By now you know that Tennessee is halfway to enacting a creationism law. See Tennessee Creationism Bill Passed in the House.
Despite the insanely lopsided House vote of 70 to 23 in favor of the creationism bill, there is a strange restraint being exhibited 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 uncharacteristic lack of gloating is in striking contrast to their wild, unrestrained rejoicing over their victory regarding a similar bill in Louisiana back in 2008 (see Discovery Institute — Ecstasy Over Louisiana).
The Discoveroids’ subdued reaction can be seen in this post at their creationist blog: Tennessee House Passes Academic Freedom Bill by 70-23 Vote. It’s by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. He discusses an interview he gave about the situation, about which he isn’t happy. Casey says, with bold font added by us:
As regards creationism, I explained that multiple courts have found that creationism is a religious viewpoint and illegal to teach in public schools. Since the bill does not protect the teaching of religion, critics are wrong to claim that creationism could come under the law.
But that’s not the way Livingston Parish School Board officials understood a very similar law passed in Louisiana (see Louisiana Creationism: World-Class Idiocy). The Discoveroids are trying to prevent that kind of damage in advance. Let’s read on:
[T]he bill only protects instruction concerning “existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” Evolution is part of the curriculum in every school district in every state, including Tennessee, and is covered in every high school biology course. Thus evolution comes under the bill, and when teachers teach evolution they can teach it objectively.
On the other hand, intelligent design is not presently part of the curriculum in any school district, including Tennessee, and is not covered in any biology classes in Tennessee. Thus ID does not come under the bill.
That sounds nice, but no one believes it. If this bill doesn’t further the Discoveroids’ mission, then why did they write it and hand it to the activist who gave it to the bill’s sponsor in the legislature? (About that little detail, see Lauri Lebo on Tennessee in “Scientific American”.) Notwithstanding Casey’s disclaimer, everyone knows that if this bill becomes law, any teacher in Tennessee who wants to teach creationism will feel no restraint whatsoever. Casey continues:
The bill only protects topics that are already covered in the curriculum, and it does not permit teachers to introduce entirely new theories that aren’t already covered in the course. But if a theory is already covered in the curriculum, as is the case with evolution, then teachers are protected if they choose to teach the both scientific strengths and weaknesses.
There it is. The “strengths and [imaginary] weaknesses” of evolution will be taught. Those “weaknesses” are the whole long-debunked catalog of creationist arguments. That’s what it’s all about.
The only reason for the tone of Casey’s post is to prevent a jubilant cry of victory (from the bill’s actual author) from becoming evidence in court. Those who will inevitably challenge Tennessee’s creationism law will be watching for such things. Despite Casey’s guarded performance today, there will be plenty of evidence to expose the law’s purpose. So the Discoveroids might as well celebrate. It won’t make any difference.
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