Stranger Fruit

NCSE is reporting that the first anti-evolution bill of 2009 will be from Oklahoma.

Senate Bill 320 (document), prefiled in the Oklahoma Senate and scheduled for a first reading on February 2, 2009, is apparently the first antievolution bill of 2009. Entitled the "Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act," SB 320 would, if enacted, require state and local educational authorities to "assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies" and permit teachers to "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught." The only topics specifically mentioned as controversial are "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

Where have we seen that wording before, I wonder? Oh yeah, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina. And the DI was behind every attempt.

See also the Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education who I am sure would welcome some support in defeating this bill.

February sees me in Oklahoma for a week, teaching a seminar on Darwin and giving a public lecture on Darwin’s birthday.


  1. #1 David White
    January 6, 2009

    Greetings John,

    Ever entertained the notion that attacks on true science from the muscular political creationism/ID lobby might be vitiated by exposure of their great and inexplicable theological blunder (gasp!) dating all the way back to William Paley?

    Secularists may wince at the thought of accommodating theistic evolution as a legitimate choice, but it might just be the best answer to letting science progress unhampered in a world where people need, as they always have, to sort out their own metaphysics. It might simply be preferable to let them do it after the physical facts are available, rather than a priori. It also gives religious moderates of the largely silent majority an arguable pro-science place to go in an increasingly polarized debate.

    I’ve tried to make this case here:

    Intelligent Design Rules Out God’s Sovereignty Over Chance

    Science, politics, school boards, evolution, chance…..What’s not to like?

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    January 6, 2009

    No reason to stop with those, though. Math classes can discuss the controversy over the proper values of pi and 2+2; along with global warming earth sciences can discuss the relative merits of heliocentrism, geocentrism, and turtles all the way down; biology can, along with the controversy over evolution discuss that over the germ theory of disease and the various notions of where babies come from; physics can argue Aristotelian motion towards an object’s proper place vs. Newtonian physics; finally, chemistry can discuss the controversy over the Four Elements vs. the periodic table.

    Then, since all of these are now subject to democratic decision processes, the classes can decide on which is true. Afterwards, they can go home and tell their parents that according to the class vote there’s no reason to steer a car since it belongs in a garage, there’s no worry about premarital sex since there are no STDs and babies come from the Stork, their new calculations have increased their allowances, and they’re going to be rich anyway thanks to transmutation of base metals into gold.

  3. #3 J-Dog
    January 6, 2009

    OHHHHHH Oklahoma where the tard comes wipping down the trail…
    And the crap is as high as a mastodon’s eye,
    And the schools will be in court and fail…

    OHHHHHHH Oklahoma, Abbie is gonna be PO’d…

  4. #4 Karl
    January 6, 2009

    Where are you going to be speaking?
    Karl – Tulsa

  5. #5 John Lynch
    January 6, 2009

    Norman @ the Sam Noble Natural History Museum on the 12th. I’ll be posting more details in February.

  6. #6 vhutchison
    January 7, 2009

    We eagerly await John’s visit to the University of Oklahoma, along with many other outstanding speakers during the Darwin Year, including Dawkins. For the schedule of the many talks and events at OU see

    And thanks John for plugging OESE, an organization that has fought successfully against various forms of legislative creationism for the past ten years. This year may be the toughest yet.

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