April 12, 2012- The governor of Tennessee refused to veto or sign a law approved by Tennessee lawmakers that will allow teachers in the state’s schools to teach alternative scientific theories. The bill will become law this month. Those that support the law say it encourages a healthy scepticism in students. A biotechnology consultant, Robin Zimmer, and a supporter of the bill said, “Critical analysis and critical thinking both foster good science.” Zimmer is an affiliate to a creationist organization.
Critics however, say the real goal of the bill, which they labelled the “monkey bill,” is clearly stated through the list of subjects that are able to be challenged by school teachers in the classroom. Those include evolution and global warming. The critics say it is just a permission slip to schools to introduce creationism and denial of climate change as well as other non-science subjects into the state’s science classes.
Other have condemned the new legislation including over 4,000 residents who submitted a signed petition asking William Haslam, the state’s Republican governor to veto the new bill. The term “monkey bill” refers back to the Scopes Monkey Trial that took place back in 1925 in which a high school teacher from Dayton, Tennessee was prosecuted for violating a law in Tennessee against the teaching of evolution.
Both Republican led Chambers of the state legislature approved the bill. Under the Constitution in the state of Tennessee, a bill will automatically become law if it is not vetoed or signed by the governor within 10 days.