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Anti-Evolution Legislation Scorecard: 2011

This has been a busy year for creationists. Since January, anti-science legislators in seven states have proposed nine bills attacking evolution and evolution education. Many are so-called "academic freedom" bills, like Tennessee's HB 368, which allows teachers to "help students 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." (For general background on academic freedom acts, go here.

But that's not all. Some of these bills also target such "controversial" theories as global warming, the chemical origins of life, and human cloning.

Given all the proposed legislation flying to and fro, we thought a short guide to proposed anti-evolution bills in 2011 would be helpful.


Tennessee
House Bill 368 (HB 368)
Aim: "teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories"...including evolution, global warming, the chemical origin of life, and human cloning.
Status: Passed in the House, 4/7/2011. Senate version postponed until 2012 session.

Senate Bill 893 (SB 893)
Aim: Identical to HB 368.
Status: Postponed until 2012 session

Links:
"Tennessee antievolution bill passes the House"
"Tennessee's 'monkey bill' on hold"


Florida
SB 1854
Aim: requires a "thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution" in the state's public schools.
Status: Died in committee

Links:
"Reactions to the antievolution bill in Florida"
"Florida antievolution bill dies"


Texas
HB 2454
Aim: "An 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"
"Texas 'intelligent design' bill dies"


Missouri
HB 195
Aim: "teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution." Almost identical to last year's HB 1165.
Status: Died in committee

Links:
"Antievolution legislation in Missouri"
"Missouri antievolution bill dies"


Kentucky
HB 169
Aim: would have allowed teachers to "use...instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner."
Status: Died in committee

Links:
"Antievolution bill dies in Kentucky"


Oklahoma
SB 554
Aim: A classic academic freedom bill that also provides that "No teacher shall be reassigned, terminated, disciplined or otherwise discriminated against for providing scientific information being taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula."
Status: Died in committee

Links:
"Antievolution bill apparently dies in Oklahoma Senate"


HB 1551
Aim: allows 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." Topics specifically mentioned: "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."
Status: Died in committee

Links:
"Antievolution bill loses in committee in Oklahoma"


New Mexico
HB 302
Aim: Teachers must inform students about "relevant scientific information regarding either the scientific strengths or scientific weaknesses". The bill would protect teachers from "reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so."
Status: Died in committee

Links:
"Antievolution legislation in New Mexico"
"Antievolution bill in New Mexico dies"


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 and promotes the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The NCSE provZides information and resources to schools, parents, and concerned citizens working to keep evolution in public school science education. We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of the creation and evolution controversy, and supply needed information and advice to defend good science education at local, state, and national levels. Our 4000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious affiliations.