Get cracking, SCarolina!

You've got another of those wretched "academic (non)-freedom" bills in your state. They're like lice, crawling out everywhere.

Senate Bill 1386, introduced in the South Carolina Senate on May 15, 2008, and referred to the Senate Committee on Education, is the newest so-called "academic freedom" bill aimed at undermining the teaching of evolution, joining similar bills currently under consideration in Louisiana, Michigan, and Missouri. Similar bills in Florida and Alabama died when the legislative session in those states ended. The South Carolina bill contends that "[t]he teaching of biological and chemical evolution can cause controversy, and some teachers may be uncertain of administrative expectations concerning the presentation of material on these scientific topics" and that "public school educators must be supported in finding effective ways to present controversial science curriculum and must be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review the scientific strengths and weaknesses of theories of biological and chemical evolution in an objective manner."

More like this

The Anti-Evolution Bills in Tennessee have advanced. Tennessee's House Bill 368 was passed by the House Education Committee on March 29, 2011, and referred to the House Calendar and Rules Committee, while its counterpart, Senate Bill 893, is scheduled to be discussed by the Senate Education…
The state of erv now has an embarrassing distinction: Oklahoma has put up the first anti-evolution bill for 2009. The year isn't even a week old and they're already pushing this nonsense. Senate Bill 320 (document), prefiled in the Oklahoma Senate and scheduled for a first reading on February 2,…
From the NCSE: Senate Bill 758 (document), the so-called Oklahoma Science Education Act, which would have undermined the integrity of science education in the Sooner State, is dead. February 25, 2013, was the deadline for Senate bills to pass their committees, but the Senate Education Committee…
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…

Another "strengths and weaknesses" bill. They're just not trying.

As the Carolinians for Science Education noted, here we go again.

Off to help put out the fire....

So what this bill is saying at face-value...

"We need to support teachers in determining unique ways at approaching difficult and controversial subject matter."

Would sound pretty good except that schools should be doing his anyway. Why do we need a bill telling schools to help their teachers teach better?

(How does your country keep getting into this problem?)

By theShaggy (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

Since when did so many states lose the balls to say no to these people? Or since when did so many states have such nut-job legislatures? It really is disappointing, because it shows that these people truly give credence to the possibility that religion is the oppressed one here, and that academia and "Big Science" are the ones with a record of oppression thousands of years long...

By brokenSoldier (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

This could work, if they were honest about strengths and weaknesses. The truth is that evolution is strong. But, it has a weakness. To quote a great sage, "Darwinism doesn't explain how the planets stay in their orbits."

"[t]he teaching of American History can cause controversy, and some teachers may be uncertain of administrative expectations concerning the presentation of material on these topics"

Just sayin'

I'm almost sorry I live in Minnesota. Because if one of these ever pops up here all I will get to do is point to PZ and say "Yeah! What he said!"

By mn_monkey (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

Evolved1, you have a point. Don't forget, there are a lot of Christian Nation revisionists who like to misrepresent Jefferson and other founding fathers.

"Academic freedom," cute. Reminds me of the '90s plethora of "Women's Right to Know" bills designed to prevent women from choosing abortion by delaying their appointments and requiring politician-written 'counseling' packed with fascinating lies such as the causal connection between breast cancer and abortion.

Of course, such bills generally succeed. Why haven't I emigrated yet?

By KJNorlock (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

How would they teach 'Intelligent Design' alongside evolution anyway? "*teacher explains Natural Selection, genetic drift, etc.* But some people think God...er, an intelligent designer did it because some things kinda look designed."

It was only a matter of time till Mike Fair poked his head out again. I guess his wounds have healed from the last trouncing he received.

Mr. Fair, if anyone wants to know, has been behind every single push in SC on this type of nonsense.

For updates on this, Rodney at South Carolinians for Science Education does a pretty good job keeping up.

Isn't the purpose of education not only to inform, but to challenge assumptions, stimulate new thought processes, and encourage discussion? Sometimes, that means there will be controversy.

You know what this means? In the next few days, some South Carolina news organization is going to come out with ... (you know what I'm about to say, yes) ... an online poll! I wait with baited breath.

Ah, the state I just escaped. Didn't we just get through with this?

What exactly is "academic freedom," anyway? Should an instructor have the freedom to introduce unsupported crap as fact; to claim controversy where none exists?

Here in NC, this nonsense has yet to rear it's windy anus, at least as far as I know, but I'm sure that it's not too far away.

doov

Eventually one of the hick states will pass a bill that gives creationist biology teachers the freedom to be incompetent. Then there will be another expensive trial. The flat-earthers will lose in court, taxpayers will get mad and throw out the creationist politicians, then the Dishonesty Institute will rename creationism again.

I've long had an inkling that 2+2 does not equal 4, despite the dogmatic insistence of mathematics "teachers" who are beholden to a long-outdated curriculum.

I can only assume that if I were to mount a public challenge to the lie of arithmetic, as taught, that the potential controversy would be enough to have arithmetic thrown out of our public schools?

What exactly is "academic freedom," anyway?

Creos being incredibly honest, always use Orwellian doublespeak.

Teach the controversy=Let's try to sneak creationism into HS science classes.

Academic Freedom=Let's try to sneak creationism into HS science classes.

Strengths and Weakness of TofE=Let's try to sneak creationism into HS science classes.

Intelligent Design=creationism

Fundie Xians are persecuted=We are 80% of the population. Those mean old atheists won't let us burn witches, stone disobedient children to death, have 10 wives, sell our daughters for cash to buy high priced gas, or teach wingnut mythology as science.

Great FSM, these clowns and their nonstop stupidity can be tiring.

It was only a matter of time till Mike Fair poked his head out again. I guess his wounds have healed from the last trouncing he received.

Perhaps we should just let the Upstate (with all those Christian Exodus folks) secede from South Carolina. That would at least get Mike Fair out of the legislature. :)

The creationists' kung fu is not strong...

By Ranger Jay (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

"Bilogical and chemical evolution"? What the hell is chemical evolution anyway? Is that the process where hydrogen was fused into heavier elements inside stars?

Oh and The Science Pundit wrote:

I wait with baited breath.

I hope that's not catfish bait!

By Curt Cameron (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

Perhaps we should just let the Upstate (with all those Christian Exodus folks) secede from South Carolina. That would at least get Mike Fair out of the legislature. :)

One can only hope. Then we could get rid of Gamecocks too.....

hehe

I would love to Poe the people who get behind these silly creationist bills. I'm imagining something like a "Freedom from Indoctrination" Bill, with a paragraph defining "indoctrination" as teaching lies to children to turn them against God.

In Florida, a couple of the senators introduced a "healthy teens" amendment to the antievolution bill, basically saying that alternatives to abstinence-only sex education should be explored. It didn't pass, of course, but what a way to make their point that the bill was BS.

#24: Hey now, get it right! Letting the Upstate secede would get rid of the Tigers, not the Gamecocks. Y'all can call it North South Carolina and confuse the hell out of everyone. :)

Maybe it's time for a new strategy -- something wild, wacky, and completely unexpected. Here you go! --

Atheist groups should get together, gather up the media, and make a big stink about how "evolution leads to atheism" and we want bills introduced which allow teachers to teach that. It's science. It's not a violation of separation of church and state. It belongs in public schools. If you accept evolution, then you should become an atheist. The God Delusion needs to be on every high school required reading list.

The Theory of Evolution belongs to atheists. From now on. Theistic evolution will be taught as WRONG. It's either creationism OR atheism. Legislate it! Contact your representative today!

Now -- What the HELL would the Religious Right do? This is exactly what they've been whining since Origin of Species was published. The theory of evolution is "atheistic." So, if logic wins out, they should be joining the atheists on this. "Yeah, if evolution really happened, then you have to renounce Jesus Christ as your Savior! We want this in writing." It's the formation of a new Atheist-Christian Coalition, in action.

Might make them pause and think a bit. Hmmm -- is it really a smart idea to hand over what the vast majority of all scientists agree is the most significant theory underlying biology to the atheists? The atheists are excited. They love it. They're all jumping up and down and making that motion with their hands. Rubbing them together. And buying more folding chairs.

Uh-oh.

Maybe evolution=atheism is a bad longterm Christian strategy. Never mind about that "teach the controversy" stuff. We're ok. Really.

(Of course, the above suggestion is tongue-in-cheek: separation of church and state. Although I agree that the ToE fails to support the existence of God if the concept is formed into a scientific hypothesis, most religious people fight like hell to keep the concept from being formulated into a hypothesis -- it's "faith" -- and the government should not take a stand on faith. The Creationists either haven't figured out that they're turning their faith belief into a hypothesis -- or they haven't figured out that, in doing so, they've lost.)

Scabies might be a better analogy than lice.

Scabies hide under the surface, burrow along into other areas & lay their feces as they go.

Sounds like a True Believer to me.

North Carolina reversed their policy on taxpayer funded education to illegal immigrants in community colleges, the toughest in the nation now. Critical thinking of evolution is next.

It's ironic that there is absolutely no proof of the existence of alien life in outer space, but it's origins in creating life on earth is being considered by PZ, and his good buddy Dawkins...But call it "ID" as they reject the label of "intelligent design" even though "aliens" would be considered fairly "intelligent"...lol

North Carolina appears to be trying to be neutral with the new policy of being critical of evolution. Atheists have to realize, public schools are not their own private schools as some have suggested. The public schools belongs to all taxpayers who have a diverse population and they have every right to have a say so in what is being taught.

I understand that they think *biological* evolution is a dastardly scheme perpetrated by Satan, but chemical evolution?

If they're talking about what I think they're talking about, we've observed it. The case is closed on chemical evolution.(it's closed on biological evolution too, but they'll fight that one until Cold Death.)

Michael the Death Cultist idiot:

The public schools belongs to all taxpayers who have a diverse population and they have every right to have a say so in what is being taught.

They do. The constitution says public schools can't teach narrow fundie cultist sectarian mythology as science. This has been ruled on in court many, many times.

Have you forgotten that the majority of the world's Xians don't buy your Rapture, Creation, and Mysoginistic version of the religion?

#24: Hey now, get it right! Letting the Upstate secede would get rid of the Tigers, not the Gamecocks. Y'all can call it North South Carolina and confuse the hell out of everyone. :)

Yeah I guess you're right. I can't do that, my wife's a Tiger and I DEFINITELY don't want to get between her and her Clemson football.

It's ironic that there is absolutely no proof of the existence of alien life in outer space, but it's origins in creating life on earth is being considered by PZ, and his good buddy Dawkins...But call it "ID" as they reject the label of "intelligent design" even though "aliens" would be considered fairly "intelligent"...lol

You fucking moron.

Saying the extreme remote possibility of aliens existing and claiming they exist are two totally different things. PZ already said he leaves the possibility open but that there isn't any proof.

You have to be one of the densest people ever to comment on a blog, let alone walk the earth.

I'd suggest that cutting off the upstate wouldn't do much good, though I have selfish reasons, I don't want each trip to Clemson in the fall to be to "FundieLand".

(Former Charlestonian, now serving the USAF in Oklahoma City)

By ClemsonPoker (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

The public schools belongs to all taxpayers who have a diverse population and they have every right to have a say so in what is being taught.
Well, the schools may "belong" to the taxpayers, but that doesn't mean I give the general public free rein to decide what/how to teach--I leave that to the experts. I mean, if you take that argument to the extreme, then the police departments and their firearms all belong to us, too. So, we should all be able to vote on who the police can shoot.
That, of course, is not the way it works. Sure, we paid for the schools. But, we turn them over to educators and administrators with the mission of providing the best (hopefully) education possible. And what is "best" should not be defined by the whim of the people. It needs to be decided by the experts in all of the fields of study. So, I want my son's and daughter's math curriculum chosen by experts in the fields of mathematics. I want their science curriculum chosen by experts in the fields of science. I don't, however, want insurance salesmen (Michael Fine is in insurance according to his bio) or a bunch of theologians deciding what is the best curriculum for science. OK???!!!
The science says that all life has evolved from common ancestry through evolution. Period. There are no "controversies in evolution" around that basic statement. And ID is not science. Keep it away from my kids.

By SiMPel MYnd (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

"It's ironic that there is absolutely no proof of the existence of alien life in outer space, but it's origins in creating life on earth is being considered by PZ, and his good buddy Dawkins...But call it "ID" as they reject the label of "intelligent design" even though "aliens" would be considered fairly "intelligent"...lol
Michael"

Your tiny mind is apparent in your conception of what "alien life" must be. Your comments make it clear that the only scenario you can think of is an advanced technological species flying their spaceships to Earth. This is why you use terms such as "creating life on Earth" rather than the more accurate & unloaded term "seeding life on Earth" from outer space.

It is well established that organic chemistry takes place in space, both within planetary systems and in the ubiquitous gas/dust clouds in galaxies.

It is well established that organic molecules rain down onto Earth at present (tons a day) as they did prior to the establishment of life on Earth (Many orders of magnitude greater influx than present).

It is well established that part of this organic mass survives incorporation with the Earth with complex molecules intact.

It is well established that complex organic chemistry takes place on other worlds (Titan & Europa).

The organic molecules which have evolved into life on Earth did come from "outer space", just like all the other molecules which accumulated into the Earth 4+Billion years ago.

The important questions are, "How complex do organic molecules grow in space?" and "How complex can organic molecules be and survive consolidation with Earth?"
.

Damnit!!! I live here in SC, in Charleston, and was hoping for some relaxation and even a little beach time before going back overseas to work at the end of June. Now, I have to spend time writing emails, letters, and making calls so these pinheads and their asswipe excuse for a bill can be sent down in flames. I am seriously pissed!!!!

Ciao

I thought these asshats learned their lesson from Kansas. The people were asleep & didn't care what the fundies did. Once some colleges stepped in & threatened to not accept students from Kansas, the shit hit the fan. Every one of the fundies on the Kansas state board of education lost their re-election. Every. One.

ps: I know this info is common knowledge for 90% of the readers here. My first statement stands. The rest was a brief explanation for the 10%.

By The Reality-Ba… (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

Bear in mind that the sponsors of these bills don't expect them to pass muster; in fact, hope that they don't. This is just red meat to get The Base out come election day. If these bills ever became law, there'd be a significant backlash at the pools.

By ScentOfViolets (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

Ran into a 'Christian exodus' site the other day. Was almost tempted to contribute. I rather like the idea of most of the christian fundis moving to one state (as long as it isn't Tx). Also had some fantasies about a large H-bomb (no, unkind, don't think like that)

Yeah, our South Cackalackee solons are about to give us:

"I Believe" license plates, a law that says city and county governments can give invocations to Jeebus if they want to, and they can put up the Ten Commandments, Magna Carta, Noah's Ark, the Hippocratic Oath, statues of Ronald Reagan, Jerry Falwell and Jerry Lewis because they call it history, not religion.

Senators Mike Fair and Kevin Bryant are always willing to pander to, and carry the water for the religiously insane.

South Carolina - Going backwards at the speed of light.

By Senecasam (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

Rev. bigDumbChimp, Re #43, pleased to meet a fellow low country denizen and have enjoyed your posts. I will get on the phone and mail list myself, trying to preserve the place I love.

Ciao - off for shrimp and grits at Gilligan's

wikipedia Xian Exodus:

They advocate the repeal of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, which abolished slavery, made former slaves citizens and gave them the right to vote. Christian Exodus says "We hold that it is the obligation of the various States to nullify this Amendment and all laws and court rulings arising from it."
They advocate repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which permits the taxation of all forms of income by the Federal Government.
They advocate repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, which requires popular election of Senators.
They advocate that the states should have power to prohibit the immigration and/or naturalization of such persons as each sees fit to exclude as was originally the case in America.
Christian Exodus has not ruled out seceding from the United States. South Carolina was picked because the group believes that it has a high chance of seceding again due to the fact that it was listed in the Treaty of Paris as a

Just looked at Xian Exodus, which I had heard of and never paid much attention to. What a vicious group of barbarian loons.

1. They want to reinstitue slavery. Very biblical but still. So is not eating shell fish and murdering and selling your kids.

2. They want to secede from the USA. Looks like they hate democracy and the US in no particular order.

Hmmm, I must be out of touch with what is happening in South Carolina.

Michael @32, The phrase comes to mind - you are entitled to your own opinions, but you don't get to make up your own facts.

The public schools do indeed belong to all taxpayers but the taxpayers don't get to dictate that the schools teach superstitions and outright lies instead of facts.

Cheers,
Ray

Re Sastra@30. Brilliant. You must have that brain of yours quick-frozen and examined by the best neuroscientists - when you're done with it, of course!

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

PZ,

I've been reading Pharyngula for a few months now, and I just cannot believe the frequency with which these evolution controversy stories occur. This just doesn't happen in England (for example). I'm genuinely worried that science is, in the USA, becoming censored in the same way as it was in the Middle East.

The public schools do indeed belong to all taxpayers but the taxpayers don't get to dictate that the schools teach superstitions and outright lies instead of facts.

Well my friend, you sound like your one of those who complain it's not testable, but then turn around and claim you disproved or proved what is not testable and everyone else lies if they disagree with you. The leap into existence of the big bang hypothesis, is superstition. It will never be explained by an evolutionist model because it defies natural laws, nor can it be tested.

"Superstition" was taught in the public schools when I attended and no doubt in some regards it still is. I learned aspects of Roman and Greek gods for example, even some aspects of Buddhism and so on. How did this come about? Through the learning about different cultures which was presented in various classes. Wouldn't you think Halloween promotes "superstition", it's also practiced in the public schools or do you think dressing up like witches is not really acting out superstition?

There is a fine line when it comes to ID which uses only science. ID does conflict with creationism at times as some might have noticed with some of Beebe conclusions. The public schools need some critical thinking about evolution but the public schools need not to attack religion like atheists do.

The leap into existence of the big bang hypothesis, is superstition. It will never be explained by an evolutionist model because it defies natural laws, nor can it be tested.

That's a great parody of Ben Stein.

where'd you learn how to do that?

there's a lot of talent showing up late on Pharyngula tonight.

"Superstition" was taught in the public schools when I attended and no doubt in some regards it still is. I learned aspects of Roman and Greek gods for example, even some aspects of Buddhism and so on.

Was it practiced in biology class? Or was it practiced in it's respective subjects. In answering this question you will be able to spot the straw man in your argument.

There is a fine line when it comes to ID which uses only science. ID does conflict with creationism at times as some might have noticed with some of Beebe conclusions.

Did you know that your beloved big boy "Beebe" accepts evolution and the big bang "hypothesis"?

Michael the lying idiot cultist:

Superstition" was taught in the public schools when I attended and no doubt in some regards it still is. I learned aspects of Roman and Greek gods for example, even some aspects of Buddhism and so on. How did this come about? Through the learning about different cultures which was presented in various classes. Wouldn't you think Halloween promotes "superstition", it's also practiced in the public schools or do you think dressing up like witches is not really acting out superstition?
Superstition" was taught in the public schools when I attended and no doubt in some regards it still is. I learned aspects of Roman and Greek gods for example, even some aspects of Buddhism and so on. How did this come about? Through the learning about different cultures which was presented in various classes. Wouldn't you think Halloween promotes "superstition", it's also practiced in the public schools or do you think dressing up like witches is not really acting out superstition?

Ancient mythology and comparative religion are taught in public schools. They are not taught in science classes as fact.

Halloween does not necessarily promote superstition any more than Xmas promotes belief in elves, flying reindeer, and Santa Claus. Or Easter promotes belief in large rabbits with baskets of candy. Or movies promote belief in zombies, werewolves, and vampires.

Michael, normal people can separate entertainment and fiction from reality. If your mind hadn't been permanently warped by your cult you would be able to do so too.

Another victim really. So Michael, instead of lying which you aren't very good at, who is on your To Kill list? All fundies have To Kill lists. If you are too dumb to find yours, "everyone" is a popular answer from the Rapture crowd.

Michael the retarded Death Cultist:

The leap into existence of the big bang hypothesis, is superstition. It will never be explained by an evolutionist model because it defies natural laws, nor can it be tested.

1. The Big Bang is documented fact. The USA built the Hubble space telescope for billions of dollars to look back at it. You can see evidence of the Big Bang easily. No one doubts it except for a few Xian retards on cultist grounds.

2. Evolution is how life changes through time. It has nothing to do with astronomy or physics

3."The Big Bang defies "natural laws"." Considering that you don't know the difference between biology and astronomy, you would be the last to know that.

4. There are many things we can't directly test in physics at present for practical reasons. The Big Bang, the formation of Black Holes, high energy galactic jets, quasars, and so on. This is good. The first scientist to create a black hole would be the last. What we can do is use inference to make testable predictions.

Michael knows less science than the average 6th grader. If it was left up to the Michaels of the world, we would all be sitting around in the stone age waiting for someone to invent or discover something. So we could kill them.

The good news is, Fair himself stated that the bill had no chance of passing with only nine days left in the session. It's just an election-year bone he tossed to the dumbass fundoid rollers who constitute a voting majority in his district (he himself didn't say that last bit).

The bad news: he says he'll reintroduce the bill next year.

By David Windhorst (not verified) on 17 May 2008 #permalink

Hi Raven, cheerful as usual I see...

Tell me Raven, what creationist do you think says scientific progress like advances in medicine, and technology are not needed because we have the answer to the origin of life? Do you have any of these quotes I could look at? Isn't is better raven to not put our food in our cars but rather feed people? Isn't it better raven to stop spending such much money on looking for life on Mars, than to look for other energy sources like Helium3 on the moon?

"Isn't it better raven to stop spending such much money on looking for life on Mars, than to look for other energy sources like Helium3 on the moon?"

We could do both if we started taxing the churches! :)

By SiMPel MYnd (not verified) on 17 May 2008 #permalink

Michael confused:

1. Tell me Raven, what creationist do you think says scientific progress like advances in medicine, and technology are not needed because we have the answer to the origin of life? Do you have any of these quotes I could look at?

2. Isn't is better raven to not put our food in our cars but rather feed people?

3. Isn't it better raven to stop spending such much money on looking for life on Mars, than to look for other energy sources like Helium3 on the moon?

You ignored all my points. It is OK, we know you don't know the simple answers. Reading can cure that.

1. This doesn't make any sense. A creationist would say research into abiogenesis is useless because goddidit. No scientist would say research into science and technology isn't needed because that is what scientists do. It is also the basis of our 21st century civilization.

If you mean which creationists hate science, scientists, and blood libeled them? Ben Stein, Mathis, Miller, and the crew of Expelled, the lie movie. Ben Stein, "science leads you to killing." I forget who killed Rudy Boa but Michael korn has threatened to kill the U. of Colorado biology department and the owner of this blog, PZ Meyers. He is also on the run with an arrest warrant out on him.

Antiscience attitudes are common in fundie circles. Their mythology is contradicted by all sciences, biology, physics, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, archaeology, and history.

2. What does corn into ethanol have to do with anything? Originally lukewarm in favor as it seemed preferable to trading our kids lives for oil. Now lukewarm against.

3. We've never got fusion to work for power. Helium3 right now is moot. Looking for life on Mars is just part of our space program. What no one ever talks about. All species go extinct sooner or later. These are long known findings of evolutionary biology. Species lifespans of 1 to 10 million years are typical.

The galaxy also appears to be empty at least locally. We can hedge our bets and spread outward and own the whole galaxy, a trillion stars. Or sit in our mom's basement like the fundie cultists hoping god shows up and kills 6.7 billion people.

Pretty confused there. Really, you need to take your medication or something.