Tennessee Creationism Bill: 30 Mar ’11 Update

Our last post on this topic was our 16 March 2011 Update. The next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:

This is about HOUSE BILL 368 (2-page pdf file), sponsored in the Tennessee legislature by Bill Dunn, a tree surgeon. You can use this link to follow the progress and status of HB 368. It’s a typical anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism bill authorizing teachers to present the “strengths and [alleged] weakness” of certain “controversial” subjects, with the obvious purpose of permitting creationism to be taught in science classes.

We perceive a well-organized public relations effort to promote Dunn’s bill, the kind that succeeded in Louisiana back in 2008. The Tennessee operation (probably code-named “Lights Out”) seems to be headed by David Fowler, a lawyer and former Tennessee state Senator, who also taught for a few years at Bryan College in Dayton Tennessee — site of the Scopes Trial. Fowler is president of an organization called Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), which is affiliated with Focus on the Family — that’s James Dobson‘s outfit.

It was disclosed by Lauri Lebo that this particular bill was drafted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists). The Discoveroids then gave the bill to Fowler, the activist, who gave it to Dunn, the bill’s legislative sponsor. The theocratic anti-science axis is thus fully revealed.

We’ve predicted that Tennessee’s Creationism Bill Will Become Law. 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.

That’s the background. Now for today’s news. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE), which is often the first to report these things, has an article titled Antievolution bills in Tennessee advance. NCSE says:

Tennessee’s House Bill 368 was passed by the House Education Committee on March 29, 2011, and referred to the House Calendar and Rules Committee, while its counterpart, Senate Bill 893, is scheduled to be discussed by the Senate Education Committee on March 30, 2011.

Things are happening in both legislative chambers! Here’s a link to Senate Bill 893 (2-page pdf file). We discussed that one earlier (see Tennessee Creationism Bill Makes “Progress”). It’s word-for-word identical to Dunn’s bill in the House, which means this is a coordinated effort. You can use this link for tracking the progress and status of SB 893 as it works its way through the legislative process. The sponsor of the Senate bill is Senator Bo Watson, a physical therapist.

We found a good editorial which opposes this legislation. Alas, it’s in a Newspaper with No Name. The thing is nevertheless worth reading. Here’s the concluding sentence: “HB 368 is an embarrassment to all of Tennessee, and it should be sent to extinction.”

Also, at the website of Nashville Public Radio we read Bill to Debate Evolution Theory Ready for House Floor. Here are some excerpts:

David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, says his organization backs the bill. Fowler says organizations like the Professional Educators of Tennessee are concerned that teachers will be discipline if they question scientific theories.

Yes, creationists teachers ought to be concerned about that. Let’s read on:

Fowler expresses a point of view from evolution skeptics, who say that evolution may occur within species. But they find little evidence that evolution – “macroevolution,” based on genetic mutation and the “survival of the fittest” – can create a new species.

Fowler is apparently one of the greatest scientific minds in Tennessee. One last excerpt:

The measure goes before the full Tennessee House, once it gets through the Committee on Calendar and Rules. In the Senate, the same bill is on the agenda for the Education Committee Wednesday.

So there you are, dear reader. Things are moving right along in Tennessee. We still think this mess will become law, as has already happened in Louisiana. And we don’t think it will make any difference — the people are already creationists and they have always been. They’re happy. If the legislature truly represents the will of the people, then they should give the people what they want — in this case a very stupid law. Hey, it’s Tennessee!

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

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11 responses to “Tennessee Creationism Bill: 30 Mar ’11 Update

  1. Please, please, please pass this law Tennessee, so Louisiana doesn’t have to be the stupidest state in the nation. Spread our pain. (Wink, Wink).

  2. The Newspaper with No Name is the Daily News Journal (hence “DNJ”) of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

  3. Gabriel Hanna

    I think it’s wonderful, clearly the State of Tennesse has solved all problems. The roads are kept up, the budget is balanced, crime is down–and so the legislature has time to take up these smaller issues that would be a distraction in more parlous times.

  4. The Tennessean ran the same editorial, it turns out.

  5. Bio, this law just makes our state look worse, because we inspired it. We don’t want it to pass (plus who doesn’t like being number 1).

  6. Glenn Branch says:

    The Newspaper with No Name is the Daily News Journal (hence “DNJ”) of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

    Thank you, Glenn. But if it’s not important enough for them to display their name where it can be seen, why should we care?

  7. Having followed the progress of this bill I’m still assuming it (and it’s sister abominations around the country) is really just being put out in the hopes of another court case. ID isn’t science, it’s religion. That’s the official court verdict – per the Dover ruling. Even Behe said in testimony in that case that ID doesn’t meet any real definition of science. So as far as I can see this change wouldn’t legalize discussion of creationism (although that might seem to be its aim), I’d certainly sue if someone started teaching it to my kids, on the grounds that dragging religion into science class isn’t allowed. I get the feeling the Dishonesty Institute is just looking for a chance to get back to court – probably costing the taxpayers somewhere a small fortune.

  8. SWH says:

    I’d certainly sue if someone started teaching it to my kids, on the grounds that dragging religion into science class isn’t allowed.

    The test case I’d love to see is one where a teacher starts to babble creationism in science class and an honors student stands up and tells him: “You’re a #@!%&* retard!” Then the teacher tries to discipline the kid, and the parents object on the grounds that the kid was behaving rationally.

  9. Sam Graziano

    I am glad this law is being passed. evolution is not a fact, it a theory, and until its proven as fact (it never will.) Other options such as creationism should always be considered. And for the parents who dont want their little babies to be taught creationism, get over it and sue someone else. Go Tennessee!

  10. techreseller

    Hey don’t pick on Tennessee. My ex-wife and her family are from there. Wait, never mind. I just came back to my senses.