Evolution & Creationism: Multi-State Update (14 Nov 08)

IT’S TIME for another multi-state creationism news roundup. Our last was here: Evolution & Creationism: Multi-State Update (30 Sept).

Except for the occasional zaniness of an aberrant, self-motivated goofball on some local school board, recent creationist political agitation in the US seems due to the activities of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). All of our articles about the Discovery Institute can be found here: Discoveroids.

The Discoveroids are like a horribly sick dog, running through the house leaving nasty spots all over the place, which need to be cleaned up by responsible humans. Most of the damage done this year is due to various states’ attempts to enact the Discoveroids’ misleadingly named Academic Freedom Act. See Louisiana, discussed below.

Besides legislation, the elected or appointed functionaries in state-level school boards can have a big impact — not only on classroom curricula, but also on textbook purchases. The Discoveroids encourage and manipulate their fellow travelers on various state-level school boards in order to weaken the standards for teaching science. In the past, their target was Kansas, which actually enacted standards allowing supernatural science to be taught (see Kansas evolution hearings). After two recent elections, that madness seems to be under control. For the moment, the big problem of this nature is in Texas, discussed below.

There have also been some silly proposals to teach creationism made by a few local school board members. We report them only for amusement, because such matters rarely develop into litigation. At some point, the school board attorney usually explains the meaning of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, and the matter is dropped. The Discoveroids have learned that they’re always going to be vigorously opposed, so it’s only worth their time to operate at the state level.

Okay, enough introduction. Here we go, state by state, with what remains of the mess created in 2008:

Texas: There’s a good update from the National Center for Science Education on that state’s very serious creationism problem: The next step in Texas. That summarizes the current situation.

Louisiana: This is the only state, so far, that has enacted an “Academic Freedom” bill. It hasn’t yet ripened into litigation. See: Louisiana Creationism Update (18 Oct).

Michigan. One of those misleadingly named “academic freedom” anti-evolution bills is pending in that state’s legislature, about which we last reported back in July: Creationist Legislation in Michigan: Update. The bill is still languishing in the Senate’s Committee on Education; but the legislature stays in session all year, so this one isn’t dead yet. This link is to a list of all the bills in the Senate Education Committee. If you scroll down you’ll find it — SB 1361.

So that’s it. Elections are over and things need to sort themselves out. The obedient creationist zombies need to get their new instructions and talking points. Until things begin to heat up and that sick dog starts running around and messing the place up again again, enjoy the interlude.

Next year is certain to bring us further adventures in creationism. Meanwhile, we’ll still be here, doing what we do.

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14 responses to “Evolution & Creationism: Multi-State Update (14 Nov 08)

  1. SB 1361’s House counterpart, HB 6027, still seems to be in committee, too.

  2. Thanks, Glenn. I hadn’t been following the House version. Now I’ll keep an eye on both.

  3. Louisiana: This is the only state, so far, that has enacted an “Academic Freedom” bill. It hasn’t yet ripened into litigation.

    It hasn’t ripened into legislation because it can’t, DUHHHH!!!!

    You freaking people kill me.

  4. litigation… I mean… eh… sometimes I kill my own self… ;)

  5. Of course it can. When some teacher starts handing out Jack Chick tracts as “supplemental material,” and the school board gets sued for teaching religion, the board will defend itself by citing that statute. The issue before the court will be two-pronged: (1) the propriety of the specific materials that were used; and (2) the constitutionality of the legislation. Both issues are First Amendment issues.

  6. “Some teacher” handing out creationist material will be in violation of Louisianna’s academic freedom bill, not in support of it.

    This will put the teacher and possibly their institution in jeopardy of prosecution, BECAUSE it violates the bill and OTHER similar separation laws.

    Like I said… you freaking reactionaries kill me.

  7. mightyfrijoles

    a few sandwiches short of a picnic

  8. Diversity is strength.

  9. On Texas, see also the gov’s new appointment for head of the Higher Education Board, which is in talks with the Institute for Creation Research over their bid for accreditation of a masters degree program for certification of “science” teachers. See
    http://curricublog.org/2008/11/16/whit-riter/

  10. Texas has multiple problems. And they seem to start at the top.

  11. Tony says: “In your next update, you’ll need to include Oklahoma.”

    Got it. Thanks. I wrote it yesterday, but scheduled it to show up this morning.

  12. Tony says: “Also, now, Mississippi.”

    Yikes! We’re off to an early start. Thanks. I’ll get to it. It’s gonna be an interesting year.