ANOTHER STATE is starting down the road to creationist madness. Eugenie Scott’s National Center for Science Education reports that South Carolina has anti-evolution legislation pending in its legislature. It appears to be inspired by the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the Discovery Institute.
This latest development is reported here: Antievolution legislation in South Carolina. Excerpts:
Senate Bill 1386, introduced in the South Carolina Senate on May 15, 2008, and referred to the Senate Committee on Education, is the newest so-called “academic freedom” bill aimed at undermining the teaching of evolution, joining similar bills currently under consideration in Louisiana, Michigan, and Missouri. Similar bills in Florida and Alabama died when the legislative session in those states ended.
The chief creationist behind this anti-science legislation is a familiar name to those who have followed creationist shenanigans for any length of time.
The lead sponsor of S. 1386, Senator Michael Fair (R-District 6), spearheaded a number of previous antievolution efforts in the legislature. In 2003, he tried to amend a bill dealing with instructional materials and textbooks to require a disclaimer about the origin of life as “not scientifically verifiable”; withdrawing the amendment, he then successfully amended the bill to establish a nineteen-member South Carolina Standards Committee to “(1) study science standards regarding the teaching of the origin of species; (2) determine whether there is a consensus on the definition of science; (3) determine whether alternatives to evolution as the origin of species should be offered in schools.” The Greenville News (May 1, 2003), reported that Fair “said his intention is to show that Intelligent Design is a viable scientific alternative that should be taught in the public schools.” The bill died, however, when the legislature adjourned.
The article describes several earlier attempts by Michael Fair to accomplish similar mischief. He appears to be a hard-core creationist.