HB 285 Promotes Academic Fraud, Not Academic Freedom

by TFN Insider

Bill Would Force Texas Colleges and Universities to Look the Other Way When Faculty or Students Engage in Bogus ‘Scientific’ Research into Creationism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2013

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller today called on members of the Texas Higher Education Committee to reject a bill that would protect “intelligent design”/creationism as legitimate scientific research in the state’s colleges and universities. Miller said:

“Colleges and universities should and do protect academic freedom, but they shouldn’t be required to look the other way when faculty or students engage in academic fraud. This legislation would open the door to claims of discrimination if a faculty member or student is denied public funding for bogus scientific research into what is essentially creationism dressed up in a lab coat. We can even see schools required to let a creationist faculty member teach students in a freshman biology class that the overwhelming scientific evidence behind evolution is false. That would turn higher education in Texas into a national laughingstock.”

The House Higher Education Committee scheduled testimony for today on HB 285 by state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington. HB 285 would bar an institution of higher education in Texas from discriminating against or penalizing “in any manner” based on a “faculty member’s or student’s conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternative theories of the origination and development of organisms.”

“Intelligent design” is a concept based on religious belief, not science. In the 2005 court case Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. (400 F. Supp. 2d 707, Docket no. 4cv2688), a federal judge ruled that: “The overwhelming evidence at trial established that [intelligent design] is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.” The court ruled that teaching “intelligent design” in public school science classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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