Press release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee; April 2, 2012:
The “Monkey Bill” has sailed through the legislature. Governor Haslam is now our final hope to stop Tennessee from being embarrassed in the national spotlight for passing a bill that will gut science education and inject religion into Tennessee’s science classrooms.
Under the guise of fostering “critical thinking,” HB 368/SB 0893 would open the door for teachers to call the validity of proven scientific theories like evolution into question. Saying these theories have “strengths and weaknesses,” as the bill does, is typically code in the evolution debate to introduce non-scientific ideas like creationism and intelligent design into the science curriculum.
This bill is being promoted by the Discovery Institute, which describes “Darwinian evolution” as “controversial” and “seeks to counter the materialistic interpretation of science by demonstrating that life and the universe are the products of intelligent design.”
Meanwhile, prestigious scientific and educational organizations, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, all agree that the theory of evolution needs to be taught straightforwardly and without compromise.
While critical thinking is important to any serious course of scientific study, this legislation is not aimed at developing students’ critical thinking skills. Rather it seeks to undermine scientific principle by granting teachers legal cover to bring their own religious ideology into the classroom and call it science.
Thank you for using your voice to keep religion out of the science classroom.