South Carolina Senator Mike Fair has submitted an Academic Freedom Bill into the South Carolina State Legislature. This is now the sixth academic freedom bill submitted this legislative session, as other bills have been submitted in Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Alabama, and Louisiana. The text of Senator Fair’s bill would require that, “The State Board of Education, superintendents of public school districts, and public school administrators may not prohibit a teacher in a public school of this State from helping his students understand, analyze, critique, and review the scientific strengths and weaknesses of biological and chemical evolution in an objective manner.”
Meanwhile, like other commentators, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) cannot admit that South Carolina’s state science standards require critical analysis of evolution. The NCSE recently reported that Senator Fair lost his push in 2006 to include an indicator requiring critical analysis of evolution into the South Carolina State Science Standards. But in fact he didn’t lose, for the South Carolina Science Standards now state, students will learn to “Summarize ways that scientists use data from a variety of sources to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” What part of “critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory” does the NCSE thinks doesn’t mean “critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory”?
As Senator Fair stated regarding his present bill, “The very nature of science is to ask questions and to go where the evidence leads.” If the evidence is on the side of evolution, then the NCSE has nothing to fear from this bill.