Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Media Scoff at Christians Advancing Science in Tennessee

A new law in Tennessee protects the right of public school teachers and students to explore weather science and "the origins of life" beyond the narrow scope of liberal academia.

The mainstream media demonstrate their ignorance in their criticism of the law, as they seem not to understand that science is always advanced through critical analysis of theories, not by stagnant group-think attitudes.
The law states that it "only protects the teaching of scientific information" and "shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine."
For background, click headlines below:

Scientific Teaching vs. Darwinism: States' Legislation

Ohio Admits Wrong in Firing Christian Teacher

Scientists: Outlaw Non-evolution Theories & Beliefs

Texas Evolution Textbook Debate Continues

Few Believe Evolution Enough to Teach It

UPDATE 5/27/13: Atheists Want Indiana Christian to Stop Teaching Science

-- From "Tenn. bill on evolution and teaching to become law" by Lucas L. Johnson II, Associated Press 4/10/12

Critics derided the legislation as the "monkey bill" for attacking evolution. 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.

Meanwhile, backers said it would encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique "scientific weaknesses."

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said there's no question the incoming law "undermines science education in Tennessee public schools."

She said terms such as "strengths and weaknesses," and even "critical thinking," are used by those seeking to introduce non-scientific ideas — such as creationism and intelligent design — into the science curriculum.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Debate over evolution now allowed in Tenn. schools" by Chas Sisk, The (Nashville) Tennessean 4/11/12

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said that he will allow House Bill 368/Senate Bill 893 to become law without his signature, a symbolic move that signals his opposition but allows the measure to be added to the state code.

"The bill received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate by a 3-to-1 margin," he said Tuesday. "But good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion. My concern is that this bill has not met this objective."

The decision followed criticism of the bill from national organizations and local scientists, who said it is a cover for reintroducing creationism to schools statewide.

[The law] encourages students to question accepted scientific theories -- listing as examples evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and cloning -- and it protects teachers from punishment if they teach creationism. Proponents say it will encourage critical thinking and give teachers license to discuss holes in scientific theories if they choose to do so.

Eight Tennessee members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences signed a letter urging lawmakers to vote it down, saying it would hurt students, the state's reputation and its efforts to recruit science companies. The National Center for Science Education said it would allow teachers to introduce any idea they want into the science curriculum, religious or not.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Tennessee enacts evolution, climate change law" by Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau 4/11/12

The measure's primary sponsor, Republican state Sen. Bo Watson, said it was meant to give teachers the clarity and security to discuss alternative ideas to evolution and climate change that students may have picked up at home and want to explore in class.

The law is likely to stoke growing concerns among teachers around the country that teaching climate science is becoming the same kind of classroom and community flash point as evolution. Tennessee is now the second state, after Louisiana, to allow the teaching of alternatives to accepted science on climate change.

"We respect Gov. Haslam for showing leadership in not signing this legislation," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. "But that doesn't change the fact that Tennessee now has a law on the books essentially granting permission for teachers to violate the 1st Amendment by introducing their own personal religious beliefs on the origin of life into the classroom."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Creationism bill becomes Tenn. law" by Mackenzie Weinger, Politico 4/11/12

Tennessee will now allow the discussion of creationism theory in its classrooms.

The controversial legislation — known as the “Monkey Bill” by those who said it attacked teaching evolution — became law on Tuesday without Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature, Reuters reported.

Critics likened the bill to the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 in Dayton, Tenn., in which teacher John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution and violating state law. The state Supreme Court later overturned the verdict, and in 1967 the state’s anti-evolution law was repealed.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Governor of Tennessee Duped by Darwin Lobby Rhetoric about the Need to Protect Academic Freedom" by Casey Luskin, Discovery Institute 4/11/12

Tennessee teachers and students won a huge victory yesterday with the passage of an academic freedom bill which permits teachers to help "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."

. . . Working with teachers nationwide, we have long observed a pattern where teachers commonly feel intimidated into silence when covering controversial scientific topics.

. . . just because state science standards officially encourage critical thinking, that doesn't mean a climate of academic freedom exists where teachers feel free to teach about different scientific views on topics like evolution. Tennessee's academic freedom bill will give teachers the confidence that they can teach topics like evolution objectively without having to worry about losing their jobs.

Ironically, the talking points of critics show exactly why the law is needed. By constantly telling people that teaching the scientific evidence for and against major evolutionary claims is tantamount to teaching "creationism," teachers are being intimidated into silence.

To read the entire analysis above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Americans Believe in Prayer, NOT Darwin