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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Mexico's "Biological Origins" Act

A new bill introduced in the New Mexico Senate by Republican Senator Kent Cravens would allow teachers in the state to inform students "about relevant scientific information regarding either the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses pertaining to biological evolution or chemical evolution."
Regular readers of this blog will notice that the bill contains language similar to the "academic freedom" bills that have popped up in about half a dozen states (most recently in Oklahoma). Much like these other bills, the New Mexico act states that it "does not protect the promotion of any religion, religious doctrine, or religious belief." It also states that "'scientific information' means information derived from observation, experimentation and analyses regarding various aspects of the natural world conducted to determine the nature of or principles behind the aspects being studied. 'Scientific information' does not include information derived from religious or philosophical writings, beliefs or doctrines; provided, however, that 'scientific information' may have religious or philosophical implications and still be scientific in nature."
The bill has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. —Heather Wax