Worries About Scientific Weakness of Scientific Theories

Monday was a busy day in the Tennessee Legislature.

In the Senate, they were debating a measure that guarantees teachers the right to help students "understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warming" (Emphasis mine). The eight members of the state's National Academy of Science have vocally opposed the measure. Since the state was also home to the 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial, over the right of teachers to teach evolution, the comparisons have been frequent.

"Let me say what this bill does not do ... as may have been mischaracterized by many," Watson told the Times Free Press. "This bill does not endorse, promote or allow the teaching of any nonscientific, nonconventional theories in the scientific classroom." It does however give credence to the supposed "scientific weakness" of theories that the vast majority of scientist already accept. 

But none of that stopped the Senate from passing the bill. Only eight members of the body opposed the measure. It now heads back to the House for approval of some minor changes—the lower chamber already passed the measure last year.

And in case kids were already getting too taken with evolution in the classroom, the House also gave a thumbs up a measure to allowing public displays of the Ten Commandments. The tablets don't mention climate change or evolution, but I have a feeling kids will get the idea.