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Texas Bill Outlaws Discrimination Against Creationists In Academia

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the descent-of-man dept.

Education 1251

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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1251 comments

yes but... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35529962)

We can still laught a them loudly right ?

Re:yes but... (-1, Troll)

gameboyhippo (827141) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530370)

If that's what you want to do. I'm guessing that they are doing this to combat the abuses that Ben Stine discusses in his documentary, "Expelled".

Fair enough. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35529968)

Sounds reasonable. Discrimination makes us no better than those damn creationists.

Re:Fair enough. (5, Insightful)

mjperson (160131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530022)

So your biology department is not allowed to bias decisions when hiring against potential faculty members who don't believe in the basic tenets of biology?

Re:Fair enough. (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530062)

Sure they can, they just can't call say why. "Applicant smelled like bad tuna. Do not hire."

Re:Fair enough. (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530310)

it is discrimination against stinky people. You should says "the applicant seemed impolite, do not hire" to cover your ass completely

Re:Fair enough. (2)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530380)

it is discrimination against impolite people. You should says "the applicant seemed to not understand the basic principles of logic, do not hire" to cover your ass completely

Re:Fair enough. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530054)

Indeed. Reality has a well-known liberal bias, and it is time that the legislation was updated to counterbalance that bias.

Re:Fair enough. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530102)

No, it's not. You wouldn't hire a math teacher who doesn't believe in calculus, would you?

Re:Fair enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530256)

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

It actually sounds pretty unbiased to me. Surely the second half of that would include both evolution and pastafarianism.

Agreed, if confined to research (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530278)

However, anything taught in the classroom needs to reflect the curriculum, which is or should be heavily influenced by the college's mission and by the accreditation agencies' requirements.

This law will benefit creationists teaching non-science courses the most, as it will give them some protection against discrimination. If a math professor does outside research as a hobby in Bibical Creationism he shouldn't be fired for it.

Science professors who teach biology, paleontology, and the like still need to stick to the approved curriculum or they risk being disciplined for their teaching, not their research. If they want to teach their beliefs, they can put on a seminar, teach a special-topics/non-required class, or teach a class where examining the beliefs they hold is part of the curriculum.

First? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35529978)

If you outlaw evolution, only outlaws will evolve.

Republican style PC (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35529982)

So what, is this the Republican version of PC? I'm sorry Creationists but your worldview is wrong. If you can't handle this fact, grow up and get over it. The rest of the world is not obligated to pander to every loony belief that everyone holds.

yes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35529992)

back into the dark ages with you, Americans! you've never been very bright anyways...

Ridiculous (2, Insightful)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Not really ridiculous (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not really ridiculous (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530304)

Yeah, that is ok. But teaching that god created the world in 7 days and its only been around for 6000 years, or that there was an "ice shield" around the earth that blocked out harmful UV rays making humans live longer, or that an ark would be capable of carrying two of every species in a global flood, or that evolution is not occurring, etc., is sheer lunacy.

Re:Not really ridiculous (-1, Troll)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530396)

The ark was actually found on top a mountain, albeit broken in half. We know that the Mediterranean basin cracked open and flooded the desert a while back, in the area where all that shit happened.

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530144)

Don't go around talking smack about the green cheese fairy. She will fuck your shit up but GOOD if she hears about that.

The space goblins are cool on it, though.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530146)

no, actually

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

so they can't discriminate against cheese-eating goblinists either.

What, no FSM? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530326)

Is CEG the new Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Or is the Parmisan-Eating Goblin the evil one in the FSM religion?

Re:Ridiculous (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530200)

No, it seems to protect that right from the start. Go for it. That should be protected under this law.

Ha Ha (0, Troll)

MM-tng (585125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530000)

People writing this law belong in a mental institution. Mark al in favor of this law a call the white coat people.

Re:Ha Ha (0, Flamebait)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530080)

People writing this law belong in a mental institution.

In this overly politically correct society, we use the euphemism "church".

Re:Ha Ha (2)

The Bringer (653232) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530196)

To quote George Carlin: Religion convinced the world that there's an invisible man in the sky who watches everything you do. And there's 10 things he doesn't want you to do or else you'll to to a burning place with a lake of fire until the end of eternity. But he loves you! ...And he needs money! He's all powerful, but he can't handle money! Sounds like a bi-polar god to me.

Republicans = Hypocrites, again (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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...

Re:Republicans = Hypocrites, again (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Sure (5, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530020)

They can submit their papers for peer review, just like everyone else. Or does "Scientific Scrutiny" count as "Discrimination" these days?

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530148)

They can submit their papers for peer review, just like everyone else. Or does "Scientific Scrutiny" count as "Discrimination" these days?

Except that unlike other disciplines, people who attempt to do that get demoted or fired. In some institutions in TX merely debating about the topic is enough
to get one terminated and it doesn't matter which side you are supporting.

Re:Sure (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530298)

That's because suggesting supernatural causes in an institution that uses natural processes to explain things makes you incompetent.

No problem (3, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530260)

To defend their paper, they can simply say, "The Bible tells me so."

Cheating? (4, Funny)

pcgfx805 (1750684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530024)

Final year thesis on the origin of man - "God did it."

Science so overrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530028)

“If we are going to teach creation science as an alternative to evolution, then we should also teach the stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction.”
  Judith Hayes

Wow, and people dont like teachers having tenure. Only if they dont believe in science do they deserve protection.

Science knows it doe not believe.

I knew FSM wouldn't forsake me (2)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530030)

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

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

Re:I knew FSM wouldn't forsake me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530356)

The only problem with the flying spaghetti monster is that the acronym FSM already stands for finite state machines in the minds of so many geeks.

I started reading this comment hoping for a witty and interesting post listing states and state transitions likely including the state of denial... and yet no. Gotta stop reading discreet math textbooks

Secession (5, Funny)

geek2k5 (882748) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530044)

Can we encourage Texas to consider secession?

Re:Secession (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530190)

Can we encourage Texas to consider secession?

Only if Austin can stay in the Union, ala West Berlin during the Cold War. Seriously, a lot of us don't like getting thrown in with the hicks.

Re:Secession (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530390)

>>>Only if Austin can stay in the Union...a lot of us don't like getting thrown in with the hicks.

When the US seceded from the British Empire, the loyalists were given a choice: Stay as part of the new "hick" country, or pack-up their bags and move to British territory (Canada or England). Most moved. I guess if Texas seceded, you too would have to move somewhere else?

Re:Secession (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530248)

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.

Right to secede? Yes and no... (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530392)

[circa 1861]
Texas: We are free to leave whenever we want. South Carolina did.
Congress: No you aren't and neither are they.
Texas: Who's going to stop us?
Congress: We are.
Texas: You and what Army?
President: Mine.

OK, it didn't quite play out like that but if it happened today, it might.

Re:Secession (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530402)

Yeah, worked out great for them last time they tried it!

Re:Secession (0)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530250)

No, if we did that, all the Blue States would follow suit and leave to form the CSSA (the Confederation of Slightly Smarter Americans), leaving the US a shell of a country: A poor society with only an army. And nukes. Lots of nukes.

Re:Secession (1)

Convector (897502) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530300)

Just let us get our meteorite collection out of there first.

A Creationist thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530050)

Me, I'm a Creationist with a deep pround. Here where I live, Brazil bounds, Schools still teaching Darwinism as the only courrent theory, and it sux. Evolution is old stuff even to science. Take care. C ya. Jesus Rocks!

Re:A Creationist thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530174)

cool story bro.

Re:A Creationist thought (1)

SemperUbi (673908) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530296)

And I thought creatures with prounds were extinct. Learn something new every day!

Funny how natural selection works even for those who refuse to believe in it.

Faculty for religion (1)

TyFoN (12980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530060)

Hopefully these people will not apply for jobs in faculties that involve actual science and stick to the studies that are made to discuss this.
Maybe Texas should just secede and be the place where all the nut jobs live.

Did this actually happen? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530066)

Did an otherwise qualified creationist really get rejected from an institution' biology department? I really hate kooky laws that are written to prevent unrealistic real world scenarios.

Good idea (-1, Troll)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530068)

Because, like it or not, scientific method dictates that creationism must be disproven before it can be dismissed. Since you can't possibly prove or disprove it... open end.

Of course, one can then decide which theory to use as a working theory by accumulating observations and calculating chances of the theory being more or less close to the truth. Still... you can't discount creationists just like that.

Remember, evolution is still a theory as well. Heck, if you want to go scientific method nazi on someone's ass, gravity is still a theory.

Laughing at somebody, as someone else suggested, is at best infantile.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530106)

Actually, evolution is not a theory.. It is just still called "theory of evolution" to appease all of the religitards

Re:Good idea (5, Informative)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530206)

Since you can't possibly prove or disprove it... open end.

Wrong.

Creationism is not falsifiable. Therefore, it cannot be considered a scientific theory. And *that's* the end of it.

Re:Good idea (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530210)

The word "Theory", as used in a scientific context, does not mean the same thing as in common conversational usage.

Re:Good idea (2)

stinerman (812158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530220)

That word does not mean what you think it means. "Theory" in a scientific context does not mean the same thing as "theory" in the vernacular.

Actually creationism need not be disproven before it is dismissed because it is not even falsifiable. Therefore science doesn't have the tools to deal with it. Philosophy does.

It is possible that creationism is true; we just don't have any way to test its claims using the scientific method. Evolution is scientific fact. Existence of a creator is outside the purview of science.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530252)

Sigh. Okay, I'm not yet 30. I hope you're a kid in highschool. Please...please be. If not...well...you clearly know OF scientific method, so you're better than the fundy nuts. But...you haven't thought about it, you haven't studied the philosophy of science enough to learn the one...most basic tenant or axiom.

So let me clue you in on something.

If there exists no conceivable way to disprove something. It isn't science.

That's it. It's that simple.

If someone comes to you with a theory, hypothesis, guess, whatever... sit down and ask yourself "how could I refute this". Now--there's two parts--whether you can refute it for yourself, and whether or not that is reproducible for others.

If there is no way to refute it, even if only for yourself--it's NOT FUCKING SCIENCE. It *may* be philosophy. But it's not science.

I don't get why people don't grok this...

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530294)

Because, like it or not, scientific method dictates that creationism must be disproven before it can be dismissed.

Scientific method dictates nothing of the sort. Creationism is not falsifiable, hence, does not even fall under the scope of the scientific method. It will be interesting to see how the legislature reacts when non-christian creation myths are, by law, part of curriculum.

This level of inanity deserves nothing from the scientific and educational communities than ridicule.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530372)

A scientific hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable. Creationism is neither. The scientific method doesn't apply.

Re:Good idea (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530378)

The fact that you can't possibly disprove it is why it isn't scientific.

Re:Good idea (2)

wembley fraggle (78346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530384)

Hmm, so I can have my "theory" that the internet is a series of tubes driven by hamsters? Or that you're actually a frog from space? Since you can't disprove a theory..... oh wait. You can disprove theories, can't you? You just can't logically prove them. Hmm.

Actually, gravity is *not* a theory. Newton's law of universal gravitation is a law. The difference is that a law is typically a direct relationship supported by empirical evidence. If you drop something, it falls. Newton worked out all the numbers. Same thing for Charles' law about gases and so on. What those *laws* don't do is say *why* or *how* the law works. A theory of gravitation includes a mechanism.

Furthermore, while it's not technically possible to *prove* any theory (by default, theories deal with unobservable entities that we can only understand by looking at their effects on the macroscopic world), it is certainly possible to disprove a theory. I have a theory that all matter is made up of continuous material, I shoot electron beams at a thin gold foil and observe (like Rutherford) a scattering that is inconsistent with that theory, and BLAM. Dead theory. Pardon my violent language, it's just that radical relativism makes me somewhat angry.

What I'm getting at is that you have an incorrect (and provably so) conceptualization of what the word "theory" means. Anyone who uses the phrase "still a theory" or "just a theory" has the same incorrect conceptualization of theory. The scientific community does itself a disservice by not educating people about how they use language better, but then again I've observed time and again that when the broader scientific community attempts to educate people, they tend to do things like cover their ears and say "lalala".

In closing, the "theory" of evolution is actually more of a set of interconnected theories that successfully aligns several hypothesized mechanisms with the empirically observed differentiation of species, geological age of the earth, and direct observations on the microscopic timescale of genetic drift. The "theory" of creation has no empirical support, and when confronted with actual disconfirmatory evidence its supporters either cover their ears and say "lalala" or they wave their hands and say "just a theory". BLAM. Dead theory.

There's nothing wrong with believing in a creation myth. I personally am a pastafarian (my heaven is waaaay better). But don't conflate irrational clinging to a belief with "proof" that that belief fits scientific models. And don't conflate the status of evolution as "theory" with "uncertainty". All the theory tag attaches is the notion that the entity it describes includes mechanistic and/or causal reasoning and appeals to logical reasoning in addition to empirical observations.

tl;dr: You're wrong, but you have a very common misconception about the scientific method. Plenty of people think that because you can never prove something true in all ways that any claim will do (since you can't prove that you're right, you can't prove that I'm wrong). This is known as "radical relativism", and is a dead end in reasoning.

Re:Good idea (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530398)

...like it or not, scientific method dictates that creationism must be disproven before it can be dismissed.

You've got it backwards. Science dictates that creationism must provide evidence to show that it has any merit. To date, there has been no evidence whatsoever. Creationism is also not a theory in any scientific sense: it offers no hypothesis as to how anything was created nor does it make predictions that can be tested. "God did it" is not a hypothesis.

Remember, evolution is still a theory as well. Heck, if you want to go scientific method nazi on someone's ass, gravity is still a theory.

Many people, especially creationists, get this wrong. Evolution is a fact. Natural Selection is the current prevailing theory to explain that fact. Gravity is also a fact. Newton developed his theory of (what is now referred to as) Classical Mechanics. But then Einstein came along and that was replaced by General Relativity. At no time, however, was the fact of gravity ever called into question.

good (0)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530078)

Good.

Fair enough (2, Interesting)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#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!

Re:Fair enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530230)

Actually, you can be a good scientist and believe in creationism if you're mind is compartmentalized enough. A science professor who believed in creationism, but who also held that science is about what is observable, and all observable data points to evolution by natural selection and an old earth (and privately held that God made the world to look like it was old and made organisms to look like they evolved naturally) could still be a good scientist.

Re:Fair enough (-1, Flamebait)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530232)

Believing in creationism is a sure sign of a bad scientist.

I can't believe that I am quoting this website .. but I think you should try telling your point of view to these scientists [godandscience.org] for a start.

Re:Fair enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530340)

"Belief" in something is nearly orthogonal to being a good scientist. In fact, it is slightly opposed regardless of the belief. Regardless of what a scientist believes, whether it is creationism, evolution, relativity, quantum mechanics, etc..., they are more likely to be bad scientists, since they will tend to discount good experiments that conflict with their belief, and publicize bad experiments that agree with them. One should always try to approach a scientific problem with a blank slate, as it were. That is what makes a good scientist.

Texas is not alone (3, Funny)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 3 years ago | (#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]

Re:Texas is not alone (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530246)

The proposal will never work for any number of reasons, but the economic basis of having precious metal-backed currency is sound.

Preach it! But the "wrong" type ... (3, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Why did they need this? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530110)

Hmm...this seems an odd bill. Why would anyone need legal protection for their beliefs? Is there retaliation going on somewhere in academia against those who dissent? I doubt it - surely it would be front-page news in the mainstream media. Freedom to practice religion in our own way was one of the ideas America was founded on. Academia needs diversity of thought more than anywhere else in society. That's one of the reasons that inclusion is so deeply valued. To think that such principled, ethical professors would discriminate on basis of religion is beyond any sort of belief.

I also like the headline: "bill outlaws X" and the summary merely says "bill has been introduced to do X". Typical journalism, eh?

Of course there is. (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530176)

See, youre a geologist, and you are trying to research paleontologic era. but, some moron comes up and says that earth was created 6000 years ago, and you have to work together with that moron to do your research.

Why would anyone need legal protection (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530280)

The whole point is to force universities to teach creationism at the university level.

Re:Why did they need this? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530308)

I agree - why is this needed? Isn't this already protected constitutionally under freedom of religion?

I have to hand it to the Republicans though. They have people brainwashed into believing they are for small government then pull shit like this adding more and more regulations when none are needed.

On the bright side... (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530124)

This put creationism on same level then all the other cults out there. I am in favor of banning discrimination against creationists if that keep their 'teaching' outside of science class. They just need to go found a church for their meeting and prayer to the intelligent designer.

Typically American (0)

Zinner (873653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530136)

American students just aren't stupid enough yet. Let's send them out into the world with a solid grounding in the supernatural rather than science. Politicians have to be the dumbest people on the face of the Earth.
!

real story (4, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530140)

link to the original article [motherjones.com] instead of the... um, "slightly" biased blog

Re:real story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530320)

mod parent informative

Scotch tape for a cardboard utopia (1, Flamebait)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530154)

We wonder why America is viewed(rightly) as falling behind other countries and then you see nonsense like this getting airplay. I wonder how many Profs in India believe evolution and global warming is bullshit? When your beliefs are so retarded that you need to pass a law stopping people from calling you a moron you know there is an issue. But on a more important level, how could not allowing a science faculty to discipline a prof who clearly ignores rational scientific thought hurt....right?

Self fulfilling prophecy... (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530160)

Well, they keep telling us that the govt is the problem and I guess they think they have a mandate to make sure that's the case.

They also have to keep making govt bigger so they can campaign on making it smaller.

...and let's just round off pi to 3.... (1)

rclandrum (870572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530162)

Yet another misguided attempt by a politician to legislate facts more to their liking. There should be some kind of mechanism by which lawmakers that propose boneheaded crap like this can be swiftly kicked out the door and back into the fantasyland from whence they crawled.

why is everyone freaking out about this? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Not even allowed for consideration? (1)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530172)

When a school is hiring, it has a duty to hire the teachers most capable of informing students. The teachers aren't necessarily being "discriminated" against because of their views; rather, their capacity to teach modern scientific theory may be in question. There's a difference. If one teacher focuses all of his research energies towards proving intelligent design, why wouldn't that shed at least some minimal light on whether or not the teacher is capable of teaching current views (especially in conjunction with other factors)? I'm not saying it should be dispositive - the teacher's other qualifications should certainly be examined as well - I just don't see a reason why it shouldn't be a factor.

Looks good to me! (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530188)

Sec.A51.979. PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RESEARCH RELATED TO INTELLIGENT DESIGN. 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.

(Emphasis added)

It looks to me like followers of the FSM hypothesis [wikipedia.org] (or is it theory?) would also be protected, as well as proponents of evolution theory. This is a win-win proposal. Do you reckon we could get one of these for global warming denial in Virginia [washingtonpost.com] ?

A Voltaire misquote comes to mind (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530234)

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." (actually that is a popular misquote [wikiquote.org] , properly attributed to Evelyn Beatrice Hall). Our society in general, and academe in particular, could benefit from living up to that ideal.

Of course I have mixed feelings about the Texas legislature introducing this bill, because I strongly suspect their motives in doing so are rather the opposite of Hall's quotation. If they do the right thing for the wrong reason, should I approve?

big loss (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530236)

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?

@jonaslaves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530266)

this law was necessery...look at these comments! You guys are pseudointelectuals! check this out > www.creation.com

This is stupid (1)

Masterofpsi (1643965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530270)

Should a university fire an employee just for believing God created the world in six days? No -- although if they're a cosmologist, that will certainly have an impact on the quality of their publications.

Should a university fire an employee just for believing God created life on Earth? No -- although if they're a biologist, that's not a good sign.

Should a university fire an employee just for believing the Earth is 6,000 years old? No -- although if they're a geologist, I'm not sure how they'll get any work done.

But this is is a situation that just doesn't occur. I get the feeling that too many of these people watched Ben Stein's propaganda piece Expelled and got all up in arms about it. Well you know what, if Texas wants itself to become an educational wasteland, so be it; I'll just move somewhere else.

Legal Definition of 'Theory'? (1)

BitterKraut (820348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530272)

For the bill to become meaningful, the State of Texas will need to settle upon a legal definition of the term 'theory'. If it means 'reduction to established scientific knowledge by scientific methods and reasoning', intelligent design is not a theory. If it means 'belief', this is already covered by the First Amendment.

Too narrow... (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530274)

The scope of the law is too narrow. It should protect educators regardless of the theory of origin to which they hold. We all know the pendulum swings both ways. That way, if (when) things do go the other way, at least they won't be able to kick out those who hold to evolutionary theory.

Hasn't This Happened Before (3, Insightful)

nate nice (672391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530286)

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

Re:Hasn't This Happened Before (1)

Gwythian (2020422) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530312)

You make it sounds like scientists were always right.

Grades? (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530288)

So can you not fail a biology student for answering that god created everything on a test that asks about human origins?

Cartoonists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530332)

I had to re-read that three times before I realized it said Creationists, and not Cartoonists.

With the correct spelling, this is much less interesting.

Unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530338)

This bill is itself discriminatory, because it only protects creationists. Luckily it can never apply, because "intelligent design" isn't a theory (not testable).

I'm sad that I have to witness the decline of science and the general rise of superstition.

Activist hacks vs. Academic freedom (4, Informative)

BitHive (578094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530348)

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]

Not a theory (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530376)

Intelligent design isn't a theory, it's a religious belief.

Since there is no theory of intelligent design, this bill (should it be passed) can never be enforced.

what's the big fauxking deal/relevant to surviving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35530382)

we're here aren't we? the 'chosen ones' are depopulating us. believe whatever we are tol to believe? doesn't appear to have helped much yet. see you at the play-dates, georgia stone editings, etc... we'll create stuff like never before.

I need protection too! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530388)

I am preparing research into life's origins being created by FSM. I will need protection against discrimination against my ideals and line of study.

When will these idiots learn that to protect one religious idea, they must ALL be protected regardless of how stupid it may seem. When you start selecting one religious ideal for "protection" you are inherently discriminating against others.

This is news? (0)

HBPiper (472715) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530400)

How many billions of dollars were added to the federal debt while we were wasting time reading this article?
A flip comment, yes. But rather that reading some article that some leftist thinks is clever, I'd rather read something
on /. I can't find on every major US paper's page three.

I wonder when they're going to start (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35530406)

with the Alchemy and Astrology classes too...

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