In 1925, a hot July courtroom in Dayton, Tennessee, USA, was the site of America’s famous Scopes trial. But nearly 90 years later, it seems another battle is brewing in the Volunteer State.
The Tennessee General Assembly has recently passed a measure that would protect public school teachers who allow students to question or criticize evolution, as well as other scientific theories. Governor Bill Haslam has stated that he will likely sign the bill into law, but critics are openly deriding it as the “monkey bill”, and ridiculing that the state is once again attacking ‘science’. (Note: Apparently, similar laws exist in nine other US states.)
The opponents of the legislation are painting a picture of ‘science’ under assault. Three Tennessee scientists have warned, “the Tennessee legislature is doing the unbelievable: attempting to roll the clock back to 1925 by attempting to insert religious beliefs in the teaching of science.” Although editorials throughout the US have used strong language to deride the legislature and the Governor for allowing such ‘backward progress’, it makes you wonder what it is about this bill has evolutionists up in arms.
However, a review of House Bill 368 reveals the ‘offending’ language:
Michael Ruse: ‘Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.’
“The state board of education … shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools thatencourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.” and “Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories … ” (emphasis added)….
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