Tennessee’s House Bill 368 passed the House of Representatives on a 70-23 vote on April 7, 2011. “The debate ranged over the scientific method, ‘intellectual bullies,’ hair spray and ‘Inherit the Wind,'” reported the Chattanooga Times Free Press (April 7, 2011).
The bill, if enacted, would require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” The only examples provided of “controversial” theories are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” The sponsor of HB 368, Bill Dunn (R-District 16), claimed that the teaching of “intelligent design” would not be protected by the bill. Its chief lobbyist, David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, claimed otherwise in the Chattanoogan (February 21, 2011).
The Tennessean (in its editorial of March 29, 2011), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee have all expressed their opposition to HB 368, with the Tennessee Science Teachers Association — representing the supposed beneficiaries of the bill — characterizing it as “unnecessary, anti-scientific, and very likely unconstitutional.” The TSTA’s Becky Ashe, who is also the executive director of curriculum and instruction for Knox County Schools, told the Knoxville Metro Pulse (April 6, 2011) that in her decade of service there, no teacher has been disciplined for mentioning alternative beliefs to evolution in the classroom. She added that the science standards already emphasize critical thinking, making the bill completely unnecessary.
The Senate version of the bill, SB 893, was discussed, but not voted on, by the Senate Education Committee on March 30, 2011; according to the Metro Pulse, a committee vote is not expected until April 20, 2011.
I agree that Mr.Fowler’s website does not show that Creationism would be allowed to be discussed.It seems only questioning the theory as it’s evolved over the years would be permited,such as whether the universe is 4.5 billion years or 2.5 billion as some of the older science books said. If the creation “theory” didn’t have what was deemed as science to back it up then the student would not be allowed to bring it up in class. That’s the way I read it in Mr. Fowler’s web site. What am I missing? I do not see this as a foot in the door that the ACLU is claiming.
What a waste of time. How about those jobs? Jobs, anyone?
There is no “controversy” over evolution. This is so disturbing. This happens in private schools too – I recall a few years ago I decided against putting my son in one private school in town because they told me they would not teach evolution, and if you want to pay to be close minded and ignorant, fine – but public schools is no place for this kind of silliness.
The better private schools actually teach science, it’s the fundy low-end ones that don’t.
I suppose it depends on what you mean by “better” and “fundy low-end”, but the one I am referring to is generally considered one of the best in town.
I was just reading about this on Slashdot this morning.
My knee jerk reaction was “What the hell?”
But upon closer inspection, and actually reading the bill itself – I am wondering, is this really a bad thing? The bill seems pretty agnostic.
While I agree with Mrs. Ashe that the bill may be completely unnecessary – I don’t see it as a particular problem.
I look forward to reading comments on this one, and I think you folks might get a kick out of the discussion over at Slashdot: http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/04/08/1353249/Tennessee-Bill-Helps-Teachers-Challenge-Evolution
If a parent desires their child to grow up believing the same as they do it may be necessary for them to homeschool them since young minds are malleable.You may think it ignorant to believe in creationism but maybe it’s one more change the citizenry should tolerate.
Tim: We don’t think it’s ignorant to believe whatever a person wants to believe, but we do find it offensive for people to inject non-science into science classes and to pretend that they are factually equivalent.
Did you say the theory of evolution is fact?
Using what definition we can both agree on:”A system of ideas or statements explaining something,esp. one based on general principles independent of the things to be explained;a hypothesis that has been confirmed or established by observation or experiment and is accepted as accounting for known facts.” Did I miss the great day when Darwin was proven right? Shouldn’t there be a national holiday so school kids can be off?
Tim, darwin’s theory of evolution is the far and away scientifically accepted explanation of how life forms adapt over the eons, and how they have come to be in their present forms. No, it has not been proven beyond all doubt whatsoever (many other scientific theories have not been, either). But no other explanation is currently accepted by the scientific community through its rigorous process of evidence and peer review. Therefore, in SCIENCE CLASSES, no other explanation should be taught. The arguments and debate about evolution and creationism, or its stalking horse, intelligent design, belong not in a science class, but in current events, sociology, history, philosophy, etc. Period.
I’m sorry.I’m on the wrong website.
Don’t leave. We enjoy the discussion.
Every high school student knows this is not true. Different organisms and animals appear in different fossil records. First, bacteria; then algae; then animals with shells and marine life; then the Cambrian explosion that produces an array of life including vertebrates. The timeline is about three billion years.
The truth is that never have we had so much historical, physical evidence of the evolution of living organisms as we do today. The fossil record is rich in details and gives no support to the view of instantaneously created species that remained the same since their sudden appearance on the scene.
From the National Academy of Sciences – “The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially.”
In other words, Darwin has been proven to be pretty darn right. Its one thing to believe in a God that created the earth and humans; its another to reject outright clear observable evidence of evolution simply because you think its inconsistent with your belief in a deity.