“... and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.”
Well, the skeptics realize that this law is in the context of the Creationists’ thinly veiled attempts to teach Creationism, such as “teaching the controversy” which tries to conflate scientific controversy with political controversy. Luckily, the courts are also skeptical. Why would we need a law to teach science in the first place? Are there any laws about teaching social studies, about math, about art?
“... assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.”
Here I suspect that TN and the Creationists are trying to frame their view-point as scientific, when really they are religious and political controversies and not science.
“e) This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”
Finally, the law explicitly divorces itself from not just religious but also non-religious doctrine. Non-religious doctrine, what could they be referring to there, I wonder? Evolution is not doctrine, it is scientific theory.
Historically, it was in July 1925 that, the ACLU, convinced a part-time teacher, John Thomas Scopes, to do a little civil disobedience against an unconstitutional state law that criminalized the teaching of Evolution in schools. The ACLU wanted to test the law in court so that the law would be struck down on Constitutional grounds, and during the famous trial called the “Monkey Trial”, the teacher was convicted according to the plan and the TN law. But the ACLU never got their day in the Supreme Court, Scopes wasn’t willing to take it that far, the pressure that the religious extremists must have imposed on him must have been great.
The unconstitutional law stood for 42 years.
“May 17, 1967 – Tennessee repeals the Butler Act, the law that banned the teaching of evolution in public schools.”
Good for TN!
PBS: Time-line of the Tennessee v. Scopes in Daton, TN.
I wonder if the repealed Butler act, any of the other cases cited in the time-line, or Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board et al. has any legal bearing here?
Clarence Seward Darrow—University of Missouri-Kansas City
“1967 – John Scopes publishes Center of the Storm, his memoir of the trial.”
“The Story of My Life”—Clarence Darrow
“Clarence Darrow Closing Arguments—On Religion, Law, and Society”