April 13, 2012
A bill that will allow Tennessee public school teachers to present the "weaknesses" of scientific theories such as evolution has become law without the governor's signature, Baptist Press reports. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam returned the bill to the legislature April 10 without vetoing it or signing it, signaling that he wasn't fully pleased with it but acknowledging that his veto could be overridden. The bill passed the House 72-23 and the Senate 25-8. The new law states that legislators believe teachers may be "unsure" about some issues, including "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning," and that since a major purpose of scientific education is "to help students develop critical thinking skills," state officials cannot prohibit teachers from "helping students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories." Casey Luskin, an attorney for the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, said the law would protect teachers around the country who are "harassed, intimidated and sometimes fired" for presenting arguments against evolution, even if they back up their claims with evidence.