SHMOOIE BUENO HATES THE STATE OF TENNESSEE VS SCIENCE
Oh, the simple minds of the early 20th century! Here in 2012, such a thing would be unheard of, no?
Uh, well…. No, actually.
In fact, dear old Tennessee is once again bringing evolution in the classroom under fire with their new bill, passed Monday night on a 72-23 vote. The bill in question almost sounds innocent enough, stating that it will encourage teachers to discuss the flaws in the theories of evolution, climate change, the chemical origins of life, etc, with their students in order to bring about debate that will improve their critical thinking and communication skills. Nothing wrong with encouraging students to think critically, right?
This is where you have to start looking very carefully at the exact wording of the bill. This bill “provides guidelines” for exactly how teachers should approach questions about evolution and the like. They are to push the fact that these are “just theories” and should focus on the flaws of said theories, providing counterpoint (intelligent design?) when relevant. Teachers will not be punished for speaking against evolution in science education.
Some may ask what the problem is here. I mean, isn’t the point of science to always question everything in order to get to the truth of the matter? Of course it is. The problem is that this encourages teachers that have a personal bias against Darwinian evolution and non-biblical origins of life to sway their students away from those theories and to “challenge current scientific thought and theory.” The problem is that these “theories” are considered solid fact by the scientific communities and teachers are now able to discredit them because they offend their personal spiritual opinions. The problem is that this is allowing religion into the science classroom with no punishment.
This is unfair to the students, first of all, because it teaches them that what they learn in Sunday school is actually interchangeable with what they are taught in their science class. If people want do their children the disservice of teaching that creationism is the correct path to follow, that’s their prerogative, but they should not expect their children’s teachers to do the same. Moreover, lawmakers should know that this is an explicit violation of the separation of church and state.
Scientists from all over the state of Tennessee, and across the country, are urging the senate to repeal this act, to no avail. Their ears are closed to reason as they strut about, congratulating each other on their victory against science. This, I believe, is a huge slap in the face to the people that devote their lives to the study and advancement of the sciences, to creating a curriculum that most effectively teaches students the origins of life on this planet. These lawmakers are basically telling teachers not to worry about the fact that they have far less knowledge on the subject at hand, that their personal grievances with science are more important than actual solid facts, so go ahead and replace what the manual says with whatever you think Jesus may have had to say on the subject of evolution.
This is yet another battle being fought in the right wing’s war on intellectualism. Because their ancient book of myth says nothing about evolution, but it does say that we’re made of clay and ribs, they will stomp on decades upon decades of work and research and replace it with so much superstitious drivel. They are driving us backwards while most of the world progresses, and want us to thank them for it. This should not be tolerated on any level by anyone. But it will be, as many Americans will see this as an issue of state’s rights versus an overreaching federal government, because we all know that freedom includes the freedom to teach students whatever the fuck you want without governmental intercession. I’m all for personal freedom, religious freedom, all that shit, but when it comes down to deliberately spreading misinformation and undermining the role of science in our educational system, I believe that a line has been crossed.