Insist That People Coexisted With Dinosaurs… and get an A in Science Class!

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UPDATE: On February 19, HB1674 passed through the Oklahoma Common Education committee on a 9-8 vote.

In biology class, public school students can’t generally argue that dinosaurs and people ran around Earth at the same time, at least not without risking a big fat F. But that could soon change for kids in Oklahoma: On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.

Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. “I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks,” says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma“A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.”

Stated another way, students could make untestable, faith-based claims in science classes without fear of receiving a poor mark.

Written By: Dana Liebelson
continue to source article at motherjones.com

29 COMMENTS

  1. “A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.”

    Presumably they will be able to cite the evidence for that as well then! I thought not. Ye ha, next stop the dark ages!

  2. So fail them for poor research then. You know they’ll be using the same old debunked arguments. Or better yet! Get them for plagiarism/cheating! Since they’ll probably using all the same arguments, since there are so few. ^.^

  3. “I didn’t give you an F because you attempted to debunk; I gave you an F because you failed to debunk.”

    Thus, you either fail the class or win the Nobel. No other options exist.

  4. A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.

    (1) And s/he has the freedom to get an F, and (2) you can in any case only “point out” something that’s actually true. I can’t “point out” that evolution didn’t happen, because it absolutely did.

  5. @OP – But that could soon change for kids in Oklahoma: On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.

    The Earth looks quite flat in Oakie-dopey land, so “Flat Earth” geography and astronomy qualifications could soon be in the offing!

    Here you are children: The new Oakie Certificate of Scientific Illiteracy! -

    “This is to certify that those students completing this course, have been passed as being as stupid and ignorant as the scientifically illiterate members of the Oklahoma Common Education Committee”.

    It would appear that a committee membership requirement, is to be in dire need of education. The scientifically illiterate would probably be unable to distinguish this “need” from recognition of scientific expertise, – due to their lack of reading skills and Dunning-Kruger confidence.

    Insist That People Coexisted With Dinosaurs… and get an A in Science Class!

    BTW. Poor Title! – I co-existed with both of my avian dinosaurs when I was younger. They used to regularly come out of their cage and fly around the room to exercise their wings – when the cat was outside!

  6. Well, they have their constitutional right to behave like ignorant idiots.

    Reality has always been much scarier than fantasy. Fantasy can be sculpted to your needs but will never eat you. Nature is different. In reality people really die, pain is really painful. So these people choose to live in a fantasy world because they don’t like the real world.

  7. I argued with a fellow classmate when we were both 10 about the co-existence of man and dinosaurs the other kid had seen films like ‘land before time’ ‘ the land that time forgot’ and liked watching the Flintstones and some how had got Dino and man sharing the earth at the same time into his head i was able to kill the argument on the spot by pointing out that human fossils have never been found alongside the dinosaur fossils, he was just a kid with little interest in science but at least he understood why he was wrong, why cant the creationists change their mind when the evidence is so strong.

  8. “A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.”

    And teachers, lecturers and professors have the freedom AND THE RESPONSIBILITY to point out that papers will be marked based on the quality of their contents, and that any science paper making claims not supported by EVIDENCE will receive low marks.

    Students have always (broadly) had the freedom to choose how highly they are marked, they can choose to submit high quality work and receive high marks, or they can submit low quality work and receive low marks.

    If they are allowed to submit low quality work and receive high marks, it devalues the credibility of the qualification they eventually receive, and destroys the achievement of someone who has already received it.

    Students go to school/college to learn, and it is not fair to the student that they do not learn that low standards do not get rewarded, and not fair to society to produce new members who have an unrealistic expectation of being disproportionally rewarded for little effort.

  9. Just to cheer up a little bit, I went to my local Natural History Museum last Sunday, and a five years old kid was showing the chimps to his little three years old brother, explaining “before, we were like that, but we got used to it and so we became humans” – Well, that’s kind of an approximation, but that was so cute.

  10. In reply to #15 by N_Ellis:

    “A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.”

    And teachers, lecturers and professors have the freedom AND THE RESPONSIBILITY to point out that papers will be marked based on the quality of their contents, and that any science paper making claims not supported by EVIDENCE will receive low marks.

    Students have always (broadly) had the freedom to choose how highly they are marked, they can choose to submit high quality work and receive high marks, or they can submit low quality work and receive low marks.

    If they are allowed to submit low quality work and receive high marks, it devalues the credibility of the qualification they eventually receive, and destroys the achievement of someone who has already received it.

    It does rather! – Unless they go to certain (alleged) universities or colleges.

    Students go to school/college to learn, and it is not fair to the student that they do not learn that low standards do not get rewarded, and not fair to society to produce new members who have an unrealistic expectation of being disproportionally rewarded for little effort.

    It should do but – Again this depends on the individual establishment – in countries where there is no proper regulation of standards all sorts of drivel is accredited as education.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Jones_University
    The BJU science department, which supports young-earth creationism,[34] offers majors in biology, chemistry, and physics and also offers courses in astronomy. In 2008 no member of the BJU science faculty held a degree in geology,[35] and the university offered only one introductory course in the subject.[36] Although ten of the sixteen members of the science faculty have undergraduate degrees from BJU, all earned their doctorates from accredited, non-religious institutions of higher learning.

    Then there is “Liberty University”!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty-University
    Liberty University teaches young Earth creationism as an explanation for the appearance of life on earth. The university works with young Earth creationist organizations including Answers in Genesis.[115][116][117][118] In biology classes students are taught both creationism and evolution and that creationism offers a better explanation of biological diversity than evolution.[119][120] In October, 2006 the university published an advertisement in The Chronicle of Higher Education in an attempt to recruit staff to its biology department. The advertisement stated that the university was “seeking faculty who can demonstrate a personal faith commitment to its evangelical Christian purpose” and specified that “compatibility with a young-earth creationist philosophy [is] required.”[121]

    In the same month, prominent biologist Richard Dawkins was quoted saying the following about Liberty University: “If it’s really true that the museum at Liberty University has dinosaur fossils which are labeled as being 3,000 years old, then that is an educational disgrace. It is debauching the whole idea of a university, and I would strongly encourage any members of Liberty University who may be here, to leave and go to a proper university.

    Energetically spreading ignorance to thousands of trusting students in the USA ! Perhaps even training muppets to be know-all senators or committee members!

  11. Perhaps worth mentioning: When I teach, I “stand on the shoulders of giants”. I rely on the sequence of science classes that a student progresses through BEFORE they get to me to prepare them for the tasks and lessons that I present. I also get to explain experiments that others have done — one that comes to mind is Griffith’s experiments with Pneumococcus in 1928. It lays the foundation for modern lessons including a great lab where students transform E. coli with a plasmid that contains a jellyfish gene. The E.coli wind up glowing under ultraviolet light!!!

    If, by law, every teacher at every level has to start from scratch and defend every possible nuance of their lessons, the building blocks necessary for students to possess may never be laid down. I rely on a kids understanding of certain foundational skills in order to get them to advance. It is not a race; it is a RELAY race. This subverts my efforts and is despicable.

  12. What exactly happens in American science classes?
    We used to do experiments, consider mechanisms/results and look at evidence. I don’t see how we would have been able to argue that dinosaurs and people ran around Earth at the same time or that evolution was untrue. Not without providing any evidence. I genuinely can’t get my head around this law… How should the papers be marked?

  13. This completely destroys the image I’ve always had of people from that state getting up at the crack of dawn, donning stetson hats and belting out a chorus of “Oh What A Beautiful Morning.”

  14. In reply to #1 by crookedshoes:

    How do you design a rubric that fairly grades papers handed in by hard working well meaning students??? In other words, once bullshitting is allowed, how do you rank the bullshit?

    maybe they need two grading systems? one based on likelyhood to get into university, one on likelyhood to get onto the government science comittee? everyone’s a winner

  15. If you don’t give a student a fail for writing such nonsense – surely you’re failing the student cos clearly the idea of marking is to give feedback and point out mistakes? Realistically the only areas you could award marks for a homework like that would be for spelling punctuation and good grammar. A max of 3%.

  16. the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories

    After much contemplation, it is anticipated that their students, – after debunking universally accepted scientific theories, are expected to invent the stone-axe and the wheel within the next two decades.

  17. Sería igualmente útil que los niños pudieran debatir si Dios realmente o Cristo realmente existieron en sus clases de religión. Equally usefull will be give the childrens the freedom of debate about the existence of God an Jesuschrist in their religion schools, “because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks”

  18. Bring it on! Every egregious attempt to debunk science in general and evolution in particular fails. That is worth repeating – it fails. The deluded banner wavers may never give up the attempt, but each new skirmish they force leads to the debunking of their latest attempt to obfuscate.

    If I were a religious conservative literalist, I’d try to keep it to myself rather than make creative efforts to show my naivety to the public and stand a better chance of hanging on to a less contested belief. These losers though, just can’t keep it to themselves they have to publish it to an increasingly incredulous world. Eventually a judge always has to tell them formally that they are in error.

    What is required by we rationalists is patience. Most children eventually see the error of their ways if it is not pointed out too aggressively because acceptance then involves a smaller measure of humiliation

  19. Why couldn’t I have been a kid during these magical times so I wouldn’t have had to work at understanding real science, math, or anything? I could have just handed in my thesis on how dragons really, really exist because not only did I see one flying around the sky when I was 4 years old, the Bible says they’re real! Never mind how biologically improbable dragons are, or that no fossil or other evidence of them exists. I could just make shit up and hand it in! What kid wouldn’t like that….except when said kid grows up and finds out you can’t get into a real college or get a real job based on fantasies.

  20. The USA is infested with religious dotards and half wits. It’s over for the USA unless these fools are marginalised and have their political influence neutered. Trouble is that there are huge rewards of wealth and power for those nasty individuals who feign religious devotion.

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