Sunday, February 05, 2006

Utah: Beacon of Enlightenment

There's a big vote coming up in the Utah state legislature on a bill which would attempt to weaken the teaching of evolution in the state's schools by requiring a disclaimer saying that not all scientists agree about evolution. What's interesting about this, aside from the fact that the bill would mandate a disclaimer that is untrue (depending on how you define "scientist"), is that the passage of this bill is not a foregone conclusion - even in a state as conservative as Utah.

There are two great quotes in this article.

1. The Utah House majority whip, Stephen H. Urquhart (R) (who opposes the bill): "I don't think God has an argument with science."

Amen. In our country today, there is an unnecessarily adversarial relationship between science and religion that is fostered by a minority in each camp and which serves the best interests of neither.

2. The main sponsor of the bill, State Senator D. Chris Buttars (R): "I got tired of people calling me and saying, 'Why is my kid coming home from high school and saying his biology teacher told him he evolved from a chimpanzee?'"

Probably because their kid has a bad biology teacher. Maybe that's the issue the good Senator should be more concerned about. (Just to be clear to everyone reading this: evolution DOES NOT state that humans evolved from chimpanzees - or any other animals that can smoke cigars and roller-skate.)

The fact that an intrinsically religiously conservative state like Utah is even having a debate about evolution vs anti-evolution instead of just knee-jerk slapping a disclaimer on one of the most well-founded tenets of science is GOOD NEWS. It gives hope that we can still have a substantive debate, based on facts, and some people will listen!

Evolution Measure Splits State Legislators in Utah - NYT


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