The Tennessee state Senate passed a bill Monday that protects teachers who allow student to question and criticize “controversial” scientific theories like evolution, the Huffington Post reports. The Senate voted 24-8 for SB 893, which would allow teachers to help students “understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories” like “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning.”

“The idea behind this bill is that students should be encouraged to challenge current scientific thought and theory,” Republican state Sen. Bo Watson told The Tennesseean. Watson is the bill’s sponsor. The proposal also instructs teachers on how to comfortably and appropriately “address students’ concerns about certain scientific theories” within a curriculum established by the Board of Education. The bill would not affect the state’s science curriculum…

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staff and wire services reports