Tennessee's Anti-Science Bill Becomes Law | Wired Science | Wired.comThe new Tennessee law does not ban the teaching of evolution as the old law had. Its supporters contend that it will allow the expansion of scientific views in the classroom. What it does do is allow doubt to be injected into areas of science in which scientists say there really isn’t any. It allows creationism and evolution to be debated side by side in a science classroom, which is just plain wrong, even if the Tennessee legislature thinks otherwise.
Anti-evolution bills have been introduced this year in at least six states. The continued assault on science in some state legislatures only makes it harder for young Americans to learn about their world.
The law encourages teachers to “present the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” But, as noted by the nonprofit National Center for Science Education, the only examples given in the bill of “controversial” theories are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”
The legislation, passed by the Tennessee House and Senate, became law when Gov. Bill Haslam decided — for the first time in his nearly 15-month administration — not to sign the bill nor to veto it, according to The Commercial Appeal . Thus, by default, despite the fact that science educators called it anti-scientific, the legislation became law.
In a statement absent of any sense of leadership, Haslam said:
“I have reviewed the final language of HB 368/SB 893 and assessed the legislation’s impact. I have also evaluated the concerns that have been raised by the bill. I do not believe that this legislation changes the scientific standards that are taught in our schools or the curriculum that is used by our teachers. However, I also don’t believe that it accomplishes anything that isn’t already acceptable in our schools. The bill received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate by a three-to-one margin, but good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion. My concern is that this bill has not met this objective. For that reason, I will not sign the bill but will allow it to become law without my signature.”
The bill offers protections for teachers who help students critique “scientific weaknesses” of certain theories. Critics argued that this is code for attacks on evolution and other theories, which encourages critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique “scientific weaknesses.”
The problem is that there is no important “scientific weakness” in the theory of evolution that could scientifically undermine its essential truth. Scientists agree that it is the animating principle of modern biology. Scientists also agree on the reality of climate change.
Level of support for evolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThere is a notable difference between the opinion of scientists and that of the general public in the United States. A 2009 poll by Pew Research Center found that "Nearly all scientists (97%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time – 87% say evolution is due to natural processes, such as natural selection. The dominant position among scientists – that living things have evolved due to natural processes – is shared by only about third (32%) of the public."
Surveys of scientists' views on climate change - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaAnderegg, Prall, Harold, and Schneider, 2010
A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and drew the following two conclusions:
(i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.
The methodology of the Anderegg et al. study was challenged in PNAS by Lawrence Bodenstein for "treat[ing] publication metrics as a surrogate for expertise". He would expect the much larger side of the climate change controversy to excel in certain publication metrics as they "continue to cite each other's work in an upward spiral of self-affirmation". Anderegg et al. replied that Bodenstein "raises many speculative points without offering data" and that his comment "misunderstands our study’s framing and stands in direct contrast to two prominent conclusions in the paper. The Anderegg et al. study was also criticized by Roger A. Pielke, Pat Michaels, Roger Pielke, Jr., and John Christy. Pielke Jr. commented that "this paper simply reinforces the pathological politicization of climate science in policy debate." 
 Farnsworth and Lichter, 2011
In an October 2011 paper published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, researchers from George Mason University analyzed the results of a survey of 489 scientists working in academia, government, and industry. The scientists polled were members of the American Geophysical Union or the American Meteorological Society and listed in the 23rd edition of American Men and Women of Science, a biographical reference work on leading American scientists. Of those surveyed, 97% agreed that that global temperatures have risen over the past century. Moreover, 84% agreed that "human-induced greenhouse warming" is now occurring. Only 5% disagreed with the idea that human activity is a significant cause of global warming.
In other words, those who support laws like the Tennessee one are once again threatening to make the US the laughing stock of the first world by having science teachers teach wishful thinking and politics rather than science that has any signficant backing by real practicing scientists. Instead of teaching real science, our students are to waste time learning the rationalizations of theists and pundits rather than about the real consistent findings of more than 2 centuries worth of biology and 3 decades worth of climatology.