Senate Passes Oklahoma’s 2017 Creationism Bill

Josh Brecheen

We’ve written before about the latest creationism bill in Oklahoma, most recently Oklahoma Creationism Bill for 2017 — Update, in which we learned that the thing passed by a 13-1 vote in the Senate Education Committee on February 27, 2017.

As you know, the bill is Senate Bill 393, sponsored by Josh Brecheen (that’s his official photo above this post) who promotes bills like this every year. This one is essentially the same bill he promoted last year and the year before, and the year before that. We posted its text in Oklahoma Creationism Bill for 2015.

The thing is loosely 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.

We’ve just been informed by Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education:

Senator Josh Brecheen’s SB 393. Vote: 34-10 passed despite a rather massive effort to convince the House Leadership not to place bill on floor. We now move to fight the bill on the House side.

We checked our link where one can follow the progress of Brecheen’s bill: Bill Information for SB 393. Sure enough, it says that it passed on 22 March by a vote of 34 to 10.

Interestingly, the Discovery Institute had a post yesterday urging passage of the bill: We Urge Oklahoma Residents to Weigh In and Support Senate Bill 393 , written by Sarah Chaffee (Savvy Sarah to us). It repeats the usual misinformation:

Contrary to misleading reports [Hee hee!], academic freedom bills such as SB 393 do not authorize teaching creationism (which is unconstitutional to teach in public schools). Nor do they sanction teaching intelligent design, as they apply only to theories already in the curriculum (and ID isn’t in a public school curriculum anywhere in the U.S.). And yes, scientific controversy exists over evolution — indeed at the very highest levels of science.


This legislation would protect teachers who want to engage their classes in scientific inquiry and critical thinking on theories in the curriculum. Examining the evidence for and against propositions is good pedagogy, and good science!

Will the bill pass the House? Will the Governor sign it? We’re talking about Oklahoma, so it’s impossible to predict. The legislature doesn’t adjourn until 26 May. Stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Senate Passes Oklahoma’s 2017 Creationism Bill

  1. Michael Fugate

    Shouldn’t Savvy Sarah be more worried about the replication problem in biomedical studies or the corporate influence on those studies as well as nutrition studies? Aren’t these a bigger danger to both science and humanity?

  2. Kentucky also just passed a law:
    Critics Say Kentucky’s New ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Targets LGBTQ Students
    It “also permits teachers to use biblical texts in their instruction…. The new law will allow students to “voluntarily express religious or political viewpoints in school assignments”
    Basically a religious freedom bill in regards to science it appears.

  3. DavidK says: “Kentucky also just passed a law”

    That’s the thing I wrote about six weeks ago — see Kentucky Creationism Bill for 2017. I’ll probably post about it tomorrow.

  4. Well. I did get to share with Josh my thoughts regarding his efforts to uphold the values of ignorance and fraud in public schools in Texas. Not unsurprisingly. Josh ignored that input as it apparently doesn’t jive with is second rate education or his low brow intellect. Nice tie Josh ! The people at WalMart appreciate your sartorial sensitivities.

  5. This seems confused: “Senator Josh Brecheen’s SB 393. Vote: 34-10 passed despite a rather massive effort to convince the House Leadership not to place bill on floor. We now move to fight the bill on the House side.”

    House Leadership? Meant Senate Leadership probably?

  6. D’oh, sorry SC.

  7. Savvy Sarah:
    “And yes, scientific controversy exists over evolution — indeed at the very highest levels of science.

    Pray tell, Sarah — what, exactly, are “the very highest levels of science”? And can you cite any references for your extraordinary claim?

    Didn’t think so. Madam, you are full of … well, you know what you’re full of.

  8. Christine Janis

    @ retiredsciguy. Top academic journals are publishing papers about controversy in evolutionary biology every day. They’re also publishing papers about controversy in the best ways to detect and treat cancer.

    Schoolchildren should be taught that there’s scientific controversy about whether or not cancer really affects humans.

  9. Sorry, but Josh Brecheen still looks like he was separated at birth from Eddie Haskell..

  10. @@Christine Janis: True. But it would seem that Sarah Chafee’s intent is to imply that there is great controversy within the scientific community about whether evolution itself is true, rather than ambiguity concerning various potential evolutionary pathways.

    I would bet that none of the journal articles would support Savvy Sarah’s intended implication.

    Chaffee, Klinghoffer, and all the rest — nothing more than spinmeisters from the same mold as Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, etc. The only difference is the degree of difficulty imposed by their boss.

  11. OK Its Oklahoma not Texas. My bad. That said, there ARE a lot of similarities between the two states when it comes to biblical “science”.