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What are your thoughts

Posted by on Apr. 4, 2012 at 2:16 PM
Ida
  • 8 Replies

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee, where the nation's first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago, is close to enacting a law that critics deride as the "monkey bill" for once again attacking the scientific theory.

The measure passed by the Tennessee General Assembly would protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said this week he would likely sign it into law.

Haslam said the State Board of Education has told him the measure won't affect the state's current scientific curriculum for primary, middle or high school students. Louisiana enacted a similar law in 2008.

"I think the one thing about that bill is this: Nothing about the curriculum of the state of Tennessee will change, and the scientific standards won't change," he said. "So I think some of the discussion about its impact has probably been overblown."

The bill says it would encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique "scientific weaknesses."

Scientists in Tennessee and the American Association for the Advancement of Science are asking Haslam to veto the bill, saying that evolution is established science that shouldn't be taught as a controversy.

"The Tennessee legislature is doing the unbelievable: attempting to roll the clock back to 1925 by attempting to insert religious beliefs in the teaching of science," three Tennessee scientists wrote in an op-ed column in The Tennessean.

The three writers hold doctorate degrees and are members of the National Academy of Sciences: Roger D. Cone and Jon Kaas of Vanderbilt University and Robert G. Webster of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They argue that the law is unnecessary and likely to provide expensive legal fights and hurt the economy in Tennessee, which is home to Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Tennessee Education Association called the bill a distraction from the most pressing education issues in the state.

"I think at a time when we're trying to put a focus on science, math, education; to pass something like this really sends a signal that the state is going backward instead of forward," TEA lobbyist Jerry Winters said. " ... They're avoiding the real problems in education by dealing with some of these emotional hot-button issues."

The state held the famous Scopes "monkey trial" in 1925 in Dayton, Tenn., and opponents of the legislation say evolution is still under attack in 2012.

School teacher John Scopes was convicted of violating state statute by teaching evolution in biology class and fined him $100. The Tennessee Supreme Court overturned it on a technicality a year later. In 1967, Tennessee's anti-evolution law was revoked.

Some believe the bill could open the door for religious teaching in the classroom. The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee asked the governor to veto it.

State ACLU executive director Hedy Weinberg said allowing students to critique "scientific weaknesses" is language frequently used by those seeking to introduce non-scientific ideas like creationism and intelligent design into science curriculum.

"No one doubts the value of critical thinking to any serious course of scientific study, but this legislation is not truly aimed at developing students' critical thinking skills," she wrote.

House sponsor Bill Dunn, a Knoxville Republican, said the proposal states that it is "not ... construed to promote religion."

"What the bill says is that as long as you stick to objective scientific facts, then you can bring that into play," the Knoxville Republican said. "So if students start asking questions or if there's debate on it, it's not a one-sided debate. But it is a fair debate, in that it's objective scientific facts that are brought forward."

by on Apr. 4, 2012 at 2:16 PM
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fantasticfour
by Grumpy on Apr. 4, 2012 at 2:31 PM
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My thoughts are to allow students to use critical thinking when it involves the world around them.  To question, to allow to be questioned, and to strive to prove their beliefs.  There is nothing wrong with teaching evolution, but to a child who is told that there is no other alternative is having their religious beliefs infringed upon much more than a "moment of silence" would bring.  They are being told their entire religion is wrong and they shouldn't believe it. 

Besides that, the critical thinking involved will prompt students to discuss and therefore learn more about the curriculum than they would normally learn by just memorizing vocabulary words and key facts.

atlmom2
by Susie on Apr. 4, 2012 at 2:59 PM

All I have to say its I really really hate the ACLU.  They butt their butts into everything on the liberal sides usually.  This issue I d'nt care one way or the other.  I am not like the Duggars that think dinosaurs are only 6000 years old, ROFL.  Science proves that.  Also look at the Grand Canyon.  Do the Duggars really think it was made in 6000 years only, ROFL.  I just hate the ACLU.  I really do. 

atlmom2
by Susie on Apr. 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM

I thought it was freedom of religion but lately its really gotten to be freedom from religion. 

02nana07
by Ida on Apr. 13, 2012 at 9:36 PM

 well said

Quoting fantasticfour:

My thoughts are to allow students to use critical thinking when it involves the world around them.  To question, to allow to be questioned, and to strive to prove their beliefs.  There is nothing wrong with teaching evolution, but to a child who is told that there is no other alternative is having their religious beliefs infringed upon much more than a "moment of silence" would bring.  They are being told their entire religion is wrong and they shouldn't believe it. 

Besides that, the critical thinking involved will prompt students to discuss and therefore learn more about the curriculum than they would normally learn by just memorizing vocabulary words and key facts.

 

02nana07
by Ida on Apr. 13, 2012 at 9:37 PM

 point taken

Quoting atlmom2:

All I have to say its I really really hate the ACLU.  They butt their butts into everything on the liberal sides usually.  This issue I d'nt care one way or the other.  I am not like the Duggars that think dinosaurs are only 6000 years old, ROFL.  Science proves that.  Also look at the Grand Canyon.  Do the Duggars really think it was made in 6000 years only, ROFL.  I just hate the ACLU.  I really do. 

 

02nana07
by Ida on Apr. 13, 2012 at 9:41 PM

 I know I taught my boys and we went to the courthouse where they had the scopes trial since it is walking distance from my house and we studied the bible. 

I feel like the schools where better when they had bible class as an option kids weren't forced but most chose to take it.

Quoting atlmom2:

I thought it was freedom of religion but lately its really gotten to be freedom from religion. 

 

PinkieRed
by on Apr. 14, 2012 at 6:40 PM
My kids have always been in Catholic schools, and I went to Catholic schools myself.

But I/they studied evolution in science, and creationism in religion class. I believe in God, but I also believe in evolution.

Now, if a teacher is going to teach in a public school, where the curriculum states that evolution must be taught however, then I think the teacher should abide by the rules, and teach evolution regardless of his or her personal religious beliefs.

If a teacher is unwilling or unable to follow the state mandated science curriculum, maybe he or she would be better off taking a teaching job at a religious school that's in line with his or her beliefs.
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fammatthews4
by Trisha on Apr. 14, 2012 at 6:44 PM
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I agree with this. I also went to a catholic school and like you was taught both evolutionism and creationism, it was left up to me to decide what I believed in.

Quoting PinkieRed:

My kids have always been in Catholic schools, and I went to Catholic schools myself.



But I/they studied evolution in science, and creationism in religion class. I believe in God, but I also believe in evolution.



Now, if a teacher is going to teach in a public school, where the curriculum states that evolution must be taught however, then I think the teacher should abide by the rules, and teach evolution regardless of his or her personal religious beliefs.



If a teacher is unwilling or unable to follow the state mandated science curriculum, maybe he or she would be better off taking a teaching job at a religious school that's in line with his or her beliefs.
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