Monkey Trial II: Tenn. House Passes Bill Permitting Teachers To Teach The “Controversy” Over Evolution

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Legendary actor Spencer Tracy Crosses Frederick March in "Inherit the Wind"
I guess it takes a few whacks to get things into the heads of the theocrats in Tennessee.  Eighty-six years after the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial” pitted Clarence Darrow, Esq., against William Jennings Bryan, Esq., in a classic cross-examination of opposing counsel that decimated the notion that teaching creationism was anything except the indoctrination of religion by public school officials, Tennessee legislators are at it again with a new version of the Butler Act. 

Feigning that some controversy actually exists over the fact of evolution, the Rocky Toppers have decided to grant job protection to teachers who choose to criticize the scientific doctrine. To be quite proper, they have inserted language that stipulates that “this section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine.”  But  Becky Ashe, the president of the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, is not fooled. She told a subcommittee of the Tennessee House that the Bill “is an anti-evolutionary attempt to allow non-scientific alternatives to evolution (such as creationism and intelligent design) to be introduced into our public schools.”

Seems the famous trial and the movie version (“Inherit The Wind”) are always on the minds of  theocrats. Tennessee State Representative Richard Floyd (R) even alluded to them in the floor debate commenting that “since the late ’50s, early ’60s when we let the intellectual bullies hijack our education system, we’ve been on a slippery slope.” Aptly named Republican Sheila Butt even found a way to criticize environmentalists in the debate saying she was told in high school that Aqua Net hair spray hurts the environment. In a conclusion worthy of mention she added, “Since then scientists have said that maybe we shouldn’t have given up that aerosol can because that aerosol can was actually absorbing the Earth’s rays and keeping us from global warming.” Ah, the joys of anti-intellectualism.

The Bill passed the House 70-23 and now goes to the Senate. Hopefully, they reached a stage of high intellectual evolution.

Source: TPM

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

239 thoughts on “Monkey Trial II: Tenn. House Passes Bill Permitting Teachers To Teach The “Controversy” Over Evolution”

  1. Perch are a mean but tasty fish, Slarti. Still I agree completely. Especially since some varieties of cichlids are themselves edible sport fish.

  2. Slart,

    I’d argue that civilization just shifts around the hierarchy of evolutionary pressures, it doesn’t retard the rate of change, just shifts what’s selected for.

  3. I find it interesting that you feel the need to defend yourself when I’m not attacking

    Kevin Kevin Kevin. I took an excerpt from one of your comments and tried a funny. I was trying to point out that 99.99% of all living beings have head shoulders knees and toes two eyes two ears a mouth and a nose head shoulders knees and toes. The wiggles song. I have a five year old. I wish I hadn’t because that song has been stuck in my head all day. My point is that how did evolution assure this. How did evolution make sure that there is a mirror image of left and right.

    Also in regards to funnies and my disruptions lets go back shall we. Someone answered one of my thoughts

    Bdaman 1, April 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    the heart, lungs were gills first
    I responded
    O.k. then what was the porpoise for the gills I mean blowhole 🙂

    Get it

  4. Gyges,

    No problem.


    The introduction of Nile perch into Lake Victoria was an example given by the professor in my first mathematical biology course of why you shouldn’t mess with biological systems you don’t understand…

  5. Slart,

    Eh, it was unclear. I meant two examples of change in a warm blooded species that’s been around thousands of years, not two species that have changed. Either one of those options is a valid reading of what I said though.

  6. If were not limited to mammals and can look at any vertebrates, cichlids – specifically those found in Lake Victoria – are a creature undergoing one of the fastest rates of speciation on the planet. The Science Channel has a show called “Mutant Planet”. The episode about Africa’s Rift Valley talks about them. It was very interesting, I tell you. Although I understand their population is under attack by the introduction of the Nile perch and man-made effects to the water chemistry.

  7. Gyges,

    I think, in general, that the evolution of society (and technology) has a damping effect on physical evolution by rendering many mutations non-fatal. (That’s a personal opinion, not something I can back up scientifically, though…)

  8. Gyges,

    It’s definitely the result of society’s impact (or that of its ‘evolution’) on the evolution of H. Sapiens Sapiens, but you said you’d throw in a second species for free (or maybe I’m interpreting a missing word in your post incorrectly…)

  9. Bdaman,

    I find it interesting that you feel the need to defend yourself when I’m not attacking – and, since the stated purpose of the corrections page includes suggestions, comments such as the ones you reference are completely on topic. Finally, I didn’t say that you were trying to disrupt anything – I said that you had the EFFECT of disrupting threads (I cite this exchange as an example).

  10. No I just click the home page, look at the side bar comments to look for you 🙂 Just to show you what I’m talking about when I find something interesting that I think professor Turley might be interested in, I post that on the corrections page.

    Bdaman 1, April 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm
    JT’s Post Pittsburgh Police Officers Beat and Taser Fan
    Published 1, April 12, 2011

    Bdaman 1, April 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm
    JT’s Post United Nations Officials Denounces Obama Administration For Denying Access to Bradley Manning
    Published 1, April 13, 2011

    Maybe I’m trying to disrupt the corrections page too 🙂

  11. Bdaman said:

    “Your right it’s my right and it’s your right to have your opinion. So now what?”

    Now I go back to ignoring you until you say something interesting…

    Bdaman said:

    “And for someone who claims they are too busy to post here you sure have alot [sic – or is it?] of time to post on ol docs site.”

    The time I spend on comments over there is a fraction of the time I used to spend on a single post here… What’s your handle over there? (just curious – but I doubt that you are spending your time over there just lurking…)

  12. Slart,

    Well, it stretches “looks” different (you can see it, with the right magnification equipment), but it’s a physical change that’s well documented and works along similar lines.
    The percentage of the population with certain kinds of color blindness increases when they move from “hunter Gatherer” to “agricultural” and again when they move to “industrial.”

    Meaning that overall more of the human race has been becoming color blind over the last few thousand years.

  13. And for someone who claims they are too busy to post here you sure have alot of time to post on ol docs site.

  14. Your right it’s my right and it’s your right to have your opinion. So now what?

  15. Bdaman,

    That’s your right, but I come here for discussion, not your idea of ‘information’ – and whether you see it or not, your tactics are an asymmetric effort to either derail or disrupt the discussion rather than add to it (or at least that’s how I see them…) regardless of your intent (which may be pure as the driven snow – but I doubt it).

  16. Gyges I must have missed it, what question.

    Kevin it’s not that I’m not interested. Alot of times I post links to stories related to the thread or someone’s comment and then boom I’m gone. I’m in front of my third computer today and only have a short time to post. No, no sleeep clinic yet but I did get all my blood work done and I’m good across the board with the exception a little high on my LDL and super low B-12 level. I’m now injecting myself once a week with B-12 and backing it up with OTC B-12

  17. Gyges,

    Okay, I can see where that give you one – where’s your second example?

Comments are closed.