Oh, just what I neededâ€¦another reason to be embarrassed to live in Florida.
It seems there are two types of Floridians â€“ those that introduce infuriating, frivolous legislation and those that fight it with references to malodorous poo. Iâ€™m pretty sure neither knows how to vote.
Last month, Florida decided to promote references to evolution and prohibit religious theories (including Intelligent Design) in science classrooms. This month, the Academic Freedom Act was drafted to counteract it.
The AFA protects the right of teachers to present “scientific” information in criticism of evolution. The problem, of course, is that there is no legitimate scientific information challenging the validity of evolution, and scientists already welcome classroom discussion about the actual disputes on the finer points of the theory.
And although the bill doesn’t make mention of protecting ID specifically, it seems the intent is for this act to be used as a loophole. I mean, why introduce an act to allow actual science to be taught in a science classroom? So weâ€™re back to debating whether Intelligent Design can be considered science. Sigh.
And, of course, the Floridians wishing to fight this legislation have lots of valid, elegant, scientifically grounded arguments at their disposal. But my people went with the smelly crap argument. Yes, they countered with â€œAcademic Freedom is nothing but smelly crapâ€. If you donâ€™t believe me, click here.
I guess they really showed those litigious conservatives with their redundant insult. I mean, itâ€™s not just that odorless crap. Itâ€™s smelly.
Appropriately, Ben Stein has become the celebrity supporter of the smelly crap, as the underlying concept is supported by his documentary, Expelled.
I don’t plan to see Expelled, not because of Stein’s complete bastardization of logic and lack of intellectual honesty, but simply because this picture of him in his boxers frightens me.
In defense of the AFA, Stein says,
â€œThis bill is not about teaching intelligent design. Itâ€™s about freedom of speech, freedom of inquiry â€“ nothing more complicated than that. We have freedom of speech in just about every other area. Why donâ€™t we have it here?”
And he goes on to point out that Darwin would have applauded such a debate.
Stein is making it a â€œfree speechâ€ issue, but itâ€™s not. In a classroom, teachers are obligated to present the best, most recent academic research available, regardless of whatever smelly crap they might believe. And that goes for any subject, not just evolution, and not just science.
Darwin, and scientists in general, would encourage lively debate about evolution. But there is no debate about whether evolution happened. Only debate on the finer points of how it happened. Intelligent Design is a fringe concept, too unsupported and irrelevant to science to even be mentioned as an “alternative”.
And no one is even saying that it canâ€™t be taught in schools â€“ only that it canâ€™t be taught in a science classroom, as an alternative to evolution. ID belongs in a mythology class, next to all the other creation myths. Those are its fair comparisons, not evolution.
But to hell with it, I guess it’s more concise to just say – [The] Academic Freedom [Act] is smelly crap.