Background: In Tennessee, the Knox County school board has been struggling over whether to ban a biology textbook. One parent, Kurt Zimmermann, had complained that the book was disrespectful to creationists. We recently posted about this here: Biology Book Banning in Tennessee? Our last post on the subject was here: Decision on Tennessee Biology Book Ban Demand.
This affair is interesting in its own right, but it also has historical resonance. Knoxville is only 67 miles from Dayton, the site of the infamous Scopes Trial. Dayton is also the home of Bryan College, proudly named after William Jennings Bryan, The Great Populist Blowhard was born 19 March 1860, so the creationist world recently celebrated his 150th birthday.
Now, in Metro Pulse, located at 602 S. Gay Street in Knoxville, we read Textbook Authors Write to School Board. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
With the Knox County school board meeting in a workshop session this evening to revisit a parent’s request to ban a biology textbook, the authors of the contested text have sent board members a letter presenting their own take on the issue.
Hey, the board is meeting right now, even as we speak. Let’s read on:
Authors Jennie Dusheck and Allan J. Tobin say that their use of the word “myth” to describe biblical creationism was in no way intended as a religious slight, but is just a reflection of a series of U.S. court decisions: “From the 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that creation science cannot be taught in public schools because it is religion to a similar 2005 Dover decision, U.S. courts have repeatedly affirmed that creationism is religious doctrine, not science, and that schools cannot require teachers to present religion as an alternative to science.”
Sounds good, but what effect will that have on the board? We continue:
They add that they would consider rewording the section for their next edition, but ask that the board reject the request to ban.
Somehow, we doubt that the creationists will find that satisfactory. Here’s more:
The workshop meeting begins at 5 p.m. on the first floor of the Andrew Johnson Building, 912 S. Gay St.
The board meeting is on Gay Street, the newspaper is on Gay Street — Knoxville must be a wild town.
The rest of the article gives the complete text of the letter that the authors sent. We’ll give you just one paragraph, and then you can click over there to read it all:
Asking About Life is an award-winning college-level biology textbook. It has been reviewed by more than two hundred biologists from nearly every state in the union. It is considered an exemplary science textbook. Like many other schools and school districts, Knox County selected it for use by Knox County students.
If the news of the board’s decision gets reported — and we’re confident that it will be — your Curmudgeon will let you know. Stay tuned to this blog.
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