It was a Great Week for Science
Anti-Science Bill Dies in Arizona
Arizona’s Senate Bill 1213 died on February 22, 2013, when the deadline for Senate bills to be heard in their Senate committees passed. A typical instance of the “academic freedom” strategy for undermining the integrity of science education, SB 1213 specifically targeted “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming[,] and human cloning” as supposedly controversial. Unusually, however, a sponsor of the bill, Judy Burges (R-District 22), told the Arizona Star (February 5, 2013) that climate science was her primary concern, complaining of imbalance in the presentation of climate change in the public schools.
Anti-Science Bill Dies in Oklahoma
Senate Bill 758 (document), the so-called Oklahoma Science Education Act, which would have undermined the integrity of science education in the Sooner State, is dead. February 25, 2013, was the deadline for Senate bills to pass their committees, but the Senate Education Committee adjourned its February 25, 2013, meeting without considering it. Still active in the Oklahoma legislature is House Bill 1674 (document), styled the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act, which differs from SB 758 primarily in mentioning “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” as supposedly controversial topics. HB 1674 passed the House Education Committee on a 9-8 vote on February 19, 2013.
Anti-Science Bill Dies in Indiana
Indiana’s House Bill 1283 died on February 25, 2013, when the deadline for House bills to have their third reading in the House passed. The fate of the bill was not unexpected: its sponsor Jeff Thompson (R-District 28) told the Lafayette Journal and Courier (February 3, 2013) that he thought that it would not receive a hearing in the House Education Committee, and a spokesperson for the committee’s chair said that it would not receive a hearing due to the volume of bills and the limited time to address them.
Claiming that “some subjects, including, but not limited to, science, history, and health, have produced differing conclusions and theories on some topics,” HB 1283 would have allowed teachers “to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the strengths and weaknesses of conclusions and theories being presented in a course being taught by the teacher” and prohibited state and local education authorities from prohibiting them from doing so.
After Initial Problems, SpaceX Dragon Now Looking Good On Orbit
A dramatic series of events unfolded this morning shortly after the private commercial company SpaceX launched their Dragon capsule into space. This launch was part of the second of 12 planned missions to bring supplies and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS).
To be clear, things are looking good now, and it looks like the mission will proceed. Just not quite as planned.