Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2010

MISSOURI has become the second state in 2010, after Mississippi, to have a creationist bill introduced into its legislature. An article posted at the National Center for Science Education, Antievolution legislation in Missouri, informs us that House Bill 1651 was introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on 13 January.

The geniuses behind this bill are: COOPER (Sponsor), FUNDERBURK, EMERY, DAVIS, SANDER, SATER, STREAM, GRISAMORE, RIDDLE, SCHAD AND POLLOCK (Co-sponsors).

Do some of those names look familiar? They should. Hard-core creationists never change. Last year’s creationist bill in that state was also sponsored by Cooper, and was also co-sponsored by Emery and Sander.

This link is to the official page at the Missouri House for Robert Cooper, the bill’s sponsor. There’s a “biography” button. When you click on that you learn that Cooper is a physician, and he’s also president of something called Graceland Ministries, Inc.

Let’s look at Cooper’s latest bill, with bold font added by us:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

Section A. Chapter 170, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 170.335, to read as follows:

170.335. 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 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.

4. No later than the start of the 2010-2011 school year, the department of elementary and secondary education shall notify all public school superintendents of the provisions of this section. Each superintendent shall then disseminate to all employees within his or her school system a copy of this section.

It’s the same as last year’s bill, except that section 4 has been updated (it used to say 2009-2010). Section 3 has the same contradictory language that we pointed out last year. It says that it “shall not be construed to promote” either “natural cause or intelligent cause.” nor “undirected change or purposeful design,” nor “atheistic or theistic belief.” Are you reading that the same way we’re reading it? If this becomes law, they can’t teach anything in Missouri. Last year we said: “Only a genuine maniac could have drafted this bill.” This year we’ll amend that to say “drafted or co-sponsored”.

With this link you can track the progress of HB 1651 through the Missouri House. For the moment nothing is happening and no hearings are scheduled. Maybe things will stay that way. Last year’s bill died in committee.

In closing, as we’ve done with our posts 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.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2010

  1. Curmudgeon: “When you click on that you learn that Cooper is a physician, and he’s also president of something called Graceland Ministries, Inc.”

    Look for him to demand that students learn the “strengths and weaknesses” of the claim that Elvis is dead.

  2. FUNDERBURK, EMERY, DAVIS, SANDER, SATER, STREAM, GRISAMORE, RIDDLE, SCHAD AND POLLOCK (Co-sponsors).

    Are you sure someone didn’t lift this from a Terry Pratchett novel?

  3. Amadan says: “Are you sure someone didn’t lift this from a Terry Pratchett novel?”

    For some reason, that collection of names reminds me of Robert Bohmfalk, the guy running for Ken Mercer’s seat in Texas.

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    The bill may well mandate that nobody teach anything, but of course that is a victory for creationists. Churches don’t have equal time for evolution, and everyone knows the Genesis story–as they should, since Western culture doesn’t make sense without it.

  5. Gabriel Hanna says: “… everyone knows the Genesis story–as they should, since Western culture doesn’t make sense without it.”

    How true! No Genesis, no Western Civilization. Aristotle said it, or was it Plato?

  6. Gabriel Hanna

    Quite a lot has happened SINCE Aristotle and Plato; you’re not THAT much of a Curmudgeon.

    Neither of whom were much in favor of what you call “Enlightment values”.

  7. retiredsciguy

    The bill says:
    “3. This section only protects the teaching of scientific information … Scientific information includes physical evidence and logical inferences based upon evidence.”

    This would seem to negate the intent of the creationist legislators who are sponsoring this bill. After all, where is the “physical evidence” supporting creationism?

  8. retiredsciguy asks:

    After all, where is the “physical evidence” supporting creationism?

    It’s all around you. It’s everywhere! Just look. Look!
    /creationism mode