Colorado Creationism Bill Dies in Committee

The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 5 2013 3:20 PM

Colorado Creationism Bill Dies in Committee

Teach the controversy!
This picture can only come true if we clone dinosaurs, proving evolution is correct.

Image credit:Teach the Controversy t-shirts

Yay! That awful “academic freedom” bill designed to allow the teaching of antievolution and global warming denial in Colorado schools has been sent to an early, and well-deserved, grave. This isn’t unexpected, given the House Appropriations Committee has a majority of democratic members; the bill was sponsored entirely by Republicans. Still, it’s a relief.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

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

The bill would have "encouraged teachers to misrepresent the scientific staus of evolution and climate change", as the National Center for Science Education so aptly phrased it. To be clear, science is based on the idea of questioning its findings—that’s how we learn, and how science grows stronger. But those questions must be fair, and must be evidence-based, and should ideas be overturned, the new ones must have even stronger evidence than what they replace.

Advertisement

That was never the intent of this bill. It was proposed by conservative religious legislators who deny the science of evolution and global warming, simply trying to introduce baseless doubt into students’ minds. This has long been the strategy of creationists, who have suffered a string of legislative defeats in recent years. That’s why we even have “Intelligent Design” in the first place; it was an attempt to circumvent laws making it illegal to endorse religion in the classroom. Never forget that; it was an important part of the Kitzmiller case, perhaps the most humiliating defeat for the forces of antiscience.

I’ll note that NCSE reports that the ironically named Discovery Institute—the leading font of Intelligent Design nonsense—claims it helped draft the bill, and testified to support it. Appearing against the bill? Why, only the Colorado Association of School Boards, the Colorado Education Association, and the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education.

Huh. How about that?

I won’t shed a tear over the Discovery Institute losing yet another case, though it ought to be schadenfreudingly interesting to see how they react, given their reality-challenged recent rant about me. I leave it to the reader to count up the number of misleading statements and logical fallacies in that article. Better have a calculator handy. This article by the Sensuous Curmudgeon may help.

Anyway, my thanks to the reality-based legislators who killed this awful piece of nonsense, and to everyone who took the time to contact their legislators and tell them what they thought.

It’s vitally important that we make our voices heard to our lawmakers, especially when it comes to politics that make us worse as a nation, not better. Colorado children now have a better chance of learning what real science is, and not some strawman version of it forced upon them.

…and for those of you who live in Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas, the fight continues.

Tip o’ the Piltdown tooth to Alex Shuffell for the link to the Sensuous Curmudgeon posts.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 3:59 PM The Trailer for Taken 3 Is Here, and Guess Who’s on His Phone Again
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.