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Tenn. legislators pass evolution bill

March 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM

NASHVILLE, March 27 (UPI) -- Tennessee lawmakers approved a bill that would encourage classroom discussion of evolution, and sent it to the governor for his signature.

In a 72-23 vote Monday evening, the state House of Representatives pass a bill, similar to one already approved in the state Senate, calling on schools to create an environment that encourages debate and analysis of "the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories," including evolution, global warming and the origin of life.

The bill specifically protects teachers from punishment if they facilitate classroom discussion of the topics.

Social conservative groups, including the Family Action Council of Tennessee, back the measure, but science organizations claim it will degrade the state's efforts to improve education standards, The (Nashville)Tennessean reported Tuesday.