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Tennessee Passes Bill That Allows "Teaching the Controversy" of Evolution

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the inherit-the-wind-II dept.

Education 1108

Layzej writes "The Tennessee Senate has passed a bill that allows teachers to 'teach the controversy' on evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects. Critics have called it a 'monkey bill' that promotes creationism in classrooms. In a statement sent to legislators, eight members of the National Academy of Science said that, in practice, the bill will likely lead to 'scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution.' and that 'By undermining the teaching of evolution in Tennessee's public schools, HB368 and SB893 would miseducate students, harm the state's national reputation, and weaken its efforts to compete in a science-driven global economy.'"

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1108 comments

There's Your Problem Right There (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430081)

The Senate approved a bill Monday evening that deals with teaching of evolution and other scientific theories ...

Well, there's your problem, right there. The overall concept of evolution is no longer a theory. Surely even the staunchest of Creationists must acknowledge the so called "short-term" evolution that gives us the ability to manipulate plants or breed wolves into dogs.

Yes, as with most fields, a long time ago there were sets of theories. Like prior to Watson and Crick, back when you had Darwinian Evolution, Larmarckian Evolution, etc. Not anymore though. You might have theories about very specific things in the field that might be impossible to prove -- like, say, what the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA) looked like -- but Evolution is no longer a theory. The field moves forward while Tennessee makes themselves look like idiots from some forgotten era.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430151)

This isn't about the facts.

I mean the creationist counter argument is that it contradicts a bunch of fairy tales written thousands of years ago by sand people.

You aren't going to be able to get the idea of evolution through that brainwashed blank stare they throw up when you start talking about science.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430261)

Exactly. A friend of mine went to high school in Georgia. The biology teacher was legally required to teach evolution. Here's how she taught it.

"Today, I'm legally required to teach evolution. We all believe in Jesus, right? OK, next topic."

I doubt the Tenesee law will change much in the classroom, merely decriminalize common behavior.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430285)

Actually creationists have many counterarguments. You picked one of the more intelligent ones.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430375)

This isn't about the facts.

I mean the creationist counter argument is that it contradicts a bunch of fairy tales written thousands of years ago by sand people.

You aren't going to be able to get the idea of evolution through that brainwashed blank stare they throw up when you start talking about science.

Am I the only person who read "sand people" and immediately thought of the deserts of Tatooine *hoooooooark hoark hoark*?

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Interesting)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430533)

Perhaps creationism has a place in a course on logic (eg. ontological, prime mover etc). I think to ensure freedom of religion or at least to keep the schools free from a biased view of religion it needs to be not only from the christian standpoint and more of an academic course rather than just a "we are a christian society and this is what christian's should believe" kind of course. I see nothing wrong with teaching religion as part of history, logic/philosophy, etc. It is a massive part of society. Even atheists often point to religious objects (churches, vatican, paintings etc) as being some of the finest works of art. It would be a shame to ignore the background of everything and just look at the paintings as pretty pictures. So much of the field was controlled by the church funding it, people's rather dreary look at the human state etc that the (mostly Catholic) church instilled in people in the 14-19th centuries. Similarly with science: we can't ignore the fact that these ideas had huge impact as to how people view themselves in relation to the universe and that there are still a large number of people that reject the ideas outright, or would modify them to include that God controls evolution to serve His purpose.

Separating the church from the state doesn't necessarily everyone in the state needs to remain ignorant of things religious just that the state shouldn't be controlled by the church(shrine, temple, insert whatever name you use for whatever building you consider sacred). I think the state has no place to say which religion is right but teaching facts about a religion and its place in history and culture? No problem there IMHO.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (4, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430611)

There are classes on religion and that's where this stuff belongs. A class on science has no business talking about religion.

And really this whole freedom of religion is really just that the government shall establish no state religion. Not that religions should have free reign to do whatever the hell they want.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (4, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430169)

On the contrary, science has always touted the fact that everything it discovers as theory.
This allows people to attempt to disprove it until accepted.
So, things that we take as fact "sun is center of our galaxy", "earth is round", is now a proven theory. But in essence, still a theory.
It is one thing I have admired about the scientific community, always allowing scrutiny of the ideas and findings.
This is why I think the summaries counter arguments against the bill are the wrong way to go about it. I would challenge people to find proof against the theory.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430297)

Should be "sun is center of our solar system"

Sorry.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430349)

Sorry.

Don't worry about it Flyerman ... er ... jhoegl ... ?

In theory, how many accounts do you have? Enough to that you were flipping through them to mod yourself up as far as you could when you noticed your error?

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (4, Funny)

C0R1D4N (970153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430305)

So, things that we take as fact "sun is center of our galaxy", "earth is round", is now a proven theory. But in essence, still a theory.

Sun center of our galaxy, huh? I see someone went to school on Tennessee

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430363)

On the contrary, science has always touted the fact that everything it discovers as theory.

Discoveries are not theories. Theories are models which attempt to explain discoveries. Evolution is one such model which attempts to explain the discovered speciation.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430473)

So the Law of Gravity is a theory? There is a theory about why it works, but that is separate from the Law of how it works.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (3, Funny)

leifb (451760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430543)

"sun is center of our galaxy"

I suggest you zoom your view-port out a bit more; You're in for a surprise

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430635)

...science has always touted the fact that everything it discovers as theory.

Well, that's not entirely true. Things always start out as a theory, but once it has reached a certain level of certainty and repeatability, it is usually referred to as a law ('The law of gravity', etc.)

The great thing about science is that it is willing to look at just about anything that might overturn even something as concrete as a law... but you better have some proof to back it up. And the bible doesn't count as proof.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (1)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430171)

The Senate approved a bill Monday evening that deals with teaching of evolution and other scientific theories ...

Well, there's your problem, right there. The overall concept of evolution is no longer a theory. Surely even the staunchest of Creationists must acknowledge the so called "short-term" evolution that gives us the ability to manipulate plants or breed wolves into dogs. Yes, as with most fields, a long time ago there were sets of theories. Like prior to Watson and Crick, back when you had Darwinian Evolution, Larmarckian Evolution, etc. Not anymore though. You might have theories about very specific things in the field that might be impossible to prove -- like, say, what the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA) looked like -- but Evolution is no longer a theory. The field moves forward while Tennessee makes themselves look like idiots from some forgotten era.

They're like the animals isolated in the Galapagos Islands ? They're still in the 1800's intelligence wise in Tennessee ?

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (4, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430197)

"Surely even the staunchest of Creationists must acknowledge the so called "short-term" evolution that gives us the ability to manipulate plants or breed wolves into dogs. " - the standard creationist reply to this would be that they accept "micro evolution" (natural selection and adaption) but that they don't accept "macro evolution" (the ability for one species to evolve into another). Scientifically, there's no meaningful distinction between the two - it's only a difference of degree, not kind.

Most creationists do not accept the existence of beneficial mutations. (They argue that adaption only brings out attributes that already have some preexisting genetic basis, and that no new beneficial alleles can be created)

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (1)

Quanticfx (2443904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430383)

Most creationists do not accept the existence of beneficial mutations. (They argue that adaption only brings out attributes that already have some preexisting genetic basis, and that no new beneficial alleles can be created)

Do they also refute the existence of non-beneficial mutations?

I don't have much knowledge on the subject and I'm probably wrong, but can't the existence of mutations can be proved through experimentation?

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Informative)

wasabii (693236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430315)

Evolution is still a theory. And a fact. The terms aren't exclusive.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Informative)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430465)

Grandparent is misusing the word "theory" in exactly the same way the creationists do. Hint: is isn't synonymous with "notion" or "hypothesis".

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430603)

Evolution is a fact. The theory of natural slection is our best explenation of this fact.

There is no controversy.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430327)

The Senate approved a bill Monday evening that deals with teaching of evolution and other scientific theories ...

Well, there's your problem, right there. The overall concept of evolution is no longer a theory. Surely even the staunchest of Creationists must acknowledge the so called "short-term" evolution that gives us the ability to manipulate plants or breed wolves into dogs. Yes, as with most fields, a long time ago there were sets of theories. Like prior to Watson and Crick, back when you had Darwinian Evolution, Larmarckian Evolution, etc. Not anymore though. You might have theories about very specific things in the field that might be impossible to prove -- like, say, what the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA) looked like -- but Evolution is no longer a theory. The field moves forward while Tennessee makes themselves look like idiots from some forgotten era.

^^^Needs some mod points^^^^ . I support their willingness to look the fool as long as they don't try to get into politics.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (0, Flamebait)

Mongo T. Oaf (2600419) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430407)

Everyone I know, including myself, who has spent time in Tenn., claims there might be something mentally wrong with the people there. Water supply, incest, basic EDUCATION, whatever. We don't ever want to go back, except maybe Memphis BBQ. Nashville is full of "Country Music singer wannabees" who are in la-la land. I think Tennessee needs to update their education system to at least the 20th century.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430453)

I think evolution is plausible for short-generational changes. I do not believe the human body 'evolved' from the primate body over a long period of time.

I ultimately believe human bodies were created, not generated and not evolved. The seagull can evolve territorial markers on the feathers/skin, but that doesn't mean what is now a seagull was once a fish.

Who crafted the human body and why is a subject of great tumulation. I don't believe 'it's God', nor that you should give your soul in homage to such creation. I also believe Why? is a powerful question.

Can you straddle the line between God and Evolution and seek a path with elements of both? Can you recognize the ability to both think critically (with logic) and artistically (with illogical means, intuition, and symbol) on the subject? It appears to me that these folks want to encourage this practice amongst students. And I'm all for it, discussion and retrospection, as opposed to one side of a debate refusing to sit down at the table to discuss.

The worst-learned lessons in schooling are rote and memorization, this is the way things are because they are. Your ability to question and deny firm convictions is far more useful in the 'wide world', in my opinion, than 'this is the way it is and take it as law' ever was. And we owe it to the youth to allow this. I support the teaching of controversy in a subject.

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430609)

That is some sweet trolling right there. As a fellow anonymous coward, all I can say is, "Bravo".

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (5, Insightful)

gratuitous_arp (1650741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430469)

When scientists say "theory" they mean something different than what most other people think of when they use the word. "Theory" is used in the "I'm pretty sure the thing I'm typing on is a keyboard, but I could be hallucinating and giving my cat, Whiskers, a backrub" sense. It's the best information that humans have, but we are humble enough to permit the idea that there is something unknown about the subject that could, if someday discovered by research, invalidate it.

It's correct to call evolution a scientific theory, people just don't understand why the word "theory" is used here and it gets misused into making evolution look less like "the only game in town."

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430491)

The problem with a young earth creationist, is his faith is based on the absurd idea that the bible is literal in on all counts, infallible on all counts (usually specifically the KJV translation), and anyone who dares say otherwise is trying to destroy their faith.

Your average young earth creationist's theology is laughably simplistic and he or she lacks any knowledge of the history of the church, the science of textual criticism or even basic literary device. This is the type of person who probably failed English literature at school. You can not even reason with these people. These single issue fanatics place their faith in their theories, not in God, and as a Christian, I find that extremely disturbing. I personally have no problem with the idea of evolution at all, and know a lot of Christians who don't either or simply don't care. But then I luckily do not have to live in America. They'd probably lynch me for a heretic... :)

Re:There's Your Problem Right There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430637)

Evolution is a theory. If you pretend to speak for science, at least get your terminology right. No sane scientist would claim evolution as fact. Observations are facts, at best. We do not observe evolution on the scale that is relevant to the discussion. Schools obviously need to do a better job teaching the foundations, methods and terminology of science.

The problem isn't what schools can or cannot talk about. The problem is whether schools educate or indoctrinate. I could turn your kid into a dangerous psychopath with nothing but science, if I wanted to. I could do the same with nothing but religion. The most efficient tool that indoctrinators have is shutting out the world when teaching their "ideas" (hence the attractiveness of home schooling to some sections of the population). If you really want to prevent that from happening, require student exchanges and teleteaching with random schools from other states.

Finite wisdom of a state legislature (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430083)

Why do politicians think they know more than scientists about reaching biology? They're wrong on this one... to much science to say evolution happened and the only support the creationists have is one book that's proven to be mostly fiction. If Adam and Eve were the first humans, then who wrote the biblical story?

Re:Finite wisdom of a state legislature (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430167)

Because all those scientist are elitist.

Re:Finite wisdom of a state legislature (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430439)

Because all those scientist are elitist.

If, "I have mountains of observational evidence for a well considered theory, you have magic stories, therefore we should not teach your silliness in a classroom as if it resembles science.", is elitist... then at least it's well founded elitism.

Here's to hoping that this absurd bit of legislation opens the door for good teachers to finally, openly hammer these ridiculous superstitions in the classroom, without fear of reprisal.

You wanted your batshit theories in the classroom, and went as far as to use government intervention to get it there? Fine. Now you have to deal with having its long list of scientific inadequacies laid bare before your children.

Obviously it was designed for state sanctioned religious indoctrination in our schools, but it just might have a silver lining.

Re:Finite wisdom of a state legislature (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430311)

Because to them, it isn't about science. It's about two things far more important to them. Religion, and willing popular support.

Re:Finite wisdom of a state legislature (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430343)

Not that I subscribe to Creationism, but your logic is flawed. By definition a story about some event cannot be written until after the event. So to say that somebody before Adam & Eve had to write the story about Adam and Eve is a flawed argument. Since the story of Adam and Even is not presented as a prophesy, but rather a story of what was, it was by definition written after the event (real or imagined).
To put in other terms, nobody can write a story about your life until after you are born, and lived some portion of that life.

This is what government education is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430421)

I'm astounded that everybody is so surprised at what happens in government education. Was there ANY doubt in your minds that government education -- meaning education mandated by politics -- would be forever beholden to politics?

Re:Finite wisdom of a state legislature (1)

Que914 (1042204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430651)

To borrow from Robert Heinlein, because of the false notion that Democracy means that my ignorance is just as valid as your knowledge.

Shouldn't the fine people of Tennessee... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430099)

...work on increasing the average number of teeth of its citizens instead of this? Say, from the current average of 6 to 14?

Just sayin'

Science should be taught in science class. (5, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430125)

Just as math should be taught in math class and so on. If you want to teach religion in a class dedicated to the subject, I'm OK with that. But it would need to cover ALL religions and beliefs, which I think people would throw the hissy fit to end all hissy fits over.

Re:Science should be taught in science class. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430487)

Darn, I'm having a rough day today. First, I got sent home from school for praying. Then later I got kicked out of Bible study for doing my calculus homework.

Well, tomorrow will be better. I'm going to get a bacon and cheese bagel at my favorite Kosher deli.

Re:Science should be taught in science class. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430549)

But it would need to cover ALL religions and beliefs, which I think people would throw the hissy fit to end all hissy fits over.

Only during Qu'ran Week.

*sigh* (2)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430127)

That education chalk board picture where 2+2=5 has never been seemed so relevant.

Some day, I'm hoping that all these retarded laws get bitch slapped back. Is it just that I'm young or are these people become more shrill and outspoken about this kind of idiocy? I'm only 25 and I'm hoping this is just a phase before we inevitably tell them all the shut the hell up and move on with things.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430183)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes_Trial

Re:*sigh* (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430335)

They should also start teaching the Biblically-correct value of pi, which is 3.0.

Seriously, go check 1 Kings 7:23, it's right there. Why is nobody teaching the controversy? Why are our children forced by the government into being indoctrinated in the non-integer value of pi that was popularized by some Greek pagan?

Re:*sigh* (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430379)

Sometimes 2 + 2 DOES equal 5. If you measure two values of 2.3 and 2.4, both measured to one significant digit, then individually you would call them 2 and 2. However, when you sum them, you would add the measured values (including the estimated decimal value). The result of the addition would be 4.7. You still only have one significant digit, so you have to round that value to 5. Thus, in some cases 2 + 2 = 5. A scientist needs to know how to take measurements and how to perform math on those measurements. Significant Digits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Significant_figures. Special thanks to Mr. Nance, my high school chemistry teacher.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430555)

"Significant figures" are a bad approximation of measurement accuracy, when you don't know the actual possible error in your measurement tools. It's stupid that we use them. Your point still stands, though.

The Tyranny of the (Localized) Majority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430129)

You Americans are truly fucked.

Re:The Tyranny of the (Localized) Majority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430205)

Don't confuse "Americans" with the bible belt.

Re:The Tyranny of the (Localized) Majority (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430239)

We won the civil war and are now stuck with them, they are as American as anyone.

Re:The Tyranny of the (Localized) Majority (3, Interesting)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430415)

In retrospect, can't we give them the option of succession? The new state of Northern Mexico would admittedly, increase border problems, but think of the tax savings! (http://www.flapolitics.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3311)

Re:The Tyranny of the (Localized) Majority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430489)

Much to our chagrin, yes, they are as American as anyone else. Just wish they would grow a pair and tell their preachers to stick to preaching and stay out of educating science.

Simple solution... (4, Interesting)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430133)

...require any science taught in schools to have a necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis.

Evolution qualifies, creationism doesn't.

Astronomy qualifies, astrology doesn't.

Oh, and FWIW, Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming *doesn't* qualify, unless of course some brave soul would like to make a clear falsifiable hypothesis statement for it :)

Re:Simple solution... (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430309)

What about an interdisciplinary course covering phrenology and alchemy. Then we could have gold dandruff!

Re:Simple solution... (2, Informative)

Laser Lou (230648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430385)

Oh, and FWIW, Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming *doesn't* qualify, unless of course some brave soul would like to make a clear falsifiable hypothesis statement for it :)

Rising temperatures are not falsifiable? Hmm..

Re:Simple solution... (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430559)

The non-falsifiable argument gets tossed around a lot and has never been explained to my satisfaction.
1. Average temperatures are rising
2. The rise in temperatures is due to so called 'greenhouse gasses'.
3. The increase in greenhouse gasses is caused by human action.
All of the above seems falsifiable to me. As are the corollary items such as number 1 causing changes in weather, melting of ice caps etc.

Re:Simple solution... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430509)

Global warming relies heavily on the greenhouse effect, that's falsifiable.

You won't get anything so simple that covers the entire global warming theory:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=385 [skepticalscience.com]

Sometimes people ask "what would it take to falsify the man-made global warming theory?". Well, basically it would require that our fundamental understanding of physics be wrong, because that's what the theory is based on. This fundamental physics has been scrutinized through scientific experiments for decades to centuries.

Re:Simple solution... (4, Insightful)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430523)

Global warming certainly qualifies by any realistic definition of a hypothesis. You might disagree with the hypothesis, but it's at least as falsifiable as Evolution.

Contributed to, at least in part, by human activity, a steady increase in global average temperature will have negative effects on the environment and human society at large.

It's possible that you're talking about some ridiculous exaggeration of that ("OMG we're all gonna burn up in flames because Tom's car only gets 12 MPG!!"), but GW is a pretty clear statement that has plenty of measurable criteria. You can be pedantic and demand exact definitions for human contribution, temperature increase, and whether negative effects are caused by the former, but all are still clearly testable.

It's most definitely science. Much of the disagreement about it comes on disputing the validity of data acquired and how it's interpreted. However, the fact that data is being acquired and interpreted, and the fact that it is under scrutiny, is what makes the entire process scientific and worthwhile in the first place.

Tennessee Universities (3, Insightful)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430139)

Call their bluff; announce an intent to entertain offers from other states to move their entire institutions, lock, stock, and intellectuals due to their services no longer being required by the state.

It's not just the Taliban that wants to go back to the 12th century.

Re:Tennessee Universities (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430511)

While that is unlikely to happen, for various reasons, it is quite possible that universities in other states could refuse to accept students from Tennessee schools. When state legislators are threatened with the prospect of not being able to send their precious spawn to Ivy League schools, they tend to modify their populist proposals.

Re:Tennessee Universities (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430629)

Read the bill [tn.gov] before you make such conjecture.

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.

Now, getting good teachers is another matter.

Correct stance wrong legislation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430175)

They should definitely allow teachers to question scientific theories and teach students to think critically USING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD. This bill unfortunately seems to allow psuedo science to be taught as science.
Instead they should have something like a program which teaches evolution by using evolutionary algorithms to show its limits and bring up issues with the darwinian theory and whether it is complete etc. same goes for global warming. teach the scientific method, teach the flaws in theories, teach how scientists can be wrong but also why its likely they are right and the religious "theories": wrong.

No controversy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430179)

There is no controversy on evolution, at least not among the people that matter.

diseases (0)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430201)

Creationists should be asked to be treated for 'unevolved' versions of their illnesses. Watch them backtrack reeeeeal quick on that one.

To be fair (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430213)

Students who are unable to argue against those who attempt to oppose evolution on an argumentative basis are unlikely to ever go anywhere in the scientific community anyways. In other words, if the bill allows teachers to point out the arguments against evolution, and allows the students the freedom to argue against the teacher for those arguments freely, then I do not see it as being a problem. However, in reality most teachers will just fail or severely down-grade students who disagree with them, and if the bill does not include provisions to prevent that (which I doubt it does) then it is a terrible idea.

Fill disclosure: I am religious, and I do believe evolution is a valid and highly probably scientific hypothesis (I don't want to say I "believe in" it, because it isn't a matter of faith, it is a matter of reason). The two things in no way contradict each other and anyone who claims they do doesn't know what they're talking about (most probably, doesn't know anything about either religion or science and their respective fields).

Financial Incentives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430247)

Here's a solution: Why don't companies commit to say: if you're from TN, we know you have a substandard education, ergo your resume is automatically rejected. That oughta get the message across the bow.

I've never understood... (2)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430253)

...why so many places make such a big deal about evolution.
I was taught it in school with no one complaining, and I grew up in the loony, backwards state of Texas.

Fine (5, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430265)

Let's start teaching holocaust denial in history class then. It's a "controversy" too, right? And any lessons that touch on recent events should also teach the "controversy" about 9/11 being an inside job. Chemistry lessons should be augmented by alchemy.

If all alternative points of view (including the batshit insane ones) are equally valid, you have to.

Re:Fine (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430459)

If all alternative points of view (including the batshit insane ones)

You mean... Christianity?

allowing something (-1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430281)

doesn't mean promoting it. It perhaps means that something other than one side of a debate gets thought. That said unless there is a significant debate in science about evolution it might not be the science class that it should be taught in. Perhaps a "world religions" course, history, etc. Again though if the law says that it allows something doesn't mean that the curriculum requires it (though in practical purposes in conservative areas it probably won't be a long time before it gets added).

Regardless, I don't see what is wrong in teaching kids both evolution and the evidence for or against it, and creationism and the evidence for or against it. People need to be encouraged to reason not just memorize whichever view we decide is "right" and cram down their throats.

Re:allowing something (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430499)

Regardless, I don't see what is wrong in teaching kids both evolution and the evidence for or against it, and creationism and the evidence for or against it. People need to be encouraged to reason not just memorize whichever view we decide is "right" and cram down their throats.

That's the whole point there *is* no evidence for or against Creationism - it's a made up story based on a work of fiction. It's not a scientific hypothesis that can be debated. It's a set of beliefs. Just like I believe there's an invisible pink unicorn in my garage. Shut up, there totally is! Prove that there isn't! You just have to take my word for it and believe that it is there.

The pros and cons of the theory of evolution, however (and the wider discussion about the Scientific Method) are suitable topics for discussion.

Theory Definition Disconnect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430283)

It seems that a lot of the ground that creationists stand on in this issue revolves around the issue of the word "theory." Simply, the disconnect between the scientific understanding of that term, versus the popular definition (which is more in line with the term "hypothesis") gives creationists a reasonable-sounding argument (to the scientifically ignorant). "Well, I disagree with it, and scientists even admit it is just a theory, so I want equal time in the classroom for my views." There is little to no understanding among the public that "theory" (as used in detective shows) usually means a logically-based assumption or prediction, whereas "theory" in science usually indicates a fairly substantial body of evidence to support a hypothesis. So, we need clearer terminology.

Of course, who gets the rights to the word "theory" here...

Stupidity. Not only is it not illegal... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430289)

...it'll be required in public school courses, by law. The trouble with some legislators is that they don't just vote, they're allowed to drive too.

Beat them at their own plan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430293)

Go ahead and teach the "controversy", but frame it that it is a "controversy" among those who cannot accept fact. Use the class to put the focus on the deniers.

Freedom of Stupid (2)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430317)

Meh...they want to pass a law like that in their own state, I say let them.

I mean, it's not like every state can have people that go off to college and become highly educated members of society. Someone has to build the cars, right? :)

Make a Class (1)

RocketChild (1397411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430351)

Why not just make a Bill that says science classes can teach things that deal with hypothesis, theory and proven ideas that have gone through the standard scientific method. And then make a non-science class as an elective that allows study of esoteric topics that have not gone through scientific methods. I'm sure the whole creationism thing would only take about a week to cover at most and I don't know what they would fill the rest of the semester with. But, I wish they would stop meddling with proven science and trying to cloud out the classroom with questionable information.

It would be ok if we always did it (3, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430357)

For instance, in Texas in history we need to teach the controversy of the Alamo. Have the kids research and debate if the heros of the Alamo were in fact primarily concerned with keeping slaver in the nation of texas, a basic right that would have taken away if Mexico's liberal no slavery policy were allowed to prevail.

There are many examples of this. In world history rather than focusing on wars, we could include the faith based authoritarian regimes and ask if faith has been used to create the oppress more than used to help the oppressed. Again, not take sides. Just have student read about the controversy in order to develop students better at problem solving.

We could do the same thing in literature, reading books that teach the controversy of religion, democracy, and capitalism.

My problem with teaching the controversy is that if I ask a christian why we have public school prayer when the bible prohibits it, they don't want to take about that controversy. So why are we taking about evolution when there is really nothing in the bible, or at the Christian testament, that prevents it from validity. Of course if they really wanted to pursue a controversy, they would be working on disavowing the trinity [miguelservet.org], something that no good protest, only the modern Catholics who follow the Council of Niceae, should believe.

Teaching in this state. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430365)

As a mathematics/science teacher in this fine state, I don't have a huge problem with this. I just made my students write a paper on Russell's Teapot, so I feel like I balanced it out.

But seriously, anybody that thinks these two pieces of paper mean anything...they don't. They say they allow for these things, doesn't mean we have to. And we won't.

What controversy? (0)

Raved Thrad (1864414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430371)

Isn't this more a religious argument ("That's not what my religious consultant tells me to believe, so there!") than any form of an attempt to teach both sides of the (non-existent) argument between evolution and mythology involving creation myths being treated as hard, solid fact? What's next, an attempt to legislate to 4, and attempts to make not going to church on Sunday punishable by death?

Could have been great (5, Insightful)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430387)

It's too bad they didn't do this properly. There ARE controversies in evolutionary theory. They're not controversies in whether or not evolution works, but there IS disagreement in the specific mechanisms of evolution. Punctuated equilibrium or phyletic gradualism? Duke it out! Teach those controversies!

Oh wait, I guess I'm asking for science to be taught in science class. My bad.

Why so scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430463)

Surely any good scientist can embrace debates and education around their evolution theories. In order to debate one must study and research both opinions. Are they scared students will discover flaws in their theory?? Creationists are under constant criticism over their theoretical "flaws" and I don't see them hiding behind politicians or sidestepping educated debates....

Let me get this straight... (1, Insightful)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430479)

So rather than using the tools of evolution, the students of Tennessee would learn to pray to god for a new vaccine?

And this is why government should butt out of... (1)

donleyp (745680) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430547)

... Education. Why is it we can individually choose everything important in our lives except who gets to teach our children and what curriculum they teach?!?

Great About Time (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430553)

Now teachers can address the controversy surrounding the existence of God if creationism come sup in the classroom.

Remember - A Sword cuts two ways.

TN kids - here's what to wear to scince class now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430565)

http://controversy.wearscience.com/

The only "controversy" in any of this .. (4, Interesting)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430575)

is manufactured. It's that some religious extremists in this country can't deal with the fact that the reality that hard science is discovering and exploring doesn't exactly match their creation myth of choice, and keep stirring the s*** because they're still trying to stuff that genie back in the bottle long after it's way too late.

There's only a "controversy" because they keep insisting it's "controversial" as a pretext to keep their foot in the door. And the fact is, creationism is not science, at best it's Bible-flavored pseudoscience that's already decided its conclusions and merely cherry-picks data to support those conclusions .. which is actually the opposite of science ..

Social Studies Subject (1)

Jhyrryl (208418) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430577)

This is a perfectly legitimate subject for a social studies classes. It should not be included in the hard science classes.

Tired of this debate (0)

concealment (2447304) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430597)

Teach both creation and evolution as theory. That should satisfy everyone. Since we didn't see it happen, we don't need "for sure" either way. We don't need to. It's important to teach evolution but to give other views separate but equal air time.

The theory of evolution is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39430655)

Evolution favors the Creastionists. The righteous devotees of the sand peoples fairy tales are ever more successful in the creatin' game. The must have more children. Replacement is not enough, world domination is their calling, their most holy commandment, their Jihad.

Good (1)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39430657)

By placing these issues in conflict, it forces students to think about them. Separating the issues only legitimizes the idea that critical thinking at school is compatible with made up certainties at home.

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