HB 1551, introduced by Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, sought to allow teachers to discuss and critique these various scientific theories in classrooms, a move critics said would help usher in teaching of so-called “intelligent design” in public schools.
The bill lists biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning as controversial and uneasy terrain for teachers.
Kern, who is married to Steve Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church (see related story on Page 10), repeatedly emphasized the bill’s intention was to “encourage scientific inquiry.”
“Religion belongs in a philosophy class or a religion class,” Kern was quoted as saying in The Oklahoman. “There’s no protection in this bill for any kind of religious thought, any kind of religious thinking, any creationism.
“The curriculum is not going to change. This is not to hinder science.”
However, the bill failed in the House Common Education Committee on Feb. 22 by a vote of seven “yeas” and nine “nays.”
Committee member Rep. Fred Jordan, R-Jenks, was quoted by The Oke as saying that the bill was too confusing and would “make it harder and harder for teachers to know what to do in the classroom.”
The apparently long list of peer-reviewed scientific theories on the diversity and origin of life that compete with the theory of biological evolution could not be located by press time.