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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Missouri's "Academic Freedom Act"

Out of Missouri comes news of another "academic freedom" bill, and regular readers of this blog will notice something new.
Like others of its kind, the bill, which was introduced into the House of Representatives, requires school officials and administrators to create an environment that encourages students to "respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution." (Keep in mind that evolution is not a point of controversy or debate in the scientific community.) It also requires teachers to be "permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution."
But unlike other "academic freedom" bills, which just generally claim not to be promoting any religious doctrine, this bill claims that it does not "promote philosophical naturalism or biblical theology, promote natural cause or intelligent cause, promote undirected change or purposeful design, promote atheistic or theistic belief, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or ideas, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion."
An earlier "academic freedom" act in Missouri died last May. —Heather Wax