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TN legislature flings some poop

My home state's legislature is trotting out some oldies, just in case people weren't sure if the state was still conservative (cough nutty cough) enough:

The text of HB368 / SB893, sponsored by Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) and Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixson), requires all administrators and educators to work to teach “scientific subjects” such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” as “scientific controversies“:

The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy . . . The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school governing authorities, directors of schools, school system administrators, and public elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.

And for good measure:

Also on Monday, a bill to permit the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings (HB2658) passed the Tennessee House by a vote of 93-9.

Like I've said elsewhere, if they can display the 10 commandments then atheists, muslisms and all others should be able to display their own moral code. Let's see how many in the TN House would allow that.

And we should teach kids that evolution and global warming are controversial. But we should teach them that they are controversial to morons in the TN legislature, not that they are controversial to the scientific community. Because they aren't controversial to scientists.

The way we would teach them that is through explaining the scientific method, or basically explaining that theories need to be supported by evidence in order to carry merit. Evolution and global warming have such evidence, and a lack of evidence that would disprove the theories. (And it's not that those things aren't falsifiable, which I don't think you can say about the things the TN legislature believes.) On the other hand, the things the TN legislature believes don't have the evidence evolution and global warming do. Thus they don't carry much scientific merit, and thus you should think about whether you should believe such things.

If all of this weren't bad enough, as the link points out, we are having a really warm spring here in TN. Which means that the summer will probably be even more unbearably hot that it usually is. Though at least the heat will kill off all the shit in the air that is messing with my allergies and sinuses. That's good ol Rocky Top for you.


  1. Tennessee is dead-set on herding its citizens back to the dark ages. In the past two years, the Governor and Republican Party have squashed Gay Rights statutes in the city of Nashville, developed laws targeting peaceful protesters and made it illegal to post “potentially offensive images” to the internet. The “Monkey Law” now brings religion back into the classroom by opening debate for creationism. In addition, a new law puts the Ten Commandments back in public buildings around the state. There is a clear cut suppression of progressive thinking by the Republican Party and I addressed these issues “illegally” on my artist’s blog at with a portrait of the Governor to address his party’s absurd agendas.

  2. I don't pay close attention to state politics. But this one caught the attention of ThinkProgress. And rightfully so. They are, as you say, essentially trying to bring us back to the dark ages. I'll check out your blog. Thanks for responding and for supporting progressive issues.


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