Monkey Bill Stinks

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) recently failed to block a law passed by his state legislature that provides legal protections for science teachers who criticize scientifically tested principles such as evolution and global warming in their classrooms. I’m sure there exists across the internet numerous angry rants about this as an assault against scientific reasoning and the proper education of our citizenry, and I fall heavily on the side of that argument, but I won’t get into it here.

I will chime in with one thing, however.

The bill states “some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy”. What this “teach the controversy” argument really means is “create controversy”, because the scientific subjects listed above are like comparing apples and oranges. Evolution and global warming are hypotheses that have not yet been falsified and thus are considered theories. This means that for both, there has to date been almost no evidence leading the scientific community to believe an alternative explanation. The consensus among scientists is: life evolves and the Earth’s climate is getting warmer. There really is no controversy, unless you ask certain non-scientists who argue against these theories on moral grounds.

That is like taking your car to the mechanic, and he/she says: “I looked at your car and determined that the reason your steering wheel is drifting is because your tires are unevenly worn”. Then, you take your car to your uncle and he says “ah, the roads are just crooked”.  Who would you believe: the person with the expertise and training to examine the situation and make a determination as to the cause of his/her observations, or the non-expert who is just telling you what he thinks?

Furthermore, one may believe that the act of cloning a human is immoral. Fine. But human cloning is not a theory, it is an act, so one is allowed to make a logical argument against its practice. To argue that scientific theory is immoral just doesn’t make any sense. Are Tennessee teachers going to tell students that it’s okay to think that scientists should maybe “lay off the evolution thing”, as in “HEY, STOP DOING EVOLUTION”? Scientists would respond, “uh, we’re not doing anything, as far as we can tell the things are just evolving on their own, we are just watching”.

The reasoning behind it is suspect. Which makes me worry that powers greater than you or me or the average Tennessee parent were at hand. Which, in turn, makes me fear for the future of our republic.

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One Comment on “Monkey Bill Stinks”

  1. […] state. That was 40 years ago, yet the saga of teaching evolution in Tennessee schools continues, as last month the governor of Tennessee allowed to pass a “Monkey Bill” law that lets teachers present evolution and global warming as controversial topics (even though they […]


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