Earlier this week a South Dakota state senate committee tabled a bill promoted by the “intelligent design” group Discovery Institute that identified “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, [and] human cloning” as scientifically controversial areas and, in the words of the National Center for Science Education, “would, in effect, have allowed public school teachers to miseducate their students about science — and would have prevented state and local educational authorities from intervening.”
Although the bill didn’t make it out of committee, it had some high-profile backers, including a state representative of Concerned Women for America and a representative from the South Dakota Family Policy Council. In addition, the Discovery Institute flew in a spokesman, Casey Luskin, to testify on behalf of the bill, which seems to have been loosely based on the Institute’s model legislation.
Luskin told the committee that while in the days of the Scopes trial teachers were persecuted for teaching evolution, today teachers are being “persecuted” and “censored” for dissenting to “Darwin’s theory and other controversial scientific topics.”
“The old Scopes trial stereotype of teachers fearing persecution for teaching the evidence for evolution has been overturned,” he said. “Today, it’s the teachers and students who are raising questions about modern neo-Darwinian theory who are being stifled.”