We have never seen anything like this before. It was only yesterday that we posted South Dakota’s 2017 Creationism Bill Progresses. because the bill had been approved by the Senate’s Education Committee.
Then we were alerted last night by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) that South Dakota’s antiscience bill passes the Senate.
How is that possible? Let’s find out what NCSE says, with our bold font:
South Dakota’s Senate Bill 55 passed the Senate on a 23-12 vote on January 25, 2017, “despite guidance from the State Department of Education, state school boards, school administrators, teachers and scientists,” according to the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader (January 25, 2017)
This is the newspaper article they’re talking about: S.D. Senate OKs alternative teachings on scientific theories, which says — with bold font added by us for emphasis:
The South Dakota Senate advanced a bill Wednesday that would give teachers the ability to discuss strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories, including evolution and climate change.
Members of that chamber on a 23-12 vote advanced the bill despite guidance from the State Department of Education, state school boards, school administrators, teachers and scientists, who all said the change was unnecessary and could lead to the instruction of unauthorized theories. They also warned that the rule change could cause serious legal problems for school districts.
M’god! That’s SENATE BILL NO. 55, about which we said:
The legislature is racing to authorize the teaching of nonsense in their state’s pubic schools. Another excerpt:
Sen. Jeff Monroe, R-Pierre, said he heard from teachers who didn’t feel comfortable speaking to the weaknesses of scientific theories like evolution and climate change. He said providing additional latitude for teachers to explain potential flaws in theories and allowing them to provide alternate scientific theories without fear of retribution would benefit students’ critical thinking skills.
That’s right out of the Discovery Institute’s playbook — see What Is “Critical Thinking”? Then the newspaper says:
Glenn Branch, deputy director for the National Center for Science Education, Inc., said the “unclear and flabby” language of the 36-word proposal could open up state science standards to alternate theories like Creationism, climate change denial and white supremacy. “They’ll be able to teach anything they please,” Branch said.
Indeed. Okay, back to NCSE for one last excerpt:
SB 55 now proceeds to the South Dakota House of Representatives, where Blaine Campbell (R-District 35), Julie Frye-Mueller (R-District 30), Tim Goodwin (R-District 30), Leslie J. Heinemann (R-District 8), and Taffy Howard (R-District 33) are its sponsors.
When will they vote on the bill? You can follow the progress of the bill here: Senate Bill 55. Going there now we learn that a vote in the House isn’t scheduled yet. That means nothing, because when we checked yesterday, a vote in the Senate hadn’t been scheduled — yet it happened.
This thing is moving fast! The South Dakota legislature convened on 10 January, so the current session is only two weeks old. There hasn’t been time for any serious opposition to get organized, and the bill is already only one step away from being passed by both legislative chambers. The creationists have obviously been preparing for this one, and now it’s almost a done deal.
If it passes in the House and gets signed by the Governor, this will be the action model for creationists to follow in other states. Those who prefer reason to idiocy can learn a lot from this. In the words attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
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