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Wed Apr 11, 2012, 09:06 AM

TN Governor Signs Law Protecting Creationist, Denialist Science Teachers And Their "Theories"

Tennessee enacted a law Tuesday that critics contend allows public school teachers to challenge climate change and evolution in their classrooms without fear of sanction.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam allowed the controversial measure to become law without his signature and, in a statement, expressed misgivings about it. Nevertheless, he ignored pleas from educators, parents and civil libertarians to veto the bill. The law does not require the teaching of alternatives to scientific theories of evolution, climate change and "the chemical origins of life." Instead, it aims to prevent school administrators from reining in teachers who expound on alternative hypotheses to those topics.

The measure's primary sponsor, Republican state Sen. Bo Watson, said it was meant to give teachers the clarity and security to discuss alternative ideas to evolution and climate change that students may have picked up at home and want to explore in class.

"I am glad that the governor recognized that this bill does not do all of the things that its critics have alleged," Watson said Tuesday. "It does not change the state's science curriculum and it does not change how science is taught. Both of those assertions are red herrings." The bill's critics, which include the Tennessee Science Teachers Assn. and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, counter that teachers currently have no problem addressing unconventional ideas and challenges that students bring up. They argue, instead, that the measure gives legal cover to teachers to introduce pseudoscientific ideas.

EDIT

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-tennessee-climate-law-20120411,0,665705.story

As on of the comments on the story notes, "Stay stupid, America!"

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply TN Governor Signs Law Protecting Creationist, Denialist Science Teachers And Their "Theories" (Original post)
hatrack Apr 2012 OP
Ecumenist Apr 2012 #1
d_r Apr 2012 #2
d_r Apr 2012 #3
LiberalFighter Apr 2012 #5
d_r Apr 2012 #8
Viking12 Apr 2012 #9
LiberalFighter Apr 2012 #4
bongbong Apr 2012 #6
EC Apr 2012 #7

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 09:10 AM

1. I would snatch my kid out of that school so fast, sparks would fly, I swear to God. We're turning

into a nation of mouth breathing, knuckle-dragging troglodytes! I'm a Christian but I DO NOT BELIEVE in not teaching science. Good grief, what the hell is wrong with these people? This isn't going to help our forward movement and we're erasing our own footprint in an ever increasing world of technology.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 09:13 AM

2. this is the same Tn. legislature

that wants to put limits to teacher tenure. That's what boggles my mind. They codify a law to protect "teacher's freedom of speech" in one narrow area and turn around to take away protections in all others. What is not clear to me is this: does this law allow a teacher to openly challenge creationist beliefs? The way it is worded, I think it does. I would love a teacher to test that out.

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Response to d_r (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 09:21 AM

3. "Here's a science lesson on why Noah's Ark is completely absurd"

I'm not going to wikipedia to track down the actual numbers, but couldn't a teacher now have a unit that explains there are X number of species of insects, Y of reptiles, Z of mammals, etc. that would have had to be on that ark, that the volume of water needed to cover mt. everest is absurd, that all the marsupials would have somehow had to make it from Australia and back again without leaving any tracks, etc., etc. and be protected under this law?

The point I am trying to make is, doesn't this law allow teachers to openly put on a full out attack on creationist myths?

Here is the text of the Bill-


BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10, is amended by
adding the following as a new, appropriately designated section:
(a) The general assembly finds that:
(1) An important purpose of science education is to inform students about
scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary
to becoming intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens;
(2) The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to,
biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human
cloning, can cause controversy; and
(3) Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how
they should present information on such subjects.
(b) The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school
governing authorities, directors of schools, school system administrators, and public
elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to create
an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages
students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical
thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about
controversial issues.
(c) The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school
governing authorities, directors of schools, school system administrators, and public
HB0368
00242666
-1-
elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to assist
teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses
scientific controversies. Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students
understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths
and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being
taught.
(d) Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary
school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or any
public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit any
teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand,
analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific
weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.
(e) This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not
be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination
for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination
for or against religion or non-religion.

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Response to d_r (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 10:01 AM

5. This section only protects the teaching of scientific information?

Then how can they teach creationism?

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 11:02 AM

8. they can't

The fear is that they could say that "intelligent design" is "scientific information."

But you could certainly introduce "ID" and explain how it is not scientific and use that as a tool to foster critical thinking - e.g., evaluating psuedo-science.

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:34 PM

9. From legislator's comments, it's pretty clear what the intent is...

The legislation's wording came to Mr. Dunn from David Fowler, a former legislator who is now president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, Mr. Dunn said. The council is a socially conservative public-policy group associated with Focus on the Family, based in Colorado. The wording of the bill comes from a template created by the Discovery Institute, a think tank in Seattle that questions evolution and promotes the concept of "intelligent design."

Evolution is the theory that generations of animal and plant species alter and transform over time in response to changes in their environment and circumstances, a process known as natural selection.

"Intelligent Design" is the proposition that scientific evidence exists to show that life in its multitudinous forms was caused by the direction of a higher intelligence.

Louisiana and Mississippi have passed similar legislation in previous years, and state science standards in seven other states now allow teachers to question evolution, according to the Discovery Institute. Under current Tennessee state curriculum standards, students have to know evolutionary theory and supporting evidence and no other explanation is considered, said Mr. Fowler of the Family Council. He said his group, with "roots in a Judeo-Christian worldview," wants teachers to be allowed to counter the view that "evolution explains everything."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304072004577326060629555968.html?KEYWORDS=tennessee+is+lab+for+national


Someone should remind these clowns about Kitzmiller v. Dover...

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 09:59 AM

4. Aren't the teachers given a contract to teach specific subjects

within parameters?

Do high school accreditation organizations take points away when assessing a school? Such as teaching false doctrines? I meant false science beliefs.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 10:15 AM

6. Result

 

A further drop in the test scores of America vs. the rest of the world.

Followed by, of course, blaming the result on "evil libruls!" and "taking religion and morals out of the classroom!"

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 10:37 AM

7. Protecting them from what?

Or is this another case of victimhood? Just because everyone tells them they are stupid, they feel they are victims.

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