29th January 2005
Courtesy of Bad Astronomy:
The Tennessee legislature — apparently jealous that the people running Louisiana are hogging all the laughing stock — is possibly about to pass an antiscience bill designed specifically to make it easier for teachers to allow creationism in their classroom.
The bill passed the House last year, but then a similar bill was put on hold in the Senate. Unfortunately, it was put to the Senate floor earlier this week and passed. It will have to be reconciled with the House bill, but it’s expected to pass. It’ll have to then go to the Governor to sign it into law. Basically, the bill will make sure teachers can discuss creationism in the classroom, as well as global warming denialism. The House version states,[INDENT]This bill prohibits the state board of education and any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or principal or administrator from prohibiting 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, such as evolution and global warming. [/INDENT]That whole "strengths and weaknesses" is for all intent and purpose a lie; we’ve seen it many times before. Of course science has strengths and weaknesses, but what these people are looking to do is be able to say any kind of antiscience rhetoric in the classroom and not get called on it. What the bill should call for is legislators to be tested on the strengths and weaknesses of their creationist beliefs that clearly contradict what’s known about the real world. Or, better yet, how what they’re trying to do violates the Constitution of the United States.
I would pay good money to sit and listen to that.
I also wonder how the Tennessee lawmakers would feel if, say, teachers used this potential law to teach about Islam, or astrology, or Wiccan beliefs. That would be interesting indeed.
If you want more, Josh Rosenau has a great summary, as does Cara Santa Maria at the Huffington Post, and, of course, the NCSE. It’s not clear to me that the Governor will sign this bill; Josh’s post has more on that. But even if he doesn’t, all those creationist climate change deniers will simply try again in some different way.
If you live in Tennessee, you should let the Governor know how you feel, and right away. Otherwise…
Texas and some other laws have similar laws in the school standards. It's written in an unoffensive way, but it's been seen as a way to teach the joke that is creationism in classrooms. Plus the origin of these bills can probably be found with certain religious groups, the same ones probably making noise about trying to prevent brainwashing in schools in the first place.
I got them crazies.
31st December 2008
THAT IS SO SCARY! Like, Christian Taliban scary....
Jeff is a mean boss
28th July 2002
As far as I am concerned Evolution, Creationism and Intelligent Design should all be taught so that the students can study/discuss all the theories and make their own decision on it.
Whats next, the Stork being used as an alternative for human reproduction.
24th October 2007
I don't see a problem with this. I agree with STALKER, all theories should be taught and students should come to their own conclusions. If creationism is banned from public education, evolution should be too, in my opinion. I don't care what your beliefs are, I'm trying to go for equality.
Edit: Okay I didn't really mean creationism, I meant religion in general. Students should be exposed to both.
Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
Shall we give the flat earth society equal time in Geography classes too? Equality has no place in a class about what you can support with evidence. Some theories have a large amount of supporting evidence on their side, and other theories have none. And the latter type have no place in a classroom.
There are a whole bunch of crazy ideas out there, and you can't teach them all - it doesn't even makes sense to teach them all. You've got to have some heuristic to break things down and the heuristic is, 'Where's the evidence?'
Schofield;5626191I don't see a problem with this. I agree with STALKER, all theories should be taught and students should come to their own conclusions. If creationism is banned from public education, evolution should be too, in my opinion. I don't care what your beliefs are, I'm trying to go for equality.
All theories are not equal. Without filtering, such an Endeavour - pursuing all theories equally - would necessitate endless analysis. Creationism is not scientifically testable. The creationist account is an explanation that is not based on empirical evidence. It is not, nor claimed to be by those that uphold it, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses.
The creationist account requires a belief founded on faith and is not a 'working hypothesis' testable using observation or experiment. 'Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not a part of science'.
24th October 2007
I meant taught equally, and that both theories have a fair shot in public education.
That might work, if it were even a theory. Proponents of intelligent design insist that it is a program of scientific inquiry, not religious faith. Evidence makes it clear however, that in addition to being bad science and bad theology, ID is a political program designed to overturn naturalistic science.
ID is almost entirely based upon criticism of evolution and science because it has nothing of substance to offer. Out of this need for something to criticize, it often occurs that ID supporters will need to create something to attack, otherwise they simply have nothing at all to say.
ID is a political agenda that seeks to replace secular politics and science with a theocratic regime based upon conservative, evangelical christianity. The political aims of ID were described and made clear right from the beginning; thus people who insist that ID either isn’t political or religious haven’t been paying attention or are simply lying.
Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
Schofield;5626191Edit: Okay I didn't really mean creationism, I meant religion in general. Students should be exposed to both.
If you treat all religious beliefs equally, then yes, I strongly agree. If you mean that you're going to sit all the students down in a hall and tell them that Allah is the one true god, on the other hand; that the earth was created in X days and... if, in short, you intend to pretend to know things you don't, to lie to the kids, then I find the idea abhorrent.
Frankly, I can think of nothing more destructive to religious belief than to have kids sit down in a class and do a full review of the various major belief systems and their strengths and weaknesses. Provided it is unbiased, and not just an attempt to indoctrinate them.
I rather think, in that sense, creationists are making a rod for their own back. As far as I'm aware, the number one class that the religious want their children excused from in the UK is R.E.... As long as you don't intend to pretend that what you're doing is real science, if you want to stick the religions in the school system - make them vulnerable to discussion - and fight this out that way, I'm all for it. The philosophers won this discussion centuries ago, rehashing it in school; outside of a science classroom; would be a total rout.