Antiscience bill in Mississippi dies

02.23.2016

Mississippi's House Bill 50, whose principal sponsor acknowledged was intended to allow teachers in the public schools to present creationism, died in the House Education Committee on February 23, 2016, when a deadline for bills to be reported out of committee expired. HB 50 was the first antiscience bill in the state since 2010.

If enacted, the bill would have allowed 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" — and blocked administrators from preventing the teaching of pseudoscience.

HB 50 specifically cited biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning as topics that "may cause debate and disputation," claiming that "Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information when debate and disputation occur on these subjects."

Interviewed by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger (February 10, 2016), Mark Formby (R-District 108) explained, “If a teacher... believes the Earth was created by a Supreme Being, [she should be able to say] that maybe there are other theories than the big bang theory where there was nothing, then nothing exploded and created something."