I am only loosely aware of some of the major cases about teaching versions of creationism in schools like the Scopes Trial in 1925, McClean v. Arkansas in 1982, Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987, and Kitzmiller v. Dover in 2005. But I didn’t realize that all the time, representatives are aiming to pass bills that would negatively impact science education. Now some Christians would disagree, but I see it all the time where students I teach are at a severe disadvantage in learning about nature because they have been so many wrong things about science from primarily young earth creationist or anti-evolution creationist sources. Many of these Christian students have been lied to about evolution, geology, cosmology, and many other branches of science. Thus far this year the following states have aimed to pass such legislation according to this list from the NCSE (National Center for Science Education):
- Arizona - whose bill would have permitted the ‘teaching of both sides’ to controversial issues (defined as issues that a political party has taken a stance on, i.e. if the Republican party in Arizona says the theory of evolution is bad then it is a ‘controversial issue’)
- Virginia - a nearly identical bill to Arizona
- Indiana - “[t]he governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.”
- Florida (2 so far this year) - “[c]ontroversial theories and concepts” discussed in science standards “[to] be taught in a factual, objective, and balanced manner.” What are the controversial theories? It is left rather vague but the bills’ main proponent has a long history of anti-evolution activity
- North Dakota - The bill would ostensibly promote “the freedom to teach students the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories and controversies” while prohibiting state and local administrators from exercising supervisory responsibility over teachers.
- Connecticut - There is a bill that would eliminate teaching about climate change as part of the science curriculum because it is too controversial and the Republican representative backing it seriously doubts that any of the climate change is man-made
- Iowa (2 so far this year) - similar to laws from previous years which would have required teachers in Iowa’s public schools to include “opposing points of view or beliefs” to accompany any instruction relating to evolution, the origins of life, global warming, or human cloning. Both bills died in committee.
- Maine - similar to Arizona and Virginia
- South Carolina - has a bill which if enacted, allow public school districts to offer elective courses on religion — and to “require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, as part of the course content.”
- Montana - would, if enacted, dignify a litany of inaccurate and misleading claims about climate change as legislative findings, and call for those findings to be offered “when providing education and informational materials on climate change.”
That’s a lot for just two months! It is interesting that continually such anti-science bills are hoping to be passed and all of them come from a particular political party. The local headline for the most recent one to fall is:
On the other hand, some states have passed bills to help strengthen science education like Washington.