday that would alter Florida’s academic standards in several key ways.

State Senator Dennis Baxley (that’s his page at the legislature’s website), a funeral director, has pre-filed SB 966. The newspaper says:

His bill would give the state’s 67 school districts the power to adopt academic standards as long as they were as rigorous as Florida’s. Florida has had statewide standards since 1977. Local districts uses those state-mandated standards to devises [sic] lessons and courses. Baxely’s bill (SB 966) also would mandate that in science classes “controversial theories and concepts must be taught in a factual, objective and balanced manner.” Such language has long been used by those opposed to the teaching of evolution.

The legislature’s main page for his bill is here: SB 966, and you can read the text of his bill here. It would amend the science standards legislation in Florida by adding some window dressing language about “rigorous” standards, and then there’s some creationist language he wants added too. This is the relevant existing part of the existing law, with Baxley’s addition shown in bold font:

Science standards must establish specific curricular content for, at a minimum, the nature of science, earth and space science, physical science, and life science. Controversial theories and concepts must be taught in a factual, objective, and balanced manner.

Jeepers, what “controversial theories” is he referring to? It’s no mystery. The Orlando Sentinel tells us:

The State Board of Education in 2008 adopted Florida’s current science standards, requiring for the first time that evolution be taught in public schools. The standards call the theory of evolution the “fundamental concept underlying all of biology” and one that it is “supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence.”

[…]

Baxley, then executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, said at the time he wanted scientists to “leave the door open a little bit” for the consideration of other evidence about how life on earth developed.

After the vote [adopting the existing standards], he told Education Week, “The controversy will never be over … It’s another step in a long saga of this discussion. There will be a number of scientific perspectives put forward as the years go on, and a number of religious and other perspectives.”

So there you are. The creationist legislative battles for 2018 have already begin. Stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

15 responses to “Florida Creationism Bill for 2018

  1. Baxley, then executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, said at the time he wanted scientists to “leave the door open a little bit” for the consideration of other evidence about how life on earth developed.

    Yes, just “open a little bit” to allow the insertion of the DI’s Wedge…

  2. Holding The Line In Florida

    Bring it on. I can’t wait!!!

  3. ANd if there are no teachers willing to face possible termination, the kids of Florida will be pushed toward stoopid!

  4. @Holding The Line In Florida:
    The Sentinel article mentions the group Florida Citizens for Science whose website is also raising the alarm. I mention it here because it should be of interest to you, HTLIF, if you are not already aware of the group and their website, which you can link to through the Sentinel’s article linked in SC’s post above.

  5. Has anyone tried to pass a law that demands the teaching of other religions, as this is a controversial topic too? I would suggest the religions from Africa to start with.

  6. Christianity has always been taught in a ‘balanced’ way. You either accept the Xian religion, or you lose your balance (and life).

  7. Michael Fugate

    There will be a number of scientific perspectives put forward as the years go on, and a number of religious and other perspectives.

    Why would we be putting forth religious and other perspectives in science classes?

  8. Given all those American names ending in -sen and -son, it would be logical to include Odin and the Nordic pantheon in science lessons, too.

  9. Holding The Line In Florida

    Thanks Brother Retired Science Guy. I am aware of them and drop by about once a month or so to check the current state of looneyness here in the Sunshine State. Our all knowledgeable SC has a link to them here as well. I am looking forward to our first challenge. I am just that kind of guy! We have a former minister as Superintendent, soon to be Mega Church, two aspiring wannabes in my district. Shouldn’t take long I suspect. During free dress day you can see which church they go to by their youth group hoodies. There is an impressive number. Should be fun. Only four more years till I can address myself as Retired HTLIF!

  10. While these bills are often introduced, am I correct in saying that the only successful creationist bill was in Louisiana?

  11. Holding The Line In Florida

    Give us a chance. Never count Florida out when it comes to stupidity!

  12. CesarAKG – Since they claim that Jesus was born and died IN Africa, we can call xianity an African religion.

  13. Speaking of African religions, elephants are known to be pretty smart. I wonder if they have developed a theology? For that matter, what about the cetaceans? Many species are extremely intelligent. Ever wonder if if they are capable of philosophical thought? Seriously, can we think of ways to determine this, short of deciphering their languages?

  14. Well, cetaceans do believe that everything was created with a porpoise.