Tuesday, 17 January 2012

New Missouri anti-science legislation tabled

Source: Religion Dispatches

State Representative, Rick Brattin (R-MO) has introduced yet another ridiculous piece of legislation, known as the "Missouri Standard Science Act" - or HB1227.

Brattin says the bill is “not about religion.”, but as has already been noted in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, '[T]he religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child - Judge John E. Jones III.

The text of the Bill alludes to the clear difference in scientific understanding of the difference between 'Biological evolution' as a theory, and 'Biological intelligent design' as a hypothesis (2(2-3)). However, in 3(3), it goes on to state;

(3) If scientific theory is taught, the theory shall be identified as theory when taught orally or in writing. Empirical data and conjecture may be presented to support taught theory where considered instructive. As used in this subsection, the term "theory" shall mean theory or hypothesis;
            (a) If a scientific theory concerning origin or destiny is taught without the teaching of opposing scientific theory, the taught theory may be criticized by the teaching of conflicting empirical data where considered instructive;
            (b) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth's biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course;
            (c) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a textbook, the textbook shall give equal treatment to biological evolution and biological intelligent design. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught;
In equivocating 'theory' and 'hypothesis', Brattin fallaciously equates the two as having equal merit and meaning. This is clearly not the case.

Creationism/Intelligent Design has been dismissed as nothing more than religion by courts the nation over, yet - predominantly - Republican members seem adamant that the Constitutional protection afforded by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment be done away with.

Are you in Missouri? Please contact HR Brattin, and remind him of his Constitutional duties.

Capitol Address:
Address: MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue
Room 201F
Jefferson City MO 65101
Legislative Assistant: JaCinda Martin
Phone: 573-751-3783
E-Mail: Rick.Brattin@house.mo.gov 
District Address:
Address: Rep. Rick Brattin
P.O. Box 766
Harrisonville MO  64701

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Your thoughts?


  1. Scientists need to create a new word to replace "theory." This will solve the problem of Creationists repeatedly undermining the importance of scientific theories by equating them with the popular culture meaning of theory. This could also be on a grading scale. X is a severely underused letter, so I suggest xydoon (pronounced zie-dune with a long I like sign).
    I suggest that xydoon not be an absolute, but a graded scale. A null xydoon rating means that no tests have been created or conducted that could prove the truthfulness of the hypothesis beyond reasonable doubt. A rating of 10 xydoon, the maximum, signifies that many tests have been done by several different [teams of] scientists with funding by non-involved parties and each test has had similar results within the margin of error accepted by the majority of scholars in the field.
    Scientists invent new words for new problems all the time. It shouldn't be a problem to get this one adopted.

  2. Well, Einstein's gravity is "just a theory". "Fields" and "warping space" and all. It doesn't explain anything, really. Now, God's invisible angels pushing things around, that's something that makes sense!

    This post's title is an example where British and American English are at loggerheads. Rational Americans will read it and say to themselves, "Whew! Glad that legislation's no longer being considered!" Naming Missouri is not likely to attract Brits. Which side of the pond is your readership?

    Love the cartoon!


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