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Creationists suffer defeats in eight legislatures, science croup reports.

Attempts to slip creationism into public schools failed in eight states recently, says the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).

The NCSE, an Americans United ally, reported that the bills and amendments in question took several forms. Some were couched as measures to protect "academic freedom" while others openly attacked evolution by offering "equal treatment" for creationism and "intelligent design."

The derailed measures are:

Arizona: Senate Bill 1213 was portrayed as an "academic freedom" bill that targeted "controversial" subjects such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." It died in committee.

Colorado: Similar to the Arizona bill, this measure, House Bill 13-1089, would have directed teachers to "create an environment that encourages students to intelligently and respectfully explore scientific questions and learn about scientific evidence related to biological and chemical evolution, global warming, and human cloning." It died in committee.

Indiana: Lawmakers considered House Bill 1283, which would have compelled teachers to "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the strengths and weaknesses of conclusions and theories being presented in a course being taught by the teacher." The measure failed to clear a committee.

Missouri: House Bill 291 would have required "the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design." It died in committee.

Montana: Another "critical thinking" bill, this measure (House Bill 183), would have required schools to encourage "critical thinking regarding controversial scientific theories" such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, random mutation, natural selection, DNA, and fossil discoveries." It failed in committee.

Oklahoma: Legislation in the Sooner State purported to encourage teachers to "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught." Covered topics included "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." The provision, House Bill 1674, cleared a committee but failed to get a floor vote.

Texas: This measure, House Bill 285, was aimed at universities and would have forbade any institution of higher education to "discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member's or student's conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms." It died in committee.

Virginia: Senate Joint Resolution 287 was a state constitutional amendment with sweeping religious provisions, including one that said "no student in public schools shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his religious beliefs." That measure, which was perhaps the most insidious creationist provision seen this year, failed in committee.

Despite the string of victories, AU notes that the battle is far from over and that some public school teachers continue to back creationism over evolution.

For example, a recent survey undertaken by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found that 19 percent of Pennsylvania public school science teachers believe in creationism, 13 percent back "intelligent design" and five percent said they were "not sure" about which theories they support or marked support for "other."
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Title Annotation:PEOPLE & EVENTS
Publication:Church & State
Date:Jul 1, 2013
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