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Friday, January 20, 2006

Evolution of a Bill

Senator Buttars’ Evolution Bill (SB 96) just passed the Second Reading Calendar in the Senate, (it will need to pass the Third Reading Calendar before being sent to the House).

Join the discussion by leaving comments here or here.


Blogger didymus said...

I noticed the mutation that Sen. McCoy tried to spin on the thing, but I guess it got naturally selected right on out of there.

1/20/2006 12:43 PM  
Blogger didymus said...

No, I'm wrong. Thanks to another update I see now a few mutations survived.


1/20/2006 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone had success accessing the audio of committee hearings online?

I've clicked on links to the audio of committee hearings on both my home and office computers and get the following message in the frame:

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1/20/2006 1:48 PM  
Blogger Evolution Ogre said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/20/2006 2:24 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I am enraged by the title of your post "Evolution of a Bill".

This title implies that bills go through some sort of evolutary process.

I reject outright the notion that laws evolve. I believe that the legal system is the manifestation of a higher conciousness. The appearance of laws changing through time is not one where "laws evolve". History is a perordained instance of the world spirit as it passes through a thesis antithesis conflicts that pit us against them.

Yes, if you read the words of the law. It has the artificial appearance of elected officials debating the issue and changing words in a rather random fashion.

If you read between the words of the law, and let your mind come in tune with the universal oneness, you will see that the law is a manifestation of an intelligent design.

In conclusion: Man did not evolve. Neither has the Utah ID law evolved. I am livid with your secular humanist liberal implication that such evolution occurs!

Just like the Constitution of the United States, the Utah Intelligent Design Law was revealed as part of a grand intelligent design.

We cannot see the purpose of this intelligent design by looking at the words of the bill, we can only see it by looking _between_ the words when our hearts are filled with the universal oneness.

BTW: Whether or not this bill passes or doesn't pass is part of a grand plan designed by the Heavenly Father that will separate the saved from the curse.

1/20/2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous The Senate Site said...

Dear “Evolution Ogre”,

You can discuss policy on this site. You can’t make personal attacks.

If you want to re-word your latest posting we would welcome your insight.

1/20/2006 9:33 PM  
Anonymous The Senate Site said...

Just a word about Senator Buttars, for those of you who have not met him.

No matter where people stand on the merits of this particular bill, those who have frequent interaction with Chris Buttars know he is a hard-working, straight shooting, genuine individual who sincerely tries to do what he believes is right.

Would that we all conducted our lives that way.

1/20/2006 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sen. McCoy’s amendment tried to address the hypocrisy of the issue. Is Sen. Buttars’s bill oriented only towards the Evolution theory or all scientific theory? Based on the debates held Friday, it’s about the Evolution theory, or the “Darwinian” theory. Sen. Buttars opposed Sen. McCoy’s amendment, which pictured his bill in the frame that most of the people know is : Intelligent Design or Creationism.
The evolution theory doesn’t explain how we, people, came around and about. It is the EVOLUTION theory.
Evolution, not Revolution.

1/20/2006 10:53 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I have no doubt that Chris Buttars is a very hard working decent person who correctly realizes that there is something dreadfully wrong with education. Unfortunatley, the ID debate really isn't hitting at the right target.

The "science of evolution" really isn't the right target. It is all of the non-science that gets attached to the theory is the real danger. For example, a lot of what is said in "evolutionary psychology" should be either labeled as philosophy or as a belief system. Yet the teachers evolutionary psychology routinely use claims of science to justify their belief system.

This idea is not new. Hegel claimed his philosophy of history as a science. Marx and Freud also used "science" buzz word to seek legitimacy.

The problem isn't with evolution, but with a need to have a better understanding of what science is and what science is not.

Unfortunately, you cannot legislate better scientific reasoning. You can not legislate good scientific reasoning, because the act of politicizing scientific reasoning corrupts that reasoning.

There is actually one other side debate. This debate is whether or not we want to have good systems of reasoning at the foundation of our society. I fear at times that there is a large number of people (both conservative and liberal, religious and nonreligious) who do not want a society based on reason. Such people either build fantasies in lieue of the search for truth, or claim a nihilism where there is no truth .... there is simply propagandists who control the masses with myth, manipulation and war.

At heart, I think ID falls into this latter category. To me, seeing political leaders pushing such ideas is heartbreaking, espectially since I do know that the people who are pushing the idea are good people who don't quite fully understand the gist of the matter.

1/21/2006 3:00 PM  
Blogger Evolution Ogre said...

First off, I apologize for being too critical of Chris Buttars in my previous post. I do not know him personally and personal attacks are not conducive to establishing good policy. I also feel that it is a priveledge to be able to participate in this forum and I want to respect that. I do not want people to think that my previous post was nothing but bile and venom directed at Sen. Buttars, so I will try to rephrase my comments more thoughtfully.

In terms of the scientific merits of this bill, the implication of the bill is that there is a great controversy within the scientific community about the status of evolution. This is misleading and is not a solid foundation for any policy. I strongly encourage the members of the legislature to read the scientific endorsments of evolutionary biology which have been released by the American Academy of Sceinces among others. A cursory serach of scientific publications would indicate that the implication of this bill is simply false. In fact, if over 99% of biologists feel confident that the theory of evolution is well supported by evidence and provides and adequate context for understanding the origins of humankind, perhaps a more productive area for legislation would be addressing when to change policies based on a lack of consensus. It seems to me that there are many areas in our school curricula with far less consensus than evolution which would deserve a higher priority for attention, if lack of universal consensus merits a bill to effect policy change.

I also feel that this bill has been tainted by religiously motivated comments made by Sen. Buttars as he considered various wordings that would still address the issues he felt were important to his constituents. However, as the ruling by Judge Jones in the Kitzmiller et al. trial in Dover, Pa. last month indicated, it is exactly the religious motivations for a bill that can be traced to many public comments by Sen. Buttars which could show that this bill did not have a secular purpose in its origins and would therefore fail at least one prong of the lemon test. I do not say this as a personal attack against Sen. Buttars. But just as the earliest drafts of the book Of Pandas and People were used to show that its authors substituted "Intelligent Design" for "Creationism" in the textbook following the Supreme Court Decision in the Aguilard case, this bill has journeyed from "Divine Design" and clear influences by the Discovery Institute and the Creation Research Council preceding the Kitzmiller decision on Intelligent Design. Sen. Buttars admitted that he thought there was legal wiggle room since no federal judge had yet ruled on Intelligent "Divine" Design when he was crafting early versions. This bill became a bill on origins of life immediately after the anticipated federal decision was announced. Teh drafts of the bill along with the relevant legal timeline will make damning testimony at trial. Again, this is not a personal attack, however, the Sentor's personal conduct and statements do form part of the evidence that will be used to show that this particular bill is unconstitutional during the inevitable suit that would occur. Please obtain footage of Rod Decker's show with Sen. Buttars to verify what I am saying. This is not motivated by personal animosity, but the facts of what I am saying are on tape and will be used as evidence at trial.

In summation, my first point is that the scientific implication of this bill that one theory should not be endorsed is false and the scientific community does endorse one theory. Perhaps not universally. But the numbers work against the bill rather than for it. Do we really want to count the number of respected biologists who have published experimental data challenging the theory of evolution. There are only a handful of authors publishing any of this material and most of what they have written is conjecture and speculation about what there theory would be like if there were evidence to support it. I do not use the phrase handful figuratively. On the Discovery Institute's site - and keep in mind that no other organization in the country has as much riding on publicising evidence for their alternative theory- they list 4 article by 4 authors with two of those papers written by the same primary author. None of these papers provides evidentiary support from experimental data. Do we really want to change our policies for endorsing scientific ideas based on 4 authors affiliated with the same organization, none of whom has any data to support their ideas? There are far more people who have published evidence that the Holocaust has never occurred.

My second point is that the purported secular objective of this bill is flimsy and should be applied to the entire curricula if at all. The idea that students need to be exposed to incorrect or poorly supported ideas and that teachers can not endorse ideas that do not enjoy unanimous support from respected authorities is confusing and counterproductive. However, even if we did choose to apply such a nonsensical standard to our educational policy, the theory fo evolution as it pertains to human origins would be among the last topics to require the policy to be applied since it is so close to universally endorsed.

My final point is that the history of this particular bill is tainted by a well documented trail of statements and evidence of influence that undermine any claim to secularity. There is no chance that this bill would withstand inquiry as it is a violation of the separation clause in that it has a clear religious motivation and no solid secular purpose.

Judge Jones chastised the schoolboard for the "brathtaking inanity" of wasting time and resources with such a flawed policy. The voters noticed also. I hope our legislation will take thes matters to heart.

1/21/2006 11:47 PM  
Blogger Nephi said...

Evolution Ogre states the issue well: this is a battle of word-spin like no other. At its core, however, the battle is about religion, and Chris Buttars' and his supporters' suggestion to the contrary insults all Utahns and, most remarkably, even those who support the bill! Please, legislators, if you want to pass the bill, then pass the bill; but don't treat the public like a bunch of idiots in the process by arguing or otherwise suggesting that this bill is not about religion. You owe us more and we deserve better!

1/22/2006 1:13 AM  
Anonymous The Senate Site said...

Thanks for the re-state, EO. Good perspective.

1/23/2006 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephi, have you even read the bill? There's nothing about religion in it. Wake up!!!

1/23/2006 4:18 PM  
Blogger Nephi said...

That's right, Anonymous (1/23/06 @ 4:18pm), there is nothing in the bill the expressly references religion. But that is not the point. What is the point is that religion is the motivation behind the bill and, but for disagreements among religious viewpoints, there would be no need for this bill. I won't expend any effort trying to convince you of what I and most other Utahns find patently obvious. On the other hand, I will suggest that you consider the definition of the word "pretext" before furthering your argument that because the bill fails to use the word religion or words of similar import, then the bill must not be about religion.

your insight is I really don't know where to begin, or even whether to waste my time trying to convince you that Buttars' bill is not only about religion, but saturated with religion.

1/23/2006 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephi raises a good point. It is wholly pathetic that folks believe, or otherwise assert, that Senator Buttars' bill is not about religion. Do these same folks still believe that Saddam had WMD circa 2003? If so, I have bridge in NYC for sale ...

1/23/2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger Nephi said...

Indeed, were we to follw the logic of Anonymous (1/23/06 @ 4:18pm), then, for example, all questions concerning the legality of Bush wiretaps would be moot. The Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed shortly after 9/11 and relied upon by Bush for authority to wiretap U.S. citizens, says nothing about wiretaps or the suspension of FISA. Thus, as Anonymous would seemingly conclude, Bush is guilty of no fewer than 30 felonies for violating FISA. Sorry, Anonymous, but you can't have it both ways! Pinch yourself; you are in a deep sleep and it's time to get up for work!

1/23/2006 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Nathan Daniels said...

I find it interresting that in none of this discussion does anyone approach the ethical problems with this bill. If your child tells you he was at a friends house watching TV and that the parents were there - without telling you he was watching the playboy channel while the parents were outside doing yardwork - he has just told what is called a lie of omission.

Sen Buttars bill specifically leaves out any references to religion, ID, creationism, or any other words or phrases that would blatently spark debates on the 1st ammendment Establishment clause. However, the only other competing theories on the origin of life all involve a basis in established religious belief, or at least the existance of some supernatural "Intelligent Designer" who just made things happen. Just because the bill doesn't specifically mention them does not mean that the bill is specifically NOT about them.

As an elected leader of our state, sworn into office under the following oath:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity."

Sen Buttars grossly fails as a moral leader by resorting to a lie of omission to push his personal beliefs on all the citizens of this state regardless of whether they share them or not. Not to mention his lack of fidelity to the constitution of the United States by trying to slip religious agendas into our state run classrooms under the guise of science.

It's not whether you believe in Evolution, ID, or any other answer to how we came to be. It's a simple matter of upholding the values that our country was founded upon. If you want to teach competing "theories", scientific or otherwise, then stand on a street corner and share them with everyone. Our constitution protects your right to do that. If you want your child to be able to attend a state run public school without your tax dollars supporting religious beliefs you don't share, then the Constitution protects that to. Don't violate that. And certainly don't sacrifice your integrity by resorting to lies of omission to do so.

1/24/2006 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Nathan, if you look at Nephi's post of 1/22, you will find a summary of your argument above. I agree with both of you. Indeed, how can Buttars and his supporters argue that the bill is not about religion without coming across as pathetic liars, albeit through omission? In the process of making their false argument - i.e., that the bill is not about religion - they disrespect both their cause and the electorate, including those generally in support of the bill, and who also recognize that the bill is all about religion.

Graduate Farmdog

1/24/2006 8:31 PM  
Blogger Nephi said...

I am continually disappointed (and, perhaps, pleased) that supporters of the Buttars-bill are always the ones who appear to give up first on the blogosphere when challenged to support the bill with substance other than faith - e.g., blind allegiance to Chris Buttars and what he stands for without ever having met or studied the person.

For example, when challenged to find and reveal support for the ID "theory" so embraced by Buttars, the supporters fade away.

When challeneged to refute the opposition's response that the Buttars-bill is, indeed, all about religion - support for which is well documented by prior statements made by Chris himself - the supporters again fade away.

If the Buttars-bill were such a good idea, then why do the supporters so quickly fade away when challenged to produce something more substantive than: (i)mere faith or (ii) non-tangible hypotheses that merely conclude that which is set out to be proved (or theorized)?

Just a thought!

1/25/2006 10:44 PM  

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