New Anti-Science Bill Submitted in Ohio

A Republican legislator — of course — has submitted a bill in the Ohio House of Representatives to repeal Common Core and it includes language that the sponsor of the bill says will allow local school districts to teach creationism and climate change denial in public school science classrooms. HB 597 includes this language:

(iii) The standards in science shall be based in core existing disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics; incorporate grade-level mathematics and be referenced to the mathematics standards; focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.

(iv) The standards in social studies shall incorporate the original texts and the original context of the declaration of independence, the northwest ordinance, the constitution of the United States and its amendments with emphasis on the bill of rights; incorporate the Ohio constitution; define the United States of America as a constitutional republic; be based on acquisition of real knowledge of major individuals and events; require the study of world and American geography; and prohibit a specific political or religious interpretation of the standards’ content.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Andy Thompson, explains what this means:

Thompson also clarified some unclear language in the bill about science standards that would “prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.” Thompson said that clause prevents teachers and schools from only presenting one side of a political and scientific debate — global warming, for example — without also presenting the other side.

And he said the bill gives districts and teachers the freedom to teach religious interpretations of scientific issues as they deem best. That allows “intelligent design” and creationism to be taught alongside evolution, as well as varying views on the age of the earth and whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time.

“It gives some flexibility to districts to pursue what they think is most appropriate to their students,” Thompson said. “We want to have the ability to share perspectives that differ. Teaching one thing to the exclusion of anything else limits the discussion.”

Asked if the law would require intelligent design to be taught as equivalent to evolution, Thompson said: “I don’t know that it needs to be treated on par, but districts will be able to choose based on their judgment.”

When are state and local legislators going to realize that no matter how many times they try to find a way for equal time for creationism, the courts ruled on this a long, long time ago and they don’t get to overrule that?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    “…and whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time.”

    SCIENCE!!!!

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com holytape

    Wait, Global Warming and Evolution aren’t political or religious interpretation of the evidence. But creationism and climate denial are political and religious interpretations of the evidence. So in order to promote the teaching of Intelligent

    Design, Rep. Andy Thompson proposed a bill that out prevent the teaching of intelligent design. Have state politicians now become so stupid that when they try to be wrong they end up being right?

  • HappyHead

    focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes

    This is the only part of that specific phrasing that really would bother me – it’s a lot easier to pretend creationism and global warming denial are science, if the students are carefully kept in the dark about what science actually is.

  • Childermass

    “whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time.”

    Well I saw a living dinosaur only yesterday. I have not seen one today because I have not yet gone outside.

    /I know pedantic cladism.

    “as well as varying views on the age of the earth”

    I have no objections to teaching why one scientist thinks the Earth is 4.54 billion-years old and why another thinks the earth is 4.56 billion-years old though that might be a little dry for the kiddies.* Precisely when Theia hit Earth is also certainly up for debate.

    *Feel free to replace my two figures with what the debates with more accurate ones as I just made them up.

  • anubisprime

    @ OP

    When are state and local legislators going to realize that no matter how many times they try to find a way for equal time for creationism, the courts ruled on this a long, long time ago and they don’t get to overrule that?

    Yep…but no one said diddly squat about not circumventing it, with lies, ignorance and righteous pompousness.

    They are performing to the low brow gallery after all!

  • jabber4

    ” define the United States of America as a constitutional republic; be based on acquisition of real knowledge of major individuals and events.”

    So…let’s start off with a lie and proceed from there. And since they do not EVER rely on true knowledge of ANY events, past or present, this should be interesting.

    Now…about all those “real knowledgable events” in the Bible, that book of stories and parables that the Repubs think our country is based on…..

  • Doug Little

    There is no scientific fact when it comes to dinosaurs and people existing at the same to be interpreted one way or the other.

  • Doc Bill

    Furthermore, there is this little gem:

    “HB 597 is currently with the House Rules and Reference Committee rather than with the House Education Committee.”

    So, they’re trying a committee end-run by sending it to Rules rather than Education. Still, it’s a Dover Trap and any school district that tries to teach creationist nonsense will end up in court.

  • Nemo

    focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes

    This part is really vile. I can’t see any way to interpret it, other than actually wanting kids to be unable to think for themselves (which is ironic, in the context of a “teach the controversy” strategy). But how could someone want that?

    and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another

    This part is ungrammatical and incoherent. I doubt a court would interpret it the way he intended, in the dreadful event that this actually becomes law (please tell me it won’t).

  • reddiaperbaby1942

    Speaking of “intelligent design” — or rather, “intelligent” design: I was looking at the myth-narrative of creation in Genesis, and I realized something odd: plant life was created on the third day, but the sun (and moon, and other celestial bodies) only on the fourth. If you’re going to design a system of plant life based on photosynthesis, I’d think you’d first provide the “photo”!

    By the way, if anyone’s interested: Collins has come out with the TGV (one of the splendours of the English language) as a regular paperback: no columns, no cross-references, no biblical apparatus, just the straight text. It makes all the difference as a reading experience.

  • abb3w

    @-1, HB 597

    focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes

    OK, this looks like an absolute an utter fiasco right there. It seems to say they want kids to focus on learning the results of the scientific method, but not how scientific investigation is done to achieve those results.

    Frankly, trying to shoe-horn in space for intelligent design seems a minor problem by comparison.

  • John Pieret

    Does the law provide compensation to the school districts that go out and teach creationism (especially, but not limited to YEC) when they get their asses sued off and have to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to the plaintiffs? Or will it be, as usual, the kids who will have to pay in reduced spending on their education?

  • John Pieret

    abb3w @ 11:

    Yeah, the last thing they want is for the little darlings to be taught how to think rationally and systematically! Imagine the havoc to the status quo that could wreak!

  • raven

    …“focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes

    In other words, he wants the kids to learn by rote memorization rather than by thinking using general principles.

    Any parent who values their children’s future should hit the roof over that one.

    As Martin Luther said, reason is the enemy of religion. And don’t they know it.

    This is destructive for our society as well. We can’t run a Hi Tech country in a competitive world with growing problems with a bunch of ill educated Zombified people. Andy Thompson is an America hater. He would cheerfully sacrifice the USA for the sake of his weird cult version of xianity.

  • eric

    @9, @11, @13, @14 – yep. Remember a few years back, the Texas GOP officially opposed the teaching of critical thinking? This seems to be a similar sort of thing.

  • Michael Heath

    focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes

    I distinctly recall when I became conscious of the scientific method, somewhere between 5th and 7th grade. It was an earth-shattering moment for me. That realization validated my increasing doubts that religious claims were credible. Literacy in this area is also critically important when confronted with anti-science advocates like AGW denialists and creationists of all stripes.

    However, it was studying the conclusions regarding evolution that revealed the depth of depravity by Christians who promote their beliefs as truth, especially their claims about what the Bible has to say that contradicts evolutionary theory. That didn’t occur until I was an under-grad in college at a public university. That given that my public school was in deep-red territory and avoided evolution (and sex ed for that matter).

    And it was a well-taught literacy in the scientific method that allowed me to quickly discern the absurdity of libertarians and conservatives who deny climate change. Their depravity and nihilism is easily validated. One has to merely follow the conclusions reported in the relevant scientific journals vs. how these denialists contrive their own arguments, while avoiding the overwhelming amount of findings that pile up month to month over the past decades.

  • vereverum

    academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes;

    Danger, Will Robinson, danger. Without the processes, all facts are of equal value. The fact that the great whales were created can only be discounted or shown to be not true or shown to be not fact by showing the process that provided it. The fact that the great whales evolved can only be shown true by showing the process that provided the fact. Evolution is a process and as such cannot be taught.

  • vereverum

    @#17

    Ach, never mind; sloppy thinking. Creation is the parallel process. I guess all that could be taught is: There are whales. Ecce balaenae. I think they’ll have trouble with this one.

  • Jordan Genso

    the courts ruled on this a long, long time ago and they don’t get to overrule that

    Well considering they think 13+ billion years is equal to roughly 6,500 years, then to them those court cases only happened yesterday.