Anti-evolution class discussions get Senate's OK

NASHVILLE — The Senate approved a bill Monday evening that deals with teaching of evolution and other scientific theories while the House approved legislation authorizing cities and counties to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

The Senate voted 24-8 for HB368, which sponsor Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, says will provide guidelines for teachers answering students' questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects. Critics call it a "monkey bill" that promotes creationism in classrooms.

The bill was approved in the House last year but now must return to that body for concurrence on a Senate amendment that made generally minor changes. One says the law applies to scientific theories that are the subject of "debate and disputation" — a phrase replacing the word "controversial" in the House version.

The measure also guarantees that teachers will not be subject to discipline for engaging students in discussion of questions they raise, though Watson said the idea is to provide guidelines so that teachers will bring the discussion back to the subjects authorized for teaching in the curriculum approved by the state Board of Education.

All eight no votes came from Democrats, some of whom raised questions about the bill during brief debate.

Sen. Tim Barnes, D-Clarksville, said he was concerned that the measure was put forward "not for scientific reasons but for political reasons." And Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, said teachers were doing just fine teaching science without the Legislature's involvement.

"We are simply dredging up the problems of the past with this bill and that will affect our teachers in the future," Berke said.

Watson said the purpose of the legislation is to encourage teachers in helping their students learn to challenge and debate ideas to "improve their thinking skills."

Critics of the HB368 labeling the measure "monkey bill" ranged from the American Civil Liberties Union to the National Center for Science Education. In a statement sent to legislators, the eight Tennesseans who are members of the National Academy of Science said that, in practice, the bill will likely lead to "scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution."

"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," said the statement signed by Stanley Cohen, who won the Nobel Prize in physiology of medicine in 1986, and seven other scientists.

The bill authorizing display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings — HB2658 — is sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, who said it is in line with court rulings. In essence, courts have often declared displays of the biblical commandments unconstitutional standing along, but permissible as part of a display of "historic documents."

The bill authorizes all local governments to display "historic documents" and specifically lists the commandments as being included.

Hill said the bill will prevent city and county governments from "being intimidated any further by special interest groups" opposed to displaying of the Ten Commandments. It passed 93-9 and now goes to the Senate.

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Comments » 87

Teavenger writes:

This kind of cr@p perfectly explains why millions of reasonable people hate us conservative republicans. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

Volunista writes:

If I had school-age kids, I would work three jobs to send them to a private school and keep them out of the Tennessee anti-intellectual madrasses that these pathetic legislatures are trying to promote. Are the tenets of creationism so weak that you have to pass laws making qualified teachers deal with this steaming pile of excrement? No, kids, I'm sorry...there's no data, no objective evidence, no years and years of research, I can't cite one instance where creationism can be supported in nature - there's absolutely nothing to support this creation postulation, but it must be true - it exalts God and the frikkin Tennessee legislature said so.

MesoVertex writes:

Something to consider - most people who are against evolution know little to nothing about it.

Something else to consider - plenty of religious people accept evolution.

dogwoodsnake writes:

in response to Volunista:

If I had school-age kids, I would work three jobs to send them to a private school and keep them out of the Tennessee anti-intellectual madrasses that these pathetic legislatures are trying to promote. Are the tenets of creationism so weak that you have to pass laws making qualified teachers deal with this steaming pile of excrement? No, kids, I'm sorry...there's no data, no objective evidence, no years and years of research, I can't cite one instance where creationism can be supported in nature - there's absolutely nothing to support this creation postulation, but it must be true - it exalts God and the frikkin Tennessee legislature said so.

This, this, a million times this.

GunnerRB50 writes:

The ole mushroom theory, feed them sh*t and keep them in the dark.

Goldielocks writes:

Yahoo, more great news!

clivebarnes writes:

Wow...You conservatives on the far right sure don't want government in your back pockets, but you sure can't wait to get into our bedrooms and our kids' minds, eh?

How 'bout this: DON'T TAKE THE BIBLE SO DAMN LITERALLY!!!! It's a great book, the GREATEST book, with lots of great lessons for life, both here and beyond. But do you really think that ALL of the scientific knowledge we've gained can just be tossed out the window like this? I've got a feeling God is shaking his head in disbelief and disappointment at you "politicians."

Stacks writes:

in response to clivebarnes:

Wow...You conservatives on the far right sure don't want government in your back pockets, but you sure can't wait to get into our bedrooms and our kids' minds, eh?

How 'bout this: DON'T TAKE THE BIBLE SO DAMN LITERALLY!!!! It's a great book, the GREATEST book, with lots of great lessons for life, both here and beyond. But do you really think that ALL of the scientific knowledge we've gained can just be tossed out the window like this? I've got a feeling God is shaking his head in disbelief and disappointment at you "politicians."

Hey Romeo, what do you care about the Ten Commandments? Boy, if you are bugged about it being in your bedroom, you best get you a new wife.

ArtSeen writes:

in response to Goldielocks:

Yahoo, more great news!

…for brain-dead illiterate Neanderthals.

Volunista writes:

in response to clivebarnes:

Wow...You conservatives on the far right sure don't want government in your back pockets, but you sure can't wait to get into our bedrooms and our kids' minds, eh?

How 'bout this: DON'T TAKE THE BIBLE SO DAMN LITERALLY!!!! It's a great book, the GREATEST book, with lots of great lessons for life, both here and beyond. But do you really think that ALL of the scientific knowledge we've gained can just be tossed out the window like this? I've got a feeling God is shaking his head in disbelief and disappointment at you "politicians."

Please don't scare the Jesus-screamers, Clive. The only part of the Bible the fundies don't take literally is the wedding at Canaan when Jesus made wine, and that's a damn shame.

Stacks writes:

in response to ArtSeen:

…for brain-dead illiterate Neanderthals.

How so Romeo and whatever you call yourself nowadays 8%.

Vandenberg writes:

What a horrible feeling-- like I was just transported to the 19th Century.

Creaky writes:

" while the House approved legislation authorizing cities and counties to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings"

Excellent!

Creaky writes:

in response to Vandenberg:

What a horrible feeling-- like I was just transported to the 19th Century.

OH boo hoo.

rikki writes:

This bill is pointless and an invitation for some fool teacher to cost his or her school system thousands in attorney fees, but how is it anti-evolution? Encouraging critical thinking will encourage more students to understand and appreciate evolutionary theory, and the only role for creationism or intelligent design in an objective discussion is as examples of ideas that are not scientific.

Volunista writes:

This is actually job suppression legislation. When companies think about coming to Tennessee, they'll take one look at our state's ciriculum and move on. Critical thinking? Not in Tennessee. The legislature wants believers, not thinkers.

ArtSeen writes:

in response to rikki:

This bill is pointless and an invitation for some fool teacher to cost his or her school system thousands in attorney fees, but how is it anti-evolution? Encouraging critical thinking will encourage more students to understand and appreciate evolutionary theory, and the only role for creationism or intelligent design in an objective discussion is as examples of ideas that are not scientific.

"but how is it anti-evolution? " -- Wait and see.

peasandcarrots writes:

"The Senate voted 24-8 for HB368, which sponsor Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, says will provide guidelines for teachers answering students' questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects"

Sounds reasonable.

peasandcarrots writes:

in response to SoylentGreenisSheeple:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are the same poster to say "sharia law is next" on the Ten Commandment thread.

Please stop yourself.

MesoVertex writes:

in response to peasandcarrots:

"The Senate voted 24-8 for HB368, which sponsor Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, says will provide guidelines for teachers answering students' questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects"

Sounds reasonable.

Except for the fact that it singles out things that really have no controversy among scientists. Nearly 100% of all biologists and nearly 97% of climatologists have a clear consensus on evolution and anthropogenic climate change respectively.

In terms of Evolution, there simply is no debate in biology of whether or not it happens, and ID is just rebranded creationism.

There is simply no reason to 'teach the controversy' or to single out evolution or global warming. Legislators and school boards don't decide what is and isn't science. Scientists do that.

peasandcarrots writes:

in response to MesoVertex:

Except for the fact that it singles out things that really have no controversy among scientists. Nearly 100% of all biologists and nearly 97% of climatologists have a clear consensus on evolution and anthropogenic climate change respectively.

In terms of Evolution, there simply is no debate in biology of whether or not it happens, and ID is just rebranded creationism.

There is simply no reason to 'teach the controversy' or to single out evolution or global warming. Legislators and school boards don't decide what is and isn't science. Scientists do that.

Really, is that a fact? Well 100% of us creationists think you are full of it.

MesoVertex writes:

in response to peasandcarrots:

Really, is that a fact? Well 100% of us creationists think you are full of it.

That's not my problem. When creationists decide to actually do science they no longer are creationists.

All creationists have ever done is publish blogs, popular press books, op-eds, or fund think tanks. Not once have they ever gotten any real science published or put up for peer-review.

Creationism is not and can never be science. You can believe in it all you want but it will never and can never belong in a science classroom or in science period.

Maybe you'll figure out why, one day.

ArtSeen writes:

in response to peasandcarrots:

"The Senate voted 24-8 for HB368, which sponsor Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, says will provide guidelines for teachers answering students' questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects"

Sounds reasonable.

…except it isn't. The intent of the law is to prevent school boards from stopping those science teachers who have religious motives from presenting creationism as valid and arguable versus evolutionary science. It isn't "critical thinking"--it is backdoor religious instruction in public schools. Lawsuit.

Double_Knot_Spy writes:

in response to Volunista:

If I had school-age kids, I would work three jobs to send them to a private school and keep them out of the Tennessee anti-intellectual madrasses that these pathetic legislatures are trying to promote. Are the tenets of creationism so weak that you have to pass laws making qualified teachers deal with this steaming pile of excrement? No, kids, I'm sorry...there's no data, no objective evidence, no years and years of research, I can't cite one instance where creationism can be supported in nature - there's absolutely nothing to support this creation postulation, but it must be true - it exalts God and the frikkin Tennessee legislature said so.

flagger

peasandcarrots writes:

in response to ArtSeen:

…except it isn't. The intent of the law is to prevent school boards from stopping those science teachers who have religious motives from presenting creationism as valid and arguable versus evolutionary science. It isn't "critical thinking"--it is backdoor religious instruction in public schools. Lawsuit.

Sure it is. It is the intent of liberals to not want anyone to post the Ten Commandments on any building. Why is that? You want evolution, we want the Ten Commandments.

It's called "critical thinking".

ArtSeen writes:

in response to peasandcarrots:

Sure it is. It is the intent of liberals to not want anyone to post the Ten Commandments on any building. Why is that? You want evolution, we want the Ten Commandments.

It's called "critical thinking".

Troll alert.

Snickers writes:

in response to ArtSeen:

Troll alert.

Another intelligent response.

lester_phinney#218848 writes:

‘In a statement sent to legislators, the eight Tennesseans who are members of the National Academy of Science said that, in practice, the bill will likely lead to "scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution."’

What a funny thing to day. In evolution we’re taught that ALL criticisms of evolution are scientifically unwarranted. Supporters of evolution do not believe that there are ANY scientifically warranted criticisms of evolution. Any criticism of evolution can be explained away with a tweaking of the theory. Therefore, the theory is never wrong.

How ironic that the theory of evolution cannot be analyzed using the scientific method. In the scientific method model, a possibility exists that the hypothesis is wrong. In the study of evolution, the hypothesis is never wrong. Evolution is always true. If you make an observation that is inconsistent with evolution; either the experiment must have been performed incorrectly; or the outcome of the experiment can be explained in a manner that is consistent with evolution being true. Evolution, itself, is never on trial.

Of course, I realize that those who disagree with my analysis will claim that I lack a clear understanding of the scientific method. This is always the most convenient argument to make. If you can assert that your opponent lacks an understanding of the topic at hand, then you are entitled to dismiss your opponent and no longer have to respond to his argument, or, more importantly, defend your own.

I see no point in arguing evolution vs creationism. The only thing upon which the evolutionist and creationist agree is that both positions cannot be true simultaneously. Evolution and creationism are two diametrically opposed explanations for the existence of man. Thus, one has to be true; and the other has to be false. To the evolutionist, God is not scientific. Therefore, creationism has to be false. If creationism is false, then evolution has to be true. There’s no other alternative.

alqb15#536928 writes:

Judging by the comments on this website, I'd say we're pretty clearly getting the government we deserve here in the Volunteer State.

MesoVertex writes:

in response to lester_phinney#218848:

‘In a statement sent to legislators, the eight Tennesseans who are members of the National Academy of Science said that, in practice, the bill will likely lead to "scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution."’

What a funny thing to day. In evolution we’re taught that ALL criticisms of evolution are scientifically unwarranted. Supporters of evolution do not believe that there are ANY scientifically warranted criticisms of evolution. Any criticism of evolution can be explained away with a tweaking of the theory. Therefore, the theory is never wrong.

How ironic that the theory of evolution cannot be analyzed using the scientific method. In the scientific method model, a possibility exists that the hypothesis is wrong. In the study of evolution, the hypothesis is never wrong. Evolution is always true. If you make an observation that is inconsistent with evolution; either the experiment must have been performed incorrectly; or the outcome of the experiment can be explained in a manner that is consistent with evolution being true. Evolution, itself, is never on trial.

Of course, I realize that those who disagree with my analysis will claim that I lack a clear understanding of the scientific method. This is always the most convenient argument to make. If you can assert that your opponent lacks an understanding of the topic at hand, then you are entitled to dismiss your opponent and no longer have to respond to his argument, or, more importantly, defend your own.

I see no point in arguing evolution vs creationism. The only thing upon which the evolutionist and creationist agree is that both positions cannot be true simultaneously. Evolution and creationism are two diametrically opposed explanations for the existence of man. Thus, one has to be true; and the other has to be false. To the evolutionist, God is not scientific. Therefore, creationism has to be false. If creationism is false, then evolution has to be true. There’s no other alternative.

Could you be any more incorrect?

Of course evolution is falsifiable, and anyone who does it would become world famous overnight. The trouble is it takes EVIDENCE. Intelligent design is an argument from incredulity. Creationism is religion. Neither is evidence.

Also, you pose a complete false dichotomy. Plenty of Christians accept evolution.

Caneoverthere writes:

Pathetic again today - Hoople Heads!

Double_Knot_Spy writes:

in response to Caneoverthere:

Pathetic again today - Hoople Heads!

So says the liberal.

Double_Knot_Spy writes:

in response to thatoakridgeguy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Any vote for Barry is a vote by which democracy commits suicide.

dweezil13 writes:

We came from apes but we can't get aids from apes because they are a different species?Hmmm,
convenient

dweezil13 writes:

in response to thatoakridgeguy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't know,you guys and your Jim Crow laws in the south did a pretty good job of destroying freedom.
Those Southern Democrats did a fine job,right?

Theydoneburntmybiscuits writes:

in response to dweezil13:

We came from apes but we can't get aids from apes because they are a different species?Hmmm,
convenient

Tell it to the heavens brother.

tom_cogburn writes:

The social conservatives seem to be working extra hard to make Tennessee so intolerable for social liberals--hoping that we'll all just pick up and move to a more enlightened and progressive place.

They're doing an EXCELLENT job!

I've never seen such ridiculous political activity. It's embarrassing!!

doglips_mcghee (Inactive) writes:

in response to lester_phinney#218848:

‘In a statement sent to legislators, the eight Tennesseans who are members of the National Academy of Science said that, in practice, the bill will likely lead to "scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution."’

What a funny thing to day. In evolution we’re taught that ALL criticisms of evolution are scientifically unwarranted. Supporters of evolution do not believe that there are ANY scientifically warranted criticisms of evolution. Any criticism of evolution can be explained away with a tweaking of the theory. Therefore, the theory is never wrong.

How ironic that the theory of evolution cannot be analyzed using the scientific method. In the scientific method model, a possibility exists that the hypothesis is wrong. In the study of evolution, the hypothesis is never wrong. Evolution is always true. If you make an observation that is inconsistent with evolution; either the experiment must have been performed incorrectly; or the outcome of the experiment can be explained in a manner that is consistent with evolution being true. Evolution, itself, is never on trial.

Of course, I realize that those who disagree with my analysis will claim that I lack a clear understanding of the scientific method. This is always the most convenient argument to make. If you can assert that your opponent lacks an understanding of the topic at hand, then you are entitled to dismiss your opponent and no longer have to respond to his argument, or, more importantly, defend your own.

I see no point in arguing evolution vs creationism. The only thing upon which the evolutionist and creationist agree is that both positions cannot be true simultaneously. Evolution and creationism are two diametrically opposed explanations for the existence of man. Thus, one has to be true; and the other has to be false. To the evolutionist, God is not scientific. Therefore, creationism has to be false. If creationism is false, then evolution has to be true. There’s no other alternative.

you didn't qualify a damn thing you just wrote... you simply emoted.

Fairview37350 writes:

in response to tom_cogburn:

The social conservatives seem to be working extra hard to make Tennessee so intolerable for social liberals--hoping that we'll all just pick up and move to a more enlightened and progressive place.

They're doing an EXCELLENT job!

I've never seen such ridiculous political activity. It's embarrassing!!

But you stated proudly before that you were gay. Does this concern you?

KGWells writes:

One need only to consider the Legislature to doubt humans have evolved.

mrlvmealon writes:

in response to dweezil13:

We came from apes but we can't get aids from apes because they are a different species?Hmmm,
convenient

What? Who said that?

Bitterwater writes:

"with teaching of evolution and other scientific theories"

THERE ARE NO OTHER SCIENTIFIC THEORIES!!!
Evolution is the ONLY SCIENTIFIC theory you idiots!

Legislators,read this Open Letter to the Kansas School Board: http://www.venganza.org/about/open-le...

EaTn writes:

in response to KGWells:

One need only to consider the Legislature to doubt humans have evolved.

Keep the Bible in the right hand and the science book in the left hand, that way they won't get mixed up.

Caneoverthere writes:

Look at the positive side - being 47th in education at least we are not paying much to have creationism taught in science class!

Think how much we can save in class materials - a couple of coloring books and the subject is covered.

JubalJackson writes:

I got nuttin' agin' postin' the Ten, as long as they posted in historical form 'stead a bein' redacted like usual. If they be redacted, they be spiritual documents 'n not historical.

So take number 2:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

'n number 4:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

'n number 10:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his a**, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

These be the historical form. 'Course, t'wouldn't be right to post'em 'lessen you plan on abidin' by 'em, too.

(Sorry about the Cracker Barrel style of writing. I just want to be sure that the legislators comprehend my meaning).

EaTn writes:

Bring back The Beverly Hillbillies and give our state a little image improvement.

Nopers writes:

These extreme religious conservatives would keep us in the dark ages if they could, and they are, at least in TN. As a non-religious conservative, I just find it shameful.

teckeedee#392011 writes:

And if a teacher says to a student: "Only someone who has been brainwashed by the church of thier choice believes Evolution is not real and my job is to open your mind to the world around you and help you break the chains your church put on your mind. Your relationship with God is just that, YOURS. Evolution though is a scientific theory with far more evidence to support it than just a single book. The theology class is next period, let's focus on science children."

This bill protects those teachers right? Keeps them from being fired for speaking truth and fact? Protects their freedom to educate children rather than indoctrinate them with religious dogma?

If that is the intent of the bill, I am all for it.

As to the 10...In a utopian world everyone keeps the 10 and and all the lawyers and politicians can beg for handouts on the street as there will be no crime of any type ever. Of course, we all know that is not the way the world works.

dogwoodsnake writes:

Teach evolution in school, teach creationism in church. It is that simple.

skepticone writes:

in response to dweezil13:

We came from apes but we can't get aids from apes because they are a different species?Hmmm,
convenient

Humans did not evolve from modern day apes as you declare. You have proved that creationists have no real understanding of the theory of evolution. Humans and modern day apes evolved from the same ape-like ancestor.

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