New Mexico hasn’t been in the creationism legislation game since 2009. We reported on that year’s effort here: New Mexico Creationism: A New “Freedom” Bill, and it’s eventual failure here: New Mexico Creationism Bill: It’s Dead.
After a year of respite, the forces of darkness are on the march again. As often happens, we’ve been scooped by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). They report: Antievolution legislation in New Mexico. They always use that “antievolution” term. We prefer to label these bills as anti-science, anti-reason, and pro-creationism. Anyway, NCSE says:
House Bill 302, introduced in the New Mexico House of Representatives on February 1, 2011, and referred to the House Education Committee, is the fifth antievolution bill to be introduced in a state legislature in 2011. If enacted, the bill would require teachers to be allowed to inform students “about relevant scientific information regarding either the scientific strengths or scientific weaknesses” pertaining to “controversial” scientific topics. The bill would protect teachers from “reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so.” The sole sponsor of HB 302 is Thomas A. Anderson (R-District 29).
Here’s a link to the bill: HOUSE BILL 302. It’s the typical bill of its type, but with one odd provision that says:
“scientific information” means information derived from observation, experimentation and analyses regarding various aspects of the natural world conducted to determine the nature of or principles behind the aspects being studied. “Scientific information” may include information that coincides or harmonizes with religious tenets, but does not include information derived from religious writings, beliefs or doctrines.”
That’s not much of an impediment to the creationists. They crank out enough pseudo-science tracts to serve the purpose of this bill, so although it rules out using scripture as science, it doesn’t rule out the rot produced by the current crop of creationists who have learned to tone down the Genesis talk and pour on the “irreducible complexity” mumbo-jumbo.
There’s more information in the NCSE article, so click over there to take a look. What can your Curmudgeon add? Oh, one or two things:
Here’s a handy link with which you can track the progress of House Bill 302 as it works its way through the legislative labyrinth. For the moment, all we’re told is that the bill was introduced on 01 February, and it’s currently in the House Education Committee.
Let’s turn our attention to the genius who is the sole sponsor of this bill. Here’s the legislature’s page for Representative Thomas A. Anderson – (R). That doesn’t give us much information. We can’t find much about him anywhere, although there’s a bit more here: Thomas Anderson, New Mexico Representative. All we’re told is that he’s been a US Navy officer. And we also know that he’s a creationist. That’s about it.
The New Mexico legislature convened on 18 January and it’s scheduled to adjourn on 19 March. There are only about six weeks left in this session, but a lot can happen in six weeks.
As we always do, your humble Curmudgeon offers his own solution to this problem. If there are any clear-headed members of the New Mexico legislature, we recommend that they give serious consideration to The Curmudgeon’s Amendment. It’s designed to nullify legislation like this. In a nutshell, our amendment says only that the bill doesn’t authorize teaching creationism or intelligent design. Period. If the amendment gets adopted, we win. And if it’s defeated we win anyway, because rejecting the amendment creates a record of legislative intent (to permit creationism) which the courts will use to declare the law unconstitutional.
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