Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Senate Republicans Open Door For Creationism in Science Class

Jobs and the economy? Not a concern. Pandering to the national extremists on the right? Michigan Republicans have turned it into an art form. Legislation was introduced in the Senate yesterday that would allow the "academic freedom to teach evidence regarding controversial scientific subjects". From Gongwer-

SB 1361, sponsored by Sen. Bill Hardiman (R-Kentwood), now joins HB 6027, which was introduced in April by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland). The bills are essentially identical and represent the latest iteration of a national effort to allow challenges to teaching of evolution and open possible teaching of creation theories that have a religious basis.

Michigan is one of the states that evolution critics hope could act on legislation that would encourage a challenge to the teaching of evolutionary theory. Recent articles from several religious news groups, posted on the website of the Discovery Institute (the organization that has led the drive over the last several decades to challenge evolutionary teaching), cited Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina as other states where legislators are considering similar legislation.

Global warming and human cloning figure in this as well. Not really sure exactly who is out there pushing for cloning, but it seems to be a major concern of those on the flat-earh side of modern thought.

SB 1361 and HB 6027 both say the "Legislature understands 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 understands that the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, human impact of climate change and human cloning, can cause controversy and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects. This section is intended to provide clarification in these matters."

That clarification being that they would punt to the state board, local school boards, principals, and charter school directors, who would have to somehow make it possible in their districts to allow the introduction of right-wing views in science class under the auspice of teaching critical thought. A noble gesture on the surface, but really just a way to open the back door for teaching creationism as science, as well as blowing the dog whistle to a few other groups who want to deny the realities of the world we live in.