Creationist Madness in New Hampshire

Back in June we wrote New Hampshire Creationism: Early Warning, about two legislators who were drafting different creationism bills for New Hampshire’s 2012 legislative session.

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) — who provided the information for our earlier post — have a new post about the latest developments: Antievolution legislation in New Hampshire.

Representative Jerry Bergevin has pre-filed HOUSE BILL 1148, the operative section of which says, with a bit of bold added for emphasis:

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1. New Paragraph; Duties of the State Board of Education. Amend RSA 186:11 by inserting after paragraph XXXVI the following new paragraph:

XXXVII. Theory of Evolution. Require evolution to be taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.

2. Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Rather stupid, in our humble opinion. But wait — there’s more! Representatives Gary Hopper and John Burt (who doesn’t yet have a page at the legislature’s website) have pre-filed HOUSE BILL 1457, the operative section of which says (again, with bold added for emphasis):

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1. New Paragraph; Duties of the State Board of Education. Amend RSA 186:11 by inserting after paragraph XXXVI the following new paragraph:

XXXVII. Scientific Inquiry. Require science teachers to instruct pupils that proper scientific inquire [sic] results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis, no matter how firmly it appears to be established, and that scientific and technological innovations based on new evidence can challenge accepted scientific theories or modes.

2. Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

NCSE points out that Hopper’s original drafting request was for a bill that would require “instruction in intelligent design in the public schools.” This new bill is the result, but its intention is clear.

From this source we learn that the New Hampshire legislative session for 2012 runs from 04 January to 01 July. We’ll be watching.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Creationist Madness in New Hampshire

  1. So Bergevin wants to discuss politics, ideology, and atheism in a science class? The DI would be happy with him, but that bill is way too obvious to pass.

    Hopper’s stands a better chance, if there are a number of creationists in the New Hampshire legislature to support it. There is no obvious reason to have such a law, which should make it immediately suspect, but even if it is passed it doesn’t place a specific requirement on biology teachers to do more than explain that science is always subject to revision as new evidence becomes available. They could, in fact, contrast that with pseudo-scientific beliefs like ID. I’m not sure that’s what Hopper has in mind, however.

  2. Both Republicans….did I need to point that out…..
    For laughs, go to the link below to see proposed legislation by one of these Republicans. Such as: urging Congress to amend the Internal Revenue Code to permit churches and other houses of worship to engage in political campaigns.

    proclaiming June 3 each year in dedication of the sermon by Reverend Samuel McClintock on the commencement of the New Hampshire constitution and relative to the observance of Federal Constitution Days.

    http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/memberbillssponsored.aspx?member=376905

  3. Rep. Hills isn’t a sponsor of HB 1457; rather, both Rep. Hopper and Rep. Burt represent portions of Hillsborough County, abbreviated “Hills” on the page with details of the bill.

  4. Glenn Branch says: “Rep. Hills isn’t a sponsor of HB 1457″

    Ooops! I’ll fix it right away. Thanks, Glenn.

  5. Both have wording that scream “scam,” but the first is breathaking inanity that makes the frantic bumbling of Buckingham and Bonsell (trying to deny their earlier strategies) seem sane in comparison. I fear the second, however, beacuse the wording is vague enough that a science-challenged judge might fall for it.

    Anyway, it would be fun to ask the following to these (and all) scam artists and their trained parrots who demand that students “critically analyze” evolution:
    ***********************
    Please choose the ONE statement that comes closest to your opinion:

    a) I want students to critically analyze evolution because that will show them that it is a stronger and better-supported explanation than they would think if they didn’t critically analyze it.

    b) I want students to critically analyze evolution because that will show them that they actually understand the science better than 99+% of the scientists who work in relevant fields.

    c) I want students to critically analyze evolution because that will show them that 99+% of the scientists who work in relevant fields are lying.

    d) I don’t really want students to critically analyze evolution. I just want them to memorize misleading arguments that only promote unreasonable doubt. Evolution is thoroughly supported, unlike all the failed attempts at alternative explanations, but if students learn that they will reject God and behave as if all is permitted.
    ****************
    If they ignore the request, object with “none of the above” and/or an evasive non-answer, and/or add unsolicited whining about “Darwinism” or “Darwinists,” you can safely conclude that they’re trying to hide something. So just imagine what they would try to hide from students.

  6. “…including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.”

    First thought: how are you going to teach every scientists’ political and ideological viewpoints, since we are all evolutionary theorists?

    Second thought: it might not actually be a bad idea to point out to students that scientists who accept evolution span the range of religious views. That would teach the reverse of what this bozo is trying to imply.

  7. “Require science teachers to instruct pupils that proper scientific inquire [sic] results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis, no matter how firmly it appears to be established, and that scientific and technological innovations based on new evidence can challenge accepted scientific theories or modes.”
    Is this guy seriously saying that science should never reach, or teach, conclusions? I’ve always understood that the scientific method precludes committing to a theory to a point that meaningful evidence, new or old, that contradicts it is discarded- but not to the point where one needs to keep his mind so open his brain falls out. This sound like a non-scientist’s misunderstanding of the scientific method, and a non-skeptic’s definition of skepticism. Neither one precludes the reaching of conclusions- they are the means of reaching them, tools used to shape them. They are methods of thought, not the result of it. And they are certainly not subject to legislation.

  8. atutingtest: “This sound like a non-scientist’s misunderstanding of the scientific method, and a non-skeptic’s definition of skepticism.”

    Exactly. Most likely the politician is a clueless rube with that common misconception. But what we must never lose sight of is that there are scam artists who know that they’re spreading those misconceptions. What’s sad is that when most of those clueless rubes are corrected, they join the scam rather than simply admit their mistake.