Alright, Utah!

Ken AshfordEducation, GodstuffLeave a Comment

Thank God there’s at least one state that gets it:

To borrow a line from Dorothy: We’re not in Kansas anymore.

Unlike the Kansas School Board, which earlier this summer approved allowing educators to teach theories in addition to evolution that explain life on Earth, the Utah Board of Education on Friday unanimously approved a position statement supporting the continued exclusive teaching of evolution in state classrooms.

Only two people out of the dozens who attended Friday’s meeting sided with Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, and his proposal to allow teaching "intelligent design" as a theory to explain the origins of life.

Intelligent design asserts that an intelligent force created the universe. Though advocates claim the theory does not attempt to identify the designer, many of them are affiliated with explicitly Christian-centered organizations.

One, William Dembski, who heads the Center for Theology and Science at Louisville (Ky.) Southern Seminary, even argues in his book, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science & Theology, that the designer must be the god Christians worship.

The school board ignored Buttars’ complaint that board members never invited proponents of intelligent design to participate in drafting the position statement.

The board also chose to decline his request to delay voting on the document until the senator could give a two-hour presentation arguing for intelligent design.

During the public comment period, Buttars repeated his intention to either introduce legislation to require intelligent design be a school topic, or place the issue on next year’s ballot in the form of a referendum.

Speaking to board members, 10 scientists and researchers representing disciplines including biology, chemistry, geology, paleontology and engineering tried to dismantle the contention that intelligent design is based on sound science.

Instead, many called it pseudoscience and agreed with Duane Jeffery, a Brigham Young University biology professor, who put it in the same category as astrology and pyramid power.

"By definition, science does not attempt to explain the world by invoking the supernatural," University of Utah bioengineering professor Gregory Clark told the board.

"Intelligent design fails as science because it does exactly that – it posits that life is too complex to have arisen from natural causes, and instead requires the intervention of an intelligent designer who is beyond natural explanation. Invoking the supernatural can explain anything, and hence explains nothing."

[Source: Salt Lake Tribune]