Friday, February 3, 2012

States making more laws against evolution.

I ran across this today and with Darwin's birthday coming soon I decided to share, it seems several different states are putting forward bills about evolution.

— The “Missouri Standard Science Act” would require the equal treatment of evolution and “intelligent design,” an idea that the universe was created by an unnamed “designer.” A second bill would require teachers to encourage 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.”
Well parts of this don't sound to bad, who doesn't want students to develop "critical thinking skills," but evolution is not particularly controversial among scientists, its only controversial among people who know very little about science.  Why should science teacher have to walk on egg shells about an observable scientific fact because some of his students have religious beliefs that conflict with it?

— A bill in the Oklahoma Senate would require the state’s board of education to help teachers promote “critical thinking, logical analysis, open and objective discussion of scientific theories including, but not limited to, evolution, the origin of life, global warming, and human cloning” if a local school district makes that request.
This one mentions global warming too.  It seems the religious right is expanding their list of things in science that they hate.  I guess cloning made the list because of the fear that people are going to start cloning whole humans for organ harvesting or some bullshit.  I think fundamentalist Christians get all their science education from movies.

— A second bill in the New Hampshire House would require science teachers to instruct students that “proper scientific inquir(y) results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis, no matter how firmly it appears to be established.”
In a sense what is said in this bill is accurate.  However, there is a difference between the fact that evolution happens and the theory of evolution which explains how it happens.  Even if you disproved the theory it would just mean evolution happened a different way.  Also, while the theory is incomplete it is not likely to be proven entirely false. 

— A bill in Virginia would make it illegal for state colleges to require a class that conflicts with a student’s religious views. Critics say that would enable a student to receive a biology degree, for example, without studying evolution if he or she objected to it.
This is the most absurd of all of them.  I sometimes wonder if politician even think about the ramifications of bills they passed.  I couldn't find the exact wording of the bill on the internet, so if anyone has a link to it I would be interested, but if this works as I am reading it then anyone could refuse to learn something because of their religious affiliation.  Jehovah's witness, no problem you don't need to learn about transfusions to be a doctor.
— A second bill in Indiana would require the state board of education to draft rules about the teaching of ideas in science class that cannot be proven by evidence — a clear doorway for the teaching of creationism and intelligent design, critics say.
Why would we ever teach anything in a science class room that can't be supported by empirical evidence?  This practically screams Wedge document.  It is clear that the goal here is not to just undermine evolution but methodological naturalism as the basis for science.

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