Utah Legislature Split on Anti-Evolution Bill

Utah legislators are having a more-worthwhile-than-I-personally-would’ve-expected debate over teaching evolution in schools. I’ve got a few things to say about this article:

Mr. Urquhart says he objects to the bill in part because it raises questions about the validity of evolution, and in part because the measure threatens traditional religious belief by blurring the lines between faith and science.

Rad. Not enough religious people speak up about how increasing religion’s influence on the public space also increases the general (and often non-religious) public’s influence on religion. It’s pretty apalling (and incidentally, un-conservative) that IDists are willing to weaken the definition of science to serve their ideology. But it’s also pretty bad that they’re willing to water down (at least publicly) their own deeply-held beliefs. They don’t even have the courage of their convictions.

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican and former Mormon missionary, has not said what he will do if the bill reaches his desk.

Just a nitpick: It’s my understanding that nearly all mormons are “former Mormon missionaries”. I think it’s standard that at a certain point, every mormon is required to do a mission.

“I don’t have to talk about religion — it’s of no meaning and it’s not part of this discussion,” said State Representative James A. Ferrin, a Republican and the sponsor of the bill in the House. “It’s not about belief, it’s about not overstepping what we know.”

Is it a low blow to point out how blatantly this guy is overstepping what he knows?

“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?’ ” Mr. Buttars said.

Evolutionary theory does not say that humans evolved from chimpanzees or from any existing species, but rather that common ancestors gave rise to multiple species and that natural selection — in which the creatures best adapted to an environment pass their genes to the next generation — was the means by which divergence occurred over time. All modern biology is based on the theory, and within the scientific community, at least, there is no controversy about it.

Awesome. Thank you, New York Times. This is a good journalistic antidote to the common problem of: “Mr. A said that Mr. B is a drug-addict and a child-rapist. Mr. B disputes this claim.”

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