Academic Freedom Bills Under Siege

Can students question explanations based on evolution in public schools? Does this imply that public schools would be teaching creationism or intelligent design alongside evolution? Back when the Louisiana Academic Freedom Act,” was filed on March 21, 2008, and then modified into the “Louisiana Science Education Act” which included all areas of science. A storm of protests from special interests like the NCSE, and militant atheists alike in their blogs were all claiming the bill would teach creationism to the students!

Almost five years later, we are observing some of the same attacks with the latest Academic Freedom Bills! Some of which are more bizarre this time around along with lying about its contents…

Consider this example coming from the guardian

“Four US states are considering new legislation about teaching science in schools, allowing pupils to be taught religious versions of how life on earth developed in what critics say would establish a backdoor way of questioning the theory of evolution.”

“A watchdog group, the National Center for Science Education, said that the proposed laws were framed around the concept of “academic freedom”. It argues that religious motives are disguised by the language of encouraging more open debate in school classrooms. However, the areas of the curriculum highlighted in the bills tend to focus on the teaching of evolution or other areas of science that clash with traditionally religious interpretations of the world.”

Exactly what “religious versions” are they talking about? They didn’t specify on how they came to such a bizarre conclusion! They have excellent first hand information now as other states have passed bills similar to this one and it’s been a few years or so since passage, like Texas which is another example to the “Louisiana Science Education Act”, perhaps the best example so far!

Texas science standards have been a pleasant surprise to say the least because its standards changed for the better, with stronger language than ever before! It was a huge victory for empirical science and a stunning loss for the opposition who almost had a heart attack! lol  So again I ask, where are those religious versions being taught in those schools as mentioned by the guardian? They know fully well that it’s against the law to teach creationism in the public schools.

In Texas, their legislation says this…

“In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”

“Analyze and evaluate the evidence regarding formation of simple organic molecules and their organization into long complex molecules having information such as the DNA molecule for self-replicating life…analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.”

What does this new legislation say? Let’s take a look!

“Public school authorities and administrators must permit teachers to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in a given course.

We know that militant Darwinists have elevated evolution to a cult rather than science. Why? They want to formulate the students opinions which favor evolution, the last thing they want is students doubting evolution while learning about it.

Live Science, Larry O’Hanlon called the new legislation anti-science! He writes

“Anti-science bills are popping up like daisies after a spring shower. Five bills in four states have been introduced with the opening of state legislatures across the United States. All of the bills are aimed at undermining the teaching of biology and physical science — specifically, evolution and climate change — in public schools.” 

Where in the bill does it target specifically, evolution and global warming? Any fair-minded reader can acknowledge when reading the wording in the new legislation that it contains nothing about the Bible, evolution, creation, or “climate change.”  

Like the guardian, Larry O’Hanlon lies and then turns into a conspiracy…

“It is almost identical language in all of the bills,” said Rosenau. “It’s a package of bills that we’ve been tracking since the 2004 ‘Academic Freedom’ bill.” That bill, which was passed into law, was based on language generated by the Discovery Institute, which has long pushed for the inclusion of biblical creationism and pseudo-scientific “intelligent design” into science classes in public schools.”

The Discovery Institute? They didn’t write the bills! They endorse the bills no question about that, and they also give legal advice to lawmakers (when asked) in order to avoid legal challenges. The Discovery Institute doesn’t endorse using the Bible in public schools either. The modern intelligent movement is more like theistic evolution than creationism but does have valid scientific arguments against evolution. Also, The Discovery Institute doesn’t even endorse intelligent design being taught in the public schools!

Larry O’Hanlon and others who concoct a conspiracy story by using fallacies is because creationism cannot be taught legally in public schools so therefore they lie about objective critical thinking legislation, creationism, and intelligent design teaching concepts from the Bible.

What about this whole concept of having students having the option of objectively questioning all theories which includes evolution? Paleoanthropology like cosmology is riddled with an enormous amount of speculation. Take Neandertal man, evolutionists painted a picture of this ancient tribe as being sub-human, communicated with grunts, spent most of his time sitting in a cave with not much talent to speak of but showcased him as being “so-dimwitted.”. Creationists for years challenged that idea. It lacked scientific evidence while mainly relying on speculation for its facts.

But new discoveries have put Paleoanthropology to shame and confirmed creationists arguments!

A) Research has shown that stone tool technologies invented by modern humans from the past were no more efficient than the ones produced by Neanderthal man.

B) Broad use of land resources with scheduling resource use by the seasons.

C) Neandertal’s genome showed modern humans and Neanderthals have very little differences. “…new research published online May 6 (2010) in the journalScience reveals that we differ hardly at all.”

D) Europeans and Asians share about 1% to 4% of their nuclear DNA with Neanderthals, indicating that there was substantial interbreeding that went on between modern man and Neanderthals. This is very important evidence which blows away the story used within evolution because when species can interbreed then they are the same species!

E) A research team back in 2008, had examined shells that were used as containers to mix and store pigments. Black sticks of the pigment manganese, which may have been used as body paint by Neanderthals, have previously been discovered in Africa. The discovery lead researchers to think that Neanderthal man is not “so-dimwitted” as previously suggested.

Even gravity is questioned because of dark matter! One scientist told me, of course, questioning is allowed. However, just by looking at the fight that is going on with these various bills over the years, any fair-minded reader would know, questioning explanations based on evolution is not allowed but rather discouraged.

Scientists are not infallible, planetary scientists predict a whole bunch of things in our solar system but when directly observed from a space craft, their predictions are way off! Is it good for science to hold on to theories without questioning like a cult? No! Science progresses, evolution digresses which taints the practice of the scientific method!


10 thoughts on “Academic Freedom Bills Under Siege

  1. Michael: ” … special interests like the NCSE … ”

    How can we ever take you seriously if you keep talking “special interests” ??

  2. Eelco,

    Special interests have one goal in mind, for example…NCSE lobbies government for a particular view on science. When I see reporters using similar language as the NCSE, they are also put into the special interest group because they are working for that same goal…Speaking of which, how can anyone take the media seriously when they lie about proposed laws? Now what is the difference between my endorsement of the bills and special interests from the other side? I already addressed that in the post, but to specify even more, the bills do not promote creationism, while creationism agrees with critical thinking in science, the critical thinking they are talking about is only within the framework of evolution. The reason why the likes of Answers In Genesis, and the modern intelligent movement are not advocating teaching creationism and intelligent design in the public school is because like the media which endorses evolution, they feel their position would not get a fair shake. It’s also another reason why the media lies about the proposed laws.

    For instance, Science Wars : What Scientists Know and How They Know It by Steven L. Goldman which is produced by the teaching company. In his lectures, he talks about intelligent design. His argument was, ID couldn’t be a science because of the belief in an intelligent cause and if people believe their is an intelligent cause, research in nature would drop off the map because we know who created it…That’s building up a straw man to knock down. Of course, there is nothing wrong about researching and finding out how storms form which is the example he brings up. It’s all in the design of nature! Creationists believe God is very advanced, so there is a lot to learn about nature! But it is interesting to note, that was his strongest argument he had against intelligent design which turns out to be a very weak argument which doesn’t represent intelligent design.

  3. Special interests have one goal in mind, for example…NCSE lobbies government for a particular view on science.

    Under your own definition, creationism is a special interest. It has only one goal in mind: to see all of science brought under the pall of the Bible.

    So cut the crap about special interests. It’s a mental rut for you, just like “hard-earned” tax dollars, “liberal” science, and many others. Avoid clichés. Avoid them like the plague. They’re like waving a red flag in front of bull. Most of them are as old as the hills anyway.

  4. Missouri. How about Missouri?

    House Bill 291, introduced last week, not only allows “design” to be taught, but mandates it, if evolution is taught.[0]

    The bill’s definition of “biological evolution”[1] covers the entire field of the origin and ascent of life by any naturalistic means whatever. So, if a biology course teaches variation, OR mutation, OR natural selection, OR adaptation, OR “millions of years,” then it must also teach “biological intelligent design”,[2] which is described in eleven (count ’em!) paragraphs. Presumably all of these 11 concepts must be taught if any form of evolution is even whispered in the classroom. These concepts include, among others—
    >> That there are no plausible mechanisms showing the development of species from lower organisms.
    >> Growth, reproduction, repair, metabolism, and “autonomous mobility” imply design.
    >> Random mutations can only decrease the degradation from an initial designed state of “original species.”
    >> All “exhibits of recurring discrete symbols from a set of symbols arranged in a specific sequence which store information and can be read by human intelligence, is [sic] itself the result of intelligence.”

    Not only must “biological intelligent design” be taught, but it must be given equal time to any naturalistic theory, and textbooks must devote an equal amount of space to it. So, let’s say, a biology textbook of 1500 pages would have to include another 1500 pages on the concepts of intelligent design Good luck—even the Discovery Institute probably cannot dredge up 1500 pages on intelligent design.

    So, is this new sinkhole of a statute limited to biological evolution? No. It applies to all “standard science.” This nonce term includes “physics, chemistry, biology, health, physiology, genetics, astronomy, cosmology, geology, paleontology, anthropology, ecology, climatology, or other science topics.”

    Does it apply only to elementary and high schools, as all other states’ efforts have? Again, no. The same restrictions apply to “any introductory science course taught at any public institution of higher education in this state” Biology 101 at Mizzou must teach intelligent design right along with the Bible Thumpers of Billy Graham middle school in East Overshoe. And good luck finding a college text that even mentions ID.

    This bill sails far beyond waters that even the Discovery Institute has charted.[3] It is lengthy, sloppily written and even seems to contradict itself in places. The bill has not been scheduled for committee hearings, and opinion is that it will see no further action before the legislature recesses in May. After that, it may die peacefully in its sleep.[4]


    [0] SSMo 174.890 sec. 1 (3)(a) ” (b) “If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught.” In a show of munificence, it goes on to say: “Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught.” So I suppose I could teach the scientologists’ credo that humans originated as thetans transported to earth by Galactic Overlord Xenu from a federation of 76 planets that formed 75 million years ago. After all, the statute section also states “teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course.”

    [1] RSMo 170.018 sec. 2(2).

    [2] RSMo 170.018 sec. 2(3)

    [3] Michael correctly says that “Also, The Discovery Institute doesn’t even endorse intelligent design being taught in the public schools!” They deathly fear getting dragged into yet another court case and having ID again branded as a purely religious theory.

    [4] As happened to a predecessor, HB 179, and others from 2010 and 2004.

    app to K-1 + intro college

  5. The reason why the likes of Answers In Genesis, and the modern intelligent movement are not advocating teaching creationism and intelligent design in the public school is because like the media which endorses evolution,[0] they feel their position would not get a fair shake.

    Michael, that is</strong a lie.

    Remember what happened when they did advocate teaching creationism in the schools? They got dragged all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and got soundly drubbed. Several times. Then intelligent design was exposed as creationism lite,[1] and got socked again.

    One would have to be a drywall installer who brags that he finished high school, such as the sponsor of Missouri HB 291, to be dumb enough to try that again.

    Creationism has had all the “fair shakes” it wants from the federal courts.


    [0] Read that one again, Michael. I don’t think you meant to say that reporters who endorse evolution will not get a fair shake. Or was that a thinking error rather than a grammatical error?

    [1] We all remember “cdesign proponentists,” don’t we? Kitzmiller v Dover may technically apply only to one district of one state. But there is not a federal judge in the whole country who would overturn it. The Disco ‘Tute knows this.

  6. Almost five years later, we are observing some of the same attacks with the latest Academic Freedom Bills! Some of which are more bizarre this time around along with lying about its [sic] contents…

    Michael, you need to understand the difference between a lie and an opinion. The Guardian article nowhere said that the bills themselves spoke to evolution directly. The reporter’s opinion was that the bill was intended to have the effect of denigrating evolution.

    The Guardian article is typical of many others. None of them, AFAIK, has misrepresented the content of the bills. On the other hand, there is overwhelming evidence that the intended effect is to eliminate the teaching of evolution inj the public schools.[1]

    We realize that your concept of a lie includes anything you disagree with. However, this is not the accepted definition of that word.


    [1] These days, to get a good grounding in evolutionary biology, you need to go to a Catholic school. Ironic, no?

  7. Montana’s soi-disant “academic freedom” bill went on life support. The bill has been tabled in the Education Committee–which means it is highly unlikely it will ever be approved by the committee, much less presented to the full legislature.

    This bill started life with language that required the teaching of intelligent design, but was watered down even before it hit the committee floor..

    The Sensuous Curmudgeon reports that the only speaker in favor of the bill was its sponsor, a freshman representative who has trouble with elementary logical coherence. Several dozen professors, teachers, and citizens testified in opposition.

    The Discovery Institute must have reached the bottom of the barrel on this one.

  8. Oklahoma will be considering an “academic freedom” bill that would prevent penalizing students who attempt to debunk scientific theories, even if the theorie4s are universally accepted by scientists. ESPECIALLY evolution and climate change. Mother Jones reports.

    But the bill is not about religion. Oh no, not at all. Not a bit.

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