Once again creationists are trying to undermine science education in Texas. On Wednesday the Texas House Higher Education Committee will consider legislation that would bar the state’s colleges and universities from discriminating against or penalizing “in any manner” faculty members or students who engage in research on “intelligent design” — the name creationists have given to their pseudo-scientific attacks on evolution.

This isn’t the first time creationists have targeted the teaching of evolution in Texas colleges and universities. State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, proposed the same bill in 2011. It never got a committee hearing. In 2008 the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas lost a bid to get the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to certify its master’s of science education degree program. The ICR then sued the state, but that went nowhere.

Now Rep. Zedler is back with his academic fraud protection legislation, House Bill 285. This year he’ll get his committee hearing. We have a briefing paper on HB 285 here, but the key points are the same as in 2011.… Read More

Remember during the 2011 Texas Legislature when state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, proposed legislation that essentially validates academic fraud, then did himself no favors by defending the bill in an interview with Mother Jones? That was fun.

And now, Round 2: Zedler is back, filing the exact same creationism bill ahead of the 2013 legislative session that begins next month.

The bill bars universities from taking action — called “discrimination” by Zedler — if a faculty member or student promotes ideas not supported by science. So if, for example, a professor at the University of Texas insists science shows that the earth is flat, that prof should be held in the same regard by the university as another professor whose research is, well, a bit more up-to-date.

Both TFN and our good friends at the National Center for Science Education are tracking this legislation. We’re also looking out for any new Zedler interviews.

The 2011 bill, incidentally, went nowhere.… Read More