Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2011

We learn from our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) that the great state of Missouri is back in the creationism game.

This same time last year we posted Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2010. We said:

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

Cooper, Emery, and Sander were involved in a similar effort the year before. You see, dear reader, when a creationist blunders into a state legislature it’s because he’s on a mission, and he keeps promoting his anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism nonsense year after year. It’s all those people care about because it’s all they know — which tells you quite a bit about them.

Last year’s bill died a horrible death — it was never even assigned to a committee, as we reported here: Missouri Creationism Bill Goes Extinct. But although their bill went nowhere, the agents of ignorance were determined to keep trying.

Now it’s a new year and Missouri is starting a new session of the legislature — scheduled to run from 05 January to 30 May. It’s time for more creationist activity. At the NCSE website we read: Antievolution legislation in Missouri, which informs us that House Bill 195 was introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on 13 January 2011 and it hasn’t yet been referred to a committee.

Here’s a link to House Bill 195. The bill’s sponsor is KOENIG, and it has an impressive collection of creationist co-sponsors: FUNDERBURK, BAHR, DAVIS, REIBOLDT, LONG, SCHARNHORST, SCHOELLER, CONWAY, GATSCHENBERGER, POLLOCK, STREAM, SCHAD and SATER.

Of that list of worthies, the repeat names from last year are FUNDERBURK, DAVIS, STREAM, SCHAD, and SATER. Hard-core indeed!

The sponsor of this year’s bill is Andrew Koenig — a new name in the ignorance game. Here’s Koenig’s page at the legislature’s website. A click on the “biography” link informs us that:

In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Koenig is the owner of a paint company. In addition, he has been licensed to sell health and life insurance since 2006. … A 2001 graduate of Marquette High School, Rep. Koenig received a B.A. in Business Administration from Lindenwood University in 2005.

He sells paint and insurance. Those are fine qualifications for a creationist! Here are the operative sections of the bill. We’ll put the interesting parts in bold:

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 any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. Scientific information includes physical evidence and logical inferences based upon evidence.

Section 3 was inspired by the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). It’s nonsensical language. Everyone knows what’s going on, so there’s no reason to tell the courts how to construe the bill — especially when its purpose is the exact opposite of what it claims to be.

Here’s a handy link where you can track the progress of HB 195. Nothing has happened so far, but the legislative session is young.

As we always do in these situations, 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 © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2011

  1. Strengths and weaknesses again. I wonder what they’ll think of next.

    “…biological and chemical evolution…” Don’t think I’ve heard that separation before. And what is this:

    the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.

    I can’t wait until they have to show what the scientific weaknesses are–in court.
    I’m also surprised they didn’t include climate science in there. The fact that they only address evolution will ruin their nonreligious argument.

  2. and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion

    Uh-huh, I wonder how one can respond both appropriately and respectfully to pseudoscientific garbage that is being taught in contradiction to the Amendment that protects religious rights.

    An appropriate response could never be respectful of rank dishonesty. Of course, it’s what those trying to push dishonest well-poisoning into schools always desire, the respect accorded to honest science.

  3. Lynn Wilhelm says:

    “…biological and chemical evolution…” Don’t think I’ve heard that separation before.

    I recall seeing it in other state bills. These guys all copy from one another.

  4. Looks like they are trying to cover both evolution and abiogenisis.

  5. Slipshod morons! They omitted stem cell research, human cloning and global warming! Before you can say Lex Luthor the state will be crawling with manimals!

    Academic freedom will ring pretty hollow when the zombies take over Springfield!

  6. In my humble opinion, whenever they say, “develop critical thinking skills,” they mean the exact opposite.

  7. Well said, Ellie. Hopefully, this one won’t make it out of committee either.

  8. “But although their bill went nowhere, the agents of ignorance were determined to keep trying.”

    These idiot politicians will continue their Christian war against science education as long as idiot Americans keep voting for them.

    I have been trying to find a list of America’s creationist governors. Any suggestions?

  9. Human Ape says:

    I have been trying to find a list of America’s creationist governors. Any suggestions?

    I’m sure there are others, but all I know is here: Post-Election Wrap-up: Creationism’s Impact.

  10. Gabriel Hanna

    They omitted stem cell research, human cloning and global warming!

    Two of those things are not like the other. Global warming, like evolution, is science most creationists reject and they spread misinformation about them. They deny that those sciences are science at all.

    But they don’t deny that human cloning and embryonic stem cell research are science. They think that those applications of science are violations of human rights. I can’t see that attitude as “anti-science” any more than those who think we shouldn’t develop nuclear weapons are “anti-science”, though of course activists for any cause often will be found to spread misinformation and propaganda.

  11. Many thanks. I figured if anyone could answer my question it would be The Curmudgeon.