New law for teaching evolution

April 13, 2012 in The Question by Teri-Hayslett

Gov. Haslam is expected this week to sign a new law that would require public schools to allow science teachers to discuss purported weaknesses of theories such as Evolution and Global Warming in their classrooms.

Supporters say the law allows teachers and students to critique scientific theories ‘that can cause controversy’ and that they believe have flaws. The bill says it would encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique “scientific weaknesses.” They point out the bill says the law “shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine.”

Opponents say the law’s agenda is to encourage teachers to inject religious beliefs about Creationism and Intelligent Design into public education. Scientists in Tennessee and the American Association for the Advancement of Science say that evolution is established science that shouldn’t be taught as a scientific controversy.

What should we do about teaching evolution? Is the theory of evolution a scientific controversy or a social/religious controversy? Should this controversy be discussed in science classes? In other classes? In public schools at all?