Florida Bill Would Allow Evolution Challenge

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The Florida state Senate has passed an evolution challenge bill for public school teachers.

The bill, also known as the Academic Freedom Act, would prohibit school officials from disciplining teachers who offer facts that cast doubt on Darwin's theory.

It would also allow teachers to challenge the theory of evolution in the classroom with other scientific information.

The new bill came after the Florida Board of Education voted earlier this year to begin requiring evolution be taught in schools.

Opponents say the act would allow the teaching of creationism or intelligent design, which courts have defined as religion rather than science.

Sen. Ronda Storms sponsored the legislation, and sees its passage as a victory for academics.

One teacher e-mailed the senator about the bill, demonstrating its need.

"To say I have problems with evolution theory would be career suicide for me," the teacher said, adding that those who opposed evolution were often called "religious idiots."

The Academic Freedom Act was passed with a vote of 21 to 17.

It still requires approval from the House and Governor.

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