Quantcast
Connect with us

Tennessee opens door to creationism in schools

Published

on

A law to allow public school teachers to challenge the scientific consensus on issues like climate change and evolution will soon take effect in Tennessee.

State governor Bill Haslam allowed the bill — passed by the state House and Senate — to become law without signing it, saying he did not believe the legislation “changes the scientific standards that are taught in our schools.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“However, I also don’t believe that it accomplishes anything that isn’t already acceptable in our schools,” he said in a statement.

The measure allows 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.”

It also says the legislation “shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine.”

In recent days the governor had received a petition signed by more than 3,000 people urging him to block the bill, but its conservative backers had enough support to override a veto with a simple majority.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion. My concern is that this bill has not met this objective,” Haslam said. “For that reason, I will not sign the bill but will allow it to become law without my signature.”

Critics have labeled the legislation the “Monkey Bill” in reference to the highly publicized 1925 “Scopes Monkey Trial” in which Tennessee charged high school science teacher John Scopes with violating a state law against teaching “that man has descended from a lower order of animals.”

The Tennessee Science Teachers Association and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the measure’s biggest critics, said it would provide legal cover for educators to teach pseudoscientific ideas.

ADVERTISEMENT

“They are not talking that much about creationism but rather about Intelligent Design,” Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU’s Tennessee branch, said earlier this week.

“It’s a very nuanced and clever way… to challenge the theory of evolution and allow teachers to inject Intelligent Design and neo-creationism.”

Intelligent Design is the idea that scientific evidence can show that life forms developed under the direction of a higher intelligence.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Discovery Institute, whose model legislation inspired the bill, had hailed it as “protecting the academic freedom of science teachers to fully and objectively discuss controversial scientific topics, like evolution.”

Based in Seattle, the group backs the teaching of alternatives to evolution in public schools and supports research into Intelligent Design.

The latest controversy is part of a long-running battle between advocates of secular public schooling and conservative Christians who accuse authorities of infringing on their freedom by keeping religion out of the public sphere.

ADVERTISEMENT

A Gallup poll in December 2010 found that four in 10 Americans believe God created humans in their present form some 10,000 years ago.

Scientific evidence shows that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors over a period of roughly six million years.

In 1968 that the US Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional, based on the separation of church and state, to ban the teaching of evolution.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Intel Committee has ‘recent evidence’ Ukraine witnesses are working together to ‘coordinate’ their stories

Published

on

House investigators have "recent evidence" of witnesses working to coordinate their testimony before Congress, a Democratic congressman revealed on MSNBC on Wednesday.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sits on the Intelligence and Judicial committees, was interviewed by MSNBC Chris Hayes.

"Final question, what is the timeline here?" Hayes asked. "There is some transparency argument that at some point this can’t be behind closed doors, the American people, all of us, Republicans, Democrats, citizens and journalists have to hear what’s happening."

"You’re absolutely right and there will be a public phase," Swalwell replied.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Rudy Giuliani is looking for a lawyer — after saying he didn’t need one: report

Published

on

On Wednesday, CNN reported that President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani is looking for a defense attorney to represent him.

This report comes after Giuliani said last week that he would not seek legal representation unless he believed he needed it.

Giuliani is currently under criminal investigation for the scheme he apparently helped facilitate in the Ukraine, where Trump withheld military aid in the fight against Russia while demanding their leaders investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Ex-acting AG Matt Whitaker blasted as ‘an embarrassment’: Ex-prosecutor says ‘the guy’s an idiot’

Published

on

Former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne blasted for acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker during a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC.

Anchor Chris Matthews played a clip of Whitaker telling Fox News that abuse of power is not a crime. The statement was viewed as an acknowledgment that Trump had abused power.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image