published Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

An unfortunate controversy

Our Tennessee Legislature unfortunately, and unnecessarily, has been involved — again — in an unproductive controversy about the theory of evolution.

The state House of Representatives Monday night voted 72 to 23 for a bill apparently designed to protect teachers who discuss the subject of evolution. The bill now goes to Gov. Bill Haslam.

The bill apparently bars the Tennessee Board of Education and local education officials from prohibiting teachers in public schools from “helping students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.”

State Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, says students “should be encouraged to challenge current scientific thought and theory. Students should be encouraged to debate, to improve their creative thinking skills and to improve their communications skills.”

The Legislature’s action brings to mind the 1925 “monkey trial” in Dayton, Tenn., in which teacher John Scopes was tried and convicted of violating law by teaching evolution, resulting in much heated rhetoric and ridicule. The current legislative action is unnecessary, inappropriate and not really helpful.

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acerigger said...

Does this mean that Darwin and Genesis can be taught side by side?

Be careful what you wish for Sen. Watson.

March 28, 2012 at 12:38 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Thank you Free Press editors for recognizing this. The action IS unnecessary and does nothing to solve the real problems facing the state.

March 28, 2012 at 7:11 a.m.
una61 said...

Thanks TFP for supporting real science and the HS teachers that teach it.

March 28, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.
conservative said...

Psalm 2

1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

March 28, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
librul said...

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.


To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.


When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.


Creationists make it sound as though a "theory" is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.


Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centures since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.

-- Isaac Asimov, various sources in http://www.positiveatheism.org/index.shtml

March 28, 2012 at 10:02 a.m.
Livn4life said...

lib, I disagree heartily, the most potent force for atheism is human arrogance which thinks science is god and doesn't seem to have an idea what the word theory, as in theory of evolution, means. The biggest fallacy atheists buy into is that there are no thinking Christians who can see the value of science and faith. But then that is the perspective of the so called liberals in juxtaposition to conservatives. Ironically, both groups have zealots unwilling to listen to the other side. Both groups have inconsistencies which they point out in the other side but will not own in themselves. The saddest point of all is when the legislature gets involved and threats of lawsuits abound from all directions. I hope we see another time in US history when we stop fighting so much and pull together to make this a truly great nation again. The blaming everyone else syndrome is both embarrassing and not helpful.

March 28, 2012 at 1:25 p.m.
Plato said...

If we are talking about the appropriate subject matter to be taught in a science class, I'm fine with them teaching or discussing the scientific evidence supporting "creationism" or any other theory of origin, but where is it?

March 28, 2012 at 2:05 p.m.
librul said...

I blame no one except those who elevate FAITH, which has no physical evidence to support its claims, above SCIENCE which does. Science will not grant a hypothesis the status of theory unless it is built on physical evidence; supported by reason, logic, laws of physics; survives collaborative multi-disciplinary inquiry; and can successfully mount defense from opposing hypotheses using the same methodology.

Evolution is as granite is when compared to the friable paper of all the bibles in the world.

March 28, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

acerigger said... "Does this mean that Darwin and Genesis can be taught side by side?

Be careful what you wish for Sen. Watson."

You said it Ace! Darwin next to the gene(of)Isis This will be their un-doing. It is going to get just a bit touchy, but when they see all these "other" religions coming into the schools, they will wonder what the heck they have done. I expect the next few months to be rather exciting, hopefully without violence. Wonder how long before they repeal it?

It makes me think of Florida when they outlawed sex with animals, which outlawed sex period. Now Tennessee can join the idiot clown car.

You want religion in the schools? Well hold on to your hat because you are going to get what you asked for. And I am going to have fun watching.

What I don't consider fun is that all these culture laws are being passed, knowing they are against the national and state constitutions. It is a ruse to get more of our resources wasted on fighting legal battles. It is a ploy to bankrupt us and tear this nation apart.

March 28, 2012 at 4:12 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

WHY DO PEOPLE INSIST ON DIVING INTO SOMETHING THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT OTHER THAN OPINIONS.

March 30, 2012 at 1:25 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

THE BEST THING TO DO IS TO OFFER BOTH CLASSES AND THE PEOPLE CAN CHOOSE 1 OR THE OTHER,,,,LETS DON'T WASTE TIME TRYING TO MAKE THIS AN ISSUE FOR JUST 1 GROUP OF PEOPLE,,,ISN'T THE UNITED STATES BASED ON CHOICE??

April 7, 2012 at 5:38 p.m.
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