This is why no one respects the South

You’d think Tennessee, of all places, would know better:

Tennessee, where the nation’s first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago, is close to enacting a law that critics deride as the “monkey bill” for once again attacking the scientific theory.

The measure passed by the Tennessee General Assembly would protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said this week he would likely sign it into law.

Interestingly, the governor is claiming that the law will basically do absolutely nothing while changing approximately zilch. The truth is different:

The bill says it would encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique “scientific weaknesses.”

In other words, teachers won’t be punished for telling students lies.

I think a great test of this horseshit bill would be for a teacher to go into a dead-pan routine where he questions the validity of the theory of gravity. Talk about its weaknesses, cast doubt on its validity, and maybe even propose some alternatives. Of course, those “alternatives” would need to be couched in science-y language, but I’m sure there are plenty of creationist groups out there willing to lend their expertise to those who wish to abuse science.

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8 Responses

  1. Can you imagine a new biomedical research institute trying to decide between Tennessee or New York? Should we go to Tennessee where none of the high school grads have a clue about real science? Or New York, where teachers discuss the FACT of evolution?

    I want to throw my computer out of the window!

  2. You are making way too much out of this one Michael. Have you bothered to even read the bill’s language, or are you just accepting what you have read or been told?

    The curriculum changes in absolutely no way whatsoever. While I too can see ways in which a teacher could theoretically abuse this bill, I can think of far more ways this bill would protect teachers who are doing a great job.

    I know I can’t be the only one who has read articles about a teacher being fired or disciplined, merely for covering alternative ideas and pointing out what are real weaknesses.

    Take evolution alone for a moment. It is indeed widely accepted (even the Pope says so) that evolution has occurred, does occur and will continue to occur. Where there are significant weaknesses are in ALL the proposed mechanisms. Strict gradualism has plenty of weaknesses, as does punctuated equilibrium, and so it goes with every proposed mechanism. Those are things that I would have thought you would demand to be taught. It isn’t much better to leave out criticism’s than it is to flat out teach the earth is 10,000 years old.

    I have a policy that does more to protect bad teachers and harm the scientific education of our youth. That policy is usually known as tenure. If you want to talk about horrible teachers being protected when they teach crap, there is the gorilla in the room that you are ignoring, and he is pissed off.

    Wait, that isn’t a ‘he’, it’s your mother! Good God… which way does evolution go again?

  3. Have I bothered to read it? Wow, right out of the box, an ad hominem.

    Let me respond to yours with my own. Do you know anything about evolution, because obviously you don’t. I’m sure your 3rd grade southern education was adequate for biblical lies and myths, but hardly for a reasoned discussion about evolution. Good luck with your debating skills. You prefer logical fallacies to reason, but you religious types are good at that kind of delusion.

    Atheism rules.

  4. Why take a child’s faith from them before they have an opportunity to see what life is really like?

  5. Nate says “It isn’t much better to leave out criticism’s than it is to flat out teach the earth is 10,000 years old.”
    Nope, Incomplete information beats a pack of fucking lies hands down 100% of the time.

    Michael – there was no ad-hominem there, if I understand the term correctly. Though it was a bit cheeky alright.

    Adventures – you’re taking the piss, right? childen don’t have faith, they have trust. That’s why they believe any old shit you tell them, and that’s why you shouldn’t tell them any old shit. Stick to the facts and they’ll be fine.

  6. High school biology courses are not designed to go in depth into very much. The point is to give broad overviews of ideas and concepts that will prepare students for the details they will encounter when they enter college. Moreover, most high school biology teachers are not especially versed in the details of evolutionary theory. Except where there is special knowledge, it would be detrimental to attempt to go into details which are debated at the academic level – if the professionals in the field have quibbles, we cannot reasonably expect high school students to wrestle with the issues in a productive way. It would be like talking about gravity and then muddying the course by discussing how it has problems in unification as well as the quantum level. The sole point of doing something like that would be to confuse students as to the theory and fact of gravity.

  7. Michael Simpson, learn what a logical fallicy is, because you blundered into several of them trying to make the (incorrect) claim that I used one. While it isn’t of any real importance, I wasn’t educated in the south. You seem to be suffering from more delussions than I am, one of them being a delussion of granduer.

    And other Michael, I understand what you are saying, but the text of the bill and the effects it will have are really not what you are asserting they are. If teachers are teaching facts, there is no problem, this bill will simply protect them from dicsipline when they do so, in much the same way tenure does. Very much the same way.

    I just don’t see the advantage that you seem to in permitting teachers to address the weaknesses that are inherent in many things. Do you really think it is more productive to teach things that are still fairly fluid as insurmountable facts? I don’t, and I don’t see where this bill would permit the teaching of any kind of creationism.

    Stuart, a lie is a lie. Lying by ommission is still lying.

  8. Nate, your condescending language is laughable. Stick to the facts. You want kids to be taught religious bullshit myths that were quite popular with Bronze Age goat herders who didn’t know better. Science got us to where we are now.

    There are no weaknesses in the FACT of evolution; there is some discussion on mechanisms, but those are subtle and beyond your capabilities as a TRUE believer in religious dogma.

    This conversation is boring the living shit out of me. I’m moving on.

    Oh, and I write about logical fallacies. I know them inside and out. And here’s a logical truth Nate. You have no clue about anything. You should be embarrassed by your southern religious education.

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