Orwellian Newspeak in Oklahoma: You Be the Judge
Here is what Alan Leshner, head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said about the proposed Academic Freedom Act in Oklahoma:
The sponsor of the measure says it would encourage critical thinking by exposing students to all sides of the scientific debate about evolution. That sounds reasonable, at first. But this is the sort of code language that supporters of intelligent design doctrine have tried to inject into science education standards in other communities and states nationwide -- not to promote science, but to promote a narrow religious agenda.
So I raise this question: Is "encourag[ing] critical thinking by exposing students to all sides of the scientific debate about evolution" really just "code language" for "promot[ing] a narrow religious agenda"? It seems to me that looking at the alleged "code language" that is being "injected" into Oklahoma law is the best way to decide.
So here is the operative language of the Act, which has only six sentences (for the full text see this post):
A. Every public school teacher in the State of Oklahoma, shall have the affirmative right and freedom to present scientific information pertaining to the full range of scientific views in any curricula or course of learning.
B. No public school teacher in the State of Oklahoma shall be terminated, disciplined, or otherwise discriminated against for presenting scientific information pertaining to the full range of scientific views in any curricula or course of learning.
C. Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student, in any public school shall be penalized in any way because the student may subscribe to a particular position on scientific views.
D. The rights and privileges contained in the Academic Freedom Act apply when topics are taught that may generate controversy, such as biological or chemical origins of life. Nothing in this act shall be construed as requiring or encouraging any change in the state curriculum standards for public schools.
E. Nothing in this act shall be construed as promoting any religious doctrine, promoting discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promoting discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.
Can anyone point me to the "narrow religious agenda"? Who is the one using "code language" here? Doesn't Leshner think people are going to read the actual text of the law and see that it does quite the opposite of what he is alleging? When will scientists realize that this kind of propaganda only reduces the credibility of scientists, and, as a result, hurts science in America?
Leshner suggests that "critical thinking" really means "promoting a narrow religious agenda." For similar logic, read here.
If you wonder if such legislation is necessary, read here.