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!
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