Sally Kern’s Oklahoma Creationism Bill — It’s Dead

We have a report from one of our clandestine operatives — code name “OO” — informing us that one of the two creationism bills pending in the Oklahoma legislature has been defeated in committee.

This bill is the one we reported about here: Oklahoma’s 2nd Creationism Bill for 2011, which had been introduced by Sally Kern. According to our operative, the bill “died in the Common Education Committee this morning in a 7- 9 vote when four Republicans joined the Democrats to send the bill down.”

Great news, especially learning that Republicans joined in. There may be hope for this country after all. We are also informed:

The defeat was due to a very large response of opposition largely led by Oklahomans for Excellence for Science Education, but with help from members of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, Oklahoma Science Teachers Association, Oklahoma Mainstream Baptists, Oklahoma Interfaith Alliance, Americans United for Separation of Church and State (national and local), other separation/progressive groups, and many individuals.

This is an excellent development. Now what remains is to defeat the bill pending in that state’s Senate: Josh Brecheen’s Oklahoma Creationism Bill.

There’s also a third weird bill pending in Oklahoma, about which we haven’t yet reported. We’ll get around to it. Meanwhile, let’s enjoy today’s victory for science and reason. Let all sane people take heart — the theocrats and creationists can be defeated!

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Sally Kern’s Oklahoma Creationism Bill — It’s Dead

  1. Dear SC – I very much appreciate your commentaries, and I said so over at Coyne’s WEIT. Then I got this mysterious reply – beyond me what he meant, so maybe you can help me out:
    I read that a while too, and it can be very entertaining. Unfortunately, that blogger cannot help but insert rabid rants against how the Democrats are all commies and want to destroy the USA into every third blog post. And he(?) does not tolerate critical comments, expecting all commentators to limit themselves to cheer-leading. Pity

  2. Douglas E, I don’t know if I can help you on this. I certainly have political opinions, but … well, I can’t evaluate myself. You’ll have to reach your own opinion.

  3. Attended the Comittee meeting today and have a couple of comments. And no I’m not OO. I’m just one of its operative’s.
    The common thread connecting all of these anti-science bills is ignorance of science. Rep. Kern, who is notorious for saying stupid things, brought along a couple sciencey guests to speak on behalf of the bill and say stupid things for her. The first guy went on and on about how the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics makes evolution imposible. Are you kidding me? The second guy talked about the value of critical thinking, skepticism and academic freedom. Great, let’s apply that to this bill.
    Interestingly, a republican began his rebutal during the debate by stating he was a creationist. He said this bill was a solution looking for a problem. He asked Kern if all she want to do is teach “scientific theories of science” (Kern’s words), why do we need this bill? He was concerned the bill would open the door to presentation of ideas and theories with religeous implications, with which many parents may not be comfortable. Its my impression these comments – from a creationist – had a positive influence on the bill’s defeat.
    A good thing happened for Oklahoma today because of alot of dedicated citizens who have an appreciaton for real science.

  4. Some Notes on the Committee Meeting:

    I was NOT at the meeting today, although I was mistakenly identified as a speaker against the bill! Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education did have folks there and I have received reports.

    I know about the two creationists who spoke in support of Kern’s bill. The person who talked about academic freedom, critical thinking, etc., is a geologist that was removed from his department and college and placed under supervision of another Dean for a variety of misbehaviors. He is an iconoclastic hardcore libertarian that loves to get his name in the press and is well-known on campus for being a little strange. The other who spoke about thermodynamics is a high school science teacher known for his kookiness. During the lecture by Richard Dawkins at OU during the Darwin Year events this kook screamed ‘You lie!” during the Q and A and went on screaming as he was escorted out by security. I guess this is the best Kern could muster to defend her bill.

    It was a great win in this reddest of states, but we have two other bills still to try and defeat.

  5. 8rox: “Interestingly, a republican began his rebutal during the debate by stating he was a creationist. He said this bill was a solution looking for a problem.”

    I’ll bet that he was not a “creationist” by any meaningful definition, i.e.”an activist hell-bent on misrepresenting science,” but a theistic evolutionist (TE) who is only vaguely familiar with the anti-evolution movement and its tactics. Such people often say that they are “a creationist and an evolutionist,” unaware that TE and ID/academic “freedom” are polar opposites in the debate.

    If I’m wrong, he might be an Omphalos creationist (taking YEC or OEC on faith but admitting that the evidence does not support it). Such people are not a problem, and can even be allies, if they are made aware how anti-evolution activists bear false witness.

  6. I dismiss Nathan’s perspective – he obviously doesn’t understand the meaning of curmudgeon 🙂 Another WEIT commenter agrees with me:
    “I haven’t found SC to rant either. I don’t always agree with his politics but do find his views thoughtful and usually non-emotional. Maybe he used to be that way, maybe he’s coming ’round?
    But in his posts on Discovery Institute dealing and other creationist crap, he’s spot on. “

  7. This is really wonderful news.

    Douglas E,

    I’ll add my 2¢ to say that SC is certainly vocal in his political opinions, but the claim that he “does not tolerate critical comments, expecting all commentators to limit themselves to cheer-leading” is baseless. The only commentators who get dismissed are those who keep regurgitating creationist canards.

    Frank J,

    True, and he could also be a YEC who understands the separation of church and state – if that’s the case, it’s a damned shame that he apparently believes that scientists are frauds or incompetents, but he at least seems to understand that religion has no place in a public school science classroom. Seems like, with the proper nudge, such folks would accept scientific evidence. We can hope….