Radical Missouri bill seeks to redefine science
Posted on Feb 19, 2013 in Opinion
Every time I write about what science is, especially with the topics of evolution and climate change, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. However, I also feel that it is a dead horse worth beating over and over again. Opponents of science, especially evolution and climate change, have attempted to push scientifically unsound claims into the classroom for so long now that I have begun to ignore most of it.
However, one Missouri bill is so radical that I simply cannot let it pass by without chipping in my two cents. Sponsored by Rick Brattin (R), the bill not only seeks to explicitly introduce pseudoscience into the classroom, but it also haughtily redefines science.
Arrogantly, it defines a theory as “an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic and faith-based philosophy,” and a hypothesis as “a scientific theory reflecting a minority of scientific opinion which may lack acceptance because it is a new idea, contains faulty logic, lacks supporting data, has significant amounts of conflicting data, or is philosophically unpopular.”
The reason behind these redefinitions is, of course, to push intelligent design (ID) as science into the classroom. The bill explicitly demands equal time for evolution and intelligent design. An even more insane provision demands that “approximately [equal]” pages in textbooks be given to evolution and ID.
Despite the fact that information is freely and easily available more than ever, people blatantly reject facts, grounded in cold, hard evidence simply because fact conflicts with unsubstantiated faith.
The rejection of true science in favor of belief is not a new phenomenon. Since the Renaissance, people who presented ideas supported by evidence but ran against the current dogma were ridiculed and silenced. It took centuries for society to reach a point where science is free from the constraints of faith. We simply cannot relapse into a state of willful ignorance.
I cannot even begin to fathom how politicians have come to believe that everything is in their power to change. Frankly, I find it scary that such people wield power. By mandating that the next generation be taught misinformation, they are simply setting up children for failure. Taught to doubt evolution and about pseudoscientific “theories” students will struggle with the university curriculum when confronted with actual evidence-based science.
Perhaps the most important preventative is education. People, especially those with power, must be educated about the topics that their policies affect. It is simply unethical for lawmakers to abuse their power in order to protect their personal beliefs, while dismantling conclusions reached from the empirical study of the world.
If beliefs do not hold up to experimentation, it is only obvious that they should be rejected. They should not instead be forced upon the next generation under the guise of science. A healthy skepticism, and not skepticism of facts, is vital to our future.