Monroe Stealth-Creationism Bill Part of National Push to Deny Science

Will House Education pass science this morning, or will they pass Senate Bill 55?

Senator Jeff Monroe is trying for the fourth year in a row to shove his religion into our science classroom. The Washington Post recognizes his SB 55 is part of a larger trend of science denial:

The bill is one of four that have been introduced so far in 2017 in state legislatures — the others are in Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas  — that would allow science denial in the classroom. Since 2014, at least 60 “academic freedom” bills  — which permit teachers to paint established science as controversial — have been filed in state legislatures all over the country. Louisiana passed one in 2008, and Tennessee did, too, in 2012 [Valerie Strauss, “An ‘Alternative Facts’ South Dakota Bill Sparks Fears for Science Education in the Trump Era,” Washington Post, 2017.02.05].

Let Senator Monroe noodle around in science class, and who knows what happens next….

Strauss reports that SB 55 has drawn criticism from “the South Dakota Department of Education, the School Administrators of South Dakota, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Center for Science Education, the American Institute of Biological Sciences,  the National Council Against Censorship, the Associated School Boards of South Dakota and the South Dakota Education Association.” The National Center for Science Education offers a useful collection of commentary from these organizations.

That’s a lot of people who, unlike Senator Monroe, have devoted their lives to science and education and thus probably know how to help children learn science without any guidance from a part-time legislator.

Tangentially Related: In other news of Republicans rejecting science, the President of the United States got up this morning and declared that “Any negative polls are fake….” You know, in all of my math classes and exercises, I have never seen a theorem that says any negative number is an invalid result. But like Senator Monroe, the President of the United States can’t figure out that the proper response to a disconnect between fact and opinion is to adjust opinion, not deny fact.


23 Responses to Monroe Stealth-Creationism Bill Part of National Push to Deny Science

  1. mike from iowa

    http://www.chronicletimes.com/story/2383082.html

    This should be a MUST attend for all wingnut pols everywhere, This will teach them what different scientists do, if family oriented-for the little ones and the pols- and the joint has its own Planetarium with the very first projector system in iowa for showing the heathens the heavens.

  2. Porter Lansing

    “If you brainwash them, they will stay.” ~ “Field of Schemes”

  3. There is a separation of church and state. If you want your kids to learn creationism, go to church and send them to Sunday school. Kids are surprisingly open minded.

  4. What is the fear of teaching both ideas?

  5. By both ideas, Cindi, do you mean evolution, which is a valid scientific theory, and creationism, which is religious dogma? I’m not afraid to discuss both ideas; I’m just bound by curriculum, standards, professional and intellectual integrity, and the First Amendment not to teach religion in science class.

    But do you really want to turn me loose to teach Creationism in the classroom and show kids why it isn’t science, why it provides us with no useful insights or predictive power? And, if you insist on the merits of allowing me to teacher religious dogma in the classroom, are you ready to allow me to spend public school time pointing out all the weakness of your religious dogma?

    Don’t tease the bear, Cindi. Leave science alone; leave religion out of the science classroom. Both sides are better off that way.

  6. It was deferred to Feb. 13. Is there a subtext there? Will this ever die?

  7. Judy, I don’t think there’s a subtext. I listened to part of the hearing, and the committee seemed to get so bogged down in testimony on HB 1123, on easing requirements for home-schoolers who want to participate in SDHSAA activities, that the committee just ran out of time before everyone had to head to their next meetings at 10 a.m.

  8. Porter Lansing

    Senator Monroe, sir … What type of Christian tries to pass a law written with deception? At least be honest enough to say what you want. Lying is a sin and you well know it.

  9. Mr. H could perhaps, being the teased bear that he is, write up some lessons so other teachers could mirror his classes in their schools. If Mr. Monroe’s law bill happens then it should get turned around on him in just such a manner.

  10. Kurt Drube

    I have found the truth and it is made of pasta. All hail the all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving FSM. Thanks for the reminder Cory.

  11. The bill doesn’t protect teaching religion in science class, but it does protect the freedom of teachers to continue addressing the scientific weaknesses of Darwinian macroevolution.

    I’m a traditional evangelical Christian and a longtime student of scientific creationism, and I’ve been certified to teach high school science in South Dakota since the mid 1990s, but I’d never had anything to do with the Discovery Institute until I ran across the following article today.

    The Top Ten Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution:
    http://www.discovery.org/a/24041

  12. Private Richard

    The Republican party has been overrun by fools and morons opposed to science and the enlightenment. I remember the 1970’s when they were generally not so odious to be around. Now they are the party of the dumbdowned religious right. I despise, yet harbor a fair amount of pathos for them.

  13. Porter Lansing

    GOOGLE…Are the Discovery Institute wackos and the articles are nearly infinite. FAKE SCIENCE ps Stay Away From the Kids, Evans!

  14. mike from iowa

    Kurt Drube- pasta will stick to the wall when thrown. Creationism- not so much.

  15. mike from iowa

    Pence tie breaker vote puts DeVos in charge of destroying public schools. To bad for the kids and teachers.

  16. The Kitzmiller decision found that a local school board lied under oath to hide their religious motivations and that intelligent design is creationism. Citing the Discovery Institute to bolster a desire to preach scientific weaknesses in the classroom is not compelling.

    The strategy of the Discovery Institute is outlined in the wedge document, which describes goals such as the defeat of evolution and desire to “replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions” and to affirm “God’s reality.”

    This is not a neutral or science based organization. The content of their arguments also lack a necessary intellectual vigor that should be present in the science classroom. The standards are there for a reason.
    http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2015/02/20/casey-luskins-top-ten-misunderstandings-of-biology/

  17. Kurt Evans, please stay away from South Dakota public schools and my children.

  18. Denature, bless you.

    Judy, will you let Kurt teach if I team-teach with him? (We might have some fun.)

  19. Yesterday I’d written:

    I’m a traditional evangelical Christian and a longtime student of scientific creationism, and I’ve been certified to teach high school science in South Dakota since the mid 1990s, but I’d never had anything to do with the Discovery Institute until I ran across the following article today.

    Last month I’d thanked Jerry for linking to an article at evolutionnews.org, which I’ve just learned is published by the Discovery Institute, so apparently I’d had at least that much to do with it.

    “Denature” writes:

    The Kitzmiller decision found that a local school board lied under oath to hide their religious motivations and that intelligent design is creationism.

    Judge John Jones said in his ruling that two of the nine board members had lied under oath, not the entire board.

    Citing the Discovery Institute to bolster a desire to preach scientific weaknesses in the classroom is not compelling.

    I’m not merely citing the Discovery Institute. I’m linking to the scientific weaknesses themselves.

    The strategy of the Discovery Institute is outlined in the wedge document, which describes goals such as the defeat of evolution and desire to “replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions” and to affirm “God’s reality.”

    The document doesn’t mention “God’s reality” or the defeat of evolution.

    The content of their arguments also lack a necessary intellectual vigor that should be present in the science classroom.

    That claim leaves me wondering whether you’ve even read the article. Here’s an excerpt:

    “DVDs are rich in information, but without the machinery of a DVD player to read the disk, process its information, and convert it into a picture and sound, the disk would be useless. But what if the instructions for building the first DVD player were only found encoded on a DVD? You could never play the DVD to learn how to build a DVD player. So how did the first disk and DVD player system arise? The answer is obvious: a goal directed process — intelligent design — is required to produce both the player and the disk at the same time.

    “In living cells, information-carrying molecules (e.g. DNA or RNA) are like the DVD, and the cellular machinery which reads that information and converts it into proteins are like the DVD player. Just like the DVD analogy, genetic information can never be converted into proteins without the proper machinery. Yet in cells, the machines required for processing the genetic information in RNA or DNA are encoded by those same genetic molecules — they perform and direct the very task that builds them.”

    The Top Ten Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution:
    http://www.discovery.org/a/24041

  20. Cory, is there any update on this bill? I thought they were going to address it in committee today. I fear it will sneak through.

  21. Paul Pietz

    Kurt Evans, I’ve read most of that article, and most of those claims of problems with evolution would never be taught at the high school level, and not at the 1st year freshman biology class (I took both). That pseudoscientific “think tank” as it describes itself, should focus on proving creationism, which they can’t. Science has never claimed to explain everything, and changes it view based on new information. Poking holes in a theory by saying the theory can’t explain it the hole doesn’t invalidate the theory, which is why scientific research continues.

  22. Paul Pietz writes:

    That pseudoscientific “think tank” as it describes itself, should focus on proving creationism, which they can’t.

    I’ve yet to come across anything “pseudo” in the Discovery Institute’s science.

    Science has never claimed to explain everything, and changes it view based on new information.

    To be precise, scientists sometimes change their views based on new information. Science itself doesn’t have views.

  23. Judy, House Education continues to delay.