Alabama’s 2012 Creationism Bill: It’s Dead

Creationist bill, road kill

Most of you remember that we were following a peculiar legislative proposal in Alabama, which we last described six weeks ago: Alabama’s 2012 Creationism Bill Creeps Ahead. The next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:

We’re speaking of HB133. If you click on that website, then you’ll have to click on “Bills” in the margin, and then “Status” and then enter “HB133″ to receive minimal information. Want more? If you then click on the HB133 button, you’re allowed to click on “View” at the top of the window. That gives you a little popup window that has the bill’s text. But we provided that in our first post on this thing [here: Alabama Creationism Bill for 2012], so save yourself the trouble

The bill, introduced into the House by Blaine Galliher, would give high school academic credit for religious instruction during school hours, as long as such classes were conducted off-campus by teachers who aren’t employed by the state, and the students’ transportation couldn’t be at state expense.

In other words, there is such an unnatural craving for creationism in the public schools that the legislature is seriously considering this bizarre scheme of authorizing not only official state approval for such “back alley” classes, but the state will also grant academic credit for whatever goes on in such creationist madrasahs.

When we last visited the issue, the House Education Policy Committee had approved the bill. Now, our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) report: Credit-for-creationism scheme dies in Alabama. We’re leaving out their links in the excerpts that follow, so if you want to go to their sources, please click over to NCSE to read their posted article. In brief, what they say is this, with bold font added by us:

When the last day of the regular legislative session of the Alabama legislature ended on May 16, 2012, a bill that would have established a credit-for-creationism scheme died.

That’s not as satisfying as being overwhelmingly voted down, but when it comes to creationism bills, any death is a good death. Let’s read on:

Its sponsor, Blaine Galliher (R-District 30), explained his purpose in introducing the bill to WAFF in Huntsville, Alabama (February 5, 2012): “They teach evolution in the textbooks, but they don’t teach a creation theory … Creation has just as much right to be taught in the school system as evolution does and I think this is simply providing the vehicle to do that.”

Smart man! As we said before, it would be like going to Sunday school on public school time and getting credit for it. NCSE adds this:

The Alabama Academy of Science issued a position statement in March 2012, saying that HB 133 “would undermine the science instruction that students receive on campus and which is presently guided by the Alabama Course of Study in Science” and that “the introduction of classroom subject content through the political process not only violates the academic freedom of the subject specialists to determine relevant and scientifically sound concepts, but also represents an inappropriate and potentially dangerous precedent for American public education.”

Did you get that? This creationism bill was criticized as violating “the academic freedom of the subject specialists” — a delightful rejoinder using a phrase misleadingly exploited by Discoveroids. Well done!

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

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14 responses to “Alabama’s 2012 Creationism Bill: It’s Dead

  1. Spector567

    What exactly would a creationism course teach?
    I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take a semester to read genisis.

  2. @Spector567
    That’s a very good question. It seems that legislatures don’t demand to see course syllabi before entertaining these bills, either for the wholly creationist class under discussion, or for exactly what “the controversy” would entail in a mixed science class (“mixed” as in science and crankery).

  3. docbill1351

    Here is the problem with teaching “intelligent design” creationism in a nutshell. Imagine teaching this in 8th grade, say, and when you ask an 8th grader what is “intelligent design” they’d answer, “I think it’s like a mousetrap or Mt. Rushmore or a piece of pottery.” Pottery, indeed! Crackpottery.

    But why stop here when we can expose ourselves to Total Creationist Nonsense. Here is Kent Hovind, currently serving an 8-year sentence in a federal prison for tax evasion, explaining Teh Flud as only a creationist can. Notice the complete absence of math or calculations. This is common with creationist presentations. They’re all about analogies and “common sense” and never about the numbers, that is, unless they (I’m talking about you Behe and Meyer!) just make numbers up. Thunderf00t does a nice takedown.

    Hovind explains Teh Flud!

  4. “They teach evolution in the textbooks, but they don’t teach a creation theory …”

    Aside from the unbelievable arrogance of introducing such a bill, there are two glaring deceptions in Galliher’s statement above, as well as a troubling connotation:

    “the textbooks” Doesn’t specify science texts. Makes it sound as if evolution is being forced upon kids in every schoolbook.
    “creation theory” Another attempt to equate significance of creationism with the theory of evolution.
    “They teach…” An “us” vs “them” strategy. Doesn’t specify who, namely teachers but, dare I say, implies atheists. At the very least, beginning such a sentence without defining the subject, especially when referring to people, is vulgar and disrespectful.

    Hats off to the Alabama Academy of Science for seizing on an opportunity to turn the tables by using the particular phrase appropriately.

  5. @docbill1351

    It isn’t confusing to kids to get the convoluted message that watches and human cells, say goblet cells, had the same intelligent designer; it even makes Common Sense that goblets and goblet cells did. (That last bit of silliness evokes memories of arguments I’ve had with Christians who have no concept of the intricacies of language translation, especially with regard to the Bible; just another area of stubborn intellectual deficiency. However, nowdays, all preachers know a bit of Hebrew – and sometimes a few words of Greek- to impress upon their congregations that they are Biblical scholars). It’s really something when school addles brains worse than drugs do.

    I watched the video – thanks for the link. Hovind’s authority for his “scientific” explanation was “I think…”.

  6. @docbill That thunderf00t video is the best thing I’ve seen all day. Thanks.

    Actually, though, I’m pretty sure the Creationists could fill a semester with their drivel. I remember watching a Carl Baugh program where he went on for ages about how the sky was pink before the flood (because of the firmament).

    The Creationist explanation for the flood I learned in school (Yes, you read that clause right) was that there was a big water canopy in the sky before the flood. Earthquakes under the sea caused huge jets of steam to shoot into the atmosphere, causing all the water in the firmament (the waters above the heavens in Genesis 1), plus those steam jets, to fall as rain.

    Filling a term of lessons is easy when you can just make stuff up.

  7. docbill1351

    Right, the Hydroplate Theory by creationist crackpot Walt Brown describes all this water that was hanging around. Unfortunately, their simple, childish descriptions don’t hold up to the simplest calculations. Creationists talk about rain as if it comes out of nowhere. Remember the “water cycle” from 5th grade science? Water evaporates from here and rains there. Can’t get more water than you already have and to flood the Earth creationists need to come up with 600 million cubic miles more water than currently exists on the planet. It certainly doesn’t come from “fountains of the deep” or a “cloud canopy.”

    Thunderf00t takes care of Brown in another video using simple math and physics to demolish the canopies and hydroplates.

    But, yes, creationists would actually present this stuff as science.

  8. I’m enjoying all this debunking. It’s fun. I watched that Thunderf00t video too and it was annihilating a slightly different version of the theory I heard. I understood that underwater earthquakes meant that magma came into contact with sea water, creating hot jets of steam that shot from the earth’s surface. Even I can have a good go at debunking that one (I’m guessing that even if the magma could get some of the water to boiling point, it would never break the surface).

    Presumably if the flood were taken to be a little more localised (to the Middle East) and we accept the earth was flatter then (as Creationists have claimed) you could just about cover that area in water. Not trying to defend the theory, just very much enjoying having ever aspect of my science miseducation corrected.

  9. docbill1351

    The creationists are screwed every way no matter what conditions they put on the Earth. Smaller, flatter – doesn’t matter. The geometry simply doesn’t work for them. They try to weasel out of Mt. Everest with no evidence (srsly, what evidence for the Himalayas could they possibly have?) and they have to attest to “mountains” of some kind, but when you do the simple math you run out of water.

    Then the fun begins! Where did the excess water go? Once you had a complete Water World how could it drain? The contortions get more desperate. Continents slide around at hundreds of miles an hour, the mantle uplifts and all this movement has no origin but even if it did the frictional heat would be enough to vaporize the entire planet! Yeah, and Noah survived all this in a boat with dinosaurs?

    That’s the thing about a story versus reality. Yogi Bear is a story. He talks, wears a hat and tie and steals pic-a-nic baskets. Real bears don’t talk, nor wear hats and ties and will shred you with their claws. Batman slides down a pole and changes from a smoking jacket into a Batman costume. You don’t have to explain why because it’s a story. But, realistically, taking your pants off while sliding down a pole is very difficult and don’t ask me how I know that, I just know it, OK?

  10. Doc Bill said:

    But, realistically, taking your pants off while sliding down a pole is very difficult and don’t ask me how I know that, I just know it, OK?

    M…u…s..t… g…e…t.. t….h….a…..t….. v…i…s….i….o….n….. o…..u….t… o…f…. m…y… H…E….A….D…!

  11. docbill1351 says: “But, realistically, taking your pants off while sliding down a pole is very difficult and don’t ask me how I know that, I just know it, OK?”

    A friend once hurt himself rather badly trying to take off his pants while jogging on a treadmill. I never did get a good answer as to what he was really up to. As I understand it, things were going rather well until a nearby phone rang and he tried to reach over and answer that in the middle of everything else. That’s when the nasty tumble occurred.

  12. aturingtest

    That Thunderfoot video is nice- I’ve watched the whole “Why People Laugh At Creationists” series, and learned a lot, although I will admit that a lot of it sails right over my head. There’s the thing, though- I’ll admit that ignorance, and not try to base an entire “scientific” “theory” around it. I try to avoid Dunning-Kruger, and Hovind embraces it with both arms and marries it.
    I do have one question. In the video, Hovind says the fragments from the ice meteor are primarily distributed around the poles because of the Earth’s magnetic fields. Surely there wasn’t, even in his fictional scenario, enough metal content in his meteor for the Earth’s magnetic field (as I understand it, weak in comparison to its gravitational field) to concentrate the fragments (so conveniently for his theory) otherwise than the more random distribution gravity alone would have accomplished?

  13. Tomato Addict

    aturningtest wrote: “.. Surely there wasn’t, even in his fictional scenario, enough metal content in his meteor for the Earth’s magnetic field (as I understand it, weak in comparison to its gravitational field) to concentrate the fragments …”

    I’m not a physicist, but I suspect a magnetic field strong enough to divert even a small fraction of that mass would make it difficult or impossible to keep a satellite in orbit. There are other errors here too – too many to list.

  14. Tomato Addict

    Curmie wrote: “… As I understand it, things were going rather well until a nearby phone rang and he tried to reach over and answer that in the middle of everything else.”

    Wait … I know this one, “… then he fell of the treadmill again because they called back.” ;-)