State Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville and a retired physician, introduced legislation calling on Commissioner Lana Seivers to say whether the universe was created by a "Supreme Being," the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel reported.
Finney, who said he believes the universe was created by a supreme being, told the newspaper he wants to get the Education Department talking about teaching creationism and the theory of intelligent design.
"There has never been any proof offered that Darwin's theory of evolution is correct," he told the News Sentinel. "I'm not demanding that she (Seivers) do anything," he said, "just asking, 'Are you sure we're doing the right thing?' "
The newspaper said Seivers was not available for comment but her agency's lobbyist said the commissioner is bound by the state Board of Education's curriculum decisions.
The legislation would revive a debate that has raged on and off in Tennessee since 1925, when lawmakers set the stage for the John Scopes "monkey trial" by forbidding the teaching of evolution, the newspaper reported.
Finney's proposal would require Seivers to answer his question "in report form" by Jan 14, 2008.