Pickens: Expect evolution bills
Another key lawmaker says it's likely the Legislature will weigh in on the evolution controversy. And in this case, the lawmaker, Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka, says he has concerns about the proposed state standards himself.
"If it becomes a matter for legislative discussion, then I would have opinions that if it's going to be presented, it's presented … in a manner that is not potentially exclusive of any other theory," including creationism, said Pickens, the powerful chair of the House Schools and Learning Council.
Pickens said he has heard from other lawmakers who are concerned about the proposed standards - which refer to evolution as the fundamental concept underlying all of biology – but none told him they were planning to file legislation. Still, he said, "I would be very surprised if there weren't some individual legislators that feel so strongly about the issue that they individually file bills that address that."
Pickens' comments echo those of Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, the House minority leader, who made similar predictions to The Gradebook a month ago (see post here.)
Among scientists, there is virtually no debate about the fundamental soundness of Darwin's theory. "But far and away," Pickens said, "most of the people who are our constituents, and who vote for us, are not scientists." Pickens' home county of Putnam, in North Florida, is among those with school boards that may be considering resolutions criticizing the proposed standards (see Florida Times Union story here.)
- Ron Matus, state education reporter