Sunday, March 15, 2009
Break Out the Floppy Shoes
Apparently the creationists in Texas aren't confident that their representatives on the State Board of Education can carry the day. As reported by the NCSE, the appropriately named Wayne Christian (guess which party!) of the Texas House of Representatives has introduced H.B. No. 4224 which reads, in relevant part:
SECTION 1. Subchapter A, Chapter 28, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 28.0027 to read as follows:
Sec. 28.0027. STUDY OF SCIENCE. (a) As part of the essential knowledge and skills of the science curriculum under Section 28.002(a)(1)(C), the State Board of Education by rule shall establish elements relating to instruction on the scientific hypotheses and theories for grades 6-12.
(b) Instructional elements for scientific processes: the student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information;
(c) Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution shall be penalized in any way because he or she subscribes to a particular position on scientific theories or hypotheses;
(d) No governmental entity shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students to understand, analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.
I suppose the one upside to this bill is that it may result in Luskin giving another performance of his unintended comedy routine for our amusement.
Sometimes I think we just say, “OK”. The first class will be the strength and weakness of creation science, and the second class will be the strength and weakness of Intelligent Design. My lesson plan would include Neil Degrasse Tyson No one can trash ID like Mr. Tyson. (Present company excluded)
Second, I wonder if all this focus leads to more lessons in evolution. It use to be that teachers could just gloss over the topic and avoid the conflict. But now, they are forced to teach on the topic. I wonder how much of it backfires in ID's face?
While all the brouhaha raises the public profile of evolution, it also tends to cast it as a political issue, allowing the faithful to go on self-deluding themselves that science hasn't shown their beliefs to be false.
There may be no perfect tactic for the science-friendly side to take.