Buttars: Evolution teachers in Utah “will be dealt with.”

| 13 Comments

According to a story today in the Salt Lake City Tribune:

Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, had earlier suggested he would propose legislation that would enforce the teaching of alternative concepts of human existence. Now he says conversations with the state superintendent of schools have left him confident that teachers who teach the evolution of humanity “will be dealt with.”

Other parts of the article, “Evolution not yet extinct in schools,” are less dire, but something that is equally shocking is the craven response of Utah education Superintendent Patti Harrington to this know-nothing bully. According to a previous story:

Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, said Thursday that after talks with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction Patti Harrington, he is comfortable – at least for now – with what Utah classrooms are teaching.

“She assured me in a phone call and then followed up with a letter, that we should not be teaching human evolution of any kind,” Buttars said Thursday.

The state’s core science curricula doesn’t teach the evolution of the human species as a scientific fact, Harrington said. It does, however, emphasize that biological diversity is a result of millions of years of evolution.

“Science is a way of knowing and a knowing based up on evidence,” Harrington said by telephone from Cedar City Thursday. “There is not evidence yet to claim how the Earth was created and no evidence to connect the family of apes with the family of man.”

Buttars drew a lot of attention in recent weeks over his interest in intelligent design or as Buttars calls it, divine design – the theory that an intelligent cause is behind the origin of the universes and its life forms. Proponents of the theory say it should be taught in classrooms as an alternative to Charles Darwins’ theory of natural selection.

Opponents say “intelligent design” is just another form of “creation theory” and that the Bible doesn’t belong in public schools.

Buttars believes in Bible teachings and says there are “a lot of people like me who believe that God created man.”

He said his interest in “intelligent design” was inspired by at least 10 parents who said schools were telling students “we evolved from apes or monkeys or some other species and teaching it as fact.”

“It’s not fact,” Buttars said. “It’s a theory. You know, the trouble with the missing link, is that it’s still missing.”“Senator ditches ‘divine’ model

Oh really? Which missing link would that be? See here:

See also previous blogging on PT, and a previous blogpost showing some of the evidence for common ancestry of humans and apes.

Interestingly, the first google hit on “Sen. Chris Buttars” is the ““Who is the Bigger Dummy?” Challenge! at Accountability Utah.

13 Comments

The problem is that people are being misled by creationist arguments and end up making poor decisions in issues of science, faith and religion and now politics. It is sad to see what such unnecessary confusion can lead to.

The trouble with the missing link is that it is still missing is a great example where ignorance leads to poor policy.

“we evolved from apes or monkeys or some other species and teaching it as fact.”

GAhhhh, thats what bugs me the most. The complete and utter ignorance of the entire subject. The parents and probaly the senator knows “nothing” about the theory except “I did not evolve from an animal!” Maybe if they did some research, see how well established the theory is maybe they’ll be more open to accepting it.

But no, they closed their minds and theres no changing it. They ‘know’ god did it and thats all they’ll hear.

Poor Utah, population 15 science rating: Horrendous if this goes through.. If they stop teaching evolution, might as well toss out science if we’re going to be throwning in alternate theories everywhere. “The earth does not revolve around the sun! DUH, you don’t see the SUN GO AROUND THE EARTH?? Plus, the bible says…”

Maybe if they did some research, see how well established the theory is maybe they’ll be more open to accepting it.

Unfortunately, Geral, Buttars and his ilk know that the Bible is literal truth, and that God created man and woman miraculously. They know this through faith. It doesn’t matter how many facts you show them, nor how many independent yet consistent lines of evidence you produce.

You can’t overturn zealous faith with facts. It’s like trying to win a baseball game by scoring touchdowns.

Does Buttars also propose to close the outstanding geology museum the state operates on the campus of the University of Utah? Is Buttars going to ask a law against Brigham Young University’s teaching of geology and biology, especially their teaching of evolution to future teachers?

Or is it more likely an eminence grise from the LDS Church Office Building can find Rep. Buttars’ phone number and get him to stop making crazy talk?

Since Utah is packed with fine scholars, scientists whose careers would be toast were Buttars’ view of science to be even close to correct, one wonders how long they’ll let Buttars go before explaining the facts to him.

Just to add to Ed’s post above, here’s the BYU course catalogue’s description of the school’s biology offerings:

420. Evolutionary Biology. Intensive examination of evolution as the conceptual cornerstone of biology.

421. Evolutionary Biology Laboratory. Methodology and evidence used in evolutionary biology: comparative anatomy, DNA and protein techniques, radiometric and non-radiometric dating, fossil data, etc.

Note that evolution is described as “the conceptual cornerstone of biology,” no less. The Church doesn’t like bad publicity and my guess is that Buttars will be shut down pretty soon.

… my guess is that Buttars will be shut down pretty soon.

I hope so: it’s either him or the better biology instructors:

… teachers who teach the evolution of humanity “will be dealt with.”

Maybe part of the problem is that BYU and other schools are waiting so long to actually teach evolutionary theory. It’s a 400-level class! I hope they address it at some length in Bio 101 or some other general class (preferably in high school!) that all students need to take, not just these classes for bio majors…

Evolution is a staple in the Intro to Biology course at BYU, I understand. It’s also woven through the rest of the curriculum.

It isn’t just Buttars though. Note that Patti Harrington who is in charge of education is also appallingly ignorant (assuming she isn’t being deliberately dishonest in her remarks). As far as I can make out via google, her only higher education is in education. If whatever quality standards exist in an area permit those who are ignorant of something (eg science) to be the ones making decisions and pronouncements about it, then that system is institutionally incompetent and corrupt.

How about we teach practical classes and be reimbursed for all ammunition expended?

Rustopher.

Here is a general question: what do the ID’rs say about The Flood?

They don’t say anything about the flood, because the flood is religion and id “is not about religion”.

“Maybe part of the problem is that BYU and other schools are waiting so long to actually teach evolutionary theory. It’s a 400-level class! I hope they address it at some length in Bio 101 or some other general class (preferably in high school!) that all students need to take, not just these classes for bio majors…”

No! Evolution is taught at every level of the Biology curriculum at BYU. A member of the BYU faculty is on the NCSE Board. Among the strongest biology research groups in the integrative biology and systematics department. The fact that they offer a very intense 400 level course in evolution is pretty typical of most curricula. that said, the biology departments do have to spend some amount of time unteaching what is often presented in the required religion departments.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on July 17, 2005 10:01 AM.

PT Media Advisory Panel was the previous entry in this blog.

Creation Mega Conference 2005! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter