Tennessee has been a battle ground for defending evolution for a long time. In fact, the first legal challenge of evolution, the 1925 The Scopes Trial was prosecuted in Tennessee. Unfortunately, as part of a growing list of anti-evolution legislation, the Tennessee General Assembly is looking to turn back the clocks to 1924.
On April 8th, the TGA voted 70-28 to pass bill HB368 that starts off as such:
The general assembly finds that:
(1) An important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary to becoming intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens;
(2) 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; and
(3) Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects.
Well, we would want controversy and unclear teacher expectations to get in the way of teaching science, now would we? I don't need to get into all the reasons this makes me fear for the future of this country, but I do want you to go check out the two videos on the Mother Jones blog that feature some short lowlights of the TGA discussion. The first features Republican state Rep. Frank Niceley making up an Einstein quote to suggest that the famous physicist believed that his work pointed towards Christianity and the second has Rep. Sheila Butt confusing science with chocolate* and Aquanet hair spray.
While it's a shame that Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are not available to extend the Farrelly Brother's Dumb and Dumber franchise, the Niceley-Butt paring look up to the job.
*Her argument for teaching creationism in high school is that she learned in high school that chocolate was bad to eat and latter came to find out that dark chocolate has antioxidants, ergo, evolution might turn out to be just like chocolate. And these are elected officials. Tennessee! Dudes! Fuck. sigh.