Coming to your School?: New Mexico Bill Promotes Anti-Science Education

February 8, 2011

Bill Maher visits Creation Museum

This week’s Crock Video discussed climate denier Harrison Schmitt, who was recently appointed as  head of Natural Resources in New Mexico. Mr. Schmitt’s allies in the legislature have recently moved to extend the tea party anti-science agenda with a bill aimed at science teaching in public schools.

If there was ever any doubt that an organized anti-science movement exists, and that it includes the climate denial movement, a report from Wired should remove all doubt.

If educators in New Mexico want to teach evolution or climate change as a “controversial scientific topic,” a new bill seeks to protect them from punishment.

House Bill 302, as it’s called, states that public school teachers who want to teach “scientific weaknesses” about “controversial scientific topics” including evolution, climate change, human cloning and — ambiguously — “other scientific topics” may do so without fear of reprimand. The legislation was introduced to the New Mexico House of Representatives on Feb. 1 by Republican Rep. Thomas A. Anderson.


What I learned in school today.

“These bills say, ‘Oh we’re just protecting the rights of teachers,’ which on the face of it isn’t wrong. But they draw big red circles around topics like evolution and climate change as topics to be wary about,” said Joshua Rosenau, a policy and projects director at the National Center for Science Education. “It suggests this kind of science is controversial, and would protect teachers who want to teach anti-evolution and climate-change-denying lessons in classrooms.”

The bill is one of five already introduced to state legislatures this year. While more than 30 such bills have been introduced since 2004, only Louisiana adopted one as law in 2008.

The bill’s introduction comes at a time when, according to a recent study in Science, only 28 percent of U.S. teachers overtly teach scientific concepts of evolution and 13 percent advocate creationism. Some 60 percent water down teaching evolution to avoid confrontation by students and parents.

So, for those of you that think teaching science might be a good idea to maintain US technological leadership, create more jobs and opportunities for young people, and help deal with problems like climate change, energy shortages, food production and AIDS, well, you’re just out of the loop.

One Response to “Coming to your School?: New Mexico Bill Promotes Anti-Science Education”

  1. […] Coming to your School?: New Mexico Bill Promotes Anti-Science Education […]

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