Tennessee's Anti-Evolution Bill to Become Law

Critics: Move 'undermines science education'

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2012 1:10 AM CDT | Updated Apr 11, 2012 6:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – Tennessee was the site of the infamous Scopes monkey trial nearly 90 years ago (spoiler alert: creationists lost), but the state is still fighting evolution. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said yesterday he'll allow a bill to become law that protects teachers who criticize evolution, as well as global warming and other science orthodoxies, reports AP. Haslam had earlier said he would sign the bill, which takes effect April 20, but now he says he will simply let it take effect without his signature.

"The bill received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate, but good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion," Haslam said in a statement explaining why he would not sign the bill. "My concern is that this bill has not met this objective." Many science organizations and the state's ACLU chapter have criticized the law as yet another attack on science. Terms in the bill such as "strengths and weaknesses," and "critical thinking" are really just code words for a law that "undermines science education in Tennessee public schools," said the head of the Tennessee ACLU.

Tennssee Gov. Bill Haslam says he will let a controversial new law protecting teachers who criticize evolution become a law.   (Shutterstock)
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