For those of us who thought we were immune from anti-science interference in school curricula here in the blue states, a sad surprise.
The NCSE (among many others) reports on Assembly Bill 8306, introduced last week in the New York State Assembly. The bill will amend the state’s education law to require the teaching of “intelligent design” along with evolution in the state’s schools. The official bill summary claims that
The purpose of this bill is to assure that all theories regarding the existence of man, the universe and all it contains, are being taught to students in publicly funded schools by requiring that they teach both theories of intelligent design and evolution in their curriculums, and that all aspects of the theories, along with any supportive data, be examined.
Of course, this is dishonest on its face, since “intelligent design” is not a theory, and teaching it alongside evolution, which is a theory (under the scientific definition of that term) is hardly the same as assuring that “all” theories (under whatever definition you choose) are taught.
And the dishonesty continues in the bill’s justification:
The basic rule of science is to evaluate and examine all theories rather than to present just one. Teaching just one theory can inadvertently result in that theory being looked at as an absolute truth.
I’ll ignore the barely literate prose of this (“…that theory being looked at…”)–it is, after all, a bill, not sonnet. But just looking at the attempt at logic is enough to spin my head. The bill’s true purpose is right there–to promote an idea that evolution is somehow “not true.” And to present “intelligent design” as an alternative. But even if we accept that “intelligent design” is a theory, testable, and worthy of study in a science class, I can’t see how even an ideologue of the worst stripe would be able to claim that presenting two theories is the same as presenting “all theories.”
Of course, speaking of ideologues of the worst stripe, the whole thing becomes a bit more clear when we notice (as NCSE does) that the author and sponsor of this bill, Daniel L. Hooker (R–did you have even a moment’s uncertainty about that?), also recently introduced bills that would, if enacted, permit the display of the Ten Commandments on public buildings and grounds, declassify sexual orientation from civil rights status, and prohibit the solemnization of same-sex marriages. All, all, of a piece. His stripe is as clear and as broad and as bad as can be.
The bill has approximately zero chance of ever passing, or even making it out of committee. But that it would even be proposed is not at all a good sign.