In 2012, Republicans in Missouri tried to hijack the science curriculum in an attempt to force students to learn creationism, also known as intelligent design. Fast forward one year later and Republicans in the state refuse to give up on their dream of poisoning the subject with religion.
House Bill 291, as introduced by conservative state Rep. Rick Brattin, would require creationism to be given equal time with evolution in science classes and all textbooks would be required to devote the same number of pages to creationism as they do to evolution. The bill includes multiple sections and subsections on the teaching of creationism, referring to the subject as “biological intelligence” and “faith-based philosophical belief.”
The bill blatantly attempts to redefine science, and includes new and strange definitions of “analogous naturalistic processes,” “biological evolution,” “empirical data,” “hypothesis,” “origin,” “scientific theory,” “scientific law,” and “standard science.” According to Eric Meikle of the National Center for Science Education in an interview with Mother Jones:
“This bill is very idiosyncratic and strange. And there is simply not scientific evidence for intelligence design,” and could “open the door for teachers who are opposed to evolution to bring in creationist materials.”
The bill would also make science more tedious to teach because it allows any other origin theory to be taugh,t which opens up the classroom to ANY theory in existence, wasting the valuable and short amount of time teachers need to teach real science.
Science is a subject governed by fact, not faith. Scientific knowledge comes from observation and experimentation, both of which cannot be used to support intelligent design. Religion does not belong in science class. It belongs in church. Teaching a religious theory in class has the great potential to cause division among students and would most certainly cost schools a great deal of money to not only purchase new textbooks, but to pay court and attorney fees when some parents decide to sue the school for trying to indoctrinate their kids with religion against their will. Those are just a few reasons to keep religion out of science class.
Clearly, Republicans intend to keep pushing these creationism bills in any and every state. So far, they have only managed to pass such bills in Louisiana and Tennessee. If America is going to lead the world in science once again, creationism must not be allowed in science classrooms. Creationism and science simply cannot co-exist and we would be a worldwide laughingstock if we allowed our science classrooms to become purveyors of religious doctrine. Science is fact. Religion is faith. And only one belongs in schools.