Florida, you’re on notice, too

Hmmm. They’re arguing about teaching ID in Orange county and in Polk county. Both places have sensible people pointing out that Intelligent Design creationism is not science (and probably also sensibly have visions of $3 million court costs wafting through their heads), while a few clueless ignoramuses are whining that it isn’t fair, and that they need to give equal time to “the controversy”…the controversy that doesn’t really exist except in the pages of Discovery Institute press releases.

You know these people are reading the Discovery Institute’s propaganda — they’re using the same buzz phrases. In the next big creationism trial, I hope the creationist losers turn around afterwards and sue the DI for damages their bad advice is causing school districts.


  1. says

    What’s especially infuriating is the knowledge that, while the DI essentially encourages these periodic skirmishes with the Establishment Clause, they will run away and hide if another community tries to pull a Dover and put ID in the science curriculum.

    Here’s a thought: let’s have some enterprising school board members at some school district feign interest in learning more about ID, and attempt to solicit written evidence of pledges of support should the matter be litigated. Then, if the DI takes the bait (unlikely), we drag them into a legal and public relations morass. Conversely, if they don’t take the bait, then just document, document, document and publicize their mendacity with all of their would-be sympathizers in the pews. Once it becomes well-known that DI doesn’t really walk the walk the faithful will start tuning them out.

    If you get the idea I really want to hurt the DI where it lives (the legal and political realm), then the reader understands me.

  2. says


    Thanks for posting on this.

    There are too many theists who pretend that they speak for god and for other theists.

    As more that become aware their personal beliefs are being hijacked by liars and frauds, the more will speak up … if only god did exist, he could do the same ;-)

  3. BaldApe says

    “the controversy that doesn’t really exist except in the pages of Discovery Institute press releases.”

    Well see, that’s the problem. Your readers are (mostly) much better educated than average. Even if there are a few wingnuts hanging out, most of us know enough about biology and science in general to see cdesign proponentsists for what they are.

    The general public, and the press that tells them what to think, are not so well prepared. For instance Paul Krugmann, a New York Times columnist, says in his blog that if Republicans said the Earth was flat, the press would call the disagreement a “controversy” rather than laughing at it outright. I pointed out that the idea that there is a controversy over evolution is at least as ridiculous, but my comment wasn’t published. Apparently he thought it was “abusive.”

  4. Chris says

    My professor discussed this last year saying they were going to push back the date they were to review the science standards (and change them) to after the elections. He was right on the money. My sister teaches 3rd grade in orange county, I live in orange county and this is actually the first time I heard about it. My sister doesn’t have much to worry about cause i think science is not even covered in her grade.

  5. says

    Complete lunacy.

    It’s obvious that the cdesign proponentsists are too thick-headed to be persuaded that their pet idea is not going to pass constitutional muster. The fact that they’re still trying it despite being smacked down in Dover proves the point.

    One would think that the prospect of having to pay huge sums of money to lawyers on both sides of the eventual court case would be enough of a deterrent. Aren’t these people also usually fiscal conservatives? Wasting money for Jesus!

  6. says

    We at Florida Citizens for Science are in the thick of this fight. There are several more newspaper/TV reports on the issue; see our blog for links and commentary on them: http://www.flascience.org/wp/

    Both of those stories you link to, PZ, are lousy ones. A story in a small paper called the Lakeland Ledger was one of the better ones lately: http://www.theledger.com/article/20071116/NEWS/711160414/1039
    Our president, Joe Wolf, had a great quote in there:

    But Joe Wolf, president of Florida Citizens for Science, said intelligent design is a religious concept, not a scientific theory.

    “Teaching intelligent design, creationism, can only cause confusion in the minds of students. How can we expect students to learn science when we’re teaching religion?” said Wolf, who identified himself as a Christian believer and a deacon in his church. “I accept evolution as the only current scientific theory that explains the natural world. I’m sick and tired of being told you can’t accept evolution and be a Christian.”

    We’re also doing tons of work behind the scenes.

    firemancarl, I work in Volusia County (DeLand). We should meet up some time.

  7. says

    Why can’t these morons just give up? There is no science in this Creationist gibberish, and all they’re really accomplishing is nothing more than simply wasting everyone’s time who has to drop what they’re doing and point out time and time again how this half-baked mythology has nothing to do with science.

  8. says

    My favorite comment in the thread on that news story is this:

    All too often people misread and misinterpret the bible. I have spent almost 40 years studying every word of the bible and offer you, the reader some definitive truths.

    Many modern translations of the bible fail the christian and judaic reader. Herein; I will reveal the truth. The truth will clarify the misunderstandings of past bible teachers.
    Adam & Eve lived in a garden of Eden and were driven out in God’s Fury. After decades of research I offer a photo of Adam & Eve posing next to God’s Fury:

    This former owner of the Fury was Satan who lost the Fury to God in a game of chance. “Hell hath no Fury” is a popular saying but until now, mostly misunderstood.
    I’m Grouchy. I’m Conservative. I bring the truth to all!


  9. says


    How depressing… I read the bit about the clocks, and all this guy proves is his total ignorance of the basic physics of space and time. Why violate Einstein’s beautiful theory of relativity, where time is defined by the behaviour of clocks, with such nonsense?

  10. says


    Dammit! I wasn’t going to drink tonight, but now I must do so. My brain needs a hard reset after reading that steaming pile of idiocy.

    I hope you’re happy. I’m sending you my bar tab.

  11. RussRules says

    I know everybody thinks another evolution/id trial would be a slam dunk for good science, but what do you suppose could happen if the presiding judge is an idealogue like Scalia or Thomas? Bush has been packing the federal courts with wingnuts like them for just such an occassion.

  12. RGoldstein says

    The cigarette industry ‘wrote the book’ on the tactic of asserting there is doubt, hence there is a controversy, hence we deserve half the stage. Now that the cigarette industry documents are available, perhps DI took a gander and a big hint from the most arch-evil commercial entity on the planet, the cigarette companies.

  13. DLC says

    So, we’ve seen the cDesign proponentists at it again.
    PZ’s posting of Minnesota’s education standards got me thinking, and so I looked up the standards in my state.
    They seem to evade the entire evolution vs cDesignism problem by limiting class discussion and lecture to heredity in any life form above the cellular level. I smell a smarmy equivocation here.

  14. Ex-drone says

    I wonder if the people concerned about “teaching the controversy” would be satisfied if the recent PBS documentary Judgment Day were played in class without additional comment.

  15. firemancarl says


    Brandon, I work for Volusia County Fire . You can contact me at Station 21. I figure I could use some allies, I know that ID is going to rear it’s ugly head here. Besides, think PZ would mind comming to sunny Florida????

    Or PZ is free to give you my email.

  16. arachnophilia says

    the informal motto of the florida education system used to be “thank god for mississippi!” due to fact that we were 49TH in the country.


  17. Manostraw says

    Hey guys, are you saying you doubt the credentials of that chap in my link at #10? But he’s got degrees in Faithology and Applied Tautology.

    And he studied the problem of the universe’s existence for 2 and a half years. 2 and a half years folks! Pracically a PHd that is.

  18. says

    Manostraw, thanks for the link. I only wish all proponents of (sic) “real truth” were so transparent.

    The only truth I’m sure of is that we can never be certain of what is true, but we can be certain as to what is *not* ;-)

  19. Texas Reader says

    My parents grew up in Lakeland, Florida and it has always been a rather backward place. I know one very intelligent retired couple who are living there in an old home they restored on a lake. The wife is involved politically and they have found a few progressives to interact with.

    Orange County, Florida has a whole lot of Baptists in it and they have the lowest educational level of any major religious group in the U.S. A lot of them are good folks who think that ID sounds rational. I was one of them – until I went to college anyway.

  20. zeekster says

    The saddest part was that only about 40 people showed up to the Orange county meeting. I was there and was pissed that I didn’t put in my name to talk. Thankfully, I made all my real feedback to the board on their website.

    I wish more parents cared about their kids’ science education! You still have time to leave feedback.