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Thanks for this objective overview of the current HB 368, and its origin, that of an original draft from David Fowler of FACT, a family values group. Details of FACT’s alliance with Focus and the Family, and other 501(c)(4) groups are somewhat relative to motives of the bill, but not to whether or not it has merit. But regardless of who spelled out its provisions, and that group’s religious underpinnings, the language of the Bill is what is relevant to its value or non-value within academia.
I think from you commentary, you and I would agree that there is nothing in the Bill that would allow religious teachings, and that its “innocuous” wording merely reinforces what should already be in place. You then raise the question of why the forceful opposition to the Bill. As you summarized, it boils down to the inclusion of the words ‘evolution’ and ‘critical thinking’, which ironically don’t go together. This in-and-of-itself is a clear indicator of the sanctity of evolutionary theory, and of its preclusion from debate.
Similar wording exists in other bills, including draftings originating from the Discovery Institute, but that merely resonates with one of their prime goals which is not to push religion, but to aid in allowing academic freedom (pardon the phrase) to subsist. Regardless of how some regard their overall goals (the dated Wedge document), their current goals appear to be secular in nature. To my mind, religious board members like Ahmanson do not cloud the picture at all, as DI’s work encompasses much more, including opposing unwarranted restrictive actions by politically oriented suppression groups. The actual question of whether NCSE is helping or hurting science remains an open question, and no more ‘settled’ than the causative tenets proposed by evolutionary theory.
Becky Ash’s comments that there are no ‘disciplinary’ problems with the current program, and that legislation like this merely echoes what is already understood and in place might be so, but subsequent to the Kitzmiller assault, things have heated up, and academic freedom is plainly under assault in some areas. This Bill is merely intended to insure that that freedom continues.
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