HB 1457 (2012, failed) relative to scientific inquiry in the public schools

posted Dec 15, 2011, 7:39 AM by Bill Duncan   [ updated Mar 28, 2012, 7:26 PM ]
AN ACT relative to scientific inquiry in the public school.
Sponsors: (Prime)Gary Hopper , John Burt 
COMMITTEE: Education
This bill requires instruction in the proper methods of scientific inquiry.

DNHPE Comment: It is not clear why the Legislature would be intervening in this issue at this time.  But here is a quote from a teacher:  

HB1457 looks innocent enough. However, having spent 1994-2000 in North Carolina, I can assure you that its real purpose is to undermine the teaching of Evolution- in other words, evolution is widely accepted "theory" but intelligent design just as valid. This argument can also be used to undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. It may well be that if a teacher doesn't give equal weight to evolution and intelligent design then that teacher would be in violation.

2012-H-2320-R title: relative to scientific inquiry in the public schools.
Sponsors: (Prime)Gary Hopper , John Burt

Bill would protect teachers who want to teach alternatives to evolution, Nashua Telegraph, 2/10/12

The second bill, introduced by Reps. Gary Hopper of Weare and John Burt of Goffstown, more vaguely calls for science teachers to "instruct pupils that proper scientific (inquiry) results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis . . . and that scientific and technological innovations based on new evidence can challenge accepted scientific theories."

Hopper points to the state constitution and its order that teachers support their students' "morality and piety" for the justification of his bill.

Evolution as it's currently taught tells students "life just happens. It's just a byproduct of the universe and they are here by accident," he said.

"But more and more scientists are coming to the conclusion that it was not even remotely possible that it happened by accident. I want to introduce children to the idea that they have a purpose for being here."

He would like to see intelligent design - the idea that a creator controlled how early life on Earth developed - taught in classrooms, but hasn't been able to find an example of the philosophy being successfully legislated into schools.

"I want the problems with the current theories to be presented so that kids understand that science doesn't really have all the answers. They are just guessing," he said.

Currently, science class "is like having a creative writing class where the students are told what to create," he said. "Science is a creative process, not an absolute thing."


Hopper's bill is more broadly worded and could be used to challenge scientific teachings on any topic.

"In a sense that makes it more dangerous," she said.

Both bills have been referred to the House Education Committee for hearings in early February.