A bill introduced into the Wisconsin Legislature in February by State Rep. Terese Berceau is a first-of-its-kind proposal to bar creationism or intelligent design from science classes.
Only science capable of being tested according to the scientific method could be taught as science in Berceau's groundbreaking bill, drafted with the help of 13 top researchers from the University of Wisconsin.
Prof. Alan Attie, who teaches biochemistry, said the bill puts Wisconsin on the map in opposing creationism.
As he put it to Judith Davidoff of The Capital Times: "We can be the un-Kansas."
Berceau's first-in-the nation proposal "is designed to promote good science education, and prevent the introduction of pseudo-science in the science classroom.
"It does not ban the discussion of intelligent design or any other ideology in schools in nonscientific contests," explains Berceau, who represents a Madison district. "It simply states that if something is presented as science, it must actually be science."
Science professors who attended a news conference announcing the bill warned that "science is under assault in our country." Such legislation, they said, is essential to ensure sound science education, and keep the nation on the cutting edge of technology.
The bill, LRB-2463, called "Pseudo-Science Prevention Act," would only allow material to be taught as science in public school science courses if it:
1. is testable as a scientific hypothesis
2. describes only natural processes
3. is consistent with any description or definition of science adopted by the National Academy of Sciences
Wisconsin was one of 13 states to receive a failing grade on its treatment of evolution, and one of 15 states to flunk in overall science education, according to the State of State Standards 2005, Thomas B. Fordham Institute (www.edexcellence.net).
(See Fordham study co-author Lawrence Lerner's article, "The State of State K-12 Science Standards and the Fate of U.S. Science Education," Freethought Today Jan/Feb 06).