We reported about Missouri’s annual fling with creationist legislation back in January (see Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2011) and nothing newsworthy has happened since. The Missouri legislature was scheduled to be in session until 30 May, so their bill wasn’t of immediate concern.
But at the website of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), we learn that the Missouri antievolution bill dies. They say:
When the Missouri General Assembly adjourned on May 13, 2011, House Bill 195 died in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee without receiving a hearing.
We’ve learned to rely on the NCSE, but still we had to check. Sure enough, as revealed by this link for checking the progress of HB 195, the bill is nowhere; and the Missouri legislature’s website reports that their 2011 Legislative Session Comes to a Close. If only all legislatures had the wisdom to shut down early!
The Missouri bill was one small part of a moronic, multi-state campaign to enact legislation about teaching the “strengths and [alleged] weaknesses” of certain “controversial” scientific subjects in order to encourage “critical thinking” and to protect the incompetent teachers who promote creationism in science class. It somehow never occurs to those who vote for such bills that (except for funding) teachers don’t need legislation authorizing them to do a good job teaching science.
As we’ve come to expect, the Missouri bill contained a “cloaking device” designed to make its religious purpose invisible to the courts. A section like that is now routine in most such bills. It’s inspired by the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
The “cloaking device” clause is nonsensical, self-referential language that attempts to tell the courts how to construe the bill. It falsely refers to the bill’s purpose as being entirely secular — the exact opposite of its actual purpose. We find it difficult to believe that any judge would be favorably impressed — let alone persuaded — by that laughable language. Such legalistic gyrations wouldn’t even be amusing to a judge who takes his work seriously. Besides, if such bills really had a secular scientific purpose, the Discoveroids and their useful idiots in various legislatures wouldn’t be promoting them.
The ridiculous “Hey, Judge: Here’s how to construe this law” section of such bills is comparable to a suicide-bomber’s explosive-laden vest being sewn with a tag saying: “Attention Bomb Squad Coroner: The deceased wearer of this garment should not be construed to be a suicide bomber.” (Yeah, we’ve said that before, but we like it.)
Okay, so the bill is dead in Missouri. Where does that leave us? As we recently summarized in our Legislation Roundup of 24 April, there are still a few other states with creationism bills pending in their legislatures: Oklahoma (we’ve been saying “maybe,” but NCSE and our clandestine operative both say “no”), Tennessee (probably dormant for the session) and Texas. It looks like this will be a bad year for the forces of ignorance. And that’s good.
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