NASHVILLE, April 4 (UPI) -- A bill in the Tennessee legislature would allow teachers to freely discuss alternate theories to evolution such as intelligent design, its sponsors say.
Proponents of the bill say teachers and students should be able to weigh all sides of the question of creation and evolution when it comes up in the classroom, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Sunday.
"Evolution may not be controversial in the scientific community, but may be in our greater community," bill sponsor Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, said.
"Questions arise in class about controversies and theory. Teachers should be able to answer those without feeling they violate the curriculum standards."
Opponents say they worry the bill is an attempt to discredit the scientific theory of evolution and make it possible for Christian teachers to introduce their religious beliefs into the classroom.
"Tennessee needs to be looking forward to producing the best science education possible, not backward talking about issues that don't help us," state Sen. Andy Berke, a Chattanooga Democrat, said. "At home, we can (teach them) values and thoughts that we as families think are appropriate."