Teaching of evolution, creation science & intelligent design
A sampling of news during 2009
Developments during 2009:
||2009-JAN-13: MS: A bill to require disclaimer in text books: Rep. Gary Chism (R) in the Mississippi House of Representatives would require a deceptive disclaimer to be placed inside the front cover of every public school textbook that discusses evolution. It would say:|
"The word “theory” has many meanings, including: systematically organized knowledge; abstract reasoning; a speculative idea or plan; or a systematic statement of principles. Scientific theories are based on both observations of the natural world and assumptions about the natural world. They are always subject to change in view of new and confirmed observations."
"This textbook discusses evolution, a controversial theory some scientists present as a scientific explanation for the origin of living things. No one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life’s origins should be considered a theory."
"Evolution refers to the unproven belief that random, undirected forces produced living things. There are many topics with unanswered questions about the origin of life which are not mentioned in your textbook, including: the sudden appearance of the major groups of animals in the fossil record (known as the Cambrian Explosion); the lack of new major groups of other living things appearing in the fossil record; the lack of transitional forms of major groups of plants and animals in the fossil record; and the complete and complex set of instructions for building a living body possessed by all living things."
"Study hard and keep an open mind."
|2009-FEB-19: MO Another attempt to pass an "academic freedom" bill:
House Bill #656 1
has been introduced to the Misourri General Assembly. Like a similar bill in
2008, it encourages teachers to teah skepticism
of evolution. However, this bill has a section attached that claims that it
"... promote philosophical naturalism or biblical theology, promote
natural cause or intelligent cause, promote undirected change or purposeful
design, promote atheistic or theistic belief, promote discrimination for or
against a particular set of religious beliefs or ideas, or promote
discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion."
|2009-MAY-29: TX: Chairperson of the State
Board of Education not reappointed: Don McLeroy, a dentist and a young
earth creationist, has been rejected for reappointment as head of the State
Board of Education. The senate vote was strictly on a party basis with all 19
Republicans voting for and all 11 Democrats voting against reappointment.|
McLeroy had tried to weaken the discussion of evolution in the state's
schools. Most recently, he promoted an amendment that would require students
to: "describe the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to
explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the
fossil record." He will remain a board member. Governor Rick Perry will now
nominate a new chairperson. 3
|2009-NOV: USA: Living Waters Ministry
to donate special version of "Origin of Species" to students: Living Waters will give 170,000 copies of
Charles Darwin's book "Origin of Species" to students at 100 universities
during November. It will contain a 50 page introduction that attempts to
discredit the theory of evolution and the concept of the survival of the
fittest. Living Waters' president, Ray Comfort, said:|
"People are afraid, especially atheistic evolutionists, that their agenda
is going to be exposed. Atheism is not intellectual. It's absolute
foolishness to believe that nothing created everything."
Comfort appears to misunderstand the theory of evolution. It starts with a
single living cell and attempts to explain how all of the species evolved from
that cell. It has nothing to say whether God exists or whether God created the
first cell, the Earth, the solar system or the universe. Evolution is quite
compatible with either Theism or Atheism. 4
|2009-NOV-10: Vatican: Conference on
extra-terrestrial life concludes: A five-day astrobiology conference was
held at the Vatican. Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, an astronomer and director of
the Vatican Observatory, said: "The questions of life's origins and of whether life exists
elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious
Chris Impey, an astronomy professor at the University of Arizona, said:
"Both science and religion posit life as a special outcome of a vast and
mostly inhospitable universe. There is a
rich middle ground for dialogue between the practitioners of astrobiology and
those who seek to understand the meaning of our existence in a
biological universe. ... If biology is not unique to the Earth, or life
elsewhere differs bio-chemically from our version, or we ever make contact
with an intelligent species in the vastness of space, the implications for our
self-image will be profound."|
The Catholic Church has come a long way in the past four centuries.
In 1600, Giordano Bruno was convicted of heresy and burned alive for
speculating that other worlds could be inhabited and for holding other radical
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "An act ... relating to teacher academic freedom to teach scientific evidence regarding evolution,"
Missouri Legislature, 2009, at:
- "Misouri's 'Acadmeic Freedom Act'," Science & Religion Today, 2009-FEB-18, at:
- "Bye Bye, Don McLeroy," Science & Religion Today mailing, 2009-MAY-29.
- "Origin of Species Gets a Facelift for 150th Anniversary," CitizenLink,
Focus on the Family Action, 2009-OCT-27, at:
- Ariel David, "Vatican looks to heavens for signs of alien life," The Oakland
Tribune, 2009-NOV-10. at:
- "Mississippi's 'Textbook Disclaimer' Act," Science and Religion today, 2009-JAN-13, at: http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/
Copyright © 2009 & 2010 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2009-FEB-20
Latest update: 2010-FEB-09
Author: B.A. Robinson