Well, it’s January again here in Oklahoma (and everywhere else on Earth, I suppose). That means two things happening – a) the state legislature is back in session and b) some of those fools are trying to push anti-science agendas via proposed legislation. It would be a bit less frustrating it it didn’t happen EVERY DAMN YEAR.
I won’t rehash the details, as my fellow professor Mark (at Okie Funk) and friend CJ (at Odd Oklahoma) have already done excellent posts on the content of the proposed bills. Basically, it is the same fight we have seen since the Scopes trial: fundamentalist Christians who take the stories in the Old Testament literally try to introduce their religious views into public education science courses. The main target, of course, is the theory of evolution by natural selection. Although not an Oklahoman, this quote by judge Braswell Dean of the Georgia of Appeals sums up nicely the belief system that drives the introduction of these kinds of bills:
“This monkey mythology of Darwin is the cause of permissiveness, promiscuity, pills, prophylactics, perversions, pregnancies, abortions, pornography, pollution, poisoning, and the proliferation of crimes of all types.”
Never mind that, by attempting to force “Intelligent Design” ideology into the science classroom, you are blatantly violating the separation of church and state. Never mind that, by rehashing these bills over and over, you are wasting countless hours and taxpayer dollars. Never mind that, if these were passed into law, there would be a plethora of lawsuits just waiting in the wings and the bills would be struck down as unconstitutional, just as they have been time and time again.
The arguments for introducing religion into the science classroom, or for why evolution is not “real science,” are easily debunked. I go over the basics in my Science vs Pseudoscience course, and provide my lecture notes for your perusal.
For the past two years, the student group I advise has held letter writing campaigns to our legislators, informing them of our stance on these bills and asking them to stand up for what should be a no-brainer – the law of the land. I would like to ask my readers to take a few minutes and engage in a bit of activism yourself.
Here is a form letter. You can easily adjust it and customize it, then send it to your representative and senator. Here are links to the emails of all members of the Oklahoma House and Senate. Not sure who to send it to? Just put your address in here and it will tell you.
It will take you only about 10 minutes to send these in, and you will be doing a service to your community, your children, and your state. Stand up to these ideologues, and stand for the public good.