NCSE's Scott on Tennessee's "monkey bills"

Eugenie C. ScottEugenie C. Scott

While visiting Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to speak at Middle Tennessee State University, NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott discussed the state's "monkey bills" with the Daily News Journal (March 26, 2012). Speaking before the House accepted the Senate version of the bill on a 72-23 vote on March 26, 2012, Scott commented, "These bills are a bad idea pedagogically. They're a bad idea legally. ... The best thing would be for these bills to be withdrawn and forgotten about. But it looks like they're going to pass."

Scott argued, "What these bills do is provide a backdoor way for creationism to be taught," explaining, "if [you] look at the history of these bills and you see how these bills have evolved, they really evolved in response to [legal] decisions that have curtailed the teaching of creation, creationism and intelligent design in the public schools. [They] are an effort to duck under the First Amendment and see if they can't legally encourage teachers to bring them into the classroom."

"This is a very bad idea," Scott told the newspaper: "It's bad for the science education of Tennessee students. It's bad for the overall competitiveness of Tennessee. ... And it's also unconstitutional. Our public schools should be religiously neutral places. You should feel free to come and not be proselytized by somebody else's sectarian religious views." She added that it was particularly unfair to public school teachers to involve them in such a culture war issue: "They shouldn't be made to bear that burden."