Tennessee Science Law Receives Mixed Media Reviews

Scopes Trial Plaque

Scopes Trial Monument remembers famous Scopes Monkey Trial which took place in Tennessee 87 years ago. John Scopes, a high school teacher, was tried for teaching controversial science. He just wanted the right to teach Darwinian theory with freedom. He believed teachers should have the freedom to present any scientific theory in the classroom. (image from ScienceProgress.org)

Tennessee is to be applauded for recently passing an academic freedom  law using the template of the Louisiana Science Education Act (passed in 2008) to provide legal protection for teachers and schools systems who teach the scientific evidence against controversial scientific theories, including but not limited to Evolution and Global Warming.

The Tennessee law specifically states the following:

This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.

What this means is that if a teacher were to teach creationism, he or she would be doing so outside of the jurisdiction of the bill, under which the teacher would accordingly have no protection. So there’s no reason to think the law would protect the teaching of creationism in the classroom.

Yet, Reuters wrote an article yesterday titled:  “Tennessee teacher law could boost creationism, climate denial” ,citing “expert” after expert opinion to elaborate on their title.

Reuters never once directly quoted anyone from the organization instrumental in drafting the legislation, the Discovery Institute, illuminating their readers on the intent of the law thereby providing a reasonable sense of “fairness” by the media.

Could Reuters’ slant be analogous to NBC deleting out a portion of the 911 tapes of George Zimmerman implying he was a racist against blacks? Shame on both of you.

However, PRNewsWire.com and its affiliates allowed support for the other side of the debate, citing the law allows freedom for teachers to present both sides of a controversial scientific debate, fostering healthy skepticism and promoting critical thinking skills –providing students with science education instead of science indoctrination.

The PRNewsWire directly quotes the Discovery Institute: “More than 85 years ago, Tennessee teacher John Scopes appealed for the right to teach students all of the scientific evidence,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “This historic new law now secures that right. It’s ironic that many of today’s defenders of evolution have abandoned Scopes’ plea for free discussion and are pushing for censorship and intolerance in the classroom instead.

Personally what would you prefer? Freedom to think , or structured indoctrination by the thought police…

About George Tippett

Born in 1952, I have a BS in Chemistry and worked the majority of my 30 year career in a business position for the chemical manufacturing industry. I believe a healthy Economy, honest Politics, and a conservative worldview are critical to the success of America for my children and grandchildren. Despite my skepticism of the very vocal liberal worldview in America, which compels me to write this blog, I encourage their respectful comments.
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