Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2013

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have a new post about Antievolution legislation in Missouri. They say:

House Bill 179, introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 16, 2013, and not yet referred to a committee, is the latest antievolution bill in the Missouri state legislature.

They give us this link to HOUSE BILL NO. 179. It provides for a new section to be added to existing law. Here’s the guts of it, with bold font added by us:

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.

That’s pretty much based on the anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act promoted by the Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. We’ve already critiqued their model bill here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws. In that same post we also recommended countermeasures.

You can follow the progress of the Missouri bill at this link: HB 179. At the moment, it’s not assigned to a committee and it’s not on a calendar. It’s just sitting there, doing nothing except earning rapture points for its sponsors.

The bill’s sponsor is Andrew Koenig. His biographical information reveals that he’s the owner of a paint company, and he’s licensed to sell health and life insurance.

He introduced pretty much the same bill last year, about which we wrote Missouri Madness: A 2nd Creationism Bill for 2012. He’s obviously learned nothing from the experience. This year’s bill also has an impressive collection of co-sponsors: BAHR, HIGDON, FUNDERBURK, CURTMAN, BRATTIN, WOOD, COOKSON, DAVIS, MCGAUGH and FITZPATRICK. Bahr, Funderburk, McGaugh, and Fitzpatrick are die-hard creationists who were also co-sponsors of Koenig’s previous bill. The thing never got out of committee last year. Let’s see if it does any better this time around.

The Missouri legislative session began on 09 January, and it’s scheduled to adjourn on 30 May.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Missouri Creationism: New Bill for 2013

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    A Missouri bill that talks about “chemical evolution”? Maybe a bit of gratuitous quote mining is in order here:

    “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, … the scientific strengths … of … chemical evolution whenever these subjects are taught within the course curriculum schedule.”

    Well, it is Missouri after all, so my surmise is that Representative Koening has some interest in using the public school systems to provide useful information to students whose entrepreneurial ambitions include turning cheap pseudoephedrine pills into marketable meth. Who knows, maybe he can show them how to do it using recycled paint cans.

  2. A question that begs to be asked of the Wedgies is “Isn’t k-12 course design normally based on a set of information that has already been qualified at post secondary institutions?”. Given that this is true, why the sudden need to depart from classic course design and start hashing over details in a k-12 classroom that should be resolved before or during course design? Is not the entire idea of course design an effort to present a coherent set of information using using a framework based on qualified teaching methodology?

    The invisible friend club has always had Sunday school as a venue for indoctrinating the next generation. Why the sudden need to drag topics that are only fit for Sunday School into regular classrooms?

  3. doodlebugger

    With regards to the Missouri Proposal
    “You don’t need a law to teach critical thinking,”
    “That’s what science is.”
    ” You need a law to teach creationism.”
    .Zack Kopplin June 2012

    from; The International Business Times

  4. Alex Shuffell

    Chemical evolution? Isn’t that just nuclear fusion or fission? I have only heard it once before and assumed someone was poorly taking the piss. Please tell me it means something else. I didn’t think my opinion of them could be any lower.

  5. I think that they use the expression “chemical evolution” to refer to the origins of living things from “chemicals”. A cousin to the complaint about there being “chemicals” in our food.

  6. Thank goodness none of these folks are my representatives. I’ve got enough disagreements with my state senator. I guess we will start to see the loss of biotech businesses from missouri in a few if this crap passes. Pretty sad bc that’s one part of the st. Louis economy that’s not doing too bad.

    Hopefully an enterprising teacher will use this to better explain to students why creationism is crap.