Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have a new post about an “Intelligent design” bill in Missouri.
We haven’t written about creationist legislation in that state since 2010: Missouri Creationism Bill Goes Extinct. The creationists behind that failed bill were: COOPER (Sponsor), FUNDERBURK, EMERY, DAVIS, SANDER, SATER, STREAM, GRISAMORE, RIDDLE, SCHAD AND POLLOCK (Co-sponsors). A couple of those names will turn up again today.
The new bill NCSE tells about is HB 1227, sponsored by Rick Brattin. He owns and operates Brattin Drywall Company. He also served in the United States Marine Corps for six years. His educational accomplishment is that he’s a 1999 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School. They must be very proud of Rick.
Brattin’s bill is a few pages long. It adds two sections to an existing statute. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
This section shall be known as, and may be cited as, the “Missouri Standard Science Act“.
Then there are eleven definitions. The first two are “Biological evolution” (which is short) and then a huge one for “Biological intelligent design,” which is more of a lecture than a definition. The brief evolution definition concludes by saying:
Theory philosophically demands only naturalistic causes and denies the operation of any intelligence, supernatural event, God or theistic figure in the initial or subsequent development of life;
Well, it wouldn’t be a scientific theory otherwise. Here’s part of the intelligent design definition, which after an introductory paragraph has sub-paragraphs from (a) through (k):
(a) The origin of life on earth is inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism;
(b) All original species on earth are inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no significant mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic development of earth’s species from microscopic organisms;
Quite a theory! Its definition excludes evidence against it. Here are a few more definitions in the bill:
(7) “Hypothesis“, a scientific theory reflecting a minority of scientific opinion which may lack acceptance because it is a new idea, contains faulty logic, lacks supporting data, has significant amounts of conflicting data, or is philosophically unpopular. One person may develop and propose a hypothesis;
(8) “Origin“, the events and processes previous to written history that define the beginning, development, and record of the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, earth, earth geology, earth geography, fossils, species extinction, plant life, animal life, and the human race, and which may be founded upon faith-based philosophical beliefs;
(9) “Scientific theory”, an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy. The inferred explanation may be proven, mostly proven, partially proven, unproven or false and may be based on data which is supportive, inconsistent, conflicting, incomplete, or inaccurate. The inferred explanation may be described as a scientific theoretical model;
Then, after the concepts of science have been re-defined to suit the bill’s purposes, we come to the operative part of this bill. Here’s just a sampling:
3 (b) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth’s biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course;
3 (c) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a textbook, the textbook shall give equal treatment to biological evolution and biological intelligent design. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught;
(5) If a naturalistic process previous to written history is taught, the naturalistic process shall be duplicated by an analogous naturalistic process. Details of the analogous naturalistic process may be taught where considered instructive. Conjecture concerning a naturalistic process previous to written history as to the occurrence of the process, cause of the process, date of the process, length of time for the process to occur, process conditions, process mechanisms, process materials, or other speculative details shall be taught as theory or hypothesis …
That’s enough to give you the general idea. Besides the high-school educated drywall installer who is this bill’s sponsor (Note to the sensitive: There’s nothing wrong with his background, but he’s in way over his head), there are co-sponsors: McCAHERTY, DAVIS, KOENIG, ALLEN and POLLOCK — geniuses all. We note that Davis and Pollock had co-sponsored Missouri’s failed creationism bill in 2010.
The NCSE article gives some historical perspective on a couple of predecessors to this bill from 2004. It seems this stuff never goes away. From this source we learn that the Missouri legislature will be in session from 04 January to 30 May. We should have several months of entertainment blogging about this one.
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