The last time there was any creationist legislative activity in Oklahoma was back in 2019, when we wrote Oklahoma Creationism Bill for 2019. There was almost no creationist nonsense in any of the U.S. state legislatures in 2020, and we weren’t expecting any for this year, but we were wrong.
Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) just posted this news item: New antiscience legislation in Oklahoma. It was written by Glenn Branch, their Deputy Director. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Isn’t that wonderful? Now we have creationist lunacy to write about. Glenn says:
Styled “the Academic Freedom Act” and “the Oklahoma Science Education Act,” respectively, the similar bills would ostensibly provide Oklahoma’s teachers with the right to help students “understand, analyze, critique[,] and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught,” while prohibiting state and local administrators from exercising supervisory responsibility.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Classic, drooling creationist idiocy! There’s even a Wikipedia article on it: Strengths and weaknesses of evolution. They say:
“Strengths and weaknesses of evolution” is a controversial phrase that has been proposed for (and in Texas introduced into) public school science curricula. Those proposing the phrase, such as the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), Don McLeroy, purport that there are weaknesses in the theory of evolution and in the evidence that life has evolved that should be taught for a balanced treatment of the subject of evolution. The scientific community rejects that any substantive weaknesses exist in the scientific theory, or in the data that it explains, and views the examples that have been given in support of the phrasing as being without merit and long refuted.
This has led scientists and journalists to conclude that the phrase is a creationist tactic to introduce religion into science courses. The phrase was introduced by the SBOE in the late 1980s. Since then it has been promoted in California and Missouri. In late 2008, it became a highly publicized issue as the Texas SBOE held public hearings on whether this language should be removed from the curriculum. According to the National Center for Science Education, the phrase, like ‘Teach the controversy’ and ‘Critical Analysis of Evolution’, is an attempt in a series of legal and political tactics adopted by intelligent design advocates to encourage educators to teach fallacious information — that a controversy exists among scientists over whether evolution has occurred.courses.
That sums it up rather well. NCSE tells us:
No particular theories are identified as controversial [It’s a mystery!], but a string of similar bills in the Oklahoma legislature — most recently Senate Bill 393 in 2017, which passed the Senate before failing to receive a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives — were clearly aimed specifically at evolution.
We wrote about that one, and when it died we posted Oklahoma’s 2017 Creationism Bill Is ‘Blocked’. Glenn describes one of Oklahoma’s new bills:
Senate Bill 613’s sole sponsor, David Bullard (R-District 6), introduced the similar Senate Bill 14 in 2019; it was rejected by the Senate Committee on Education.
Here’s the legislature’s bio page on that guy: Senator David Bullard. He’s a teacher, but we’re not told where. They say he has a degree Social Studies Education from Oklahoma State University; and then he got a Masters in Educational Administration from Lamar University in Texas. He’s obviously one of the intellectual giants in the Oklahoma legislature.
The other new bill, Senate Bill 662, was sponsored by Nathan Dahm. The legislature’s bio page for him says he’s a software developer who was home schooled. He has also been a missionary in Romania.
Oklahoma’s legislative session begins on 01 February and is scheduled to adjourn on 28 May. That’s plenty of time for drooling legislators to spew their lunacy far and wide. Are enough of them toad-brained creationists who are willing to plunge their state into Dark Ages ignorance? We’ll soon find out. Stay tuned to this blog!
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