You know that Missouri already has one creationism bill pending in its state legislature for this session. We wrote about it in Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2013. That bill ( HB 179) was sponsored by Andrew Koenig.
In addition to that, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) reported a few days ago that there was a new “Intelligent design” bill in Missouri. They say, with our bold font:
House Bill 291, introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 23, 2013, would, if enacted, require “the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design,” according to the legislature’s summary of the bill. The equal treatment provision would apply to both public elementary and secondary schools and to “any introductory science course taught at any public institution of higher education” in Missouri.
Equal treatment — how nice! That sort of thing was declared unconstitutional back in 1987 in Edwards v. Aguillard. But in that case, arising from a law in Louisiana, the statute required that if evolution were taught in public schools, then creation science had to be taught along with evolution. If this thing becomes law in Missouri, the issue will be whether intelligent design is anything other than old-fashioned creationism dressed up in fancy new phrases.
This new bill is the work of Rick Brattin. He sponsored a a similar bill last year, about which we wrote Missouri Madness: New Creationism Bill for 2012. His biographical information says that he owns and operates Brattin Drywall Company, and he also served in the United States Marine Corps for six years. In addition to that, he’s a 1999 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School.
His latest legislative masterpiece is House Bill 291. You can track the bill’s progress at that link. Nothing’s happened yet, and no hearings are scheduled. Here’s where you can read the bill: Text of HB 291. We note that Andrew Koenig, who introduced Missouri’s other creationism bill for 2013, is a co-sponsor of this one. Another co-sponsor is Bahr, who has filled that roll for creationist bills in past years.
Brattin’s bill is long and goofy, like his bill from the year before which we described at the time. NCSE describes it rather well in their article to which we linked above. There’s not much we can add except to quote a few of its crazier provisions, like these definitions. We’ll put the main headings and a few interesting phrases in bold:
(2) “Biological evolution”, a theory of the origin of life and its ascent by naturalistic means. The first simple life was developed from basic elements and simple molecules through the mechanisms of random combinations, naturally occurring molecular structures, other naturalistic means, and millions of years. From the first simple life, all subsequent species developed through the mechanisms of random variation, mutation, natural selection, adaptation, segregation, other naturalistic means, and millions of years. The theory is illustrated by the evolutionary phylogenic tree. 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;
(3) “Biological intelligent design”, a hypothesis that the complex form and function observed in biological structures are the result of intelligence and, by inference, that the origin of biological life and the diversity of all original species on earth are the result of intelligence. Since the inception of each original species, genetic material has been lost, inherited, exchanged, mutated, and recombined to result in limited variation. Naturalistic mechanisms do not provide a means for making life from simple molecules or making sufficient new genetic material to cause ascent from microscopic organisms to large life forms. The hypothesis does not address the time or sequence of life’s appearance on earth, time or formation of the fossil record, and time or method of species extinction. The hypothesis does not require the identity of intelligence responsible for earth’s biology but requires any proposed identity of that intelligence to be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation. Concepts inherent within the hypothesis include:
(3)(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;
(3)(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;
(3)(c) Complex forms in proteins, enzymes, DNA, and other biological structures demonstrated by their constituent molecules in regard to size, shape, quantity, orientation, sequence, chirality, and integration imply intelligent design was necessary for the first life on earth. Intelligence is capable of designing complex form;
(3)(d) Complex functions demonstrated by growth, reproduction, repair, food metabolization, waste disposal, stimuli response, and autonomous mobility in microscopic organisms imply intelligent design was necessary for the first life on earth. Intelligence is capable of designing complex function;
(3)(e) Within the history of human experience, all exhibits of recurring discrete symbols from a set of symbols arranged in a specific sequence which store information and can be read by human intelligence, is itself the result of intelligence. DNA contains stored information for the assembling of proteins and enzymes which can be read by humans and is the result of intelligence. The recurring discrete symbols sequenced within DNA which store information are the molecules adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine;
(3)(f) Intelligence-directed design and construction of all original species at inception without an accompanying genetic burden is inferred rather than random mutational genetic change as a constructive mechanism. Random mutational genetic change results in an increasing genetic burden and species degradation rather than species ascent;
(3)(g) Intelligence-directed action is necessary to exceed the limits of natural species change, which is a combination of autogenous species change and environmental effected species change. Multi-generation breeding experiments illustrate the limits of natural species change and its inadequacy for developing required genetic information found in dissimilar species;
(3)(h) The irreducible complexity of certain biological systems implies a completed design and construction at inception rather than step-by-step development, as indicated by the structures observed for sight, hearing, smell, balance, blood coagulation, digestion, and hormone control;
(3) (i) The lack of significant transitional forms between diverse species existing today and in the fossil record implies all original species were completed at inception rather than by a step-by-step development from other species. A lack of transitional forms is illustrated by the appearance of large complex life forms in the Cambrian fossil record without any significant previous fossils;
(3)(j) Common designs and features evident in different species imply the intelligent reuse of proven designs analogous to the reuse of proven designs by human designers;
(3)(k) The lack of significant present-day observable changes in species due to random variation, mutation, natural selection, adaptation, segregation, or other naturalistic mechanisms implies intelligence as the cause for all original species;
(4) “Destiny”, the events and processes that define the future of the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, earth, plant life, animal life, and the human race and which may be founded upon faith-based philosophical beliefs;
It’s a lovely statute — where else can you find an official definition of “destiny”? — although someone less gracious than your Curmudgeon might conclude that it’s the work of a madman. The thing didn’t get anywhere last year — it never even got out of committee. Perhaps that will be its fate this year too. We’ll have to wait a bit to find out. The Missouri legislature isn’t scheduled to adjourn until 30 May.
Even if the bill fails, all is not lost for representative Rick Brattin. He’s building up a large number of rapture points. He can look forward to an eternity of sitting on a fluffy cloud having thrilling conversations with his fellow creationists about the wonders of Noah’s Ark, and he can laugh forever at all those evolutionists writhing in agony in the Lake of Fire. In that sense, this is already a very successful bill.
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