“Strengths and Weaknesses” Bill in Oklahoma

As he announced at the end of last year, Republican Senator Josh Brecheen has, in his words, “introduced legislation requiring every publicly funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution using the known science, even that which conflicts with Darwin’s religion.” The bill has now been pre-filed in the Senate.

The act labels “biological origins of life and biological evolution” as “controversial topics in sciences” and would require that state educational authorities “not prohibit any teacher from informing students about relevant scientific information regarding either the scientific strengths or scientific weaknesses” of these topics. (Keep in mind that evolution is not a point of controversy or debate in the scientific community.) Regular readers of this blog will recognize the bill—with its “strengths and weaknesses” language—as another attempt to undercut the teaching of evolution and bring religious ideas like creationism and “intelligent design” into the science classroom.

As the National Center for Science Education points out:

the bill requires the state board of education to adopt “standards and curricula” that echo the flawed portions of the state science standards adopted in Texas in 2009 with respect to the nature of science and, for grades 8 through 12, evolution. For example, the content of SB 554′s D1, D2, D7, D9, and D10 are identical to sections 7A, 7B, 7G, 8A, and 8B of the Texas high school biology standards—all sections that were added or amended by anti-evolution members of the Texas state board of education … in order to encourage the presentation of creationist claims in the science classroom. No fewer than 54 scientific and educational organizations opposed these revisions.

Category: Science Education

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4 Responses

  1. Adolfo Orozco says:

    Evolution IS a controversial theory betrween the scientists.
    Tjere are several lines of thougth, several opinions in the evolutonary chain, and no body have proved with hard facts the emergence of one species from another different species.
    Then iti isn¿s not true to say that “Keep in mind that evolution is not a point of controversy or debate in the scientific community”
    The note (i don’t found the name of the writer) speaks about what he thinks the ‘creacionists’ are thinking. May be he is true, but if you wish to criticize something don’t do it using what you think about what the others think. It is very easy fall in subjectivism.
    And why criticize somebody because he tries to follow his convictions? Criticize the facts, not the ideas.

  2. No God" says:

    Adolfo Orozco says, “Evolution IS a controversial theory betrween the scientists. Tjere are several lines of thougth, several opinions in the evolutonary chain, and no body have proved with hard facts the emergence of one species from another different species.

    This is wrong. Evolution IS NOT a controversial theory among he scientists. Different opinions among scientists are about the details of evolution, not the fact of evolution.

  3. No God" says:

    “Republican Senator Josh Brecheen has, in his words, “introduced legislation requiring every publicly funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution using the known science, even that which conflicts with Darwin’s religion.”

    It is time for the people of the US to think about how to vote out Josh Brecheen in the next election so that he won’t be able to hurt the reputation of Oklahoma for too long.

  4. Michael says:

    1) This bill and a companion have been revived for 2012….

    2) Darwin’s religion was, at the time of formation of evolutionary theory, Anglican…he was going to be a parson…

    3) After the death of his daughter, he described himself as agnostic…

    4) Teaching the strengths and weaknesses of ID will simply force honest teachers to tell people that their religious beliefs are wrong. (I already teach “strengths and weaknesses” of ET and other topics….)

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