Antievolution Legislation for Pennsylvania?
Plans are afoot in Pennsylvania “to lobby the state legislature with a plea to enable teachers in public schools to present alternate, controversial ‘theories’ — ones that violate the basic scientific principle that they be able to be tested — when teaching evolution,” according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (April 11, 2013). Following a series of presentations from young-earth and “intelligent design” creationists in a Murrysville, Pennsylvania, church, the church’s senior pastor is calling for legislation enabling teachers in the state’s public schools to share alternates to evolution — especially “intelligent design” — with their students.
But NCSE’s Joshua Rosenau told the Tribune-Review that “intelligent design” simply isn’t science: “When someone talks about the idea of intelligent design, it sure sounds like saying some magical being descended and poof, created stuff. That sounds a lot like creationism.” He added, “For something to be science … you have to be able to test something and say this idea is wrong. That’s what scientists do all day is try to prove themselves wrong. … But if you’ve got this being that is acting outside of the laws of nature, how do you put that in a test tube? How do you put that under a microscope?”
The last antievolution legislation in Pennsylvania was House Bill 1007, introduced in April 2005 while the preparations for the trial in Kitzmiller v. Dover were in progress. HB 1007, if enacted, would have allowed school boards to add “intelligent design” to any curriculum containing evolution and allowed teachers to use, subject to the approval of their board, “supporting evidence deemed necessary for instruction on the theory of intelligent design”; the term “intelligent design” was not defined in the bill. The bill received a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Basic Education in June 2005, but proceeded no further.