Alabama's antiscience resolution denounced

04.27.2017

Writing on AL.com (April 27, 2017), Amanda Glaze denounced House Joint Resolution 78 (PDF), which passed the House and is now headed for the floor of the Senate.

As NCSE previously reported, the resolution describes "[b]iological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning" as scientifically controversial and encourages teachers to present "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of scientific theories covered in the state's science standards.

Glaze focused on the conflict between the advice offered by HJR 78 and the new set of state science standards adopted in 2015, which she described as laying "the framework for Alabama students to achieve the scientific understanding and abilities they will need to prosper in the twenty-first century."

"Biological evolution and global warming are mentioned in the standards," Glaze wrote, "because ... they are important scientific principles, long accepted and well understood by the scientific community. By the same token, no 'scientific weaknesses' of biological evolution and global warming are included in the standards."

Glaze also observed that the lead sponsor of HJR 78 acknowledged that his intention was to encourage the teaching of creationism in the public schools of the state, asking, "So HJR 78 is aimed at encouraging teachers not only to miseducate their students but also to violate the law of the land. Is this a responsible legislative goal?"

She concluded her column with a salute to Alabama's "wide and deep" contributions to science, adding, "Rejecting HJR 78 would send a message to Alabama's science teachers, and to the world, that the integrity of science education, and science itself, continues to matter to Alabama."

A native Alabaman who earned her Ph.D. at the University of Alabama, Glaze is now Assistant Professor of Middle Grades & Secondary Science Education at Georgia Southern University.