Kentucky’s “Intellectual Freedom” Act

Republican Representative Tim Moore has introduced a new bill in the Kentucky House of Representatives that would let teachers promote “objective discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories” and “use, as permitted by the local board of education, materials in addition to state-approved texts and instructional materials for discussion of scientific theories including evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” The bill has been sent to the House Education Committee.
Like other “academic freedom” bills, this one claims not to be promoting any religious doctrine—though, to many, this bill (like the others) is a stealth attempt to undercut the teaching of evolution and sneak religious ideas like “intelligent design” into the science classroom. (Barbara Forrest, the leading member of a group advocating for sound science education, explains why such disclaimers are a “dead giveaway of the creationist (hence religious) agenda” of these acts.)
We were shocked to learn that Kentucky currently has a statute that allows instructors teaching evolution to “include as a portion of such instruction the theory of creation as presented in the Bible, and may accordingly read such passages in the Bible as are deemed necessary for instruction on the theory of creation, thereby affording students a choice as to which such theory to accept.” The statute also says that for students “who accept the Bible theory of creation, credit shall be permitted on any examination in which adherence to such theory is propounded, provided the response is correct according to the instruction received.”

Category: Science Education

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10 Responses

  1. R Hampton says:

    I created this illustration of Evolution vs. Intelligent Designm (http://www.reddit.com/tb/aym6x) comparing what each model would present in a hypothetical textbook. The fatal flaw – discretely and deliberately ignored by ID scientists – is obvious. As you can see, there is no indication of an Intelligent Designer on the Phylogenetic Tree because it shows that Evolution is responsible for Speciation; hence the title of Darwin’s famous book, On the Origin of Species.

    ID scientist Stephen Meyer claims that Intelligent Design is necessary for “new body plans”. If so, then he needs to present such a model; for example, by removing Vertebrates from the tree, placing it as a separate tree unconnected to the first. ID scientist Casey Luskin’s Tree of Man (http://www.ideacenter.org/stuff/contentmgr/files/6f4c5da45d2de0a3c8c83f71f5a20b6f/misc/phylogenies.gif) is a first step, but ID must present a model for all of life.

    I really do want to see what ID theorists propose as an alternative, but there is a very good reason why they have neglected to produce one: If IDers agree with the Evolutionary Phylogenetic Tree, then they also agree that evolution was responsible for life’s diversity; that Man descended from Ape. However many (most?) of their Christian supporters would find this unacceptable and thus turn against ID. However, if IDers disagree with the Evolutionary Phylogenetic Tree (because an Intelligent Designer periodically intervened), then they can present an alternative model illustrating where and when this “magic” happened (e.g. Casey Luskin’s Tree of Man), but then this would be easily disputed by Science.

  2. RickK says:

    There are no “Design Theorists”. There are only people using science-like language to confuse the public with the intent of inserting the Christian god into public policy and public school science classes.

    Stephen Meyer wrote “Signature in the Cell” to sound like a valid scientific argument, and didn’t link it to “God”.

    Too bad he’d already stated in “The Wedge” that “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”

    So he’s claimed the purpose of “ID Theory”:

    “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.”

    http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html

    Does that sound like science? No, it sounds like false advertising and dishonesty.

  3. Dean W says:

    I think the reason we have deities and “intelligent design” & stuff is that our minds think of the abstract in terms of the concrete. like we experience social rejection as pain, and we have a variety of concrete metaphors for abstract concepts.

  4. An Atheist says:

    Stephen Meyer is not an ID scientist.

    There is no such thing as an ID “scientist”.

    Because there is no science in ID.

    It’s a religious doctrine.

    And as such it has no place in the schools.

  5. Paul Burnett says:

    R Hampton mentioned “ID scientist Casey Luskin.”

    Casey Luskin has a degree in Geology and has precisely one (1) co-authored peer-reviewed article in an actual scientific publication; said article had nothing to do with intelligent design creationism – Casey Luskin is NOT a “scientist.”

    Casey Luskin is an apologist / a public relations shill for the pseudoscience of intelligent design creationism. The best term for him is “cdesign proponentsist” – Google the term if you’re not familiar with it.

  6. Dean W says:

    I think compelling evidence for ID is that the human rectum has about the same normal modes as the human ear canal, meaning we’re exquisitely designed to hear each other fart.

  7. Yes, the Act is very well worded. Freedom from any intellectualism what so ever. Who needs intellect when you got baby jebus and a bronze age creator of a flat earth and thought crime. I’m glad they came to their senses and decided to liberate themselves from any academic or intellectual responsibility. Who needs that thinking craziness when you’ve got omnipotent, omnipresent imaginary friends!

  8. [...] Kentucky’s “intellectual freedom” bill—which would have allowed teachers to discuss the “advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories” and use “materials in addition to state-approved texts and instructional materials for discussion of scientific theories including evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning”—is dead. [...]

  9. cue tip says:

    A man begins cutting his perceptiveness teeth the first chance he bites off more than he can chew.

  10. As an atheist science teacher I’m all for them giving me free reign to compare evolution and creationism. Let’s compare them in a scientific context! Lol. Actually, let me get at religion in a scientific context outright! Let’s see how long the religionists think that’s a good idea. =)

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