Weird Senator Praises Oklahoma Creationism Bill

We’ve been writing about some creationist legislation in the Oklahoma legislature — most recently Senate Passes Oklahoma’s 2017 Creationism Bill.

The bill is Senate Bill 393, sponsored by Josh Brecheen, which he has also sponsored in prior years. 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.

A quick look at this link where one can follow the bill’s progress, Bill Information for SB 393, tells us that having passed in the Senate, it’s now sitting in the House Education committee.

The news today is an article in The Oklahoman, of Oklahoma City, the state capital. This is their headline: Oklahoma lawmaker: Science bill promotes healthy skepticism in the classroom. The newspaper has a comments feature.

It was written by Senator Rob Standridge (that’s his page at the legislature’s website). It says he’s a pharmacist, with a BS in Pharmacy from the University of Oklahoma. We’re also told that he “taught himself how to write computer programs and created a software program called ‘Compound Assist’. Since his original program, he has written several software programs including a complete pharmacy management system which is used throughout the country.”

Here are some excerpts from the pharmacist’s article, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Senate Bill 393 is known as the “Oklahoma Science Education Act,” but I prefer to call it “The Scientist and Skeptic Protection Act.”

In case you haven’t already guessed it, Standridge is a flaming creationist. He says:

As a man of science on numerous levels, from medical science to engineering and computer science, I have always been a healthy skeptic.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The creationist pharmacist describes himself as “a man of science on numerous levels.” After that he tells us:

The goal of SB 393 is simply to allow Oklahoma’s science teachers to freely discuss criticisms and alternative ideas to scientific theories; be critical thinkers. A scientist is not much of a scientist without critical thinking. Yet some educators insist everyone must embrace a scientific theory simply because it is widely accepted within the scientific community.

He doesn’t specifically say so, but of course he’s talking about evolution. The creationist pharmacist continues:

Furthermore, any science teachers who disagree, or even consider introducing opposing theories, need to keep their mouths shut. That type of education policy is a disservice to every student in Oklahoma.

Yes, the teachers must be free to explain the wonders of Oogity Boogity! Let’s read on:

This education model [the existing law that bans creationism] would not have allowed Galileo to speak of Heliocentrism nor would it have allowed academics of his era to suggest the Earth was actually round.

Standridge considers a creationist to be modern-day Galileo. He goes on to invoke the name of Einstein. It’s too painful even to excerpt such nonsense. We’re getting to the end now:

Educators who give their students both sides of every scientific position deserve our praise and our support. Science teachers should compel their students to think critically while challenging them to think outside the accepted box.

Vomiting yet? If not, you will soon. This is the end of it:

It is those people in science, the students who think outside the realm of what is expected, who will become the next Einstein, Edison, Marconi or Tesla. They are the ones who will succeed and improve our world despite political correctness telling them they can’t.

The people of Oklahoma should be embarrassed to have someone like that in the legislature. Unfortunately, he’s not alone. Will the Discoveroid bill become law? Anything is possible in Oklahoma. Stay tuned to this blog!

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

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22 responses to “Weird Senator Praises Oklahoma Creationism Bill

  1. Ross Cameron

    Wonder if he can concoct a pill for delusion?

  2. Since he is already solidly in that state, no pill is necessary.

  3. Richard Bond

    Einstein, Edison, Marconi or Tesla

    Funny choice of great scientists to put alongside Einstein: three engineers. What about Heisenberg, Schrödinger and Dirac, for example? Methinks this guy does not know much about science.

  4. Where do they get this flat Earth stuff from? Magellan’s expedition had completed its circumnavigation of the globe some 120 years before Galileo’s trial.

    And I definitely do not want my medicines dispensed by a pharmacist who thinks outside the box.

  5. Ceteris Paribus

    Senator Standridge notes: “- Einstein, Edison, Marconi or Tesla. They are the ones who will succeed and improve our world despite political correctness telling them they can’t.”

    One wonders just who, or why, these famous scientists were in some way hindered by “political correctness”? I expect the good Senator has never heard of Hypatia of Alexandria, a noted mathematician in Egypt. She was a symbol of learning and science, until suffering a violent death by a Christian mob in 415 C.E.

  6. Tesla and Edison were at odds, for example about whether electricity should be transmitted by direct or alternating current. I don’t know how Marconi struggled with political opposition.
    Examples of 20th century scientists who suffered politically would include Linus Pauling, Andrei Sakharov, Nikolai Vavilov, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Alan Turing.

  7. “Yet some educators insist everyone must embrace a scientific theory simply because it is widely accepted within the scientific community.”
    The FET joke is getting old, but remains appropriate.

  8. SB 393 is not on the House Education Committee meeting for Monday, 10 April and thus has missed the deadline for bills to be considered by committees in the opposite chamber. The deadline falls before the next scheduled committee meeting and is apparently ‘dead.’ However, the Op/Ed by the ignorant Sen. Standridge may result in an attempt to amend another bill, as has happened in the past, likely near the end of the session. We will continue to fight attempts to pass this piece of crap. So far the opposition has been great with many state and national groups, as well as many individuals, sending messages to appropriate legislators and some personal lobbying by several at the State Capitol.

  9. Thanks for the update, Victor Hutchison. You’re doing a great job!

  10. Mark Germano

    I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, then, if alternatives to pharmacological science were taught, as well. Let’s teach homeopathy, too, and let the children decide.

  11. If there were a law mandating the teaching of homeopathy, would there be much complaint? Or that Queen Elizabeth I wrote “Hamlet”?
    If you want to get a reaction, propose that the rules of football or basketball be open for discussion – that the team with the smaller score be the winner.

  12. The pharmacist claims to be “… a man of science on numerous levels…”, and then states “A scientist is not much of a scientist without critical thinking.” Yep, his op-ed certainly is a masterpiece of critical thinking. I’d rather he not fill my prescription.

  13. Educators who give their students both sides of every scientific position deserve our praise and our support. Science teachers should compel their students to think critically while challenging them to think outside the accepted box.

    I wonder how Sen. Brecheen would feel if a science teacher presented “both sides” of astrology, or ancient-astronaut “theory” (whose proponents often point to the Bible for “evidence”) in the same way he demands they do for evolution vs. creationism.
    Well, actually, I don’t wonder. I’m pretty sure he’d hit the ceiling. And keep on going.

  14. At what age would it be appropriate to examine whether the Earth is flat? Wouldn’t it just be confusing to young kids, rather than teaching them some lessons on reasoning?

  15. Michael Fugate

    I am pretty sure that there aren’t just two sides to any issue. Only someone with no critical thinking skills would believe such.

  16. UPDATE: Oklahoma Senate Bill 393 now sent to House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee to be heard on last day (Thursday, 13 April) that bills from opposite house can be heard. Definitely a trick by House leadership to get the bill passed despite major opposition from numerous groups and individuals. The leadership did not like it that House Common Education Committee refused to hear the bill. Leadership wants this passed, pushed by extreme conservative members. We have only two days now to mount another major attempt to get messages to the new committee and have asked for permission to speak before the committee, but Chair does not have to allow. The new committee is dominated by Republican far-right conservatives motivated by religion. Only two Democrats on Committee. This has been typical of the Oklahoma House for the past few years. Although we have defeated such bills for the past 17 years, this year may be a loss, but we continue to fight.

  17. Victor Hutchison says: “Although we have defeated such bills for the past 17 years, this year may be a loss, but we continue to fight.”

    Any chance that the Governor might veto it? If so, maybe some attention should be paid to him.

  18. Michael Fugate

    to her you mean….
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Fallin
    Then again, she is a right-wing wacko….

  19. This episde shows how important it is, in every State where science denial is a threat, to lay down organisation in advance. I cite the example of my friends, the New Mexico “ducks”, so called because they “had their ducks all in a row” for crucial hearings, more formally the (NM) Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education. More info, and contact details, at http://www.cese.org/about/

  20. Paul,

    Agreed 100%, but note Oklahoma is organized against creationism. Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) has successfully defeated creationism legislation for nearly 20 years. http://oklascience.org

    Oklahoma has seen more creationist legislation proposed than any other state, around twenty bills. None of those bills have passed, thanks to OESE’s effort despite Oklahoma being possibly the reddest state in the nation: This year, for example, the Oklahoma Senate has 42 Republicans and 6 (!) Democrats. The Oklahoma House has 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats. In 2013, then National Center for Science Education executive director Eugenie C. Scott commented, “OESE has been a model of effective advocacy for supporting good science education.” https://ncse.com/news/2013/02/antiscience-bill-dies-oklahoma-0014724

  21. Excellent. My well-meaning comment was clearly unnecessary. Teachers in other states should take note