Need That ‘A’ Grade? Try Denying Climate And Evolution

It’s happening in Oklahoma – again.

A bill that would prevent teachers from marking down students who turn in papers that dispute ideas like climate change and evolution was approved by the Oklahoma Common Education committee on Tuesday by a 9-8 vote.

HB1674 states that students in science classes would be able to make totally unscientific and unfounded faith-based claims, and not be penalized for it. This is a horrible travesty of education, one that I’m sure most teachers would protest vigorously.

From Mother Jones:

Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. “I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks,” says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.”

Really? So I can declare that God created the world around six thousand years ago, even though my textbook says something quite different, and get an ‘A’ in science class? Whatever happened to the inquiry method, in which students are required to develop a solid argument based on proven facts?

Of course, this is Oklahoma, the same state that has brought us Senator James Inhofe who famously stated, “Climate change is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

Twenty-five years after the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that mandated religious instruction in science classes, lawmakers in many states are still trying to water down the teaching of science and push creationism into the public schools.

It’s not just Oklahoma. Just a few weeks into the 2013 legislative session, there are already anti-evolution bills circulating in Missouri, Montana, Colorado, Indiana, in addition to Oklahoma. And in some cases, like this one, climate change has taken a prominent place, along with evolution, as a target for creationists.

These lawmakers have also changed their tactics. Take the bill proposed by Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin: HB291 would require that intelligent design and “destiny” get the same amount of textbook coverage in Missouri schools as the theory of evolution. Brattin insists that his bill is not influenced by religion. After all, the legislator has declared: “I’m a huge science buff.”

Again from Mother Jones:

Eric Meikle, education project director at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in Oakland, California, says Oklahoma has proposed more anti-evolution legislation than any other state, introducing eight bills with academic freedom language since 2004. (None has passed.) “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,” Meikle says.

“An extremely high percentage of scientists will tell you that evolution doesn’t have scientific weaknesses,” says the NCSE’s Meikle.

As Bill Nye the Science Guy puts it, denial of evolution is unique to the United States. The fundamental ideas behind the theory of evolution have been scientific gospel for decades — and yet, defying Darwin, creationists refuse to go the way of the dinosaurs.

Let’s hope this egregious bill never passes.


Related Care2 Coverage

Louisiana Uses Public Funds To Teach Creationism

And On The Seventh Day, God Created A Museum

My Senator Denies Climate Change And Oklahoma Pays The Price


Photo Credit: estonia76


Don H.
Don H5 years ago

Delia L, the level of ignorance on display in your post is an embarrassment.

Step outside your self-imposed learning boundaries. Learn something about actual science. What you have learned about evolution is only a distorted caricature of evolution.

Delia L.
Delia L.5 years ago

They teach the religion of evolution, why not creation too? Both have no empirical evidence. Carbon dating of a live snail showed it was older than dinosaur bones. They test things multiple times and different ways and the tests do not agree? How is that science? The fossil record in no way proves evolution and people that think it does have not studied. They have eaten the BS fed by government re-education centers. Teachers should grade on the evidence provided and the presentation, not fail a child because they do not adhere to your religious beliefs. My children studied both evolution and creation science and years later when I met their science teacher he informed me the questions my three kids hit him with while he was "teaching" evolution "lead him to doubt his faith in evolution". Do some real research and you discover how little the PHD's actually know.

Remember "Raising the Mammoth"? Where the PHD said the "mammoth fell through frozen over water and froze nearly instantly... so fast it did not finish chewing the Buttercup blossom in it's mouth". Buttercups are warm weather annuals there is no way one would be alive if the water froze deep enough to hold the weight of an elephant (forget a larger mammoth) to get out deep enough to cover the animal to freeze it so fast. There was no water in the lungs it suffocated. So it was standing on a warm summer day eating Buttercups when suddenly the temperature dropped to -325. Too cold for the lungs to operate causing th

Lynn Jenks
Lynn Jenks5 years ago

I wonder if this ongoing controversy might be part of the reason that teaching science in American schools is struggling? After all, America is known to be the country where people sue at the drop of a hat. Maybe the attitude that says science is nerdy and poor exam results is connected to a fear on the part of the teachers that they will be prosecuted if they mark creatists down in tests.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Jonathan Schaper
Jonathan Schaper6 years ago

Part of my post is missing, so here it is: and I have yet to have anyone demonstrate to me that two wrongs make a right. Fail them, and they might become resentful to the "orthodoxy". Appreciate what they have accomplished in learning, then explain where they went wrong, and they might learn. When I went to school, sometimes science teachers had students engage in debates. Sometimes students were assigned points of view that they disagreed with. Why is this done? So that those student will learn to assess information critically (including their own preciously held positions), so that they will learn to approach data objectively instead of always going with their pre-conceived notions, etc. In learning to argue one side you have to study the other side at any rate and be prepared to attempt to address it. Being wrong doesn't make a person automatically stupid or completing lacking in knowledge. What they need is guidance, not heavy-handed punishment meted out by some petty dictator.

Jonathan Schaper
Jonathan Schaper6 years ago

Philippa, it doesn't necessarily mean someone hasn't paid attention in class (despite the title of this highly biased article, I doubt they are legislating an automatic A, but just legislating against automatic Fs). As much as I disagree with climate change and evolution theory deniers, there are several things you need to keep in mind: This is highschool level science being talked about. The level of detail students learn about evolution, global warming, etc, will be lower than what they learn in university, etc. At the same time they learn about greenhouse gases, they will learn about climate cycles. Without access to all the information available, they can reach conclusions that are different from those with great information. That is totally valid. It is possible to learn everything in class and still disagree with the overall conclusions of experienced scientists. Maybe the student in question who denies climate change is naive, but if they do learn the science they were taught and merely disagree with the conclusions derived from it, and try to present cogent arguments for their position that demonstrate their learning (however incomplete and inexperienced), then they are doing no worse than their highschool colleagues who automatically agree with the general consensus. In that case, to fail them is to apply just as much prejudice as the deniers, and to punish them for independent and critical (though misdirected) thought, and I have yet to have anyone demonstrat

Don H.
Don H6 years ago

Don't miss the first segment of Bill Moyers. There is a discussion on the effort to force creationism back into schools.

Neil A.
Neil A6 years ago

Why so many believe the creationist goble de gook>?? I can not understand when it goes against all actual evidence from the fossil record, to do that you have to have a very closed mind, I took a l;ook at creationism but it just does not have any validity unless you like very old fairy tales.

Lindsay Kemp
Lindsay K6 years ago

Oh dear. Seems short-sighted to me.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.