More idiocy in the Missouri legislature

Genetics Exam 2:

1. Explain the process of rho-dependent transcription termination in E. coli.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster pulls the RNA off the template with His Noodly Appendage.


If the legislature gets its way, I won’t be able to count off for this answer.

The state House has given initial approval to an “intellectual freedom” bill that would require all state educational institutions to establish policies to ensure that students aren’t coerced into beliefs they disagree with.

Here’s an excerpt from the bill (HB213):

2. The coordinating board for higher education shall require each public institution to report annually to the general assembly detailing the steps the institution is taking to ensure intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas.

(1) The report required in this subsection shall address the specific measures taken by the institution to ensure and promote intellectual diversity and academic freedom. The report may include steps taken by the institution to:

(e) Include intellectual diversity concerns in the institution’s guidelines on teaching and program development and such concerns shall include but not be limited to the protection of religious freedom including the viewpoint that the Bible is inerrant;*

Now, I teach a science and religion class in which I work very hard to be respectful and accommodating of different beliefs, but I insist that students deal with the scientific evidence in a reasoned way.  With the legislature breathing down my neck, I don’t know that I could teach that class.  For that matter, the introductory course for biology majors is an evolution class.  Can we set any standards at all for intellectual rigor, or is “diversity” going to trump everything else?

I’ve taken the liberty of writing a draft University policy to meet the requirements set out in the bill explicitly.

*Yeah, I know that (e) has syntax problems. The least of our worries, OK?

6 Responses to “More idiocy in the Missouri legislature”

  1. Travis says:

    This seems similar to the dumb-ass “Academic Bill of Rights” here in Arizona.

    I’m suffering from outrage fatigue so I can’t form a coherent rant about this. Good luck to you.

  2. kicking_k says:

    You know, I’m not sure that my first year of university contained much that wasn’t an attempt to get me to think about things I disagreed with. Wow. Maybe if I’d claimed my religious beliefs disagreed with Post-Structuralism, I could have got out of that literary theory class altogether.

    Though, mind you, nobody ever told me ducks were created by eagles. Maybe because there aren’t many eagles in the Midlands of England, though there are a lot of ducks. Maybe the eagles left once their work was done…

  3. kicking_k says:

    Actually, probably my religious beliefs do disagree with Post-Structuralism.

  4. Allen says:

    I love the “diving duck” creation myths. Sometimes it’s a turtle, but ducks are cuter. And besides, if your religion believes in them, you can play the divin’ duck blues in church.

  5. Allen says:

    My friend Walt says his religion is called “I-am-rightism,” and whatever he puts for an exam answer is Holy Writ, not to be questioned.

  6. kicking_k says:

    Yeah. I know some other people who believe in that, too.

    I don’t know many creation myths for comparison, but am in favour of any stories about ducks. Though I have a feeling they wouldn’t have worked quite so well for Terry Pratchett to balance a world on. Ducks have an inherently carefree and skittish look to them, whereas turtles look much more serious.

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