Florida’s Second Creationism Bill for 2019

Addendum of 01 March 2019: NCSE reports in A third antiscience bill in Florida that an identical bill — Senate Bill 1454 has been introduced in the Florida Senate.

It’s happening again in Florida. We discussed that state’s first creationism bill this year in Florida Creationism Bill for 2019. But that wasn’t enough madness for the Sunshine State.

Now the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) posted this news: A second antiscience bill in Florida. Here are some excerpts from NCSE’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Florida’s House Bill 855, filed on February 15, 2019, would, if enacted, revise the state’s laws concerning public school instructional materials — and possibly affect science education.

We looked at the bill. Egad, the thing is 24 pages long! It doesn’t specifically mention evolution, so it’s one of those stealth jobs we’ve been seeing lately. If this mess becomes law, every school board in the state will need a few new bureaucrats on the payroll just to keep up with this thing. NCSE says:

The bill would revise a statute that presently requires instructional materials to be “accurate, objective, balanced, noninflammatory, current, [and] free of pornography” to require such materials to be “accurate and factual; provide objective, balanced, and noninflammatory viewpoints on controversial issues; [and] free of pornography.”

We’ve seen bills like that before. It can be assumed that evolution is regarded as controversial by the bill’s author. NCSE continues:

No definition of “controversial” is provided. But as Brandon Haught of Florida Citizens for Science observed in a February 17, 2019 blog post, the bill’s sponsor, Walter Bryan “Mike” Hill (R-District 1) “refused to acknowledge that global warming is a very real threat being caused by humans” when interviewed by Bill Nye for a 2016 documentary.

Brandon Haught is a knowledgeable source of information. We looked up the legislature’s web page for Walter Bryan “Mike” Hill, the bill’s sponsor. It says: “Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018,” so we assume this is his first legislative session. His occupation is Insurance Agent. Also, they say he graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1980. That is absolutely admirable. But they also say: “Pensacola Christian Academy, Honorary Doctorate, 2015,” and his religious affiliation is “Evangelical Christian.” We’re speculating, but he just might be a creationist.

NCSE then tells us:

Also of concern, as Haught notes, are provisions that expand the ability of Floridians to challenge instructional materials to which they take exception. In 2017, as NCSE previously reported, Florida enacted a law that empowered Floridians to challenge instructional materials, and climate change and evolution were clearly among the targets of the new law.

In other words, this new bill is bad news. Here’s a link where you can track the progress of House Bill 855. Nothing has happened since it was filed on 15 February. That’s not surprising. The legislature won’t convene until 05 March, and they’re scheduled to adjourn on 03 May.

We won’t be seeing much news on this for a while — unless Mike Hill gives the press an entertaining interview or something. We’ll be watching.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Florida’s Second Creationism Bill for 2019

  1. Note the implicit inclusion of climate change.I had.not realised until I just looked into it that the Discovery Institute had been actively in the climate change denial for ten years: http://deardiscoveryinstitute.blogspot.com/2008/01/climate-change.html .Of course I was aware that “sound science” bills often mentioned global warming, but I thought in my innocence that that was just to help get political support from reality deniers. It seems, however, that this is really part of the agenda.

    Evolution denial may be objectionable, but at least it doesn’t directly damage our coastlines and food supply

  2. Holding The Line In Florida

    As it has always been said, “It requires passing a couple of tests to get a driver’s license, but any idiot can have a child.” Thus this bill.

  3. They seem to be very intense about this “and no pornography” phrase.

  4. and this “United States Air Force Academy in 1980”. An engineer..

  5. Paul Braterman says: “I had.not realised until I just looked into it that the Discovery Institute had been actively in the climate change denial for ten years”

    Oh yeah. Check out this oldie from 2009: Discovery Institute: The Mask Falls Away.

  6. Michael Fugate

    I wonder what he did to get an honorary doctorate?

  7. Probably money raising.

  8. Thanks for that. I was confused by the info at his bio site.

  9. And a varmint will never quit – ever. They’re like the Viet Cong – Varmint Cong….. – Carl Spackler

  10. Steve Gerrard

    Actually Hill was in the legislature in 2014, then out of it in 2016 (he ran for something else), then back in again in 2018. If his occupation is insurance agent, he must know about the prospects for flood and property insurance on the Florida coast.

  11. Our dear SC is a honest and honourable man and hence links to a great example of his Free Market Supersition: “Check out this oldie from 2009.”

    According to him we must put our faith in The Invisible Hand (the twisted neo-con version, not the original Adam Smith one) or accept that we’ll all go to hell. The latter is always better than listening to what eg Al Gore has to say (and the Invisible Hand, neo-con version, forbid that we’ll look for other sources to find out whether Gore by accident had a point!)

    Also it’s quite funny (according to my black sense of humour) that our dear SC proudly links to an article of 2009. I got convinced in the 1990’s and even that was slow. Nobody but our dear SC’s heroin Maggie Thatcher already warned in 1988:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15874560

    “She calls for a global treaty on climate change.”

    Of course our dear SC, like the Free Market fundamentalist he is, never mentions this when he praises her. He thinks it more important to have his taxes lowered than having someone in the White House who actually recognizes climate change, let alone does something about it.

  12. Um.. unless there is more than one “Pensalcola Christian Academy”, this “Academy” is a K-12 facility (https://www.pensacolachristianacademy.com). I’ve never known a high school to issue an Honorary Doctorate and, were it me, it’s not something that I would brag about. Heaven help us if he prefers to be known as Dr Hill.

    Oh, wait, I think I hear the sound of 76 trombones…

  13. If resolving controversy is so important to them then how come these theocrats aren’t working to resolve all the controversial claims of religion? E.g., which god(s) exist, which religion is true, which branch of Christianity is true, which bible is true, which verses of the bible are true, which Ten Commandments to display, etc.? Amazing how they always seem to ignore the elephant in their church.

  14. The United States Air Force Academy is full of creationists. THere were a number of suits by USAFA students over the past 5 or 6 years alleging heavy pressure from USAF chaplains to conform to evangelical Christianity. Located near Focus on the Family.