Evolving debate

If enacted, it would require the state Board of Education to assist teachers and administrators in promoting “critical thinking, logical analysis, open and objective discussion of scientific theories including, but not limited to, evolution, the origin of life, global warming, and human cloning.” It also allows the use of supplemental textbooks and instruction materials “to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.”

Opposition drawn
SB 1742 has attracted the sort of reaction common to similar bills.

Victor Hutchison, president of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, said such legislation has been presented 40 times in a dozen states.

“The only one to pass was in Louisiana and it’s caused huge problems,” said Hutchison, who is professor emeritus in zoology at the University of Oklahoma. “These stem from the Discovery Institute, a so-called think tank that is anti-evolution and that gets lots of attention. This is anything but freedom.”

right Josh Brecheen

John Loghry, Oklahoma City chapter president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said his organization is at the ready to fight such proposals.

“Seems like it comes up a little watered-down this time,” Loghry said. “They seem to be learning from mistakes. They said it’s not about intelligent design, but it is. Introducing this really puts us on a slippery slope.”

‘Teaching truth’
Brecheen declined repeated requests for comment, but last year he outlined in the Durant Daily Democrat his concerns with teaching evolution.

“As a high school and
university student forced to learn about evolution, I was never told
there were credible scientists who harbor significant skepticism toward
Darwinian Theory,” wrote the Coalgate Republican.

teaching evolution as undisputed fact are not teaching truth. Renowned
scientists now asserting that evolution is laden with errors are being
ignored. That’s where we should have problems with state dollars only
depicting one side of a multifaceted issue.

your tax dollars to teach the unknown, without disclosing the entire
scientific findings, is incomplete and unacceptable. For years liberals
have decried how they want to give students both sides of an argument so
they can decide for themselves, however when it comes to evolution vs.
creation in the classroom, the rules somehow change.”

Loghry said measures such as SB 1742 are not new, nor is their opposition.

is not science and does not need to be history,” he said. “A great
amount of people know the Genesis story. They also know it’s not
historically correct. And there are other creation myths that are
outside of intelligent design. School should be securely sacred from

said the bill — with similar legislation introduced in Missouri, Indiana
and New Hampshire — contains a number of well-known buzz words.

should not include the supernatural,” he said. “I’m not anti-religion.
If this passes, it will be challenged and will go to federal court.
Anytime that’s happened, it’s been overturned.”

Hutchison cited a 2005 ruling in Dover, Pa., as an example.

“The courts ruled that intelligent design was religion, not science.”

Jerry Shottenkirk

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