Goodbye science. Hello 1925. The right’s relentless effort to keep the youth of America ignorant carries on.
A controversial bill that protects teachers who discuss with students “weaknesses” in evolution and other scientific theories is on its way to [Tennessee] Gov. Bill Haslam, who is under pressure from prominent scientists to veto it.
Scientists in Tennessee and across the nation charge the measure is a “backdoor” attempt to allow discussions of religion-based views such as “creationism” and “intelligent designs” in science classrooms.
The House approved the bill Monday night on a 72-23 vote that included changes made last week by the Senate bill’s sponsor, Bo Watson, R-Hixson. There was no debate.
Watson has said he tried to address scientists’ concerns with new language that directs science teachers to discuss evolution, climate change and other areas within the state’s science education “framework.”
Three prominent Tennessee scientists who are members of the National Academy of Sciences charged Monday in a letter published in the Tennessean newspaper that state lawmakers are “doing the unbelievable: attempting to roll the clock back to 1925 by attempting to insert religious beliefs in the teaching of science.”
Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy) responds in a clip from Inherit The Wind, the film adaptation of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial where a Tennessee science teacher was fined for teaching evolution in a state-funded school.
Can’t you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we’ll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!
They didn’t understand then. They sure as hell don’t understand now. Fixing stupid, they say, is never easy.
(The chimp source photograph is Wikimedia Commons licensed media. The Rick Santorum source photograph is a Creative Commons licensed image from photographer Gage Skidmore. )