Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan fought the first legal battle over creationism in Tennessee. Ready for Round Two?
By a vote of 70-28, the Tennessee House of Representatives has just approved
a bill to protect teachers who choose to teach creationism, rather than evolution, in their public school classrooms. The State of Tennessee, which pays their salaries, would no longer be able to enforce standards for the teaching of evolution, as it currently does. Instead, science curriculum would become a free-for-all. Studies already show
that 13% of high school biology teachers advocate creationism in their classrooms, and that a large majority avoid talking about evolution altogether, because it would get them in hot water with the local God experts. If this bill takes hold – it’s already been introduced in seven states – expect those numbers to skyrocket.
Proponents of the Tennessee bill disingenuously say they are simply trying to promote academic freedom. Evolution is just an unproven “theory,” they say, and other “theories” like that contained in the book of Genesis should be taught as well. In fact, evolution is a “theory” in the same sense that gravity is a “theory”: a coherent group of principles used to explain a class of phenomena. Like evolution, gravity hasn’t been conclusively proven in every case, and Isaac Newton was roundly condemned by the God experts of his day. I can only suggest that those who prefer divine revelation to observable fact should try stepping off a rooftop sometime. (more…)