In our last legislative update on creationist bills that are still pending in various state legislatures this year, we reminded you about:
Bill Zedler’s HB 285, to prevent — of all things! — discrimination against intelligent design research at the university level. It’s described here, and the thing has been sitting in the House Higher Education Committee since February. There are no hearings scheduled. The Texas legislature will adjourn on 27 May.
So that you don’t have to go hunting around, the next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:
House Bill 285, prefiled in the Texas House of Representatives on December 14, 2012, would, if enacted, add a provision to the state’s education code providing, “An institution of higher education may not discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member’s or student’s conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms.”
This isn’t one of those sneaky “academic freedom” jobs that claim to promote “critical thinking” by teaching the “strengths and [alleged] weaknesses” of evolution. No, this bill is a splendid example of straightforward, full-frontal idiocy. Zedler is one of the rarest of all creatures on this earth — an honest creationist politician. He’s also hopelessly ignorant and possibly insane, but at least he isn’t trying to fool anyone.
Now that you’ve got the background, here’s what’s happened recently. Zedler’s bill had been sitting in the House Committee on Higher Education since February. Nothing happened there until yesterday, when it was scheduled for a hearing. The legislature’s website was just updated to say: “No action taken in committee.” That’s all they tell us. There’s no indication of any testimony or voting. But “no action” is good news.
Press reports haven’t begun to trickle in (there’s more going on in Texas than this) but we’ll give you what we’ve been able to find so far. In yesterday’s Beaumont Enterprise of Beaumont, Texas we read It’s back! 2011 ‘intelligent’ design bill gets dusted off. All they really say is this:
State Representative Bill Zedler’s ‘new’ legislation got a hearing today from the Texas House Committee on Higher Education. It made more progress than his last attempt to force ‘Intelligent Design’ on the institutes of higher learning here in the state of Texas. The bill anguished [languished?], never heard. It’s the exact same bill he proposed in 2011. He just dusted it off and resubmitted it as House Bill 285. Pretty lazy.
That doesn’t tell us much. Also from yesterday, there’s this at the website of the Dallas Observer: University of Texas Scientists Plead with Lawmakers to Please Kill Intelligent Design Bill:
State Representative Bill Zedler’s legislative career can be summed up as a quixotic attempt to foist his puritanical worldview onto the state’s 26 million residents. Backdoor abortion bans, stripper licensing, Sharia law bans, making life unnecessarily difficult for gay college kids. Whatever your right-wing hobby horse, Zedler’s filed a bill on it.
That pretty much describes the guy. If you ever find yourself in an encounter with him or anyone like him, our advice is this: Terminate the encounter! Smile, mumble some excuse, turn around, and get out of there as fast as possible. But you already knew that.
Okay, what else does the Dallas Observer say? Let’s read on:
Today it’s HB 285, which is getting a hearing from the Texas House Committee on Higher Education.
Zedler told the Houston Chronicle the bill was inspired by Ben Stein’s documentary “Expelled,” which argues that intelligent design is a valid scientific theory that has been crushed by an academic establishment that has guzzled the Darwinian Kool-Aid.
Yowie! What legislation would Zedler introduce if he ever saw Invasion of the Body Snatchers? It wouldn’t be safe for a Texan to be anywhere near a cabbage.
Anyway, that may be all the news on this we’re likely to get for a while. Nothing is happening to move Zedler’s bill forward. That’s good. But Zedler is still a Texas legislator, and that’s bad. However, we should look on the bright side — without crazy people like Zedler, what would we write about?
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