On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee considered HB 1674 — a House bill that would prevent teachers in science classes from penalizing students who contest evolutionary principles with untestable, faith-based claims.
Writes Dana Liebelson for 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."
HB 1674 goes further than a companion bill under consideration in the state Senate by explicitly protecting students, teachers, and schools from being penalized for subscribing to alternative theories. It does, however, say that children may still be tested on widely accepted theories such as anthropogenic climate change. "Students can't say because I don't believe in this, I don't want to learn it," Blackwell says. "They have to learn it in order to look at the weaknesses."
That last sentence from Blackwell is so hilariously backwards and passive aggressive, it almost makes me forget how angry this whole situation makes me. Oh wait, no — no, it doesn't. Not even close.
More at MoJo.
Top image by Derek Chatwood, via flickr