New Hampshire Creationism Update (29 Dec ’11)

This is a continuation of the sad tale we last wrote about here: Creationist Madness in New Hampshire. The next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:

Representative Jerry Bergevin has pre-filed HOUSE BILL 1148, the operative section of which adds this new paragraph to the duties of the State Board of Education:

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. [Bold added for emphasis.]

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, which adds this new paragraph to the duties of the State Board of Education:

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. [Bold added for emphasis.]

In the Concord Monitor of Concord, New Hampshire we read Bills aim to roll back teaching evolution. The news is that the Monitor has some interesting quotes from the sponsors of those two idiotic bills. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

To state Rep. Jerry Bergevin, the horrors of the Columbine school shooting and the atrocities of Nazi Germany are linked by the theory of evolution, and that’s all the evidence he needs to see that New Hampshire’s children shouldn’t be taught that it’s correct.

What a maroon! Let’s read on:

The second bill, introduced by Reps. Gary Hopper of Weare and John Burt of Goffstown, more vaguely calls for science teachers to “instruct pupils that proper scientific (inquiry) results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis . . . and that scientific and technological innovations based on new evidence can challenge accepted scientific theories.”

Hopper points to the state constitution and its order that teachers support their students’ “morality and piety” for the justification of his bill.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We continue:

Evolution as it’s currently taught tells students “life just happens. It’s just a byproduct of the universe and they are here by accident,” he [Hopper] said. “But more and more scientists are coming to the conclusion that it was not even remotely possible that it happened by accident. I want to introduce children to the idea that they have a purpose for being here.”

He would like to see intelligent design – the idea that a creator controlled how early life on Earth developed – taught in classrooms, but hasn’t been able to find an example of the philosophy being successfully legislated into schools.

Now back to the first genius, Bergevin:

Bergevin is less interested in the science of evolution than he is in the political and religious views of Darwin and his disciples. His bill would require schools to teach evolution as a theory, and include “the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.”

I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented. It’s a worldview and it’s godless. Atheism has been tried in various societies, and they’ve been pretty criminal domestically and internationally. The Soviet Union, Cuba, the Nazis, China today: they don’t respect human rights,” he said.

“As a general court we should be concerned with criminal ideas like this and how we are teaching it. . . . Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That’s evidence right there,” he said.

We rarely see end-stage brain-death displayed so clearly. Then the Monitor quotes Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education:

You’re not improving science education for young people by pretending that well-established ideas are up for grabs. The idea of evolution, that living things have common ancestors, is not being challenged in science today,” she said. “Neither of these bills are going to advance science education in New Hampshire and neither of them deserve to be inflicted upon the students in your state.”

That’s not all she had to say:

Bergevin’s bill “should be obviously unacceptable to legislators on its face. They ought to be able to see pretty quickly that this bill is just silly,” Scott said.

[…]

Besides, the bill would present teachers with the impossible task of tracking down information about every scientist mentioned in a textbook or other class material, “which is pretty dopey,” she said.

Silly and dopey. Strong criticism indeed from Genie Scott! One last excerpt:

Both bills have been referred to the House Education Committee for hearings in early February.

We never imagined that New Hampshire would provide us with this kind of entertainment. From this source we learn that the New Hampshire legislative session for 2012 runs from 04 January to 01 July. Stay tuned for more.

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

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26 responses to “New Hampshire Creationism Update (29 Dec ’11)

  1. Bergevin: “Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That’s evidence right there.”

    Well, yes –evidence of Bergevin’s singular notion of ‘guily by free association of ideas’, or something. Anyone care to join me in compiling the massive catalogue of criminal psychopaths who have held specific religious beliefs? And even that would not be comparable to the Columbine fallacy here: just think of the Inquisitors whose very crimes were undertaken in the name of their religious fanaticism.

  2. Great Claw quotes Bergevin: “Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That’s evidence right there.”

    Yes, and Rasputin was a creationist. Al Capone too*. How’s that for evidence?

    * Maybe, maybe not.

  3. It is excruciatingly unlikely either of these execrable bills will make it out of committee with anything other than an “inexpedient to legislate” death warrant attached to them.

    And in the remote chance it gets a thumbs up in committee, there’s no way the General Court would pass them.

    These bills are for all practical purposes “DOA.”

  4. The scary part for me is how many of them are out there. All the more reason to support the NCSE, and to keep as many kids as possible in real schools instead of home schools of teach whatever the heck you want and tell your kids the Bible is literal truth. You get too many whack jobs out in the voting public and the whole country could end up like Louisiana.

  5. Longie says: “It is excruciatingly unlikely either of these execrable bills will make it out of committee …”

    Yeah, yeah. So you say. We’ll wait to see what happens.

  6. You go New Hampshire, don’t let Louisiana be the dumbest state in the union.

  7. New Hampshire state motto (revised):

    Stupid Is As Stupid Does

  8. Remembering that I climbed Mt. Washington on 6/22/87, and that the Edwards v. Aguillard decision was that year, I looked up the date. Turns out it was 6/19, the day before I drove up to NH. I was only vaguely aware at the time that there was a case going on, and forgot about it until I started following the “debate” a decade later.

    On a related note I was just reading about a clueless rube in Indiana wanting to teach creation “science,” not even ID or academic anarchy. Compared to that, if you excuse Bergevin’s shameless plagiarizing of Tom DeLay’s “Columbine” whine, he is on the cutting edge of where anti-evolution activism is going. Forget about “gaps” and phony “critical analysis”, in the future it will all be about how accepting “Darwinism” is the root of all evil. I call it “Kingofferism” in honor of Discoveroid David. But he too owes Tom DeLay a debt of gratitude for forging the path to the future.

  9. That’s “Klinghofferism.” Maybe “Noel” was in my subconscious. ;-)

  10. Frank J says: That’s “Klinghofferism.”

    Fixed. And I was working on Indiana while you posted your comment.

  11. We’ll wait to see what happens.

    We’ll see when the committee hearing is — it might be fun to drop in on it and see the sponsors get crushed by their peers, and perhaps the public.

    Or maybe they will try to load the public testimony in favor of this hogwash.

    Either way, entertainment should soon ensue.

  12. Longshadow: Some such bills HAVE passed (LA, KY still has a law permitting the teaching of creationism, etc.). See my comments on the next posting by Curmudgeon on bill in Indiana. It is very dangerous to assume that the bills are DOA.

  13. Curmy says, “We never imagined that New Hampshire would provide us with this kind of entertainment.”

    Ever read NH’s license plates? “Live Free or Die”.

  14. vhutchison | 29-December-2011 at 8:07 pm |

    Longshadow: Some such bills HAVE passed (LA, KY still has a law permitting the teaching of creationism, etc.). See my comments on the next posting by Curmudgeon on bill in Indiana. It is very dangerous to assume that the bills are DOA.

    Trust me on this one; I’m not speculating about this — my prediction is based on my sources inside the legislature.

  15. Herman Cummings

    We’ll see if these legislators are serious, or just clowns. I wrote to Senator Kruse, Rep. Bergevin, and Rep. Hopper, concerning teaching the truth of Genesis, rather than the error of creationism. So far, every elected & appointed official I’ve written to has been a clown. The exception may be Ed. Secretary Arte Duncan, where his staff refuses to allow me to contact him.

    Herman

  16. [B]UPDATE:[/b]

    Latest status on the two bills:
    ==================================
    HB1457
    Session Year 2012
    Bill Docket
    Bill Status
    Bill Text Title: relative to scientific inquiry in the public schools.
    G-Status: HOUSE
    House Status: IN COMMITTEE
    Senate Status:
    Next/Last Comm: HOUSE EDUCATION
    Next/Last Hearing: 02/09/2012 at 11:00 AM LOB 207

    ==============================

    HB1148
    Session Year 2012
    Bill Docket
    Bill Status
    Bill Text Title: requiring the teaching of evolution as a theory in public schools.
    G-Status: HOUSE
    House Status: IN COMMITTEE
    Senate Status:
    Next/Last Comm: HOUSE EDUCATION
    Next/Last Hearing: 02/14/2012 at 11:00 AM LOB 207
    =============================================

    Both bills have been assigned to the same committee — Education — and both have hearings scheduled for early to mid-February.

    “LOB” refers to the legislative office building that is across the street from the statehouse. “207” is the room number where the hearing is to be held.

    Beware that parking space during the daytime can be at a premium in Concord when the legislature is in session.

    You can use this link:

    http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/

    to get updated status on ANY bill in the NH legislature. You need only supply the correct bill number.

  17. But wait; there’s MORE!!!!

    link for AUDIO STREAMING of committee hearings!!!!

    http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committee_audio/hearingaudio.aspx?commcode=H05

    I do not know if that works in real time, or if you have to wait for staff to make the recording available after the hearing.

  18. Text of the bills:

    ===============================
    HB1457

    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 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.
    =================

    As written, it isn’t all that objectionable (ignoring the typos.) Of course, creationists will use it for “cover,” but so what? All the science teacher needs to do is point out that neither Creationism, ID, nor anything else has yet to challenge, let alone disprove, modern Evolutionary Theory, and that it remains the best scientific explanation for the diversity of species we have available.

    =========================
    HB 1148

    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.
    ======================

    Now this is far more perverse. First, all theories are theories (duh) — why single out Evolution for mention? We know that answer to this.

    As for teaching the political and ideological viewpoints of the theorists, I await evidence that this information has a shred of relevance to the validity of a scientific theory. Einstein was a socialist; does that render Relativity wrong? Shockley was arguably a racist; does that make transistors NOT work? Sakharov was a Marxist; did it make the Soviet hydrogen bomb fail to detonate?

    What a load of crap.

  19. Longie says: “What a load of crap.”

    We’ve always suspected that New Hampshire was a hotbed of creationism. Now the truth is coming out

  20. 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.
    Who are “the theorists”? Does Ken Miller count? What about all of the Christian “theorists” who have no problem with evolution? How about the Hindu and Buddhist “theorists”?

    Beyond that, this singles out evolution from all other scientific theories for special treatment, with an obvious religion based motivation (“atheists”). This sort of thing has been tested in court and tossed out multiple times. This is little different from the Cobb County sticker and the statement the Dover School Board tried to force science teachers to read before their class covered evolution.

    This won’t pass legal muster. It won’t make it out of committee unless the majority on the committee are complete morons — IOW, creationists.

  21. Legislative Geek Alert: in NH, all legislation comes out of committee (unless the bill’s sponsor withdraws it) — with one of two designations attached: 1) “ought to pass,” or 2) “inexpedient to legislate.”

    I don’t believe tabling is an option in committee, though the full house could table a bill.

    That said, I doubt these bills are going anywhere in NH.

  22. Longie says: “I doubt these bills are going anywhere in NH.”

    We shall see.

  23. The problem with proposed legislation to “teach the controversy” or to “teach both sides” or to include “Intelligent design” is three-fold. Most importantly it is Un-American and unconstitutional. It is additionally unscientific and it in fact demeans the field of natural philosophy through ignoring centuries of method, theory and practice. Finally it is anti-Christian and a deception of Satan in that it spurns central tenets of almost 21 centuries of Christian belief and practice. As an American I fully support the 1st amendment rights of those proposing such vile and offensive legislation to voice their opinions and concerns and would never claim that my belief is equal to that of our Creator but to propose ID becoming secular civic legislation; well, speaking as a concerned citizen I feel I must denounce them as abhorrent abominations which must NOT become laws of the land.
    The inclusion of “Creation Science” in either biology or physics classes is UnAmerican. It is UnAmerican because it is sectarian and thereby religious. The United States was founded on freedom of religion and the EXPLICIT SEPARATION of Church and state. Those offering the fake argument that it is good scientific practice to teach “both sides” and to re-argue every fact of centuries of combined human progress ignores the simple and indisputable truth that there are not 2 sides–there are BILLIONS of sides-every one of our 7 billion co-travellers ( that’s actually global–about 307,006,550 – Jul 2009 US population) being valid and living expressions of what it means to be human. Must we include every creation myth, ancient and modern to satisfy these critics? Doesn’t this so-called “logic” necessitate precious, expensive classroom time devoted to Polytheism vs montotheism vs Taoism vs. Confucianism vs Shaivite vs Vaishnava vs. Brahmanist vs Paganism vs Santeria vs The Imperial Cult of Rome vs Gothic paganism vs Franciscan Paganism vs Algonquin vs Huron vs. Mayan paganism vs Polynesian paganism Vs Judaisim vs Christianity vs Islam vs Zoarastrianism vs Egyptian poly- and mono-theistic ideas and etc and etc (And yes-even MORE etc…)? The place for these studies is in comparative mythology or in a theology class– and is additionally well-included within an archeology or anthropology curriculum. That is NOT IN ANY sense intended to demean or dismiss these subjects-it is simply to provide them their proper place and context. Arguing for the inclusion of religious matter into a biology or physics curriculum is akin to arguing that a home economics class must preceed teaching how to prepare an omlet with hours of “teaching the controversy” of cooking on an open fire vs. cooking on a wood stove or a gas range or an electric stove or whether to just thow it in the microwave and “nuke it.”. It’s not that students can’t look at the issues; it’s rather that we have established categories of studies for very important reasons. A Driver’s Education class does not address the “controversies” of reciprocating vs turbine engines–it’s related to BUT NOT germane to the domain. A person can be an engineer who designs exquisite engines without ever operating a motor vehicle since s/he takes the train to work and, likewise, one can drive safely and legally on our streets and highways without a clue as to just how hydrocarbons combine with oxygen to produce heated gasses that can be manipulated by mechanical devices into the forward momentum of a metal box (car/automobile) full of humans.
    Adding “ID” or “Creation ‘Science'” to biology or physics classes is Unscientific due the simple fact that science inherits from it’s predecessor “Natural Philosphy” what many of it’s critics claim is an atheist bias (it isn’t-many scientists hold a variety of faiths) in that Science does not deal with intangibles or supernatural occurances. It just doesn’t do that; science PURPOSFULLY DOES NOT “go there”. One of the foundational concepts of scientific hypothetic constructs is that of “falsifiablity.” To be capable of scientific investigation it must be possible to PROVE BY EXPERIMENT one way or another whether a conjecture is capable of observation and replication. It does not matter whether one is of the Ba’hai faith or if one is an atheist-if you substitute water for gasoline in an automobile engine it will NOT function. Claiming that a supernatural being must have either started or enabled the process of intelligent life arising on our planet is NOT capable of being tested. It is NOT a component of scientific inquiry–it is a matter of faith and personal spirituality. Evolution, as demonstrated by the fossil record is qualitatively different. For billions of years life left fossils that clearly are very different than life forms that show up in the Jurrassic. In the hundreds of million years since the Jurassic there have been other gradual changes demonstrating the rise of what we call mammals including primate species. This is not controversial within the scientific community. It is only a “controversy” for those attempting to LEGISLATE PERSONALLY-HELD SPIRITUAL/RELIGIOUS ideas disguised as scientific theory and practice, into school curricula. Quite simply evolution is part of science because it adheres to scientific methodology and practice. Adding untestable supernatural elements is exactly and explicitly the dividing line that separates it from inclusion in science, and by extension into Tax-Payer-funded American educational studies of science.
    Legally mandating sectarian belief is Anti-Christian. Although Christianity has centuries of evangelical and missionary history, His Gospels tell us that Jesus would dine with “pharisees and sinners” and that when confronted by liturgical authorities trying to trick or trap him into admissions which could (and ultimatly did) lead to his execution, offered that corporeal, political activities were seperate from spiritual activities–“Render unto Cesar that which is Cesar’s.” Extrapolating from that and transporting it from a pagan empire to a constitutional republic it instructs observant Christians to consider the science class to be a civic and material domain. To profane the sacred by insistance upon conflating the two domains demeans the faith in, and loving connection to, the Savior to his saved. It is NOT good faith and it is NOT Christian. Christ BEGGED his followers to surrender their sins to him and to enjoy a new covenant with God, highest of the high; the Supreme Deity. He did NOT admonish them to write legislation to control local schoolboards. Here in the brave new world of the early 21st century there are sects of allegedly Christian faith that instruct their believers to behave in decidedly unChrisitian fashion. Followers judge their neighbors and ignore the admonishment to “judge not lest ye be judged” of their claimed founder. How can you claim descent from that which you patently ignore? Proponents of these warned-against followers of False Prophets defame Christian philosophy and practice by supporting hate and “culture war” rather than Love and Compassion. If someone condemns another to the fire they are commiting the ultimate hubris of substituting their personal judgement and belief in direct opposition to that of of the supreme God of Love and of Law. The son of Mary said “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Any hands raised for that description? Jesus didn’t think so. Forcing that which is spiritual into that which is material is not in accordance with the Christ or with any of His teachings. Anyone telling you otherwise has already succombed to the Adversary’s Deceptions. Demanding the inclusion of “Intelligent Design” is Satanism at its highest (lowest?)
    Creationist Science or Intelligent design can not be legally, scientifically or scripturally supported. Our free and glorious republic must never prevent those who believe otherwise from speaking or petitioning but we, as a constitutional republic, must refrain from enacting such ideas into our legal framework. Thank you for your time and your consideration of these ideas. We stand together-fractious, argumentative and each convinced of our own ideals-in a wonderful experiment of government by and for the governed. I plead to you this-We must not let that perish. Discuss and believe what you will–but legislate with prudence and, at risk of appearing sectarian my self, I beg you to “judge not lest ye be judged”…

  24. Thank you, Curmudgeon. I sent a copy of this essay to my representative, Jerry Bergevin and we had an e-mail exchange. He, among other points, argued that “The separation of Church and state is a vile lie straight from the pit of Hell.” It pains me that he is my voice in state legislature. He is entitled to his opinions but I hope that NH voters can see the flaw in a representative who does not understand basic US civics. The Separation of Church and of state is a cornerstone US value–anyone who states it is a lie from the pit of Hell is not competent to serve in legislative capacity

  25. Andi, as long as you sent him one of my posts, why not send him this one too: Is America a “Christian Nation”? He could use a history lesson.