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January 31, 2013 08:24 AM UTC

Next Up: Making Colorado Schools Safe For Creationism!

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: A little more information on this bill's origins from the respected DeSmogBlog–the right wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), yet again

One sure sign of a coordinated, ALEC-lead effort is the fact that Colorado's state legislature introduced the ALEC model on the same day as did Oklahoma's. The two states, it's worth noting, share a border on Oklahoma's panhandle. 

On Jan. 18, 2013, eight representatives and four senators introduced HB 13-1089, coining the bills the "Academic Freedom Acts."

Paralleling the language in the ALEC model and the Oklahoma bill, the HB 13-1089 aims to "Inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills," also recognizing that the teaching of the concept global warming "can cause controversy." [Pols emphasis]

One of the senators co-sponsoring the bill, Rep. Scott Renfroe (R-13) is an ALEC dues-paying member. He's also attended at least one ALEC meeting paid for by Colorado taxpayers, according to the CMD's "Buying Influence" report…

But remember, gentle reader, in Colorado, ALEC is not a controversy. So don't expect to see this connection in your local paper. (H/T ClubTwitty)

The GOP's 2013 legislative wish tour continues, as the Fort Collins Coloradoan's Patrick Malone reports:

Controversial classroom discussions about creationism versus evolution, global warming and human cloning would be encouraged under legislation proposed by a Republican lawmaker from Northern Colorado.

The bill’s sponsor, freshman state Rep. Steve Humphrey, R-Severance, insists his intention is not to add religious dogma to the curriculum.

“I think that’s a common concern: Is this some sort of back door for getting creationism in the curriculum?” he said. “That’s not my goal. That’s not what this does.”

Except, well, that more or less is exactly what the bill does:

The Academic Freedom Act, House Bill 1089, would direct teachers in public schools and colleges 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. Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor, is among the Republicans who have signed on as co-sponsors supporting the proposed legislation…

Colorado’s current state content standards for instruction delve into the science of evolution, but do not discuss creationism. [Pols emphasis]

As Malone of the Coloradoan continues, bill sponsor Rep. Steve Humphrey doesn't want you to call his bill an "attack on evolution," but just a way to "foster a culture of tolerance" for students whose views on certain matters of science may be "out of the mainstream." The text of the bill begins with a legislative finding that "the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy." The bill instructs school boards and teachers to "respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues." The bill identifies "biological and chemical evolution, global warming, and human cloning" as types of "controversial issues" that might be addressed.

In the case of evolution, this bill very clearly carves out protection for nonscientific religious dogma in science class. The bill claims that it is not intended to "promote" religious doctrine, but in the case of evolution, the only real dissent to scientific consensus is religious. "Creation science" devotees don't like hearing that, but it's true.

Setting aside the free-wheeling ethical and spiritual debate over human cloning, the other "controversial issue" mentioned in this bill is "global warming." And again, outside a narrowing segment of talk-radio propagandized deniers and oil industry employees, the scientific and public opinion consensus on human-caused climate change is growing and is broadly expected continue to solidify as the effects become increasingly undeniable.

In all such cases of so-called "controversial issues" whose discussion in Colorado classrooms is a certainty, what's needed is not legislation giving increasingly fringe views false equivalency. In fact, with the exception of a small number of ignorant students (and parents) who deserve to have their feelings hurt for being ignorant in an academic setting, "affirmative action" for faith-based nonscience in science class is a really bad idea.

Pardon us for being more blunt than the House Education Committee is likely to be when they kill this bill.


23 thoughts on “Next Up: Making Colorado Schools Safe For Creationism!

  1. Good. Greek Mythology never belonged in Literature class, clearly its a science and always has been.  I am also looking forward to Alchemy.  And a robust scientific discussion on whether the meatball eyes of the flying spaghetti monster are an italian or more traditional suasage. 


  2. a teacher should be able to respond to an inquire about myth in a science class, whether it be a dude that flew too close to the sun or creationism, "we're here for science. We only have so any classes and each class has only so much time. We will not waste our time here until everyone scores in the proficient range or above in science "

  3. I'm honestly surprised by the degree of doubling down by the reactionaries that control the GOrP these days. Everything from new pro-rape comments to quixotic efforts like this. I'm just glad we managed to reclaim the state House so shit like this won't go anywhere, but the rest of the country isn't so lucky.

    1. And I'm certain his support for alternative views is he wants to present the arguments for the Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster.

      on a serious note – are the Republicans trying to drive out everyone with a brain from their party? It's like it's not enough to be mindlessly right wing, you have to be mindless on science too?

      When this guy goes in to see a doctor, I wonder if he wishes the doctor based his treatments on belief rather than science…

      1. so it's Pray the Gay Gout Away — which I'm sure will work just as well.  Maybe it's another service Marcus Bachmann could start offering in his Medicaid supported Doctorin' office.  Y'all think Marcus ever applied that "physician, heal thyself" proverb on his gay-ish inclinations?  Maybe he could endorse like those Hair Club for Men ads.

  4. Surprise!  Rep. Humphrey not even smart enough to think it up on his own…


    January hasn't even ended, yet ALEC has already planted its "Environmental Literacy Improvement Act" – which mandates a "balanced" teaching of climate science in K-12 classrooms – in the state legislatures of Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona so far this year. 
    Desmogblog (

  5. I'll believe we need this law when the Creator causes it to pass.

    Meanwhile, I keep imagining stuff like this with the (outside funded) court challenge Douglas County is chasing to get their religious education voucher program and what will happen if they do and someone applies to run a madrasa. Complete with creationism curriculum.

  6. So much fear…if you're right, and none of these things are debatable anymore, what are liberals afraid of?

    If you weren't afraid for your classroom orthodoxy, you wouldn't be afraid of it being challenged.

    1. I'm afraid of the same thing our Founding Fathers were afraid of – a theocracy.  Using public dollars to teach religious dogma (creationism) is a step toward theocracy.

      Science is different from religion in that it can be disproven.  But "creationism!" is not a disproof.  It's just a theocratic statement.

    2. I love my country. I want students to learn real shit while they are in school so they can compete in the real world. This means I don't want our schools to be madrasas Guppy.


      Who is writing your checks these days fraud?

    3. First off agop, where's your material showing coffman's the "real deal"? You're as lazy and shiftless as he of the filled diaper. You never come to class prepared, then you just make senseless statements, ask stupid questions.

      Re: asking what liberals are afraid of as far as the Jesus rode on dinosaurs grift, it simply comes down to time economics. Teachers have only so much time to teach proven scientific data. Showing flintstones cartoons eats up valuable minutes.

      The last thing the country needs is another idiot like Paul Broun (R-Ga) on the Committee  on Science and Technology in the House of Representatives. Teachers are trying to prepare our young for a competitive world of science and technology, not a redleg primary.

      Next assignment, agop, prepare and present a paper on Broun and his climate views, his scientific prowess, and his knowledge of the age of this earth.

      But coffman's information first.

      Get to it.

    4. My point exactly!    Which is why I believe that some large potion of math class should be spent trying to ascertain how many angels can actually twist on a pin.  For the kids.  To show we are not afraid of different opinions, you know like science and math stuff. 

    5. Reall –that's what you?  Do you believe in dragons?  Do you believe in Gods wielding lightning during a summer storm or is thunder just an angel bowling?  How about a magical fairy that took your babies teeth from under pillow as a child?

      We're to take your desire to teach fairytales as science as an honest rational approach to education?  Better yet, we're supposed to take any idiotic drivel you care to blog and act like it has some creedence in an informative discussion?  You've proven that your side knows no depths to ignorance.  

    6. So just what is it with all of that Carbon-14 dating and stratification and DNA similarities? What should we say about them in the classroom? That it's all an attempt by the Devil to mislead us from the One True Path? That God put them in our view to test us?

      I mean, you have to address the topic somehow – or do you just plan on having the teacher describe the theory of evolution and how it's built up from all of this evidence and then describe the story of creation, ending the lecture with: "you decide" and no actual discussion of the details…

    1. I agree. I want to see civilization improve our lot in life. And that requires people who are taught a strong basis of scientific knowledge and can then build on it to advance our knowledge and then solve issue like cancer, global warming, etc.

      Jonas Salk would not have cured polio if he based his work on the bible.

      So yes ArapaGOP this worries me. Because every child taught to shut our reality and base their view on a set of acient inconsistent beliefs is a child who is not going to be able to advance human knowledge.

      1. I'd like to add a postscript. I try to listen to the Republican side on issues and see where we can learn from them. I try to find places where their points could be right and should be considered when we craft legislation.

        But when the Republican party embraces know-nothingism over clear proofs from science – goodbye. 

  7. I don't know…maybe if we start requiring the teaching of natural selection in Sunday School….nah, bad idea.


    I wonder how many of these Christian thugs actually send their kids to public school anyway? Most of them send their lil' darlin's to "Classrooms for Jesus" .

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