ASIH calls for repeal of Tennessee's antiscience law


At its 2014 meeting held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists adopted a resolution encouraging the state of Tennessee to repeal the antiscience law — nicknamed the "monkey bill" — adopted there in 2012. The resolution reads, in its entirety:

Whereas the theory of evolution is the basis of all biological science including medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology; and

Whereas the Tennessee legislature has passed an anti-science bill (House Bill 368) under the guise of academic freedom that makes the teaching of the theory of evolution more difficult and incorrectly suggests that the theory of evolution is scientifically controversial; and

Whereas Governor Bill Haslam has allowed this bill to become law;

Therefore be it resolved that the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists meeting in Chattanooga 30 July-3 August 2014 encourages the State of Tennessee to reverse this profoundly regressive law.

The law in question, enacted as Tenn. Code Ann. §49-6-1030, encourages 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."

Groups opposing the law include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Earth Science Teachers Association, and the Tennessee Science Teachers Association.