Kentucky Creationism: New Bill for 2010

WE haven’t written much about Kentucky, except for things like this: Creation Museum is Flourishing, where we said:

A legendary saloon on the border of Kentucky and Ohio has long been the locale for jokes about bizarre encounters between residents of those states and their mutually incomprehensible folkways; but that region is now the site of the biggest joke of all — and it’s real. We’re speaking of the Creation Museum. It’s located in Petersburg, Kentucky and accessible from the Cincinnati airport.

The museum is for creationists what Roswell is for UFO buffs, the Himalayas for seekers of the Abominable Snowman, Loch Ness for monster hunters, Woodstock for aging hippies, and Lenin’s tomb for true believers.

Now, dear reader, Kentucky has joined the roster of states in the front lines of The Controversy between evolution and creationism. As we just learned from our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE): Antievolution legislation in Kentucky. So we started to search.

House Bill 397 is sponsored by Representative Tim Moore (R) — that’s his page at the legislature’s website. He’s a graduate of the Air Force Academy, which is very impressive. He also has this website: About Tim Moore which informs us that he’s active in the Air National Guard and he’s a pilot for UPS (presumably United Parcel Service). His website also says:

Our family is actively involved at Northside Baptist Church, where I teach Sunday School, work with the children’s ministry, and serve as a Deacon.

We found his church’s website, where we looked around in search of something specific about creationism, such as a relationship with the Creation Museum. We didn’t find anything. From his legislative activity, however, we may safely assume that Deacon Moore is a full-blown creationist.

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

AN ACT relating to science education and intellectual freedom.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

SECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 158 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) Teachers, principals, and other school administrators are encouraged to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories being studied.

(2) After a teacher has taught the content related to scientific theories contained in textbooks and instructional materials included on the approved lists required under KRS 156.433 and 156.435, a teacher may use, as permitted by the local school board, other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, including but not limited to the study of evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

(3) This section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

(4) This section may be cited as the Kentucky Science Education and Intellectual Freedom Act.

You will note an eerie similarity to the creationism law recently passed in Louisiana, in that this Kentucky bill permits teachers to use “other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, including but not limited to the study of evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” If this bill becomes law, we anticipate a hot market in Kentucky for creationist tracts. Well, such a market is probably thriving already.

The article at the NCSE website also informs us:

Kentucky is apparently unique in having a statute (PDF; Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.177) that authorizes teachers to teach “the theory of creation as presented in the Bible” and to “read such passages in the Bible as are deemed necessary for instruction on the theory of creation.” But it is unclear whether teachers take advantage of the opportunity.

The Kentucky legislature has a feature called Bill Watch where you can register and then receive updates about a bill’s progress. We don’t intend to take advantage of that facility.

Our sources tell us that this session of the Kentucky legislature is scheduled to adjourn on March 26, so Moore’s bill shouldn’t take very long to play itself out.

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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9 responses to “Kentucky Creationism: New Bill for 2010

  1. Well… at least it’s not Texas… (not that that’s not much of a consolation, I’m sure, but it consoles me!)

  2. Proposed moronic KY bill advocates

    …open and objective discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories …

    Disadvantages??? Such as?

  3. Megalonyx: “Disadvantages??? Such as?”

    Plenty. Real scientific theories (like evolution) don’t let you:

    1. pick and choose only the evidence that seems to fit, and ignore that which does not.

    2. define terms to suit the argument, including switching definitions when necessary.

    3. quote mine in lieu of conducting original research.

    4. base your theory on fabricated “weaknesses” of other theories.

    5. play “don’t ask, don’t tell” with conclusions (e.g. age of life) that are not agreed upon by the entire audience you are trying to fool.

    There’s more, but you get the picture.

  4. I always get wierded out when they include human cloning in these lists. There’s a “scientific theory” of human cloning? Advantages and disadvantages to this theory?

    Its yet another sign that the creationists who write this dreck don’t understand how science works. They can’t tell the difference between an ethical question and a theory question. There’s no theory question about human cloning; we’re mammals, mechanically you clone us the same way you clone sheep and mice. Whether you should do so is a whole different ball game.

  5. Nice point eric. I thought it rather strange they threw in that bit about human cloning. Then again, didn’t God create the first human clone, using a rib from Adan to create Eve?

  6. eric says: “I always get wierded out when they include human cloning in these lists.”

    These are the same people who push “abstinence education.” I’ve always wondered what’s involved in that. Does the teacher stand in front of the class for an hour each day and shout: “Don’t do it!” Don’t do X. Don’t do Y. Don’t do Z. Whatever you do … just don’t. Don’t! We’ll have a multiple-choice test tomorrow.”

  7. These are the same people who push “abstinence education.”

    They can have an agenda that includes non-science public policies, no problem. What wierds me out is the obvious ignorance of the legislator about what he’s legislating. To a scientist this reads like “we are going to regulate fruit, including apples, oranges, bananas, and Fords.”

  8. eric writes

    To a scientist this reads like “we are going to regulate fruit, including apples, oranges, bananas, and Fords.”

    Not sure I follow — probably because the only Ford I have ever owned turned out to be an absolute lemon…

  9. Advantages and Disadvantages? Huh?
    Evolution: Advantage-adequately describes the evidence of genetics, the fossil record, and a host of other biological phenomena. Disadvantage- Uhmm… Can’t rely of Bronze Age myths to explain everything anymore?
    My hypothosis is that someone realized that “strengths and weaknesses” opened the door to classes really teaching evolution for the strengths for nearly an entire class (it would integrate well into most biology courses) and the weaknesses would take half a period. Then creationisms turn comes up and its strengths are listed in a minute and weaknesses take several days to list. It could really work out well…