Creationist Legislation, New Mexico Legislature, 2009 60-day Session
IT'S BAAAAACK! 2011 Bill, HB302, Thomas A. Anderson, Sponsor.
by Dave Thomas : nmsrdaveATswcp.com (Help fight SPAM! Please replace the AT with an @ )
Read and Comment at the Panda's Thumb!
ANALYSIS OF SB 433 (PDF document)
Please - refrain from sending letters to Senators until the Bill is scheduled for Committee!
LEGISLATURE PUBLISHES LESC/PED ANALYSIS OF SB433
The PED analysis raises these points, among others: Although the bill's definition of "scientific information" excludes information derived from religious or philosophical writings, beliefs or doctrines, SB 433 goes on to say that scientific information may have religious or philosophical implications and remain scientific in nature. The PED analysis states that this point would allow the teaching of theories of biological origins such as intelligent design or creationism. PED quotes the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 'There is no scientific controversy about the basic facts of evolution…arguments that attempt to confuse students by suggesting that there are fundamental weaknesses in the science of evolution are unwarranted based on the overwhelming evidence that supports the theory. Creationist ideas lie outside the realm of science, and introducing them in science courses has been ruled unconstitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court and other federal courts." Pursuing this legal point, the PED analysis cites several court cases in which efforts "to impose a religious view of biological origins into the curriculum," as SB 433 seems to do, have been found to violate the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution. This analysis also says that SB 433 implicates Article 2, Section 11 of the state constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, and Section 22-13-15 NMSA 1978, which prohibits the teaching of sectarian doctrine in public schools. Finally, the PED analysis suggests that enacting SB 433 would invite litigation.
NM Creationist Bill Has a Sponsor...
OriginsEducation.org, the new Intelligent Design Creationist website for supporting anti-science legislation in New Mexico, reports that "NM Origins Bill to Get New Sponsor State Senator Steve Komadina helped get the NM Biological Origins Education Bill started, and then he sponsored it in the NM Senate in 2007. Unfortunately, he will not be able to sponsor the bill again because he was not reelected, but we really appreciate his initiative. Senator Kent Cravens has agreed to sponsor the bill in the 2009 session. Let’s support him in getting this legislation through the Senate. ..."
Who wrote the legislation? Would you believe... the Discovery Institute? (Shocked! Shocked, I say...) Check out the Institute's "Academic Freedom" site : http://www.academicfreedompetition.com/freedom.php (A simple WHOIS inquiry will verify that this is from the Disco Institute...)
This page offers a "sample academic freedom bill." From that model legislation:"Section 5. Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution of higher education shall be penalized in any way because he or she may subscribe to a particular position on any views regarding biological or chemical evolution...."
Compare this to this sentence from the proposed NM bill: " C. Public school teachers may hold students accountable for knowing and understanding material taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula about biological evolution or chemical evolution, but they may not penalize a student in any way because that student subscribes to a particular position on biological evolution or chemical evolution...."
A little subtle, but I could swear I see a wisp of smoke emanating from the barrel of a Colt revolver...
Status as of Mar. 20th, 2009: THE BILL HAS BEEN INTRODUCED
Bills Sponsored by: Kent L. Cravens
2009 Regular Session
SB 433 USE OF SCIENCE IN TEACHING BIOLOGICAL ORIGINS
Introduced (2/02/09); committees are SEC/SJC-SEC (Education/Judiciary)
TEXT OF THE BILL
SENATE BILL xxx
49th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2009
INTRODUCED BY ______________
RELATING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION; PROVIDING FOR PROTECTION OF TEACHERS AND STUDENTS REGARDING THE TEACHING OF THEORIES OF BIOLOGICAL ORIGINS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
Section 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] TEACHING OF BIOLOGICAL ORIGINS.--
A. The New Mexico Public Education Department, school district governing authorities, and school district administrators may not prohibit any teacher, when biological evolution or chemical evolution is being taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula, from informing students about relevant scientific information regarding either the scientific strengths or scientific weaknesses pertaining to biological evolution or chemical evolution. A teacher who chooses to provide such information shall be protected from reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so.
B. This section pertains solely to the teaching of scientific information and specifically does not protect the promotion of any religion, religious doctrine, or religious belief.
C. Public school teachers may hold students accountable for knowing and understanding material taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula about biological evolution or chemical evolution, but they may not penalize a student in any way because that student subscribes to a particular position on biological evolution or chemical evolution.
D. For purposes of this section: "Scientific information" means information derived from observation, experimentation and analyses regarding various aspects of the natural world conducted to determine the nature of or principles behind the aspects being studied. "Scientific information" does not include information derived from religious or philosophical writings, beliefs or doctrines; however, “scientific information” may have religious or philosophical implications and still be scientific in nature.
Last Update: Feb. 10th, 2009
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