South Dakota Creationism: New Bill for 2016

One of the states we can usually depend upon to have a creationist bill in their legislature is South Dakota. The first time we wrote about some crazy legislative activity in that state was back in 2010 when we posted South Dakota: America’s Dumbest State? They were trying to pass a resolution against teaching global warming. Their resolution said, among other things: “That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological [hee hee!], thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect [sic] world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative.”

Since then the lawmakers in that state have focused their considerable intellects on promoting creationism. Last year was typical — see South Dakota Creationism: New Bill for 2015. It was standard stuff, based on the anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act promoted by the Discovery Institute.

To no one’s surprise, South Dakota is at it again. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) recently posted Antiscience bill in South Dakota. They say:

Senate Bill 83, introduced in the South Dakota Senate and referred to the Senate Education Committee on January 25, 2016, would, if enacted, allow teachers to teach “the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information” presented in courses aligned with the state education standards.

The bill isn’t the effort of a solitary idiot. It was introduced by Senators Monroe, Holien, Jensen (Phil), Olson, and Van Gerpen, and Representatives Campbell, DiSanto, Heinemann (Leslie), Latterell, Qualm, Stalzer, and Zikmund. Except for Senator Phil Jensen and Representatives DiSanto and Leslie Heinemann, the same people were sponsors of last year’s creationist bill. That one died in the Senate Education Committee — but not before the Discoveroids testified for it. Casey posted a rant about it at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog, which you can read about here: South Dakota’s 2015 Creationism Bill — Dead.

This year’s bill is very brief. Here’s the full text, to which we’ve added a bit of bold font to emphasize its misleading language:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

Section 1. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.

Section 2. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

The provisions of this Act only protect the teaching of scientific information and may not be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine, nor may these provisions be construed to promote discrimination against any religion, religious belief, nonreligion, or nonbelief.

It’s a typical example of the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom bill. We’ve critiqued their model bill here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

Senator Jeff Monroe appears to be the principal sponsor of this year’s bill, as he was last year. That’s his page at the South Dakota Senate’s website, which says he’s a chiropractor. That’s a good occupation for a creationist.

You can follow the progress of the new bill here: Senate Bill 83. Nothing’s happened yet except that it was referred to the Senate Education Committee on 25 January. The South Dakota legislature convened on 12 January, and they’re scheduled to adjourn on 29 March. We’ll be watching.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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3 responses to “South Dakota Creationism: New Bill for 2016

  1. I sure hope the bill passes as it will be a relief to know climate change is no longer a problem!

  2. Now that Casey Luskin is no longer with the Discovery Institute, I wonder if he’ll bother flying out there? I’m guessing no, even the most sincere creationist wouldn’t want to mess around with a fool’s errand like that.

  3. “The provisions of this Act only protect the teaching of scientific information…”

    But why on earth would the teaching of scientific information need protecting? Could it be that someone might be planning to masquerade religion as science?