My letter to Governor Haslam
My letter to Governor Haslam
From Tood Wood's blog, 3/22/2012
I just sent this letter to Tennessee's governor, Bill Haslam. I'm sure it will win me a lot of adoration and acclaim from my fellow creationists. Enjoy!
Dear Governor Haslam:
My name is Todd Charles Wood, and I am a biology professor at Bryan College in Dayton, TN. You might recognize Bryan College as the Christian school named for William Jennings Bryan and founded in the wake of the Scopes Trial. (Please note that the opinions expressed in this letter are my own and do not represent the opinions of Bryan College.)
I recently noted that the Tennessee state senate passed SB0893, the so-called "Monkey Bill" (ironically on William Jennings Bryan's birthday of all days). I am sure that you've already received quite a number of heated letters and phone calls about this bill. As you certainly know, critics of the bill view it as a thinly-veiled attempt to inject creationism into the public science classrooms.
Because of my religious convictions, I am a committed creationist, but unlike many creationists, I have grown quite weary of the creation-evolution propaganda war. I believe this bill is an ideal example of what's wrong with the creation-evolution war. For example, since the bill clearly states that religious discussions are not protected, it could not be used to permit "some Sunday school teachers to hijack biology class by proxy," as the editorial in the March 21 edition of the Tennesseean suggested. On the other hand, my own reading of the bill indicates that it provides no protection that teachers don't already have. Teachers are already well within their rights to discuss any scientific evidence that pertains to the prescribed curriculum and to encourage critical thinking about it. Many already do. Any teacher trying to bring creationist arguments into a public science classroom will run afoul of legal precedent. Judge Jones's decision in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District found that the anti-evolution arguments of Intelligent Design are a form of religiously-motivated creationism. The controversy surrounding the other issues mentioned by SB0893 (human cloning and climate change) are also permissible subjects to discuss in science classes already, and therefore do not need any additional protection. Thus, if critics are correct that this is an attempt to inject creationism into Tennessee science classes, the language is so vague and watered-down that it would be incapable of performing that task.
Legally then, it seems that this bill is simply unnecessary. It does not directly challenge Kitzmiller v. Dover, and it does not offer any protection that does not already exist. Because the bill is useless, I ask you to veto it. Please do not allow Tennessee to become a pawn in the creation-evolution propaganda war.
Todd Charles Wood