Time for the anti-evolution bills again…

Posted: January 25, 2020 in politics, religion

Every year, several members of the Oklahoma legislature introduce anti-evolution bills in the State House and Senate. The cast of characters who write these bills repeat every time. Usually Sally Kern has at least one, but there are always several others as well.

If previous years are any indication, these bills are entirely defeat-able if there is a little effort. When Brad Henry was governor, he would just veto any of these bills, but we don’t have that option available to us with Mary Fallin. Instead, we have to tenuously rely on the sanity of a portion of the Republicans in the House and Senate that are business-friendly. In recent year’s opponents of these bills have been able to convince House and Senate leadership to never bring these bills to a vote. By doing this, business-friendly Republicans can avoid having to choose between two important constituencies (the religious right and the Chamber of Commerce). Republican leadership has realized that being seen as a state that undermines quality science education is harmful to business, especially when we are trying to attract corporations like Google to set up more branches here.

A few of the bills have been picked up by other bloggers, already.

Okie Funk has outlined three of them:

Senate Bill 758: This one was introduced by Brecheen is a classic ‘strengths and weaknesses‘ bill. It is a common tactic by Creationists to get their view into the classroom. They’ve been using it since the 1980s, to no real avail. Brecheen did not write this legislation. It is almost exactly the same as a bill introduced in Missouri. If I remember correctly (and I may not), it is exactly the same as bills introduced into the House and Senate in previous years.

House Bill 1674: Introduced by Gus Blackwell. This is a revival of a failed bill previously introduced by Sally Kern. It specifically points to evolution as a controversial topic that teachers should be encouraged to teach the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ on. This bill passed the House last year, but died in a Senate committee.

House Bill 1456: Introduced by Mike Reynolds. This is bill is designed to prevent teachers from penalizing students that give answers on homework and tests, if their answers are based on a religious viewpoint. In other words, if a student decided to answer a question about the age of some sedimentary rocks being discussed in the lesson as being put down by God 6000 years ago, the teacher must accept that answer as equally valid in a science classroom as a student that actually puts down the right answer.

I’m sure there will be more bills coming to light over the next few weeks. The Oklahoma Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is going to have its annual legislative review on Saturday, February 2, at the State Capitol. I’ll be covering it, so there will be more information available after that for sure.

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  1. [...] won’t rehash the details, as my fellow professor Mark (at Okie Funk) and friend CJ (at Odd Oklahoma) have already done excellent posts on the content of the proposed bills. Basically, [...]

  2. [...] for our session is House Bill 1456, introduced by Mike Reynolds of District 91. I’ve already written about this one on here a [...]

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