[Taxacom] South Dakota Senate Bill (SB) 55

Patrick, Brian brpatric at dwu.edu
Thu Jan 26 11:50:28 CST 2017

Dear Colleagues,

First, apologies for any cross-postings.

Attached is the exact wording of South Dakota Senate Bill (SB) 55, and here's the text for you to read:

"No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to 13-3-48."

The bill has already passed the South Dakota Senate and has now moved on the House.

I think that the problem arises here: "...in an objective scientific manner..." because it doesn't have to be scientific, only scientific in manner.  Thus, if one could argue that intelligent design/creationism is a competing theory-be it scientific or not-that it may be used to evaluate evolutionary theory if done in the very abstract and vague "scientific manner."

The inherent problem with this, at least as I see it, equates to raising intelligent design/creationism/whatever-it-might-be-called-instead-of-creationism to the level of comparison with evolution legitimizes the "competing theory" as worthy of equal status.  This is exactly the sort of subtle language that IDers have been trying to insert into public education.  Vague statements that open doors a crack at a time.

It's dangerous and the state legislature has no business mandating the minutia of education curriculum.

Colleagues, we need your help!  Please contact as many South Dakota state legislators and the South Dakota Governor's Office and encourage them to reject this bill!

Best regards, Brian

L. Brian Patrick, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Department of Biological Sciences
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave.
Mitchell, SD  57301  USA
Office:  605-995-2712

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