FOR SEVERAL months, your Curmudgeon has been reporting on the ludicrous antics of Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist whom Governor Perry has just re-appointed to another term as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education (BOE). After show-trial hearings to which they paid no attention, McLeroy and his creationist-dominated BOE seem poised to draft a science curriculum on 27 March that will, one way or another, assure the teaching of creationism in Texas science classes.
Now, however, a new development in the creationists’ war against reason has begun. As reported by the National Center for Science Education in this article: “Weaknesses” by the back door in Texas, creationists in the Texas legislature have opened a second front in this war by introducing H.B. 4224 in the Texas House of Representatives.
You can read the bill if you like, but there’s really no need to do so. It’s typical of so many other anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism bills 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).
It mentions “critical thinking,” which is creationist Newspeak for anti-science spin. It mentions “strengths and weaknesses,” which is Newspeak code for teaching century-old, frequently refuted objections to evolution.
It says that no student “shall be penalized in any way because he or she subscribes to a particular position on scientific theories,” so a child can, presumably, get an “A” in biology for knowing nothing but Noah’s Ark.
But that’s not all. Like other “academic freedom” bills, it also says that:
No governmental entity shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students to understand, analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.
In other words — after you understand the code — this bill promotes teaching full-blown creationism in Texas schools. No student can be penalized for remaining ignorant, and no teacher can be penalized for promoting ignorance.
The bill’s sponsor and supporters will deny their true intentions, of course. Such people always pretend that their only concern is for “good science” to be taught in their schools. But no one takes their statements seriously. Everyone knows they’re lying, but that’s okay because it’s for a “good cause” — keeping children ignorant.
We assume that the reason for introducing this legislation is because the creationists want a back-up plan in case the BOE somehow fails to mandate creationism. Well, we have a back-up plan too.
The remedy, as we’ve said in connection with other states facing such legislation, is for some rational legislator to introduce The Curmudgeon’s Amendment to this “academic freedom” bill. If the amendment is passed, it makes the bill worthless to the creationists; and if it’s rejected, the result is a legislative history of the bill’s religious purpose — thus assuring its failure in court.
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