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Oklahoma creationism bill would award ignorance in the classroom

Oklahoma creationism bill would award ignorance in the classroom

Oklahoma HB 1674, one of several bills under the guise of 'academic freedom' that seeks to infiltrate science with religious myth has been introduced by Republican State Representative Gus Blackwell.

The Oklahoma Common Education committee is considering the bill, which would further blur the lines between science and religion in public schools.

According to a story filed by Mother Jones,

"…the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change."

Blackwell, who spent two decades working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, stated,

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

"[These bills are] a kind of code for people who are opposed to teaching climate change and evolution.

'Students can't say because I don't believe in this, I don't want to learn it. They have to learn it in order to look at the weaknesses."

Mother Jones points out,

"Stated another way, students could make untestable, faith-based claims in science classes without fear of receiving a poor mark."

According to the story, the Education Project Director at the National Center for Science Education, Eric Meikle, responded,

"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. 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."

For more information, commentary and relevant links, please read the rest of the story at Mother Jones.

About Al Stefanelli

Al is a retired author, writer and journalist. His books include "Free Thoughts - A Collection Of Essays By An American Atheist" and "A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World - The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth." Al began writing in 1985, starting with the New York Times. In 1993 he joined a McClatchy newspaper, writing a weekly column for ten years. His writing continues to be widely distributed on the Internet and in print. He also produced and hosted a weekly syndicated radio broadcast from 1995 to 1998, and his work won a North Carolina Journalism award in 1998. Al is the former Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc., and served on the Board of Directors for "The Clergy Project." He is also a former Southern Baptist Pastor, having served two churches and as pulpit supply for three counties. Currently, he writes part time for The God Discussion, co-hosts the Internet radio programs, "The God Discussion Show" and "Reap Sow Radio." Al lives in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, GA.
  • Paul Burnett

    Biology Teacher: "Describe how natural selection and random mutation work." Student: "Jesus!" (Legal answer under Gus Blackwell's HB 1674)

    Geology Teacher: "How old is the earth?" Student: "Jesus" (Legal answer under Gus Blackwell's HB 1674)

    Soon to come: Math Teacher: "How much is 2 + 2?" Student: "Jesus!" (Legal answer under Gus Blackwell's next version of HB 1674)

    Soon to come: English Teacher: "Spell CAT." Student: "Jesus" (Legal answer under Gus Blackwell's next version of HB 1674)

    Why would anybody encourage such willful ignorance and scientific illiteracy? Answer: "Jesus!"

    • Deborah_B

      Meanwhile, the United States falls farther behind other nations in education, particularly math and science.

  • Peter

    It is sad to see. A nation that put a men on the moon is regressing. Meanwhile the rest of the world can not believe what is happening. How did it come to this? For those who know their history the Roman Empire comes to mind. How very tragic.

    • seansd

      Don't worry, China will take our astronauts back to the moon. For a price….

  • http://www.dregstudios.com Brandt Hardin

    Here in TN they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

  • Pingback: Oklahoma House Education Committee passes 'Creationism Bill | God Discussion

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