Dispatches from the Creation Wars

New Anti-Evolution Bill

A bill introduced in the Mississippi state house:

The school board of a school district may allow the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in the schools within the district. However, if the theory of evolution is required to be taught as part of the school district’s science curriculum, in order to provide students with a comprehensive education in science, the school board also must include the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in the science curriculum.

I love the fact that it links creationism and intelligent design together, and that it uses the same equal time or dual model language that was struck down by Edwards. This law would last about .3 seconds after being passed.

Comments

  1. #1 FishyFred
    January 25, 2007

    MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

    2007 Regular Session

    To: Education

    By: Representative Lott

    I was confused… it’s one Mike Lott in the Mississippi House.

  2. #2 doctorgoo
    January 25, 2007

    You’d think all these ID bills would have evolved by now to be “teach the controversy” bills.

    I guess Lott never got that DI memo…

  3. #3 Coin
    January 25, 2007

    I find it interesting that under this bill districts which teach evolution are required to teach creationism, but as far as I can see districts which teach creationism are in no way required to teach evolution.

    Hooray for “balance”…?

    It’s like they specifically sat down and tried to figure out the specific wording that was most likely to result in a court striking the bill down.

  4. #4 Michael Heath
    January 25, 2007

    I wrote him an email. Here is the body of what I wrote:

    Hello Rep. Lott,

    I am an advocate for improving the educational opportunities for our nation’s children as well as promoting public policy that increases the educational rigor a student must go through prior to entering the job market. Having enjoyed a long career in the technology sector, especially in supporting the globalization of that industry and personally experiencing the impact globalization has had on the American workforce and will certainly have in the future, both good and bad; I’m particularly partial to our nation improving our science, math, and critical thinking capabilities in all students. Since you are a representative elected to serve the good people of MS, I assume you share this concern that your constituents are able to compete by producing students out of your schools that equal or exceed the quality of education anywhere in the world.

    I noticed you are sponsoring HB 625 in the Mississippi Legislature. I’m particularly interested in understanding how you plan to overcome the constitutional hurdles that would require your state’s schools teach students the religious ideas of creationism and intelligent design as part of your state’s science curriculum.

    Do you hope to overcome this hurdle by comparing scientific theories to religious ideas and beliefs to teach your students how the scientific method and its benefits compare and contrast to the results religions yielded prior to the development of the scientific method? If so, then I would greatly appreciate understanding why you wouldn’t instead promote a change in your state’s social studies curriculum regarding the current status of creationism and ID so students can understand these ideas, how they were developed, how they are promoted, and how the development of these ideas differ from the work that scientists have accomplished in developing a peer-accepted theory such as evolution.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Heath

  5. #5 Chuck
    January 25, 2007

    Why does the South suck so much? It proves it again, and again, and again, all through American history.

  6. #6 peter irons
    January 25, 2007

    You’re right: this bill doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting passed, and would get promptly struck down by any federal judge (well, maybe not in Mississippi), but certainly by an appellate court. Rep. Michael Lott, who introduced it, is a Republican Southern Baptist (but I repeat myself). But they don’t give up, do they?

  7. #7 Martin Wagner
    January 25, 2007

    I personally never cease to be amused by the way in which creationists seem to think a “comprehensive” science education includes teaching non-science.

  8. #8 Dr X
    January 26, 2007

    They never quit.

  9. #9 dogmeatIB
    January 26, 2007

    Umm Michael, while I appreciate your efforts to enhance science education, and the need to, at times, smack the crap out of representatives to bring them back down to Earth, and understand little things like the Constitution, etc., do you have to screw over social studies teachers in the process?

    dm
    [social studies teacher who is getting more than a bit sick of arguing why ID/Creationism isn't legal but evolution is over and over and over, and over ... and over ... ... and over ... and over ... .. ... ... .. ... .. ... and over... and again.. and you guessed it, again]

  10. #10 James
    January 26, 2007

    Dogmeat: It seems to me ID can be studied properly in social studies, for one thing its an excellent example of constitutional perfidity on the part of a pressure group.

    Michael: What’s the bet that Lott’s approach involves taking the thing up to SCCOTUS to try and force the issue. Either that or he’s working for Darth Sidious:

    “Begin the creationism education at once”
    “But, my lord, is that … legal?”
    “I will make it legal”

  11. #11 Michael Heath
    January 26, 2007

    Dogmeat – I respect your point of view and believe it has merit, especially if teachers were forced to propagandize on behalf of ID/Creationism rather than teaching about the movement iteself. I wrote my piece to Rep. Lott where I tried to pre-emptively cut off any attempts by him to push his agenda as an obligation to teach students about a current event. I was more concerned about providing him an opportunity to respond wiht a pat answer than I am with teaching about this movement in a social studies class.

    I also happen to believe teaching about the ID effort in a social studies program benefits the students in three ways:
    1) It’s an interesting current event conflict, which helps to get students engaged in their world.
    2) It’s a great case study of how badly the effort to gain knowledge through a primitive method such as divine revelation claims compares to the enlightened process of the scientific method.
    3) It provides students with a real-world example of how propanganda works, who uses it, and why some groups use such tactics, raising the sensitivity of students’ BS detector.

    I doubt Rep. Lott would be happy with me teaching what ID really is to his students.

  12. #12 MG
    January 26, 2007

    “Why does the South suck so much? It proves it again, and again, and again, all through American history.”

    That is a very…… mature thing to say. You must have reached some form of cultural enlightenment that a poor, dumb southerner just wouldn’t be able to fathom. Way to go Chuck!

  13. #13 MJ Memphis
    January 26, 2007

    “Why does the South suck so much? It proves it again, and again, and again, all through American history”

    Hey now… I seem to recall a big ID court case recently in Pennsylvania. And a certain school district in New Jersey where a creationism-spouting teacher has the full support of most of the parents in the district. Are those the South now?

  14. #14 Sam Lewis
    January 26, 2007

    MJ, don’t forget about the efforts to get it taught in Michigan by MY rep, Moolenaar. It’s everywhere.

  15. #15 Ed Brayton
    January 26, 2007

    The Mississippi bill, with its explicitly creationist wording, is a result of daylight savings time, which builds a bit of a time warp into things. For instance, it’s 11:58 am in Michigan right now and it’s 1956 in Mississippi.

  16. #16 J-Dog
    January 26, 2007

    Michael Heath – Be sure to let us know if you actually hear back from Representative Lott. I am not holding my breath. (BTW – Form Letters don’t count).

    ps: re: “…its 1956 in Mississippi”…
    Ed – You have to go back to pre-1856… “Origen of Species” by bright up-and-comer Charlie Darwin was published in 1856…

  17. #17 Ed Brayton
    January 26, 2007

    1859, actually, but I get your point.

  18. #18 dogmeatIB
    January 26, 2007

    Guys, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t being completely serious about ID in a social studies classroom. It’s just that I work in a district with a sizable conservative Christian population and in government we’ve talked about evolution/ID five times this year. I actually had one student withdraw from my class because I was “biased.” This “bias” came in the form of explaining the Federal and Supreme Court rulings regarding the teaching of creationism and ID (Arkansas, Dover, etc.). Because I explained what the legal standing was, and stated quite clearly “you are free BELIEVE what you like, but this is what the law and the courts have determined,” I’m biased.

    It’s just annoying because, in this district, discussion of checks and balances, passage of unconstitutional laws, the Supreme Court/courts and the 1st amendment, all seem to return to ID and not one of these fundamentalist kids knows squat about evolution but insists that they “know enough” to judge it false. When you ask them to explain the theory, it’s “men came from monkeys,” and “dolphins came from dogs … ha ha ha, dog-phins.”

    Now honestly, where do you even begin with people so dedicated in their pursuit of ignorance and prejudgement?

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.