Arkansas creationism bill fails—but narrowly

April 22, 2021 • 11:00 am

by Greg Mayer

Following up on Jerry’s post about a bill to allow the teaching of creationism in public schools, the bill has failed, on a 3-3 vote in the state’s Senate Education Committee. The bill was introduced, and passed overwhelmingly in the state House, with knowledge that the bill is unconstitutional, but in the explicit hope that the strengthened conservative majority on the Supreme Court would reverse McLean v. Arkansas.

The bill was very short; here’s the core of it:

a) A teacher of a kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) science class at a public school or open-enrollment public charter school may teach creationism as a theory of how the earth came to exist.

(b) This section is permissive and does not require a teacher to teach creationism as a theory of the earth came to exist.

Thankfully, it has died—for now. If history teaches us anything, it is that creationism is a phoenix, and, to mix mythological metaphors, its heads must be continually lopped off.

Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education has the details here.

h/t: Brian Leiter

27 thoughts on “Arkansas creationism bill fails—but narrowly

  1. Constitutionality does not mean anything to the red state legislatures today. Does not matter if it is abortion, creationism, voter rights or even your right to demonstrate they do not care. They are programmed one way and nothing matters but their ideology. I suppose secession will be their last hope and how far away is that. Tucker Carlson should really be getting on this.

  2. If only teachers would obey the law. I was taught about the doctrine of original herbivory back in a Nebraska public elementary school – also, T-Rex ate watermelons.

    1. Evidently one part of the discussion included a Senator arguing the bill was not needed since he knew a schoolteacher who already taught creationism alongside evolution. Cynically not surprising, but still…yikes.

    2. I’m no botanist, but I think that there have been a couple of major overturns in the terrestrial flora since then, and I very much doubt that a T.rex ever saw a melon in the flesh.
      They’re angiosperms, aren’t they? So their ancestors had evolved into angiosperms a little before T.rex evolved from previous theropod genera (10 to 20 My?), so it’s not entirely impossible, but it is pretty implausible.
      Don’t these god-damned creationists know any palaeontology?

      1. oh dear oh dear. Don’t you know anything? Angiosperms including watermelons appeared well before T.rex.

        Three days before, in fact, just after dry land and just before the Sun and Moon and stars.

        1. I thought they were somewhere among the widely-spaced index fossils of the lower Cretaceous – up to about 50 My before the Tyrannosaur genus.But not terribly well constrained. Yet.

  3. Good news for now, albeit by a narrow margin. American exceptionalism on creationism and gun control is hard to understand for those of us on the outside!

      1. Well said KK, and JezGrove: If you find a foreign specimen walking about you’ll see there’s a lot they think is cra-cra-craaazy about us here. Our health care payment/ prices / setup and the whole concept of “medical bankruptcy” is always a fun one to shock them with.
        Further… outside a few fundamentalist Catholic theocracies our whole abortion debate looks like a mental hospital food fight to people from more civilized countries. It just isn’t a debate in most places. Teaching creation/cretin-ism also shocks the foreigners. Guns.
        We never disappoint. NUMBER ONE, YEA! ‘Murica.
        NYC (where there are plenty of foreigners to experiment on as above) 🙂

    1. Just another example of anti-intellectualism in America. We’re very exceptional when it comes to anti-intellectualism.

    2. Those of us on both sides of the pond should remember that the English got rid of their criminals by sending them to Australia and their religious fanatics by sending them to America. (Nobody flame me, please! I’m writing this with tongue in cheek. 😉)

      1. “Nobody flame me, please” – of course not, there’s some truth in your comment, with or without your tongue in your cheek!

    3. Here’s some more American exceptionalism for you on the outside. From a Vanity Fair article:

      On Monday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed an “anti-riot bill” into law that, among other things, grants civil immunity to people who decide to drive their cars into protesters who are blocking a road. The bill, which was drafted in the wake of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, also penalizes local governments that interfere with efforts to stop riots; prevents people accused of rioting from being bailed out of jail until after their first court appearance; and makes it a second-degree felony to destroy a plaque, memorial, painting, flag, or other structure commemorating historical people or events (like, say, Confederate statutes). That would make such actions punishable by up to a decade in prison.

      This has to be one of the most reckless laws in America. Not to mention idiotic. It’s no surprise DeSantis is a Trump cultist.

  4. Religious whack-a-mole. Knock one issue on the head, two more pop up.

    Granted, there is a sort of comfortable familiarity to these sad, tired attempts. Compared to the non-stop nonsense of the last four years of tRumpists and the woketivists, the xian nuttiness feels like a return to normal.

  5. I’m seeing (in my minds eye) a cloudy blasted landscape, and a voice over saying (with heavy-y-y-y echo-o-o-o) that “I’ll be back-k-k-k”.
    Damned if I can remember where it’s from, but I’m sure it pre-dates Darth Vader and the Eternal Death Star of The Spotless Mind.

      1. Oh yes, of course.
        I wonder if the CGI people programming the Terminator’s antics have ever done a Terminator 9000 doing a “Homer D’oh”.

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