Missouri legislative session is off to a solid creationist start

It’s creationism season in my back yard again. The National Center for Science Education has the goods as usual:

First, your typical equal time time bill, complete with inept politicians’ definitions of scientific terms – in defective alphabetical order, no less:

House Bill 1227, introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 10, 2012, would, if enacted, require “the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design,” according to the legislature’s summary of the bill. The equal treatment provision would apply to both public elementary and secondary schools and to “any introductory science course taught at any public institution of higher education” in Missouri.

HB 1227’s text is about 3000 words long, beginning with a declaration that the bill is to be known as the Missouri Standard Science Act, followed by a defectively alphabetized glossary providing idiosyncratic definitions of “analogous naturalistic processes,” “biological evolution,” “biological intelligent design,” “destiny,” “empirical data,” “equal treatment,” “hypothesis,” “origin,” “scientific theory,” “scientific law,” and “standard science.”

And second, your classic ‘teach the evidence for and against evolution’ bill, basically copied and pasted from the creationist Discovery Institute’s model bill. One problem with this bill is that what creationists believe to be the “weaknesses” of evolution don’t actually correspond to what working scientists see as the open questions in the field.

House Bill 1276, introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 11, 2012, and not yet referred to a committee, is apparently the fifth antievolution bill of 2012 — and the second in Missouri. The bill would, if enacted, call on state and local education administrators to “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, including biological and chemical evolution” and to “endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies.” “Toward this end,” the bill continues, “teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.”

Author: Mike White

Genomes, Books, and Science Fiction

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