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Scopes, take 2

The following article appeared in today's San Jose Mercury News (Tues., March 
5, 1996).  In light of all the recent discussion about the presentation of 
creationism and pseudoscience to the general public, I thought that it be of 
interest, because it shows how "attitudes" can become entrenched and put into 
law.  This is the article in it's entirety, I donUt have any more info, so 
please donUt flame me.   -Bruce

The Scopes debate enters Round 2

Tennessee bill puts teachers at risk for teaching evolution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)-  The state where John Scopes was tried and convicted in 
1925 for teaching evolution once again wants to restrict what students can be 
told about the origins of humans.
  The Tennessee Senate is considering legislation to fire any teacher who 
presents evolution as fact.  The bill was expected to pass during Monday
night's session but instead was sent back to committee for study of six 
  The amendments included one that would have protected teachers who wanted to 
teach the biblical theories of creation along with evolution.  Another, passed 
on a voice vote, changed the wording to say a teacher "could" be fired instead 
of "shall" be fired.
  The bill had been expected to pass despite an attorney general's opinion it 
violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
  Already this year, Tennessee senators have gone on record in favor of 
displaying the Ten Commandments in churches, schools, businesses, and homes 
for 10 days in May, and against same sex marriages.
  "This is a trilogy that is making this state a comedy", said Sen. Steve 
Cohen, a Memphis Democrat.
  The sponsor of the evolution bill is Sen. Tommy Burks, whose home district 
is 45 miles northwest of Dayton, site of the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial".  He 
said he introduced the bill because constituents told him evolution was being 
taught as fact in Tennessee schools.  He won't say where.
  The bill seems destined to pass the Senate and then the House without 
significant help from lobbyists.  The conservative Eagle Forum has been the 
most vocal backer of the bill, which some lawmakers said is hard to oppose.
  "You can't explain a no vote in a 15-second sound bite," said Rep. Eugene 
Davidson, who voted for the bill when it cleared the House Education Committee.

  Gov. Don Sundquist, a Republican, has not said what he will do if the bill 
reaches his desk.
  The bill is more lenient than the law under which Scopes, a substitute 
biology teacher, was convicted of teaching evolution and fined $100.
  That law prohibited teaching "any theory that denies the story of the Divine 
Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach again that man has 
descended from a lower order of animals."
  Burks' bill doesn't ban the teaching of evolution as theory or promote the 
teaching of Biblical theories, but teachers say no one knows how the law might 
be interpreted.
  "teachers will be afraid to teach anything about evolution," so students 
will miss a portion of their basic science curriculum, said Wesley Roberts, an 
ecology teacher at Nashville's Hillwood High.
  Scopes' conviction was overturned on a technicality, but the law stayed on 
the books until it was repealed in 1967.