New Mexicans for Science and Reason

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Creationist Legislation, New Mexico Legislature, 2011 60-day Session

DEJA-VU ALL OVER AGAIN: 2009 Bill, SB433: News and Analysis

by Dave Thomas : nmsrdaveATswcp.com (Help fight SPAM!  Please replace the AT with an @ )

Breaking News - February 18th, 2011 - HB302 is TABLED, 5 to 4!

Status as of Feb. 2nd, 2011: THE BILL HAS BEEN INTRODUCED. [10] HEC/HJC-HEC

Bill Sponsored by: Thomas A. Anderson

2011 Regular Session

HB 302 PROTECTION FROM CERTAIN SCIENTIFIC TOPICS
Introduced (2/01/11); committees are HEC/HJC-HEC (Education/Judiciary)

TEXT OF THE BILL

HOUSE BILL 302

50th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2011

INTRODUCED BY

Thomas A. Anderson

AN ACT
RELATING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION; PROVIDING FOR PROTECTION OF TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
REGARDING THE TEACHING OF CONTROVERSIAL SCIENTIFIC TOPICS.
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 CONTROVERSIAL SCIENTIFIC TOPICS.--
A. The department, school district governing authorities and school administrators shall not prohibit any teacher, when a controversial scientific topic 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 that topic. A teacher who chooses to provide such information shall be protected from reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so.
B. This section only protects 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, but public school teachers shall not penalize a student in any way because that student subscribes to a particular position on the controversial scientific topic being taught.
D. For purposes of this section:
(1) "controversial scientific topic" includes biological origins, biological evolution, causes of climate change, human cloning and other scientific topics that are often viewed by society as controversial; and
(2) "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" may include information that coincides or harmonizes with religious tenets, but does not include information derived from religious writings, beliefs or doctrines."

Steve Terrell's Blog, Feb. 17th, 2011:"Teacher Protection" Bill Rises from Primordial Swamp .

Anderson said his bill has been "hijacked" by creationists, and that he doesn't know anything about IDNet-New Mexico, and their full page ad in Monday's Journal: "My bill has been hijacked by people who want to talk about religious issues."
Read Sponsor: Bill Is About Teachers, Not Creationism" by Dan Boyd in the Wednesday, Feb. 16th Albuquerque Journal

IDnet-NM proves HB302 is all about Creationism!! Full Page Ad in the Abq. Journal, 2-14-11

IDNet-NM has carried this bill for 5 years. Check out this full-page ad.

Evolution of Creationist Legislation in the New Mexico Legislature

Rep Anderson says this is "his bill." But the bill's 5-year-long evolution doesn't square with that.

Measure clears way for teaching of 'intelligent design' by Steve Terrell, The New Mexican, Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Public-school science teachers who want to teach 'intelligent design" alongside evolution and want to challenge the accepted scientific views about global warming would be protected under a bill introduced in the House. Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Albuquerque, said Tuesday that his House Bill 302 is not intended to promote intelligent design or creationism. When a reporter said he wanted to talk about Anderson's 'evolution bill,' the lawmaker replied, 'I don't have an 'evolution bill.' Anderson said, 'I'm just trying to protect teachers. ...
Both Newton [of the National Center for Scvience Education] and Thomas[president of New Mexicans for Science and Reason] said they believe Anderson's bill is based on model legislation from a Seattle-based intelligent-design think tank called the Discovery Institute. Anderson said he'd heard that accusation, but says the bill is his own. Though Anderson insisted the bill is not focused on evolution, it is being backed enthusiastically by an anti-evolution group in the state. ...

ANALYSIS and YOUR COMMENTS on the Panda's Thumb

The proposed legislation is not needed by New Mexicoís students or teachers. New Mexicoís existing standards already protect students from religious indoctrination or harassment by their teachers. Furthermore, the bill is unconstitutional as written, and its passage and enactment will almost certainly result in expensive litigation.

News Article on HB302 from NCSE

House Bill 302, introduced in the New Mexico House of Representatives on February 1, 2011, and referred to the House Education Committee, is the fifth antievolution bill to be introduced in a state legislature in 2011. If enacted, the bill would require teachers to be allowed to inform students "about relevant scientific information regarding either the scientific strengths or scientific weaknesses" pertaining to "controversial" scientific topics;The bill would protect teachers from "reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so." The sole sponsor of HB 302 is Thomas A. Anderson (R-District 29).

Measure clears way for teaching of 'intelligent design' by Steve Terrell, The New Mexican, Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Public-school science teachers who want to teach 'intelligent design" alongside evolution and want to challenge the accepted scientific views about global warming would be protected under a bill introduced in the House. Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Albuquerque, said Tuesday that his House Bill 302 is not intended to promote intelligent design or creationism. When a reporter said he wanted to talk about Anderson's 'evolution bill,' the lawmaker replied, 'I don't have an 'evolution bill.' Anderson said, 'I'm just trying to protect teachers. ... I'm trying to prevent another Galileo,' a reference to the father of modern physics, who was tried during the Inquisition as a heretic. But the bill has been attacked by scientific organizations both state and national. ... Dave Thomas, who teaches classes at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, is president of New Mexicans for Science and Reason. He said in an interview Tuesday that the state has good science standards for its schools, which he said protects students from 'religious indoctrination' by their teachers. 'This is really just a ploy to get creationism in the classroom,' he said. 'Allowing creationist teachers to attack evolution is an injustice to the education of their students, who will live and work in a world increasingly dependent on understanding science and technology,' Steve Newton, programs and policy director of the National Center for Science Education, said in an e-mail Tuesday. Newton argued that high-paying manufacturing jobs of the future will be in biotechnology ó 'an industry that assumes workers understand evolution.' Therefore, he said, New Mexico students would be put at a competitive disadvantage 'if their teachers, under HB 302, are given cover to adulterate science education.' The bill says it 'does not protect the promotion of any religion, religious doctrine or religious belief.' Anderson said Tuesday if someone used his bill to teach religious tenets in school, 'I'd go after them. I'd bring them down.' But opponents argue any teaching of creationism as fact is tantamount to promoting religion. Newton said 'academic freedom' bills represent a 'current trend in anti-evolution activity' nationwide. Court decisions since the 1980s have discouraged creationism backers from seeking a ban on evolution or requiring equal time for creationism in the classroom. Both Newton and Thomas said they believe Anderson's bill is based on model legislation from a Seattle-based intelligent-design think tank called the Discovery Institute. Anderson said he'd heard that accusation, but says the bill is his own. Though Anderson insisted the bill is not focused on evolution, it is being backed enthusiastically by an anti-evolution group in the state. ...

Sreve Terrell's Blog: "You Say You Want an Evolution ..."

Should science teachers in public schools who teach "controversial" topics like creationism and that global-warming is a hoax be protected? That's what Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Albuquerque says. His HB 302 would do that, he said, although scientific organizations say it's just a backdoor way to teach religious tenets in public schools.

KOAT TV 7: Bill Aims To Put Intelligent Design Into NM Schools (February 9, 2011)

A controversial bill on the table could affect what kids learn in school. Albuquerque Rep. Thomas Anderson introduced a bill that said teachers can't be punished for sharing information with students, including different opinions on evolution, human cloning and climate change. ... The bill is still several committees away from passing or failing, but it has already gotten science organizations all over the state riled up because it could make a huge difference about the information kids can walk away with, the lawmaker said. A member of New Mexicans for Science and Reason called the bill a train wreck, saying it will only destroy science education. Anderson, however, said the response only showed why teachers need protection. ...

NEWS and ANALYSIS from the SENSUOUS CURMUDGEON

New Mexico hasnít been in the creationism legislation game since 2009. We reported on that yearís effort here: New Mexico Creationism: A New 'Freedom' Bill, and its eventual failure here: New Mexico Creationism Bill: Itís Dead. After a year of respite, the forces of darkness are on the march again.

WEBSITE OF THE BILL'S (INTELLIGENT DESIGN CREATIONIST) CREATORS

The purpose of this web-site is to support the New Mexico Controversial Science Topics Education Bill and to provide scientific information that challenges Darwinian theory. The bill stipulates that teachers cannot be prohibited from including relevant scientific information on either the strengths or weaknesses pertaining to controversial scientific topics (including biological origins and evolution) when those subjects are taught in the public schools. (Note that this bill does not place a requirement on teachers.)

Discovery Institute's "Model Bill":
http://www.academicfreedompetition.com/freedom.php

Wired Science: "New Mexico Bill Seeks to Protect Anti-Science Education,"
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/new-mexico-science-education/

Last Update: Feb. 17th, 2011

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