Fans of the creation/evolution struggle will recall that the US Supreme Court in 1987 struck down a “balanced time” law for creationism and evolution in Louisiana. In that case, the creationist alternative was so clearly religious in nature that the bill was found to violate the 1st amendment, and the bill’s claim to be defending “academic freedom” was judged to be “a sham.”
South Dakota’s bill adopts a similar strategy to that of earlier creationist bills. In this case, though, it isn’t evolution that the authors seek to deny, but the overwhelming evidence that human actions are causing world climate to increase. In support of their science denial, state legislators cite oft-debunked claims that vineyards in Greenland disprove global warming, repeat CEI’s absurd characterization of carbon dioxide as “not a pollutant but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life on earth,” quote the absurdly mismanaged and inherently meaningless OISM statement, and repeat nonsense about global temperatures declining for the last 8 years.
Interestingly, NCSE has tracked no anti-evolution incidents in South Dakota for the last 5 years. I generally believe that to be an indication not of some failure of creationism in South Dakota, but the unwillingness of South Dakotans to complain about creationism when it pops up. This provides an opportunity to test the claim: will South Dakotans rally their state senate to the defense of good science and teachers’ freedom to teach the best science (rather than ideological pseudoscience), or will they sit on their hands?
Concerned citizens should call their state senators and Governor Mike Rounds to tell them that this bill needs to die.