TN Biology textbook challenged (with videos)

April 7, 2010Knoxville parent Kurt Zimmermann (often misspelled “Zimmerman”) has generated a lot of buzz over his challenge to a high school biology text, because of its reference to creationism as a “myth.”

After Zimmermann’s request to have the book thrown out was reviewed and rejected by Knoxville’s Farragut High School, he appealed their decision to the district board.

Zimmerman spoke before the Board at their meeting Wednesday, April 7. Before that, at a public hearing before the Board on Monday, April 5, “former science teacher” Charles Dawson appeared, arguing that

There is no good science to evolution … No one anywhere knows how to create life in a laboratory.

… and that the evolution versus creationism debate should be left out of public school altogether,

… because evolution has no good scientific evidence behind it and to put it forth as a good scientific basis is mythology.

Such statements are repeated in this CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) story, which is bouncing around all over the Christian fundamentalist internet.

A story on local channel 6 (WATE) on the issue includes this video from the Monday hearings, including Dawson’s statements: 

FOXNews interviewed Zimmermann before the Wednesday Board meeting

and then again after the meeting, at which the Board decided they would postpone the issue for another month:

Also testifying at the Wednesday meeting was librarian Karyn Storts-Brinks, who “spoke up about the inadvisability of censoring a textbook, any textbook, on the basis of a single word.”

Reportedly, “Storts-Brinks did have one personal issue with Farragut High School father Kurt Zimmerman, who spoke at the meeting and made the original request for Asking About Life‘s removal”:

Here’s this man talking about the profound effect his stepping forward has had on his family, how extremely difficult it’s been. I don’t understand him. In this community, he’ll be draped in laurels for speaking out. I’m like, “Dude,  you’ve got it all.” And the best part of the story, he’s saying that, and after I spoke and they noted the reaction to my words — I’m the one who had to have a police escort out of the building.

Jesse Fox Mayshark reported on the meeting for Metropulse.

In addition to the story linked above, Knoxnews carried stories on the previous Sunday (April 4), and on Wednesday, April 7, before the meeting.

added April 11:
The Louisiana Coalition for Science has posted a blog article on this affair, with information on the creationist “Addendum” that Zimmermann used as a source for apposing this specific textbook. They provide background on the “Addendum” author, including links and information on materials that he’s contributed to for use in Louisiana under that state’s new “Science Education” law.



  1. Posted April 11, 2010 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    What is wrong with calling a myth a myth? It seems some people don’t know the definition of myth that applies here and instead assume that it means something that is false or untrue. This is similar to the many idiots in this country who deny the fact of evolution and claim it is “only a theory,” showing both that they are unaware of the actual evidence that it is a fact of nature and also that they misunderstand the scientific use of the word “theory.”

  2. Zara Mikazuki
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Haha! If someone isn’t willing to admit to call a myth what is, essentially, a myth, and isn’t willing to accept evolution (which studies the DIVERSIFICATION of life, not the origins, which is abiogenesis), they probably aren’t qualified to take AP Biology.

  3. Samphire
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Kurt should join his son in biology class. Clearly, he has a lot to learn.

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