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Author Topic:   New Tennessee Monkey Law!
dwise1
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Posts: 2112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 1 of 126 (658936)
04-11-2012 3:09 AM


What? Nobody was monitoring this one? The Governor ignored this one and it automatically became a law.

"Monkey bill" enacted in Tennessee

quote:
Governor Bill Haslam allowed Tennessee's House Bill 368 to become law without his signature on April 10, 2012, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal (April 10, 2012). The law encourages teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of topics that arouse "debate and disputation" such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

This is the first bill in the Governor's 15 months in office that he allowed to be passed by being ignored.

KCRW (a Santa Monica, CA, affiliate of NPR) carried a program tonight interviewing several people, including the former state senator who had authored the bill, but so far it is not up on their site: http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/ww

The bill ... er, law, purports to defend a teacher from repercussions for presenting negative evidence of certain scientific ideas. The bill ... er, law, only specifies science classes to be subject to this law, not other classes. The law specifically targets evolution, climate change, and human cloning. The sponsor of the bill, the aforementioned former state senator, works for a very specifically religious organization. Furthermore, the only "negative evidence of said scientific ideas" can be found amongst creationists and IDists. And a scientist and wife of a high school science teacher interviewed on the afore-linked-to NPR program, "Which Way, LA?", pointed out that teachers have always been allowed to present opposing scientific ideas into their classrooms, so that law is totally unnecessary. The only purpose that the law could possibly serve would be to allow teachers to bring in religious creationist materials.

Of course, in my perversity, I want to imagine at least one teacher who uses this law for good, instead of the evil that its backers intend:
"OK, students, this is evolution. Any comments?"
"But it is a fairy tale, based on these false assumptions!"
"OK, let's examine those claims you just presented. ... As we can plainly see, all your objections have no basis."
"But what about this? And this?"
"OK, let us examine those. ... Well, we can now clearly see that those claims you cited are completely and utterly false."
"But what about this?"
"OK, let us examine that as well. ... OMG! I'm sorry, but this one is so ludicrous that I am truly embarrassed for you! Please, apply yourself more to your studies so that you might avoid such obvious howlers in the future."
"OK, so what about the mountains of negative evidence against evolution?"
"Such as?"
Claim is presented.
"OK, let's examine it. ... Sorry, but that is nonsense and here is the explanation of why it is such total nonsense."
"OK, so what about this!?"
"OK, let's examine it. ... Sorry, but that is nonsense and here is the explanation of why it is such total nonsense."

And so on.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by subbie, posted 04-11-2012 10:02 AM dwise1 has not yet responded
 Message 4 by Jon, posted 04-11-2012 10:20 AM dwise1 has responded
 Message 5 by Catholic Scientist, posted 04-11-2012 10:23 AM dwise1 has responded
 Message 115 by Buzsaw, posted 04-28-2012 3:26 PM dwise1 has responded
 Message 125 by dwise1, posted 05-01-2012 3:19 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

    
dwise1
Member
Posts: 2112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 12 of 126 (658966)
04-11-2012 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Jon
04-11-2012 10:20 AM


Re:
I almost wonder, though, how many biology teachers there are out there that desperately want to teach anti-evolution nonsense.

While there are many good science teachers out there, the sad fact is that many science classes are taught by teachers with little or no science background. Especially in the smaller school districts, you teach what you are assigned to teach.

When I was stationed in North Dakota, the first town we lived in (Hatton, population at that time: 888) had a high school. If you taught there, you not only taught whatever subject they gave you, but you also had to coach one of the teams. The Will Schuster (Glee) example of somebody who doesn't know anything about Spanish being the Spanish teacher is alive and doing quite well, unfortunately. The school has to offer certain classes and it has a limited pool of teachers to draw from, so the short straw gets the job.

In Orange County (ie, hardly in the boonies like Hatton), when my son was in middle school, his science class (mainly biology) was taught by the home-ec teacher. The other students used to always come to him with their questions, because he knew more than the teacher did, or at least could explain it better than she could. Fortunately, his physical science teacher the next year knew the subject matter.

One creationist court case was in 1980's Orange County: John Peloza. His BA was in Physical Education and his MS was in Education with his thesis being about coaching softball. As a fellow teacher described him, Peloza had taken the absolute minimum biology classes. But on Santa Catalina Island he wound up teaching biology, thanks, I'm sure, to the "Hatton Effect". He continued to teach biology when he moved to the Capistrano School District until his injection of creationism into the class and telling Jewish students they were going to Hell surfaced. I heard him speak at that time and everything he said about science was straight from the ICR.

While there are undoubtedly many biology teachers out there who are qualified in biology, there are also many who are not. And among those, there are many who do indeed want to teach anti-evolution nonsense.

... ; it'd be like an Amish person teaching computer science.

As I understand, there are quite a few tech-savvy Amish, especially among the young going to town on their smartphones.

And, no, "Super Bad" is not my source on that.


This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
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Posts: 2112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 14 of 126 (658969)
04-11-2012 12:03 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Catholic Scientist
04-11-2012 10:23 AM


Creationists have been lying to us non-stop since the 1970's and even before then, so whyever do you assume that they have suddenly switched to being truthful?

It serves no real purpose. Science teachers have always been free to present opposing scientific ideas, so there's no need for this law to protect them. What teachers are not allowed to do is to teach religion and the only "evidence against evolution" that's out there comes from "creation science", which is pure religion, and "intelligent design", which has become a thinly veiled disguise for "creation science."

It specifically targets science and further specifically targets three subjects: evolution, global warming, and human cloning. Why? To "promote the teaching of critical thinking"? So why not promote that in English class? Or social studies? Why only target science? And why only target those three subjects specifically? You know, they're still lying to us.

Even though we feel that creationists refuse to learn anything, they are not dumb and they do indeed learn. They learn that their creationist laws fail and they are able to figure out why. So they learn to be increasingly clever and deceptive about the wording of their laws. They learn to be better at lying to us. But that does not mean that they have stopped lying to us.

Derek Fowler, the author of the bill, was on Which Way, LA? (link in the OP) last night. Of course, he kept emphasizing that it had nothing to do with promoting religion. And he even tried to provide sources to support his claim. Well, only one source: The Discovery Institute.

'Nough said?


This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 15 of 126 (658972)
04-11-2012 12:13 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by subbie
04-11-2012 11:16 AM


It's not exactly a Monkey Law. That's really the press having a bit of fun with an anti science type law coming out of the state that hosted the Monkey Trial.

True. The Monkey Laws specifically forbade the teaching of evolution in the public schools or even the mention of that "e-word". I'm not sure about the Tennessee Monkey Law, but the Arkansas law required that the teacher not only be fired, but also barred from ever teaching again (which is why, when Susan Epperson's school administrators required her to use the BSCS textbook in which evolution was the central unifying theme, she had to sue the state, which led to the striking down of the monkey laws).

Rather, this law is intended to provide a back-door to bring creationism into the classroom. "We only want to be able to present the evidence against evolution" is just a ruse; creationism is practically nothing but "evidences against evolution".


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 113 of 126 (660628)
04-27-2012 3:43 PM
Reply to: Message 111 by Taz
04-27-2012 3:16 PM


Anyway, going back to the topic, how's this bill coming along?

"Bill"? The bill is long-gone, since it became a law on 10 April 2012, the day before this topic started. It became a law automatically when Gov. Bill Haslam neither signed it nor vetoed it. It is the law in Tennessee.

What's happening now is that the ACLU is waiting for the inevitable outcome (from What next in Tennessee? at ncse.com):

quote:
Hedy Weinberg, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, told the newspaper that her group is in touch with concerned parents across the state, "waiting for one to report First Amendment violations teachers could make under the mistaken notion that they now have full protection."

What's the likelihood of that happening? It already is (from the same article):
quote:
Gary Nixon, executive director of the Tennessee State Board of Education, was sanguine, saying, "We have some very solid science standards to be taught, and we expect those to be taught." But the Tennessean noted that the state's science standards received a grade of D in the Fordham Foundation's latest evaluation of state science standards, with the life science section faring poorest. Tennessee is committed, however, to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards, due later in the year, in which evolution is emphasized as one of the "disciplinary core ideas" of the life sciences.

What's in the standards and what's in the classroom are not necessarily the same. Mike Kohut, a researcher at Vanderbilt University studying evolution education in Tennessee, found in his interviews of students and teachers that "one director of schools admitted he knew teachers taught creationism in the classroom. A teacher said he was offended he is forced to teach evolution. A science coordinator said teaching evolution was a good way to get fired in her district." Kohut regarded it as likely that teachers who wish to introduce intelligent design would understand the law allowing them to do so.

Confirmation that evolution may already be ignored or disparaged in Tennessee classrooms came from the Chattanooga Times Free Press (April 15, 2012), which quoted one teacher as saying, "We don't even call it evolution. We call it genetic change," and contending, "[Evolution] has nothing to do with whether man was once a monkey." Becky Ashe, president of the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, told the Times Free Press that she (like Kohut) feared that teachers, especially in small rural districts, might take the law as license to teach creationism to their students.


So start up the popcorn and sit back for the show to start. Even though it's the same old plot all over again, and again, and again -- we can even already recite from memory most of the "new" dialogue, having seen it used so many times before.

The NCSE's other articles on Tennessee are available here. And you can find news on what's going on in the other states at the NCSE's home page at http://ncse.com/.


This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
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Posts: 2112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


(4)
Message 119 of 126 (660709)
04-28-2012 5:26 PM
Reply to: Message 115 by Buzsaw
04-28-2012 3:26 PM


Re: Governor's Inaction
Pray tell, Dwise, what wrong with presenting strengths and scientifice weaknesses of both creationism and evolution?

In principle, nothing. However, both the principle and its practical application require that those strengths and weaknesses be presented with complete truthfulness and honesty. For more than four decades, creationists have demonstrated consistently and persistently that truthfulness and honesty is anathema to their creationist theology. Including creationist materials and claims would only serve to introduce lies and deception into the science classroom. What pedagogic purpose could that possibly serve?

But, you might say, that's not what you're talking about, but it is even if you don't realize it yet. When I as first starting to study "creation science" 30 years ago, there was a joke: "Creationism is a book with two chapters; Chapter One is 'Evolution' and Chapter Two is 'Everything that's Wrong with Chapter One.'" The thing is that that was no joke. "Creation science" claimed to have a "creation model" and to have mountains of evidence for creation, but they would never present their "creation model" nor any of that evidence for creation, but rather all they would present was lies and misrepresentations about what evolution is and false claims and "evidence" against evolution. All creationism consists of are lies about science and evolution and false claims against science and evolution.

When creationists would fail to get "creation science" included in the science classroom under the smokescreen of "balanced treatment", they would then offer a "compromise" that, instead of creationism, the "scientific weaknesses of evolution" be presented in science class. But as we have already seen, that is all that "creation science" is, so accepting that "compromise" would be exactly the same as including creationism; ie, that is no compromise, but rather a creationist deception.

And the "scientific weaknesses of evolution" that you want to be included come straight out of "creation science" and are only to be found in creationism and they have been refuted as being false repeatedly for decades; IOW, they are PRATTs. What pedagogic purpose could including those lies possibly serve?.

Now let's look at your question from another perspective. Why present the non-existent scientific strengths and multitude of weaknesses of creationism? What pedagogic purpose could that possibly serve? Not only would that be introducing religion into the science classroom, but it would also, if done honestly and truthfully, be taken by the religious students and community as a direct attack on their religious beliefs. What pedagogic purpose could that possibly serve? And on top of all that, it would waste valuable class time that should instead be spent teaching the curriculum; and as the teachers cited pointed out, there's not enough time to teach what they're supposed to teach, so there's none that they can afford to waste on creationism.

I should also point out that the purpose of education, and of science education in particular, is for the students to learn and understand the material; compelling belief in what's taught is explicitly contrary to the purpose of education. As we have learned from creationist teaching materials, the purpose of creationism is to compel belief, which includes blatant attempts to convert the students at the end of the lessons.

And, yes, the strengths and weaknesses of any scientific law or theory should be presented and be open for discussion in the science classroom. Actual scientific weaknesses, not creationist lies.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 125 of 126 (661045)
05-01-2012 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by dwise1
04-11-2012 3:09 AM


Radio Program is On-line
As I wrote on 11 Apr 2012 (nine minutes into that day, so by "tonight" I meant on 10 Apr):

KCRW (a Santa Monica, CA, affiliate of NPR) carried a program tonight interviewing several people, including the former state senator who had authored the bill, but so far it is not up on their site: http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/ww

The bill ... er, law, purports to defend a teacher from repercussions for presenting negative evidence of certain scientific ideas. The bill ... er, law, only specifies science classes to be subject to this law, not other classes. The law specifically targets evolution, climate change, and human cloning. The sponsor of the bill, the aforementioned former state senator, works for a very specifically religious organization. Furthermore, the only "negative evidence of said scientific ideas" can be found amongst creationists and IDists. And a scientist and wife of a high school science teacher interviewed on the afore-linked-to NPR program, "Which Way, LA?", pointed out that teachers have always been allowed to present opposing scientific ideas into their classrooms, so that law is totally unnecessary. The only purpose that the law could possibly serve would be to allow teachers to bring in religious creationist materials.


While the "big" story that night was about baseball, the audio does include the section on the Tennessee law. Go to http://www.kcrw.com/...grams/ww/ww120410looking_back_as_dodg. Right under the main topic title, "Looking Back as Dodger Stadium Celebrates Its Jubilee", and to the left you will see a blue rectangular button that says Listen. Click on that and you can listen to the program. Be patient and about one minute into the program they will finally mention the Tennessee law.

Share and enjoy!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by dwise1, posted 04-11-2012 3:09 AM dwise1 has not yet responded

    
dwise1
Member
Posts: 2112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 126 of 126 (661050)
05-01-2012 3:42 PM


Tennessee Law is no Isolated Case
I just visited NCSE to see if any new news on the Tennessee law had been posted. Instead, there are reports from Oklahoma and Louisiana.

From Oklahoma, we have Antiscience effort falters in Oklahoma
(my emphasis added):

quote:
A last-ditch legislative attempt to attack the teaching of evolution and of climate change in Oklahoma failed when a legislative deadline passed. After two antiscience bills, House Bill 1551 and Senate Bill 1742, died in committee, Steve Russell (R-District 45) proposed to amend House Bill 2341 a bill that would have extended by two years a deadline by which local school districts are required to meet certain standards for media, equipment, and textbooks by adding the language from HB 1551, encouraging teachers to present "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as "biological evolution" and "global warming."

Since the legislature will remain in session until 25 May, Russell will undoubtedly attempt to add his amendment to other unrelated bills.

From Louisiana we have Repeal effort fails in Louisiana
(again, my emphasis added):

quote:
Louisiana's Senate Bill 374 (PDF) was rejected on a 2-1 vote in the Senate Committee on Education on April 19, 2012, according to the Alexandria Town Talk (April 19, 2012). Three senators were absent and the chair abstained. The bill, introduced by Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5), would, if enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008, and thus opened the door for scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution and climate science to be taught in the state's public schools.

The law targeted for repeal calls on state and local education administrators to help to promote "critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning"; these four topics were described as controversial in the original draft of the legislation. It also allows teachers to use "supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner" if so permitted by their local school boards.

Since 2008, antievolutionists have not only sought to undermine the law's provision allowing challenges to unsuitable supplementary materials, but have also reportedly invoked the law to support proposals to teach creationism in at least two parishes Livingston and Tangipahoa and to attack the treatment of evolution in biology textbooks proposed for adoption by the state. Meanwhile, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology urged Louisianans to repeal the law in 2008, and the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology decided to hold its conferences elsewhere while the law remains on the books.

. . .

Kevin Carman, the dean of Louisiana State University's Department of Science, confirmed {that the law is hurting Louisiana's reputation}, saying that two scientists he was trying to recruit to the university cited the law as their reason not to accept and one scientist already at LSU departed because of worries about the quality of his children's science education. "Teaching pseudo-science drives scientists away," Carman said.


And now again the quote from my Message 1 at the start of this topic (again, my emphasis added):

quote:
Governor Bill Haslam allowed Tennessee's House Bill 368 to become law without his signature on April 10, 2012, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal (April 10, 2012). The law encourages teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of topics that arouse "debate and disputation" such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

The same weasel wording keeps showing up in these anti-evolution bills. They are obviously all singing from the same sheet music. As has been happening for the past three decades, these bills are no isolated cases, but rather are part of a larger anti-evolution movement whose tradition, tactics, and arguments go back to circa 1920.
    
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