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A second antievolution bill in Missouri

Missouri's House Bill 1587, introduced and given its first reading in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 23, 2014, is the fourth antiscience bill of the year and the second in the state. As is increasingly common with antiscience legislation, HB 1587 would, if enacted, in effect encourage science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased — proponents of creationism and climate change denial are the usual intended beneficiaries of such bills — and discourage responsible educational authorities from intervening. The bill specifically cites "the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution" as controversial.

HB 1587 would require state and local educational authorities to "assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies and permit teachers "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"; it would prevent such authorities from "prohibit[ing] any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of biological or chemical evolution whenever these subjects are taught."

The sponsor of HB 1587 is Andrew Koenig (R-District 99); its cosponsors are Rick Brattin (R-District 55), Donna Lichtenegger (R-District 146), Kurt Bahr (R-District 102), Galen Higdon (R-District 11), Sandy Crawford (R-District 129), and Paul Wieland (R-District 112). Koenig was the sponsor of a string of similar bills: HB 179 in 2013, HB 1276 in 2012, and HB 195 in 2011. All failed. Koenig is also a cosponsor of House Bill 1472 in 2014, a bill that would require equal time for "intelligent design" in Missouri's public schools, including introductory courses at colleges and universities. He cosponsored the similar HB 291 in 2013 and HB 1227 in 2012; both failed.