A new pro-creation education bill that passed the Tennessee Senate 24-8 last month and 70-23 in the House last year is on the governor’s desk. Many think it likely that this bill will be signed into state law by governor Bill Haslam today (April 10, 2012).
“These bills sound very innocent,” said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. That’s intentional, she said. The legislation has been crafted to be legally bulletproof.
The Tennessee bill hijacks language from scientists and skeptics: Teachers are allowed to promote “critical thinking” in areas where there’s “debate and disputation.” …
The summary says that schools cannot 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, such as evolution and global warming.”
NCSE’s Scott has been fighting antievolution legislation for 25 years, so she has seen creationism in many guises. The problem with academic freedom bills like this latest one is that if creationism is not prohibited, teachers will teach it as science. In national surveys, she said, about 25 or 30 percent of teachers say they’d like to teach both evolution and creationism or intelligent design. [emphasis added]
Intelligent design, she said, lost credibility and power in the 2005 trial in Dover, Pa., when a Republican-appointed federal judge ruled against teaching it in public school on the grounds that it was a religious idea and not a scientific one [see video below]. Read More…
It is interesting to me that a higher percentage of public school teachers (25-30%) actually want to teach about creation and/or intelligent design in their classrooms, but are being prevented from doing so while very few if any science teachers in some of our “Adventist” schools (like La Sierra University) want to discuss anything beyond neo-Darwinism.