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A fourth antievolution bill in Oklahoma


House Concurrent Resolution 1043 (RTF), introduced in the Oklahoma legislature on February 7, 2006, would, if enacted, encourage "the State Board of Education and local boards of education to revise the recommended academic curriculum content standards in science to ensure that, upon graduation, all students can accomplish the following: 1. Use of [sic] the scientific method to critically evaluate scientific theories including, but not limited to, the theory of evolution; and 2. Use relevant scientific data to assess the validity of those theories and to formulate arguments for and against those theories."

HCR 1043 is the fourth antievolution bill to be introduced in the current legislative session. The other three are HB 2107 (encouraging the presentation of "the full range of scientific views" with regard to "biological or chemical origins of life"), HB 2526 (authorizing school districts to teach "intelligent design"), and SB 1959 (encouraging the presentation of "the full range of scientific views"). HCR 1043's authors are listed as Representatives Paul Wesselhoft (R-District 54), Thad Balkman (R-District 45), and Sally Kern (R-District 55), and Senator Randy Brogdon (R-District 34).

HCR 1043 has not yet been assigned to committee. HB 2107 passed the Common Education Committee by a vote of 8-5 on February 13, 2006; Representatives Odilia Dank (R-District 85), Abe Deutschendorf (D-District 62), and Paul Wesselhoft, as well as Senator Randy Brogdon, were added as coauthors with its initial sponsor, Sally Kern. HB 2526 and SB 1959 are still nominally in the Common Education Committee, although Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education reports that HB 2526's sponsor, Abe Deutschendorf, withdrew his bill.

Oklahomans concerned about these bills are encouraged to get in touch with Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, which is leading a coalition -- including the Oklahoma Interfaith Alliance, the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance, Oklahoma Mainstream Baptists, the Oklahoma chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Oklahoma Academy of Science, Friends of Religion and Science, and scientists at Oklahoma's colleges and universities -- in order to "vigorously oppose these dangerous bills." The coalition is soliciting Oklahomans to sign a petition [Link broken] opposing such legislation.