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Oklahoma "Creationism Bill"

Posted by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 11:38 PM
  • 14 Replies
Thoughts?

Oklahoma's most recent creationism measure has made it over its latest hurdle.

The Oklahoma Common Education committee passed the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act Tuesday in a close 9-8 vote, Mother Jones reports.

Introduced by Republican state Rep. Gus Blackwell,the legislation would "permit teachers, schools, and students to explore alternative theories without repercussions," the Week columnist Dana Liebelson writes.

In layman's terms, students would be able to challenge universally accepted scientific theories, such as evolution and climate change. Teachers would also be required to find more effective ways to address such controversies in their teachings.

The legislation's language specifically mentions "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning" as subjects that may spark controversy in the classroom.

While creationism bills have often been linked to religion, Blackwell insists that the legislation's focus is 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," Blackwell explained to Mother Jones. "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations."

House Bill 1674 mirrors another creationism measure co-authored by Blackwell -- Senate Bill 758 -- that is currently being considered by the state's Senate Education committee. If passed, H.B. 1674 would take effect on July 1 and would be implemented in the state during the 2013-2014 school year. Oklahoma's House of Representatives will vote on the legislation next.

Blackwell's bill is not the first creationism measure Oklahoma has seen. In 2012, a similar proposal survived an initial rejection by the state's House Common Education Committee, only to die in the Senate Education Committee.

H.B. 1674 is one of several "academic freedom" bills that are being touted by state republicans. According to the National Center for Science Education, Montana, Arizona, Missouri and Indiana are also considering similar pieces of legislation. Thus far this year, Colorado has been the only state to turn down an Oklahoma's most recent creationism measure has made it over its latest hurdle.

The Oklahoma Common Education committee passed the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act Tuesday in a close 9-8 vote, Mother Jones reports.

Introduced by Republican state Rep. Gus Blackwell,the legislation would "permit teachers, schools, and students to explore alternative theories without repercussions," the Week columnist Dana Liebelson writes.

In layman's terms, students would be able to challenge universally accepted scientific theories, such as evolution and climate change. Teachers would also be required to find more effective ways to address such controversies in their teachings.

The legislation's language specifically mentions "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning" as subjects that may spark controversy in the classroom.

While creationism bills have often been linked to religion, Blackwell insists that the legislation's focus is 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," Blackwell explained to Mother Jones. "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations."

House Bill 1674 mirrors another creationism measure co-authored by Blackwell -- Senate Bill 758 -- that is currently being considered by the state's Senate Education committee. If passed, H.B. 1674 would take effect on July 1 and would be implemented in the state during the 2013-2014 school year. Oklahoma's House of Representatives will vote on the legislation next.

Blackwell's bill is not the first creationism measure Oklahoma has seen. In 2012, a similar proposal survived an initial rejection by the state's House Common Education Committee, only to die in the Senate Education Committee.

H.B. 1674 is one of several "academic freedom" bills that are being touted by state republicans. According to the National Center for Science Education, Montana, Arizona, Missouri and Indiana are also considering similar pieces of legislation. Thus far this year, Colorado has been the only state to turn down an Oklahoma's most recent creationism measure has made it over its latest hurdle.

The Oklahoma Common Education committee passed the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act Tuesday in a close 9-8 vote, Mother Jones reports.

Introduced by Republican state Rep. Gus Blackwell,the legislation would "permit teachers, schools, and students to explore alternative theories without repercussions," the Week columnist Dana Liebelson writes.

In layman's terms, students would be able to challenge universally accepted scientific theories, such as evolution and climate change. Teachers would also be required to find more effective ways to address such controversies in their teachings.

The legislation's language specifically mentions "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning" as subjects that may spark controversy in the classroom.

While creationism bills have often been linked to religion, Blackwell insists that the legislation's focus is 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," Blackwell explained to Mother Jones. "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations."

House Bill 1674 mirrors another creationism measure co-authored by Blackwell -- Senate Bill 758 -- that is currently being considered by the state's Senate Education committee. If passed, H.B. 1674 would take effect on July 1 and would be implemented in the state during the 2013-2014 school year. Oklahoma's House of Representatives will vote on the legislation next.

Blackwell's bill is not the first creationism measure Oklahoma has seen. In 2012, a similar proposal survived an initial rejection by the state's House Common Education Committee, only to die in the Senate Education Committee.

H.B. 1674 is one of several "academic freedom" bills that are being touted by state republicans. According to the National Center for Science Education, Montana, Arizona, Missouri and Indiana are also considering similar pieces of legislation. Thus far this year, Colorado has been the only state to turn down an academic freedom bill, postponing it indefinitely in committee.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2013/02/21/oklahoma-creationism-bill-passes-common-education-committee_n_2733977.html?ir=Religion&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
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by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 11:38 PM
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Replies (1-10):
krysstizzle
by on Feb. 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM
1 mom liked this

I think instead of using all of their wiles and time to figure out how to allow religion in science classes, they should put some effort into learning basic science and get the fuck over it already. 

Idiots.

Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Feb. 22, 2013 at 12:29 AM

....damn, another waste of money..

*note to self, Oklahoma public schools are also shit*

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 3:33 AM

Req. No. 5807

STATE OF OKLAHOMA
1st Session of the 54th Legislature (2013)
HOUSE BILL 1674 By: Blackwell


AS INTRODUCED
An Act relating to schools; creating the Scientific
Education and Academic Freedom Act; providing short
title; stating legislative findings; directing State
Board of Education, district boards of education, and
certain administrators to create certain environment
within schools; permitting teachers to help students
understand certain information about scientific
theories; disallowing State Board of Education,
district boards of education, and certain
administrators from prohibiting teachers from helping
students understand certain information about
scientific theories; providing for evaluation of
students based on understanding of course materials;
prohibiting penalizing of students for holding
certain position on scientific theories; prohibiting
certain construction; stating intent; directing State
Department of Education to provide certain
notification; directing superintendents to
disseminate certain information; providing for
codification; providing an effective date; and
declaring an emergency.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:

SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified
in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 11-121 of Title 70, unless there
is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Scientific
Education and Academic Freedom Act”.

SECTION 2. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified
in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 11-122 of Title 70, unless there
is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:
A. The Oklahoma Legislature finds that an important purpose of
science education is to inform students about scientific evidence
and to help students develop critical thinking skills they need in
order to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed
citizens. The Legislature further finds that the teaching of some
scientific concepts including but not limited to premises in the
areas of biology, chemistry, meteorology, bioethics and physics can
cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the
expectations concerning how they should present information on some
subjects such as, but not limited to, biological evolution, the
chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.
B. The State Board of Education, district boards of education,
district superintendents and administrators, and public school
principals and administrators shall 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. Educational authorities in this state shall
also endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to
present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific
controversies. Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted 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.
C. The State Board of Education, a district board of education,
district superintendent or administrator, or public school principal
or administrator shall not prohibit any teacher in a school district
in this state from helping 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.
D. Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of
course materials, but no student in any public school or institution
shall be penalized in any way because the student may subscribe to a
particular position on scientific theories. Nothing in this
subsection shall be construed to exempt students from learning,
understanding and being tested on curriculum as prescribed by state
and local education standards.
E. The provisions of the Scientific Education and Academic
Freedom Act shall only protect the teaching of scientific
information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or
nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a
particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, or promote
discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. The intent
of the provisions of this act is to create an environment in which
both the teacher and students can openly and objectively discuss the
facts and observations of science, and the assumptions that underlie
their interpretation.
F. By no later than the start of the 2013-2014 school year, the
State Department of Education shall notify all district
superintendents of the provisions of the Scientific Education and
Academic Freedom Act. Each superintendent shall then disseminate to
all employees within the district a copy of the provisions of this
act.

SECTION 3. This act shall become effective July 1, 2013.

SECTION 4. It being immediately necessary for the preservation
of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby
declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and
be in full force from and after its passage and approval.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 3:54 AM
Quoting Clairwil:

B. The State Board of Education, district boards of education,
district superintendents and administrators, and public school
principals and administrators shall 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
. Educational authorities in this state shall
also endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to
present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific
controversies. Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted 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.

As a teacher, I'd like to ask the Oklahoma legislators how they suggest I go about teaching children to respect differences of opinion about controversial issues such as whether the Earth is flat, whether our fate is determined by the astrological sign we're born under, geocentrism, whether diseases are caused by germs or demons, and many others.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 4:02 AM
Quoting Clairwil:

D. Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of
course materials, but no student in any public school or institution
shall be penalized in any way because the student may subscribe to a
particular position on scientific theories. Nothing in this
subsection shall be construed to exempt students from learning,
understanding and being tested on curriculum as prescribed by state
and local education standards.

Tricky one.

On the face of it, that sounds reasonable.

But I'm scared of the "penalized in any way" part.   Does that means tests must be worded such that they are as easy to answer for someone who disagrees with the material?   So instead of asking:

"Question 12.   What elements in Chlorophyll are responsible for its colour?"

it would have to be reworded to:

"Question 12.   According to the scientific theories selected this year by our state, what elements in Chlorophyll are responsible for its colour?"


I hate to think what message that would send the children about the nature of Science.

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Feb. 22, 2013 at 4:14 AM

 The fact that this bill was first proposed, taken time to word it ...oh just so right and then passed...makes it ridiculously UNintelligent.

How the hell do they get voted in....are people in these states inbred?

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 4:18 AM
Quoting Clairwil:

C. The State Board of Education, a district board of education,
district superintendent or administrator, or public school principal
or administrator shall not prohibit any teacher in a school district
in this state from helping 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.
E. The provisions of the Scientific Education and Academic
Freedom Act shall only protect the teaching of scientific
information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or
nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a
particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, or promote
discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. The intent
of the provisions of this act is to create an environment in which
both the teacher and students can openly and objectively discuss the
facts and observations of science
, and the assumptions that underlie
their interpretation.

Children are often more capable than we think they are.  And we love the idea that the 'fair' way to do something is to bring out all the ideas, then objectively evaluate them.

But the sad fact is that science is complicated.  The science we teach in schools is the tip of the iceberg.  The bits that we can make easy to understand.  The bits that you don't need several years of higher maths just to understand the question, let alone understand the answer.

On something like evolution or global warming, even most adults find it hard to evaluate which arguments are reasonable.  A teacher determined to push a creationist agenda who dumps upon a class a whole load of arguments from the answer-in-genesis website would be free to do so under this wording, and the chances that any of the children would be able to argue effectively against them in an open classroom discussion are minimal.

So, despite the pretty wording, the net effect of passing the legislation wouldn't be to leave pupils with a better grasp of science and the surrounding issues.   It would be a hunting license to allow teachers who want to, to snow the pupils, fogging their grasp and leaving them just with the impression "It is a controversy.  There are points on both sides".


The creationist side doesn't need to convince with logic and evidence.  It just needs to cast enough doubt to provide an excuse to set logic and evidence aside.  It convinces with emotional appeal to religious arguments (presented elsewhere to the child, from birth).


Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 4:29 AM
Quoting turtle68:

 The fact that this bill was first proposed, taken time to word it ...oh just so right and then passed...makes it ridiculously UNintelligent.

How the hell do they get voted in....are people in these states inbred?

A frighteningly high proportion of American religious conservatives not only don't accept universal common descent, they don't even accept that the Earth is billions of years old.

There does seem to be a link between fundamentalism and IQ:


(source)



(source)

DangerDarling
by Fabulous on Feb. 22, 2013 at 4:33 AM
1 mom liked this

Teach the controversy! In Oklahoma, we don't hold with all that scientific mumbo jumbo. God said it; I believe it. That settles it! 

https://controversy.wearscience.com/design/devil/

https://controversy.wearscience.com/design/young/

https://controversy.wearscience.com/design/reptoid/

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Feb. 22, 2013 at 4:41 AM

 

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting turtle68:

 The fact that this bill was first proposed, taken time to word it ...oh just so right and then passed...makes it ridiculously UNintelligent.

How the hell do they get voted in....are people in these states inbred?

A frighteningly high proportion of American religious conservatives not only don't accept universal common descent, they don't even accept that the Earth is billions of years old.

There does seem to be a link between fundamentalism and IQ:


(source)

 


(source)

 Wowsers....I wonder if Oaklahoma is filled with people that follow the pentacostal faith?  It would explain a lot :-)

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