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Bad Bill: Creationism in Schools? Not So Intelligent Legislation

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State Rep. Bill ZedlerHouse Bill 285

Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington)

This bill by state Rep. Bill Zedler would essentially require universities to permit teaching or “researching” of intelligent design (which, as its proponents are at pains to point out, is totally not creationism… even if they sound a whole lot alike).

The bill’s text proposes that a university may not “discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support,” any faculty member or student based on the “research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms.”

None of this is unfamiliar. In 2011, Zedler put forth identical legislation in the form of House Bill 2454. His office did not return the Observer‘s request for comment on the bill.

In a phone interview with the Texas Observer, Dan Quinn, a spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network, discussed the impact of this kind of legislation, both in 2011 and now: “The argument we hear is that this is about academic freedom, and the reality is that its an academic fraud protection act. … It’s just another step in a campaign by creationists to undermine sound science in classrooms because sound science does not match their beliefs.”

Quinn is not alone is his reasoning. The 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania resulted in a 139-page ruling, which concluded that teaching intelligent design in public school science classes actually violates the First Amendment. Intelligent design is not science, the court reasoned, and so “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.” Despite the fact that a federal court has already ruled on this issue, Zedler has now proposed this legislation twice.

There is an important distinction between protecting freedom and protecting fraud, Quinn contends. “There’s nothing wrong with Representative Zedler believing in creationism or a professor at a university believing in creationism. The issue here is whether or not colleges or universities will be required to protect academic fraud. That’s not something that you want.”

And then there’s the fact that this bill looks a lot like an answer in search of a problem.

“No one is throwing creationists off campus; no one has created a creationist hit list or black list. The issue is the research they’re doing—is it sound or is it fraudulent?” Quinn says. “No one is saying that college professors can’t do research in controversial areas; what’s important to remember, though, is that institutions of higher education have a responsibility to make sure that the research being conducted is honest and based on sound facts.”

But introducing a bill like this, Quinn says, has already accomplished one thing for sure: “It’s just one more step in making Texas a laughing stock.”

  • Human Ape

    “It’s just one more step in making Texas a laughing stock.”

    You don’t have to worry about that. Texas already is a laughing stock.

    Type “darwin killed god” in the google search box then click the I’m Feeling Lucky button.

  • Rhonda Warmack Houston

    This bill has taken two two further steps in making Texas’ children at all levels NOT READY or PREPARED to ask the hard questions to get those right answers, when furthering their education when they begin applying for a jobs, because they will not know the difference between Creationism and REAL Science, as their competion from China and Japan, will know the differences. To ask hard questions, one must have their facts straight.

    Representative Zedler who is a past hospital payroll clerk who has dealt with money, has learned to manipulate the Texas’ law system to get the ‘the money’ so he can further his personal agenda which will place other Americans to a great disadvantage as well as being able to aquire university and college money for those who share his Creation agenda. Mr. Zedler wants to customize his agenda so many with the God/Creation view may ‘aquire higher learning’s funding for this agenda’, by utilizing the ploy that any academic support can’t be discriminated against or penalize in any manner if a student or faculty member from that college uses the colleges’ funds to perform their research on any subject, which will be presented to the world, stating as a fact that those alternate theories to other than science of the origination and development of organisms exist.’

    This is what most Texas lawmakers are attempting to do now within all of the Texas’ school system, so as to extend their own personal religious agendas of ‘what is important’ which is to fail to respect others’ view of religion, and to compel others to view his religion as ‘the one and only one’ when so many American hold many religious faiths today.

    Americans practice many religions in the United States which in most colleges are considered/classified as philosophies within this country and under the Constitution, which a federal court has already ruled that Zedler’s agenda is unconstitutional; Zedler still wants ‘the freedom to fund his agenda’ with higher education money from these colleges that taxpayers-parents spend to send their children to these Texas schools of higher learning, to get an education, FREE FROM RELIGION so that they can compet with the world for jobs and a living. Religion is a philosophy, not an academic subject. A student should be allowed to persue and learn about a number of philosophies, but not have any philosophy intermigled with any science of any kind.

    Why should Zedler be permitted to further his personal agenda when parent’s money is being asked to go up so their children can get a higher educational degree to succeed? This money Zedler wants his Creation driven agenda to have, isn’t going to be nationally recognized once completed, but will be providing by the state, federal and students’ parents so as to keep his unconstitutional agenda alive at the expense of others, who are attempting to get through the system and succeed. If something has already been equated as unconstitutional, why should anyone that they can’t provide academic proof for those to read, and have the permission to do further research and try to justify the none proof from which we know will be received after a non-academic, expensive Bible referenced project would be derived from, be getting money from Accredited schools who are financially struggling and keep uping the tution.

    Ultimately, because the Texas legislature has allowed this unconstitutional bill to go further in down the trail, which holds views that goes against others’ Constitutional freedoms, one can believe that Texas would prefer to have a whole generation of people ‘to be led’ and not succeed, in ‘the real world of work’, with those who know the difference between Creationism and Real Science. The funding for Zedler’s agenda shouldn’t be taken from the academic schools; this is inappropriate.

    Mr. Zelder’s consistant agenda also goes against all American’s freedoms of religion, such as in the case, if an American has chooses the Islamic religion, which is associated with the Sharia moral code, Mr. Zedler wants to in place laws against these American’s equal rights. Our two hundred twenty-six year old law states that clearly that there will be Freedom of Religion and that there will be ‘Separation of Church and State’. For Zedler, it is all about the money which can further his personal agenda. Why would anyone who knows the difference between Creation and Real Science allow money from their child’s college be ‘ripped off’ for a non-academic project…education is expensive.

    I have three bachelors (first two earned before I enlisted in the navy and the third was earned while on active duty) and one masters earned after my enlistment; I presently live in Texas, and am appaulled at the education and religion discussion. In the world, religion whicjh is a philosophy, is a minor part, but dealing with science, that can be life threatening or life sustaining. Knowing the difference is important to life and getting a job. When my legal guardian ship enters college, if there is any creationism taught or money taken from the establishment in which she is going to learn and learn to compete in the world for a real job, that is supporting any research relating to the theory of ‘intelligent design’, you, will I promise, will see my face and my lawyers in your office and the college’s office. To have research funded for creationism is a waste of my money, because my funds are to send my legal guardianship is for my legal guardianship to learn and know the difference between religion and science; I will be investing within that Texas college, and I don’t want my money sent to that college to be funding anyone attempting to prove the origination or development of where an organism came from, because I already have that knowledge and I would prefer my money not be used that way. Using College funds to develope a theory on which there is no other information to gain academic, strong science which can be proved, is a poor investment within any college. I would withdraw my legal guardianship from your Texas college, if I believed you backed and supported this funding. I would also prefer that my legal guadianship be able to understand and know the differences between Creation, which is a philosphy since there are so many religions but only ONE Real Science.