Alabama Republican sponsors resolution encouraging classroom discussion of intelligent design
As several states work to push back against attacks on religious liberty, one lawmaker in Alabama is hoping to reintroduce discussion of intelligent design in the classroom.
House Joint Resolution 78 was filed by Rep. Mack Butler (R- Rainbow City), who served as a school board member of Etowah County Schools for 10 years. The legislation aims not to remove discussion of evolution in the classroom, but to broaden scientific conversations to include conversation over intelligent design. Related subjects that are addressed by the bill include global warming and human cloning.
The resolution states that some teachers may be unsure about how to approach controversial topics in class, and urges education officials to “explore scientific questions, develop critical thinking skills, analyze the scientific strengths and weaknesses of scientific explanations, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific subjects required to be taught.”
Almost 30 House Representatives have signed on to the legislation, including Will Ainsworth (R- Guntersville), Matt Fridy (R- Montevallo), Mike Ball (R- Madison), April Weaver (R- Brierfield), and others.
“In the development of critical thinking, we need to make it welcoming at least for a student or teacher to bring up another theory,” he said.
Rep. Butler had sponsored similar legislation in 2015, though it received swift criticism from the Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“This is a thinly-veiled attempt to open the door to religious fanatics who don’t believe in evolution, climate change or other scientifically-based teaching in our schools,” Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama told AL.com at the time.
Rep. Butler responded by dismissed the criticism, saying his bill would simply allow for students to debate the merits of different theories.