South Carolina — Creationism in Science Class?

THIS IS INTERESTING. Here we have Casey Luskin, clueless Discoveroid and full-time blogger for the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, crowing over a few deranged legislators who have introduced creationist legislation in their states. Evolution Academic Freedom Bill Submitted in South Carolina is Sixth this Year. Casey breathlessly tells us:

South Carolina Senator Mike Fair has submitted an Academic Freedom Bill into the South Carolina State Legislature. This is now the sixth academic freedom bill submitted this legislative session, as other bills have been submitted in Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Casey somehow fails to mention that Florida and Alabama have already ended their current legislative sessions without “progress” in Casey’s direction; and as we reported yesterday, South Carolina appears to be going that way (South Carolina Creationist Bill — Nine Days Left). So this isn’t exactly the triumphal Luddite march to glory that Casey’s misleading article would have us believe. Further, the loss of Florida had to hurt the Discoveroids, because teaching creationism — excuse me, I mean “Intelligent Design” — in a state that populous would have influenced textbook publishers.

Casey goes on to say that South Carolina’s Senator Mike Fair has made such endeavors in the past, but he hasn’t been as unsuccessful as some reports indicate, such as those by the National Center for Science Education. Casey says that due to Senator Fair’s prior efforts:

… the South Carolina Science Standards now state, students will learn to “Summarize ways that scientists use data from a variety of sources to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” What part of “critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory” does the NCSE thinks doesn’t mean “critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory”?

Casey has a point here. The South Carolina standards have already been degraded. Dr. Alan I. Leshner, CEO of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), wrote a letter warning of this. His letter was published more than two years ago in the Greenville News in South Carolina: The theory of evolution doesn’t conflict with the religious views of the vast majority of people. Excerpt:

On first blush, the alternative language seems reasonable enough: It proposes that students should “critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” But, don’t be fooled. These same words have become code for those who, like Sen. Mike Fair (R-Greenville), seem determined to insert one — and only one — type of religion into science classes. Nationwide, more than a dozen pending laws, including Sen. Fair’s South Carolina S 909, would undermine the teaching of evolution by emphasizing “flaws” in the theory, or by calling for more critical thinking, though only regarding evolution.

Such efforts are a disservice to students and to parents of many faiths whose own beliefs may or may not be consistent with “creationism” — the literal interpretation of Genesis — or its more recent incarnation, “intelligent design.” This is what proponents like Sen. Fair want to have taught.

So this time around, the question is whether Senator Mike Fair will succeed in making things even worse for science education in South Carolina than he has already done. We shall see.

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