Antievolution legislation in Tennessee

House Bill 368 (PDF), introduced in the Tennessee House of Representatives on February 9, 2011, is the sixth antievolution bill introduced in a state legislature in 2011, and the first introduced in Tennessee since 2007. The bill, if enacted, would require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies” and permit 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.” The only examples provided of “controversial” theories are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” The sole sponsor of HB 368 is Bill Dunn (R-District 16), who, according to Project Vote Smart, answered yes to the question “Should Tennessee require its public schools to teach evolution as theory rather than scientific fact?” in 1996 — the same year in which the Tennessee legislature considered a bill (SB 3229/HB 2972) that would have provided for the suspension or dismissal of any teacher or administrator who taught evolution as a fact rather than a theory.


Links, the actual bill, etc. here at NCSE

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28 thoughts on “Antievolution legislation in Tennessee

  1. I am totally for this as i beleive in God and i am a christian. However i do recognize that all animals (except) humans have “evolved” or adapted being a better word over time. We should teach it as a theory because it hasn’t been proven that “evolution” as we know it has occured. Even with all of the evidence that we have that may prove so, we dont teach that there are other civilizations in the Universe. So if we haven’t proven the existence of Extra Terrestrials and dont teach it in the class room. How can we teach evolution as a fact without the same kind of proof.

  2. Obviously bill SB 3229/HB 2972 didn’t make it through, or maybe we would have seen a major showdown by those teachers who have the cojones to teach evolution as the fact that it is. What would they do, fire 500 teachers or something? I guess somebody told them good luck with that.

  3. @1

    I agree that evolution should be taught as a theory. According to my 6th grader’s Life Science textbook, “A scientific theory is a well-tested concept that explains a wide range of observations.” Evolution absolutely fits that definition.

  4. Wow. For the last several minutes I’ve been wondering what all those distant rumbles were. After reading comment #1, I now understand. It’s the sound of thousands of educated people beating their heads against their desks.

    republican all the way, we have as much science-based evidence for evolution as we do for gravity. It’s not a question of faith, and it’s not something that’s in any way in doubt. The fact of evolution is indisputable. It’s happening all around us, all the time. Why do you think we’re seeing increasing numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Why do you think you need a new flu inoculation each year? It’s because life is a moving target, in more ways than one, and because organisms do in fact change and adapt, and that is nothing more nor less than evolution.

  5. Here’s my question: What ever happened to separation of church and state?? I have yet to meet someone against evolution that was against it for a non religious reason. It is the same reason I think it is unconstitutional to deny homosexuals the right to get married. It is a purely religious debate. Can we really use religion like that? It doesn’t make sense to me,and I am a Christian.

  6. The only examples provided of “controversial” theories are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

    Wow… I wish they’d taught us how to clone humans back when I was in high school. I’d settle for just teaching us how to clone frogs. Instead, the closest we got was the advanced bio class covering how to engineer bioluminescent E. coli.

  7. Republican all the way and Piltdown Man… Please describe the Theory of Christianity? It’s only a theory, right? It isn’t proven, there aren’t any transitional forms, where are the fossils?
    C’mon…

  8. Piltdown has GOT to be Poe. I mean, seriously, citing the conservatives who reconcile their conservative attitudes with left-leaning Biblical passages by rewriting the Bible as a source on something scientific?

  9. Um, Piltdown Man, if “God is never changing”, what about Shiva and her 4 arms? If Christianity is an “infallible fact”, what about
    â??Immediately after the suffering of [66-70 C.E.] the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken [Matthew 24:29].â?

    It’s in the bible, but it never happened. Christianity is therefore fallible. It’s not even a theory, it’s a fantasy.

  10. Oops, I forgot the most obvious proof of the fallibility of the “word of God”:
    â??All winged insects that walk upon all fours are detestable to you [Lev. 11:20-23].â?

    No insect has 4 legs. Not a single one of the umpteen thousands of species of insects has just four legs.

  11. sidhe3141, if Pilty is a Poe, he’s the most ridiculously consistent one I’ve ever seen. He’s got it down all the way to the point of breaking down into incoherent frothing periodically. By the way, that’s also him at comment #1.

  12. Piltdown has to be a Poe. After all, we all know that Piltdown Man was a fake. q.e.d.
    No sane individual could combine so much frothing imbecility with such bad spelling.
    Oh, wait…. maybe he’s an American?

  13. This Piltdown character, if he isn’t a Poe, is rather clueless â?? given that, if 2) of his list ‘make sure that africans never become slaves in america.’ came true, there wouldn’t have been a civil war for him to prevent in 3).

  14. I’m voting Pilty for Poe, but just in case not…

    Lennin, hitler, darwin, hussein

    and

    That in itself will be the end of the democrat party.

    I hope you see the irony of the idea of ridding the world of dictators, so that you can impose your own brand of politics? Hey, we can save money on elections now, we’ll just let Pilty choose for us!

  15. To Vince whirlwind: No flying insects have only four legs, but some do *walk* on four of their six. Absolutely every insect, by definition, has three pairs of limbs. Some hold the front pair up, and only walk on four. Mantids are an example. Just being pedantic.

    I tend to simplify things by telling people like the first and third up there that evolution is fact. The mechanism is the theory.

  16. Rod @ #9:

    Please describe the Theory of Christianity? It’s only a theory, right? It isn’t proven, there aren’t any transitional forms, where are the fossils?

    You want fossils? Attend the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, and you’ll meet enough Christian fossils in five minutes to last you for the rest of your life. 😉

  17. “We should teach it as a theory because it hasn’t been proven that “evolution” as we know it has occured.”

    So we should teach the creation of the universe (or the world, or man or…) as a theory because it hasn’t been proven to occur?

    Shall we teach that the sun coming up tomorrow is a theory because nobody has EVER seen the sun come up tomorrow? (they’ve only gotten as close as “this morning” which is in the past)

    Nobody has EVER seen the inside of a solid brick, so is that a theory too?

    Nobody’s EVER seen a bullet shot from a gun entering people, so gunshot wounds are theory?

    And I don’t know ANYONE who’s seen even a few million people, so the population of the planet is a THEORY?

  18. Blitherypoop, and bats are birds?

    What ever happened to the Giants living in the land of Nod, by the way? Ethnic cleansing?

    PS bit of inbreeding after Noah (heck, even if you have to ignore Cain and Abel getting dirty with their sisters, or Lot doing it to his daughters, all sinful).

    PPS I hope no Christian wears a polycotton mix because mixed fibers are an abomination.

  19. I just figured out who Pilty is…… it’s Bill O’Reilly of “the tide comes in and the tide goes out; never a miscommunication” fame.

    Seriously, if Pilty isn’t poe, then we have a truly deranged fool among us.

  20. Oh good Dog! And these people get to vote too? I think there is a problem with the theory of democracy….

    I would like to “congradualte” Piltdown Man on his consistency(the true virtue of the mediocre) in his spelling, his lack of logic and his use of Conservapedia. If not a real Poe, he has definitely got the mindset down pat.

  21. Blithery: To Vince whirlwind: No flying insects have only four legs, but some do *walk* on four of their six. Absolutely every insect, by definition, has three pairs of limbs. Some hold the front pair up, and only walk on four. Mantids are an example.

    In fact there is at least one group of flying insects with only four legs. Nymphalidae (a family of butterflies, incl. mourning cloaks, painted ladies, etc.) mostly or entirely have only 4 legs as adults. Not 6, but only using 4 in this case. Life is very diverse, and it seems there’s always an exception to any rule.

    I don’t think this helps a thumper’s case though, since the Leviticus passage goes on to imply that there are insects with feet above their legs, and that’s hard to even imagine. That the Bible is regularly wrong is apparent to anyone who’s bothered to read it straight through, but very few believers ever have. That’s why we have Baptists.

  22. Pilty @8:

    “See, it depends on who you ask as to wether evolution is real or not.”

    No. It doesn’t.

    2 + 2 = 4, regardless of whom you ask.

    Gravity is a fact, regardless of whom you ask.

    Evolution is real, regardless of whom you ask.

  23. Greg,

    Thanks for the heads up – I have already written my state congress critters asking them to vote this crap down. Man – sometimes it is so embarrassing to admit I live in Tennessee.

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