TALLAHASSEE – “Academic freedom is not ‘smelly crap.’ It’s the foundation of a free society,” says science education expert Casey Luskin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute. “That’s why Florida’s proposed Academic Freedom Act on evolution is so important.”
Florida legislators recently introduced SB 2692, the Academic Freedom Act, to protect teachers and students from retaliation for discussing the scientific evidence for and against Darwin’s theory.
Opponents are already trying to scare the public about what the Act is meant to do, falsely claiming it is an attempt to put religion in the classroom. Some have gone so far as to call academic freedom “smelly crap.”
“The Academic Freedom Act expressly does not cover religion. It only protects the teaching of ‘scientific information,’” says Luskin. “The bill gives an express statutory right and protection for teachers to present ‘scientific information’ that is relevant to the full range of scientific views on biological and chemical evolution.”
“The Academic Freedom Act empowers teachers to teach more about evolution, not less,” adds Luskin.
The Act clears up confusion created by Florida’s new science standards and ensures the free flow of scientific evidence and information about evolution in the classroom. Teachers will be able to present students with more information about evolution, without fear of reprisal from either Darwinists or evolution opponents. Additionally, the Act does not require any change to the curriculum and evolution will still be taught as a matter of law when this bill passes.
The Florida proposal was adapted from model legislation released by Discovery Institute last month at academicfreedompetition.com with the express hope of helping to create a free and open environment for educators who teach evolution. Because of the growing number of instances of educators, scientists and even students coming under attack for critically analyzing evolution, the Institute has focused more and more on issues of academic freedom related to the debate over evolution. The website also allows individuals to sign a petition supporting academic freedom.
“Opposition to academic freedom is nothing less than an attempt to censor science in Florida’s public schools,” says Luskin. “I urge Floridians to sign the petition at academicfreedompetition.com and show that academic freedom is alive and well in the Sunshine state.”