I am so incredibly tardy with this information that Arizonian John Lynch and the lovely folks at Uncommon Descent have already blogged this, but recently an “academic freedom” bill was introduced in Iowa. For those who may be unfamiliar, in addition to “teach the controversy,” these “academic freedom” bills are one of the new tactics for creationists who want to introduce creationism into science classrooms via the back door by claiming that teachers need the protection to teach “the full range of scientific views” when it comes to evolution (in other words, to teach creationism/ID). The bill states that:
It is therefore the intent of the general assembly that this Act be construed to expressly protect the affirmative right and freedom of every instructor at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary level to objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution.
As John notes, we’ve circulated a petition showing opposition to the bill (this was covered Wednesday in The Chronicle of Higher Education), and the latest word is that the bill is unlikely to get anywhere. (Fellow blogger John Logsdon had a few choice quotes in the article).
This is the first anti-evolution bill in Iowa in roughly a decade, and according to Glenn Branch at the NCSE (quoted in The Chronicle article), the first state-wide effort by college faculty to organize opposition to these bills. So far, similar bills died in Mississippi and Oklahoma, were signed into law in Louisiana, and are still pending here in Iowa and in Missouri, Alabama, and New Mexico. Expect to see more of these in the future.
Finally, if you’re an Iowan and you’re not on the Iowa Citizens for Science email list yet, drop me a line (Iowascience at gmail dot com).