The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, and other groups all strenuously lobbied the governor of Tennessee to veto Senate Bill 893/House Bill 368 – also known as the “Monkey Bill” by its detractors. This bill would allow teachers to criticize and raise doubts about the Theory of Evolution, Climate Change, and other well-established scientific theories that may be “socially controversial” (but not at all scientifically controversial). Now, it has become law in Tennessee after Republican Governor Bill Haslam refused to use his veto on April 9th.
~ Monkey Bill not vetoed by Governor Bill Haslam.
[Updated Insert - January 26, 2014: Map Of Publicly-Funded Schools That Are Allowed To Teach Creationism, click here.]
This law has been widely criticized as a deceptive scheme to bypass the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by allowing teachers to sneak in the teachings of Creationism or Intelligent Design as a topic of obfuscating discussions and debates to address the supposed weaknesses of certain scientific theories (there are none – at least not at the public school level). Legal challenges are likely to come if certain teachers try to disguise theology as science, not necessarily because it would violate the concept of the Separation of Church and State, but simply because it would be an outright lie.
~ Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 in Tennessee.
If state legislators are bent on using children as an ideological battlefield, then their pro-science adversaries would relish fighting this war in the great State of Tennessee. You see, Tennessee is the home of the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. It was a landmark event that made Tennessee a laughingstock all over the world, leaving an indelible mark on American history and culture. Through sheer symbolism, any legal challenges undertaken here over the latest education bill would likely draw media attention from around the globe. And America's rivals that have made strides in their math and science curriculums (like China) would be delighted to point to Tennessee's fiasco as a flaw in American democracy. From ABC News: "China Debuts At Top Of International Education Rankings," click here.
[Updated Insert – December 9, 2013: Read our latest article on the deterioration of American education, "Far East Tops O.E.C.D. Education Rankings," click here.]
In 1925, science teacher John Scopes was found guilty in a Tennessee court of law for teaching the Theory of Evolution in a state-funded school – in violation of a ban on Evolution called the Butler Act. His defense attorney was the renowned lawyer Clarence Darrow, while former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan argued for the prosecution. John Scopes was fined $100 but a moral victory was achieved when Bryan was willing to be questioned on the witness stand – a highly unusual move for a prosecutor – and it was a big mistake on his part. Darrow made a fool of Bryan by asking questions such as whether Bryan believed that Eve was created from Adam’s rib, or whether he knew how Cain got his wife. Bryan's reputation never recovered from the court of public opinion after newspapers from around the world exposed the trial for what it really was, a sham. While John Scopes won his appeal in 1927 on a technicality, Evolution could not be taught in Tennessee schools until 1967, when the Butler Act was repealed. In 1968, in a lawsuit filed against the State of Arkansas, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all bans on Evolution were unconstitutional because the prime motive of such laws was religion.
~ Spencer Tracy in the semi-biopic, Inherit The Wind (1960).
UPDATE: GOP Rep. Calls Evolution & Big Bang Lies
(October 14, 2012) Read our latest article on politics and religion, click here.
UPDATE: Teaching Creationism Is Child Abuse
(February 14, 2013) Read our latest article on science vs. religion, click here.
UPDATE: Film: The Unbelievers Attacks Religion
(May 1, 2013) Read our latest article on science vs. religion, click here.
UPDATE: Fanatics Denied Medicine To Kids; 2 Died
(August 8, 2013) Read our latest update on science vs. religion, click here.
UPDATE: "Cyrus Prostituted Herself": Creationist
(September 1, 2013) Read our latest article on Creationism, click here.
UPDATE: Bill Nye Debates Creationist Ken Ham
(February 10, 2014) Read our latest article on how Creationists push their political agenda, click here.
UPDATE: Creation Theme Park Sues For Tax Credit
(March 16, 2015) Read our article on the latest shenanigans of Creationist Ken Ham and his Noah's Ark park, click here.
For related articles in the Frog Blog:
- Creation Theme Park Sues For Tax Credit Click here.
- World's 1st Atheist TV Channel Launches Click here.
- Unvaccinated Kids Banned In NYC Schools Click here.
- Bill Nye Debates Creationist Ken Ham Click here.
- Far East Tops O.E.C.D. Education Rankings Click here.
- "Cyrus Prostituted Herself": Creationist Click here.
- Film: The Unbelievers Attacks Religion! Click here.
- Teaching Creationism Is Child Abuse Click here.
- GOP Rep. Calls Evolution & Big Bang Lies Click here.
- Tax-Break For Kentucky Creationist Park Click here.
- Bachmann Wants Creationism In Schools Click here.
- Doomsday Prophets Are Idiots! Click here.
- "Evolution A Myth": Christine O’Donnell Click here.
- Creation Vs. Evolution: Darwin Defamed! Click here.