As discussed before, Republicans in the Oklahoma legislature undertook a last-ditch attempt to push evolution- and climate change-denialism into the Oklahoma educational system. The two original anti-science bills, HB 1551 and SB 1742, died in committee in March, 2012. Republican Oklahoma Senator Steve Russell then attempted to amend HB 2341, a bill originally intended to extend by two years a deadline for local school districts to meet standards for media, equipment and textbooks, to add language from HB 1551. The amendment “encouraged” teachers to present “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of controversial” topics such as biological evolution and global warming.
The amended version of the bill missed a deadline for a third reading in the Oklahoma Senate, so no floor vote will occur, unless some parliamentary maneuver is utilized by Republicans. For example, they can amend other unrelated bills by May 25 2012, so the possibility of anti-science legislation is still possible. Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education helped defeat these bills through a grassroots effort in the state. If a grassroots organization can do it in far-right Oklahoma, their skills ought to be used in other anti-science states like more moderate Tennessee.
For the umpteenth time, there is absolutely no “scientific controversy” with respect to evolution and global warming. Evolution is backed by 150 years of solid science in everything from the common descent of all organism to genetics. The mechanisms of evolution, including natural selection and genetic drift, are not under any type of challenge in the scientific community. As for global warming, its the same thing, the evidence is overwhelming. Other than a sociological/economic/political debate, scientists are further studying effects of global warming like what happens to the world’s health.
Anyways, good news in Oklahoma. But Republicans will try again next year.