Los Angeles Times on Tennessee's "monkey bill"


Tennessee "is seeking to join a number of states in which evolution is being questioned," the Los Angeles Times (April 1, 2012) editorially observed. "That's dumb." Referring to House Bill 368, which would encourage teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of topics that arouse "debate and disputation" such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning," the Times wrote, "The governor should heed the plea of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science and veto the bill."

Despite the claims of its backers, the editorial explained, "In deciding whether the bill advances a religious agenda, the governor needs to look at context and history as well as the text," recommending the decision in the 2005 case Kitzmiller v. Dover, in which Judge John E. Jones III "concluded that intelligent design and teaching about 'gaps' and 'problems' in evolutionary theory are 'creationist, religious strategies that evolved from earlier forms of creationism." The editorial concluded, "The truth in this case, discomfiting as it may be to some Tennesseans, is that evolution is not 'just a theory.'"