Bill Zedler: Defending Academic Fraud

by Dan Quinn

Mother Jones magazine has published excerpts of a conversation with state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, regarding the lawmaker’s House Bill 2454 — what should be called the Academic Fraud Protection Act. HB 2454 would force Texas institutions of higher education to look the other way when creationists fraudulently promote “intelligent design” as legitimate science in classrooms.

In his discussion with Mother Jones, Rep. Zedler pretty much says it shouldn’t matter that “intelligent design”/creationism proponents aren’t making claims based on science:

Bill Zedler: If somebody does decide to weigh in, why should they be discriminated against?

Mother Jones: Because they don’t have the scientific evidence to substantiate their views.

Bill Zedler: The debate ought to be: “How did it happen?” But we’re not gonna allow that one to be brought up! I don’t think they oughta be thrown off campus if they come up with it.

Of course, creationists aren’t being “thrown off campus” if they bring up the topic. Good grief. In any case, Rep. Zedler goes on to complain that campus creationists are victims of “political correctness.” Then Mother Jones traps him:

MJ: Is banning discrimination “political correctness”?

BZ: Not at all.

MJ: So banning discrimination against gay people, in your view, is not a reflection of political correctness?

BZ: Well, here’s the deal, all we are saying is that you should be able to debate it. There is a difference between having a law to do something and a law where we ought to be able to at least discuss it.

Never mind Rep. Zedler’s predictable attempt to change the subject from his hypocrisy on whom the state should protect from workplace discrimination. He goes back to an argument we’ve heard over and over: “intelligent design”/creationism gets no respect in science because scientists are intolerant of debate.

No, Rep. Zedler. “Intelligent design”/creationism gets no respect in science for the same reason alchemy and astrology don’t: they’re not science.

Texas colleges and universities already protect academic freedom for faculty and students. But the Legislature shouldn’t force them to protect academic fraud.