You know, people believe all kinds of things -- things they absolutely and sincerely believe are provable facts: that the Holocaust was a hoax, that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had kids, that Shakespeare wasn't the author of the works attributed to him, that Bigfoot lurks in the forests of the northwest, that the moon landing never happened, and that an alien spaceship crashed in New Mexico. Now, the Florida legislature is considering a bill that would open the door to any student who buys into whatever kooky theory -- which are termed "alternative academic theories" can sue a professor who "ridicules" him.
This is, of course, not about getting Bigfoot discussed in the classroom. The sponsor of the bill directly pointed to evolutionary theory as one of the things that students could sue about, when faced with a "dictator professor" who doesn't want to hear about Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design isn't an "alternative academic theory"; it's a religious theory dressed up in scientific terms.
But, you know 45% of Americans believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis, in spite of the teaching of evolution in public schools and universities, and over the years they have constructed quite elaborate theories to promote that. One would have to be a scientist to profitably argue with them -- and most people trained in the sciences don't think it's worth their time. My brother told me once that anyone who continues to believe in evolution is either ignorant, or is just determined to oppose God.
I actually don't have a large stake in the matter; my religious beliefs are not threatened by the theory of evolution, and I figure people can believe any fool thing they want to. However, what I *do* object to is that a professor, whose job it is to teach science, or history, or whatever, would be at risk of being sued because they don't put these "alternatives" on the same level as solid academic and scientific research. As Juan pointed out, you're going to see anyone who teaches at a university fleeing the state as fast as they possibly can.
I'm beginning to think that it isn't out of line to say that there are some people out there who are determined to destroy academia -- and maybe education as a whole.