Missouri Legislator Introduces Bill To Teach Creationism As A Scientific Theory And To Teach Evolution As A Philosophy

RickBrattinMissouri GOP Rep. Rick Brattin still doesn’t buy that whole evolution thing. Indeed, Brattin is the latest politician to seek to make science conform to religious beliefs by introducing bills that would force creationism into science classes and make “intelligent design” theories equivalent to evolution as a scientific subject. Brattin has proclaimed in this district that he would work to stop the “slow erosion of our God ordained liberties and freedoms.” That apparently begins by ordering “God-ordained” science for Missouri children. By the way, Missouri is already ranked 41st out of 50 states in school quality. Brattin appears committed to beating South Dakota for the distinction of the worst school system in the nation. Students will now receive education in the three rs: reading, ‘riting, and religion.

House Bill 291 defines biological evolution as a “philosophy” that “denies the operation of any intelligence, supernatural event, God or theistic figure in the initial or subsequent development of life.” It further states “The origin of life on earth is inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism.”

The law dictates a religious based understanding of science, including “Intelligence-directed action is necessary to exceed the limits of natural species change, which is a combination of autogenous species change and environmental effected species change. Multi-generation breeding experiments illustrate the limits of natural species change and its inadequacy for developing required genetic information found in dissimilar species.”

The rather convoluted and pseudo-sciencific language then states:

(3) If scientific theory is taught, the theory shall be identified as theory when taught orally or in writing. Empirical data and conjecture may be presented to support taught theory where considered instructive. As used in this subsection, the term “theory” shall mean theory or hypothesis;
(a) If a scientific theory concerning origin or destiny is taught without the teaching of opposing scientific theory, the taught theory may be criticized by the teaching of conflicting empirical data where considered instructive;
(b) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth’s biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course;
(c) If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a textbook, the textbook shall give equal treatment to biological evolution and biological intelligent design. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught.

The tortured language is an effort to avoid the word “creationism” and to dress up religious beliefs as scientific theory while treating evolution as a philosophy.

The bill would recreate “standard science” in a more faith-based image and guarantee Missouri will fall further in its educational rankings. What is clear is that the drafters may be the best argument against evidence of evolution. The law is poorly crafted and both intellectually and politically dishonest. It is little more than to legislate that science teachers will legitimate religious views despite the overwhelming support for the fact of evolution.

Bratten has only a high school degree and science does not appear to have been his favorite subject. However, his bio assures voters that “He and his kids are devoted Christians and members of the Strasburg Baptist Church.”

Source: ARTechnica

79 thoughts on “Missouri Legislator Introduces Bill To Teach Creationism As A Scientific Theory And To Teach Evolution As A Philosophy”

  1. I find it incredible that fundamentalists like Rick Brattin do not understand Darwin or how similar they were in some ways.

    Compare Darwin to his comtemporary Lamarck for example:

    One would say that [man] is destined to exterminate himself after having rendered the globe uninhabitable.” – Lamarck (1817)

    [RE: Darwin] In his private correspondence, he wrote that “man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is,” and that natural selection, driven by the struggle for existence between races, would continue to play a major role in human evolution. Darwin interpreted the Crusades in these terms. As he commented to his correspondent in 1881:

    Lastly, I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risks nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.

    Darwin’s views were rooted in the erroneous concept of race of his time. Like the eugenicists who followed him early in the twentieth century, he failed to recognize the sizeable role of the environment, culture and education in establishing human characteristics.

    (The Evolution of Anthropogenic Extinction). Darwin would have been a climate change denier, while Lamarck would not have.


  2. Blind Faithiness,
    You are so correct that it is amazing that school districts employing PHD’s,, EDD’s and Master Degrees and Bachelor degrees are being mandated by mental giants like this Rep. Once again, the more religion is intertwined with politics, we will get more crap like this.

  3. Regardless of sexual orientation, this Rep is an example of the failings of the voting body. He has terrible credentials, but is handsome and fits the majority’s ideology.

    He wouldn’t be qualified to even get an interview to be a school principal, but he has been elected and feels qualified to tell whole school districts how to instruct already failing schools in their science curriculum. He couldn’t pass a low level science class’ test, but he can influence what will be tested.

    Maybe he even has a vendetta against an educational system that he was barely able to navigate. Instead of encouraging kids to learn more/try harder, he will simply attempt to water down the system by allowing the ‘easy answer’, god did it, into the classroom. I have no evidence of his potential grievances and I’m only stating a hypothetical in this last paragraph.

  4. The Dover trial already showed that ‘intelligent design’ is a religious movement, plain and simple. This bill and others like it are determined to be unconstitutional from t=0.

    The PBS NOVA episode provides a nice synopsis of the arguments, court proceedings, and ruling.

    “Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” : http://video.pbs.org/video/980040807

  5. Went in dumb, come out dumb too..
    Hustlin round Atlanta in our alligator shoes’..
    We’re Rednecks, Rednecks..
    We dont know an A– from a hole in the ground..

  6. @Michael…very first reaction when I saw his picture, before I read a single word of the post, was:

    “This gay man has some gloriously white teeth.”

    I would be willing to bet anything that this man is gay.

  7. RWL,

    I think the St. Louis dichotomy arises because most of the wealthy folk live in the St. Louis suburbs, or in City enclaves of wealth such as around the University. I spent a week there six years ago and was amazed to find luxury
    loft condos downtown going for ridiculously cheap prices in the midst of the country’s housing boom. I my time there I discovered that many people didn’t venture downtown except for Cardinal games. I also drove through the downtown at 1:00am with my convertible top down, after gambling in East St. Louis. For the miles it took me to drive to my hotel by Union Station there was not one person, or car, on the street. Perhaps the most eerie urban experience I’ve had.

    As to this idiot legislator the notion of this bill is preposterous, were it not the slim possibility it would pass ad then have Missouri compete with Mississippi and Alabama as our two most backward states.

    1. Mike S,

      Sounds like someone has visited the STL. Those condos and lofts were a major, financial disaster. The purpose behind this redevelopment was to bring the working class families back to the city. However, this didn’t occur, while the city continues to lose residents to the suburbs. Instead, taxpayers’ dollars (mostly coming from the city of STL) are being used to subsidize the cost for the developers. In other words, most of the condos and lofts are now being rented or leased out to young adults who like ‘hanging out’ at the new, revitalized downtown night clubs, from 11pm-3am, on Washington Ave (I haven’t been to Union Station in over a decade, and most of downtown is a ghost town after 10pm, except on friday and saturday nights)!

      The young adults also like living around midtown where St. Louis University (SLU) is located. However, it is in the city, and there is plenty of crime near SLU’s beautiful campus. Most middle class families refuse to live in or around SLU.

      You are right! Living in the suburbs is the place to be. Most middle class families dream to live around or near Washington Univesity, located in the suburbs Clayton-Richmond Heights or around Ladue (one of the most wealthiest districts in the country, so is Chesterfield). However, we settle for the more affordable suburbs or counties farther out (like Florissant, MO or St. Charles County).

      I stopped going to Cardinal games a long time ago (when they made the deal to have us pay for their new stadium in 2003 and ball park village, which is just now being built….we are still paying for it).

      1. RWL,

        I also visited StL in 1977 & 1978. I had a close friend getting his doctorate from Washington University. Stayed in the area around campus for one week each time. I was single then and I had wonderful time in and around the City and hanging out in the nightlife. When I last visited in I guess 2007 it was because of the earlier memories. I stayed at the Drury by Union Station. The City was not as nice as I remembered it, but by then I didn’t have a close friend at school anymore.

  8. OMG. I don’t really mind teaching “intelligent [sic] design” as a scientific theory as long as we give equal time to the other scientific theories about how we got here, such as:

    1. There was a big pile of turtles;
    2. Shiva got very angry on one of those rainy days;
    3. Thor was sitting on a mountain when all of a sudden…
    4. A cosmic pig erupted and out came a big, big pearl…
    5. Hera had a love affair with Schmug and got pregnant with the world…
    6. God got lonely and he made him a clay man and breathed into him the breath of life…
    7. The great spirit wanted to enjoy running horses so he started with a man but he baked it too long and threw it into Africa…
    8. There was an eggplant…

  9. State of Missouri has a nickname: Welfare State (greater percentage of the population is on welfare compared to those who are working or graduated from college).

    It always seems like the ones, who don’t have any expertist on a particular issue (Rick Brattin), are the ones creating legislation to fix an issue.

    Nevertheless, Missouri symbolizes our country: The Great Divide. St. Louis, Missouri takes pride in being called the “Biotech Center of the Midwest”

    http://www.stlrcga.org/x1959.xml?ss=print (not included in this article is the $70 million research facility built by Saint Louis University: http://www.slu.edu/x39529.xml).

    However, the City of STL is one of the most dangerous places to live in due to high crime, the public school district has lost its’ accreditation, home values have not improved in most areas due to the high number of short sales and foreclosures, and STL remains a place where the asthma and allergy qaulity is very high amongst its’ resident due to poor air quality.

    On the other hand, STL is also in the top 10 place where retirees come to live (don’t ask me why), use to be in the top 5 for most fotune 1000 companies, and use to be in the top 10 for the most fortune 500 companies (some of these companies have sold to competitors outside of STL).

  10. Sadly shaking my head at the ignorance. GWB said, “even a C student can be President” Corollary: even a D student or F student can be a state legislator.

  11. Mespo,

    Rationale people are going to believe what’s real I’m lead to believe…. But then again, not all rational people we think are rational are in reality sane…..

  12. “By the way, Missouri is already ranked 41st out of 50 states in school quality.
    Bratten has only a high school degree and science does not appear to have been his favorite subject.”


    Must have gone to high school in Missouri. Maybe they can get their own creationist museum just like that other bastion of educational quality, Kentucky!! There the motto is “Prepare to Believe.” I suggest it be changed to “Prepare to be Hornswoggled.”

  13. @Wombat
    I don’t base the remark on this incident alone by any means and by no means am I saying Missouri is alone in it’s ignorance.

    Thanks for the song! One of my all time favorites!

  14. If this bill passes, Missouri has no one to blame except itself. When you mix religion and politics, bad things happen.

  15. Don’t assume an entire state is a “cesspool of ignorance” on the basis of one bill introduced by one state legislator, at least until it looks like that bill might actually pass. Thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in every state legislative session. In every state there are some really idiotic bills introduced. (My favorite example was a bill introduced in my state that would have required our state court to ignore precedent when interpreting the state constitution, and start from scratch on every constitutional question.) Introducing bills doesn’t mean they will pass or even receive serious consideration. In some cases even the sponsor doesn’t want the bill to advance, having introduced it only as a token gesture to get some group off of his or her back. (Although in this case, I’m guessing the sponsor is a true believer.)

  16. You know who I feel sorry for? The citizens of that state who are not fortunate enough to be able to afford to get the h e double hockey sticks out of there. What a cesspool of ignorance.

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