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Tennessee teen schools columnist on evolution and science education

Tennessee state legislators were recently ridiculed by a Knoxville News Sentinel columnist after the Tennesse House overwhelmingly passed an academcic freedom bill designed to protect teachers who present both the evidence for and against neo-Darwinism in biology classes. Now a high school student takes the journalist to task and schools her in the realities of the bill and what it means for science education.

I had the opportunity to read Pam Strickland's column, "Legislatures should be lawmakers, not yahoos." I found some areas in it that were "sketchy." I would like to highlight a few points from her column.

She addresses the fact that state Rep. Bill Dunn is proposing a House bill that will "prohibit the teaching of two widely recognized scientific theories of evolution and global warming." I have read House Bill 368 and nowhere did I find any mention of prohibiting the teaching of evolution and global warming, instead it proposes that we show all the scientific evidence.

It is not logical to have both sides of an argument represented? It is a part of the scientific process to test a hypothesis, but if you only test the one variable, how are our future generations going to know the validity of the other side? This only demotes the very thing most Americans are searching for, knowledge. We will then be arming our citizens with ignorance instead of knowledge, while destroying the way to find knowledge.

She also mentions the fact that this was the product of a "think tank" known as the Discovery Institute in Seattle. With this statement she implies that she thinks that Dunn is trying to usher in alternative religious beliefs. However if you look at Section 1, Part E, it says that it will not "be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine."

She also called Dunn a "yahoo." I find that to be honestly below her level of intelligence to misuse a term (a yahoo is a rude, noisy or violent person) and to be rather sophomoric. I am positive that she has the ability to articulate a much more "grade-level" argument than the likes of this. Or is it perhaps that the Legislature has the upper hand in the particular dispute?

Noel Bauer, 14