House Bill 291, introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 23, 2013, would, if enacted, require “the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design,” according to the legislature’s summary of the bill. The equal treatment provision would apply to both public elementary and secondary schools and to “any introductory science course taught at any public institution of higher education” in Missouri.
HB 291′s text is about 3000 words long, beginning with a declaration that the bill is to be known as the Missouri Standard Science Act, followed by a defectively alphabetized glossary providing idiosyncratic definitions of “analogous naturalistic processes,” “biological evolution,” “biological intelligent design,” “destiny,” “empirical data,” “equal treatment,” “hypothesis,” “origin,” “scientific theory,” “scientific law,” and “standard science.”
For public elementary and secondary schools, HB 291 also provides, “If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a textbook, the textbook shall give equal treatment to biological evolution and biological intelligent design.” After the bill is enacted, new textbooks purchased for the public schools will have to conform to the equal treatment requirement. A committee will develop supplementary material on “intelligent design” for optional interim use.
Yet another attempt by creationists to shoehorn in their religion in the public school system. When will this stupidity end? Science doesn’t work this way. And the law is clear. “Intelligent design” is warmed over Creationism – a religious belief. You can’t give equal treatment of such a subject matter when the competing theories are based on evidence and rigorous scientific scrutiny for over a century and the other is a tale from a 2000 year old book.
More Bible stuff today — Schools can offer students a choice to take a class that explores the non-religious influences of the Bible. What is wrong with that?
Arkansas schools could soon have an easier way to teach a Bible course as part of its public curriculum.
Republican state Rep. Denny Altes has proposed a bill that would allow the state’s public school districts to adopt an elective curriculum for academic study of the Bible. The course would “consist of a nonsectarian, nonreligious academic study of the Bible and its influence on literature, art, music, culture and politics” and would “be taught in an objective and non devotional manner with no attempt made to indoctrinate students as to either the truth or falsity of the biblical materials or texts from other religions or cultural traditions.”
Well, according to The Texas Freedom Network’s report on Reading, Writing & Religion II (2013) [in public schools]:
Many Bible courses reflect the religious beliefs of the teachers and sectarian instructional materials they use in their classrooms. In every course in which religious bias is present, instruction reflects a Protestant — most often a conservative Protestant — perspective, including a literal interpretation of the Bible.
A number of courses and their instructional materials incorporate pseudo-scholarship, including claims that the Bible provides scientific proof of a 6,000-year-old Earth (young Earth creationism) and that the United States was founded as a Christian nation based on biblical Christian principles.
Are teachers capable of setting aside their faith and/or bias’ and lead these courses in an objective manner? Or are bills like these just another attempt to introduce creationism in public schools, this time through under the guise of literature and art studies?
[Editor: Andrew contributed to this piece.]