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Monday, February 11, 2013

"Science Enthusiast" Introduces Bill to Teach the Science of Destiny in Missouri Schools

Posted by on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I have never been to Missouri, but from what I read the whole sounds like an amusement park short on rides but with plenty of amusement:

HB 291, the "Missouri Standard Science Act," redefines a few things you thought you already knew about science. For example, a "hypothesis" is redefined as something that reflects a "minority of scientific opinion and is "philosophically unpopular." A scientific theory is "an inferred explanation...whose components are data, logic and faith-based philosophy." And "destiny" is not something that $5 fortune tellers believe in; Instead, it's "the events and processes that define the future of the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, earth, plant life, animal life, and the human race."

The bill requires that Missouri elementary and secondary schools—and even introductory science classes in public universities—give equal textbook space to both evolution and intelligent design (any other "theories of origin" are allowed to be taught as well, so pick your favorite creation myth—I'm partial to the Russian raven spirit.) "I can't imagine any mainstream textbook publisher would comply with this," Meikle says. "The material doesn't exist."

The bill also establishes a nine-person committee (who must work for free) responsible for developing ad-hoc textbook material until appropriate textbook material is found.

Months ago, Paul highlighted a depressing article about how fiction is disappearing from public school curricula because nonfiction is stupidly considered more useful or something. But perhaps you can't chase fiction out of public schools; I'd like to think that bills like this are destiny's way of ensuring that children get an equal dose of engrossing absurdism to counteract all that practical nonfiction.

And I would gladly volunteer for an ad-hoc science textbook committee. I think, given Missouri's standards for education, I'd be more than qualified.


Comments (14) RSS

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robwolf 1
...and we wonder why public education sucks so bad in the good 'ol US of A and keeps getting worse. The problem is the 'public' wants to dictate what is taught in public schools and the public is stupid. Rinse and repeat.

Want to save public education? Take the public politics out of it.
Posted by robwolf on February 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
No words describe how much I love this plan. I demand the creation story from Cuthulu Mythos be included in every textbook!
Posted by Jonathank5 on February 11, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
Well, it looks like the good folks of Missouri have come up with a fool proof (maybe that's a bad choice of words) way to keep their kids on the farm. Its going to be pretty hard to get a well paying job once employers figure out what a diploma from a Missouri school actually means.
Posted by PaulBarwick on February 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
bgix 4
I love when non-scientists come up with new definitions of "science". If your pet belief doesn't pass muster, just redefine the words until you can shoe-horn it all in.

Some 100 odd years ago, a bill was introduced in the Indiana legislature to define pi as an "easier number to handle" because a few dim legislators couldn't quite grasp the idea of irrational numbers. It died a quiet death.
Posted by bgix on February 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 5
Fuck religion
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM · Report this
fletc3her 6
I do find the interplay between local school boards and state school boards interesting. In the past I think the progressive notion was that the state school boards could be used to dictate curricula to the local school boards wiping away the wingnuttery that local control can lead to. Now, the wingnuts have caught on and are taking over the state school boards.

Overall rather depressing. I do believe that government can do great things for the advancement of our society like promoting universal education. But, apparently there is no way to keep the wingnuts from screwing everything up for their own stupid purposes.

Is it better to wage small battles and improves school one at a time or to wage big battles and risk an entire state's worth of schools going down the toilet?
Posted by fletc3her on February 11, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Pick1 7
"I think it would be fairly difficult to teach geology, anthropology and zoology without evolution... Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. It's a religious belief and our constitution does not allow for the teaching of religion in our public schools... Evolution is not perfect, It doesn't answer every question but it is based on scientific facts. Facts that can be predicted, tested and proven. Intelligent Design asks theological questions... can't we agree that the inclusion of non-scientific explanations into the science curriculum of our schools misrepresents the nature of science and therefore compromises the central purpose of our public education which is the preparation of a scientifically literate work force?"

Season 7 of the West Wing. Not that many of these people listen to logic, even when it's softened to be less "offensive" to Christians.

The short of it is, "Teaching intelligent design in schools is fucking dumb. What the fuck is wrong with you?"
Posted by Pick1 on February 11, 2013 at 3:33 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 8
The right wing is being out flanked by the internet. All this bullshit they want to brainwash children with will be for nothing. Missouri sounds like misery for a reason.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 11, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
I'm interested in joining this committee--but I'm concerned that I will have to provide my own glue and scissors.
Posted by Westside forever on February 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
Knat 10
For being "a huge science buff," this guy has some astoundingly stupid notions about what hypotheses and theories are. But then, he is the product of a Missouri education, so maybe we shouldn't hold it against him.
Posted by Knat on February 11, 2013 at 5:13 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 11
If you've never been to Missouri, I would recommend staying out of it. I was pushed out of a vagina in Missouri (damn near Kansas, god help me), and I can say it was one of the worst decisions I ever made.
Posted by MacCrocodile on February 11, 2013 at 7:55 PM · Report this
McBomber 12
I long for a day when the god-worshippers accept that perhaps their all-powerful creator is the driving force behind evolution. They could still believe in an afterlife while the rest of us could shrug and say, "okay, sure." That's my irrational belief, at least.
Posted by McBomber on February 11, 2013 at 8:22 PM · Report this
Born and raised in MO, moved to NYC for school. Missouri has a lot going for it, with all of the cities along I-70 (St. Louis, Columbia, KC) actually developing a weirdly cool educated urban/folksie rural culture. The St. Louis food scene, for example, is sneaky badass. Even a lot of the small rural towns are more Northern Exposure than Deliverance. But, there are places (like Rush Limbaugh's hometown, Cape Girardeau) that just Steven Baldwin the rest of the family. I blame a lot of it on Jefferson City. It is (I believe) the only lower 48 capital that isn't on a major highway, and it's a small and small-minded, miasmatic, cursed, wasteland. If you've ever been there, you'll understand. Whether Jefferson City creeps you out or charms you is a foolproof test of your political leanings.
Posted by Ahnon on February 12, 2013 at 5:46 AM · Report this
venomlash 14
What the actual fuck.
Posted by venomlash on February 12, 2013 at 7:02 AM · Report this

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