Missouri House Bill 1227
Teach the controversy
|In your congress|
Missouri House Bill 1227 is a blatantly creationist bill in the 96 General Assembly of Missouri. Thankfully, it's highly unlikely to pass - even one of its proponents, Republican Sue Allen, is prepared to admit it. This does not make the bill itself any better.
The bill would "amend chapters 170 and 174, RSMo, by adding ... two new sections relating to standard science instruction." These sections would be 170.018 and 174.890. The bills sponsor is Republican Rick Brattin, the operator of a drywall firm and who freely admits that he has "no advanced scientific expertise or training", and that people who do are attacking his bill left right and centre.
The first amendment wishes to call itself the "Missouri Standard Science Act". It begins by listing a large number of definitions for use in the bill, including "Biological evolution"; "Biological intelligent design"; "Destiny"; "Scientific theory"; and "Standard science". The definitions are stereotypical ID nonsense. One of the most important in the later sections is Standard science:
“”"Standard science", knowledge disclosed in a truthful and objective manner and the physical universe without any preconceived philosophical demands concerning origin or destiny. Knowledge is based upon verified empirical data obtained through observation and experimentation and serves as the factual basis for formulae, events, processes, principles, and laws and may be a component of theory, hypothesis, conjecture and extrapolation. Knowledge growth as a result of human endeavor serves as the foundation for the continuous reevaluation of theory, hypothesis, conjecture, and extrapolation to determine their correctness based on supporting or conflicting verified empirical data.
|—Missouri House Bill 1227 170.018.2.11|
The next part of the bill, after the definitions, states that "[a]ll science taught in Missouri public elementary and secondary schools...shall be standard science." It goes on to list the criteria that said science should meet, including such provisions as:
“”If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth's biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course;
|—Missouri House Bill 1227 170.018.3.3b|
In other words: teach creationism, and don't influence students' belief in their imaginary friend.
The amendment goes on to comment on how textbook material should be made available, before finishing up with the demand that exams also give equal time to evolution and ID also.
The second section has no fancy name, and simply reiterates that "[a]ll standard science course materials and instruction shall meet" the criteria which is repeated from earlier.
- Two articles from the NCSE on the subject.
- Missouri House Bill No. 1227: The Invisible Hand of The Discovery Institute
- Darwin vs. design — if one is taught, should the other be required?
- See the text of the bill.
- This is because of the 'teaching to the test' problem: if it's not going to be on the test, teachers are much less likely to teach it.