Breaking news: Colorado Antiscience Bill Is “DOA”

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Jan. 25 2013 9:03 PM

BREAKING: Colorado Anti-Evolution Bill Is “DOA”

Very hopeful news: Representative Claire Levy (D-District 13), the Chair of the Colorado House Appropriations Committee, said a bill that would allow “academic freedom”—code for allowing creationism to be taught in the classroom—is “DOA”.

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Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

She appeared on Denver’s AM 760 radio talking to host Geoff Berg (she comes on at the 19:30 mark). He asked her about the bill, and she replied:

“The bill looks innocuous enough when you read it…but when you look beneath the surface it’s pretty obvious it’s…allowing science teachers to teach creationism and deny global warming. Democrats are about teaching real science and giving students a good education. So I don’t think it’ll make it out of committee.”
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Berg later said, “It sounds [like], at least from what you’re saying, that House Bill 13-1089 is DOA.” And Ms. Levy replied, “Ah, yeah, I think that’s safe to say.”

Since the committee membership is majority Democrat—the bill was submitted and sponsored solely by conservative Republicans—I am inclined to think she’s correct. She said it would never make it to the floor for a vote. Mind you, it has not yet been voted on by the committee. I’ll report on that when I hear more, but it sounds like it’ll be voted down when that happens.

I am very glad to hear this! As I wrote the other day, this bill is not at all about academic freedom. As we have seen over and again, and as Ms. Levy correctly points out, creationists push legislation like this to allow the teaching of religion in the classroom. It’s under the guise of allowing students to question scientific ideas, but since it specifically points out evolution and global warming, the antiscience impetus behind the bill is clear.

I am, of course, all for students and teachers discussing strengths and weaknesses of ideas; teaching kids to be critical thinkers is, well, critical. But that is clearly not the intent of this bill. It is a wedge, a gateway to allow teachers to discuss religious or politically-motivated ideologies. And that, you can be very sure, is not what science is about.

I will continue to update this as I know more. I expect to have more to say in a couple of days.

[Thanks to Geoff Berg for sending me a note about this on Twitter.]