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Textbook evolution disclaimer bill dies in committee in Mississippi
by Nick Matzke
On March 9, 2004, House Bill 1288 died in the Education Committee of the Mississippi House of Representatives. The bill required that any textbook teaching evolution have a disclaimer inserted inside the front cover. The disclaimer describes evolution as "a controversial theory some scientists present as an explanation for the origin of living things." The disclaimer continues, "No one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should be considered a theory." Evolution is also described as an "unproven belief that random, undirected forces produced living things" and raises several "unanswered questions about the origin of life that are not mentioned in your textbook" including the Cambrian explosion and the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. The bill was introduced by Representative Wells-Smith, with 19 co-sponsors. HB1288 died after it did not meet the deadline for House bills to be reported out of committee. Most of the wording of HB1288 is derived from the Alabama textbook disclaimer (analyzed by Kenneth Miller here).