Oklahoma rejects anti-science bill

Many news articles and blog posts (including on the VA blog) are written about the rise of creationism in American schools. It was therefore heart-warming to read the headline “Oklamhama Anti-Science Legislation Fails again”.

Two anti-science bills which set out to encourage teachers to present “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of “controversial” topics such as evolution and climate change have already failed at the committee stage. This amendment, which was an attempt to delay the purchase of text books and teaching materials, has also failed. Coordinating the resistance was Oklamhomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE), a non-profit grassroots organisation. As well as campaigning for high quality science teaching and arguing against intelligent design and creationism, OESE also runs a Clergy Letter project. Clergy are invited to sign a letter of support for the teaching of evolution at www.theclergyletterproject.org. Their aim is to address the perception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict over the teaching of evolution.

Oklahoma State is part of the Bible belt, politically conservative and well known for its Christianity and evangelism. This is a most encouraging story, though it has not grabbed the headlines as much as more dramatic bad-news stories of an anti-science state.