Tennessee evolution bill sets dangerous precedent for education
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 14:05
It’s strange to think that in this day and age, legislators are actually okay with passing anti-evolution bills. However, that is sadly the world we live in. Or, rather, the world that Tennessee public schools will be living in.
As of April 20, 2012, a law allowing teachers to skip over evolutionary theories (as well as other controversial topics) has been passed. The bill that was passed into law is designed to “protect” educational professionals who do not believe in scientific “theories,” ranging from evolution to global warming. Bill Haslam, the governor of Tennessee, decided to allow the bill to become law without his signature.
Considering that Tennessee is home to the Scopes Monkey Trials, this new attack within the war on science really should not be surprising. However, it is still mind-blowing to think that in this day and age, we can allow such an old-fashioned law to go through.
Perhaps the most deplorable aspect of this entire issue is that this ongoing feud between science and religion has caused radical changes at the expense of students’ educations. If these teachers really do consider themselves educational professionals, yet, they do not want to teach theories that are held high in their fields of teaching, then why are they even teaching (in a public school anyways)? If they want to spout off their own ideas about creationism or whatever it is that they believe in, perhaps they would be better off teaching at a private school or even going into the field of research. It’s understandable that teachers do not have to believe in every theory they teach, but, at the very least, can they even bother to just regurgitate the material from the textbooks?
This bill that has been passed into law is a mark of dishonor on the American educational system. It is utterly shameful to think that a professional teaching science can simply skip over certain ideas simply because he or she doesn’t believe in them. Before you think this is an attack on religion, think about this: what if all teachers in all disciplines decided to not teach what they didn’t believe in, such as a history teacher who refuses to teach about the Holocaust because he doesn’t believe in it, or an English teacher who refuses to teach basic grammar because she doesn’t like it.
As public school teachers, it is their job to teach the curriculum in the textbooks, in the news, and in real life—it is not their job to pick and choose which theories to present to children. Leave that to the private schools and churches.
Unfortunately, the children of Tennessee will not be receiving a very good education. Soon, they will be country children moved into the city with no idea who Charles Darwin is. These students won’t know that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park did at some point exist or understand what An Inconvenient Truth is about. As far as America is concerned, a civil war still exists in our nation, and it is one that is exceedingly unstable: the war between religion and science. The fact that all of these different theories and beliefs cannot coexist brings up the most important question of all: if you truly believe in something, then why does one theory have to disappear in order for another to be true?