In many states, teachers, students, and even college professors have faced intimidation and retaliation when they attempt to discuss scientific criticisms pertaining to evolution. This assault on academic freedom is antithetical to our traditions as a free society and to the progress of science itself, which depends on robust debate and critical inquiry. It is entirely appropriate for the government to ensure that teachers and students have the right to freely discuss the scientific debates over evolution in an appropriate manner.
Academic Freedom Bills and Resolutions
Despite the existence of legitimate scientific debates involving Darwinian theory, the right of teachers and professors to teach students about these debates is often in question. As a result, there have been repeated cases around the country where teachers, professors and students have been intimidated, ridiculed or penalized for discussing scientific criticisms of the theories of chemical and biological evolution. Because of this, some legislators have proposed statutes to protect the academic freedom of teachers and students when discussing evolution. Two states that have enacted such bills are Louisiana (in 2008) and Tennessee (in 2012). Another option is the academic freedom resolution, which encourages academic freedom by expressing legislative support. Two academic freedom resolutions were passed in 2017 – one by the Indiana Senate and the other by the Alabama legislature.
- Discovery Institute’s Model Academic Freedom Bill and Model Academic Freedom Resolution
- Tennessee Academic Freedom Law
- Academic Freedom FAQ
- The Constitutionality of Academic Freedom Legislation
- Discovery Institute Science Education Policy (please note that Discovery Institute does not favor introducing intelligent design in K-12 public schools; it favors a more limited approach of encouraging the freedom to discuss the scientific evidence for and against Darwin’s theory).
If you have questions or would like to consider proposing an academic freedom bill in your state, please e-mail Sarah Chaffee, Program Officer for Education and Public Policy at email@example.com.
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Follow the state by state efforts to restore academic freedom.