"NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennesee's Republican governor says he will let a bill become law effective April 20 that protects teachers who allow students in their classrooms to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming." (Lucas L. Johnson, Associated Press, April 10, 2012 on msnbc.msc.com/id/47001)
There are historical examples of society turning against science, technical advancement and change. One instance would be the Amish who decided to freeze their culture at the early 19th Century level. Of course, as a culture, they are protected and allowed to exist by the larger one that surrounds them and as a result they do not have to compete militarily, economically or intellectually in order to sustain themselves. They also get special exemptions regarding military service, as well as not being required to participate in many ways with the surrounding society. The only reason they exist is because the culture that contains them grants them a great deal of grace, which flows from our traditions of pluralism and tolerance.
If the United States follows the example of the Amish, we will doom our society to third world status and other countries, who do not have our religious hang ups, i.e. China and India, will pick up the torch of knowledge tied to scientific methodology and let it burn brightly in their societies, which will bring them great wealth and power as their scientists create the future.
Our universities are full of students from mainland China. The two who were murdered at USC are but an example. A full 50% of the students in our Ivy League universities are from Asia. The Chinese want what we have and know the secret to our success lies in our institutions of higher learning, which support individualism, creativity and pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge free of right wing and left wing orthodoxies. If we fetter our exporation of knowledge, new ideas and products created by Americans will disappear.
The Tennessee law, contrary to the propaganda of its proponents, will narrow our options and we will end up depending on others, while we wallow in and flaunt our self-righteousness just like the Muslim countries have done the last six hundred years. There was a time during the high middle ages when Islam was where it was at, but they lost it because their fundamentalists took over. And look at where they are now, struggling to fit into the modern world.
God help Tennessee for they are cursing themselves, not having a clue as to the wider repercussions of their decisions. God help the rest of the United States as we, entranced by the misnomer, "religious freedom", consider following their example.