Monroe Tries Again to Sneak Religion into Science Class

Sen. Jeff Monroe, over and over and over...
Sen. Jeff Monroe, over and over and over…

Senator Jeff Monroe (R-24/Pierre) throws the first belch of the radical right-wing caucus into the hopper with his fourth attempt to wedge his anti-science agenda into science classrooms.

Senate Bill 55, “An Act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information,” runs one innocuous sentence:

No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.

Republican legislators are the last people we teachers need to turn to to protect open, honest, objective, analytical scientific discussions in our classroom. And that’s not really what the eleven Republican sponsors of SB 55 are after. Senator Monroe offered identical language in bills in 2016 and 2015. Each time, his intent has been the same as the two less artfully worded bills he offered in 2014 to promote the teaching of his personal religious beliefs in intelligent design and fetal personhood.

Senator Monroe’s bills on this topic have died every time, for good reason. Senator Monroe’s effort to sneak religion into science class was a bad idea in 2015. It was a bad idea in 2016. Senate Bill 55 is a bad idea this year… but it is probably just the first old nag out of the culture-warriors’ gate.

Reminder: Last year, Senator Monroe thought it was more important to protect teachers from fake prohibitions on teaching science than from the real economic hardship: he voted against both the new K-12 funding formula and the funding mechanism for the higher teacher salaries that formula provided. Ah, priorities.


63 Responses to Monroe Tries Again to Sneak Religion into Science Class

  1. Reina Hovland

    Jeff Monroe used to be our chiropractor and I thought he was a really smart and likable man. Now I know that I was completely wrong about him. I don’t think he should be in the legislature. He is using his position to impose his personally religious beliefs on all of is in the state. that is not his job. he is supposed to be working to improve our state and not set it back 50 -100 years. VERY DISSAPOINTED!!!!

  2. mike from iowa

    He is using his position to impose his personally religious beliefs on all of is in the state. that is not his job. he is supposed to be working to improve our state and not set it back 50 -100 years. VERY DISSAPOINTED!!!!

    Typical wingnut legislator. A certain cretin Senator from Alabama who is being vetted for the Attorney General post doesn’t believe secular people know what truth is. Only deeply kristian ones do.

  3. Bob Newland

    Jeff. Dude!

  4. Porter Lansing

    Does it seem many run for the legislature and after victory have no new ideas? Recycled, failed legislation is like raw chicken parts left in the kitchen trash when you go away for the weekend.

  5. Imam Monroe should return to Mecca and Medina.

  6. Cory writes:

    Senator Jeff Monroe (R-24/Pierre) throws the first belch of the radical right-wing caucus into the hopper with his fourth attempt to wedge his anti-science agenda into science classrooms.

    Senate Bill 55, “An Act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information,” runs one innocuous sentence:

    No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.

    I’m a state-certified high school science teacher (https://apps.sd.gov/de04public/teacherlookup/HQTStatus.aspx?ID=20810&PRFID=-1), and I’m not seeing how this bill advances an “anti-science” agenda. Maybe Cory’s real problem with the bill is that an objective analysis of the scientific evidence hinders his anti-Christian agenda.

  7. Porter Lansing

    Mr. Evans,
    If you have time, please re-read the posts you made on this issue, last session and the session before that. Possibly, could you change the wording, phrasing and content a little … in the sake of repetition and boredom to the readers? It would be good for you, also.
    Gracias,
    Amigo

  8. Porter Lansing writes:

    Mr. Evans,
    If you have time, please re-read the posts you made on this issue, last session and the session before that. Possibly, could you change the wording, phrasing and content a little … in the sake of repetition and boredom to the readers?

    Last year I’d posted 11 comments on Cory’s annual “Jeff-Monroe-is-undermining-science” post. It would be difficult for me to improve on those comments, and I’d welcome anyone who’s interested in actual science to take a look (http://dakotafreepress.com/2016/01/05/monroe-prefers-repeating-creationist-fantasies-over-dealing-with-teacher-pay/).

  9. Porter Lansing

    My God, son. You posted right below mine. If I may, why do you repeat what others have said to you before you comment?

  10. Ye gads, Evans! Your a science teacher? That is like me being a preacher man.

  11. Porter, Evans just does that to try to show intellectual superiority. My father told me that a mosquito does much the same thing around your ear just to annoy you.

  12. Porter Lansing

    Right, Jerry. Mr. Evans is intellectually superior to me. His I.Q. is above mine and his academic credentials far exceed mine and he has a dedication to his belief that certainly rivals mine. I guess I think he just needs someone to talk to, once in a while … ‘ya, know?

  13. Donald Pay

    Really, no need for the bill, unless you are trying to shoehorn anti-science into the classroom and pretend its science. It’s clearly meant to promote anti-science.

  14. Correct Porter, that is why it troubles me that he just cuts and pastes stuff he has said before. That is a sure sign of loosing cognitive reasoning. I notice this more and more with climate change.

  15. Jerry, since your a qualified preacher man now. (Congratulations) Help me out. Explain how those 4 trillion galaxies (and counting) and how when the earth is obliterated by the sun someday, fit into the biblical afterlife I’m going to lead by going to church on Sunday after the free booze (limited to $99) I drink in Pierre?

    Show me the way Jer.

  16. mike from iowa

    Way too funny, Mr Spike. :)

    We could all use a good laff after Cheeto Jesus sermon from the mound of dung yesterday.

  17. Kurt, come at it as a conservative. The bill text itself serves no purpose not already met by state law, district policies, and professional ethics. That right there should be enough to vote against it as useless clutter.

    But given the bill plays no role in serving its stated purpose, then, as Donald Pay says, the bill must serve some other purpose. Monroe’s legislative history shows his intent to use this vague language as statutory leverage for religious agents to preach unscientific religious dogma in the classroom.

  18. Jerry, I disagree that Evans commits an error in linking to or cutting and pasting past arguments. I did the same above, linking to my past commentary on Monroe’s retread bills rather than repeating those essays here.

    I also don’t mind Evans’s regular quoting of previous comments before responding. He is just trying to make absolutely clear to which statements he is responding.

  19. Porter Lansing

    he he he Teacher’s Pet

  20. The preacher man sees the light Cory, mea culpa. Now to Spike’s directive, I shall go to Pete the Dragon Slayer for a direct quote on corruption. These are words that South Dakota lives by.

    ” “But there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring.””

    Peter Thiel

  21. It would be cool if you guys actually…..ummmm……read the bill. It’s a whopping seven lines long so I’m assuming that shouldn’t be too hard.

    When you’re done please me where in the bill it mentions religion, talks of religion, asks to teach religion, or has anything to do with religion. Talk about an extrapolation! Wow!!! The author is showing his/her intellectual dishonesty in a big way by trying to push this fake news story. It would have been more honest for the author to simply say “I hate Senator Monroe so I’m going to invent a bunch of stuff that isn’t true and try to push it on my readers”. At least they would have been truthful in something they wrote!

  22. Oh, Brian, you Breitbarters and your Trumpaganda. I understand your tactics: accuse those who expose your lies of “fake news” so that the honest information Trump’s lies gets lost in the noise. So very Goebbels of you.

    Now, to be clear, I actually… ummm… read the bill, as well as the bills Monroe submitted in past sessions. I can put this bill in the context of the language changes Monroe has made to hide his theocratic intent. I invent nothing: I tell you the whole truth.

    And I don’t “hate Senator Monroe.” You’re imagining things to make your weak arguments easier. I oppose Senator Monroe’s efforts to use the force of the state to impose his religion on others, which is bad for civil society and for any religion.

    Now, Brian, would you care to try again with an honest, full-context assessment of what Senator Monroe is up to?

  23. Brian Johnson

    Hold on…..you’re asking ME to be honest? Seriously? That’s rich….

    Let’s review how this works. YOU made the claim “Monroe Tries Again to Sneak Religion into Science Class” and since YOU made the claim it is up to YOU to defend that claim. I don’t have to refute it because YOU made the claim. This is logic 101.

    So go ahead and tell all of us how Monroe is trying to ‘sneak religion’ into the classroom through this bill. I’m looking for actual evidence and not just your wild speculations and personal opinions …..which is what we know you’re about to try and do because you don’t actually have any real evidence to submit but I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and see what you come up with. No dodging allowed. Real evidence, or you can just admit you don’t like the guy and his political position and are simply trying to smear him to your readers. You know, through fake news.

  24. Teaching phony Christian science along side of real science is what they hope for.

    Radical conservatives are NOT just ‘different’ than everyone else – they’re a bunch of crazy idiots afflicted by psychological disorder(s).

  25. Better yet, Brian, or Senator Monroe, or anyone else who thinks SB 55 is useful legislation, give me an example in which any South Dakota teacher has been, is or potentially may be “prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards.”

    What specific school policies is SB 55 meant to supersede?

    What administrators, school boards, parent groups, or other entities have interfered with helping students in the fashion prescribed?

    In what situations might teachers invoke the protection of SB 55 that teachers currently find themselves without protection?

    I ask these questions because, in response to Brian’s latest attack, I can’t figure out what SB 55 is meant to achieve. If it achieves things that are already done by current law, policy, and practice, then it is redundant and can be sent to the 41st day. If it does something else, it’s text does not state that purpose, and it must have some hidden motive. The explanations Senator Monroe has given in the past indicate it’s about pushing his religion into the science classroom. If anyone can give me a practical example to the contrary, please share.

    But this isn’t “fake news”, Brian. “Fake news” is blatant lies. I’m not lying. I’m pointing out the full context of a deceitful bill.

    Funny: you’d think Christians like Monroe wouldn’t be into deceit and dissembling. You’d think they’d just tell us straightforwardly what they are trying to do.

  26. Oh, and since Brian wants to play logician, let’s note that the ultimate burden of proof lies with the person advocating new legislation. If Senator Monroe can’t establish that a problem exists, that it causes substantial harm, and that the status quo can’t solve it, then he can’t justify passing a new law. Even if he can prove a harmful problem that won’t go away on its own, he has to show us how the language of his legislation solves it. A practical example would help make his case.

    The practical examples Monroe has pursued in the past are all about forcing fake science and his religion into public school classrooms.

  27. Douglas Wiken

    My son had elementary teachers in the Winner School District who refused to teach anything about evolution or geology indicating the earth was eons old even if it was in the textbooks the school used.

    The problem is not teaching incorrect science, it is in ignoring proven valid scientific theories and evidence.

  28. Brian Johnson

    Aaaaaaaand you’re dodging. Go figure. Seems you can’t give any evidence that this bill has ANYTHING to do with ‘sneaking’ religion into science class. If you can’t give any evidence for the claim in your article do you know what’s that’s called? FAKE NEWS. By definition.

    Not being able to defend your claim with even a shred of evidence is….are you ready…..LYING. By definition. You are saying something that you know is factually untrue. That’s a lie. Not sure why you don’t recognize this unless, of course, you don’t care that you’re lying to your readers but to anyone reading this they all now know you can’t back up your claim, you’re lying, and you’re using fake news to smear Monroe. You couldn’t be more obvious in your intent.

    Congratulations, you’ve just become the BuzzFeed of South Dakota.

  29. Mr. Johnson, The questions are below. You can do like Evans does and bracket them for clarification, but do answer them as I am curious myself.

    Cory said “Better yet, Brian, or Senator Monroe, or anyone else who thinks SB 55 is useful legislation, give me an example in which any South Dakota teacher has been, is or potentially may be “prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards.”

    What specific school policies is SB 55 meant to supersede?

    What administrators, school boards, parent groups, or other entities have interfered with helping students in the fashion prescribed?

    In what situations might teachers invoke the protection of SB 55 that teachers currently find themselves without protection?”

    Go ahead then, show that Cory where he is mistaken.

  30. So Douglas, let’s be generous. Let’s assume Monroe is really concerned about situations like the one you describe, where teachers (multiple? Wow!) refuse to teach valid scientific concepts that align with the state’s curriculum standards. Would Monroe’s bill do anything to address the irresponsible teaching you saw?

  31. Brian, you keep trying to make this about me but refuse to address specific issues. Let’s review:

    You said I hadn’t read the bill. I not only read it multiple times, looking for any sign if its real intent, I quoted it in full at the top of the original post.

    You said I offered no evidence. In the original post, I explained the history of Monroe’s education-related legislation. I provided links to his past bills on this topic, showing the evolution of his language. I provided links to my past writing on the topic explaining the evidence and my conclusions therefrom. One of those links (“bad idea in 2016“) leads to a link to a January 31, 2016, Patrick Anderson article in which…

    1. Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, says Monroe’s 2016 bill (which has identical language to this year’s SB 55) would open the public classroom door to Creationism, a religious doctrine;
    2. Julie Olson, Mitchell science teacher and president of the SD Science Teachers Association, said teachers working with theories based on factual evidence don’t need Monroe’s legislation;
    3. Olson said Monroe and his co-sponsors were “trying to sneak in the discussion on intelligent design…. If that’s what they want taught they should at least say it.”
    4. Monroe himself complained about the standards directing teachers to have students explain the Big Bang Theory, which he contends forces students to (Anderson’s words) “swallow the idea that the universe was created billions of years ago….”
    5. Monroe cited a clause in his 2016 bill that said it did not “promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine”, but Monroe has removed that clause from this year’s bill

     
    My original post offers context and evidence that support the claims I make. I met the burden you demand before you demanded it… which is what I usually do when I blog: meet the basic requirements of good documentation and analysis.

    The ball is now in SB 55 supporters’ court. Monroe, Brian, and others now need to…

    1. show that the argument and evidence I present in my original post and in past posts, that Monroe has offered this bill and similar past bills with religious intent, are not valid, and,
    2. demonstrate practical situations in which SB 55 would provide protections that teachers do not have under current law.

     
    SB 55 must clear hurdle #1 to overcome the First Amendment critique. SB 55 must clear hurdle #2 to overcome my conservative Republican/policy debate critique, that we do not pass new laws that we do not need.

  32. (Hey, Grudz! What do you want: more concise posts, which leave the door open for guys like Brian to come shout “Fake News!!!” or lengthy, source-rich posts that thoroughly quash any such distracting and baseless rebuttals?)

  33. Johnson calling Corys facts fake news is as true as Trumps stumbling rambling yesterday being called a ‘press conference’

    Answer the questions Johnson.

  34. Douglas Wiken

    I am not arguing in favor of Monroe. There are probably more errors in the direction of religion improperly influencing curricula then the other way around. The other problem is textbooks which have been approved by the state of Texas. As for non-church schools, gods should be as dead as any T-rex.

  35. Brian Johnson

    You really think that meets the burden? Let’s discuss.

    1,2 and 3 are “Well these other people think that’s what he’s doing” which apparently makes it true. This isn’t evidence. This is just other people’s opinions and conjecture.

    Number 4 has nothing to do with this year’s bill at all nor does it have to do with ‘sneaking religion into the science class’.

    Number 5 yet again backs up my argument. Nowhere in the bill is the word ‘religion’ even mentioned which proves your dishonesty in your claim.

    It’s obvious you’ve never taken a logic class before. Opinions and pure speculation, whether it be from you or anyone else, doesn’t actually constitute evidence towards someones intentions.

    You’re now trying to weasel your way out of backing up your claim by pushing the burden of proof back on me. Not my deal. YOU made the claim. YOU need to back it up and it’s not my job to give you anything. I never made a claim.

    You did precisely what I predicted you would do in my earlier reply. You first dodged giving any evidence and then followed it up by giving nothing but your own opinions and wild speculations along with those of others. Can you give a quote from something Monroe said concerning this years bill? An article he wrote where he said he wants religion in the science class and this bill is the one that will do it? ANYTHING?

  36. Douglas, I’m clear on your intention. I just recognize that Monroe’s bill would do nothing to address such bad, biased teachers as you mention.

    I’m also clear on Brian’s intention. He’s far more interested in talking about me, mostly so he has an excuse to call me “weasel” and make other baseless but more brutishly satisfying personal attacks so he can dismiss this critique without facing its substance.

    Brian, I have provided evidence for my claim, before and after your propaganda effort. I have cited two expert evaluations of comparable Monroe legislation. You don’t get to dismiss expert opinions by simply noting that they are “opinions.” You have to demonstrate a flaw in those opinions. My context for the bill (which Brian persistently ignores) supports those opinions and my contention that SB 55 is theocracy in sheep’s clothing.

    4 has everything to do with this bill because it is a concrete example of the kind of teaching that Monroe says requires this kind of legislation.

    5 backs up my argument: Monroe had a bill last year that at least pretended not to push religion. He has removed that pretense from SB 55, indicating there’s all the more opportunity for SB 55 to serve as an excuse to preach creationism and other religious dogma in the science classroom.

    No matter what credence legislators give my argument about the intent of SB 55, the Legislature will still need to hear the merits of SB 55, and Brian has offered none. Brian, I’m now looking for your defense of Monroe’s claim that we need this legislation. Why does SB 55 matter? What does it do?

    [Fun language note: when someone says, “It’s obvious,” that’s often a sign that he’s making stuff up and hoping people think it’s a solid argument. I have taken a logic class.]

  37. Darin Larson

    Cory, [Warning: sarcasm ahead] Monroe took the word “religion” out of the bill from last year and the year before and the year before, so clearly the bill is no longer about religion. It must be about freedom. Who could be against freedom? The freedom to impose one’s own religious beliefs on others is a beautiful thing.

    I mean, Monroe’s reasons for bringing the bill must have changed as well, or he wouldn’t have taken the word “religion” out of the bill? It’s not that he wants to pass his bill on the fourth attempt to insert his religion into our classrooms. No, No, that’s not logical. It’s logic 101 that if he changes one word in the bill, then you ignore everything that happened previously. That’s just irrefutable logic, sir.

    What’s more, you have the word and expert opinion of none other than Brian Johnson. Well, I guess if Brian Johnson said it, then that’s good enough for me. The opinion of an anonymous troll on the internet is as good as anyone else’s opinion. I mean, it’s not like Monroe has stated his intent to introduce his religious beliefs into law. What, you say he did that already? Oh, he wrote a bill to that effect in 2014? Oh, then never mind!

  38. Brian Johnson

    And still dodging. Go figure.

    “I have cited two expert evaluations of comparable Monroe legislation. You don’t get to dismiss expert opinions by simply noting that they are “opinions.”

    I most certainly do get to dismiss it when it’s….ummmm…..someone’s ‘opinion’ which is all that was. “Expert evaluations”. HA! That’s funny! Nice try.

    Tell you what BuzzFeed. If you can ever show…..wait…..if you can ever HONESTLY show where religion is in “No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48” then you let me know. Otherwise I think it’s time we allowed our children to be educated instead of indoctrinated which is what you’re obviously in favor of.

  39. bearcreekbat

    Brian misunderstands the rules of evidence and the role opinion evidence plays in helping a jury or judge in making factual determinations. Expert opinions have long been admissible, so Brian thinks he can get around that by demeaning Cory’s reliance on the opinions he described. Unfortunately for Brian that summary dismissal of these folks’ expertise does not assist Brian’s “lack of evidence” argument. See for example, Federal Rule of Evidence 701, which provides:

    Rule 701. Opinion Testimony by Lay Witnesses
    If a witness is not testifying as an expert, testimony in the form of an opinion is limited to one that is:

    (a) rationally based on the witness’s perception;

    (b) helpful to clearly understanding the witness’s testimony or to determining a fact in issue; and

    (c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_701

    Glenn Branch and Julie Olson would likely qualify as “experts” under the Federal Rules of Evidence based on the qualifications Cory cited. But even if they aren’t considered “experts” their opinions seem to meet the criteria under Rule 701 and constitute actual “evidence.” Sorry Brian, try again.

  40. Brian Johnson

    Well this isn’t a court of law but I’ll tell you what Bear. I’ll go find people that agree with my opinion, quote them, arbitrarily call their conjectured opinions ‘expert evaluations’, and then, according you and Cory’s logic, I win. Must be nice living in a world of relativism! There is no truth except what each individual decides is true apparently. Interesting worldview. Too bad it doesn’t match reality.

    Listen, it’s pretty clear that Cory is a bit bigoted against Monroe and apparently against his religion as well. Cory apparently thinks that since Monroe is religious then everything he does is religiously influenced. One doesn’t follow from another but when you hate a person or their religion you try everything to demonize it (them). That’s obviously Cory’s mission here. It’s nothing more than a witch hunt as I noticed he did last year as well.The truth doesn’t matter. What matters is vomiting hate on those that don’t think like you do. Not much tolerance in that but I don’t think that’s what he’s going for. He’s un-apologetically BuzzFeed. The fake news blog of South Dakota.

  41. What is Monroe’s religion? Something in tongues like NOem’s I would bet. How do you translate what they say?

  42. bearcreekbat

    Brian, I merely pointed out your error in asserting Cory failed to present evidence. Of course, you have the right to reject any evidence that you dislike, but it is simply factually incorrect to assert that “opinions” do not or cannot constitute evidence. And if you find lay people who have an opinion that Monroe’s bill has nothing to do with religion, you can certainly put that forward if it makes you more comfortable with your position.

  43. Darin Larson

    Yes, Brian tell us all about how Monroe’s bill magically transforms from a bill based upon pushing Monroe’s own religious beliefs into an innocuous academic freedom bill when he removes a couple words. We don’t need opinion or conjecture. We have Monroe’s own words and his own bill written to push his version of pseudo-science. One minute Monroe was worried about pushing his version of science based upon his religion and the next minute you want us to believe that Monroe is no longer concerned with pushing his religious agenda. You telling us that Monroe’s bill has nothing to do with religion is a crock of crap and you know it.

  44. Douglas Wiken

    Monroe’s definition of “science” and “evidence”, etc are the problems buried in this crap legislation. SD may need a law that states individual’s religious myth that derides evolution and paleontology cannot be used in any way to interfere with science and technology instruction in SD schools.

  45. Jerry writes to me:

    Your a science teacher?

    I’m not currently teaching, but yes, I’ve been certified for over twenty years.
    https://apps.sd.gov/de04public/teacherlookup/HQTStatus.aspx?ID=20810&PRFID=-1

    Cory writes:

    Kurt, come at it as a conservative.

    Different people have very different understandings of the word conservative. I’m coming at this as a libertarian.

    The bill text itself serves no purpose not already met by state law, district policies, and professional ethics. That right there should be enough to vote against it as useless clutter.

    Some of the Founding Fathers initially opposed the Bill of Rights, arguing that it was unnecessary because the federal government was already limited to the powers explicitly stated in the Constitution. The counterargument was that the Bill of Rights was a necessary precaution to protect liberty in the future.

    Regardless of whether any teacher is currently prohibited from objectively analyzing the scientific evidence, the bill strikes me as a reasonable precaution against such prohibitions in the future.

    Douglas Wiken writes:

    My son had elementary teachers in the Winner School District who refused to teach anything about evolution or geology indicating the earth was eons old even if it was in the textbooks the school used.

    Few elementary students are sufficiently grounded in observational science to evaluate the inherent assumptions of historical science.

    The problem is not teaching incorrect science, it is in ignoring proven valid scientific theories and evidence.

    I obviously can’t speak for every creationist, but I’m pretty sure most of us would agree with that.

    Jerry writes:

    Parse this http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/02/from_patrick_an102598.html

    Thanks for the link, Jerry. That’s an excellent, informative article.

  46. Evans, Thanks for not teaching. There are some things that are priceless.

  47. Jerry had written to me:

    Your a science teacher?

    I’d replied:

    I’m not currently teaching, but yes, I’ve been certified for over twenty years.
    https://apps.sd.gov/de04public/teacherlookup/HQTStatus.aspx?ID=20810&PRFID=-1

    Jerry writes:

    Evans, Thanks for not teaching. There are some things that are priceless.

    “Your” priceless, Jerry.

  48. I am indeed priceless Evans and so are you for not teaching the nonsense you prattle on about.

  49. “reasonable precaution”—so even Kurt can’t cite a current instance of prohibitions on good teaching and can only appeal to nebulous future harms. Wow—can no one point to an example of current policy or practice in South Dakota public schools that warrants the intervention and protection of SB 55?

    The reason Monroe et al. won’t give examples is that their past examples have made clear the religious intent of this bill.

  50. Brian Johnson

    I listened to last year’s testimony and Monroe cites that he has received emails from teachers that don’t feel like they can talk about scientific things that aren’t in the textbooks for fear of repercussions. I called him and confirmed with him that there are teachers all over the state that feel this way.

    So there are the examples you’re asking for. I think the bigger question is why you want teachers to be scared to teach things that are backed by scientific evidence? I’m left assuming you like oppressing the free speech of teachers in an attempt to avoid educating our kids and instead indoctrinating them? That’s incredibly shallow and hateful don’t you think?

  51. Porter Lansing

    Mr. Johnson … Would you consider it passive aggressive behavior to ask Cory if he’s shallow and hateful? “If you’re posting something to make someone mad, be sure that they care first.”

  52. What scientific things? What policies or practices prohibit them? Those aren’t examples; those are vague, sourceless assertions. I support my statements with specific statements from specific sources that uphold my claim; you do not. Show me one teacher saying what you say Monroe says teachers are saying. And then show me the example of “things that aren’t in the textbooks” aren’t astrology, creationism, or other spiritual, non-scientific bushwah that is omitted from science textbooks for a reason.

    And then, show me how SB 53 provides any protection that doesn’t already exist in statute for the honest teaching of honest science.

    Counterexample to Monroe’s example and your specious, insulting assumption (which is part of the trick the Discovery Institute tries to play with this legislation, which Monroe cribbed right from their model): I work in lots of classrooms. I say lots of things that aren’t in the textbooks. I encourage kids to do the same. No one has taken away my teaching license yet.

  53. Brian Johnson writes:

    I think the bigger question is why you want teachers to be scared to teach things that are backed by scientific evidence? I’m left assuming you like oppressing the free speech of teachers in an attempt to avoid educating our kids and instead indoctrinating them? That’s incredibly shallow and hateful don’t you think?

    It seems to me that the quality of this discussion would improve if everyone on both sides, including me, would make fewer assumptions about the motives of those on the other side.

  54. Bingo, Kurt. Brian and Monroe aren’t seeking knowledge; they’re trying to score political agenda points… and I make that statement not as an assumption but on an analysis of the content of their statements, which have yet to demonstrate any need for SB 55 and which have yet to respond to the evidence that Monroe’s bill is model legislation peddled by the Discovery Institute for the purpose of wedging religious doctrine into science classrooms.

  55. Brian Johnson

    Kurt – I don’t think my assumptions are off base. Based on what Cory has written here and in other blog posts I think he’s made his motives clear. He wants his bleiefs, and ONLY his beliefs taught to the kids. Period.

    Cory – Would you teach Intelligent Design in the classroom? Why or why not?

  56. Insult my professionalism (a frequent tactic of others in the blogosphere who are losing arguments with me), refuse to answer my questions, and then expect me to answer a whole different question? Wow, Brian, the nerve.

    May I take it by your question about what I would teach, Brian, that you are saying Intelligent Design is one of the topics SB 55 intends to protect? Are teachers or students prohibited from discussing that topic now?

    Your assumption about what I would teach has no basis in anything I have written here or in any practice that you can point to in any of my classrooms since 1994. Frankly, Brian, you’re just being insulting and unpleasant, not logical, in hopes of avoiding answering the questions I’ve posed that you apparently can’t or don’t want to answer.

    So try again, Brian: Since SB 55 is cribbed directly from the religiously motivated Discovery Institute, how is SB 55 an effort to wedge religion into public school science classrooms? And what real protection does SB 55 provide that isn’t already in statute, policy, and good professional practice?

  57. The National Center for Science Education sees the cross under Monroe’s thin lab coat:

    South Dakota’s Senate Bill 55, introduced on January 11, 2017, and referred to the Senate Education Committee, appears to be the first antiscience bill of the year.

    …Although no specific scientific topics are mentioned, the language of the bill matches the language in bills aimed at evolution and/or climate change, including South Dakota’s SB 114 in 2015. And the sponsorship is similar: Jeff Monroe (R-District 24), a sponsor of SB 55, also sponsored SB 112 in 2014, which would have prevented school boards and administrators from prohibiting teachers from teaching “intelligent design” [Glenn Branch, “Anti-Science Legislation in South Dakota,” National Center for Science Education, 2017.01.16].

    NCSE is a bunch of scientists who think science class should focus on science.

  58. NCSE offers this response to Brian’s question about teaching intelligent design in science classes:

    Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to “intelligent design,” to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation’s public schools [NCSE, “Project Steve, downloaded 2017.01.17].

  59. I’d written:

    It seems to me that the quality of this discussion would improve if everyone on both sides, including me, would make fewer assumptions about the motives of those on the other side.

    Cory writes:

    Bingo, Kurt. Brian and Monroe aren’t seeking knowledge; they’re trying to score political agenda points… and I make that statement not as an assumption but on an analysis of the content of their statements …

    It seems to me that there are possible motives for their statements other than the one you assert, Cory.

    NCSE is a bunch of scientists who think science class should focus on science.

    Actually the “National Center for Science Education” is open to any far-left political activist who wants to pay its annual $40 membership fee.

    NCSE says its programs are designed “to ensure that evolution and climate change are taught without compromise.” It’s widely regarded by creationists, including me, as the world’s most bitter and dishonest anti-creationist organization.

  60. Douglas Wiken

    Creationism is idiotic lunatic religious mythology that leads to no useful science and continues to mislead millions with false hope and false reality that exists only in their imagination. There is absolutely no reason to allow any of this tripe in any classroom that is not affiliated with one of the religious mythologies.

  61. I’d written:

    Actually the “National Center for Science Education” is open to any far-left political activist who wants to pay its annual $40 membership fee.

    NCSE says its programs are designed “to ensure that evolution and climate change are taught without compromise.” It’s widely regarded by creationists, including me, as the world’s most bitter and dishonest anti-creationist organization.

    Douglas Wiken writes:

    Creationism is idiotic lunatic religious mythology that leads to no useful science and continues to mislead millions with false hope and false reality that exists only in their imagination. There is absolutely no reason to allow any of this tripe in any classroom that is not affiliated with one of the religious mythologies.

    You’d apparently fit right in, Mr. Wiken:
    https://ncse.secure.force.com/donate

    Macroevolution would require an actual net increase in genetic information, and no one in the history of modern science has ever observed a net increase in genetic information due to any mutation or combination of mutations.