New Tennessee law allows schools to cast doubt on climate change and evolution

Activists outraged.

The new law encourages teachers to present the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of topics that arouse “debate and disputation” such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning,” and says the goal of science education is to help students “develop critical thinking skills.”

I say three cheers for the Tennessee legislature.

Opponents have derided the new law as a “Monkey Bill,” trying to associate it with the Butler Act and the Scopes Trial of 1925.

“As a science teacher I would say there is no controversy over evolution or climate change in the scientific literature.” groused Larisa DeSantis, who teaches in the Department of Earth and Environment at Vanderbilt University.

No controversy over evolution or climate change??? Is the woman blind?

During a week when 49 NASA  astronauts and scientists filed a written complaint about the agency’s global warming activism, to say that there is “no controversy” over climate change is – if not a flat-out lie – at least a complete misrepresentation of the facts.

See my complete commentary:


25 thoughts on “New Tennessee law allows schools to cast doubt on climate change and evolution”

  1. great to see that OPEN and honest discussion to educate not stifle and control may not just be a forlorn hope:-)
    always BOTH sides and documentary and evidencial proofs.

  2. Good effort on the part of the state of TN, but they need to give the public universities & schools a mechanism that allows debate on topics such as “climate disruption” to prevent “looking the other way” when the high priests of that “religion” such as Michael Mann of Penn State conspire to MUZZLE the free speech of other academics and scientists with opposing views. Daring to oppose such propagandists in academic circles should NOT be prosecuted as criminal behavior– but the actual conpirators that promote such anti-American global agendas based on such a HOAX, SHOULD BE.

  3. Hipp Hipp Hooray! The honour of the ‘logic of scientific discovery’ is being maintained. On your guard – commercial coming: my Sustainability Primer to which my website as quoted above points, might be a useful ‘primer’ (published under Creative Commons Licence – i.e. freely copyable).

    Best regards, Mike Hohmann, architect + CleanEnergyPundit

  4. The way to deal with creationists is to tell them the truth and that is that god invented evolution , sciences and all the laws that govern the known universe. There is no mysticism or magic.

    Those that disagree are obviously heretics. As for AGW fanatics they have to find out the hard way since they stubbornly cling to their fanatical heretical faith. Perhaps in a 100,000 years some archeologist will find their fossil remains in a terminal moraine some where and put them in a museum where they belong.

  5. I like the thought of making activists outraged. But seriously, why are our universities filled with these hateful activists whose actions are dictated by emotions and not by logic?

  6. 1. Children belong, without qualification, to their parents. Noboday _belongs_ to the state, especially not children.
    2. It is the parents’ right and responsibility to educate their children. They may assign their responsibility to someone else or to a state institution, but it is still theirs.
    2.a. The content of the education is at the sole discretion of the parents (see 1. and 2)
    3. No education has ever been devoid of falsehoods.
    4. If a group of parents, say in a state for example, assign another group the task of educating their children, say, the state education board, it is up to them to discern what should be taught and to maintain control over that or withdraw their children if they find it intolerable.

    If Kansas or Tennessee wants to teach their children that the moon is made of green cheese, that is their business, not mine. I have no right or responsibility for the education of their children and it is unlikely that I will have to live with the results, which in any case wouldn’t be that bad. I am having to live with results of something worse–the mass non-education of millions of children who are literate but functionally illiterate and unable to see through propaganda. The result is that in a “democracy” my voice is drown out by a mob of ignorant fools.

    This is a bad system. It is not clear what a better system would look like.

    • It’s not a bad law. It just places the children of Tennessee at a competive – i.e. evolutionary – disadvantage.

      • I disagree Duster. In evolutionary terms generalist, those organisms that can survive in multiple different enviroments, can consume many various types of food, and can adpat easily are the ones that survive. Specialists die out quickly. It is the same with science, business, theology etc. Those that are open minded and can look at many varied concepts and can intellectually digest them, tend to rise to the top of their fields.

        • Precisely what are you disagreeing with? I presume that you are somehow thinking that chldren in Tennessee will somehow get a broader, less specialized education and thus a more uselful one. From the “disbelievers” in evolution that I know – including my oldest friend – this is a forlorn hope. They don’t want their children exposed to mistaken ideas like the idea that life can progress and perfect itself on its own – a concept utterly alien to evolution anyway.

          Not one fundamentalist in 10 actually knows enough about evolution as theory to “disbelieve” in an informed fashion. They are generally shocked to discover that they actually do “believe” in precisely the very properties of living organisms and populations that Darwin argued could lead to speciation. It is a very simple process to lead a fundamentalist from admitting they benefit from selective breeding of cats, dogs, maize, cattle and horses, to understanding what Darwin argued, and that unlike what their pastor tells them, there is no process of perfection or progress (in the sense of improvement) asserted or implied. Response to selection is a fact of everyday life, it is not a theory. The theory is that cumulative changes may lead to the appearance of new species. If you look at maize or dogs, it is even reasonable to argue that it already has.

          The effect of the Tennessee law will be to narrow the range of the children’s education, not broaden it. Which, in turn will put into play against them the very points you discuss.

          • I understand everything that you are saying. Mostly I agree with it. But there are, however a few points with which I must politely disagree.

            1. While I am no expert I must assume that since 1925 evolution has been taught in public schools across the nation including TN. If that is the case than it has been taught to at least 3 or 4 generations of ‘fundamentalists’. If they don’t understand it well enough to disagree with it( a concept akin to saying how do you know you won’t like eating dirt unless you try it) as you contend than obviously a change in methodology is in order.

            2. The arguments you are making in favor of evolution are remarkably similar to the arguments that are made to support the anthropogenic global warming theory. In other words there can be no other answer. Its obvious and if you don’t get it you are just too dumb to understand. That thinking is what resulted in Aristotlian physics holding sway for 2000 years. It is obvious and easily observable; the sun revolves around the Earth, constant celestial motion etc. It remained unchanged and unchallenged until the 6th century when Mr. John Philoponus challenged it.

            3. I am not convinced that evolution as is taught today is the final word on the subject. My children are being taught the exact same thing I was taught 30 years ago. There has been virtually no change to the dogma of evolution in more than 80 years. This site is a direct challenge to the assertion that Darwin is the last word on how species come about. If theories are not challenged, if they are not put to the test, than they stop being science and take on a far more mythical and far less practical demeanor. Time and again ‘scientific absolutes’ are proven wrong. If Darwin was right than discussion of other theories can only strengthen his case. Anything else would be scientific complacency.

            Finally the point of this law is not to prevent evolution from being taught. It is to allow young minds to explore other possibilities free of the political dogmas that have polluted our public schools. It is possible that we are living in a time that is as intellectually stifled as the one that created the Galileo affair. It is equally possible, however unlikely it may seem, that Tennessee will finally kick the intellectually stifled theory of evolution in its complacent butt.

            I apologize for the long post.

      • have you ever looked into how complicated a cell is there is something were missing so evolution needs a lot of work. So its not bad to know the gaps in evolution because if you are taught its complete you are the disadvantaged one.

  7. Love the power of the Federalist system. Thank goodness for states rights. Imagine that, encouraging scientific discussion and dissent from ‘accepted’ and ‘no longer disputed’ scientific concepts. There is hope and it comes from the land of Daniel Boone.

  8. As a non-sequiter, last night we had the most intense hail I have ever seen here in the San Francisco Bay area. It was the size of marbles and quarters. Destroyed my potato plants, punched huge holes in the leaves like a .30cal bullet. Destroyed 4 of my tomato plants and cherry tree seedling I was cultivating. I tried to go out and save a few of my plants but is hurt like he** when it hit. Haven’t heard of any other damage in the area. Probably pretty localized. It was certainly very strange.

  9. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

    • Absurd law? As I said in the post, I’m not into the creation part of this, but I think it’s pathetic that the state has to pass a law in order to give teachers PERMISSION to be skeptical of man-made climate change.

  10. Good for them! Critical thinking skills have been missing in education for far too long. I expect the federal government to punish Tennessee though, withholding various funds until that law is repealed. I also expect teacher unions to refuse to abide by any such law.

    I hope the spirit of that law appears in other states.

  11. “no controversy over evolution or climate change” and “no argument against the Theory of Evolution” sounds pretty much the same thing. Theories are just that. They should not be taught as facts. There has been many fallacies in both that have been disproved throughout the years. Without allowing critical thinking in science such theories as given in “Not by Fire but by Ice” would not be permitted. In fact no advancements in science anywhere would be permitted once they are considered ‘beyond dispute’.

  12. Those who believe in the certainty of evolution are not familiar with Michael Cremo’s books. Forbidden Archeology is 600 pages of discoveries omitted from texts because they undermine the theory. Human Devolution is an encyclopedia of scientific experiments and evidence that contradict the theory that life is simply the result of chance electrochemical phenomena. Creationism, evolution, and global warming are all religions with powerful supporters that require the suppression of evidence to convince their believers.

  13. The end of the scare.

    The fact we need a law to restore common sense and honest science should wake up any sane person.

    Just watch the greens turn red and grab a bag of popcorn.

    Enjoy the show.

  14. All established views should be questioned at all times, no theory is holy, just because some people say so.
    By the way, Robert, for the sake of chronological comments with replies often based on a comment just before, would it better to start with the first comment on top, instead of at the bottom ?

  15. On the evolution part of this law, and the fact that some are saying it may place children who are taught creationism at a disadvantage, I’d like to point out that the “infamous” Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, was in fact a publicity stunt staged by the town fathers of Dayton, Tennessee, to draw a large (PAYING!!!) crowd into town and stimulate local business by staging a sensational trial. The town fathers recruited John Scopes to teach evolution in violation of the state law after the ACLU had run adds in Tennessee newspapers stating it would pay for the defense of any teacher charged under the law. John Scopes was ultimately found guilty, the town fathers promptly paid his $100.00 fine for him, and offered him his old job back. He only refused because he had received a better offer elsewhere.

    Most people have learned what they know about the trial from the play Inherit the Wind, which is little more than a pompous and fatuous caricature of the actual trial. The plan to draw a large paying crown into town worked spectacularly, and in fact, it is still drawing a trickle of tourists to Dayton, Tennessee to this day. The hayseeds handily outfoxed the city slickers, and they’re still doing it going on a century later. Now I ask you, who REALLY got the short end of the stick over evolution here?

  16. The purpose of a education and schooling to think outside the box. But elites don’t want us or children thinking outside the box. The H2 series Ancient Alien thinks outside the box all the time and questions the establishment. Who wants us in the box.
    It is amazing that people haven’t connected the dot Darwin’s theory came about just after Karl Marx and Engles wrote the Communist Manifesto for the Communist League in 1848. Oh we aren’t suppose to know about the Communist League. Is there a link between Darwin and the Communist League and the Communist League. Since one of the goals of Communism is the abolition of religion. Creationism is based in religion and the Bible.
    What I think the amazing you some scientist saying that evolution in is highly unlikely due to the odds. Best answer is read , read, and read, and question. The elites are always hiding facts from us. Like the Egyptian Catacombs in the Grand Canyon.

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