Oklahoma State Senator To Push For Creationism In Science Classrooms

While the rest of the world teaches their children actual science, we have parts of our country where people want to do silly things like this:

OKLAHOMA–It’s been a controversial issue for years and now one Oklahoma lawmaker says he plans on introducing a bill next year dealing with teaching evolution in public schools.

Meredith Saldana has more on what the senator says is a very important issue.

State Senator Josh Brecheen stressed that the final wording of the bill is not complete but says the issues the bill deals with are vital to our children.

Senator Brecheen says children should be given all the facts when it comes to evolution.

“If we really are going to use science in the classroom, let’s use the full science, let’s not just be selective in our science. That’s what my legislation is designed to do,” Brecheen said.

The senator says he supports having creationism–the belief that God created the world without evolution–taught in public schools.

“You either remove both or you put both in,” he said.

In an op-ed he wrote last week, Brecheen called evolution, “a religion,” and says there are serious flaws in the theory that students ought to know.

“The main fallacy with Darwinian theory,” he argued, “is the sudden appearance at about 540 million years [ago] of fossil records. It’s like a guy standing at the chalkboard and saying okay here’s an atom [and then writing] question mark, question mark, human–here we are. But its fact, and there’s zero evidence to back it up.”

Actually, if Brecheen had paid attention in his own science classes, he would know that the non-controversy of the so-called Cambrian Explosion has been answered before, and even Ok;lahoma’s university system doesn’t support Brecheen’s efforts:

Reputable scientists disagree including Murray State Professor Bruce Stewart who says the evidence for evolution is overwhelming.

He argues that the fossil record shows many transitional forms that support evolutionary theory.

“Science departments everywhere in accredited universities or any sort of legitimate research organization all work on the founding principle that we use science and evolution is science,” he said.

Professor Stewart says teaching any alternatives to evolution would hurt Oklahoma kids’ education.

“Teaching creationism or intelligent design would be a disastrous thing to include in a science course. It could be appropriately included in world religions or in other forums, but certainly not as science,” he said.

(…)

Oklahoma’s major universities including OU and OSU all agree that evolution is the best science and that alternatives such as creationism should not be taught in public schools.

In addition to not having the science behind him Brecheen’s idea is, of course, entirely unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court has already said that they don’t. In 1987, in Edwards v. Aguillard, the Supreme Court held that school districts cannot teach creationism along side evolution in a science classroom:

The purpose of the Creationism Act was to restructure the science curriculum to conform with a particular religious viewpoint. Out of many possible science subjects taught in the public schools, the legislature chose to affect the teaching of the one scientific theory that historically has been opposed by certain religious sects. As in Epperson, the legislature passed the Act to give preference to those religious groups which have as one of their tenets the creation of humankind by a divine creator. The “overriding fact” that confronted the Court in Epperson was “that Arkansas’ law selects from the body of knowledge a particular segment which it proscribes for the sole reason that it is deemed to conflict with . . . a particular interpretation of the Book of Genesis by a particular religious group.” 393 U.S., at 103 . Similarly, the Creationism Act is designed either to promote the theory of creation science which embodies a particular religious tenet by requiring that creation science be taught whenever evolution is taught or to prohibit the teaching of a scientific theory disfavored by certain religious sects by forbidding the teaching of evolution when creation science is not also taught. The Establishment Clause, however, “forbids alike the preference of a religious doctrine or the prohibition of theory which is deemed antagonistic to a particular dogma.” Id., at 106-107 (emphasis added). Because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to advance a particular religious belief, the Act endorses religion in violation of the First Amendment.

What’s particularly frustrating is that you never hear about this issue being debated in China, or India, or Japan. They’re teaching their kids actual science. Maybe we should try that.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    Why teach real science when you can save souls /sarcasm.

    Its stories like this that make me chuckle whenever people posit that the states should have more control over governance.

  2. Bjorn says:

    They’ll just keep doing this until they are tired of the embarassment. They are doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result each time.

  3. Bjorn says:

    It’s sad that my choices as a voter are between a party that encourages citizens to feel entitled to a good life and one that unceasingly pushes to teach nonsense in the classroom.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Bjorn:

    You can hardly expect rationality from people who believe the world is 6000 years old.

  5. Human Ape says:

    “Oklahoma State Senator To Push For Creationism In Science Classrooms”

    The Christian war against science education will never end until the Christian death cult is eradicated.

    darwinkilledgod dot blogspot dot com

  6. Fozzy says:

    So it goes here in the American Taliban stronghold of Oklahomistan..

  7. An Interested Party says:

    “They’ll just keep doing this until they are tired of the embarassment.”

    But these people are among the most (self-)righteous…such people rarely, if ever, feel embarrassed about their beliefs…

  8. Michael says:

    Christians would do themselves a huge favor if they would stop insisting that their beliefs can only be right if science is wrong.

  9. Bjorn says:

    Michael, that’s probably because it’s true. They can’t both be right. Like how could there have been an Adam and Eve, original sin, a soul etc if they’re were many different types of humans (‘hominids’) once? Did homo habilis not have a soul? What about homo ergaster? australapithicus afarensis? Etc.

  10. Michael says:

    Bjorn, it’s exceedingly rare to find a Christian who takes Revelation literally, so I don’t see why it would be objectionable to anybody’s faith to take Genesis as a figuratively as well.

    But you are right, in order to allow for the variations and vagaries that come from science, they would have to apply similar amounts of questioning, theorizing and testing to their belief structures. I can’t imagine the church being particularly willing or able to embark on such an undertaking. Far easier to insist that such variations and vagaries don’t exist.

  11. Enlightenment says:

    Science is too hard to understand…so lets teach imaginary stuff.

  12. Enlightenment says:

    Oki-Homo

  13. Venture Free says:

    The Cambrian Explosion, which occurred over several million years, is considered proof by many creationists that evolution is false because it was much too rapid a change. At the same time, 150 years (the time since Darwin published his book) is considered such a long time that the fact that we haven’t directly observed the evolution of multitudes of new species is also proof that evolution is false.

    In other words, a few million years is too short a time for evolution to occur, and 150 years it too long a time for evolution not to occur, therefore evolution is false.

  14. Franklin says:

    I have nothing against religion. Much of my family is religious, and they do good things for the community. Also, they understand that the basis of religion is faith.

    Forcing school children to learn supernatural stuff as “science”, on the other hand, does not lead to faith. In fact I would venture to say that it erodes it in the long run, as most children will eventually realize they have been brainwashed and manipulated.