Florida: The Hypocrisy of the “Academic Irresponsibility” Advocates

Michael Mayo’s column in the Orlando Sun-Sentinel points out a basic problem with the “academic freedom”/”academic irresponsibility” bills in the Florida legislature: why is there only proposed “freedom” for teachers on one topic?

“This protects the freedom of speech for teachers in the classroom,” Hays said. “I want teachers to be able to show those holes in Darwin’s theory of evolution without fear of chastisement.”

Great. Then why not have provisions covering teachers in all subjects, such as health teachers who want to discuss a full range of information in sex education classes, like birth control and abortion.

“That’s more of a parental responsibility than a school responsibility,” Hays said.

What kind of academic freedom is that?

Good question, Michael.

Will substantive answers follow? I don’t think so.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

5 thoughts on “Florida: The Hypocrisy of the “Academic Irresponsibility” Advocates

  • 2008/03/20 at 9:35 am
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    It does seem a tad odd that only evolution gets cited as needing more “academic freedom”, doesn’t it? Surely academic freedom also means teachers in cultural studies classes can present families headed by same sex couples as real families. Surely history teachers are academically free to teach Holocaust denial (and any other form of what we now call pseudo-history) if they want to. Surely if a chemistry teacher decides he doesn’t like the atomic theory of matter, out it goes!

    Isn’t it strange that those who claim most fervently to have a worldview based on absolutism suddenly switch to the most vapid reletivism when it comes to academics. Evolution academics that is.

  • 2008/03/20 at 11:51 am
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    Mormon teachers should be allowed to teach that native Americans descended from the Jews, which means that they’ll also have to question the validity of DNA.

    And, Christian Science instructors should be free to question germ theory.

    What about the school nurse? Will she be strong-armed into using western medicine, or will shamanism be a suitable substitute?

  • 2008/03/20 at 6:35 pm
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    Thatís more of a parental responsibility than a school responsibility …

    And teaching religious-based objections to science isn’t?

  • 2008/03/21 at 5:04 am
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    Those are purely scientific objections John. Don’t you listen to Master Scientist Casey Luskin when he tells us these things???

  • 2008/03/21 at 10:57 am
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    Donít you listen to Master Scientist Casey Luskin when he tells us these things???

    Yeah, I listen to Luskin … but my therapist is working on my masochism.

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