"Why do we still have apes if we came from them?" state Sen. Stephen Wise of Florida rhetorically asked a Tampa radio host in 2009. He'd just introduced a bill that would have required public school teachers who cover evolution to also discuss intelligent design. At the time, the ravings of (the ironically named) Wise looked like little more than the quixotic roars of a political dinosaur.
Wise now has a bunch of new friends in Tallahassee, courtesy of the tea party movement. They've appointed him to the chairmanship of Florida's Senate Education Committee. And guess what?
Wise, R-Jacksonville, thinks his evolution bill may have a better chance this year because there are more conservatives in the Legislature and because he chairs a substantive committee.
“Why would you not teach both theories at the same time?” Wise said, referring to evolution and what he called “nonevolution.”
“You have critical thinking in school,” Wise added. “Why would you not do both?”
Maybe because, until recently, you've had a little bit of critical thinking in the state legislature.