If You Think Michigan Is Dopey, Take a Gander at Tennessee

(Photo by Flickr/CC user DJ-Dwayne)

After the least wintry winter in memory, Tennessee seems to have been brain-fried into cloud-cuckoo land.

On March 19, the legislature in its wisdom mandated climate-change denial in the state’s K-12 science education curriculum.  The Assembly voted 70-23 and the Senate, 24-8.  The Tennessee law matches a model called, of course, the Environmental Literacy Improvement Act, promoted by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council to

• Provide a range of perspectives presented in a balanced manner.

• Provide instruction in critical thinking so that students will be able to fairly and objectively evaluate scientific and economic controversies.

• Be presented in language appropriate for education rather than for propagandizing.

• Encourage students to explore different perspectives and form their own opinions.

• Encourage an atmosphere of respect for different opinions and open-mindedness to new ideas.

• Not be designed to change student behavior, attitudes or values.

• Not include instruction in political action skills nor encourage political action activities.

Convulsive climate upheaval as the result of the warming of the earth is to be taught as a “theory” among other “credible theories.”

Roll over, John Scopes. The Tennessee legislature is here to remind you that ”the teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy.”

Attention, customers:  Teaching the chemical origins of life can cause controversy. Handle with care.

I’m pleased that these fervent opponents of relativism are so eager to solicit the opinions of schoolchildren on evolution, the chemical origins of life, and the overheating of the earth. I’d love to be a Galapagos finch on the wall during the conversations when children share their opinions.

The bill was opposed by such subversive elements as the National Association of Biology Teachers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Nashville Tennessean, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Earth Science Teachers Association, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, and all eight Tennessee members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hold on.  That’s not all.  The other day, the state Senate in Nashville passed a bill to update their abstinence-based sex education curriculum to define holding hands and kissing as “gateway sexual activities.”  One senator voted against.

H. L. Mencken, thou should’st be living in this hour!


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