Buttars Rebuffed by Utah Board

Chris Buttars, the eternally clueless Utah state Senator, certainly didn’t get the answers he wanted from the Utah state school board. Buttars has been threatening to submit a bill to mandate the teaching of “divine design” - a slightly more honest version of intelligent design - if the school board doesn’t issue a position statement officially denouncing human evolution. Instead, the board has gone the other direction:

The state school board’s proposed position statement on teaching evolution doesn’t give an inch for a state senator’s “intelligent design” concepts.

That bothers Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan. He wants the board to insert language saying humans didn’t evolve from any other species…

Its contents were revealed in a school board agenda the Deseret Morning News received this Friday.

“As a fundamental scientific concept, evolution is a necessary part of science classroom instruction, and it will continue to be taught and progressively refined as a key scientific principle,” the 1 1/2-page document states.

“Teachers should respect and be nonjudgmental about (student) beliefs, and teachers should help students understand that science is an essential way of knowing. Teachers should encourage students to discuss any seeming conflicts with their parents or religious leaders.”

The document also defines the weight of theory in scientific context, cites evidence that the universe and life have changed over time, and notes other ways people glean understanding, such as historical analysis, art, religion and philosophy, which rely upon “other ways of knowing, such as emotion and faith.

“While these ways of understanding and creating meaning are important to individuals and society, they are not amenable to scientific investigation and thus not appropriate for inclusion in the science curriculum,” the document states.

That’s a tremendously strong statement, far stronger than perhaps one would expect from a school board in such a highly conservative state. One has to admire the school board’s courage in the face of what is surely enormous public disapproval. And naturally, Buttars doesn’t like it one bit:

Buttars believes the document should include new language: “There is not generally accepted agreement in the scientific community or (evidence) that has stood up to scientific scrutiny regarding the evolution of man from any other species.”

“That’s all they have to do to make this an acceptable article,” Buttars said. “I doubt they’ll do it.”

One would hope not, because that statement would simply be lying to students. He doesn’t think there is generally accepted agreement on human evolution? I would challenge him to name even 5 anthropologists - you know, the people who actually study this subject - who reject human evolution. I can name exactly one in the entire world. If that isn’t generally accepted agreement, what on earth would be? Let’s leave the science to scientists and not to halfwit state senators.

Hat tip to Bob Becker for emailing this to me.