An anti-evolution league holds a book sale at the opening of the Scopes 'monkey' trial in 1925, when a Tennessee public school teacher was convicted and fined for teaching evolution. Photograph: Corbis
Tennessee Bill Protects Teachers Who Challenge Evolution and Climate Change
Author: Suzanne Goldenberg
Source: The Guardian
The state legislature of Tennessee has given legal cover to public school teachers to challenge the science of evolution and climate change, in a move that looks set to deepen a debate about politicisation of the classroom.
The bill passed in the Tennessee Senate this week provides legal protection to teachers who personally do not believe in evolution or the human causes of climate change, and instead want to teach the "scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories".
It comes at a time when science associations are increasingly concerned by moves to inject religious or ideological beliefs into science teaching ahead of the release next month of a new set of education standards which give a central place to climate change.
The new standards, based on recommendations from the National Research Council, are not mandatory for all states. But they have already provoked a backlash from states, such as Utah, which have officially ruled climate change is not settled science. An unauthorised release of documents from the rightwing Heartland Institute last month revealed an ambitious plan in 2012 to discredit existing teaching on climate change.
The Tennessee measure, which passed by 24-8 votes, was strongly criticised by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Centre for Science Education, who called it a step backward. The house approved a similar version of the measure last year.
Read more at The Guardian