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Anti-Evolution and Anti-Climate Science Legislation Scorecard: 2013

The rallying cry of science deniers in 2013? "One more time!" Once again legislators across our fair land have been pushing anti-evolution and anti-climate change bills. Many are classic "academic freedom" or "strengths and weaknesses" bills. Others take a less obvious tack, allowing teachers to "intelligently explore" controversies and help wayward students "develop critical thinking skills".

(Special Pal o' Darwin awards to student activist Zack Kopplin and Louisiana State Senator Karen Peterson, who once again tried to repeal the notorious Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008. Senate Bill 26 was a noble effort that, alas, was tabled in a 3-2 vote.)

One thing's clear: climate change education is in the crosshairs. In 2013, three bills attacked both evolution and climate change. And for the first time ever, a bill solely devoted to upending climate change education was introduced in Kansas.

Given the glut of anti-science legislation this year—ten bills and one resolution—we thought this short guide would be helpful.

Arizona
Senate Bill 1213
Aim: An "academic freedom" bill that targeted "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning" as supposedly controversial.
Status: Died in committee
Links:
Antiscience bill dies in Arizona

Colorado
House Bill 13-1089
Aim: Another "academic freedom" bill. "Direct[s] teachers to create an environment that encourages students to intelligently and respectfully explore scientific questions and learn about scientific evidence related to biological and chemical evolution, global warming, and human cloning."
Status: Defeated in committee
Links:
Antiscience legislation in Colorado

Indiana
House Bill 1283
Aim: Would allow teachers "to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the strengths and weaknesses of conclusions and theories being presented in a course being taught by the teacher".
Status: Died in committee
Links:
A stealth antiscience bill in Indiana
Antiscience bill dies in Indiana

Kansas
House Bill 2306
Aim: First bill to solely target climate change education. A "strengths and weaknesses" bill that encouraged the teaching of "certain scientific topics, such as climate science, [that] may be controversial."
Status: Died in committee
Links:
Anticlimate bill dies in Kansas

Missouri
House Bill 291
Aim: Would require "the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design".
Status: Died in committee
Links:
Missouri's "intelligent design" bill under scrutiny

House Bill 179
Aim: "Endeavors to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution" and to "assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies."
Status: Died in committee

Links:
Antievolution legislation in Missouri
Antievolution bills die in Missouri

Montana
House Bill 183
Aim: Encourages "critical thinking regarding controversial scientific theories" such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, random mutation, natural selection, DNA, and fossil discoveries".
Status: Died in committee
Links:
Montana bill mutates
Montana's antievolution bill tabled

Oklahoma
House Bill 1674
Aim: Encourages teachers to "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught." Such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning".
Status: Passed in committee, died on the floor
Links:
Second antiscience bill dies in Oklahoma

Senate Bill 758
Aim: Would permit teachers to "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught."
Status: Died in committee
Links:
Antiscience bill dies in Oklahoma

Texas
House Bill 285
Aim: Provides that "[a]n institution of higher education may not discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member's or student's conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms."
Status: Died in committee
Links:
Intelligent design legislation in Texas dies
Intelligent design legislation in Texas again

Virginia
Senate Joint Resolution 287
Aim: A proposed amendment to the state constitution that could have severely undermined science education, decreeing that "no student in public schools shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his religious beliefs."
Status: Died in committee

Links:
A Missouri amendment in Virginia?

CONTACT: Robert Luhn, Director of Communications, NCSE, 510-601-7203, luhn@ncse.com

Web site: www.ncse.com

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a not-for-profit membership organization that defends the teaching of evolution and climate science in the public schools. The NCSE provides information, resources, and advice to schools, teachers, parents, and concerned citizens defending science education. We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of these issues at local, state, and national levels. Our 4500 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious and political affiliations.