Missouri Creationism: A Second Bill for 2014

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) reports that there’s A second antievolution bill in Missouri. What a state! What a legislature! They also had two creationism bills last year — neither of which passed. NCSE says:

Missouri’s House Bill 1587, introduced and given its first reading in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 23, 2014, is the fourth antiscience bill of the year and the second in the state. As is increasingly common with antiscience legislation, HB 1587 would, if enacted, in effect encourage science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased — proponents of creationism and climate change denial are the usual intended beneficiaries of such bills — and discourage responsible educational authorities from intervening. The bill specifically cites “the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution” as controversial.

That state’s first creationism bill for 2014, which we wrote about here, was sponsored by Rick Brattin, a high school graduate who operates Brattin Drywall Company, and Andy Koenig, who owns a paint company and who has a license to sell health and life insurance. They did the same thing in prior years.

Hey, guess what? Missouri’s Dynamic Duo are also sponsors of the newest bill, along with a few additional co-sponsors, so this is another re-run of the Rick & Andy Show. Here’s the guts of their latest bill, with some familiar buzz-words emphasized with bold font:

1. The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school governing authorities, superintendents of schools, school system administrators, and public elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution. Such educational authorities in this state shall also endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies. Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.

2. Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, superintendent of schools, or school system administrator, nor any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of biological or chemical evolution whenever these subjects are taught within the course curriculum schedule.

3. This section only protects the teaching of scientific information and this section shall not be construed to promote any theistic or nontheistic religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of theistic or nontheistic religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against theistic or nontheistic religion. Scientific information includes physical evidence and logical inferences based upon evidence.

We haven’t checked it word-for-word, but it looks identical to the bill introduced by the Dynamic Duo last year, which we discussed here: Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2013. It’s standard stuff; we’ve it in Missouri and other states a few dozen times before — see the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

You can track the bill’s progress here. It was introduced on 23 January, so nothing has happened yet. The Missouri legislature isn’t scheduled to adjourn until 30 May and as they say, no one’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.

Copyright © 2014. 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

3 responses to “Missouri Creationism: A Second Bill for 2014

  1. …the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.”

    These guys must play Mad Libs a lot.

  2. I have a proposed law, which should be submitted to all legislatures in the United States.

    1. All scientific theories should be treated equally, in so far as the quantity of evidence presented against them is concerned. Any public school or teacher which presents evidence against biological evolution or global warming must spend an equal amount of time presenting evidence against all other theories discussed, in particular, an equal amount of time must be spent presenting evidence against germ theory, evidence against atomic theory, evidence against the theory that the Earth is round, evidence against the theory that the Earth goes around the Sun, etc.

    2. If any public school or teacher asserts to students that a “scientific controversy” exists regarding evolution or global warming, that school district or teacher shall be required to present evidence against the existence of the alleged controversy among scientists. In particular, if any “scientific controversy” is referenced anywhere by a teacher or textbook, the degree of controversy among scientists must be quantified by numbers from an opinion poll showing the actual percentages of working, currently publishing scientists who support and oppose that scientific theory.

  3. Teach the Controversy! (all of them, even the really really dumb ones)

    http://controversy.wearscience.com/