Science textbooks used in the public schools of Oklahoma may soon be required to state that “human life was created by one God of the universe.” A bill approved on April 5 by the state’s House of Representatives may lead to this change, as the bill now goes to committee for review (reports The Oklahoman, April 6).
This piece of legislation was an amendment to a bill that related to the state’s textbook committee. The addition of this “creationist amendment” follows last year’s unsuccessful move by the textbook committee that attempted to ensure that biology books carry a disclaimer that said that evolution is a “controversial theory” (and therefore not a fact). This wording, however, was ruled invalid by State Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who argued that the committee had no authority to issue such a disclaimer.
As a result, some house members introduced—and passed—the creationist amendment, which now goes to a joint House-Senate conference committee for review. The language of the bill could be changed at this level. (An effort to keep the bill from having to go to committee failed by a 49-49 vote.)
The original intent of the legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 1139, was simply to require that two members of the textbook committee be elementary-level teachers and two as secondary-level teachers. The controversial creationism amendment was tacked on SB 1139.
AiG will monitor what will most likely be some very interesting developments concerning the bill (including any editorializing by the secular media) as it winds its way through the Oklahoma legislature—and then perhaps on to the governor’s desk for signing into law (if it gets that far). AiG’s position, of course, is that evolution is so bankrupt scientifically that it should be acknowledged as controversial and not be treated as fact. Therefore, public school teachers should at least have the academic freedom to expose the flaws of macro-evolution theory and, if they wish, to present coherent scientific evidence supporting biblical creation. This proposed bill may help teachers accomplish that.