Friday, February 10, 2006

And God said, Let there be evolution...

I lost the bet. The Utah House passed the intelligent design bill. Evolution in Utah has the current text.

The house pretty much ripped out direct mention of Intelligent Design. The bill they passed is really a I lost the bet. The Utah House passed the intelligent design bill. Evolution in Utah has the current text.

The house pretty much ripped out any suggestion of Intelligent Design. The bill they passed is really a nonsensical statement trying to emphasize that scientific theory is theory. It is unclear what the bill actually expects teachers to do.

The bill basically says that in "origin of life" classes, you must refresh your class on the nature of the scientific method.

This is stupid because there is no such thing as an origin of life class. Students have classes in chemistry, biology, anthropology, archaeology, geology, etc.. Any of these classes have elements that touch on the theory of evolution.

The dominant religion body in Utah holds that "correct archaeology" was revealed to a seer and prophet. Archeaology is a morality lesson where God continually is smiting groups. Anytime a teacher touched upon secular humanist archeaology they will need to emphasize it is a theory. A teacher could notattribute the petroglyphs and pictographs on the walls of Utah's canyons to the Fremont or Anasazi people without a lecture about how this is all theory.

Imagine trying to teach on the Navajo reservation. A student asks where they came from. A teacher is afoul Utah law if they they try to talk about the Athabaskan Migration that suggests that the Dine' migrated into the four corners area in the 1400s. The teacher would have to go through a convoluted lecture on how secular humanist archeaology is one of many creation myths. "Correct Archeaology" as revealed by the prophet says the Dine' are descendents of an evil wicked people who sinned against God and were smited so hard that they turned red!

If you take the ID bill to its logical conclusion, a teacher taking a class on a field trip in the mountains would be afoul the law if she said that the sandstone outcropping in the foreground was older than the granite mountain in the background. In the bible, the Sandstone Canyons were created at the same time as the granite cliffs.

Saying that sandstone is a sedimentary rock that was deposited over millions of years presupposes the old earth vision held by secular humanists. A teacher who dares say that the limestone cliffs were built up from coral reefs in an ancient sea would have to preceed the statement with a long lecture on the origins of life.

A Utah teacher could not suggest that DNA models could help trace genealogy because such models run counter to revelation. Any teacher wanting to talk about DNA would have to begin with a lecture about how this is all theory.

Physicists are pretty much in the same boat when trying to describe current understandings of astronomy. The whole science of measuring the distance of stars in light years is based on a secular humanist view that the universe is old.

There is not an isolated little "origin of life" class. There is a great deal of ongoing, interconnected research in geology, biology, anthropology, chemistry, physics, archeaology with seems to be broadening our understanding of our situation. Yes, it is all theory.

I actually think it is great that the legislature wants to discuss the fascinating topic of the orgins of life ... for that matter, I am really not that unhappy with the wording of their law. To understand science, students must engage the subject with a critical eye. The problem with a legislative body debating such issues is that they end up with weird mandates that force distortions in the curriculum.

Even worse, the adminstration of such a bill will end up in another layer of ugly politics in schools.

My next bet is that the Governor will veto the bill. So far I am zero for three on this issue. I never thought it get out of the Utah Senate.

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