The state of Iowa hasn’t had a creationism bill since 2009, when we wrote Iowa Creationism: Another “Freedom” Bill. It died in committee. The thing was based on the anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act promoted by the Discovery Institute. We’ve critiqued their model bill here: Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.
It appears that they’ve still got creationists in Iowa, so they’re at it again. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have just reported Antiscience bill in Iowa. Here are some excerpts:
Iowa’s House File 480, introduced and referred to the House Education Committee on March 1, 2017, would, if enacted, require teachers in Iowa’s public schools to include “opposing points of view or beliefs” to accompany any instruction relating to evolution, the origins of life, global warming, or human cloning.
This is the text of the bill, with the familiar Discoveroid code words and phrases highlighted in bold font:
Nothing new there; it’s a typical Discoveroid bill. NCSE says:
There is no requirement that those “points of view or beliefs” have any scientific credibility — only that they are opposed to whatever material is presented in the classroom. In 2015, Iowa adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, so presumably evolution and global warming are presented in the state’s classrooms.
That’s a reasonable assumption. After that they tell us:
Echoing the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008, the bill also provides that teachers may use supplementary instructional materials “to help understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner” with the approval of the board of directors of their school district.
One last excerpt:
The bill is sponsored by Skyler Wheeler (R-District 4), Larry Sheets (R-District 80), Ralph C. Watts (R-District 19), Rob Taylor (R-District 44), Sandy Salmon (R-District 63) — the sponsor of House File 140, which aims to undermine Iowa’s adoption of the NGSS — Tedd Gassman (R-District 7), and Terry C. Baxter (R-District 8).
The legislature’s website doesn’t give much biographical information, so the only one of those we Googled for was Skyler Wheeler, because he’s the lead sponsor. This seems to be his campaign website: State Representative Skyler Wheeler. The “About” page says that he has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science, and he’s working “off-and-on” for a masters degree in American Government from Regent University. That’s a bible college founded by Pat Robertson.
Regarding his occupation, all we’re told is this:
Skyler’s work ethic is unquestionable. He has worked since he was 15 years old, holding nine different jobs over eight years, including a month-long stint where he held three at the same time. As one of 10 children of his parents Marcus and Dana, Skyler had to work to earn everything he received growing up, and believes he is better off for it!
Skyler is exactly the kind of legislator we’d expect to be sponsoring a bill like this. Will it get anywhere? Who knows? The Iowa legislature is scheduled to adjourn on 28 April.
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