Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#1366: Richard Bell

Dickie Bell is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates (since 2010), representing the 20th district. He is most famous (to us, at least) for his efforts to get pseudoscience into Virginia schools through his 2014 creationism bill, in which he adopted the Discovery Institute’s “academic freedom” language, including “teach the controversy” and “strengths and weaknesses”. No, he didn’t actually mention evolution explicitly in the bill, but when the language is copied and pasted from the Academic Freedom Act, he doesn’t really have to. Well, Bell did claim that his bill had been misunderstood after it started to draw some attention: “We certainly didn’t intend to create a firestorm with it,” said Bell, and indeed he probably didn’t – indeed, one suspects that the whole point of the language of the bill was to avoid notice. Interestingly and encouragingly, the bill didn’t get any other sponsors, and died in the House Education Committee.

Diagnosis: Pretty typical, in other words, though it is a bit disconcerting to notice that Bell has worked as a highschool teacher himself. 

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