One week ago we posted North Carolina’s 2013 Bible Bill — It’s Dead, in which we delightedly announced that the last piece of creationist legislation that had been filed in several state legislatures this year had failed, including all of this year’s “academic freedom” bills.
Although we felt that we were over the hump, out of the woods, and in the clear for the remainder of this year, to avoid the wrath of the gods we tried not to be too gleeful, so as a cautionary note we mentioned that there were a few states that keep their legislatures in session all year round.
Our attempt to appease the gods didn’t work, and now they are teaching us a lesson in humility. One of those perpetually imperiled states we mentioned is Pennsylvania; their legislature never seems to adjourn. A lawmaker in that state has just shattered what we had assumed would be a care-free second half of the year.
In the Philadelphia Inquirer we read Pa. lawmaker’s education bill reignites creationism debate. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
A Republican state representative calls it a matter of academic freedom. Science-education advocates claim it’s nothing but a backdoor attempt to allow public schools to discuss Bible-based creationism.
Here we go again. The sad tale continues:
Rep. Stephen Bloom (R., Cumberland) circulated a memo to his colleagues Thursday seeking cosponsors for planned legislation to allow students in public elementary and secondary schools to question or critique “the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories.”
Who is this intellectual giant? Here’s his page at the legislature’s website: Stephen Bloom. The facial expression in his photograph looks like that of a man who just soiled his trousers. The minimal biographical information tells us that he’s a lawyer, and that his undergraduate degree was in something called “Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology.” We shall henceforth refer to him as the creationist rural sociologist. Let’s read some more from the Inquirer:
Bloom rebuffed any suggestion his measure was an attempt to introduce religious teachings in public-school science classes. And he said he did not believe his idea would butt up against the landmark 2005 decision on intelligent design by a federal judge in Pennsylvania. In that case, Kitzmiller v. Dover, Judge John E. Jones III wrote that the teaching of intelligent design was a “relabeling” of creationism, and therefore violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
M’god! This guy knows about the Kitzmiller case and he’s nevertheless promoting his bill? That’s what happens to those who study rural sociology. We continue:
Steve Miskin, a spokesman for the House Republican caucus, said he was not aware of Bloom’s memo and noted that it was not yet in bill form. “It is only a concept,” Miskin said, adding that members of his caucus had not discussed the matter and did not yet have a position.
The newspaper quotes Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, but there’s nothing posted yet at the NCSE website about this situation. No doubt that will soon change.
We’ve excerpted enough from the newspaper, and we’re told that Bloom’s bill hasn’t been drafted yet, so what else can we say? Ah … at the legislature’s website they’ve got a link to all of Bloom’s Co-sponsorship Memoranda. And here’s the creationism memo he sent around to his colleagues: August 1, 2013 — Academic Freedom. It’s a page long, but in the interest of keeping everyone informed, here’s the whole thing, and we added some bold font to emphasize a few choice segments:
At the end of that memo there’s a link to an attachment. And there we find a draft of the proposed bill. It doesn’t have a number yet, presumably because it hasn’t been filed. There’s no point in studying the thing because this may not be what gets introduced into the Pennsylvania House. But if you glance at it you’ll see that it’s a typical Discoveroid bill, about which see the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.
It should be fun watching how the Pennsylvania lawmakers react. Their private debates will probably go something like this:
We all love creationism and we want the state schools to teach it, but we know this is not only unconstitutional, it’s also going to make us look like those morons down in Louisiana. So what shall we do — kill this thing and thus be true to our oath of office, or promote it and show the world that we’re crazy?
See also: Creationist Wisdom #349: Debate Is Evidence.
See also: School Board Election in Carlisle, Penn.
Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.