June 2017 Church & State - June 2016

Anti-Evolution Bill Moves Forward In Okla.

  AU admin

Oklahoma legislators are considering a bill that would undermine sound science education in the state’s public schools.

SB 393 passed the state Senate and was facing a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives as this issue went to press. It would encourage public school teachers to teach “scientific controversies.”

Critics of the bill, including Americans United, argued that “scientific controversy” is code for undermining evolution with religious concepts like intelligent design and creationism.

In an April 14 letter to Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall (R), AU Legislative Director Maggie Garrett voiced AU’s opposition to the bill, explaining that SB 393’s clear purpose is to discredit sound scientific theories in “another attempt by the legislature to introduce religion into public-school classrooms.”

“It’s clear the bill’s purpose is to discredit scientific theories: Teaching students to critique purported scientific weaknesses is just one of many euphemisms, such as ‘full range of scientific views’ and ‘evidence for and against,’ used to misrepresent scientific knowledge and undermine students’ education about evolution,” Garrett wrote.

Legislators in Indiana, South Dakota and Texas have also introduced similar anti-evolution bills.

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