You are probably familiar with the Discovery Institute’s legislative model, their Academic Freedom Bill. It’s filled with creationist clunkers. Six years ago we wrote Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws. Versions of the Discoveroids’ bill have been introduced in state legislatures for years, and two have actually become law — in Louisiana and in Tennessee.
But lately we’ve seen a few states trying to pass something different. It’s definitely creationist, but it’s not based on the Discoveroids’ “Academic Freedom” model. The last time one of these new things popped up we wrote Strange Creationist Bill in South Dakota. It was suggested that the source of the creationist resolutions was the anti-Muslim David Horowitz Freedom Center.
But that’s not the whole story. Today at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog they posted Academic Freedom Resolutions — For Darwin Day, Another Valuable Option for Citizen Activists. It was written by Sarah Chaffee, “Savvy Sarah” to us. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Charles Darwin affirmed the need to consider scientific questions from a balanced perspective. As he famously wrote, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” It’s a sad irony that that his modern day followers have largely disregarded this advice, insisting that students learn only one side of the evidence about evolution.
With this in mind, Darwin’s birthday, aka Darwin Day, February 12, is celebrated around here as Academic Freedom Day. [No one cares what the Discoveroids call it.] As that special occasion approaches, ask yourself: Are teachers and students in your state encouraged to evaluate and analyze, in a balanced and objective way, the evidence about life’s origins and diversity? Too often, textbooks present a dogmatic, one-sided view [i.e., no creationism] . What can you do to promote critical thinking and scientific inquiry in evolution instruction?
In other words, what can you do to make everyone ignorant? She tells us:
You may already know about academic freedom bills — such as those passed in Louisiana in 2008 and Tennessee in 2012 [Oh yeah!] These laws provide freedom for teachers to discuss the scientific controversy over evolution, and other debates in science, in an objective manner while adhering to the state’s curriculum. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] But since 2017, states have been able to opt for an alternative, academic freedom resolutions, which are simply statements of legislative support. Both are valuable in advancing the cause of freedom to teach and learn.
Ooooooooooooh! An alternative! She continues:
Do you feel that new statutes could be a hard sell in the state legislature and with the governor? That’s where an academic freedom resolution proves its worth. These measures are not binding. However, they show support for critical thinking in evolution education. This moves a state in the right direction [Hee hee!], signaling to the state board of education, as well as to districts, administrators, and teachers, that the legislature has taken a stand on this issue.
In other words, a Discoveroid-style resolution encourages drool. And if a state passes such a resolution, the Discoveroids can report to their generous patrons that they’re making progress, so the funds should continue flowing.
Sarah’s post goes on a bit, but there’s no need to excerpt any more. The general idea is clear. If the Discoveroids can’t get one of their “teach the controversy” laws passed, they’ll take whatever they can get — even a non-binding resolution.
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