Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Oklahoma Braces for Renewed Debate on Creationism

Supporters of strong science education in Oklahoma report that ultra-conservative Lance Cargill, a former Republican Floor Leader, has been named the GOP's House speaker designate.

One house member likely to benefit from Cargill's return to the leadership position is Sally Kern. Kern has been a sponsor of a number of right-wing bills which consumed many hours of floor debate, possibly contributing to the need for a special session to pass the state's budget.

One Kern bill was HB 2107, which would have permitted alternatives to evolution in public school science courses. She also proposed a bill to withhold state funding for libraries that did not segregate sexual or gay themes from areas for children and young adults.

The floor debate on HB 2107 was filmed and released by OETA. One clip showing Kern's uninformed comments on gravity and ignorant statements on evolution by her supporters made it into the blogosphere and was spread widely -- a very big embarrassment to Oklahoma -- but it did provide derisive laughs from many viewers.

Oklahoma supporters of science education expect that chances of defeating creationist bills in Oklahoma for the seventh year in a row are likely to be good only if the Democrats continue to control the State Senate.

However, they now have only a two vote majority. Thus, the upcoming elections in November will be very important for defenders of good science education in Oklahoma public schools.


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