Republicans in Tennessee are reviving a measure from last March that is designed to gut public school science curriculum in the name of “freedom” of teachers to help students think critically about evolution.
HB 368 overwhelmingly passed the Republican-dominated House of Representatives by a vote of 70-28. While the bill doesn’t promote any particular doctrine per se, the motivation and thrust of the proposed law would elevate creationist theories about human evolution to the same status as Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The Tennessee Science Teachers Association has gone on record attacking the bill as “unnecessary, anti-scientific, and very likely unconstitutional.”
The bill calls on state schools and administrators to “create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to difference of opinions about controversial issues.” That sounds fine and all, except that the mandate does not apply to a philosophy or critical thinking curriculum, but instead to the discipline of science which already has a process built-in to resolve differences of opinions. It’s called the scientific process.
And the “science” Republican sponsors want to promote is not science at all. It’s religion.
Presumably this bill would also set the stage for teaching climate change denial and the idea that abortions cause breast cancer. My guess is that is precisely the point.
Photo from RDECOM via flickr.