Oklahoma Creationism Bill — It’s Back Again!

It was only yesterday that we reported Oklahoma’s 2nd 2012 Creationism Bill — It’s Dead. Our post was accurate, because that particular bill had been killed. But one should never underestimate the determination of creationists.

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have this new story: A renewed assault on science in Oklahoma. They say, with bold font added by us:

The attack on the teaching of evolution and of climate change in Oklahoma continues, despite the failure of House Bill 1551 and Senate Bill 1742.

How could the attack continue? Well, it seems that what had heretofore been a totally unrelated bill has suddenly been amended to become a creationism bill. One might think of it as a freakish mutation. NCSE explains:

As introduced, House Bill 2341 would, if enacted, have extended by two years a deadline by which local school districts are required to meet certain standards for media, equipment, and textbooks. The bill passed the House on a 81-8 vote on March 7, 2012, and proceeded to the Senate Education Committee, where it passed on March 26, 2012.

See? It had nothing to do with evolution — until now. NCSE continues:

But on March 28, 2012, Steve Russell (R-District 45) proposed to amend HB 2341 with the addition of a new section containing the language of HB 1551 [the creationism bill that just died].

Who is Steve Russell? Here’s his page at the Senate’s website: Senator Steve Russell – District 45. All we’re told about him is that he’s a retired Army officer. There’s no information about his education or his current occupation. We can confidently infer, however, that he’s a flaming creationist.

Here’s a link to the bill in question: HB 2341. If you click on “amendments” you’ll get a downloadable file of Russell’s brilliant addition. We won’t bother with it, because NCSE says it contains the language of the bill that was just defeated, and you can read that in our earlier post. It’s the basic nonsense that immunizes teachers who present the “strengths and [alleged] weaknesses” of allegedly controversial theories like evolution.

NCSE concludes with this:

The proposal will be considered when the bill comes to a floor vote in the Senate; it is currently on the Senate calendar, but not on the Senate agenda, for April 3, 2012.

We have also heard from “OO,” our clandestine operative. He informs us that the forces of rationality have “little time for any meaningful response.” That’s understandable. This sudden and totally unexpected maneuver suggests that the creationists are borrowing their tactics from terrorists. If the bill passes, the usual websites will praise Russell as “brilliant.” We can think of a few other adjectives.

Some states have a constitutional provision that requires bills to deal with only one subject. We don’t know the Oklahoma rules that apply to a sleazy amendment like this, but we’ll keep you advised. The current legislative session isn’t scheduled to end until 25 May.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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13 responses to “Oklahoma Creationism Bill — It’s Back Again!

  1. SC said:

    One might think of it as a freakish mutation.

    Might I suggest unintelligently designed?
    And that would now make the scorecard read as follows:
    – Louisiana LSEA
    – Tennessee SB0893
    – Alabama HB133
    – Missouri HB 1227
    – Missouri HB 1276
    – Oklahoma HB 2341
    Does “OO” have suggestions? If so, I’m all ears.

  2. If you are an Oklahoma resident – YES. We have tonight mounted as many messages as we can to the entire Senate asking that they remove the amendment to HB 2341. Non-residents might help some as well, but if you do – be respectful. We are asking OESE members,Oklahoma Academy of Science, Oklahoma Science Teachers Assoociation, etc. to ask their members to respond again, ASAP. The bill is not on the agenda for tomorrow, but could appear on the Senate floor anytime thereafter. I hope SC does not mind me posting this list!
    Here are the mailing addresses for all of the Oklahoma senators. Just cut and paste into the “to” box of your e-mail. Thanks to Barbara Santee; Note the Gmail uses a semicolon to separate addresses. Other mail programs use a comma. Brief messages are better; at thispoint thery may only tally the numbers, but that counts. A few may read, but just a statement to remove the amendment from HB 2341 with a couple of reasons is sufficient.

    adelson@oksenate.gov; aldridge@oksenate.gov; allen@oksenate.gov;
    anderson@oksenate.gov; ballenger@oksenate.gov; barrington@oksenate.gov;
    bass@oksenate.gov; bingman@oksenate.gov; branan@oksenate.gov;
    brecheen@oksenate.gov; brinkley@oksenate.gov; brownb@oksenate.gov;
    burrage@oksenate.gov; childers@oksenate.gov; coates@oksenate.gov;
    crain@oksenate.gov; david@oksenate.gov; easonmcintyre@oksenate.gov;
    ellis@oksenate.gov; efields@oksenate.gov; fordj@oksenate.gov;
    garrisone@oksenate.gov; halligan@oksenate.gov; holt@oksenate.gov;
    ivester@oksenate.gov; johnsonc@oksenate.gov; johnsonr@oksenate.gov;
    jolley@oksenate.gov; justice@oksenate.gov; laster@oksenate.gov;
    lerblance@oksenate.gov; marlatt@oksenate.gov; mazzei@oksenate.gov;
    newberry@oksenate.gov; nichols@oksenate.gov; paddack@oksenate.gov;

    Thanks to all who may be able to help. In haste , to get back to soliciting more messages.

  3. Suject line should be something like: ” Please oppose amendment to HB 2341″ or ‘Stop amendment HB 2341.’ The bill number and ‘oppose’ or ‘stop’ should be in the subject line.

  4. Sorry your comment was delayed, Victor. When there are so many links, the software automatically does that to block spam.

  5. I would expect to see this tactic used more in the future. NCSE may want to come up with some boilerplate of their own, i.e. a standard paragraph or two discussing the inappropriate and damaging nature of creationist amendments. Heck, NCSE could probably include quotes, since all these bills mostly repeat DI proposed language verbatim.

    This sort of tactic is in many ways more dangerous than a plain old creationist bill. If the bill its attached to serves a strong state need or is seen as an otherwise very good bill, state representatives may pass it despite knowing the problems associated with the amendment. They may pass it if they consider it a ‘net win’ for the state.

  6. I “love” this guy. He wanted Oklahoma to pass a law to opt out of federal hate crime laws because having punishments for killing a person for being gay was akin to supporting necrophilia according to this tool. I think I am paraphrasing him because frankly, whenever I hear him speak, I start slamming my head into the nearest hard surface.

    I can’t stand him as an enlisted military vet, he is one of those ex-officers who whores his service as much as possible, over inflating everything he ever did in an attempt to silence anyone that criticizes hi[m].

  7. They’re really trying hard to set that Dover Trap!

    Then the legislators will crow about upholding “family values” and decry the evil liberals who bankrupt a couple of school districts after the inevitable lawsuits.

    And the Oklahoma sheeple will feel baaaaaaaaad.

  8. Diablo: I agree about the author of the amendment (Sen. Russell)! As a retired Army officer (30 years active + reserve), I am ashamed of people that use their military service for such purposes. BTW, have you sent a message to the Senate? I hope so. We are trying to get AAAS, AIBS, etc., to help us again, but time is not on our side to get out as many messages of opposition as possible.

  9. @vhutchison: I’ve sent e-mails to everyone on the list (except Breechen, cuz whats the point?) My e-mails had the subject line of “Please oppose ‘academic freedom’ amendment to HB 2341”. (I’ve now written that subject line so many times, I’ll probably remember it years from now.) My e-mail stated:

    As a federal employee working in a high-technology job, I’m concerned by the so-called “academic freedom” amendment to HB 2341. This amendment is not about “academic freedom”. It is an attempt to sneak religion into the science classroom. The constitutional issues aside, my concern is that without citizens grounded in science, Oklahoma citizens will have a far more difficult time in the high-tech job market. Several of my fellow employees hail from Oklahoma and all of them also work in technologically-demanding jobs. That means that if Oklahomans do not have sound science education, I will have a more difficult time finding the skilled workforce these jobs demand. That would be a loss for future generations of not just Oklahoma citizens, but for the entire country.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Hope it helps!

  10. Gary: Perfect! It is citizens like you that keep me from being totally despondent about our future. I hope others will follow your example and send messages.

  11. The attack on the teaching of evolution and of climate change in Oklahoma continues, despite the failure of House Bill 1551 and Senate Bill 1742.

    The morons will never stop attacking biology and climatology.
    Reality is not their friend.

  12. Cedric: True, but we will not stop opposing the morons either! Even when we lose a battle, we will not stop working for the truth of science.

  13. You are right, of course. I just get very cynical sometimes when the same tired old zombie talking points get re-hashed again and again and again.

    No, the Theory of Evolution does not break the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
    No, Climate Change does not break the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    No, the Theory of Evolution is not about scientists all over the world involved in a vast hoax to protect their grants and fake the data.
    No, Climate Change is not about scientists all over the world involved in a vast hoax to protect their grants and fake the data.

    No, there is no controversy in science among biologists over the Theory of Evolution-that list you have is fake.
    No, there is no controversy in science among climatologists over Climate Change-that list you have is fake.

    Maybe now that the NCSE is openly attacking climate “skepticism” in exactly the same way it attacks Evolution “skepticism”, more people will start to wake up, get off the damn fence and realize that NASA and every single scientific community on the planet has not been lying to them for all these decades.

    NCSE tackles climate change denial