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More ‘monkey business’ in Tennessee?

Published: 19 April 2012 (GMT+10)
Flickr: walknboston


In 1925, a hot July courtroom in Dayton, Tennessee, USA, was the site of America’s famous Scopes trial. But nearly 90 years later, it seems another battle is brewing in the Volunteer State.

The Tennessee General Assembly has recently passed a measure that would protect public school teachers who allow students to question or criticize evolution, as well as other scientific theories. Governor Bill Haslam has stated that he will likely sign the bill into law, but critics are openly deriding it as the “monkey bill”, and ridiculing that the state is once again attacking ‘science’. (Note: Apparently, similar laws exist in nine other US states.)

The opponents of the legislation are painting a picture of ‘science’ under assault. Three Tennessee scientists have warned, “the Tennessee legislature is doing the unbelievable: attempting to roll the clock back to 1925 by attempting to insert religious beliefs in the teaching of science.”1 Although editorials throughout the US have used strong language to deride the legislature and the Governor for allowing such ‘backward progress’, it makes you wonder what it is about this bill has evolutionists up in arms.

However, a review of House Bill 3682 reveals the ‘offending’ language:

“The state board of education … shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.” and “Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories … ” (emphasis added)

It makes you wonder what these scientists are really opposing. You see, evolution is not science! It is actually their own religious belief of origins that is being questioned. For example, leading anticreationist philosopher, Michael Ruse was candid enough to admit the following:

“Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint … the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. … Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.”3

However, Creation Ministries International has long stood firm on our opposition to compulsory teaching of creation in public schools, yet while we do not lobby for it, we do think it would be fair and appropriate if individual teachers were not prohibited “from helping students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories … ”4 as this bill states.

So why are the opponents to this legislation so up in arms? If evolution theory really is the ‘linchpin’ of the biological sciences, why is the concern so strong to censor any opposing views? If the ‘science’ of evolution is that strong, then surely, they have nothing to fear.

123rf.com: Suriya Silsaksom

Perhaps what infuriates the anti-Christians is that information about the scientific weaknesses of the evolutionary paradigm and the scientific strengths of the biblical account of history are actually getting into the schools. In short, there is real power in the Creation message. People are hearing and being convinced as to the truth of the Bible and its account of Creation. They know this and they obviously don’t want ‘tender’ minds confused over the origins debate. But, how, you might ask, do people get to hear the message when such censorship prevails? Creation Ministries International speakers are seldom if ever invited to public schools to present evidence that undermines the evolution story and supports the biblical creation model. However, the opponents are well aware that students are somehow getting the other side of the story. With over 1,200 presentations being made by CMI speakers worldwide; Creation magazine being the most-read publication of its kind; vast book and DVD resources circulating worldwide; as well as our CREATION.com website with over 8,000 articles that answer most any question on the origins issue, is it any wonder that some of that will trickle into the schools? Especially, if the mechanism for spreading this information is the church. In fact, when parents, students, and even teachers are equipped with this ‘mind altering’ information, they will have an effective and more profound impact in dismantling the evolutionary belief that permeates the culture through public education as well as popular media.5

So, Christians, are you taking a part in thwarting this “monkey business”? Are you not only equipped with the truth and answers to defend your faith (1 Peter 3:15), but actively spreading the good news through your family, friends and co-workers? Have you had a CMI speaker to your church to help initiate change in your region? Or get on board with our Question Evolution campaign. You see, when you stand up and get engaged in the conflict, not only will this evolutionary culture be shaken, but we will continue to get constant reports of profoundly changed lives—but only when people like you take action.

Please contact your nearest CMI office to see how you can make that difference.


  1. ncse.com/news/2012/03/prospect-new-scopes-trial-007276. Return to text.
  2. www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/HB0368.pdf. Return to text.
  3. Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1,B3,B7 May 13, 2000 Return to text.
  4. www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/HB0368.pdf. Return to text.
  5. creation.com/reach-into-schools. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

P. F.
Calling evolution a religion is like calling plumbing or car maintenance a religion and just as nonsensical. It is an analysis of the physical world without reference to religious text. That is what science is. If anyone wants to teach creationism in science class, they also better be prepared to explain that nothing in science supports the interpretation.
Scott Gillis
Peter. Thank you for your comment.
It is not just creationists that have referred to the 'religious' nature of standing firm on a belief in evolution. Michael Ruse, an ardent believer and major leader in the promotion of evolutionary thought, was quoted in this very article as stating exactly that, and he is not alone in this conclusion. If you have an open mind and want to understand this further, please see the first chapter of Refuting Evolution. We recommend you continue to read that book with the index on the right.
Additionally, a statement that evolution is merely an unbiased analysis of the physical world is uninformed, and to use your word, 'nonsensical', as is demonstrated in this article: It's not Science.
Your broad-sweeping comment that "nothing in science supports the interpretation [of creation]" indicates that you have not objectively reviewed the scientific positions demonstrated in many of the 8,000 articles on our website. A bigger issue at hand for you to consider are the serious scientific challenges to the evolutionary paradigm, for example, see our 15 Questions for Evolutionists, as well as the related links you will find embedded within the article. We hope you are willing to take an objective look at both the admitted scientific weaknesses of evolutionary theory, as well as how the evidence actually supports the biblical account of creation.
Ron H.
Very good article. Creationists must stand tall against this insane desire to cram false science into the minds of our children. We must teach creation in the homes, in the schools, in the churches and at camp meetings. One day those that have been transformed will thank us.

Mary H.
No so many decades ago, it was "scientific fact" that Blacks were genetically inferior to Whites. And who remembers phrenology and leaches(not first-hand memory, of course!)? Newtonian physics as the last word?

Exactly what scientific "facts" are they afraid will be dethroned?? Do they want us to go back to the days of racism and leaches?
Doug T.
Though you probably know this by now, the governor did not actually sign it (bowing to pressure from the outspoken evolutionists) but did allow it to become law without his signature (bowing to pressure from his electorate). As a citizen of Tennessee, I'm delighted that we now have a law in place to protect the freedom of teachers to actually teach . As it passed though both houses by a 3 - 1 margin, I'm even a bit encouraged. Score one for the First Amendment.
Brandt H.
This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at (URL removed as per feedback rules) with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.
Scott Gillis
That's a very sweeping and broad statement. Respectfully, in viewing your own blog, it is obvious that you have not objectively read the articles on our website. We have over 8,000, and many of them do show solid scientific, as opposed to so-called 'religious', arguments against the Theory of Evolution. Since you do not mention any particular critique, it is hard for us to know where you should start, but I would try this and this for starters. I am sure you would benefit if you did some digging with an open mind.
Chandrasekaran M.
According to Michael Ruse Evolution (science) is a religion. So the”monkey bill” is essential for the “monkey science”. Why should students leave their brain at the door before entering schools where “monkey science” is taught as fact?
Josef L.
Evolutionists know that the evolution model is weak and can't withstand scrutiny. That's why they try to squelch any type of questioning.

What makes it worse is that evolutionists often don't even understand what it is that they are opposing. 99% of the evolutionist I speak to don't even realize that creationists accept that speciation or that dinosaurs (and other extinct animals) existed. What is even worse is that I suspect there are evolutionists who do know what creationists generally teach. However, I think they purposely misrepresent the creationist model to those who are less educated on the topic by telling them that creationists believe in the fixity of species or that creationists believe fossils were created by Satan or something like that. That way when a creationist approaches that person, the person already has it in his or her mind that the creationist is loony.

It is so important for all of us to spread the true creation message. Creationists are already greatly outnumbered. So even if we all did our part, we're still fighting an uphill battle, but if only some of us actively spread the message then we really don't stand a chance. That's why it is so important to be an active creationist.
Errol B.
Why not protect ‘Evolution’ from scrutiny. Testing the theory might destroy it and we all know that evolution is good science and scientific theories should never be tested, especially when they are an endangered species. Seriously though, if the theory were that strong, why should they be concerned? I have no scientific qualifications and have debated an outspoken evolutionist / global warming proponent (biologist) via letters to the local paper and it’s great to have the resources of CMI magazine & website to demolish anti-biblical arguments. At the moment, he’s confused over what we believe about natural selection & speciation but I’m working on him. He has no factual answers for genetic entropy or the universe’s anthropic principle (the Goldilocks factor). I’ve tested him on other issues and I was ready for the standard rebuttals but these guys are so deprived of logical arguments, his rebuttals were special pleading and at times empty ridicule. I feel sorry for them. They need government legislation to help them win the debate so don’t be fooled.
Rob H.
This article is indeed heartwarming and encouraging. The challenge is there for all of us to heed and do our own part.

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