Criticism for Florida's antievolution bill

03.30.2009

Florida's Senate Bill 2396, which would, if enacted, amend a section of Florida law to require "[a] thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution," was in the headlines after the Florida Academy of Sciences denounced it. In its March 20, 2009, statement (PDF), the academy described SB 2396 as "a deliberate attempt to undermine the adopted science standards," adding, "SB 2396, 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. It would further undermine the reputation of our state and adversely affect our economic future as we try to attract new high-tech and biomedical jobs to Florida."

David Karlen, a Tampa biologist and a member of the Florida Academy of Sciences, told the Tampa Tribune (March 28, 2009), "'Critical analysis' is the latest buzzword in the creationist movement to sneak intelligent design or creationism into the curriculum," and noted that it is typically only evolution for which "critical analysis" is applied. Observing that the bill has yet to receive a hearing in committee — the bill was referred to the Education Pre-K-12 and the Education Pre-K-12 Appropriations committees in the Senate — or a counterpart in the Florida House of Representatives, the Tribune reported that the bill "apparently is going nowhere this year," especially because the legislature is presently busy with budgetary issues. May 1, 2009, is the last day of the current legislative session.