MISSOURI now joins the sad company of Alabama, Iowa, and New Mexico in actively considering an anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism bill modeled after the misleadingly-named Academic Freedom Act, promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids).
Elsewhere this year, Oklahoma’s legislature had the good sense to kill their state’s version of such a bill in committee, and Mississippi briefly considered a silly “warning sticker” bill for biology texts, but that too died in committee. Last year, only Louisiana enacted an “Academic Freedom” law, although Texas has its own problems caused by its creationist state Board of Education.
As reported in this article: Antievolution legislation in Missouri at the site of the National Center for Science Education, HOUSE BILL NO. 656 was introduced into the Missouri state House by Representatives COOPER (Sponsor), SUTHERLAND, EMERY, SANDER, NIEVES AND COX (Co-sponsors). Verily, a legion of geniuses. Cooper was active — but unsuccessful — in promoting such legislation in Missouri last year.
Curiously, and we’ll highlight the odd parts in red, the text of this bill says:
3. This section only protects the teaching of scientific information and this section shall not be construed to promote philosophical naturalism or biblical theology, promote natural cause or intelligent cause, promote undirected change or purposeful design, promote atheistic or theistic belief, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or ideas, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. Scientific information includes physical evidence and logical inferences based upon evidence.
That’s very strange, at least to us. The bill says that it “shall not be construed to promote” either “natural cause or intelligent cause.” Are you reading that the same way we’re reading it? Also we note another bizarre contradiction, because the bill can’t be construed to promote “undirected change or purposeful design.”
Only a genuine maniac could have drafted this bill. We predict that if it doesn’t die a natural death in some committee, it’ll get amended to … well, we can’t imagine what’s going to happen.
This link allows you to track the status of the bill in the Missouri House: HB 656 . There’s been no activity yet. The bill’s description there is: “Protects teacher academic freedom to teach scientific evidence regarding biological and chemical evolution.”
This link is to the official page at the Missouri House for the bill’s chief sponsor, Robert Cooper. It doesn’t tell you much, but his phone number and email address are given. Wait, there’s a “biography” button. Would you believe it — Cooper is a physician!
So that’s where we’ll leave this situation for the moment. However, as we’ve done with our reports about other states, we recommend that the rational members of the legislature should give serious consideration to The Curmudgeon’s Amendment. It’s designed to nullify legislation like this.
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