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February 08, 2013 4:33 PM 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.”

Brattin:

PseudoScienceBuff

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]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer

Comments

  • bluestatedon on February 09, 2013 12:12 AM:

    Brattin wouldn't recognize real science if CalTech and MIT kidnapped him and put him in a particle accelerator.

  • Paul Burnett on February 09, 2013 10:47 AM:

    That's actually not a bad idea. Tell the students all about the Dover Trial, and how the judge ruled that creationists lie under oath. Discuss how the creationists' star witness said under oath that for intelligent design creationism to be accepted as science, the definition of "science" would have to be so dumbed down that astrology could also be defined as "science."

    Explain that after the 1987 US Supreme Court ruling against "creation science," a band of fundagelicals got together at several venues, including the Bible Institute Of Los Angeles (now hiding under the stealth name "BIOLA University) and invented the current form of intelligent design creationism.

    Explain how the term "cdesign proponentsists" (Google the term if you're not familiar with it - it's a great story) came to happen and how the publisher of "Of Pandas and People" lied under oath that his company was not a religious publisher, only to be handed an IRS "religious exemption" form with his signature on it.

    Show the kids the position papers from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academies of Science and all the other actual science organizations denouncing intelligent design creationism as a pseudoscience - look up the Wikipedia article "List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design".

    Goodness, I could spend several weeks teaching about intelligent design creationism - it would be great fun and I'm sure the kids would enjoy it.

  • bluestatedon on February 09, 2013 11:17 AM:

    Paul, your suggestions make a gigantic amount of sense, which is precisely why anybody trying to implement them in Missouri or Mississippi or Arkansas or Oklahoma would be immediately branded a Satanist intent on destroying our national faith in Jesus, free-market capitalism, and the American Way.

  • Joel on February 09, 2013 8:32 PM:

    This is a misquote. He actually said "I'm a huge science bluff."