Tennessee Creationism Bill Passes Legislature

In Tennessee it’s about to be official: They ain’t no kin to no monkeys.

Celebrations are everywhere. The retardates are rejoicing and the hardware stores are running out of torches and pitchforks. Old-timers are reminiscing about the good old days of the Butler Act and the Scopes Trial. Students are going wild at Bryan College, located in Dayton where the trial was held, and named in honor of William Jennings Bryan, one of the world’s biggest blowhards and idiots.

Our last post on this topic was Tennessee’s 2012 Creationism Bill Passes Senate. Now the thing has passed the House, and it’s on the way to the Governor to be signed into law. In the Knoxville News Sentinel we read: Evolution bill heading to Gov. Haslam. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A House vote Monday night sends to Gov. Bill Haslam a bill that has inspired a controversy the governor says he knows little about.

[…]

Sponsors say it will encourages development of “critical thinking skills” by students. Critics say it encourages discussions of creationism as an alternative to evolution.

Yes, “critical thinking skills.” If you don’t understand the meaning of that coded phrase, see What Is “Critical Thinking”? Okay, back to the news:

Final approval came when the House voted 72-23 to concur in a Senate amendment to the bill, Sponsor Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, simply said the amendment clarifies that the science discussions must occur “within the framework of the curriculum” established by the Board of Education.

That’s nice. The story ends with this encouraging bit of information:

So far in his tenure, Haslam has signed every bill sent to him by the General Assembly.

As you can imagine, the Discoveroids are thrilled. They’ve just posted Tennessee Legislature Passes Landmark Academic Freedom on Evolution Bill, which says:

By a vote of 72-23, Tennessee’s House of Representatives today passed an academic freedom bill that would protect teachers and school districts who wish to promote critical thinking and objective discussion about controversial science issues such as biological evolution, climate change and human cloning.

So there you are. It’s all up to the Governor now. Will Tennessee join with Louisiana to become the second state in the US to enact one of these crazy laws? Yes, they probably will. It won’t be much longer until we find out.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Tennessee Creationism Bill Passes Legislature

  1. “Protect” teachers. I do not believe that word means what they think it means!

    The only people “protected” are the cowardly legislators who will not be dragged through the court during the inevitable lawsuit, nor will they be liable for court costs, etc. It should be a crime to set a Dover Trap.

  2. The trend seems to indicate one of these “critical analysis” creationism bills will eventually be implemented at the state level and then tested in the courts.

  3. Kudos to Tennessee. Now Louisiana is not alone in being the stupidest state in the Union. We were feeling kinda bad down here. Now we can spread the stupid around. I wonder if Haslam is going to get a congratulatory note from Jindal?

  4. Tripp in Georgia

    So, now it’s going to be legal in Tennessee for a science teacher to point-out that ‘creationism’ is not science but is religious nonsense.

    I’d love to get in on this teaching creationism. We could spend a couple of days studying a dozen creation myths and use our critical thinking to conclude that none of them appear to be true. Then we could spend months reviewing the tons of supporting evidence for biological evolution.

    Someone is going to turn this law on its head.

  5. Tripp in Georgia: “We could spend a couple of days studying a dozen creation myths…”

    That would be inappropriate for science class, but if the scam artists truly wanted to promote critical thinking, they’d be demanding this as a “supplement,” and would be fine with students learning it in a non-science class, while letting those who actually earn the right to determine what is taught in science class call the shots there. The problem is that those who pretend to support “academic freedom” are effectively censoring critical information that students need to know after hearing all those misleading sound bites.

    The irony is that I’m getting as annoyed with our side as I am with the scam artists. We keep letting them frame it as whether or not we advocate censorship, when it is in reality they they who do. Also, we need to stop obsessing over the religion aspect. That’s the courts’ job, and so far they are doing it well. Our job is to show people that the scam artists are hell-bent on misleading them about science – at taxpayer expense, no less! And given that the % that have doubts about evolution is more than double the % that is hopelessly addicted to a literal Genesis, I would say that we have been doing our job quite poorly.

  6. aturingtest

    Tripp in Georgia says: “Someone is going to turn this law on its head.” Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head? Surely there must be one science teacher in TN who would do just as Tripp suggests, and be able to justifiably say: “but the law allows exactly what I did!” After all, then it WOULD be, as Frank J says, the creationists who are censoring, not science. And it could be done without reference to religion- just pointing out bad science.

  7. aturingtest: “After all, then it WOULD be, as Frank J says, the creationists who are censoring, not science.”

    It already is the “creationists” (anti-evolution activists, if not their scammed followers) who are hell-bent on censoring. Students are already free to learn all the anti-evolution arguments they want on their own time and their parents’ dime. No “evolutionist” would dream of depriving them of that. What the scam artists want to do is feed them with as many misleading sound bites as they can, as early as they can, at taxpayer expense, and have that material replace material that has actually earned the right to be taught. Some of the more curious students will “smell a rat” and dig deeper to find out that they have been scammed, but that will be a small minority, probably more than offset by budding scam artists who will learn the value of peddling pseudoscience.

  8. Frank J: I think I worded my comment badly. It was meant to be in response to your “[w]e keep letting them frame it as whether or not we advocate censorship, when it is in reality they they who do” from your first post. All I meant to say was that a hypothetical situation such as Tripp suggests would make clear that it’s NOT we who do the censoring, but them- it would change the frame you see existing to the reality you want.

  9. I wonder what they would think if teachers used the criticial thinking bill to talk about abortion?

  10. Abortion is way off topic for us.

  11. I know I am a bit late, but I live in Tennessee. After it passed, one of my extra-circular classes (Anatomy and Physiology) often had debates regarding evolution, abortion, and Creationism. I think it is complete rubbish and the only reason he didn’t sign it is because it would likely make him look less Conservative. Which is popular by many, but there are many independents as well.