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AAAS Fears Academic Freedom, Free and Open Inquiry, in Oklahoma

A great opinion article in Friday’s Tulsa Today reiterates a point I made in an ENV post last week: Darwinists oppose academic freedom legislation because they want to censor scientific evidence which some scientists think challenges biological evolution.

In the article, Jonathan Bartlett critiques Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), who opposed the Academic Freedom Bill in Oklahoma:

“First, the bill only covers scientific views and scientific information. Therefore, Intelligent Design can only be included if it is scientific. If Intelligent Design isn’t scientific, Leshner has nothing to worry about. If Intelligent Design is scientific, then Leshner is playing politics with science by trying to limit scientific views by law.”

Bartlett is absolutely right: Why would the AAAS oppose a bill which permits the presentation of purely scientific information about biological evolution? After all, the bill only protects the teaching of science:

“Every public school teacher in the State of Oklahoma, shall have the affirmative right and freedom to present scientific information pertaining to the full range of scientific views on the biological or chemical origins of life.”
(HB 2107)

Why would Leshner oppose this bill? The undeniable answer is that Leshner doesn’t want “the full range of scientific views” presented when it comes to biological evolution. He only wants views which support evolution taught, but this bill would open the door to views which challenge evolution–as long as they are scientific. This bill doesn’t protect the teaching of religion–it only protects the teaching of science. Why would Leshner oppose such a bill?

By opposing such an innocuous bill, there’s no question that for Leshner, this isn’t really about a fair presentation of the science, it’s about a partisan presentation of the science. Bartlett is absolutely justified to warn readers:

“Science, as a free and open avenue for inquiry, cannot thrive under such political strong-arming tactics.”

Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



__editedaaasAmerican Association for the Advancement of ScienceOklahoma