Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Samuel Wise’

Creationism: It’s Not Just For Christians Anymore.

As many of you know, I’m a born again atheist. What many of you don’t know is that I was reared in the catholic faith(No I wasn’t an altar boy, get your mind out of the gutter!). I attended catholic schools and went to church, just like all the other good little catholic children. After I graduated, I stopped going to church, but I continued to maintain my faith in god and based my moral decisions on my religious convictions. 

As I grew older, my faith became less important to me, and I began to question the validity of god. How could I not? It’s hard for me to believe that even the most devout christian wouldn’t question their faith in light if all the tragedy and evil that exists in our world. 

It was about 5 years ago when my faith completely disappeared. It became evident to me that life was a random act of nature, not a carefully planned process enacted by some invisible sky wizard. The whole concept of deity was devised by our Neolithic predecessors, who were attempting to define nature as well as themselves. Think about it; these early ancestors routinely witnessed the life, death, and rebirth cycle of plants, it was only normal to apply the same cycle to ourselves, and dream that someone above was watching out for us. Who, after death, would be able to refute the theory? 

Here is the simple truth; we’re born, we live, we die, our energy is released back to nature. Game over, end of story. If you choose to believe differently, that’s fine. I won’t argue with you unless you become a crazed fanatic about it, like so many extreme christian conservatives are doing now. Then I get pissed. These bible thumping nut jobs are trying to wedge their beliefs into political practice by attempting to define abortion as murder, and same sex marriage as an abomination against traditional marriage. Another attempt at ram-rodding religion down our throats is by force feeding our kids creationism in our public schools. If you want to teach that malarkey, fine. Keep it in your own schools, would you please?

I found this article on Mother Jones today, outlining 9 bills in 7 states that are trying to make creationism part of the public school curriculum. Without further adieu, here is the list, ribbed for your pleasure. 

1. Texas

Legislation: HB 2454 would ban discrimination against creationists, for instance, biology professors who believe in intelligent design. Defending his bill, Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler told Mother Jones, “When was the last time we’ve seen someone go into a windstorm or a tornado or any other kind of natural disaster, and say, ‘Guess what? That windstorm just created a watch’?”

Status: Referred to Higher Education Committee. 

2. Kentucky

Legislation: The Kentucky Science Education and Intellectual Freedom Act (HB 169) would have allowed teachers to use “other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.” Kentucky already authorizes public schools to teach “the theory of creation as presented in the Bible” and to “read such passages in the Bible as are deemed necessary for instruction on the theory of creation.” The state is home to the world-renowned Creation Museum and it may soon build the Ark Encounter, the world’s first creationist theme park.

Status: Died in committee. 

3. Florida

Legislation: SB 1854 would amend Florida law to require a “thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.” In 2009, Florida state Sen. Stephen Wise, the bill’s sponsor, rhetorically asked a Tampa radio host: “Why do we still have apes if we came from them?”

Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Education Pre-K-12, which Wise chairs.

4. Tennessee

Legislation: HB 368 and SB 893 would require educators to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.” The bills list four “controversies” ripe for pedagogical tinkering: biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning. Modeled on Louisiana’s Science Education Act (which became law in 2008), the bills are believed to have a good shot at passing. Steven Newton of the National Center for Science Education, which promotes teaching evolution in public schools, worries that the legislation “will allow teachers to bring this culture war into the classroom in a way that is going to leave students very confused about what science is and isn’t.”

Status: HB 368 was passed by the House General Subcommittee on Education on March 16. 

5. Oklahoma

Legislation: The Sooner State kicked off its creationism legislation season early with the January 19 pre-filing of SB 554, a bill that would have ensured that teachers could present “relevant scientific information” about “controversial topics in the sciences” including “biological origins of life and biological evolution.” It also would have required Oklahoma to adopt science standards echoing those passed by in 2009 by the Texas state board of education. “Using your tax dollars to teach the unknown, without disclosing the entire scientific findings is incomplete and unacceptable,” wrote the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Josh Brecheen, in the Durant Daily Democrat. A second bill introduced in February, the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act, resembled Louisiana’s Science Education Act.

Status: Both bills died in committee. 

6. New Mexico

Legislation: HB 302, another bill modeled on Louisiana’s Science Education Act. Sponsor Kent Cravens, a state senator from Albuquerque, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the bill wasn’t anti-Darwinian, but rather was “intended to give the teacher the ability to disclose that there may be another way to think about this, whatever subject they are talking about.”

Status: Died in committee. 

7. Missouri

Legislation: HB 195 would permit teachers “to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.” Missouri is the site of the newly opened Creation Museum of the Ozarks.

Status: Not yet referred to a committee.

So far the score card looks like this: christian conservative politicians want to place their version of god in a woman’s ovaries, a person’s sexual orientation, and in secular class rooms. Does that about cover it?