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Academic Freedom Bill Introduced into New Mexico Legislature

New Mexico State Senator Steve Komadina has introduced a bill into the New Mexico Senate which would protect the academic freedom of teachers to discuss scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolution. The bill requires that the New Mexico Department of Education adopt rules to “give teachers the right and freedom, when a theory of biological origins is taught, to objectively inform students of scientific information relevant to the strengths and weaknesses of that theory and protect teachers from reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so.” The bill would not only protect teachers, but also students: it requires the adoption of rules to “encourage students to critically analyze scientific information, give them the right and freedom to reach their own conclusions about biological origins and provide that no student shall be penalized in any way because the student subscribes to a particular position on biological origins.” A joint memorial (a.k.a resolution) is also being submitted to the New Mexico legislature stating support for similar protections.

If adopted, the bill would sanction and protect the teaching of science, and science only in the science classroom. In protecting the teaching of “scientific information,” the bill is explicit that “‘Scientific information’ does not include information derived from religious or philosophical writings, beliefs or doctrines.”

Who would oppose such legislative protections? I will make a prediction: many Darwinists will vehemently oppose this bill, exposing that it isn’t the teaching of science they care about, but the teaching of a particular brand of pro-Darwin-only science. The scientific evidence supporting evolution will still be presented under this bill. But this bill opens the classroom up to genuine scientific critiques of neo-Darwinian evolution, and not everyone wants that scientific evidence to be heard. Nonetheless, the protections under this bill are vital to fixing the status quo, expanding student learning of the biological sciences, and fulfilling the nationwide call to improve science education.

In our present climate, many teachers are intimidated–whether by power-wielding Darwinists or ACLU attorneys–into teaching a biased, incomplete view of the biological evidence about neo-Darwinian evolution. Teachers and students need these protections so that all the scientific information about Darwinism can be objectively taught. For this very reason, expect such foes of academic freedom in science education to come out swinging against this bill.


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.



New Mexico