“Monkey Bill” Passes

Tennessee “monkey bill” passes legislature

House Bill 368 passed the Tennessee House of Representatives on a 72-23 vote on March 26, 2012, the Chattanooga Times Free Press (March 26, 2012) reports. The bill would encourage teachers to present the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of topics that arouse “debate and disputation” such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning”; it now proceeds to Governor Bill Haslam, who will have ten days to sign the bill, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto it. Haslam previously indicated that he would discuss the bill with the state board of education, telling the Nashville Tennesseean (March 19, 2012), “It is a fair question what the General Assembly’s role is … That’s why we have a state board of education.”

Opposing the bill have been the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Nashville Tennessean, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Earth Science Teachers Association, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, and three distinguished Tennessee scientists and members of the National Academy of Sciences who recently warned, in a column published in the Tennessean (March 25, 2012), that the legislation was “misleading, unnecessary, likely to provoke unnecessary and divisive legal proceedings, and likely to have adverse economic consequences for the state.”

Comments

  1. #1 WilloNyx
    March 27, 2012

    My children are so lucky that they have us as parents. We live in a town that teachers repeatedly broke the law in respect to the teaching of evolution before TN makes it easy for them to. Pretty soon class will little more than Sunday School.

    BTW, did I mention I hate my state?

  2. “House Bill 368 and Senate Bill 893… ”

    Whoa! What a coincidence! It may even be diabolically inspired! Follow my thought process here.

    Reverse the numbers in Bill 893 to 398. You now have House Bill 368 and Senate Bill 398. Then add the two 3s from the first digits of both bills, turn the 9 upside down to make 6 in the second digit (ignoring the other 6), and then…ummm… subtract 2 from the two 8s in the third digits, throw one of the resulting 6s out, and you have a combined bill of 666! So, Satan is behind this! Be gone, Satan!

    (See how I did that? Just like the Tennessee legislature did when assuming there is a scientific controversy).

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    March 27, 2012

    FTW

  4. #4 PaulG
    March 27, 2012

    OK, we live in a country where the biology teacher is often referred to by his title, “Coach”. So it’s all pretty hopeless. If I was a biology teacher, I’d have been avoiding teaching evoution at all, as it is like a red laxative to a bull to some people. In fact, my bio teacher never mentioned evolution at all and he had a PhD in education. Now, teachers, if they want, can actually spend a few days covering evolution at the cost of spending a few days on comparative religion and maybe the smart kids will get it.

  5. #5 lorimakesquilts
    March 29, 2012

    Ugh, what debate and disputation is there among reputable scientists? Why do opinions of anyone else count? Yes, I know, being totally reasonable is a waste of time, particularly in TN apparently.

  6. #6 Anne H
    March 29, 2012

    Paul G, no not really, not in most schools. It can be bad, but these days it is not that bad everywhere.

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