Ed Murray, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Representative Sally Kern is proposing a bill she says will allow more discussion about evolution, global warming, and human cloning. But critics say the controversial legislator is trying to add religion to the classroom.
The Legislature has considered similar bills over the last few years but none have made it into law. Kern believes her bill is different. It specifically states no religious viewpoint or doctrine is protected or allowed.
"It stays 100 miles away from creationism and ID. It's not in any way trying to get those in there," said Rep. Sally Kern, (R) Oklahoma City.
Representative Sally Kern said her bill doesn't change any current science curriculum or textbook and doesn't alter Oklahoma's past standards for science education. The bill simply protects teachers who feel they don't have the freedom to fully explore controversial science topics.
"Some people say there's no problem. Yes, there is. I have some surveys that show that many teachers fear for their jobs. That they will be reprimanded or lose their jobs if they teach just pure science. If they teach all of science instead of just the Darwin model," said Rep. Kern.
Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education has opposed bills like one this since 1999 stating in the past that "promoting the notion that there is some scientific controversy is just plain dishonest. Evolution as a process is supported by an enormous and continually growing body of evidence. Despite 150 years of direct research, no evidence in conflict with evolution has ever been found."
"This bill is not anti-evolution. This bill is ‘Let's teach all of evolution.' Let's teach our children how to have inquiring minds. Let's teach them how to be critical thinkers, to look at both sides of an issue, scientific issue, and be able to examine what is the plausible thing there," said Kern.
Scientist and past president of OESE Dr. Victor Hutchison said Kern's bill, among other things, would hurt Oklahoma's economy. He pointed out Louisiana has the same exact law and almost immediately started losing science convention business.
Kern withdrew her bill from Tuesday's education committee agenda. It will now be debated at next Tuesday's meeting where Kern expects a close vote to advance it to the full House.