Added Later: Pat Hayes at Red State Rabble provides hi own unique take on this bill. Can’t say I can argue with his characterization of the MO legislatures modus operendi.
According to Missouri Citizens for Science (a new blog I just stumbled across) a new creationist bill has been introduced in the Missouri House of Representitives by republican Robert Cooper, and makes for some interesting reading. [Added Later: The scary thing is Rep. Cooper is an MD]
The bill summary states:
This bill establishes the Missouri Science Education Act which
requires instruction for science courses in sixth through twelfth
grades to comply with its best practices within five years after
its passage. The bill defines “verified empirical data” and
“substantive amount” and specifies that information appearing to
be verified empirical data but is not verified must be separately
identified. Information that represents scientific thought, such
as theory, hypothesis, extrapolation, and estimation, among
others, must also be distinguished from verified empirical data
and may be presented in the light of critical analysis. Critical
analysis may discuss problems such as faulty logic, alternate
explanations, or conflicting experiments. A substantive amount
of critical analysis is required when teaching a theory of
biological origins or current scientific theory that deals with
prehistory or the future. State assessments must comply with the
Note the bolded section. I understand the the bit about origins but what the h*&% is ” …current scientific theory that deals with… the future”??? Is this directed at global warming? The effects of environmental degradation? World domination by mutant offspring of cephalopds and Sasquatches? or what?
Wondering what “verified empirical data” means? According to the HB 1266 verified empirical data means:
“Verified empirical data”, information representing physical reality based upon repeated independent human observation, measurement, and experimentation with consistent results. Verified empirical data is without significant inference and is not theory, hypothesis, conjecture, speculation, estimated data, extrapolated data, or consensus of scientific opinion.
The bill requires that:
(1) Teacher classroom instruction shall use the following best practices to support the truthful identity of scientific information and minimize misrepresentation while promoting clarity, accuracy, and student understanding:
(a) Information that appears to be verified empirical data, but is not, shall be identified to distinguish it as separate from verified empirical data. Verified empirical data needs no specific identification. Inability to determine if specific information is verified empirical data shall not invalidate such best practice;
So even if you don’t know you still have to make a choice…
(b) Information representing scientific thought such as theory, hypothesis, conjecture, speculation, extrapolation, estimation, unverified data, consensus of scientific opinion, and philosophical belief shall be identified to distinguish it as separate from verified empirical data;
(2) Teacher classroom instruction shall use the following best practices to support the objective teaching of scientific information and minimize dogmatism while promoting student inquiry, healthy skepticism, and understanding:
(a) When information other than verified empirical data is taught representing current scientific thought such as theory, hypothesis, conjecture, speculation, extrapolation, estimation, unverified data, consensus of scientific opinion, and philosophical belief, such information shall be within the purview of critical analysis and may be critically analyzed. Critical analysis includes the teaching of anomalous verified empirical data, contrary verified empirical data, missing supporting data, inadequate mechanisms, insufficient resources, faulty logic, crucial assumptions, alternate logical explanations, lack of experimental results, conflicting experiments, or predictive failures where applicable;
(b) When information other than verified empirical data is taught representing current scientific thought such as theory or hypothesis regarding phenomena that occur in the future or that occurred previous to written history, a critical analysis of such information shall be taught in a substantive amount. If a theory or hypothesis of biological origins is taught, a critical analysis of such theory or hypothesis shall be taught in a substantive amount.
4. No public elementary or secondary school science teacher shall be refused employment, disciplined, denied advancement, transferred, or otherwise discriminated against for teaching in accordance with the best practices in subsection 3 of this section within the time allotted the affected subject matter by the course curriculum.
So if I understand this correctly, if evolution is taught you also have to point out that god could have done it and if ID is taught one has to point out that there are no experimental results for it?? This is kind of confusing…
5. The state commissioner of education shall ensure that any assessment or competency testing of public elementary and secondary school pupils for academic performance used by the state and whose content may be modified by the state complies with the best practices in subsection 3 of this section by the proper identification of scientific information and critical analysis. If questions regarding information within the purview of paragraph (b) of subdivision (2) of subsection 3 of this section are included in a test, questions regarding critical analysis of such information shall be included in a substantive amount.
So, if ecolution is covered kids will be tested on creationism??
The Missouri Citizens for Science blog sums it up best:
These “best practices” will be familiar to anyone who followed Rep. Cooper’s previous effort along these lines, 2004′s HB911, but will be totally incomprehensible to any practicing scientist or science teacher.
The bill also holds harmless any teacher who introduces creationism into the classroom. It apparently was drafted by J. Gene White, an evolution-denying engineer from St. Charles who was also behind HB911. Of course, he’ll tell you that he’s only trying to improve science education. Guess the way to do that is to deny the foundation of Biology.