Tennessee has joined Louisiana as a state that encourages students to exercise their critical thinking skills about evolution and other subjects. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam allowed a bill to pass into law that confirms a teacher’s right to discuss strengths and weaknesses of controversial scientific theories.1 The bill specifically states that no religious doctrine is to be included in school instruction.
A Tennessee law confirms a teacher’s right to discuss strengths and weaknesses of controversial scientific theories.
Evolution activists are predictably upset over the new law, which they see as an unconstitutional introduction of religion into the public school classroom. But one reason Governor Haslam allowed the bill to pass was that he does not believe that it changes the scientific standards or curriculum used in Tennessee schools.
It would be counterproductive to force public school teachers to teach creation or intelligent design, since those who disagree would likely teach creation poorly and mockingly. But with Gallup polls consistently showing that almost half of American adults believe that God created humans within the past ten thousand years, it does seem reasonable that teachers be allowed to teach their students about controversies surrounding evolutionary ideas.2
Christians should keep in mind that God gave the primary responsibility for teaching to parents (Deuteronomy 6:6–9), who should be very careful in deciding when to delegate that responsibility to others. Parents and church leaders can do much to help their young people develop critical thinking skills about evolution by training them in biblical apologetics. Then these students should be able to see that the Bible’s account of creation is confirmed by a proper understanding of science.