WTF is up with the states that start with M this week? First Massachusetts goes out in a election of artificial national importance and elects a complete jackass of a senator who announced in his victory speech "My daughters are available, but if I have my way, health care won't be." Stay classy, senator! Since one of his daughters in engaged (and clearly weighing that fallout of punching her dad on national television in this video of the speech), I'm not sure what that means for the future son-in-law or health care.
Next up is a tandem of Mississippi and Missouri, both of which have introduced anti-evolution bills jam packed with the same tired old language that has been knocked down by the courts time and time again. The Mississippi bill tries "To require that the lesson have equal instruction from educational materials that present arguments from both protagonists and antagonists of the theory of evolution." Hmmmm, never heard that one before. Way to get creative Mississippi.
Missouri takes a more indirect approach by couching the bill's language to make it seem like they are all about the science by saying
"teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution"
and following it with
"This section only protects the teaching of scientific information and this section shall not be construed to promote philosophical naturalism or biblical theology, promote natural cause or intelligent cause, promote undirected change or purposeful design, promote atheistic or theistic belief, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or ideas, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. Scientific information includes physical evidence and logical inferences based upon evidence." as a really nice disclaimer.
But, dear Missouri, if your teachers are teaching science, they should already be giving students the idea that scientific hypotheses and theories are always being tested by evidence-based research. Some, like evolution, hold up to everything we throw at it, even if we are occasionally surprised at our lack of understanding of the processes involved. Why would you need a House Bill to affirm this, and why specifically bring up evolution? Oh, maybe this little gem:
"Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, superintendent of schools, or school system administrator, nor any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of biological or chemical evolution whenever these subjects are taught within the course curriculum schedule."
Oooo, an immunity idol for anyone who wants teach delusional drivel! How convenient. I have to admit that this bill is well crafted to try and side-step as many bullshit alarms as possible, but the intent couldn't be more clear. This is not a bill to protect that biology teachers who are trying to teach evolution in a hostile environment. The bill's sponsor, Robert Cooper (R*) has put forward over half a dozen previous anti-evolution bills, but luckily his success rate is about as good as mine with grant proposals.
The bar has been set high Montana? Whachugot?
*I know, total shocker. I would never have guessed that this was a Republican-sponsored bill.