Oklahoma gets an F-. It’s a grade invented just for Oklahoma.

I’m trapped in Iowa for the next few days courtesy of the snowstorm of the century.  Looks like video games and lounging, and lots of reading news stories that piss me off like this one.  Now students can answer “goddidit” on evolution tests in public schools in the state of Oklahoma and somehow not fail.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee considered HB 1674 — a House bill that would prevent teachers in science classes from penalizing students who contest evolutionary principles with untestable, faith-based claims.

It passed, 9-8.

Hindering the minds of the young: it’s been religion’s game for thousands of years.  I just wish they could only do it in church.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    So if they cite the show “Ancient Aliens,” they would have to pass?

    It is both untestable and faith-based. Just like creationism. It is actually falsified by evidence, just like creationism. It is a really shitty idea that requires an argument form ignorance to just get off the ground, just like creationism.

    So if someone asked what helped human go from an hunter-gather society to an agrarian civilization, an essay detailing how god created mankind 6000 years ago, or so, would be better than detailing how small changes caused by our ancestor’s habits over time and the domestication of certain plants slowly(over the course of a few hundred years) allowed for stable villages to from and while it was a lower caloric intake over the short term, it did make for a more reliable source of food, making it more successful and allowing for these villages to grow and prosper?

  • Erülóra

    Why limit it to science class? What about my faith-based claim that 2+2=5, as Ilúvatar himself revealed to me. Or that Winston Churchill was the Holy Roman Emperor during the War of the Roses. Or at least, he was in an aborted timeline. And how dare the Doctor abort that timeline – the Universe should have carried it to term.

    • Glodson

      Sabin suplexed an undead train, therefore Force does not equal mass times acceleration.

    • sqlrob
  • SparkyB

    Seriously, this law is really dumb. If they’re going to teach evolution in the schools and test kids on it, they should be able to expect kids to pass the tests based on what they’ve learned. You don’t have to believe it. The test isn’t asking you what you believe the real answer is to the question, it is just asking you if you remember and understand what your teacher taught you was the answer, whether you agree or not. Expecting the “right” answers (where right is defined by the class) does not violate anyone’s faith if you’re already making them listen to the lecture.

    • baal

      Having memorized several different teachers different views on history, I resemble this comment.

  • Nate Adams

    Welcome to Iowa! Depending on where you’re trapped it could either be pretty cool, or pretty horrible ;)

    • Stogoe

      The “Snowmageddon” was pretty lame, all in all. It was hyped up because the models predicted it a week and a half out, and it arrived late and weakened.

  • iknklast

    I don’t know. When I went to school in Oklahoma, we never even took evolution tests, because no teacher would ever dare breathe any word that began with e (evolution, ecology, environment). So maybe if they’re at least being exposed, it’s a step up…or not. What happens when they enroll at the University of Oklahoma, which isn’t run by the same dimwits, and find they suddenly have to know stuff and put sciencey answers on tests? In fact, I put it in my syllabus (college) that all questions must be answered based on the scientific priniciples we are studying in class. That also covers answers that happen to be trivially correct, but stupid, such as in the question Anecedotes are not evidence (in which anecdotes are the blank), I can freely count wrong all such answers that I’ve gotten, such as women aren’t evidence, cars aren’t evidence, and the like.

  • Ray

    Note to self never hire anyone from Oklahoma.

    • Glodson

      I would amend that to “Don’t hire anyone who let this pass in Oklahoma.”

      It isn’t the fault of the kids who are going to be forced to go to school with this crap.

      • Loqi

        That’s the saddest thing about this. Kids are going to grow up to be ignorant because their parents are determined to not let them learn things.

        • Glodson

          And those kids will grow up and repeat.

          It is much like the transmission of an STD. Or religion.

          My little brother doesn’t understand evolution. His religious leaders, who he has elected to trust, tell him that it is evil and false. He is teaching his children this because he is being gullible, treating religion differently. So his children will cling to this false idea that evolution is false.

          It is only the fundamental theory of biology. I mean, who needs it if you aren’t going into biology. It isn’t like this wraps an understanding of science itself, helps teach how to rationalize instead of thinking rationally, and seems to lead into other gross misunderstandings of what science actually is and collectively impedes progress by tainting young minds with bad ideas about science is.

          I want kids to question science. Asking questions is great. It is a great way to teach science, and to teach how to think critically, and even scientifically. But when our children are taught to ask loaded questions without regard for the answers, the entire point of asking questions is missed. I want children to ask questions about religion too. It is a good way for religion to fall flat on its face.

    • iknklast

      I did my college in Oklahoma and Texas (high school in Oklahoma). When I began to apply for jobs, I encountered some schools that were worried that I might not be willing to teach evolution, because the mindset of those two states is so well known. Fortunately, their higher education institutions are run by people who understand that the way to compete in the modern world is to give the students a proper background in their fields. While they may be no better and no worse than any other college in that regard, evolution was a full and complete part of science courses, and dropped naturally from professor’s lips without turning red, starting, or watching over their shoulder.

  • Taz

    Now students can answer “goddidit” on evolution tests

    That would actually be a great form of protest. If the law passes recruit some bright student to answer nothing but “goddidit” on a science test. After the teacher gives the student a failing grade on the test, take the school to court. (Even better if there’s also a Muslim student to answer “allahdidit”.)

  • Roger

    Answer every question with “ARR! The Flying Spaghetti Monster be the one that be doin’ that, me hearty!”

  • http://www.oklascience.org/ vhutchison

    Oklahoma has had more (26) of these creationst bills durig the past 12 years than any other state, but very similar bills have been filed 126 times in 30+ states. They have all failed, except in LA (2008) and TN (2012). The bills did not originate with ALEC, but from a template provided by the creationist Discovery Institute in Seattle. Although Oklahoma has had the most of these bills (followed by MO and MS), none have passed in Oklahoma so far, mainly due to the efforts of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education ( OESE, http://www.oklascience.org/ ) that serves as an umbrella group to mobilize opposition from many individuals and national and state organizations.

    As the reddest of states, where the Legislature has a superiority of Republicans (many far-right tea-partier types) and all elected state officers and the congressional delegation are Republican, it is getting more difficult to stop bad bills. Yet, so far, we have prevailed. This year may again be close.

    As a retired biology professor at the University of Oklahoma, I can assure you that we demand knowledge of evolution from students, as do Oklahoma State University and other four year colleges. Indeed, many have strong statements supporting evolution. OESE offers weekend workshops for high school teachers (full scholarships) each year (for thelast eight years). This fall the workshop will be on climate change, staffed mostly by professional climatologists and will alternate with workshopson teaching evolution.

    As difficult as the political climate is here, we keep working.

  • Glodson

    This is another reason I hate this creationism nonsense. Any kid dealing with this nonsense will be in for a shock in college courses. They are coming in lacking even the basic knowledge needed.

    I’ve gone back to school, and I’m constantly shocked at the levels of ignorance I encounter at times. And it isn’t just creationism. I know that here, in Texas, they are gutting the funding for education. It is terrible.