The new year is bringing new controversy over teaching evolution in public schools, with two bills in New Hampshire seeking to require teachers to teach the theory more as philosophy than science.
Meanwhile, an Indiana state senator has introduced a bill that would allow school boards to require the teaching of creationism.
New Hampshire House Bill 1148 would "require evolution to be taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists' political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism."
The second proposal in the New Hampshire House, HB 1457, does not mention evolution specifically but would "require science teachers to instruct pupils that proper scientific inquire [sic] results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis, no matter how firmly it appears to be established, and that scientific and technological innovations based on new evidence can challenge accepted scientific theories or modes."
Innovation can indeed overturn old ideas, but the theory of evolution is too well-established to be tossed out like yesterday's garbage, scientists say.
"Bill 1457 turns skepticism into bewilderment," said Zen Faulkes, a biology professor at the University of Texas, Pan America. "It would ask teachers to say to students, 'Don't commit to the hypothesis that uranium has more protons than carbon,' or 'Remember, kids, tomorrow we might find out that DNA is not the main molecule that carries genetic information.' Evolution is as much a fact as either of those things, so it should be taught with the same confidence."