Missouri Representative Rick Brattin, a Republican, has introduced a bill that would mandate schools across the state give "equal treatment" to the theory of evolution and so-called "intelligent design," which is similar to creationism.
"I'm a science enthusiast," he tells Daily RFT. "I'm a huge science buff."
He's not, however, much of a Darwin fan.
Meet House Bill 291, the so-called Missouri Standard Science Act, which "requires the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design."
What would those requirements look like? As per the bill, full text below:
Textbooks covering any scientific theory of biological origin must devote equal treatment to evolution and intelligent design. Physical evidence must support the teaching of prehistory, and any conjecture about occurrence, causes, dates or lengths of time must be presented as theory or hypothesis, as defined in the bill. Naturalistic processes in prehistory must be duplicated by analogous naturalistic processes, as defined in the bill. False theories or hypotheses must be identified as false.
Brattin explains to us, "I just believe that there are more theories than one in science."
What the bill does, he says, is mandate that teachers and instructional material "distinguish what is, in fact, theory and what is, in fact, empirical data.... There's so much of the theory of evolution that is being taught as fact...things like the primordial ooze."
He adds, "With theories, they need to have equal treatment, objective treatment, not one brushed aside."
The one he doesn't want brushed aside is intelligent design, an alternative theory of life to natural selection.
Critics of these kinds of measures across the country argue that proposals to insert creationism or intelligent design into the classroom are generally tied to thinly veiled religious agendas and, you know, undermine the theory of evolution.
But his bill has nothing to do with religion, Brattin says. In fact -- it is the opponents who are being religious in their stubborn support of evolution.
"This is like their religion," he says. "They believe this wholeheartedly.... They believe you are attacking what is absolutely one hundred percent true. I've had numerous college professors within biology, school science teachers...who say they are not allowed to teach any type of theory [like intelligent design].... They are banned from the science community."
Continue for more of our interview with Rick Brattin and a full copy of the bill.
Brattin argues that he is motivated to put forward this bill because he believes in science.
"This isn't preaching that God designed this," he says. "This is saying, it had to come from some sort of intelligence."
He cites the complexity of even the simplest forms of life and the molecules that make them up.
"The naysayers keep involving religion," says Brattin, who also introduced this bill last year. "This has to do with science. This is about testable data in today's world."
Here's the draft bill.