Tennessee Creationism Bill Makes “Progress”

A week ago we wrote Tennessee Creationism Bill for 2011. Today we learn from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) that there’s now A second antievolution bill in Tennessee. But things are not as strange as NCSE’s title would suggest. Their article says, with our bold font:

The sole sponsor of SB 893 is Bo Watson (R-District 11). SB 893 is identical to HB 368, which was introduced in the Tennessee House of Representatives on February 9, 2011 … .

This isn’t as crazy as the situation in Oklahoma, where two different creationism bills are now pending in that state’s legislature. In Tennessee, what was just filed in the state Senate should be considered a companion bill to the one in the House. If the same bill is passed in both chambers, there will no need to reconcile two different bills, requiring the result to passed again in both houses. The way this Tennessee matter is being managed, if each chamber passes the same bill, it can go right to the Governor for signature.

Here’s a link to what was just introduced into the Tennessee Senate: SENATE BILL 893 (2-page pdf file). As you can see, it’s word-for-word identical to what was introduced last week in the state House: HOUSE BILL 368 (2-page pdf file). That means this is a coordinated effort.

Here’s a link for tracking the progress and status of SB 893 as it works its way through the legislative process. Nothing has happened since the bill was introduced on 16 February, except that it was assigned to an education committee. For convenience in tracking both bills, we’ll repeat here the link for the progress and status of HB 368. At the page for each bill is a reference to the companion bill in the other chamber.

The sponsor of the Senate bill is Senator Bo Watson. That’s a fine name for a creationist. His page at the legislature’s website indicates that he’s a physical therapist, for which he studied at the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences. Presumably, that makes him qualified to tell the schools in his state how to teach science.

As we noted before, the Tennessee legislature convened on 11 January and is scheduled to adjourn in mid-May. There’s plenty of time for this bill to get passed if the legislature is so inclined.

So keep an eye on Tennessee, dear reader. They may get the creationism law they’ve been hoping for.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Tennessee Creationism Bill Makes “Progress”

  1. A minor correction: Actually there are three ‘creationist bills’ in Oklahoma that we are fighting. HB 1001 (‘Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act’) is not aimed directly at science teaching, but would allow religion into many aspects in public schools. It would, for example, allow religious answers not to be counted wrong on tests, etc.

    An almost identical bill is now law in Texas, where it is reported to be causing problems in school districts in just how to implement the law. Attorneys for school districts have apparently told some of their clients that they can not advise them, except if there is a single circumstance to consider. It is a very bizarre bill.

    In Oklahoma the bill passed two years ago, but was vetoed by the Governor after a major campaign in opposition. It is now back again. The first bill was ‘authored’ (copied directly from Texas) by Silly Sally Kern Rep. , but now has another ‘author.’ HB 1551, an ‘academic freedom act’ like those elsewhere was defeated two years ago in the OK Lege, but it is also back in almost identical form. They just do not quit!

  2. vhutchison says:

    A minor correction: Actually there are three ‘creationist bills’ in Oklahoma that we are fighting.

    Thanks for the information.

    They just do not quit!

    No, they never do.

  3. linky to the Texas law info? I haven’t heard about that one. It must be very hush hush if a guy in Austin hasn’t heard about it… Or it may be my medication preventing me from… well… thinking.

  4. Creationists can’t win in the scientific arena and have flopped miserably in the courts, so they’ll keep at it on the PR and legislative fronts, ad nauseam. Vic, I can’t thank you and your colleagues enough for their perseverance.

  5. ogremkv: Rather than list links here, I suggest you google “Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act” and “Texas” and you will find several pages of hits that discuss the act.

  6. comradebillyboy

    Recall that in 1925 school teacher John Scopes was found guilty of the crime of teaching evolution in Tennessee. Oh for the good old days when state legislatures could make teaching any scientific doctrine that conflicted with the bible myths a crime. Looks like most of our southern states and a couple of semi western states want to return to those times.

  7. Bill Elinor

    The Tennessee bill does not require the teaching of any alternative to Darwinian evolution and does not promote any religious teaching. It allows only scientific objectivity. Sounds like you guys might be afraid of that.

  8. Kevin Smith

    Wrong Mr. Elinor,
    I live in Knoxville and I watched all the meetings on this bill and the creationist attempt at banning a biology book last year. This bill perverts science and promotes creationism with veiled language. If you notice from the meetings, the questions asked were essentially “Which came first photosynthesis or the plant?” and “What observable changes are found at the genus and family level?” The first question is along the silliness lines of Ray Comfort talking about a male elephant waiting millions of years for a female and the latter is simply a rewording of “change within biblical kinds”.
    No one here is afraid of objectivity. We are afraid that creationists will stunt science education by misinforming children in the public schools. We want children to have the best education and they will not get that from the creationists or from legislators bent on drumming up the religious vote. Dunn is not fooling anyone. If you wish, you can present your objective views here. Be the first person to present data to overthrow a 150 year old theory that has withstood all challenges. You will win the Nobel Prize, so go ahead. We’re waiting. I wouldn’t recommend calling David Fowler or Dunn for science advice though.