Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tennessean: TN evolution law may change nothing

According to an article in the Tennessean, the new “monkey bill” may change nothing about the way science is taught. Here is the accompanying video. The first speaker intelligently lays out her opposition to the bill, the second one not so much.

Heidi Hall writes:
Supporters of Tennessee’s newest education law envision classrooms where teachers lead robust conversations about evolution, analyzing its strengths and weaknesses with students who are freshly engaged with this new approach.

Creationism wouldn’t be mentioned, they say. Neither would intelligent design. Teachers know those would violate the First Amendment, plus the new law expressly forbids promoting religious doctrine.

“I trust science teachers are smart enough to keep the discussion on a scientific level,” said Casey Luskin, a policy analyst with the Discovery Institute, which wrote a model bill Tennessee lawmakers consulted. “I don’t see why anyone would bring religion into the discussion.”
I sometimes wonder if Casey says these things because he actually believes them or if he hopes that his listeners will. It is remarkably naive because he knows good and well (or he ought to) that, when polled, over 10% of science teachers actually support teaching creationism. It is also naive in that, during the Dover trial, it became clear that some members of the school board were committing terminological inexactitudes. They said they wanted "critical thinking" about evolution when they really wanted creationism. She continues:

Tennessee’s law isn’t the same as the Dover school board’s policy, but it sets up conditions for a lawsuit, said Vic Walczak, an ACLU attorney who represented the Dover, Pa., families.

“It basically neuters school boards and administrators from disciplining teachers who run off the rails,” he said. “And when the district gets sued by a parent, the teacher gets off scot-free? Why would you do that?

You would do that if you wanted creationism taught in the public school.


  1. Ben Vandergugten6:22 PM

    I thought you might be interested in this post.

  2. Thanks. I will read it.