Tag Archives: evolution

Social Conservative Legislative Agenda Advancing: Evolution, 10 Commandments, Don’t Say Gay & More

Legislation that critics see as a means of promoting creationism in classrooms was revived last week after a year of dormancy while a so-called “don’t say gay” bill suffered a setback that some supporters say is only temporary.
Having drawn national media attention, those two bills are perhaps the best-known and most controversial measures in a broad agenda of social conservative causes pushed by Republican legislators.
But they are not necessarily the most significant among the multiple bills with religious, moral and social overtones.
The bill on teaching of scientific theories in Tennessee schools – dubbed “the monkey bill” by the National Center for Science Education – passed the House last year. House Sponsor Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, said it was to promote “critical thinking” about scientific theories by protecting teachers from discipline when they engage students in discussion about prevailing scientific theories such as evolution or global warming.

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Darwin, Evolution Celebrated at UT (if not at the Legislature)

An emailer thought it interesting that the University of Tennessee is hosting a three-day celebration of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution while the Legislature has pending legislation that some have criticized as an attack on evolution.
The bill (HB368) passed the House last year under sponsorship of Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, but the Senate sponsor, Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, parked it in a “general subcommittee” and never sought a vote after UT Chattanooga faculty members voiced concerns. (Last session’s final post on the subject is HERE).
Watson said a few days ago that he’s still thinking about whether to push the measure this year and, if so, whether amendments may be in order. As passed the House, the measure would prohibit punishment of teachers who discuss alternatives to prevailing scientific theories. Critics labeled it a backdoor means of promoting creationism. Dunn said it simply promotes “critical thinking.”
Meanwhile, the UT News Service news release on celebrating Darwin this week is below. A full schedule of events is available HERE. (Note: One of the videos available for watching is entitled, Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus.

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‘Critical Thinking’ Bill (or ‘Creationism Bill’, if you prefer) Sidelined Until Next Year?

A controversial, House-passed bill to protect teachers who promote discussion of alternatives to prevailing scientific theories was quietly sidelined in the Senate Wednesday – almost certainly postponing any action until next year.
The measure has been attacked by critics as a backdoor means of teaching creationism in schools as an alternative to evolution.
Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, told the Senate Education Committee he was putting HB368 into “general sub,” which means he is not pushing it forward to a vote. The move came on the last scheduled meeting of the committee for this year.
“Practically speaking, I probably am not going to be able to run the bill this year,” he said.
Watson said he believes the measure is “a good bill” and should be approved “in concept” but has listened to concerns of UT-Chattanooga faculty and others who have proposed possible amendments.
“I want to listen some more,” he said.
The bill passed the House 70-23 on April 7 under sponsorship of Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, who says it is intended to promote “critical thinking” in science classes. All no votes came from Democrats.
Update: The Senate Education Committee wound up adjourning Wednesday night with some other bills left hanging, raising the possibility of another meeting where Watson could revive the measure.