Catholic University law school Professor Robert Destro was among the guests on the April 11 edition of National Public Radio’s popular Diane Rehm Show, as he and fellow guests debated a newly-passed Tennessee law seen by some as opening the way for high school science students to learn both sides of evolution and climate science.
Joining Destro on the program were David Fowler, president, the Family Action Council of Tennessee and former Republican state senator; Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education; and David Masci, senior researcher, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Susan Page of USA Today sat in as guest host in Rehm’s place.
The panelists disagreed on many points, including whether the Tennessee science education statute really tries to counter decades of accepted scientific teaching or whether the law serves as a stalking horse for political, rather than scientific agendas.
Defenders of the law say opponents both misunderstand and mischaracterize the legislation, while its foes worry that Tennessee’s action will encourage more states to teach what one guest called “a lot of misinformation.”
Destro argued that teachers sometimes feel constrained in addressing students’ skeptical questions about causes of climate change. “Any teacher who raised those kinds of questions, if you have an ardent environmentalist principal, that teacher is going to be in trouble,” he said, arguing against what he characterized as political correctness.
Countering, Scott said that “if the anti-global warming people want to have their views taught in high school, let them take their arguments to the scientists and the climatologists, and let them fight it out up there. We shouldn’t be fighting these cultural wars on the back of high school students and high school teachers.”