A group of Republican legislators have proposed a new anti-science bill in Arizona. It doesn’t come right out and say that it’s anti-science, of course: they know better than that. They claim instead that the purpose of the bill is to promote “critical thinking skills,” which we certainly all endorse. But they give the game away with the details.
The targets of the bill are explicitly listed in a section that presents as legislative findings that "1. An important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary to become intelligent, productive and scientifically informed citizens. 2. The teaching of some scientific subjects, including biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning, can cause controversy. 3. Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such topics."
Somewhat redundantly, SB 1213 provides both that "teachers shall be allowed to help pupils 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 that state and local education administrators "shall not prohibit any teacher in this state" from doing so. The bill also insists that it "protects only the teaching of scientific information and does not promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion."
Wow. These people have no imagination at all, no creativity in the slightest. This is essentially boilerplate taken from every goddamn creationist bill proposed in every legislature for the last decade or so. Singling out a few specific ‘controversies’, like evolution and climate change (which actually aren’t controversial at all); “strengths and weaknesses”; the denial that this is promoting a particular religious doctrine; these are such a familiar drone that my brain falls asleep reading them anymore.
Time for the residents of Arizona to rouse themselves — it’s not as if you’ve been suffering from a barrage of lunacy and bigotry lately, right? — and write to your representatives and yell at them to kill this stupid Senate Bill 1213.