Republican state Rep. Mack Butler of Alabama introduced a bill in April that would allow teachers to give alternative lessons on scientific subjects such as the origin of life, evolution and human cloning.
Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, told AL.com:
This is a thinly-veiled attempt to open the door to religious fanatics who don't believe in evolution, climate change or other scientifically-based teaching in our schools. It also opens Alabama to costly litigation that it just cannot afford.
Butler's bill says it would "allow public school teachers to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of all existing scientific theories covered in a science course."
Josh Rosenau, of the National Center for Science Education's programs and policy director, told AL.com that these types of legislation "nudge away from teaching what the state science standards, what national education and science organizations all say, which is evolution is the foundation of modern biology and has to be the foundation of a biology class."
Butler did not comment to AL.com, but did write on his Facebook page:
We are trying to encourage debate to help develop critical thinking skills for our students. This will encourage debate if a student has a problem learning he came from a monkey rather than an intelligent design! Knowledge is power! Never be afraid of a healthy debate!