Mississippi’s 2016 Creationism Bill — Dead

Creationist bill, road kill

This one is no surprise — except for the speed with which it happened. We learned the news from our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Their headline is Antiscience bill in Mississippi dies. They say:

Mississippi’s House Bill 50, whose principal sponsor acknowledged was intended to allow teachers in the public schools to present creationism, died in the House Education Committee on February 23, 2016, when a deadline for bills to be reported out of committee expired.

The thing was obviously based on the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom bill. We’ve critiqued their model bill here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws. But why did it die so fast?

The brief history of the bill can be seen here: House Bill 50. It was introduced and referred to the House Education Committee on 08 February. The next entry is dated 23 February and it says: “Died In Committee.” Fifteen days from start to finish. That’s gotta be the all-time record for bills like this. What happened?

Let’s look at the stunningly fast birth and demise of the bill. On 10 February we wrote Mississippi Creationism: New Bill for 2016. The next day it was obvious that the bill would be a catastrophic failure, when we wrote Mississippi Creationism Bill Doomed by Its Author. The creationist real estate salesman who had introduced the bill, Mark Formby, told the press he did it so that teachers could present creationism in science classes.

Formby didn’t see anything wrong with that. He’s an honest creationist, and he correctly saw that the Discoveroids’ model bill was the way to accomplish his goal. But no one from the Discovery Institute had coached him, so he didn’t know he was supposed to lie about the bill’s purpose.

Totally frustrated, the Discoveroids contacted the legislature and requested that the bill be withdrawn. That’s when we wrote Discovery Institute Scolds Mississippi Legislature. The Discoveroids know, but Formby didn’t, that their bills are like vampires — they can’t survive in the light of day.

How very disappointing this must be for the Discoveroids. All they have to show for their expensive, multi-year campaign to promote such legislation are two successes — in Louisiana and Tennessee. Everywhere else, their silly bills have all failed to pass. Even their successes are in doubt, because they have to fight a repeal effort each year in Louisiana, and when those laws are challenged in court — as they surely will be — they’re likely to be invalidated.

And so we leave Mississippi. It was fun while it lasted. Maybe they’ll try again next year. If the Discoveroids are still around, perhaps they’ll do the necessary work of training the legislators to lie about their bill’s purpose. It’s the only way they can succeed.

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

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8 responses to “Mississippi’s 2016 Creationism Bill — Dead

  1. If Savvy Sarah drools out a response to this, it should be fun! Meantime,the Mississippi legislature did a rare and sensible thing by letting this bill die.

  2. Mr Formby and Westie ! Well done lads.

  3. SC says:

    when those laws are challenged in court — as they surely will be

    I’m not so certain of this. I think Dover was a fluke in a way. It really takes someone with chutzpah to go through what Tammy Kitzmiller and the others went through. Frankly, it tore Dover apart. Might it happen? I hope so. But I’m not betting on it.

  4. Gary:
    “Might it happen? I hope so. But I’m not betting on it.”

    I think some school district would first have to approve a creationist or Intelligent Design curriculum so that someone with standing (a parent) would have something to challenge. If a teacher just decided on his own to start teaching intelligent design, the problem would most likely be resolved at the school or district level without having to go to court. The district’s legal counsel (if competent) would advise the district that they would lose.

    I think you’re right not to bet on it, Gary.

  5. This is all just too delicious–or at least it is to someone as small-minded as myself. Despite the Discoveroids’ endless whining about ‘persecution’ by the fell International Darwinist Cabal, and their ceaseless hallucinations about being ‘expelled’ by censorious ‘materialists’, their pathetic political agenda keeps getting tripped up by their own over-zealous advocates who don’t properly read the “Shhhh! Don’t say we’re Creationists!” memo. Or else tripped up by really sinister groups, like mainstream Methodists.🙂

    My continuing gratitude to our Curmudgeon for his diligent work in serving up this splendid smörgåsbord of schadenfreude!

  6. Megalonyx offers: “My continuing gratitude to our Curmudgeon for his diligent work in serving up this splendid smörgåsbord of schadenfreude!”
    To which I heartily agree!

  7. Megalonyx says “Or else tripped up by really sinister groups, like mainstream Methodists. :-)” Too funny !

  8. SC: “But no one from the Discovery Institute had coached him, so he didn’t know he was supposed to lie about the bill’s purpose.”

    I realize that those of us who have been paying attention to the antics of anti-evolution activists (in my case for ~20 years) are in a minority of much less than 1%. I’m still shocked at how few people (probably also <1%) heard of the Dover trial, let alone know some detail. So I guess it shouldn't be surpising that there are still some activist politicians who need the DI's coaching to know how to properly word those bills to maximize their chances of misleading students on the taxpayers' dime.