The American Bear


Missouri Legislator Introduces Bill To Teach Creationism As A Scientific Theory And To Teach Evolution As A Philosophy | Jonathan Turley

[…] The law [introduced by Missouri GOP Rep. Rick Brattin] dictates a religious based understanding of science, including “Intelligence-directed action is necessary to exceed the limits of natural species change, which is a combination of autogenous species change and environmental effected species change. Multi-generation breeding experiments illustrate the limits of natural species change and its inadequacy for developing required genetic information found in dissimilar species.”

The rather convoluted and pseudo-sciencific language then states:

(3) If scientific theory is taught, the theory shall be identified as theory when taught orally or in writing. Empirical data and conjecture may be presented to support taught theory where considered instructive. As used in this subsection, the term “theory” shall mean theory or hypothesis; (a) If a scientific theory concerning origin or destiny is taught without the teaching of opposing scientific theory, the taught theory may be criticized by the teaching of conflicting empirical data where considered instructive;
(b) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth’s biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course;
(c) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a textbook, the textbook shall give equal treatment to biological evolution and biological intelligent design. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught.

The tortured language is an effort to avoid the word “creationism” and to dress up religious beliefs as scientific theory while treating evolution as a philosophy.

The bill would recreate “standard science” in a more faith-based image and guarantee Missouri will fall further in its educational rankings. What is clear is that the drafters may be the best argument against evidence of evolution. The law is poorly crafted and both intellectually and politically dishonest. It is little more than to legislate that science teachers will legitimate religious views despite the overwhelming support for the fact of evolution. [++]

What these legislators and their religious supporters don’t understand is this: Evolution is not controversial within scientific circles, and so it should not be taught as controversial in science classrooms. Teach the controversy in history class, sure. (And don’t forget to mention Dayton!) Teach it in Sunday school. But don’t teach it in public high school science classes. To teach creationism and intelligent design as equals alongside evolutionary theory is incredibly misleading, and it fails massively to prepare students to excel in the sciences in the future.

Rachel Held Evans: Thoughts on the Tennessee “Monkey Bill” (via azspot)

Truth. The controversy is about anything but the science. So teach it anywhere but science class. -J

(via jtotheizzoe)

(via randomactsofchaos)

75 Nobel laureate scientists call for repeal of Louisiana Science Education Act


Baton Rouge, LA — (March, 6, 2012) – Senator Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) has filed Senate Bill 374 to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, Louisiana’s misnamed and misguided creationism law.

The repeal effort now has the unprecedented support of 75 Nobel laureate scientists–nearly 40% of all living Nobel laureate scientists in physics, chemistry, or physiology or medicine.  This incredible number surpasses the historic 72 Nobel laureate scientists who filed an amicus brief in opposition to Louisiana’s first creationism law during the Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court case.  A complete list of Nobel laureates supporting the repeal effort can be found here.

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(Source: academicatheism)

Sen. Kruse: U.S. Supreme Court could overturn evolution ruling next time

Later today the Indiana Senate is expected to vote on a Senate Bill 89, which would allow schools to permit the teaching of “creation science” — religious-based stories for the origin of life — alongside the scientific theory of evolution. It would be a school’s choice whether or not to include religious creation discussions in science class.

Even the use of the term “creation science” is provocative, as the U.S. Supreme Court specifically outlawed it in the 1987 court decision Edwards vs. Aguillard. Since then, advocates for creation science generally have been careful not to use that term, instead pushing for schools to teach “weaknesses” in evolutionary theory and present “alternative” ideas about the origins of life.

Indiana State Sen. Dennis Kruse, the bill’s author, knows a creation science bill violates the principles of the Edwards vs. Aguillard decision. He knows it could bring a court challenge.

“This is a different Supreme Court,” he told me this afternoon. “This Supreme Court could rule differently.”

Kruse is not shying away from the potential impact of the law — that religious beliefs could become the subject of discussion in science class. In fact, he touted an amendment to his bill that specifically allows the creation beliefs of many religions — among them traditional major religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism as well as newer religions like Scientology — to be part of the discussion.

no comment. Never mind, except this - There is a difference between the Socratic method and the scientific method. The Socratic method is altogether useless for advancing the field of biology, but that’s not the point of your legislation is it, Senator Kruse?

(Source: sarahlee310)

A recent Fox News poll found a whopping 77% of Americans “personally believe prayers can literally help someone heal from an injury or illness.” The same poll found the percentage of Americans embracing creationism slipping slightly, from 50% to 45%, though creationists still outnumbered those who accept modern biology by more than a two-to-one margin.

Political Animal

Thanks for reminding me where I live.

For the next hand, I raise you 43 Nobel Laureate scientists. That’s right: 43 Nobel Laureate scientists have endorsed our effort to repeal Louisiana’s creationism law. … Congresswoman Bachmann, you claim that Nobel Laureates support creationism. Show me your hand. If you want to be taken seriously by voters while you run for President, back up your claims with facts. Can you match 43 Nobel Laureates, or do you fold?

Zack Kopplin, a high school student from Baton Rouge, La. in a letter to Michelle Bachmann.

Read the whole piece. This kid is awesome.

Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D.: Michele Bachmann’s Stance on Evolution Demolished by High School Student

What If Schools Had to Teach Islam in Science Class? - And how is 'intelligent design' any better?

(Newser) – Legislators in at least seven states have introduced “stealth creationism” bills this year, requiring educators to teach some form of “intelligent design” in schools—and some of those same people have also pushed laws banning Islamic Sharia rules from being used in the courtroom. The message is clear, writes David Sessions in the Christian Science Monitor: “We are all for government endorsing religion—as long as it’s ours and ours alone.”

Intelligent design is, after all, just biblical creationism scrubbed of any specifically Christian language. “Asking that this particular religious narrative be taught alongside serious science should strike Americans as no less alarming than US courts looking to the Quran for their legal reasoning,” Sessions argues. Of course, religious people shouldn’t want the government to do either. “Because getting government mixed up in your religious affairs in ways you like is the surest route to having it involved in ways you don’t.”