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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Darwin, Hitler and the Anti-Defamation League



It didn't do any good last week, but it should not be overlooked that the Anti-Defamation League opposes the "academic freedom" bills now moving with ease through the Florida Legislature.

The legislation "should be rejected because it would impede our children's understanding of science and the scientific method in an increasingly science and technology-oriented word," said Andrew Rosenkranz, ADL's Florida regional director, in a statement issued before the House Schools & Learning Council passed the bill Friday in a 7-4 party-line vote.

The ADL's position is especially significant given its core mission of fighting anti-Semitism, and attempts by some evolution opponents to link Darwin and Hitler.

St. Petersburg City Councilman Bill Foster made that pitch three months ago, and actor Ben Stein does so in his movie, "Expelled," which is set for national release on Friday.

In a related development, the Florida Citizens for Science blog issued a "public challenge" yesterday to Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, chief sponsor of the House bill. Hays and other supporters have repeatedly said the bills have nothing to do with religion, but with a desire to present critical, scientific analyses of evolution.

So, FCS asks: "Give examples of critical analysis of evolution that have no religious connotations and are also legitimate, up-to-date scientific ideas. If Hays refuses to give a straight answer, or even worse cites discredited, unscientific ideas, then the intent of these bills is questionable at best and the bills needs to be dropped."

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:39am]


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