It's well and good that Florida Citizens for Science would publish a release condemning the anti-evolution legislation recently drafted by State Sen. Stephen Wise. The execution, alas, is a little depressing. (Note: Read the Juice's own take on Sen. Wise's legislation here!)
The full news release may be viewed at the Citizens' website. But if you're poised to click that link, beware. You're probably expecting to find a summary of the scientific data supporting the reality of evolution by natural selection, or maybe some incisive explanation of the differences between faith and science, or perhaps even some acknowledgment that "intelligent design" and "creationism" do indeed have a place in our schools, so long as that place is a History, Folklore, or Current Events class. Well, sorry. No dice. Florida Citizens for Science opposes anti-evolution legislation, it seems, because creationism is bad for business.
Here is the most clearly articulated point in the release:
Florida's leaders have been working for years to bring bio-tech industries to our state. Many scientists, especially biologists, will consider this to be an attack upon an established, core scientific principle. It will be clear to these businesses that Florida's leaders don't value science education, and the resulting stigma can only drive away the very industries we are trying to attract.
Of course, Florida Citizens for Science may be absolutely correct. There may be biotech firms who are loath to do business in a state in which intelligent design is taught to public school students. (But, really, wouldn't most successful companies be more concerned about our tax laws, zoning, real estate prices, and weather?) Regardless, our curricula should be immune to such concerns. Unless our education system has reached such a nadir of irrelevance that it is now no more than an accessory with which to woo out-of-state investors, the primary interest of our schools ought to be teaching what's true, not what's convenient. Citizens who are for science should know this better than the rest of us, for of all the academic disciplines, science is the least susceptible to political whims. Its claims are either true or untrue, and the evidence will tell either way. This is science's great strength. Those who love science oughtn't treat it like a weakness.