Friday, January 25, 2013

Q: When is anti-science education legislation not anti-science? A: When the Republican anti-science authors of the bill say it isn't. Just trust them.

The latest evidence that the Republican crazy engine in the AZ lege is warmed up and hitting on all cylinders just two weeks into the new session:

SB1213, relating to "schools; science instruction; requirements".

When I saw that subject on the lege's website, my first thought was "oh shit - what are they up to now?".  I calmed down long enough to realize that I was getting ahead of myself and should look at the bill's content before thinking the badly about the measure.

So I read the bill, and came to the conclusion that my deepest fears about the bill were wrong.

The fears weren't unfounded, however.  Not hardly.

They were far milder than the reality of the proposal.

The text of the bill (emphasis mine):

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 15, chapter 7, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding
section 15-706.01, to read:

START_STATUTE15-706.01. Science instruction; requirements

A. The state board of education, the department of education, county school superintendents,
school district governing boards, school district superintendents, school principals and school
administrators shall endeavor to:

1. Create an environment in schools that encourages pupils to explore scientific questions, learn
 about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills and respond appropriately and
respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.

2. Assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses
scientific controversies. Teachers shall be allowed to help pupils understand, analyze, critique
and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing
scientific theories covered in the course being taught.

B. The state board of education, the department of education, county school superintendents,
school district governing boards, school district superintendents, school principals and school
administrators shall not prohibit any teacher in this state from helping pupils understand,
analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of
existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.

C. This section protects only the teaching of scientific information and does not promote
any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular
set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs or promote discrimination for or against religion or
nonreligion. END_STATUTE

Sec. 2. Intent

The legislature finds and declares that:

1. An important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and
to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary to becoming intelligent, productive
and scientifically informed citizens.

2. The teaching of some scientific subjects, including biological evolution, the chemical origins
of life, global warming and human cloning, can cause controversy.

3. Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present
information on such subjects.






Notwithstanding paragraph C above, this bill looks an awful lot like an attempt to force religious
doctrine into Arizona's science classrooms, under the guise of "teaching all sides of controversial
issues" (or somesuch BS) while blithely ignoring the fact that much of the "controversy" isn't
scientifically-based.  While paragraph C purports to state that the bill isn't about religious
indoctrination, that paragraph is more than belied by part 2 of the intent clause in the bill.
 
The legislators who've signed on to this nuggest of crazy are state senators one and all - Judy "Birther"
Burges, Chester "Sylvia Allen's hand-picked successor" Crandell, Rick "I don't know enough him to
mock him.  Yet." Murphy, Steve "Shoring Up His Right Flank In Preparation For A Run For Governor
Next Year" Pierce, Don "Tequila" Shooter, and Steve "Raking It In Hand Over Fist" Yarbrough.
 
Because of this bill, and the others like it that are in the pipeline, a new post category has been created -
 Putting the AZ in crAZy.


3 comments:

Phoenix Justice said...

" 2. The teaching of some scientific subjects, including biological evolution, the chemical origins
of life, global warming and human cloning, can cause controversy."

Only if one is anti-science would these areas of science even come close to being "controversial".

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