Now public school students can discuss Creationism in Tennessee schools. Sorta.
The Tennessee state legislature passed its “creationism” bill by 3-1 margins and it will become law without the signature of Governor Bill Haslam.
Haslam wasn’t exactly enthused.
“I do not believe that this legislation changes the scientific standards that are taught in our schools or the curriculum,” Haslam said on Tuesday according to a report from Reuters. “I also don’t believe that it accomplishes anything …”
And it probably doesn’t.
Basically, the bill doesn’t even allow teachers to bring up “creationism” or alternative theories about global warming themselves, but it mandates that they should allow discussion of creationism if students bring it up. Proponents say that is protects teachers who allow this kind of discussion.
The bill doesn’t specify anything about Young Earth creationism, Intelligent design, or theistic evolution– all of which count as “creationism.” Neither does it specify how evolution should be taught, not a mention of Stephen Jay Gould’s theories of “punctuated equilibrium” or any other development Most of those curriculum decisions are made at the district or classroom level.
The bill has been dubbed “the monkey bill” by opponents, partly in reference to the famous Scopes Monkey Trial which took place in Tennessee in 1925. They say, with some basis that the bill “opens the door” to pseudoscience being taught in classrooms, by protecting teachers who let discussion of “alternative theories” proceed.
Naturally, everyone is freaking out.
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