Tag Archives: theory

AP Story on TN Evolution: From Scopes Trial to ‘Monkey Bill’

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee, where the nation’s first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago, is close to enacting a law that critics deride as the “monkey bill” for once again attacking the scientific theory.
The measure passed by the Tennessee General Assembly would protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said this week he would likely sign it into law.
Haslam said the State Board of Education has told him the measure won’t affect the state’s current scientific curriculum for primary, middle or high school students. Louisiana enacted a similar law in 2008.
“I think the one thing about that bill is this: Nothing about the curriculum of the state of Tennessee will change, and the scientific standards won’t change,” he said. “So I think some of the discussion about its impact has probably been overblown.”
The bill says it will encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique “scientific weaknesses.”
Scientists in Tennessee and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are asking Haslam to veto the bill, saying that evolution is established science that shouldn’t be taught as a controversy.

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Bill on Classroom Discussion of Evolution Goes to Governor

A House vote Monday night sends to Gov. Bill Haslam a bill that has inspired a controversy the governor says he knows little about.
The legislation (HB368) sets guidelines for classroom discussion of evolution and other scientific theories and declares that teachers cannot be disciplined for permitting such discussions.
Sponsors say it will encourages development of “critical thinking skills” by students. Critics say it encourages discussions of creationism as an alternative to evolution.
Haslam was asked his views on the bill last week after announcing plans to use federal funds to build three new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) schools in the state.
“I don’t know that I have any great insight there for you on that one,” Haslam said, adding that he had heard of the bill but knew little about what was involved. The governor said he plans to ask state Board of Education officials about it.

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TN Democrats Defend Agenda 21, Critique GOP Resolution

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
Tennessee House Republicans, led by Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland) found more ways to avoid focusing on the one topic that Tennesseans desperately need them to focus on, the economy.
In a 35 minute debate on the House floor the Republicans hit every major talking point of extremist conspiracy groups such as the John Birch Society in decrying “Agenda 21,” a plan passed 20 years ago passed by the UN and supported by every President, Democrat or Republican since. The agenda was designed and implemented to promote sustainable development and smart growth practices throughout the world to reduce the harmful effects of overcrowding and mismanagement of resources.
Below is a list of the wild-eyed conspiracy theories promoted in the resolution, followed by what Agenda 21 actually does:

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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.