Missouri Madness: New Creationism Bill for 2012

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have a new post about an “Intelligent design” bill in Missouri.

We haven’t written about creationist legislation in that state since 2010: Missouri Creationism Bill Goes Extinct. The creationists behind that failed bill were: COOPER (Sponsor), FUNDERBURK, EMERY, DAVIS, SANDER, SATER, STREAM, GRISAMORE, RIDDLE, SCHAD AND POLLOCK (Co-sponsors). A couple of those names will turn up again today.

The new bill NCSE tells about is HB 1227, sponsored by Rick Brattin. He owns and operates Brattin Drywall Company. He also served in the United States Marine Corps for six years. His educational accomplishment is that he’s a 1999 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School. They must be very proud of Rick.

Brattin’s bill is a few pages long. It adds two sections to an existing statute. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

This section shall be known as, and may be cited as, the “Missouri Standard Science Act“.

Then there are eleven definitions. The first two are “Biological evolution” (which is short) and then a huge one for “Biological intelligent design,” which is more of a lecture than a definition. The brief evolution definition concludes by saying:

Theory philosophically demands only naturalistic causes and denies the operation of any intelligence, supernatural event, God or theistic figure in the initial or subsequent development of life;

Well, it wouldn’t be a scientific theory otherwise. Here’s part of the intelligent design definition, which after an introductory paragraph has sub-paragraphs from (a) through (k):

(a) The origin of life on earth is inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism;

(b) All original species on earth are inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no significant mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic development of earth’s species from microscopic organisms;

Quite a theory! Its definition excludes evidence against it. Here are a few more definitions in the bill:

(7) “Hypothesis“, a scientific theory reflecting a minority of scientific opinion which may lack acceptance because it is a new idea, contains faulty logic, lacks supporting data, has significant amounts of conflicting data, or is philosophically unpopular. One person may develop and propose a hypothesis;

(8) “Origin“, the events and processes previous to written history that define the beginning, development, and record of the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, earth, earth geology, earth geography, fossils, species extinction, plant life, animal life, and the human race, and which may be founded upon faith-based philosophical beliefs;

(9) “Scientific theory”, an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy. The inferred explanation may be proven, mostly proven, partially proven, unproven or false and may be based on data which is supportive, inconsistent, conflicting, incomplete, or inaccurate. The inferred explanation may be described as a scientific theoretical model;

Then, after the concepts of science have been re-defined to suit the bill’s purposes, we come to the operative part of this bill. Here’s just a sampling:

3 (b) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth’s biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course;

3 (c) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a textbook, the textbook shall give equal treatment to biological evolution and biological intelligent design. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught;

[…]

(5) If a naturalistic process previous to written history is taught, the naturalistic process shall be duplicated by an analogous naturalistic process. Details of the analogous naturalistic process may be taught where considered instructive. Conjecture concerning a naturalistic process previous to written history as to the occurrence of the process, cause of the process, date of the process, length of time for the process to occur, process conditions, process mechanisms, process materials, or other speculative details shall be taught as theory or hypothesis …

That’s enough to give you the general idea. Besides the high-school educated drywall installer who is this bill’s sponsor (Note to the sensitive: There’s nothing wrong with his background, but he’s in way over his head), there are co-sponsors: McCAHERTY, DAVIS, KOENIG, ALLEN and POLLOCK — geniuses all. We note that Davis and Pollock had co-sponsored Missouri’s failed creationism bill in 2010.

The NCSE article gives some historical perspective on a couple of predecessors to this bill from 2004. It seems this stuff never goes away. From this source we learn that the Missouri legislature will be in session from 04 January to 30 May. We should have several months of entertainment blogging about this one.

See also: Missouri Madness: A 2nd Creationism Bill for 2012.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

19 responses to “Missouri Madness: New Creationism Bill for 2012

  1. Curmudheon: “(Note to the sensitive: There’s nothing wrong with his background, but he’s in way over his head),..”

    Even if he had 2 PhDs in sciences other than Biology, and had won a Nobel Prize, he’d be over his head. But even with his education he must be aware that it takes megadembksis of chutzpah to pretend he knows better than 99+% of biologists – who would have the most to gain if evolution were as “weak” as he fantasizes.

  2. Brattin’s bill says in part, “There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism;” To which I say, there is no plausible way that a drywall installer with a high school education can know more than PhD biologists and biochemists about what mechanisms are themselves “plausible.”

    Perhaps Mr. Brattin might consider furthering his education first before questioning the results of decades of research by smart, highly educated people.

  3. The flat-earther wants equal treatment for magic. Lots of luck finding a biology teacher who would agree to teach his fantasies.

  4. I don’t think Brattin expects anyone to believe the bill is really about science. He’s just trying to write something that will get past the courts. Hopefully the more educated members of the Missouri (“show-me” state!) legislature will dispose of the bill in the appropriate manner.

  5. Ceteris Paribus

    Ed said: “I don’t think Brattin expects anyone to believe the bill is really about science.”

    For a couple of decades the fundagelicals have been working hard to get True Believers like Brattin into their political positions. They have encouraged creationists to enter local races for everything from dogcatcher to school board and city councils.

    It isn’t an accident that creationist voters now have a bevy of state legislators, governors, senators, and even presidential candidates they can vote for.

    Just by sponsoring this bill that may not pass, Brattin is helping to make ignorance an acceptable world view, and brings closer the prospect of a theocracy run by theocrats who really don’t care all that much about the age of the earth, or evolution. What the theocrats do care about is controlling people.

  6. Must not be very much work for drywallers these days. Perhaps Brattin could fill his hours by taking some online biology, geology (esp. paleontology), and astronomy courses.

    He’ll need to know a lot about these subjects if his bill passes, because he will need to be the one to re-write Missouri’s science curricula to fit his very peculiar definitions of science.

  7. Srsly, these officials should be laughed out of the state house.

    This is the most childish legislation I’ve seen in, well, ever! Why not declare Wile E. Coyote State Physicist? Makes as much sense.

  8. It’s like they’ve never heard of Kitzmiller vs Dover and Judge Jones’ ruling.

  9. @Jack Hogan: “It’s like they’ve never heard of Kitzmiller vs Dover and Judge Jones’ ruling.”

    Maybe they think they can get by with it by not using the phrase “intelligent design”.

    I like Doc Bill’s idea. After all, Wile E. Coyote is a genius, you know.

  10. Cancel that. They DO say “intelligent design”. I should have read more closely the first time.

  11. Doc Bill asks, “Why not declare Wile E. Coyote State Physicist? ”

    There may be some real merit in this proposal, as it does indeed illustrate the ‘principles’ (or rather, lack thereof) that informs Brattin’s legislative gambit, e.g. equal time for crackpot DIY confabulations.

    I think we should all rally around a campaign on Mr. Coyote’s behalf and insist on equal time in schools for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartoon_physics .

    Maybe we can get Acme Corporation to bankroll the campaign?

  12. Addendum to previous note: Some quick Googling shows me that Cartoon Physics is at least as well-grounded as Creation Science, and deserves consideration by the august legislators of Missouri for inclusion in state school cirricula. I recommend the following summary of the 10 Basic Laws of Cartoon Physics: http://funnies.paco.to/cartoon.html

    There may also be an opportunity here, on the “If you can’t beat ‘em, make some money off ‘em” principle, for I have so far been unable to locate an academy wherein I might pursue a Ph.D in Cartoon Physics. May I humbly suggest the foundation of an internet-based, mail-order degree mill, to be called the ON-LINE UNIVERSITY OF CURMUDGEIA, which could, most profitably, supply such certificates? Armed with such qualifications, one could then apply to the DI for ‘Fellowship Grants’…

  13. Great Claw says: May I humbly suggest the foundation of an internet-based, mail-order degree mill, to be called the ON-LINE UNIVERSITY OF CURMUDGEIA …

    Cartoon Physics is out of the question! It would interfere with the intellectual purity we enjoy at Curmudgeon University, where we sell creationism diplomas. Creationism is The TRVTH.

  14. Thanks, Curmy, for alerting me to the wonderful Curmudgeon University – but I see no conflict at all here. Thanks to the liberating powers of the internet Casey Luskin recently praised, I have uncovered a vile international conspiracy to suppress the TRVTH of Cartoon Physics and promote thereby godless Bolshevism, anarchy, incest, cannibalism, genocide, and the heartbreak of psoriasis!!!

    Consider: not one ‘main-stream’ peer-reviewed scientific journal has ever published any research at all on Cartoon Physics, nor has any so-called institute of higher learning ever hired a single professor of this essential discipline. And why? Obviously, it is because only Cartoon Physics are consistent with the inerrant word of God in His Scripture.

    Mainstream godless physics were obviously created by a sinister conspiracy in order to deny such Biblical realities as Joshua halting the sun in its course, or the dispersal of the Noachic flood waters – recorded phenomena which are entirely consistent with Cartoon Physics. And further consider: when the Trumpet is blown and we, the Righteous, ascend to the heavens in the Rapture, we will wave goodbye to the eternally damned mainstream physicists, who will remain earthbound by their perverse denial of Cartoon Physics and their obstinate adherence to godless gravity.

    I’m phoning Ben Stein now, someone needs to expose this vile conspiracy! After all: no Newton, no Hitler…

  15. It’s like they’ve never heard of Kitzmiller vs Dover and Judge Jones’ ruling.

    Actually, it’s like they’ve never heard of McLean. “Must give equal time” laws have been unconstitutional since 1982.

    If a naturalistic process previous to written history is taught, the naturalistic process shall be duplicated by an analogous naturalistic process.

    Oh, spectacular idea. Now every single HS science class has to demonstrate every single physical law and theory, since we teach that all of them were operaiting before people started writing stuff down.

  16. eric says, in response to this in the bill — “tf a naturalistic process previous to written history is taught, he naturalistic process shall be duplicated by an analogous naturalistic process”:

    Oh, spectacular idea. Now every single HS science class has to demonstrate every single physical law and theory

    I was wondering how to “duplicate” the cause of Meteor Crater in Arizona, which I believe was formed prior to written history.

  17. The Curmudgeon ponders: “I was wondering how to “duplicate” the cause of Meteor Crater in Arizona, which I believe was formed prior to written history.”

    Try dropping Ken Ham’s Creation Museum from an altitude of 1 mile. I don’t know if that will create a crater of comparable size — but we won’t know until we try.

  18. I’ve seen creationists who somehow attribute the Meteor Crater to the flood… something about big rocks being shot into suborbital trajectories when the “fountains of the great deep” opened up.

    I’m embarassed by these duly elected representatives of my state. I bet he’s one of them who thinks we live in Mizzerruh. I hate that mispronunciation as much as nucUlar… shudder.

  19. Yeah, that one really bothers me too. Its not a new-cue-lus.