Legislature is demonstrating its own brand of unintelligent design
The Utah Legislature is in session, which means the state’s Republican-dominated Senate and House are once again preparing to challenge the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the legislators regularly try to rewrite the rules regarding free speech and the separation of church and state.
It is amusing, in a scary sort of way, how adamant the legislators are when it comes to preserving an individual’s right to bear arms yet, when it comes to other personal choices, they can be so dogmatic.
Case in point: this year, the Senate decided to dive headfirst into the murky legal waters surrounding "intelligent design," a relatively new political movement that advocates teaching divine intervention along with evolution in science classes.
The controversial concept came up on the East Coast about a year ago and has since pitted traditional foes — from the political left and right throughout the country — against each other. On Utah’s Capitol Hill this week, however, the left didn’t stand a chance. The state Senate resoundingly approved a bill calling for the introduction of alternative theories about creation in public schools.
The American Civil Liberties Union has vowed to fight the measure, claiming it violates laws regarding the separation of church and state.
Which means, if the House also approves Senate Bill 96, Utah taxpayers will likely be paying for a legal battle similar to previous losing cases in which crusading legislators tried to impose their moral-majority framework on a diverse constituency.
To her credit, we must mention that one of Summit County’s senators, Beverly Evans (R-Altamont) voted against SB 96. Evans stated that, in her view, that discussion belongs in the home. Hopefully, her colleagues in the House will see her point.
The Park Record does not believe students should be shielded from alternative points of view, on any subject, but calling for public school teachers to take time out of the school year to teach the Bible’s version of creation is inappropriate. The most generally accepted, and scientifically supported, theory about how life on Earth began is evolution and until scientists come up with a more logical explanation, we believe teachers should stick with Darwin.
However, teachers should, and probably already do, remind students that science still leaves many questions unanswered. Those questions are theirs to explore, scientifically or philosophically, but when it comes to teaching about divinity, those lessons should take place at Sunday school.
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A public hearing regarding Summit County’s $50 million open space bond is scheduled Wednesday in Coalville. Officials hope to hear from those who live on the East Side.