Missouri’s Creationism Legislation Introduced by “Science Buff”
by Daniel Luzer
A new Missouri bill would require that the state’s elementary and secondary school students, and even people taking college courses in public universities, learn about creationism in addition to real biology.
According to an article by Sam Levin in the Riverfront Times:
Missouri Representative Rick Brattin, a Republican, has introduced a bill that would mandate schools across the state give “equal treatment” to the theory of evolution and so-called “intelligent design,” which is similar to creationism.
Why? “I’m a science enthusiast,” he tells Daily RFT. “I’m a huge science buff.”
Well he’s a fan of something. As he explained to Levin, his bill aims to “distinguish what is, in fact, theory and what is, in fact, empirical data…. There’s so much of the theory of evolution that is being taught as fact…things like the primordial ooze.”
One of the problems with this scheme is that it appears based on an idea of intellectual parity that’s simply made up. As Dana Liebelson writes at Mother Jones:
The bill requires that Missouri schools give equal textbook space to both evolution and intelligent design (any other “theories of origin” are allowed to be taught as well, so pick your favorite creation myth—I’m partial to the Russian raven spirit.) “I can’t imagine any mainstream textbook publisher would comply with this,” [National Center for Science Education, education project director Eric] Meikle says. “The material doesn’t exist.”
In fact, the best way to show students how to distinguish between theory and fact is probably to have them take high school biology. Teachers cover that whole “theory” thing, on like the first day.
What biology teachers do not cover, however, is “intelligent design,” which is not a valid scientific theory. It is, rather, a form of creationism dreamed up by the politically reactionary Discovery Institute in order to get around prohibitions against the teaching of religious doctrine in public schools. [Image via]