South Dakota Bill Allowing Alternative Facts in Science Class Defeated in State House

A South Dakota bill that would have weakened the teaching of evolution and climate change in classrooms has been defeated.

Even though SB 55 breezed through the Senate on a 23-12 vote, the House Education Committee decided to kill it on an 11-4 vote. (That’s no small feat when you realize there are nearly three times as many Republicans on that committee than Democrats.)

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The bill would have allowed teachers to discuss the “strengths and weaknesses of scientific information” — which is really just code for teaching things like climate change denial and Intelligent Design.

A similar bill, also proposed by State Senator Jeff Monroe, was scrapped in 2014 because he explicitly pushed for the teaching of Intelligent Design. The current bill used the euphemism instead.

Science advocates are pleased to see this bill off the table:

“Today’s defeat of the ‘alternative facts’ science bill, SB 55, is a victory for South Dakota students parents, science teachers, and everyone who cares about the quality and integrity of science education in South Dakota,” Lisa Hoyos, director of Climate Parents said in a statement. “It’s essential that students learn evidence-based science so that they have the tools to innovate solutions to challenges they’ll confront over their lifetimes — from curing disease to addressing climate change.”

Don’t worry. I’m sure other states won’t hesitate to push bills like this through, despite warnings from science experts.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to @eric1743 for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.