Skepticism about global warming models and policies is not rooted in religious motivation. None of the major religions have even expressed any opinion about it, as far as I know.This bill prohibits the state board of education and any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or principal or administrator from prohibiting any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warming.Note the emphasis on “evolution and global warming.” If that’s not religious motivation — and a legitimate reason for contesting the constitutionality of the bill — I don’t know what is.
While some evolution skepticism has religious motivation, it is also fair to say much of the evolution promotion has religious motivation. The leading evolution spokesman, Richard Dawkins, spends most of his time attacking religion and arguing that we should teach evolution because it leads to atheism. So does Coyne. The LA Times reports:
Religious motives aside, the Tennessee bill reflects the view that there is a significant scientific controversy about the basic accuracy of Darwinian theory. There isn't. ...I just watched the distinguished Harvard professor E. O. Wilson interviewed on PBS Charlie Rose, plugging his new book on how eusocial species like ants, bees, termites, and humans, have taken over the world. He also explained that the evolution of eusociality is hotly controversial, with Dawkins, Coyne, and many other leaders subscribing to the selfish gene theory. Wilson is not religious, and religion is not at the core of this dispute. But both sides say that this says something about whether human nature is selfish or altruistic.
But even in high school, and especially in science class, teachers have an obligation to the truth. The truth in this case, discomfiting as it may be to some Tennesseans, is that evolution is not "just a theory."
The problem here in not that the truth is discomfiting some Tennesseans. The problem is that open debate is discomfiting to certain ideologies.