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What to do about the Tennessee “Academic Freedom Act”

Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie Scott

October 26, 2012
101 Buttrick Hall
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee

In the spring of 2012, the Tennessee legislature passed SB 368/SB 893, and Gov. Haslam signed it into law. The bill is one of a series of bills classified as “academic freedom acts”, and purports to provide critical thinking education to students, and Vanderbilt University logoto encourage academic freedom for teachers. In reality, the bills, which call for compromising the teaching of evolution, global warming and other alleged “controversial subjects”, are the descendents of a long line of antievolution approaches. The other approaches (mandating creation science, mandating intelligent design) have failed, but AFA bills have not yet been tested in court. How can scientists, teachers, parents, and other citizens ensure that their children are taught good science, rather than false “weaknesses” of well-accepted scientific ideas?

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