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Texas Bill Outlaws Discrimination Against Creationists In Academia 1251

Posted by Soulskill
from the descent-of-man dept.
ndogg writes "There is a Texas bill, HB 2454, proposed by Republican State Rep. Bill Zedler, that will outlaw discrimination against creationists in colleges and universities. More specifically, it says, 'An institution of higher education may not discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member's or student's conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms.'"
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Texas Bill Outlaws Discrimination Against Creationists In Academia

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:06AM (#35529962)

    We can still laught a them loudly right ?

    • Re:yes but... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by poetmatt (793785) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:38AM (#35530610) Journal

      actually, this bill is discrimination against every other religion that's out there. So I'm amazed they will try to do this. A law against "discrimination of all religions" is different than a law against discrimination of a single religion. This would be laughed out of courts and overturned pretty fast if it ever passed and was challenged.

      • Re:yes but... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:55AM (#35530996) Homepage

        Yep. If it means they can also teach creation according to Norse Mythology and Spaghetti Monster then I'm all for it.

        Can they even do a whole course on Creationism? I think they'll be all out of evidence/arguments in the first lecture...

        • Re:yes but... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by egyptiankarim (765774) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:33PM (#35531652) Homepage

          Can they even do a whole course on Creationism? I think they'll be all out of evidence/arguments in the first lecture...

          Absolutely they can! In the theology department where content of that nature belongs.

          I have no qualms with religion being studied as it is an undeniably vast and rich area of human sociology and history. But it is not a science in any sense of the word.

          I don't think universities should discriminate against the nature of an applicant's work, but they without a doubt should be able to discriminate based on the rigor and relevance of that work. We trust in that process to smack down crackpot tabletop fusion physicists. Why can't we trust it here? Show me a prof with scientific evidence of god (that passes muster in the scientific community) and he can teach science all day long. Kind of like when Rembrandt said "show me an angel, and I will paint you one."

        • Re:yes but... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by GameboyRMH (1153867) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {hmryobemag}> on Friday March 18, 2011 @01:24PM (#35532710) Journal

          If this passes I hope they do teach Spaghetti Monster Creationism, and debunk it in class, as a way of debunking creationism in general in a "hey doc, my...friend has this problem" kind of way.

      • Or it will be eventually filed under "unintended consequences" if it does pass and as a result ALL belief systems (even those the creationist/christians don't like) get to expound on their theories on how the universe came to be. I'm just noting that sometimes these things are not thought all the way through, if you can imagine such a thing. People that get all hot and bothered about this sort of thing don't always stop and ponder, how could this be used against me?
        • Or it will be eventually filed under "unintended consequences" if it does pass and as a result ALL belief systems (even those the creationist/christians don't like) get to expound on their theories on how the universe came to be.

          I'd say that the Greek origin myth is a hell of a lot more plausible than Genesis. According to some Greek myths, existence originated out of chaos.

      • Re:yes but... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nschubach (922175) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:37PM (#35531748) Journal

        You'd think so... but other states (like Ohio) have in their Constitution that you must believe in a higher power to hold office. While it will never hold up (hopefully) and it's considered a "blue" law it's still in the books and it discriminates against a group of people.

  • First? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:07AM (#35529978)

    If you outlaw evolution, only outlaws will evolve.

  • Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:08AM (#35529998)
    I believe this bill also needs to be modified to allow one to teach that the green cheese fairy living in the pumpkin house by the spaghetti farm on the dark side of the moon helped manufacture earth from the primordial cheese whiz with the help of the space goblins.
    • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:13AM (#35530088)

      Almost all my professors believed in God. They thought the Initial Singularity, big bang, expansion, evolution of stars, and all of it was part of his design.

      • by Tharsman (1364603) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:36AM (#35530568)
        Believing in God does not make you a creationist. You can believe in God AND evolution. Catholic church has supported the theory for a long time.
      • Well, I believe in God, too. I guess the difference is that my particular God didn't spitefully plant all those dinosaur bones out in Utah to test my faith...

        What they're doing with science is of grave concern. What they're doing with U.S. history is also of grave concern. From what I've read, they're damping down their focus on Thomas Jefferson in their American history texts (he wasn't really a Christian!), virtually eliminating slavery as one of the causes of the Civil War, and therefore moving Abraham L

      • Almost all my professors believed in God. They thought the Initial Singularity, big bang, expansion, evolution of stars, and all of it was part of his design.

        Then they aren't creationists.

        I'm an atheist, and think all the assorted theists out there are wrong. But that doesn't have to enter into the classroom. You can believe in a god and still do a damn good job of teaching astronomy or physics or biology or whatever else.

        Creationists though... That's going to cause a problem. Creationists generally believe in a young earth, and a literal interpretation of Genesis, and generally oppose the idea of evolution.

        That might not be much of a problem if you're teach

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:08AM (#35530008)

    Funny how the same party that had Rand Paul insisting that desegregating lunch counters was "unconstitutional" is now trying to create affirmative action for fundamentalist retards. I guess it's only OK to protect the rights of white Christians, not everybody else...

    • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:26AM (#35530368)

      I dont think you know what affirmative action is, and calling an entire party "hypocrites" based on one man's opinions is quite absurd.

      • by PitaBred (632671)

        It's just another example, not the only example.

        Reading comprehension... it's not just for fun any more!

  • Sure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:08AM (#35530020) Homepage Journal
    They can submit their papers for peer review, just like everyone else. Or does "Scientific Scrutiny" count as "Discrimination" these days?
    • No problem (Score:4, Informative)

      by overshoot (39700) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:16AM (#35530166)
      They can publish anything they write in the Discovery Institute's journals. If necessary, the DiscoTute will create new journals for the purpose (same as the homeopathy whackjobs do, for example.) Likewise, they'll get plenty of grant money from BillyBob's Revelation Society.
  • Cheating? (Score:5, Funny)

    by pcgfx805 (1750684) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:09AM (#35530024)
    Final year thesis on the origin of man - "God did it."
  • by zill (1690130) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:09AM (#35530030)

    ...other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms

    Finally! Now I can submit all those Pastafarianism papers for publication.

  • Secession (Score:5, Funny)

    by geek2k5 (882748) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:10AM (#35530044)
    Can we encourage Texas to consider secession?
    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      Well "Secession" is a reserved power under the Tenth Amendment. Just as any of the EU States can secede from the Union, so too can any of the US States.

      The argument is especially strong in the case of Texas, which was an independent republic (like Vermont), and never part of the original Articles of Confederation. Texas is free to leave whenever it wishes.

      • by Maclir (33773)

        Maybe they were free to leave the first time. But what about when they were readmitted to the Union - I'm sure part of the readmitting of the confederate states would have involved no future secession.

        And many constitutional scholars disagree with your proposition that any of the US States can secede from the Union.

      • Re:Secession (Score:4, Informative)

        by hondo77 (324058) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:45AM (#35530774) Homepage
        Fascinating. It's like history doesn't exist for you.
      • That issue was settled back in 1865 with a little event called the Civil War. The Civil War was NOT about slavery, as many think. Slavery was one of the triggers, but the war was not fought over it in any way. The war was over the question of if union membership was permanent. The Confederate States wanted to leave and be their own nation since they were unhappy with what the federal government had been doing, slavery laws among them. The US decided that no that wasn't ok, it was rebellion and a war was fou

  • Fair enough (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wjousts (1529427) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:13AM (#35530086)

    If they are, say, art professors, or theology professors. But if they are scientists, then this is stupid. Believing in creationism is a sure sign of a bad scientist. You can't be a good scientist and believe in creationism any more than you can be a good scientist and deny the existence of gravity or atoms.

    On the bright side, if they extend this to outlaw discrimination against believing any stupid thing then it'll make getting a job really easy. If an interviewer asks you about something you don't know, just claim you don't believe in it. If they don't hire you, sue them. Profit!

  • by TimHunter (174406) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:13AM (#35530090)

    Texas doesn't have a lock on stupid legislators. Look what we've got over here in North Carolina: Legislator says the state needs its own currency http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/03/17/1059132/legislator-says-the-state-needs.html [newsobserver.com]

    • by metlin (258108)

      Jesus H! From the article:

      Bradley, a self-employed computer technician and former Marine, attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest until he could no longer afford tuition, he said. While he has not taken any in-depth classes in economics, Bradley described himself as a devotee of the Austrian School, a branch of economic thought that originated in Vienna and was influential before World War I.

      So, these are the people making economic policies -- wow, the educational qualifications an

  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:13AM (#35530094)

    I say "preach it!". It being intelligent design.

    Not the "God made the world in 6 days, rested on the 7th and it is all described in the Bible".

    I just want to see just how fucking angry and upset these Christian retards become, if there was a course called "Creationism 101" which taught that the Spaghetti Monster created the world yesterday, that Allah (God, the Islamic version) created the world in six days as per the Koran, that Yahweh created the world in six days as per the Torah, that Brahma [wikipedia.org] and Vishnu [wikipedia.org] created the world, and then left the Christian God out of the curriculum.

    I mean - the Christian God is already covered by Yahweh and Allah, so why waste time on that.

    And the Creationists should be happy, because their "Anti Evolution" point is taught, which is what they want. They keep claiming they just want people to know that evolution isn't the only option.

    • that Yahweh created the world in six days as per the Torah

      If you include that particular creation myth you haven't really left out the Christian version, since they're based on the same text. The first five books of the Bible, including Genesis, are common with the Torah.

      Still, it's not a bad idea, with or without the Christian version. Bonus points for bringing in someone to teach each myth with sufficient sincerity and charisma to leave the students with the impression that they're all equally valid (and thus all equally nonsense, since they can't all be true).

    • by McNihil (612243)

      AFAIK Evolution is not a belief "system" whereas Creationism is. Why do I think like this you may ask?

      If scientist came up with a new and more consistent theory regarding our origins more or less all scientists would ditch the old theory (Evolution) in light of the new theory WITHOUT any issues. With belief system this would NEVER be the case.

      As a scientist I am appalled that these kind of laws are put in place because it shows how little science is really understood in the world. Can we do anything about t

  • real story (Score:5, Informative)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:15AM (#35530140) Journal
    link to the original article [motherjones.com] instead of the... um, "slightly" biased blog
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:16AM (#35530168)

    This should be obvious. Someone should not be discriminated against because they disagree on any subject--as long as their research and performance don't suffer.

    There are a ton of loony professors around in all subjects and no one freaks out about that.

    I guess all the people of slashdot would rather stifle any differing opinion--that's rather sad.

  • big loss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:20AM (#35530236) Homepage Journal

    conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms.'"

    That's a big loss.

    So politicians now define what an "alternate theory" is? Sorry, but ID is not a "theory". It's hogwash, bullshit, dumbfuck, nonsense, insanity or any of a selection of similar terms. It is not even a theory, and definitely not a scientific theory.

    To cut a long discussion short, it lacks an important part: Falsifiability.

    If creationists want to have their delusions discussed by honest people, they have to make one concession first, and that is the willingness to be convinced that it's all hogwash, bullshit, nonsense, you get it. They need to say "my theory proposes X and Y, and it forbids Z. If Z can be shown to be true, my theory is a piece of crap and I'll stop plastering it everywhere and brainwishing my kids into believing it."

    Science is full of faults and bad theories - but it has an uncanny ability to rid itself of them. Creationism (in both its pure form and it's ID camouflage) has been debunked hundreds of times, practically every time a real scientists so much as takes a good look. And yet it's still thrown around, largely unchanged. That is not science, that is fanatism.

    And by regulating science not on the ground of proper scientific conduct, but on grounds of ideology, those politicians have just delivered an excellent proof that they are not to be trusted with truth, facts, knowledge or in fact anything, least of all running the place.

    When will we have our Tharir place to rid ourselves of this caste of no-gooders who have turned everything that was once good about our democracy against us and are driven by nothing but greed and power?

    • by mark-t (151149)
      Here's another quite commonly accepted theory that lacks any scientific falsifiable whatsoever: That the conditions on this planet, at some point during its history, were exactly right for life to spontaneously form here.

      The fact that life exists here now is not necessary and sufficient proof that this theory is correct... life could have also originally arrived here on a chunk of rock from space.

      The fact is, however, that we just don't know... and most likely never will.

      Life exists here, so there mu

    • Re:big loss (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ShakaUVM (157947) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:51PM (#35531998) Homepage Journal

      So politicians now define what an "alternate theory" is? Sorry, but ID is not a "theory". It's hogwash, bullshit, dumbfuck, nonsense, insanity or any of a selection of similar terms. It is not even a theory, and definitely not a scientific theory.

      To cut a long discussion short, it lacks an important part: Falsifiability.

      I posted on here a while back a way to make ID a scientific theory by making it falsifiable. A lot of people took that to mean that I supported ID, which wasn't what I was saying at all. I was just tired of hearing the above quote over and over when it was quite obvious how to make it falsifiable.

      You can read the whole thing in my Journal, but in a nutshell:
      1) ID is not Young Earth Creationism (YEC), though it is primarily used as a smokescreen by YECs.

      2) ID is the belief that evolution is mostly true, but that something "interfered" with evolution, allowing it to overcome the statistical challenges to evolving more complicated life.

      3) To put it in probabilistic terms, consider the world as being a giant casino filled with slot machines, and every time a jackpot is hit in a slot machine, a new species evolves. ID is the claim that someone is interfering with the odds on the machines, evolution is the stance that enough jackpots will be hit without interference.

      4) Put in those terms, it becomes statistically falsifiable (to arbitrary levels of confidence). One simply needs to determine numbers for hitting jackpots / speciation and compare them against the record of events. Or even better, going forward, keep track of the genomes of all species on earth, and see if mutation and speciation rates match theory.

      5) It is possible to develop a statistical method that determines to an arbitrary level of confidence, if species A could have evolved from species B given time duration T.

      One very important point that got lost in all the noise is this: we will need a statistical method to determine intelligent design no matter what. Ignore the whole evolution thing - as our skills with genetic engineering move forward, it will be critical to be able to tell if West Nile 2012 is an intelligently designed species or not.

  • by nate nice (672391) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:22AM (#35530286) Journal

    Where politicians started dictating what is and isn't legit science and ultimately killing scientists that didn't agree?

  • by BitHive (578094) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:25AM (#35530348) Homepage

    This story makes me think of David Horowitz and his skewed take on academic freedom. I encourage everyone to read or listen to him debate prof. Peter Steinberger of Reed College in which Steinberger explains precisely why approaches like this go directly against the principles of academic freedom: http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/news/2210/ReedCollegeSteinbergerDebate082806.htm [studentsfo...reedom.org]

    Audio version here: http://www.reed.edu/reed_magazine/winter06/columns/noc/steinberger.html [reed.edu]

  • by jbssm (961115) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:31AM (#35530476)
    Sharia 2.0 in the American way.
  • FSM? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitalhermit (113459) on Friday March 18, 2011 @11:39AM (#35530636) Homepage

    I'm conflicted on this...

    On the one hand, if there was no news about this bill, then it *might* just die off. Special interest groups often propose outlandish bills to generate publicity. Suddenly their cause gets millions more people aware. They very well might be a fringe group, but .05% of 300M people is still a large group.

    On the other hand, it's very easy for special interest groups to push bills through because of the lack of scrutiny. No one else may care, so rather than fighting a seemingly innocuous addendum, politicians just OK it.

    It be interesting if thousands of people suddenly wrote their Congress folk and representatives suggesting that similar provisions in the law be afforded to followers of the FSM. After all, if the existing anti-discrimination law is not sufficient and creationists are being harassed, then certainly the followers of the FSM should also get protection.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:09PM (#35531272) Homepage Journal

    Forrest Mims is a creationist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrest_Mims [wikipedia.org]

    I read his engineering notebooks and built circuits out of them. I will be forever grateful to him for that. It was the most fun I ever had in science, and I learned a lot of useful stuff.

    It blew me away when I found out that a guy that smart and cool was a creationist. But there are a lot of engineers who believe in Bible-belt creationism.

    If Mims were proposed to teach an engineering course, there's no doubt that he's qualified. If he were to teach a biology course, maybe not. If he were to teach a general science course, I don't know.

    But that's a decision for the department to make, not the Texas legislature.

    This doesn't prevent us from laughing at creationists.

  • by ruiner13 (527499) on Friday March 18, 2011 @12:35PM (#35531680) Homepage
    Theories can be tested and proven. There is nothing about creationism that is testable. It all relies on "belief" which is not a scientific concept. It has no place being discussed anywhere near real academia.

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