Two "intelligent design" bills in Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Capitol Building.

Oklahoma State Capitol Building. Photo by James Johnson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Two similar bills prefiled in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, House Bill 3122 (PDF) and House Bill 3543 (PDF), include identical language allowing teachers to "teach and discuss the theory of intelligent design."

Both bills define "intelligent design" as "a scientific theory that certain features of the universe and living things provide evidence of intelligent organization and purpose, which then provide the foundations for natural functions, systems, laws, processes, and theories such as natural selection, evolution through adaptation and mutation, and the big bang theory."

Both bills subsequently provide that Oklahoma's public school teachers are "permitted to teach and discuss the theory of intelligent design in correspondence with other relevant scientific study and information concerning the origin of species and the natural laws of the universe as provided by the Oklahoma Academic Standards."

Teaching "intelligent design" as scientifically credible in a public school was found to be unconstitutional by a federal court in Kitzmiller v. Dover (2005); the judge in the case wrote, "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ["intelligent design"] is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."

House Bill 3122 was introduced by Danny Williams (R-District 28) on January 9, 2024; House Bill 3543 was introduced by Sherrie Conley (R-District 20) on January 8, 2024. Neither bill has yet been assigned to a committee.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.