Friday, January 27, 2017

The Hill: New wave of anti-evolution bills hit states

The Hill has a report on new legislation that has evolution, once more, in the crosshairs.  These bills are being floated in South Dakota, Oklahoma and Indiana.  There are subtle differences, however:
The bills represent something of an evolution themselves: They do not specifically mention creationism or intelligent design, two alternatives to evolution theory advanced by religious conservatives. Instead, they allow teachers to address the “strengths and weaknesses” of material being taught to students.

Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, said the new effort aims to undermine evolution by preventing school districts from blocking teachers who question scientific consensus.

“They’re no longer trying to ban teaching evolution. They’re no longer trying to balance teaching evolution. They’re now trying to belittle evolution,” Branch said.

Proponents of the measures say they do not allow teachers to inject religion into science classes. Model bills make clear that teachers are to question theories in an “objective” measure by focusing on “scientific information.”
This is subterfuge on a grand scale. What theories do you suppose they will question?  Do you think they will question gravitational theory?  What about cell theory? Atomic theory?  Likely, these theories will not be examined for their “scientific information.” All of the focus will be on evolution.  What makes these bills so insidious is that they are very hard to repel:
Science groups worry that the new measures will be more difficult to challenge in court. While earlier attempts have been shot down, the new bills are crafted to withstand facial challenges, Branch said.

“It makes the bills very hard to challenge on the basis that they’re unconstitutional, because they’re not requiring anyone to do anything,” he said.

The bills would also put school boards in the untenable position of being open to lawsuits from teachers, if they try to block the presentation of alternative ideas, and from parents, if they allow those alternative ideas to be presented.
One can only hope that these bills will be killed in committee.

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