Monday, April 02, 2012

Lauri Lebo Rips the Cover Off of HB368/SB893

Lauri Lebo, writing for Scientific American, has written an expose on the origins of HB368/SB893. In it, she points out that these academic freedom bills have particular origins which underlie their true point:
Sponsor Rep. Bill Dunn (R–Knoxville) said [David] Fowler [head of the Family Action Council of Tennessee] submitted the legislation to him in early February. The latter's organization is associated with James Dobson's conservative Christian Focus on the Family and advocates for "biblical values" and "godly officials".

Dunn could not explain why a Christian organization would be pushing legislation that supposedly has nothing to do with inserting religion into science class. He referred the question to Fowler.

Fowler, who would not say whether he is a young earth creationist ("I think that's irrelevant," he noted), said he is trying to correct the "dogmatic" presentation of science in the classroom. "This is about open discourse," he said, adding, "Good education requires critical thinking."

Fowler has spoken with members of the Discovery Institute—he would not say specifically whom—and said he drafted the Tennessee bill based on sample legislation the Institute created.

Dunn explains: "We've reversed the roles of the Scopes Trial. All we're saying is let's put all the scientific facts on the table."
Why, indeed, is a bill such as this being pushed so heavily by a Christian organization if it has no religious elements to it? What is “in it” for them? Here is where the bulls**t detector goes off. Just once, I would like one of these organizations to be honest about why they want this legislation passed. Is it too much to ask that of fellow Christians? This kind of thing leaves a very bad taste in the mouth of your average scientist, who already regards organized Christianity as hostile to them (and why wouldn't they?). It has the same effect on your average EC, and just reinforces the notion that modern evangelicalism is sadly off-base and headed in the wrong direction.

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  1. Let's see - the bill is drafted by the executive director of a Christian political action organization who consults with creationist organizations, who is not an educator (B.S. in Accounting and a J.D. afterward) nor a scientist, but no, no, no, there's no attempt to insert religion into the classroom. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.
    I think you're spot on that this sort of subtle subterfuge, however sincere and well-meaning our fellow evangelicals who support this sort of thing may be, ultimately impugns the character of Gospel witness, not to mention making things difficult for evangelical believers who also embrace mainstream science.
    Thanks, Jim, for providing a clearinghouse of information on these topics.

  2. "Just once, I would like one of these organizations to be honest about why they want this legislation passed. Is it too much to ask that of fellow Christians?"

    Evidently it is too much to ask. That's why the Discovery Institute is known as the Dishonesty Institute.