Oklahoma Continues Fighting The Tyranny Of Science and Facts

By Sean Kane email: , Feb 23, 2013 04:50 PM EST

It may be illegal to refute creationism in Oklahoma.

A new bill is being proposed in the Oklahoma House that will prohibit teachers from penalizing students for attempting to debunk (widely accepted) theories like biological evolution and human-driven climate change.

The bill was introduced by Republican state representative Gus Blackwell, who spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. However, Blackwell insists that the bill has nothing to do with religion. Instead, according to him, the bill encourages scientific inquiry.

"I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks," Blackwell told Mother Jones. "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations."

As Mother Jones points out, "stated another way, students could make untestable, faith-based claims in science classes without fear of receiving a poor mark."

HB 1674 is not the only bill being proposed that would seek to present intelligent design alongside evolution in the classroom. In the Missouri House, HB 291,  the "Missouri Standard Science Act" proposed late last month, would add "faith-based philosophy" as a component of a scientific theory, in addition to logic and data. HB 291 also dictates that "destiny" receive ample space in textbooks alongside the theories of evolution and intelligent design.

"The problem with these bills is that they're so open-ended; it's a kind of code for people who are opposed to teaching climate change and evolution," Eric Meikle, education project director at the National Center for Science Education, told Mother Jones. "An extremely high percentage of scientists will tell you that evolution doesn't have scientific weaknesses. If every teacher, parent and school board can decide what to teach on their own, you're going to have chaos. You can't deluge kids with every theory that's ever been considered since the beginning of time."

HB 1674 successfully passed through the Oklahoma Common Education committee. The vote count was 9-8.

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