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[Phys-L] Re: FL stamps out dictator professors

John Clement wrote:

A link to the bill is:

The original was from

John R. Staver, Ed.D.
Center for Science Education
254 Bluemont Hall
1100 Mid-Campus Drive
Kansas State University
Through the NARST site.

Yes indeed the article is purple prose, and very inflammatory, and of course
the bill appears to be very neutral. All bills appear to be very neutral,
because the legislators can not appear to be inflammatory. It is written in
gray legalese. However, I suspect that the bill may actually be an attack
on the teaching of evolution because it talks about the rights of students
to have their "religious beliefs" respected, and serious alternatives should
be presented (intelligent design???).

Just from reading it, I would agree that it might have the effect of
imposing indirect censorship on college professors. Of course we will
really not know the actual effect unless it is enacted. It is very
difficult to gauge the actual effect of a law until it has been enforced and
gone through the courts, especially when it is regarding an issue about
which there are no laws. Can a professor kick out a disruptive student when
the student claims the disruption is about their beliefs? Does this impact
the ability to teach cosmology? The issues are certainly there. How would
the courts interpret the law? If the suits are civil rather than criminal,
the rules can change dramatically. I would suspect that the courts will
side with science vs religion in science classes, but all bets are off in
history or economics classes. If the courts are packed with religious
fundamentalists, all bets are off on the science issue.

John M. Clement
Houston, TX

(underlining is my emphasis, not John's)
I do not believe the issue has to be science vs religion. I do not like
continued negative statements about "religious fundamentalists" which
seem rather common in these threads. I assume this means that some have
had some very bad experiences with religious people, as I have at
times. However I have also had experiences with some very wonderful
religious people. I am a "creationist" in the sense that I do not
believe the universe and humanity are chance occurances. I have no
problems teaching astronomy to my students, many of whom (but by no
means all) hold similar views. My personal opinion is that I do not
want the government too involved in what is taught in universities,
however I do understand why some individuals want this. In my own
personal experiences most of the ridiculing of other ideas and
intolerance of others viewpoints has come from from individuals with
what I judged to be left-leaning ( as opposed to right-leaning
philosophies) ( whatever the nebulous meaning we sometimes attach to
these terms). If the court were packed with the right religious
fundamentalists we would be fine, if the wrong ones, then trouble! Now
repeat the last sentence and replace religious fundamentalists with
"unreligious materialists" and then sentence stays the same! The issue
is people - not labels!
James Mackey
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