The debate that took place on the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives in April could not exactly be described as a feast for the intellect.

Legislators were deliberating a bill that would open the door to creationism in public schools by requiring schools to “find effective ways” to teach about three “controversial” ideas: evolution, global warming and human cloning.

The discussion quickly degenerated into name-calling when one bill supporter called opponents “intellectual bullies,” reported the Knoxville News Sentinel.

One lawmaker even tried to press Albert Einstein into service. Rep. Frank Niceley, a Republican from Strawberry Plains, asserted that Einstein once said, “A little knowledge would turn your head to atheism, while a broader knowledge would turn your head to Christianity.”

Niceley should have checked his facts: Einstein, who was raised Jewish and usually referred to himself as an agnostic, never said that. Something similar was once uttered by English philosopher Francis Bacon – 400 years ago.

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