Oklahoma’s 2nd 2012 Creationism Bill — It’s Dead

Creationist bill, road kill

You remember when we posted Oklahoma Creationism Bill Passes in the House. That was Sally Kern’s bill, HB1551, revived from last year, which we described in detail last January. You recall that it passed the House of Representatives on a 56-12 vote on 15 March 2012.

Well, our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have this new story: Oklahoma antiscience bill dies. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Oklahoma’s House Bill 1551, one of two bills attacking the teaching of evolution and of climate change active in the Oklahoma legislature during 2012, is now in effect dead, according to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.

Great news! What happened? The NCSE article continues:

[The bill was] passed by the House of Representatives on a 56-12 vote on March 15, 2012, and sent to the Senate Education Committee, where it died. April 2, 2012, was the last meeting of the Senate Education Committee in the present legislative session, and April 5, 2012, is the deadline for single-assigned house bills (such as HB 1551) to be reported from their senate committees.

Awwww! But there’s always next year. In addition, we’ve heard from one of our clandestine operatives — code name “OO” — who informs us as follows:

The large vote for the bill [in the House] encouraged proponents for the bill and most, especially the creationist crowd, expected that the bill would then pass in the Senate. However, a major response against the bill, coordinated mostly by Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE), was launched. National organizations that promptly weighed in to help included American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Biological Sciences, National Center for Science Education, National Earth Science Teachers Association, and National Biology Teachers Association.

Egad — those groups are the ones the Discoveroids refer to as the Darwin lobby. How sinister! “OO” continues:

These groups not only sent a message to each member of the Senate Committee, but asked their members in Oklahoma to send individual messages. Similarly, state organizations that sent messages and asked members to respond included Oklahoma Academy of Science, Oklahoma State Teachers Association, OESE, OKC and Tulsa Interfaith Alliances, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and others including special interest groups on Yahoo, etc.

That’s a handy list for the theocrats to use when they take over and purge the state of all those godless scientists. We continue:

These messages, along with some direct lobbying efforts with committee members by individuals and organizations, were certainly responsible for the defeat. … Thus, in influencing legislation, NUMBERS DO COUNT.

Indeed. We congratulate the forces of reason in Oklahoma. Well done!

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

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12 responses to “Oklahoma’s 2nd 2012 Creationism Bill — It’s Dead

  1. So, that leaves us with Louisiana (one on the books) and Tennessee (probably about to have one on the books). Does anyone else have one cooking?

  2. Almost forgot, speaking of creationist legislation, I finally received a reply from IN Sen. Kruse concerning an e-mail I sent with respect to his “creation science” bill. Here it is in its entirety:

    Thank you for your email. SB-89 was amended and passed the Indiana State Senate. The Indiana House of Representatives decided to not hear the bill. The Creation Science bill did not proceed in the House, and therefore, will not become law in Indiana.

    Senator Dennis Kruse
    Email: s14@in.gov

    Roughly translated: “Yes, I tried. It didn’t work. Now bugger off!”

  3. Gary asks: “Does anyone else have one cooking?”

    Just glancing through my earlier posts, besides Tennessee there’s something still alive in Alabama, and two in Missouri. That’s all I know about.

  4. Okay, so Louisiana and Tennessee aside, we have the following with which to contend:
    - Alabama HB133
    - Missouri HB 1227
    - Missouri HB 1276
    with New Hampshire and Indiana being (hopefully) fully, completely and totally dead.

  5. David T. Grow

    a minion of OO –
    Congrats to OO’s effort. He oganized a tremendous force, stoping this dishonest sutrifuge. Science wins again in a state where it is relenlessly attecked. Such a win occurrs when a great leader incites us to act. What a great job. Let’s get some rest.
    mOO

  6. retiredsciguy

    Perhaps the best way to counter such bills in the future is for the respected national science organizations such as AAAS and NCSE to educate the various state legislators and governors about how such bills will set up their local school districts for costly legal battles that cannot be won. There may not be many legislators who understand the science, but most will understand the dollars, especially if they get the message from a respected source.

    As we have seen, the DI is not going to give up. Their very existence depends on their promoting creationism. They will keep trying new tacts, refining the wording of their model bills in their attempt to skirt the constitution.

  7. retiredsciguy

    Forgot to mention: Nice work, Gary, pressing Kruse in Indiana and keeping tabs on the various creationist bills.

  8. retitredsciguy: “Perhaps the best way to counter such bills in the future is …to educate the various state legislators and governors about how such bills will set up their local school districts for costly legal battles that cannot be won.”

    It’s sad that that’s probably our best shot, if not the only one, to keep the scam artists from misleading students in the long run. But given that these politicians and their constituents are mostly religious, it can’t hurt, and may help, to add that misleading students about evolution and the nature of science – which is what these bills will enable – is simply bearing false witness.

  9. @RSG: Thanks. Unfortunately, I don’t think it did a darn bit of good. The same goes for the letters I wrote to the other senators. Given the chance, they’ll try again. I’m a big believer that the best defense is a good offense, but I don’t know what that “offense” can be right now.

  10. Gary: I think that as of now in Oklahoma we have shown that the massive response against creationists’ bills has been effective. Over the past decade we have fought off the crap by 14-0. BUT, the long range answer must be in better science education at all levels. Letters to editors and Op-Eds in the media are also a short term help, but probably influence only a few. Also to a slight degree, personal lobbying with some legislators has had an effect; In some cases just turning one legislator in a committee can be huge (we have seen this at least twice in OK where a bill was thereby killed). All of these take a lot of time and effort by many activists,

    I am not impressed by some bloggers and thier respondents that offer up their solutions, even though they have never been involved at the grassroots level working directly with law makers and have no idea of pragmatic politics. For example, the strident ‘anti-accomodationism’ of some gnu atheists may be appealing in the long run, but where 85%+ of the population are citizens of ‘faith’ we can not win in the short term by refusing to accept help from mainstream religions that accept evolution and are willing to help defeat anti-science bills. For example, the Interfaith Alliances have been a huge help in Oklahoma, where ministers actually have helped directly address committee meetings in the Legislature.

    Should we refuse the help of these faith groups and get the bad bills passed – that could last for years before being thrown out by a court? I think not, since the damage could be major. For example, there have not yet been law suits to challenge the LA law, the Texas ‘Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act’ and others. Facial legal challenges to such laws are difficult to win and one must wait for a person with standing (e.g., a parent) to file suit after a school district actually puts one of these creation laws into effect (many in LA and TX have not done so). The parents in Dover were brave to challenge the school district; most parents would not wish to receive the ire involved.

    There is thus a valid reason that NCSE has a staff member that works with faith based groups. Those who criticize NCSE just do not understand the need to apply pragmatic politics in defense of good science. I suspect that the most vociferous anti-accomodationists have not had direct experience out of their ivory towers in actually facing the legislative process. That is not to say that they may be correct in what they want in the long-term – but in the meantime we must protect education from thiose who wish to diminish it.

    Off my soapbox! I do not wish to get involved in the anti-accomodationist battle that now rages among some blogging sites!

  11. vhutchison says: “I do not wish to get involved in the anti-accomodationist battle that now rages among some blogging sites!”

    I’ve always remained aloof from that issue. It’s silly and counter-productive.

  12. retiredsciguy

    FrankJ:

    “But given that these politicians and their constituents are mostly religious, it can’t hurt, and may help, to add that misleading students about evolution and the nature of science – which is what these bills will enable – is simply bearing false witness.”

    I agree, but I’m afraid they don’t see it that way. They are more likely to think that the science teacher teaching evolution is doing the misleading. After all, they are convinced that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, while the biology text is merely written by man. Bottom line is, is all a matter of opinion.

    However, it’s not a matter of opinion that these creationist bills will cost some school district dearly — it’s a matter of demonstrable fact. Just refer them to Dover.

    What’s amazing to me is how willing some legislators are to ignore the First Amendment while they go nuts if someone even hints about skirting the Second Amendment. They swore an oath to defend the entire constitution, not just the parts they like.