Antiscience legislation proposed around the states

The National Center for Science Education has a rundown of the anti-science efforts in state lawmaking bodies. As Robert Luhn of NCSE describe them, “Anti-science bills are popping up like daisies after a spring shower.”

Two antiscience bills in Oklahoma | NCSE.

Two antiscience bills, Senate Bill 758 and House Bill 1674, have been prefiled in the Oklahoma legislature.

First, Senate Bill 758, styled the Oklahoma Science Education Act, would, if enacted, require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.”

Second, House Bill 1674, styled the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act, would, if enacted, similarly require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.” Unlike SB 768, however, HB 1674 specifically mentions “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” as subjects which “some teachers may be unsure” about how to teach.

And in Colorado.

House Bill 13-1089 (PDF), introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives on January 16, 2013, and assigned to the House Committees on Education and Appropriations, would create “Academic Freedom Acts” for both K-12 public schools and institutes of higher education in the state of Colorado. If enacted, the bill would, in the words of the summary, “direct teachers to create an environment that encourages students to intelligently and respectfully explore scientific questions and learn about scientific evidence related to biological and chemical evolution, global warming, and human cloning.”

And in Missouri.

House Bill 179, introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 16, 2013, and not yet referred to a committee, is the latest antievolution bill in the Missouri state legislature. The bill would, if enacted, call on state and local education administrators to “endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution” and to “endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies.” “Toward this end,” the bill continues, “teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.”

If these are your states, or even if they aren’t, please follow NCSE for more about what you can do to help. These bills represent strategies of creationists and others who have ideological agendas to keep good science out of school and foster doubt.

UPDATE (4-Feb-2013): Colorado bill dies.

  5 comments for “Antiscience legislation proposed around the states

  1. J
    January 18, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Well, it’s nice of these nut-jobs to wave the red flags themselves.
    Though it would be interesting to test the idea, just to see how fast it would bomb,
    or remind people of the Scopes Trial back in th 1920′s to show just how the basis of these new bills is unfounded, if I recall it right.

    • January 18, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      Actually, Scopes lost his trial. He was guilty and teaching evolution went underground for decades. It was only when the whole Sputnik Science push happened that creationists had to bring themselves back up to political speed.

      • J
        January 18, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        I’ll have to re-read that trial again… looks like I mixed something up in the verdict.
        Thanks for the correction, though.

  2. January 19, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people,

  3. RDW
    January 21, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    The wording of these anti-science bills could be very confusing if you didn’t know what they were about before hand. They seem to be about open-mindedness, the way they are phrased. It’s like Orwellian Double-Speak. “Open your mind and let us fill it with Crap.”

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