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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Antievolution Measure Advances in Tennessee
22 March 2012 10:54 am
A bill that would allow Tennessee teachers to question evolution, climate change, and embryonic stem cell research under the guise of helping students learn "critical thinking skills" is one step closer to becoming law. On Monday the Tennessee Senate approved S. 893, which closely matches a bill passed last year (by subscription) by the Tennessee House of Representatives. House members are expected to approve the latest version and send the legislation to the state's Republican governor, who has not indicated whether he will sign it.
Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, which tracks such legislation across the country, has been blogging about the bills. "No one has ever explained why science teachers are the only ones who ought to be promoting critical thinking and the other noble goals the legislature lists," he writes, "nor has anyone justified the practical effects of the bill, which would be far less laudable." His forecast: "[Now] it's up to Governor [William] Haslam to protect the state's students, parents, and teachers from their own legislature."
The Knoxville News Sentinel described how Senate opponents of the bill, all Democrats, noted before the vote that the state's science teachers are "doing just fine teaching science without the Legislature's involvement." The paper quotes one legislator as saying that "we are simply dredging up the problems of the past with this bill." Eight members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences from Tennessee, including Vanderbilt University medicine Nobelist Stanley Cohen, have written a letter objecting to the measure, saying it could force teachers "to emphasize what are misdescribed as the scientific weaknesses of evolution."