Dear Republican Party, stop attacking science

It’s not even the end of January and Republican state representatives have already introduced anti-science bills across several states including Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado this year. It’s obvious that no message is coming from Republican leadership to stop this, so the entire party deserves blame and ridicule. If there are any scientifically minded Republicans that find this assault on science by their colleagues repulsive, where are you? Speak up.

After the election last year, Republicans feel they need to gain Hispanic voters. They should spend more time appealing to the scientifically minded independent vote, many of which are Hispanics. Republicans ignorant of science fighting for our children to be as ignorant as they are is not a noble quest. This kind of absurdity was a significant factor in why they lost the election, and they will continue to lose support of the American people who understand our future depends on scientific literacy.

The same Republicans who failed at introducing “Intelligent design” legislation are now using another tactic. They are now disguising ID infiltration into science class as “critical thinking” for “controversial” science. Imagine a panel of politicians determining what science is “controversial” and “assisting” science teachers on presenting science in class. This would include “respectfully” presenting other views. In other words, a convenient way to force teachers to present creationist pseudoscience alongside evolution “respectfully” as apparently evolution is a “controversial” science in certain parts of this country.

This is part of the language in Indiana HOUSE BILL No. 1283
“The state board, department, governing bodies, governing authorities of accredited nonpublic schools, superintendents, principals, and other administrators may endeavor to assist teachers in finding effective ways to present the curriculum.”

Governing authorities are going to “assist” science teachers in “effective ways” to do their job? What kind of scientific background is required for governing authorities?

Please take a minute to watch the following video. Do you want people like Republican Louisiana State Senator Mike Walsworth “assisting” science education? Science education in the United States is already an embarrassment. We need to make it better, not worse.

There is nothing currently preventing a student in science class from raising his or her hand and asking a question or even making a challenge. This is not something that should or needs to be legislated. Competent science teachers are more than capable to appropriately answer questions regarding science using scientific methods and terminology. This is something they have been trained to do through a science education. And if they are to seek additional expertise with an issue or subject related to their expertise, it certainly shouldn’t be from a scientifically challenged governing authority, it should be from a fellow science teacher or another science subject matter expert in the science community. If a science teacher is not competent enough to answer questions in their class without the help of a politician, they shouldn’t be a science teacher.

Biblical creationism is not a competing science, it’s a competing mythology. Keep what belongs in the church in the church, keep what belongs in philosophy in philosophy, and keep what belongs in science in science. Creationist politicians shouldn’t be “assisting” science teachers; they should be sitting in class and learning with the students. This of course requires paying attention, so turn that cell phone off and keep your hands to yourself.

For more information on creationist assaults on science, please visit the National Center for Science Education at http://ncse.com/frontpage

-James Kirk Wall

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