Arkansas Creationism Bill Dies in State Senate

Creationist bill, road kill

You have all been eagerly following the progress of an insane creationism bill in the Arkansas state legislature. Our last post about it was Arkansas Creationism Bill: A Giant Leap Forward. That was two weeks ago, when the bill was passed by an incredible vote of 77% of the state’s House of Representatives, and sent on to the state’s Senate.

The freakish thing was House Bill 1701, sponsored by Representative Mary Bentley.

We were expecting additional bad news, but we were delighted this morning to learn that our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) had just posted Creationism bill narrowly defeated in Arkansas, 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]:

Arkansas’s House Bill 1701 (PDF), sponsored by Mary Bentley (R-District 73), was narrowly defeated, on a 3-3 vote, in the Senate Education Committee on April 21, 2021. If enacted, the bill would have allowed teachers in the state’s public and open-enrollment charter schools to “teach creationism as a theory of how the earth came to exist.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The committee vote was 3-3. That means half of the Senate’s Education Committee members were in favor of teaching creationism. Arkansas is amazing!

NCSE’s article ends with this:

“Arkansas just dodged a bullet,” NCSE’s Executive Director Ann Reid commented. “The passage of House Bill 1701 would have not only put the scientific literacy of Arkansas’s students in jeopardy but also subjected the state to national derision … .

We respectfully disagree. Arkansas has not avoided national derision. The fact that Mary Bentley’s crazy bill got as far as it did will guarantee raucous laughter for years to come. And it will be well deserved.

Copyright © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

6 responses to “Arkansas Creationism Bill Dies in State Senate

  1. Charley Horse X

    Does anyone have any doubt about many Arkansas and other state public school teachers promoting creationism?
    I certainly don’t. I would easily give 10 to 1 odds on that…especially in the smaller school districts where the majority votes for Retalibans…once known as the Republicans.

  2. Somehow, I’m not laughing.

  3. Uncomfortably close.

  4. Dave Luckett

    As NCSE has been pointing out for ten years or more, creationism correlates with religion. It’s anthropogenic climate change denial that correlates more to political affliliation, at least in the US. Both are of course irrational, and both rely on denial of evidence and belittlement of the science.

    It seems that indeed Arkansas dodged a bullet. I’m not certain, even now, if the Senators knew it, or intended evasion. They might have voted against it for no more than the usual politician’s reason, namely, “There’s nothing in it for me”. But it’ll come up again, and the gloomy fact is that it is not reason that will stop it – if it is stopped.

    In the Legislature, that is. Once it reaches the courts, reason can be applied. But even there…

    I would have thought that the establishment clause of the First Amendment, and the case law deriving from it, was as secure as any stricture on government could be. But Mary Bentley is just as sure that the Supreme Court will change its mind, if the justices are chosen properly. For all I know, she’s right.

    Horrible thought, no?

  5. Robert van Bakel

    I comment rarely, but always read this blog. This has left me gob smacked. Thanks to the Curmudgeon I can smile. One question: If the bill passed how quickly and vigorously would it have been challenged? I suspect immediately and ruthlessly; or at least I hope so.

  6. Charley Horse X :
    “Does anyone have any doubt about many Arkansas and other state public school teachers promoting creationism?”

    As a retired Jr. High/Middle School science teacher, I can confirm that from my own experience in the rural/now suburban school district in SW Ohio where I taught for 27 years. Even though Creationism was never a part of the curriculum, I knew that there were at least two teachers that “taught” it anyway. The only way the administration would have stopped it would have been for a parent to bring suit. To my knowledge, none did.

    I’ll bet that another teacher and regular reader of this blog, Holding the Line in Florida, (now retired), has had similar experiences.