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Opposition to Florida antievolution bill continues

Florida Today took a strong editorial stand against Florida's Senate Bill 1854, which would, if enacted, amend a section of Florida law to require "[a] thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution" in the state's public schools. In its April 13, 2011, editorial, Florida Today noticed the continuities of the antievolution campaigns over the years, writing, "It's almost pitiful, that this is what the deniers of evolution are reduced to. In this country, lawmakers have mandated teaching only the Biblical story of creation. The courts killed it. Then it was creationism. Dead. Intelligent design. Dead. So now it's a 'critical analysis.'" The editorial concluded, "The injection of religion into a scientific theory — which obviously is what SB 1854 seeks to foster — has no place in the public school classroom. Period."

In opposing SB 1854, Florida Today joined the Orlando Sentinel, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Florida Citizens for Science, and the Florida Academy of Sciences, which warned, "SB 1854, in effect, leaves the door open for the introduction in the public school curriculum of nonscientific and covertly religious doctrines. The proposed bill would be damaging to the quality of science education of Florida's children and the scientific literacy of our citizens." The bill was assigned to the Senate Committee on Education Pre-K-12 — which its sponsor, Stephen R. Wise (R-District 5), chairs — and to the Senate Budget Committee. Since the bill is presently on the calendar of neither committee, and April 26, 2011, is the last day for regularly scheduled committee meetings, it seems likely that it will die in committee.