The Republican War on Science Continues

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New bills in Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri



Two antiscience bills in Oklahoma

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

First, Senate Bill 758 (document), 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.” Unusually but not uniquely, no scientific topics are specifically identified as controversial, but the fact that the sole sponsor of SB 758 is Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who introduced specifically antievolution legislation in the two previous legislative sessions, is telling.

In late 2010, Brecheen announced his intention to file antievolution legislation in a column in the Durant Daily Democrat (December 19, 2010): “Renowned scientists now asserting that evolution is laden with errors are being ignored. … Using your tax dollars to teach the unknown, without disclosing the entire scientific findings[,] is incomplete and unacceptable.” In a subsequent column in the newspaper (December 24, 2010), he indicated that his intention was to have creationism presented as scientifically credible, writing, “I have introduced legislation requiring every publically funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution using the known science, even that which conflicts with Darwin’s religion.”

. . .

Antiscience legislation 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.”HB 13-1089 is a typical instance of the “academic freedom” strategy for undermining the teaching of evolution. As NCSE’s Glenn Branch, Eugenie C. Scott, and Joshua Rosenau explained in 2010, such bills tacitly license and encourage teachers “to miseducate students about evolution, whether by teaching creationism as a scientifically credible alternative or merely by misrepresenting evolution as scientifically controversial.” The effect on the teaching of climate change is similar. Colorado’s new bill is unusual in targeting higher education as well as K-12 education, however.
. . .

Antievolution legislation 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.”

 
“It’s ironic that creationist strategies continue to evolve,” commented NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott. “At first, creationists tried to ban the teaching of evolution in the public schools altogether. When they were no longer able to do so, they tried to ‘balance’ it with the teaching of Biblical creationism, or scientific creationism, or intelligent design. After the Kitzmiller trial in 2005, in which teaching intelligent design was found by a federal court to be unconstitutional, there’s been a shift toward belittling evolution — as just a theory, or as in need of critical analysis, or as the subject of scientific controversy.” She explained that over forty bills adopting the tactic of encouraging teachers to misrepresent evolution as controversial have been introduced in the last decade, successfully in Louisiana in 2008 and in Tennessee in 2012. Scott added, “The sponsors of House Bill 179 will doubtless claim that there are good reasons for it. Missourians concerned with the integrity of science education are going to be skeptically replying: show me.” . . .

Written By: NCSE
continue to source article at ncse.com

29 COMMENTS

  1. What the GOP have not yet realised is that libertarian types who would normally vote for the Republicans will not vote for anti science mindless morons.
    Obama and the democrats won by a default mechanism.

  2. After the Kitzmiller trial in 2005, in which teaching intelligent design was found by a federal court to be unconstitutional, there’s been a shift toward belittling evolution — as just a theory,

    This reads like a Loony Tunes script …. here we have people in power who think a man in the sky runs things, wasting every ones time and money because they have no idea how A/ .. Evolution via natural selection operates and B/ .. what the scientific use of the word “theory” means. And whole communities in an advanced western democracy go along for the ride and champion their efforts because they believe in fairy tales and that this particular scientific theory is the work of satan …… America, for fucks sake get your act together and start properly educating your future adults of certain southern states. What a laughing stock.

  3. Is it not about time that we have (in any country) a hard and fast rule about how science should be allowed into text books. So that they have to for fill a set of criteria, such as peer review, of all collaborating evidence and be accepted by the majority of the science community (within particular fields).

    You might say this is how it works now, but if these bills have a chance of being passed (and I presume they have), these criteria are obviously not in place by law.

  4. What a phrase! “… to have creationism presented as scientifically credible…” Written as though it meant something quite reasonable! As has been shown by many expert scientists in books and articles and decided even in lawcourts more than once, creationism (along with its twin intelligent design) is not science and is not based in science. It is at best mythology. Since when did a science ever base a hypothesis or theory on the action of an entity for which not the slightest trace of evidence can be found? Science aims at explaining things, not making up aetiological stories about them as in mythology.

    Mythology is actually a fascinating study that reveals many things about human intelligence at work long before any form of strictly rational philosophy was worked out and pursued, first among the ancient Greeks, and the sciences in their turn were developed on carefully thought-out philosophical principles. The first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis have been clearly classified by scripture scholars and historians as mythological writings. Reading them as anything else is simply misreading them. It is for this reason that the mainstream denominations of Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, etc.) have little difficulty with a scientific theory like that of biological evolution or with scientific findings that indicate a much older earth than the Bible would suggest.

    I find it ironical that the less mainstream denominations of Christians (however numerous they be in the United States) should insist more than Christian tradition ever required in antiquity on literal interpretations of biblical passages and yet should have so little understanding of what it is that they are insisting on interpreting so literally. This weird state of affairs arises from their hatred of reason as the enemy of their cherished myths, for they do not see these as myths but as facts, truths about the real world. Augustine of Hippo and Paul of Tarsus would have thrown up their hands in horror at such a physicalized form of Christian belief. For them there were several ways of reading scripture, but for the latter-day fundamentalists there is only the literal reading of the biblical text. For Augustine and Paul one’s salvation did not depend on knowing the age of the earth or the origin of species but on faith in the redemptive power that they believed to have been made present in Jesus Christ. Have the latter-day fundamentalists lost sight of the point of the religion they so loudly claim to profess?

  5. It proves that the so-called GOP is still in the thrall to senators and governors who are so right wing and religious they would deny science in some sort of perverse belief in their invisible friend.

  6. So creationism isn’t full of holes? It’s a gaping hole if you ask me.

    In itself this would be a good law because it would teach kids to be critical, also of creationism. So maybe this law will bite him in the buttox. (nicely put)

  7. In reply to #6 by Garrick Worthing:

    What a phrase! “… to have creationism presented as scientifically credible…” Written as though it meant something quite reasonable!

    This is not really a surprise.

    These people are regularly presenting their political deceptions as honest credible policies, either by way of dishonesty, as lying self-serving political jobsworths, or because they are thick enough to act as mindless stooges for their wealthy sponsors.

    As has been shown by many expert scientists in books and articles and decided even in lawcourts more than once, creationism (along with its twin intelligent design) is not science and is not based in science. It is at best mythology. Since when did a science ever base a hypothesis or theory on the action of an entity for which not the slightest trace of evidence can be found? Science aims at explaining things, not making up aetiological stories about them as in mythology.

    In their sort of political deceptions, “facts”, are just things which get in the way of persuading other people to support their political objectives.
    The last thing con-men and rip-off artists want, is for their customers / voters to recognise facts about the products they are selling or the money they are grabbing!

    (The educated younger generation seem to be voting for other parties and looking for candidates with an intellect- Quick more indoctrination and fumble-brained thinking preaching allies – urgently needed to extend the RP voter base!)

  8. In reply to #8 by Klaasjansch:

    So creationism isn’t full of holes? It’s a gaping hole if you ask me.

    In itself this would be a good law because it would teach kids to be critical, also of creationism. So maybe this law will bite him in the buttox. (nicely put)

    Creationism has no holes, they are filled with faith.

  9. As these creationist republicans blog or tweet on their Iphones, they need to realise that the same scientific method which enables them to do such wonderful things also validates the theory of evolution. Why don’t they have a war on smartphones or life saving medicine or something? Just to be consistent. The fuckwits.

  10. These Bills come straight from the “pits of Hell!”

    I don’t usually insult people, but how can these morons push this stuff. I would have thought that being politicians they would have learnt a lesson or two from the election in November, but no, they just show themselves up as ignorant, pig headed morons.

    I seem to remember that Todd “legitimate rape” Akin is a politician in Missouri. Perhaps Jesus can save him, and the others from their ignorance?

  11. I have a letter from my MP David Gauke, dated July 24 2012, acknowledging an email I sent him regarding the teaching of non science subjects in science classes in free schools, in which he confirms that he has contacted the Department for Education and will contact me again once he receives a reply.

    Subsquently I received a letter from Jonathan Hill (Lord Hill of Oareford) Parliamentary Under Sectretary of State for Schools, which states that “There is no place for the teaching of Creationism as science in free schools.”…”Should there be evidence of a breach of this clause we would take swift action which would be likely to result in the termination of that funding agreement.”

    Contact details:

    Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3BT

    tel: 0370 0002288

    http://www.education.gov.uk/contactus

    I’ll continue to hold the Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire South West Mr David Gauke’s feet to the fire on this matter.

    He’s also received a shot across his bow about homeopathic “medicine” and bishops in the House of Lords.

    I hope I haven’t gone too far off subject mediators.

  12. I would have to agree somewhat with their conclusions on evolution. It is difficult to believe in evolution when one can still witness Neanderthals walking the earth and dominating the GOP political agenda; guns, oil and mindless lies. But, believe it or not, even they will evolve someday. Hopefully soon!

  13. In reply to #10 by TrickyDicky:

    In reply to #8 by Klaasjansch:

    So creationism isn’t full of holes? It’s a gaping hole if you ask me.

    In itself this would be a good law because it would teach kids to be critical, also of creationism. So maybe this law will bite him in the buttox. (nicely put)

    Creationism has no holes, they are filled with faith.

    True faith is not a belief in some blind, mindless made-up shit, it is a strong belief in truth, value and trustworthiness. The faith or, fate of the GOP and their madness is scientific extinction, their plight is hopeless.

  14. In reply to #1 by Brian The Coyote:

    How shall I say this delicately…. FUCK these guys. I pitty you, my American cousins. It must feel like playing whack a mole.

    It is like playing whack a mole, except moles are a lot more intelligent and more difficult to whack. LMAO

  15. The thing is, many of the students who will be subject to these fallacies will eventually see through them. The problem is the time that is wasted. Eventually, many clear thinking scientifically minded persons will overcome even this impediment. But, again, the wasted time will allow other states, and countries to have the upper hand when it comes to education and educational opportunities.

    This type of legislation is harmful. Why can’t law makers see that their attitudes and opinions HURT children? Even if you do not believe evolution is “right”, why enact laws that place your children behind the world??? It may, in retrospect, be too much to overcome.

  16. Science class is about learning the subject of science. Creationism is not science. End of story. They could just as easily be arguing for the inclusion of creationism in physics, history and just about every subject. Economics class can throw out the book and just teach kids that market fluctuation is the will of the creator. It is fucking retarded and anyone who lends and ear to creationism is an enabler of willful retardation.

    Politicians, judges, teachers and the irrelevant but influential movie stars who support or allow this, need to be openly mocked and verbally chastised as enemies of reason.

  17. In reply to #8 by Klaasjansch:

    So creationism isn’t full of holes? It’s a gaping hole if you ask me.

    In itself this would be a good law because it would teach kids to be critical, also of creationism. So maybe this law will bite him in the buttox. (nicely put)

    This is the main reason why such a law might actually come out as a good thing. But it would require courage and knowledge on the part of teachers to actually present creationism in all its nakedness.

    My mom teaches botany and zoology at a two year technical college in Upstate New York. She always begins her zoology class with the disclaimer that creationism/intelligent design are not science, a short explanation why, and that it won’t be covered in her class. She’s never had a problem, and in fact, the last time we talked about it, she told me of one instance in which a student started to say something about god creating things and then caught herself that creationism isn’t science.

  18. No wonder Ken Ham (ex Australian) and Ray Comfort (ex New Zealander) are now in USA. Business is booming there for this pair of creationist crackpots. They went there like bees to a honeypot after finding it difficult in their own countries to find even a handful of like-minded believers.

    USA, keep them, PLEASE!

  19. God and guns fuel the American midwest and south. They see communists in every bush. “Liberal” and “progressive” are dirty words with naked hated expressed toward such people. Time stopped in 1880 for them. Fundamentalists are appointed to positions in science and technology in the Congress. They see the school killings in Newtown CT as staged by Obama to justify ending the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment. This is what the American population is turning into. Hopefully, this virus will run its course in due time.

  20. Some years ago I was watching a TV program involving some erudite scientists including Steve Jones; when suddenly Ken Ham appeared ,voicing some of his faith based twaddle.
    Steve Jones turned slightly to his adjacent contributer and said in a very low voice “who invited this silly(or stupid )fucker to this discussion?”
    I had recorded the program and arrived at this conclusion by lip reading and replaying it and watching myself in the mirror whilst saying the same(or similar senrtence).

    In reply to #21 by ArloNo:

    No wonder Ken Ham (ex Australian) and Ray Comfort (ex New Zealander) are now in USA. Business is booming there for this pair of creationist crackpots. They went there like bees to a honeypot after finding it difficult in their own countries to find even a handful of like-minded believers.

    USA, keep them, PLEASE!

  21. In reply to #22 by caseyg5:

    God and guns fuel the American midwest and south.

    The thing with Missouri is, it’s a red state with big pockets of blue in Kansas City and St. Louis.

    Reminds me of a few years ago when a rural Missouri car dealership offered “free gas or a gun” with any purchase
    of an American made car.

  22. crooked shoes @18

    “This type of legislation is harmful. Why can’t law makers see that their attitudes and opinions HURT children? Even if you do not believe evolution is “right”, why enact laws that place your children behind the world???”

    Because they are too stupid even to know that they are stupid. All their energies are directed towards the furtherance of stupid primaeval intuitions and they treat children as property.

    hellosnackbar @ 23

    “Some years ago I was watching a TV program involving some erudite scientists including Steve Jones; when suddenly Ken Ham appeared ,voicing some of his faith based twaddle. Steve Jones turned slightly to his adjacent contributer and said in a very low voice “who invited this silly(or stupid )fucker to this discussion?”

    I am reminded of the BBC Newsnight interview when climatologist Professor Andrew Watson was confronted by Marc Morano (whose name one might suppose is misspelt) from the US denial lobby. There follows a moment to treasure…

  23. In reply to #16 by AlGarnier:

    In reply to #10 by TrickyDicky:

    In reply to #8 by Klaasjansch:

    So creationism isn’t full of holes? It’s a gaping hole if you ask me.

    In itself this would be a good law because it would teach kids to be critical, also of creationism. So maybe this law will bite him in the buttox. (nicely put)

    Creationism has no holes, they are filled with faith.

    True faith is not a belief in some blind, mindless made-up shit, it is a strong belief in truth, value and trustworthiness. The faith or, fate of the GOP and their madness is scientific extinction, their plight is hopeless.

    The problem is that one person’s truth, value, and trustworthiness is another person’s blind, mindless, made-up shit. That is why relying on faith, on your inner sense of rightness is inherently unreliable. You should read the book Talking to the Enemy by anthropologist Scott Atran. He sat down and talked with members and supporters of groups like Al Queda. He found that, quite contrary to what Professor Dawkins often asserts with no evidence they were not psychotic loners bent on self destruction but rather well educated individuals with a strong sense of community who believed what they were doing was the height of self sacrifice for things like truth and moral value.

    That is the problem with faith, there is no objective evaluation and you can justify anything with it.

  24. I note the wording is designed to look reasonable and hence be attractive to people beyond creationists. Indeed the commentator has to point out the author’s true beliefs in order to contextualise it and attempt to avoid us supporting it.

    But I wonder is there is not another argument against this approach. That is science is a step by step process. You need to grasp stuff that works and why it works before you can move on to question whether it ALWAYS works and other forces might also be at play.

    I guess the guy doesn’t have much of a problem with gravity. Yet should schools be quick to point out that Newton’s equations are only incomplete approximations and wrong in galactic terms ? Should we start our kids straight into Einstein space-time together with the issues string theory brings to the party?

    Of course not. Darwin’s theory is very good to have lasted this amount of time and testing as a good descriptor of life on this planet. It is exciting that we do indeed find holes and believe it may be incomplete. But you don’t get to a post Darwinist view of life without going through the essential first step of understanding what it is and why it is still the predominant force in our understanding of evolution.

    But this guy isn’t into the timing of when and how Darwin’s theory should be questioned. He is just into denial because of its inconvenience rather than its perceived weaknesses.

  25. Well, bills like these require a counter solution – stop sending kids to school! If you don’t like what the school teaches, stay away from it!!!…School is no guarantee of the future success of your kid, particularly, in the US.
    These type of schools are a waste of time. They will simply maim your kid.

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