SB 0893 back door to creationism in TN public schools!! Time to do something!!

Here we go, creationists trying to weasel their way into the classroom yet again.  So, this one kinda slid in under the radar on us.  It has been widely discussed since it's passing on some other websites I am subscribed to, and felt it my duty as a free thinking TN resident, to put it out there, so the rest of us here in TN can get good and fired up, and maybe start sending emails and making a little noise.  So maybe TN can get embarrassed into submission the way the gov of Alabama did.  Here is a link to the bill

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB0893.pdf

 

After reading it, I felt like it left a nice sized gap for the go ahead of creationism and the arguments against evolution, (even though they are not based on any real Science that has been recognized in or by actual field experts).  It's a slippery slope folks, and I'm really tired of the dumbing down religion has cost this country.  I refuse to let this ignorance touch my child.  This state already has issues with it's educational capabilities.  There were several folks who spoke up against this bill.  I will link here to what I know. 

Go to HB 0368 on the playlist on the left side of screen and click...you will see Molly Miller of Vanderbilt University addressing the senate:

http://tnga.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=196&clip_id=3899

 

Email her to let her know she did an awesome job.  We gotta let these people know we have their backs!!  Rep DeBerry of Memphis completely shows his ass and goes off on a diatribe attacking intellectuals and people with "prefixes or suffixes attached to their names"  Send Molly some love.  She's fighting the good fight.  Email her :) I did and she responded, very thankful to hear people on her side! 

molly.f.miller@vanderbilt.edu

 

I feel it would be worth while to point out to Rep. John DeBerry why what he said is such a dis-service to the TN educational system.  I know I took great pleasure in penning this jack wagon an email explaining to him the difference between Scientific theory and Mythology.  His email address below and PLEASE, let your voice be heard!!!

rep.john.deberry@capitol.tn.gov

 

 

Other people who advised against this bill:

Wesley Roberts - Professor of Biology/Astronomy - Hume Fogg

wesley.roberts@mnps.org

 

Andrew Kramer  Professor of Anthropology - University of Tennessee Knoxville

akramer@utk.edu

 

Gary F. McCracken - Department Head of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - University of Tennessee Knoxville

eebdept@utk.edu

 

This is our back yard guys....we have a voice, but only if we make it be heard.

 

If anyone else has something good to add to what we can do, PLEASE POST IT!!!

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Replies to This Discussion

Okay, I'm not a Tennessean, but I have about as much patience with this Creation Science / Intelligent Design BS as you do.  ANYTIME anyone wants to assert that ID should stand on even terms with the theory of evolution, remind them of what happened in Dover, PA back in 2005.

You might also mention the coverage the trial got by the excellent PBS series, NOVA.

Best wishes from the Buckeye State!

 

Thanks for sharing that Loren :)  I'm thinking it's time I step up my "pain in the ass" efforts against this crap!!  I'm hearing on another site I am a member of, ramblings of an organized protest against this bill.  I'm hoping they get it together, because I'm noticing more and more every day, even right here in the buy-bull belt, more people openly departing with religion and even more, departing from christianity.   I actually saw a bumper sticker on a car in front of me in the drop off line at my son's school, that said "If you believe in Hell, you deserve it!"  I'm glad to see people not afraid of their own thoughts in this small town I live in.  I almost feel hopeful....
"...scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary
to becoming intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens"

This is exactly what is needed in this state (yes, I am from TN)!

Could this not also make students question the Bible more? Make more students realize it's all just a myth?
My problem is, that this is NOT how this bill will be interpreted.  It will be used to excuse bringing up creationism and Intelligent Design into our Science classes.  It will be bastardized, which is standard operating procedure for these people. THAT is where my problem is, and especially after seeing Rep DeBerry's response to the expert testimony of Ms Miller, and how almost immediately he spoke about religion, and after researching the Rep who introduced this legislation (Rep Dunn) it is clear what the motivation behind this bill is, and it's not what it would seem to be.

A lot of teachers don't understand evolution well, and many are afraid to teach it.  Many more in the South are as brainwashed as these fools in Tennessee.  Anyway, following is the email I sent to Rep. Berry a few minutes ago.

 

Dear Rep. Berry,

After watching your response to Molly Miller of Vanderbilt, I realized that someone should try to fill in some gaps in your education.

You suggested that if the theory of evolution were disproved, that would leave only Biblical creationism to explain the origin of the earth.  Fact: the theory of evolution has nothing to do with the creation of the earth.  It does not even address the origins of life.  It explains how life became so diverse once life was present.  We don't yet know how life originated, but that is a separate branch of science called "abiogenesis."  In the 1950's scientists were able to create organic compounds capable of self-replication in a laboratory starting with inorganic materials.  It is possible for non-life to become life without resorting to a supernatural explanation.  By the way, gravity is a theory.  We know gravity exists and that it holds the universe together, but we still don't know exactly what it is.

You said that evolution, unlike the "exact" science of physics that addresses atomic structure, is a "theory."  In ordinary everyday speech, we often use the word "theory" to describe any kind of untested guess.  Scientists use the word differently.  A theory is an idea that works, i.e., it explains all the observed data, passes all the tests scientists put it through, and accurately predicts future results.  The theory of evolution does just that.  It explains why there are so many diverse species, and it is supported by mountains of data from many branches of science.  One test it has passed recently involves DNA sequencing.  Biologists can observe the DNA of different species and see exactly how they are related.  For example, we can see that chimpanzees have 48 chromosomes, while humans have 46, or 23 pairs.  We have one pair fewer because two chromosomes common to all the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutangs) have, in our DNA, become fused.  Biologists can see exactly where the fusion occurred.  On each end of a chromosome is a cell called a telomere.  In the middle of our chromosome 2, instead of seeing a centromere, the type of cell normally found in the middle of a chromosome, we see two telomeres side by side.  Two chromosomes have obviously fused.  As for predictions, agronomists use the theory of evolution in developing new strains of food; the CDC uses it to predict what type of flu virus we might expect next year.

You suggested that evolution is a flawed theory.  It is in no way flawed.  Science doesn't know everything yet, and scientists sometimes get things wrong, but because scientists are constantly examining each others' work, errors get corrected.  Shoddy research will be found out, though it might take a while.  If you or I make a mistake in math, do we conclude that algebra is flawed?

Nearly all scientists accept the theory of evolution.  There are a handful who don't, but there are more scientists in the US named Steve than there are scientists who believe intelligent design.  The anti-evolution scientists are evangelical Christians or people in the employ of evangelical organizations.  They do no research on "intelligent design"; all they do is try--and fail--to disprove evolution, but like you, they are laboring under the misapprehension that disproving evolution would prove creationism.  That idea is a false dilemma set up by the Christian right.  The "scientific controversy" doesn't exist, but has been manufactured by the religious right in order to influence public opinion.

Evolution works like this: DNA copies itself into the offspring of every species, from mother and father to offspring, but it seldom replicates itself perfectly.  Random mutations occur.  Most of them have little effect, but some confer an evolutionary advantage to the young.  Imagine a hawk with sharper eyesight than other hawks.  It has a better chance of surviving long enough to mate and pass its "sharp eyesight" gene to its young, who then pass it to others.  After a few dozen generations, the only hawks left will be those with better eyesight.  A mutation that weakens a hawk's eyes would pass away after a few generations.  The selection in "natural selection" is made blindly be nature.  An organism better suited to its environment has a better chance of surviving and passing its superior genes to its young, and if this process continues for millions of years, tiny changes accumulate and make extraordinary changes in species.  Anything is possible.

Here is an example that might interest you.  Sickle cell anemia is caused by cells in the shape of a sickle.  These cells block malarial cells, so sickle cell anemia evolved as a defense against malaria.  Malaria kills people of all ages, so susceptibility to the disease is an evolutionary disadvantage.  Sickle cell victims often survive into adulthood and reproduce and pass along a terrible disease, but one which is an evolutionary advantage because it fights malaria.  Nature works blindly, without a plan.

You seemed quite angry over people with "prefixes and suffixes" treating you like an idiot.  Ms. Miller did nothing of the sort.  Besides, you are on the educational committee, and those prefixes and suffixes are the result of long years of study and research in the world's best network of universities.  I don't know how anyone can work to improve education, but distrust educated people.  Science is not democratic; your opinion does not carry the same weight as the opinion of a professional biologist, nor does mine, but I have read a couple of dozen books on evolution to educate myself on the subject before forming an opinion.

Finally, do you really want creationism in the schools, where it will be subjected to the rigors of scientific method?  There is no evidence for it outside of religious books, and these are not science texts.  Actually, creationism was the dominant belief in the days before Darwin, along with Young Earth hypothesis (it's not a theory because it doesn't work) championed by Bishop James Ussher, an Anglican who used internal Biblical evidence to determine that the earth was created only 6,000 years ago.  Darwin and countless others already have subjected creationism to the rigors of scientific method, and they have rejected it because it is not in any way scientific, which is why it is never found in science books and why it has no place in science classrooms.  It is not a "competing theory"; it is a religious belief taken from a book written by a collection of primitive people who thought that the stars were "tiny lights" stuck on the inside of a solid dome called "sky."  The belief that stars are very small can also be found in Revelation, in which the narrator walks past a fallen star, so even in the first or second century AD, followers of Christ believed that stars were tiny lights .  There is no star so small that it wouldn't pulverize the earth even before reaching it, just from the heat.  How can you believe the ancient Hebrews were so wrong about that but right about everything else?

Craig A. Milliman, Ph.D. (I apologize for working my butt off during six years of graduate school, and for continuing to study and learn for the past 23 years since receiving my three graduate degrees.

You see, the problem is that your effort, however eloquently worded and correct, is destined to fall on deaf ears because of the very nature of dogmatic religious belief.  Religious 'faith' actually prevents people from learning anything different or contradictory because religious texts must be accepted as infallible.  Religion then becomes the antithesis of education - an outright abdication of intellect.  It acts like a suffocating cloud of ignorance on the human race, leading people to ignore all reasoning/glaring evidence that does not support their narrow little predetermined world view.  That is why I am actively opposed to religion in any form, rather than being simply content to ignore it.  I don't offer religious faith any deference because it isn't deserving of any.  More people need to assume this attitude when dealing with school boards and administrators.  Put them on the defensive and demand to know why they are allowing our children's education to be colored by the ridiculous mythologies of a bunch of ignorant, stone-age peasants from the middle east.
I agree with everything you said above JP....I am sooo there!!
I agree, too.  As a college professor, though, I am sick and tired of American anti-intellectualism, so I try to communicate even with doofuses even though I know most of them are unreachable.  This particular TN rep is black, so I was hoping the bit about sickle cell would catch his eye.
I tried to keep the vocabulary and sentence structure simple . . .

THAT WAS......AWESOME!!!!  Craig, you kinda rock my world ;)~ 

I wonder what he would say to you....since it's obvious that there is no way he would ever even entertain actually trying to understand the very thing he's speaking out against.  Probably just insult the letters after your name too.  What kills me, is he mislabels intelligence as arrogance, and then exhibits an astounding arrogant ignorance in his brutal diatribe against Ms Miller.  (For people smart enough to get it, it's really quite funny to watch, because this jack wagon isn't even sharp enough to understand how ignorant he has just made himself out to be......typical!)  I'm hoping your email at least makes him realize how little he really knows or understands about SCIENCE.  Yeah this email rocks my world!!!  THANKS FOR SHARING :)

Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students
understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths
and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being
taught.

Yeah, "strengths and weaknesses."  That's boilerplate Discovery Institute language.  You should find someone with kids in the public school system to bring this one to court.

THANKS for posting this Pamela!!  UTC is where I went to College and I know some of these people.  It's good to know where people on the right side of this issue are.  I take it all pretty personally as well, because I have a child in public school, and I have already had to be the "pain in the ass parent" who complained very loudly when they let the Gideons into my son's school to pass out their horrible little book......yeah, so I guess now the cat's out of the bag on me...It's a fight I'm willing to pick on behalf of my child.

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