Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Tennessean of Nashville, Tennessee. It’s titled No ‘radical’ Christian agenda found in science education bill.
The subject of the letter is the latest creationism bill in Tennessee, about which we last wrote here: Tennessee’s 2012 Creationism Bill Passes Senate. The bill, drafted by the Discovery Institute, has been getting national attention, including here from the Wall Street Journal and here from the New York Times. The only favorable reporting is from the Discoveroids (see News Media Going Ape with Misinformation about Tennessee Academic Freedom Bill).
As you would expect, the Discoveroids narrowly focus on the carefully crafted weasel words in the legislation, like the laughable instructions to the judiciary that it “shall not be construed” to have a religious purpose, and that it’s only about presenting “scientific” material — such as the foolishness they themselves conjure up about “irreducible complexity” and all the rest of it.
That’s the background for today’s letter. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:
The Tennessean has described Senate Bill 893 as part of a “radically divisive, ultra-conservative Christian agenda.”
That’s probably a reference to this editorial from a few days ago: Evolution ‘debate’ bill is religion, poorly disguised. It’s rather good. Here’s a sample:
Does anybody think that Senate Bill 0893, as amended, is really about making our children smarter, more intelligent and better critical thinkers? No, not on any side of this argument. This bill is about wedging open a door to include a radically divisive, ultra-conservative Christian agenda disguised in politically correct language.
Okay, back to today’s letter:
Not being familiar with this “dark age” legislation, I looked it up and found that it calls for an educational environment that “encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion.”
In addition, the legislation specifically “protects the teaching of scientific information and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine.”
Lordy, lordy. We’re supposed to believe that the letter-writer is a total innocent, an absolute newcomer to the controversy, who never heard of any of these issues before, and who just happened to read the proposed legislation and is totally snowed by it. You do believe that the letter-writer is sincere, don’t you? It must be so, because his letter sounds so much like the Discoveroids’ defense of this legislation, and we know the Discoveroids are also sincere. Yes, it’s obvious that this is an entirely spontaneous letter to the editor, and any similarity to the arguments used by Discoveroids is a natural coincidence. Let’s read on:
I don’t know if this legislation is necessary, but I suspect even Darwin would encourage critical thinking and respect other opinions even if they did not blindly follow all of his 19th-century extrapolation.
Yes — even Darwin would favor this legislation! Let’s skip to the end:
Critical thinking about creation should not exclude scientific thought that includes the Creator. That is common sense, not some radical Christian agenda.
We always wondered what “critical thinking” was. Now we know that it’s scientific thoughts about the Creator.
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