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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

BREAKING: Colorado Anti-Evolution Bill Is “DOA”

By Phil Plait

Very hopeful news: Representative Claire Levy (D-District 13), the Chair of the Colorado House Appropriations Committee, said a bill that would allow âacademic freedomââcode for allowing creationism to be taught in the classroomâis âDOAâ.

She appeared on Denverâs AM 760 radio talking to host Geoff Berg (she comes on at the 19:30 mark). He asked her about the bill, and she replied:

âThe bill looks innocuous enough when you read itâ¦but when you look beneath the surface itâs pretty obvious itâsâ¦allowing science teachers to teach creationism and deny global warming. Democrats are about teaching real science and giving students a good education. So I donât think itâll make it out of committee.â

Berg later said, âIt sounds [like], at least from what youâre saying, that House Bill 13-1089 is DOA.â And Ms. Levy replied, âAh, yeah, I think thatâs safe to say.â

Since the committee membership is majority Democratâthe bill was submitted and sponsored solely by conservative RepublicansâI am inclined to think sheâs correct. She said it would never make it to the floor for a vote. Mind you, it has not yet been voted on by the committee. Iâll report on that when I hear more, but it sounds like itâll be voted down when that happens.

I am very glad to hear this! As I wrote the other day, this bill is not at all about academic freedom. As we have seen over and again, and as Ms. Levy correctly points out, creationists push legislation like this to allow the teaching of religion in the classroom. Itâs under the guise of allowing students to question scientific ideas, but since it specifically points out evolution and global warming, the antiscience impetus behind the bill is clear.

I am, of course, all for students and teachers discussing strengths and weaknesses of ideas; teaching kids to be critical thinkers is, well, critical. But that is clearly not the intent of this bill. It is a wedge, a gateway to allow teachers to discuss religious or politically-motivated ideologies. And that, you can be very sure, is not what science is about.

I will continue to update this as I know more. I expect to have more to say in a couple of days.

[Thanks to Geoff Berg for sending me a note about this on Twitter.]

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