Virginia's House Bill 207 died in the House Education Committee on February 11, 2014, when a deadline for bills to pass their house of origin passed.
The American Institute of Biological Sciences expressed its opposition to Oklahoma's Senate Bill 1765 (document), which, if enacted, would deprive administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about "scientific controversies."
At its February 10, 2014, meeting, the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved a new set of science standards for South Carolina — with the exception of a clause involving the phrase "natural selection."
Missouri's House Bill 1472, which would require school districts to allow parents to have their children excused from learning about evolution, is in the headlines, after the bill was referred to the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education on February 3, 2014.
With the recent debate between Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis attracting as many as three million viewers, it is likely that interest in creationism/evolution debates will skyrocket. Writing in The Scientist (February 7, 2014), NCSE's Ann Reid and Glenn Branch warn that "formal oral debates between scientists and creationists are by and large counterproductive — at least if the goal is to improve the public's understanding of evolution and the nature of science, and to increase the level of support for the teaching of evolution uncompromised by religious dogma."
South Dakota's Senate Bill 112, which would, if enacted, provide that "[n]o school board or school administrator may prohibit a teacher in public or nonpublic school from providing instruction on intelligent design or other related topics," was killed in the Senate Education Committee on February 6, 2014, according to the Rapid City Journal (February 6, 2014).
"A South Dakota lawmaker wants public school teachers to be free to teach intelligent design in their classrooms even though courts have ruled intelligent design is inherently religious — and therefore unconstitutional in school," according to a report from KMEG 14, headquartered in Sioux City, Iowa, just across the Missouri river from South Dakota.
Virginia's House Bill 207, which would deprive administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about "scientific controversies," is in search of a home.
Senate Bill 112, introduced in the South Dakota Senate and referred to the Senate Education Committee on January 29, 2014, would, if enacted, provide that "[n]o school board or school administrator may prohibit a teacher in public or nonpublic school from providing instruction on intelligent design or other related topics."
House Resolution 467 (PDF), introduced in the United States House of Representatives on January 29, 2014, would, if passed, express the House's support of designating February 12, 2014, as Darwin Day, and its recognition of "Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge."
A sixth-grade teacher's advocacy of creationism is at the center of the complaint in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on January 22, 2014.
Missouri's House Bill 1587, introduced and given its first reading in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 23, 2014, is the fourth antiscience bill of the year and the second in the state.
Virginia's House Bill 207 received extensive coverage in a hometown newspaper — The Recorder, published in the district of the bill's sponsor, Richard P. "Dickie" Bell (R-District 20). In reporting on various bills introduced by Bell, the newspaper commented (January 23, 2014), "By far, Bell's proposal for science teachers has attracted the most scrutiny."
"When public-school students enrolled in Texas’[s] largest charter program open their biology workbooks, they will read that the fossil record is 'sketchy.' That evolution is 'dogma' and an 'unproved theory' with no experimental basis. They will be told that leading scientists dispute the mechanisms of evolution and the age of the Earth," according to Zack Kopplin, writing in Slate (January 16, 2014). "These are all lies."
With the addition of Stefan Roitsch on January 15, 2014, NCSE's Project Steve attained its 1300th signatory.
Senate Bill 1765 (document), styled the Oklahoma Science Education Act, is the second antiscience bill of the year. As is increasingly common with antiscience legislation, SB 1765 would, if enacted, in effect encourage science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased — proponents of creationism and climate change denial are the usual intended beneficiaries of such bills — and discourage responsible educational authorities from intervening.
Francisco J. Ayala
NCSE is pleased to announce the addition of Francisco J. Ayala, a distinguished evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Irvine, to its board of directors.