Montana Creationism Bill Has a Dull Hearing

The last time we wrote about Montana’s creationism bill for 2013 was Montana Creationism: The Discoveroids Jump In. The original bill, pre-filed by newly-elected member of the Montana House of Representatives, Republican Clayton Fiscus, would have required public schools to teach intelligent design along with evolution. But it had suddenly morphed into a Discovery Institute style “academic freedom” bill.

You can see the revised bill here: HOUSE BILL NO. 183 (it also has a new number), and at this link you can monitor the bill’s progress: Bill Draft Number: LC0599. That page uses the original bill number along with the new one, and it shows that there was a hearing on the bill in the Education Committee on Friday, 25 January, after which there was no vote.

What happened? In the Great Falls Tribune of Great Falls, Montana we read Critics says [sic] bill allows creationism in schools. It’s an Associated Press story so we can’t use excerpts, but we can summarize it and we can give you some direct quotes.

Fiscus was apparently the only person at the hearing who supported his bill. He claimed that evolution isn’t “settled science,” and that it’s a “monumental leap” to believe in it. He also said:

“This is just a bill to instruct what we have presently in the science on the origins of life. We should teach what we do know. We should also teach what we don’t know.”

The news story also says that there were two dozen people at the hearing who opposed the bill. That’s surprising. We thought that with the Discoveroids helping to draft the bill, they’d at least provide a couple of witnesses to speak in favor of it. They can always dig up a creation scientist from a local bible college.

But the Discoveroids display no loyalty to people they’ve previously supported and encouraged if they think it would harm their public image. (The school board in Dover, Pennsylvania learned that painful lesson.) The Discoveroids know when to cut their losses, and it appears that after evaluating the situation they ran away and left poor old Clayton Fiscus to battle it out all by himself. “Whaddaya mean, we’re surrounded by savages? So long, Kemosabe!”

Here’s a quote from one of the opposition witnesses, Dr. Phil Jensen, an assistant professor of biology:

“There is no controversy within the scientific community with regard to evolution. None. Any controversy there is, is a social one fueled by people outside the scientific community.”

Because the legislative committee took no action, it’s possible that this bill isn’t going anywhere. But there’s still time. The Montana legislature isn’t scheduled to adjourn until 27 April.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Montana Creationism Bill Has a Dull Hearing

  1. That is a fgreat quote! Thanks.

  2. Fiscus: “We should teach what we do know. We should also teach what we don’t know.”

    Presumably then, your students will not know it as well as you don’t.

    But then, Sunday schools have been teaching what they don’t know for quite a while now.

    MaryL, I agree — that should be nominated for “Quote of the Year”.

  3. On second reading, MaryL, which quote were you referring to? Fiscus’s or Dr. Phil Jensen’s? They are both great quotes, but for opposite reasons.

  4. techreseller

    Discoveroids: We bravely run away and hide. – with apologies to Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  5. retiredsciguy, Fiscus’s quote. I wonder how many teachers know how to correctly teach what we don’t know. I think it’s more “about what we don’t know.” Unfortunately, I can hear far too many saying, “How can anybody teach what we don’t know?”