Alabama lawmakers want to protect kids from thinking “they came from a monkey” by allowing the teaching of alternative, religious based theories concerning biological evolution and the chemical origins of life in public school science classrooms.
Alabama Republicans have introduced a terrible, anti-science, anti-evolution, anti-education, anti-child piece of legislation that would give religious zealots permission to teach public school children religious alternatives to accepted science.
This bill would require the State Board of Education, local boards of education, and staff of K-12 public schools to create an environment that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific subjects.
This bill would also allow public school teachers to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of all existing scientific theories covered in a science course.
While the synopsis sounds benign, the intention is not.
The legislation states that some science coursework “may cause debate and disputation including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and human cloning. Some teachers may be unsure of the expectation concerning how they should present information when debate and disputation occur on these subjects.”
According to AL.com, the bill would “allow public school teachers to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of all existing scientific theories covered in a science course.”
Speaking for many concerned citizens, Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, said:
House Bill 592 would undermine the integrity of science education in the state by encouraging science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach whatever anything they pleased and prevent responsible educational authorities from intervening.
This is a thinly-veiled attempt to open the door to religious fanatics who don’t believe in evolution, climate change or other scientifically-based teaching in our schools. It also opens Alabama to costly litigation that it just cannot afford.
The bill’s principal sponsor, Mack Butler (R-District 30), tries to argue the bill would create more “well-rounded students and teachers.” However, his real intention becomes apparent when he tries to justify his bill by claiming:
There is animosity to anything Christian. We are getting so secular and hostile toward Christianity. I’m just trying to bring back a little balance.
On his Facebook page Butler again makes his intention clear that the bill is not about teaching science, but promoting Christianity, by claiming:
This will encourage debate if a student has a problem learning he came from a monkey rather than an intelligent design!
The assumption that creationism, or intelligent design, constitutes a legitimate scientific alternative to the theory of evolution is simply false. Religious myth and superstition have no place in the science classroom. Teaching children creationism as a legitimate scientific alternative to the theory of evolution is a form of child abuse and should not be tolerated.