Stop Unscientific, Anti-Evolution Teachings in Public Schools and Universities

darwin

Target: Missouri Governor Nixon and the Missouri State Legislature.

Goal: To stop the equal treatment of evolution and other unscientific and/or religious “theories of origin,” including intelligent design, in Missouri public schools and universities.

Missouri state representative Rick Brattin recently introduced a bill that would require Missouri schools to teach intelligent design the same way as the theory of evolution. Similar to Creationism without invoking religious terminology, supporters of intelligent design believe that the origins of the universe are best explained by an intelligent cause. Brattin’s bill would require all public schools and introductory science classes in public universities in Missouri to give equal textbook space to intelligent design and evolution. The bill would also redefine standard terminology and concepts long used by the scientific community. For example, a hypothesis would reflect a “minority of scientific opinion” and is “philosophically unpopular,” and the components of a scientific theory include “data, logic and faith-based philosophy.” Brattin states that the purpose of his bill is to “distinguish what is, in fact, theory and what is, in fact, empirical data.” In reality, however, this bill violates the separation of church and state by seeking to implement “faith-based” teachings of the origins of the universe, and in doing so, it would undermine years of study by the scientific community not only concerning evolution but also the entire scientific process.

Ironically, Brattin claims he is a “science enthusiast” and a “huge science buff.” If he truly were dedicated to science, he would realize that politics and religious ideology have no place in serious scientific work. He would also understand that, as Eric Meikle, education project director at the National Center for Science Education, explains, “There is simply not scientific evidence for intelligence design.” There would not be enough scientifically backed evidence of intelligent design to fill enough textbook pages compared to the multitude of data on evolution. By its very definition, science cannot be based on faith or belief or philosophy.

Students and people of all ages should be encouraged to question the world around them, but not at the expense of turning a blind eye to a multitude of scientific data or imposing religious beliefs on students. Tell the Missouri state legislature that this bill must not be passed in order to protect freedom from religion in schools and to guarantee that students are taught actual science in science class.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Nixon and members of the Missouri State Legislature,

Representative Rick Brattin recently introduced HB 291, known as the Missouri Standard Science Act, which would require the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design. The bill would also redefine standard terminology and concepts long used by the scientific community. For example, a hypothesis would reflect a “minority of scientific opinion” and is “philosophically unpopular,” and the components of a scientific theory include “data, logic and faith-based philosophy.”

Brattin states that the purpose of his bill is to “distinguish what is, in fact, theory and what is, in fact, empirical data.” In reality, however, this bill violates the separation of church and state by seeking to implement “faith-based” teachings of the origins of the universe, and in doing so, it would undermine years of study by the scientific community not only concerning evolution but also the entire scientific process.

Put simply, politics and religious ideology have no place in serious scientific work. Eric Meikle, education project director at the National Center for Science Education, explains, “There is simply not scientific evidence for intelligence design.” There would not be enough scientifically backed evidence of intelligent design to fill enough textbook pages compared to the multitude of data on evolution.

Brattin’s bill is a thinly veiled attempt to impose Christian teachings on Missouri’s students by disguising it as giving “equal treatment” to evolution and other “theories of origin,” which hypothetically could include an entire host of creation stories from the Bible, the Qur’an, or any other religious text. By its very definition, science cannot be based on faith or belief or philosophy. We demand that you do not pass this bill in order to protect freedom from religion in schools and to guarantee that students are taught actual science in science class.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: gds via Flickr

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3 Comments

  1. Mitchell Dormont says:

    To foster the teaching of “Intelligent Design,” which is “Creationism” dressed up to sound more acceptable, is to cheat your students out of an evidence based view of the world.
    Is evolution a theory, well, so is gravity!
    In science, which has helped this country to become the world leader it is, a premise that has been failed the test of evidence is discarded, not kept as an alternative, or balance, if you will.
    Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison knew the value of an educated public for the proper functioning of a democracy. That is why they founded what I believe was our first university.
    There is no real debate over evolution, there is only a designed SEMBLANCE of a debate.
    Just because people feel strongly about the concept of creationism, does not mean that it has any empirical founding.
    Are you interested in going back to the issue of an Earth centered universe? A flat Earth? For how many centuries did people “know” that these concepts were accurate descriptions of the world?
    Please do not make a laughing stock of Missouri, do not go where Kentucky has taken itself.

    • Emily Bockrath Emily Bockrath says:

      Excellent points, Mitchell! It’s bills like this that make a mockery out of true scientific study and pose a serious threat to our education system and, as you mentioned, the functioning of democracy. Please spread the word that this bill must be stopped!

  2. Mitchell Dormont says:

    Please read “Idiot America, How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free,” by Charles P. Pierce, which, among other things delves into the idiocy of the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

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