Thursday, March 22, 2012

Casey Luskin on “The Monkey Bill”

Casey Luskin has written a piece addressing the Tennessee legislation 893, known colloquially and uncharitably as “The Monkey Bill.” He writes:
The bill enjoyed bipartisan support from all the Republicans, and over 35% of Democrats, in the Tennessee State Senate. The proposed legislation is a standard academic freedom bill that would apply generally to the teaching of controversial scientific theories, not just evolution.
This is disingenuous. This bill is aimed at evolution. Everyone connected to the bill knows this. Descriptions of the bill are always phrased as “evolution and other subjects” but nobody ever mentions the other subjects.

He continues:
Thus, the bill includes a clear statement that it only applies to teaching science and does not protect teaching religion. Don't expect that to satisfy critics, who will predictably ignore the actual language of the bill and falsely claim it would introduce religion in the classroom.
Teaching religion is not the issue. That is a smokescreen. The issue is the teaching of evolution.If it allows teachers to promote young earth creationism in the classroom, it will introduce religion into the classroom, even if it does so through the backdoor. With this bill in place, there is nothing to stop a teacher from teaching what they consider “weaknesses” in a scientific theory, even if those “weaknesses” are not scientifically supported.

Teachers will also interpret the meaning of “curriculum framework” in different ways and if, as was the case in Ohio with John Freshwater, they honestly believe in young earth creationism, that is what they will insert into their classes. Who will hold them accountable if they do that?

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  1. Anonymous5:57 AM

    If the bill states:

    "This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion."

    ...then how would that bill protect a teacher that is teaching religion?

  2. This is what happened in Pennsylvania: some of the school board wanted creationism taught so they cloaked it in the guise of intelligent design, despite the fact that none of them knew what ID actually was and then brought in Of Pandas and People which was, in its original form, a creationist textbook. I have read it. It is awful.

    The Tennessee law would not hold teachers accountable who tried to do this.