Missouri lawmaker wants intelligent design taught alongside evolution

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. - Representative Rick Brattin says he knows what he's getting himself into.

"We've got to have the debate. We've got to have the discussion," said Brattin.

The Harrisonville Republican is behind House Bill 1227 , which is dubbed the "Missouri Standard Science Act."

"It's not making you teach Genesis I out of the Holy Bible," said Brattin.

Instead, Brattin says it presents both sides of a divisive topic. Evolution versus intelligent design.

"I feel that that's just good science, showing both points of view," said Brattin.

Brattin wants equal time in Missouri classrooms. He says while evolution is accepted as "scientific fact," there's really no way to know. He concedes it's the same for intelligent design.

"I want there to be objectivity in the science room," said Brattin.

The National Center for Science Education's mission is to defend the teaching of evolution in the classroom. The organization has several problems with this proposal.

"It's a very strange bill. It doesn't fit with the typical anti-evolution bill," said NCSE programs and policy director Steven Newton.

Much of it is devoted to scientific definitions.

"It's not really for the state legislature to define scientific terms," said Newton.

The NCSE sees evolution as fact, saying it will damage students' educations to teach anything less.

"Kids are going to be competing in the workplace and in the university with other children in other states and indeed children in other countries who haven't had their science education sabotaged in this way," said Newton.

The bill is still in its very early stage and Brattin says he's busy drumming up support.

Newton predicts the bill will not go anywhere, but says even the mention of it is damaging to Missouri's reputation.

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