Biology Book Banning in Tennessee?

IN the Knoxville News Sentinel of Knoxville, Tennessee, the third-largest city in the state (Memphis and Nashville are bigger), we read Father wants biology book ban.

We can’t give you any excerpts from that story, not legally, because the Knoxville News Sentinel wants to charge 20 to 30 cents per word for excerpts. We think they have far too high an opinion of themselves, but we wish them luck with their “no free excerpts” policy.

Instead of making fair use of some excerpts, we’ll tell you about the news in our own words. But first a caveat: Our information comes from the news organ described above, and we have serious doubts about their judgment. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s what they’re reporting:

Kurt Zimmermann, the father of some high school student, and who perhaps was driven to the brink by the presence of a peculiar newspaper in his town, is challenging the use of an honors biology textbook because, he claims, it’s critical of creationism.

The Knox County Schools Superintendent, Jim McIntyre, says that the Knox County school board will hear Zimmermann’s complaint. But he seems to like the book they’re using despite the complaint. The board is going to discuss the matter today and vote on it this Wednesday.

And yes, the Knoxville News Sentinel serves Knox County, the location of this foolishness, so your Curmudgeon’s suspicion is that the newspaper is to blame for all outbreaks of madness in their market. Charge bloggers twenty cents a word for mere excerpts? What genius dreamed up that one?

The book Zimmermann complains about is “Asking About Life.” According to the newspaper, the book offends him because it contains a bias by the authors against Christianity, For example, page 319 of the offensive text describes creationism as a “biblical myth” [egad, we’ve quoted two words!] about the creation of the world. Zimmermann doesn’t like the word “myth.” At least not in that context.

The newspaper — which thinks every word they print is worth at least twenty cents — doesn’t bother to give its readers any information about the book in question, but we assume it’s this: Asking about Life by Allan J. Tobin.

Will the board go along with Zimmerman? The newspaper claims that they don’t seem inclined to go that way. But how much confidence can we place in the reporting of the Knoxville News Sentinel?

For the moment, dear reader, we’ll take our leave of Knoxville, its creationist citizens, and their strange newspaper. However, because that newspaper places such a high value on their words, and because we may have quoted two of them, we have two words of our own to send them in exchange. Yes, you know — those two.

Update: See Decision on Tennessee Biology Book Ban Demand.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

6 responses to “Biology Book Banning in Tennessee?

  1. The passage that they quote from the textbook says that creationism says that the world was created in 7 days.

    That is incorrect for two reasons.

    First, it is only Young Earth Creationism that says that. There are other forms of creationism, such as “day-age” Old Earth Creationism, “gap” OEC, and Intelligent Design.

    Second, YEC says that the world was created in six days.

  2. Before we can start arguing about the number of days it took god to build us, we have to determine if he/she/it worked through the night.

    Does god belong to a union? If he/she/it does, then we know there is no way in hell work was done during the dark hours so the time taken to build us can be condensed into several hours rather than several days.

    If he/she/it doesn’t belong to a union then we can be sure he/she/it is a slow or lazy god. Most gods I know could do all that in a snap of their fingers/tentacles/undefined appendages.

  3. There is a story that at one time the Supreme Court made a rule that the justices would drink only when it was raining. Chief Justice Marshall, it is said, clarified that rule by observing that somewhere in the jurisdiction of that court it was surely raining.

    We know that at any time, somewhere it is daylight in the jurisdiction of the Creator.

  4. retiredsciguy

    I’m going to publish a dictionary and charge the Knoxville News Sentinel a penny for each word they use. And any other newspaper that tries to get away with this s**t.

    How do they determine whether it’s a 20 cent word or a 30-center? Number of syllables? How much do I owe them for quoting their name? Do they also charge the writers of letters to the editor? Maybe those writers could charge the paper for running their letters.

  5. Curmy: Wouldn’t excerpts fall under fair use, though?

  6. That Other Mike asks: “Wouldn’t excerpts fall under fair use, though?”

    I think so, but who wants to get into a dispute with those people? Let ’em keep their words.