The Tennessee legislature this week introduced a bill that would protect teachers who encourage their students to debate the theory of evolution.
On the surface the bill appears to give way for lively discussion in the classroom however opponents of the proposal say it’s nothing more than a ruse to teach creationism or intelligent design alongside evolution.
The ACLU and top science groups began speaking out against the bill after the state Senate approved the act with a final vote of 24-8. The bills next stop will be the state House.
In support of the bill GOP sponsor Rep. Bo Watson says:
“The idea behind this bill is that students should be encouraged to challenge current scientific thought and theory.”
Watson says under the bills current language teachers are barred from sharing their own religious views and he claims that it will have no affect on the curriculum of evolution that is already taught in public schools throughout Tennessee.
The idea behind the bill says Watson is to allow teachers to respond to kids’ questions regardless of their own belief system.
The bills biggest problem in getting passed however might be the comparison’s it has drawn to Tennessee’s most famous case the Scopes Monkey Trial. As one Democratic senator in the state notes:
“We’re simply dredging up the problems of our past with this bill that will affect our future.”
Do you think this Tennessee bill is just another excuse to introduce creationism and intelligent design ideas to a mass public audience of students?