This has been making the rounds today: A grad-student blogger with bad taste in hats thinks that Florida elected officials “fail basic taxonomy, promote anti-science curriculum, and consistently attempt to undermine the fundamental unpinning [sic] of all biology.” I’ll take it he means by this last bit the modern Darwinian synthesis and not, say, the principles of organic chemistry (Get all the nutrients necessary for life at C.H.O.P.K.I.N.S. Ca.Fe., mmmMgood with Salt!) In any event, in service of this assertion he points to a recently passed law ostensibly meant to outlaw bestiality, but which, he insists, actually outlaws all instances of making the beast with two backs. Just look at the wording:
An act relating to sexual activities involving animals; creating s. 828.126, F.S.; providing definitions; prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties; providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry, conformation judging, and veterinary practices; providing an effective date.
Gasp! We’re animals! It’s all right there in the SCIENCE! (Cue Charlton Heston: “Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was. . . We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up!”)
This “poorly-worded miasma of a law”, we are told by the blogger, is “what happens when they start trying to legislate from [a] flawed view of reality.”
But if you read the bill — and, if exhaustive clinical descriptions of the several methods of inter-species coitus is your thing, I highly recommend you do — you’ll see that “persons” are distinguished from “animals” early and often (and you’ll also learn that French kissing has been left conspicuously off the list of verboten acts.) As Rick Hasen at the Election Law Blog points out, there is absolutely zero reason to think anybody who mattered would interpret the statute any other way.
So a note to the scientists: We live in a country where tomatoes are vegetables, not fruits, by force of Constitutional jurisprudence. This too is a “flawed view of reality” from which to legislate. Yet somehow, somehow the republic endures.