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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Evolution lacks fossil link

By Senator D. Chris Buttars
District 10

The campaign to eliminate God from the public forum has been going on for decades, having accelerated greatly since the Supreme Court's ill-advised decision in 1963 to eliminate prayer from public schools. And I believe those fighting against the teaching of intelligent design in schools have an ulterior motive to eliminate references to God from the entire public forum.

The argument over classroom discussion of evolution vs. divine design is just the latest attack on everything that would mention a belief in God. If you talk against Darwinian evolution in the classroom, you immediately incur the rage of those who don't want God discussed in any way, shape or form.

These vehement critics claim that there are mountains of scientific proof that man evolved from some lower species also related to apes. But in this tremendous effort to support Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, in all these "mountains of information," there has not been any scientific fossil evidence linking apes to man.

The trouble with the "missing link" is that it is still missing! In fact, the whole fossil chain that could link apes to man is also missing! The theory of evolution, which states that man evolved from some other species, has more holes in it than a crocheted bathtub.

I realize that is a dramatic statement, so to be clear, let me restate: There is zero scientific fossil evidence that demonstrates organic evolutionary linkage between primates and man.

Darwin's famous The Origin of Species concludes that over eons of time, and through countless mutations, man evolved from an ape-like ancestor. It takes an enormous leap of faith (oh my, there's one of those terrible religious words!) to conclude that man evolved from ape without any empirical fossil evidence.

Teaching evolution is really about the determined drive by activists to eliminate any reference to an intelligent power in the universe. That said, could it be that the reason they can't find the missing link is that human evolution didn't happen at all?

Utah State Sen. D. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, is active on the evolution-education issue.

[This Opinion piece was published in USA Today]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article in today's Deseret News (8-26-05) on the subject:

Huntsman opposes 'design' as science

By Lisa Riley Roche and Jennifer Toomer-Cook
Deseret Morning News

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. says so-called intelligent design should not be taught in science classes, but he stops short of saying he would veto a bill requiring such lessons in Utah public schools.

Jon Huntsman Jr. "I'd have to look at it," Huntsman told reporters Thursday after the taping of his monthly news conference on KUED Channel 7.
"Public schools are largely secular institutions," the governor said. "I would expect my kids in science class to be instructed in those things that are somewhat quantifiable and based on thorough and rigorous empirical research."
The times to talk about other concepts, he said, are largely outside the classroom. "At home — and in churches or synagogues — I would hope they could hear different ideas about creation," Huntsman said.
Asked if he was opposed to teaching intelligent design in schools, Huntsman said he was against it being taught in science classes. "If it comes up in sociology or philosophy as differing views on creation, I think that's appropriate," Huntsman said. "But that doesn't happen until college or maybe later in high school."
Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, has been looking into requiring intelligent design be taught in Utah public schools to counterbalance discussions about human evolution.
The State Office of Education opposes the idea.
Yet both sides believe the governor's statements support their widely different stands.
"I think that's a good, clear pathway," Buttars said. "I don't have a problem with that: Don't teach it in science classes. Teach it in humanities or philosophy. He's right."
But state curriculum director Brett Moulding believes the governor is saying such philosophy classes are better taught at the college level.
"That's consistent with what the State Office of Education has been saying about this issue," Moulding said. "When you start having discussions in a philosophy class, I think that belongs at the college level."
Intelligent design is based on the concept that life is too complex to be explained alone by Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection and evolution. Critics, however, call it a thinly veiled reference to God and divine creation and say it can't be taught in public schools under a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Buttars, however, says intelligent design says nothing about God.
Intelligent design has gained support in Kansas and in school districts in other states, including Pennsylvania and California, where lawsuits have been filed.
Buttars is investigating an intelligent-design requirement in Utah schools because he says parents have complained children are taught that they evolved from apes. Buttars, however, says evolution is a theory that shouldn't be taught in schools as fact.
Evolution of species is central to Utah's high school biology core curriculum. While the curriculum doesn't single out human evolution, and teachers' lessons may vary on the subject, Moulding has noted humans are classified within the animal kingdom.
Buttars says that if schools can teach that theory to students, then they should also teach intelligent design. He says intelligent design could be taught in philosophy or another required class outside of science.
He brought that idea to the State Office of Education in recent weeks.
The office, however, doesn't want to add intelligent design to its curricula, Moulding has said.
The Utah Board of Education will weigh next week a position statement on the matter, as requested six months ago by board chairman and National Association of State Boards of Education President Kim Burningham after watching the issue play out nationally.
The statement likely will support the current curriculum and include language on teacher sensitivity to student beliefs, Moulding has said.
Buttars plans to address the board on his stand. If he cannot reach a compromise, he says legislation will follow.



E-mail: lisa @desnews.com; jtcook@desnews.com

8/26/2005 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Resisting temptation: Board stands on firm scientific ground

Many is the parent who has been tempted - tempted, mind you - to just let the ceaselessly importuning child play with Dad's power saw for a while, just to have a moment's peace.
Of course, it would only be a moment's peace, followed by a lifetime of regret and recrimination.
Thus must members of the Utah State Board of Education have been tempted - just tempted - to allow state Sen. Chris Buttars and other proponents of the false science called intelligent design to squeeze into the state's approved curriculum some verbiage challenging the primacy of evolutionary theory in modern science.
Of course, there is nothing challenging the primacy of evolutionary theory in modern science. But that doesn't mean some people can't, and won't, keep begging.
The board wisely resisted any temptation to yield to an influential senator who clearly speaks for a vocal portion of the state's population. If Buttars follows through on his threat to take the matter before the Legislature, it will be up to lawmakers to show the same amount of self-control.
The board was not only correct, but also refreshingly quick and unanimous, in approving last Friday a new position statement affirming that evolution is, indeed, "a unifying concept in science" and "a necessary part of science classroom instruction."
The board understands, as do all scientists worthy of the name, that to fill in the many real scientific, emotional or moral gaps in the observable universe with hypotheses about unseen hands that have molded the world is, by definition, not science.
It is philosophy, religion or myth, all of which are just about as necessary to human survival as is science. But it is not science.
It is possible that, just as Einstein's physics replaced Newton's, and Copernicus' astronomy replaced Ptolemy's, that someone's biology will replace Darwin's. But it will not be Buttarsism that achieves that feat.
That will not happen because, while Einstein fully grasped Newton and Copernicus clearly knew his Ptolemy, Buttars doesn't get Darwin at all.
Buttars insists on deploring a belief that man evolved from apes, when Darwinism posits no such thing. He dismisses evolutionary theory as "a theory, not a fact," when scientifically literate people know that theories are models for describing facts, not mere shots in the dark.
Shots in the dark such as intelligent design.

9/09/2005 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Strict-Separationist said...

As an atheist, and a citizen of this state and country, it hurts me to see the separation of church-state undermined so often and secularists demonized. Wether it is George W. Bush saying, "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God." or Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blaming 9/11 on homosexuals, secularists, and the ACLU. I love my country, and I love religious liberty, but when I hear sentiments like these, I am ashamed.

I am convinced that when prayer is endorsed in schools, when religious ideas are promoted as science, and when people are asked to swear on a bible or to God in our courts, the message that is sent that our government favors believers over nonbelievers. Equality is not possible until we repair the wall of separation between church and state. We must do more than pay lip service to the establishment clause:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Some have suggested that our founding fathers were not strict-separationist, or that church-state separation was only designed to protect religion from government and not the other way around. This is quite untrue. Opinions on church-state separation varied, but many of the founding fathers, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams were strict-separationists. When Thomas Jefferson was asked to recommend a day of prayer and fasting, he replied:
"But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting and prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, which the Constitution has directly precluded them from. It must be meant, too, that this recommendation is to carry some authority, and to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard it; not indeed of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree of proscription, perhaps in public opinion. And does the change in the nature of the penalty make the recommendation less a law of conduct for those to whom it is directed? I do not believe it is in the best interests of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies, that the General Government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline."
Many of the founding fathers also held that lack of a boundary between religion and government is not only a threat to religion but to government as well.

Sen. Buttars told us that school prayer was banned in 1963 by the supreme court. What the court actually banned was the school teachers and administration from leading students in prayer. Students have the right to pray in school silently, or out loud, as long as it does not disrupt the classroom.

Sen. Buttars said that "There is zero scientific fossil evidence that demonstrates organic evolutionary linkage between primates and man." Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are a couple links that demonstrate, not just a few transitional forms, but many of them linking apes to Homosapiens:

Travis Gibby

11/12/2006 7:43 PM  

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