Missouri GOP Introduces Second Creationism Bill In State Legislature

As if one creationism bill wasn’t enough already, Missouri Republicans have introduced a second one in an attempt to force Christianity on schools one way or another.

On January 11th, Republicans in the Missouri House of Representatives introduced House Bill 1276, which is tamer than House Bill 1227. The bill is identical to a 2011 bill known as House Bill 195 which died in committee without a hearing. While 1227 would force schools and universities to teach creationism as science, this new bill gives students and teachers the power to openly dispute the scientifically proven theory of evolution. The bill calls on state and local education administrators to “endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution” and to “endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies. Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.”

In other words, Republicans want school principals and superintendents to “encourage” teachers and students to question evolution. But this isn’t about questioning scientific theories in a scientific way. Quite the contrary. Republicans are trying to bring creationism theories into the classroom by giving students and teachers the power to deny evolution with creationism. If a student or teacher takes issue with evolution on religious grounds, they can introduce Biblical pseudo-science as “evidence.” It’s a fancy way of saying that schools aren’t required to teach creationism, but school officials can’t stop students and teachers from bringing it up either.

A science classroom simply cannot function in a scientific manner if teachers and students are challenging real science with pseudo-science on a daily basis. It would be chaotic and confusing and would keep students from focusing. The Christian Right wants to replace science with their own belief system. Evolution would become intelligent design. The big bang would become Genesis. Earth’s age would be reset to 6,000 years old. Disease and disaster would be written off as God’s wrath. Prayer would replace medicine. This is the kind of stuff that doesn’t belong in education. This is science class, NOT Sunday school.