Saturday, March 12, 2011

Scientific Teaching vs. Darwinism: States' Legislation

In the past days, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee have considered state education laws to allow public teachers the freedom to teach science that challenges the religious dogma of Darwinian evolution as dictated by various government agencies and adherents in "higher education."

-- From "Florida Education Bill Revives Evolution Debate" by Mara Gay, Contributor AOL News 3/10/11

A controversial bill in the Florida Senate that would require teachers to offer a "thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution" has kicked up the latest battle over evolution.

The latest bill, SB 1854, was introduced by Florida State Sen. Steve Wise, a Republican. In 2009, Wise sponsored a bill that would have introduced the teaching of intelligent design in Florida schools. "If you're going to teach evolution, then you have to teach the other side so you can have critical thinking," he told the Florida Times-Union at the time. That bill failed, however.

Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, a group that backs intelligent design but does not support its teaching in public schools, said students deserve to hear both sides of the debate. "Responsible educators need to teach about the evidence for and against evolution," he said in a phone interview today. "You cannot impose dogmatism on students. They will come to their own conclusions." Luskin said simply shouting down proponents of intelligent design without allowing for a healthy debate stifles student interest in science.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Florida bill may rekindle debate over evolution" by Ron Matus, St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer 3/8/11

Evolution supporters say the language is another attempt by Florida lawmakers to undermine the teaching of evolution, introduce the faith-based concepts of creationism and intelligent design, and water down state science standards that were narrowly passed by the state Board of Education in 2008.

Wise's bill would also require teaching about the history and content of the Declaration of Independence, the history of the Holocaust and the history of African-Americans, "including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery." It mandates a "character-development program" in K-12 that emphasizes "honesty, virtue, moral courage, dignity of honest labor" and other values.

People opposed to Wise's bill don't have a problem with "critical analysis," wrote Wesley Elsberry, a scientific engineering programmer in Palmetto, on his blog last night. "They are opposed to using the power of government to force teachers to tell lies to students."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Opposition to antievolution bill continues in Tennessee" posted at the National Center for Science Education 3/11/11

As a third subcommittee hearing on Tennessee's House Bill 368 approaches, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, and the executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee are expressing their opposition to the bill.

Becky Ashe, the president of the [Darwinian] TSTA, told the subcommittee that the bill was flawed in implying that evolution is scientifically controversial, explaining that the members of TSTA "recognize the scientific theory of evolution is accepted by mainstream scientists around the world as the cornerstone of biology and as the single, unifying explanation for the diversity of life." She also expressed concern that the bill would "allow non-scientific alternatives to evolution ... to be introduced into our public schools." She concluded by describing HB 368 as "unnecessary, anti-scientific, and very likely unconstitutional."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Tennessee Academic Freedom Bill Backed by Scientists" by Anika Smith, Evolution News 3/11/11

Among those who testified in favor of the bill were Ph.D. biologist Robin Zimmer, Executive Director of Center for Biomedical Research in Knoxville, [who said] . . .
"The bill simply proposes that public teachers be permitted to allow critical analysis of scientific theories within the public classroom. Two UT science department chairs testified in opposition to the bill. What strikes me as odd is how academic scientists could argue with an approach that, in all honesty, molded them into the professionals that they are today. What I am talking about is advanced critical thinking and analysis that lies at the very core of a scientist's world. A well functioning peer review system challenges a scientist's thinking and ensures critical and constructive discourse."
. . . The bill only protects teaching scientific information and prohibits promotion of religious doctrine.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Antievolution bill dies in Kentucky" posted at the National Center for Science Education 3/11/11

When the Kentucky legislature adjourned sine die on March 9, 2011, House Bill 169 died in committee . . . [which] would have allowed teachers to "use, as permitted by the local school board, other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner." No particular scientific theories were cited . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Click headlines below to read related articles:

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Illinois Teacher Challenges Darwin - NOT Fired

Louisiana Rejects Science Debate in Textbooks

Louisiana Legislators Nearly Unanimous for Teaching Critically on Evolution

Teaching Evolution is Religious Indoctrination: Lawsuit

University Won't Hire Christians as Scientists

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Intelligentsia Fear Critique of Darwin in Texas Schools

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