Re: text of new Tenn anti-evol. bill -Reply

Richley H. Crapo (rcrapo@WPO.HASS.USU.EDU)
Sun, 3 Mar 1996 09:48:32 -0700

This is so, but still problematic. In other fields, instructors remain free to
express their views of how firmly established, how "factual", a theory
is. Only evolution is singled out as a topic an circumscribed by this
explicit taboo. It is also one of the few "theories" about which students
are likely to explicity ask about whether the instructor regards the
material presented to be "factual". And the law does not permit an
honest answer, if the answer happens to be "yes".

Although all scientific knowledge may be said to be tentative, but the law
only requires that evolution be taught that way. The effect is that
students who attend science courses in many different fields but who
may only hear the disclaimer that "this is only a theory" may well interpret
that as evidence that evolution is somehow less scientifically valid than
what is taught in physics, astronomy, chemistry, or other scientific fields
where the teachers may not have chosen to spell out any such
disclaimer about the tentative nature of *their* scientific "theories".

How scientific subjects are taught is, IMO, better decided by science
teachers than by legislators. Maybe its about time for another "monkey
trial" test case--and a new movie!

Richley Crapo

>>> Christopher King <ckin8144@ACC.FAU.EDU> 03/03/96 07:14am >>>
So Tennessee law will state that evolution must be taught as theory and
not stated fact. For me this is a nonsense bill since evolution is only a
theory. Whether someone believes the theory to be fact is another
issue. All the teacher is supposed to do is give the evidence in an
objective manner so that the students can decide for themselves. The
teacher does not in any way have to profess his/her beliefs.


Christopher A. King
Graduate Student of Anthropology
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida 33431-0991
Phone: 407-367-3230 Fax: 407-367-2744 E-mail:

On Sat, 2 Mar 1996, John Cole. wrote:

> Filed for intro on 01/31/96
> By Burks
> AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Section
> 49-5-501 and Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10, relative to the
> teaching of the theory of evolution.
> SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter
> 6, Part 10, is amended by adding the foIlowing new section
> thereto:
> >>>> Section 49-6-1012. No teacher or administrator in a
> local education agency shall teach the theory of evolution
> except as a scientific theory. Any teacher or administrator
> teaching such theory as fact commits insubordination, as
> defined in Section 49-5-501(a)(6), and
> shall be dismissed or suspended as provided in Section 49-5-511.
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section
> 49-5-501(a)(6), is amended by redesignating subdivisions (C)
> and (D) to be subdivisions (D) and (E) and by adding a new
> subdivision (C), as follows:
> (C) Violation of the provisions of Section 49-6-1012,
> relative to the teaching of evolution;
> SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a
> law, the public welfare requiring it.
> *****
> Expected to pass nearly unanimouasly by mid-March
> --Cheers,
> John R. Cole
> (more info from or its pubs......) Sign up--the fight did
> end in 1925 or 1987 court rooms!
> --Boundary (ID McKcFujw+X6K8eE6gOdmgQ)--