Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act

SB 320 has been introduced by Senator Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso in Oklahoma. The bill consists of these particulars…

Encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.

Such educational authorities in this state shall also endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies.”

The most hated language when it comes to teaching science for militant defenders of evolution is also included…

“Neither the State Board of Education, nor any district board of education, district superintendent or administrator, or public school principal or administrator shall prohibit any teacher in a school district in this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.”

Yes, the language of “strengths and weakness” of scientific theories is included with the bill. Mind you, special interests only believe in strengths even though theories can change due to new data or discoveries. The NCSE to my surprise, has yet to make claims that HB 320 will be teaching Creationism or ID in the public schools like they did with HB 2526 back in 2006. Although their website does call it an “antievolution” bill.

The bill does have a disclaimer on it..

“This act only protects the teaching of scientific information, and this act shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”

“On the contrary, the intent is to create an environment in which both the teacher and students can openly and objectively discuss the facts and observations of science, and the assumptions that underlie their interpretation.”

The bill is pretty much neutral concerning the teaching of science in a public schools. However, it’s much better to teach creationism at home or in a private school than to leave it to the public schools even if it was allowed.

“Science isn’t neutral” one blogger asserts. Indeed it is in itself like conducting experiments, just like there are weaknesses in scientific theories as well. To teach students science only has strengths, but some of those strengths are changeable is not teaching realistic science but rather dogma. The bill is scheduled for it’s first reading on February 2, 2009.

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