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Criticism of evolution not safe for discussion in Florida schools

The Florida state legislature's inability to push through an academic freedom bill highlights the difficulty of passing any legislation, expecially one that has strong opposition. Any legislation dealing with the teaching of evolution is bound to face an uphill battle as Darwinists are effective at organizing groups and people to pressure the legislators. Where does that leave the teachers in Florida?

James A. Smith Sr. has some very interesting things to say about that, writing for the Florida Baptist Witness:

Lack of action was also harmful on the evolution issue.

Remarkably, the moderate Senate actually did the heavy lifting on evolution academic freedom led by conservative Sen. Ronda Storms (R-Brandon). And no matter what House leaders contend, the failure to send an evolution bill to the governor lies at the feet of the House leadership.

While I understand there were legitimate concerns on the merits of the competing approaches to academic freedom, the House leadership's feet-dragging early on and the later decision to change course effectively made it extremely unlikely any kind of academic freedom bill would pass -- in part, again, because of the moderate Senate.

It must be conceded the academic freedom issue got a late start due to the timing of the State Board of Education action on the new science standards in February, shortly before the beginning of the legislative session. Starting a major piece of legislation only two weeks before the session began made passage difficult. Further, and again, Gov. Crist refused to take a position on evolution academic freedom legislation, so passage by the Legislature may not have resulted in a new law.

The House leadership will say the clock ran out, although they insisted upon their perhaps better in substance language with less than five days left in the session when they had an opportunity to take the Senate language and send the bill to the governor.

Because of the House leadership's decision, Florida teachers will be burdened with new science standards without the assurance that those who wish to offer scientific evidence critiquing Darwinian evolution will be protected from harassment or worse, as vividly illustrated at the collegiate and graduate levels in the Ben Stein documentary, "Expelled." Children, who will learn only Darwinian dogma -- which is philosophical naturalism, not science, are the losers for the House's failure to act.