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Monday, March 4, 2013

Science education and Oklahoma legislative failure.


Hey everyone, The Skeptical Okie here.  It's been fairly calm at the Skeptic headquarters, just busy.  First thing I've got to say is congratulations to the lawmakers that voted against Senate Bill 758.  For those that don't know, the was our most recent in Oklahoma to allow teachers to "teach the controversy" when it comes to topics such as evolution and climate change, or as the bills author, Gus Blackwell, puts it, allows students and teachers to question and explore the strengths and weaknesses of scientific controversies such as cloning, climate change, evolution, and the origin of life.  This bill would have diluted science education in the state to the same efficacy as homeopathy.  The problem is that a similar bill, House Bill 1674 is still live.  It is authored by Josh Brecheen, and appears to co-authored by guess who.  Yep Sally Kern. The  passage of bills like these would completely undermine science education in the state and severely hurt not just the state, but it would also hamper our children when they go to college.  They would enter a college biology classroom, and expect to be able to dispute any mention of evolution, and not be penalized for it.  Bills that "allow" people to disregard proven scientific principles in favor of a faith based approach to the way the world works will also slow scientific innovations as these students enter the work force.                                                                                  The authors of these bills have gotten creative in recent years and are careful to avoid any mention of creationism, which is a common tactic among the creationism proponents.  The National Center for Science Education fights these issues in every state, but they can't do it alone.  I'm urging every reader of this blog that resides in the state of Oklahoma to contact their state rep. and senator and tell them that these bills are damaging to the future of not only the state, but to the children as well.  They would also make us a laughing stock to the rest of the country, and if this trend continues to the other states, the entire world.  The creationist sect tries to pass these every couple of years, and so far, they haven't passed, yet.  They are getting sneakier with their wording, and they seem to get more support every time they put one of these mockeries forward for a vote.  It almost seems that education is just a political game for some of these folks, regardless of the actual long term effects they'll have.  "Education Bills" such as these should never even reach they floor.  They should be laughed at and mocked until they curl up and die.
    If the creationists could actually provide real, demonstrable evidence for their side of the "argument", then this might be a topic of discussion.  So far, every attempt to either prove their points or disprove what they feel are controversial topics have failed.  And their little battle cries of "teach the controversy" and  "there's no consensus" just goes to show that they haven't really looked into it.  They are simply buying into what their preacher, pastor, padre, or elder is telling them.  The controversies are primarily in their own heads.  For the most part, the scientific community agrees on evolution, climate change, the origin of life, and other subjects.  Their might be minor disagreements concerning the exact mechanisms, or a small details, but all in all, they are in agreement, ergo, a consensus.
    I know that this was a relatively short post, but we need to act soon to prevent this measure from passing. I am also getting so frustrated reading what these, and I'll be nice, people are trying to do to the education system in the state.  We are already ranked  42 in the country for science education.  Consider this a call to arms.  We need to fight for the future of the state, scientific literacy, and more importantly, the children.I am going to go ahead an wind this one up before I become less coherent than usual and really go off on a rant.  I hope to talk to everyone soon. Until next time, Be Goo, Be Well, and Be Skeptical.

The Skeptical Okie


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