Two readers from Tennessee emailed me this story about a state senator there launching a rather odd crusade to get creationism into public schools.
Sen. Raymond Finney proposes to use the legislative process to get an answer to the question of whether the universe was created by a “Supreme Being.”
Under Senate Resolution 17, introduced by the Maryville Republican, the answer would come from state Education Commissioner Lana Seivers “in report form” no later than Jan. 15, 2008.
Finney, a retired physician, said Monday that his objective is to formally prod the Department of Education into a dialogue about the teaching of evolution in school science classes without also teaching the alternative of “creationism,” or “intelligent design.”
A very strange way of trying to start such a discussion. Like most creationists, he uses the label “evolution” for virtually all of modern science and thinks that it has something to do with the origin of the universe. The education commissioner’s answer seems rather easy to me: “I don’t know, nor does it matter for the purposes of public school science classrooms.” Public school science classrooms do not speculate on such questions either way, nor should they.
It’s not surprising that Finney is confused about these issues given the ignorance he expresses on the subject of evolution:
Finney said there is no doubt in his own mind that everything in the universe, including human beings, was created by a Supreme Being.
“There has never been any proof offered that Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct,” he said.
Yet another medical doctor who knows little about science and less about evolution. And he apparently delights in playing idiotic legislative games:
As the resolution is written, if Seivers does answer no to the first question – stating that the universe was not created by a Supreme Being – she would be offered “the General Assembly’s admiration for being able to decide conclusively a question that has long perplexed and occupied the attention of scientists, philosophers, theologians, educators and others.”
But if she answers yes, or states that the answer to the creation of the universe is uncertain, then there is a follow-up question that must also be answered: Why is creationism not being taught in Tennessee schools?
Well the answer to that is obvious: because it’s unconstitutional. And it doesn’t matter whether Finney thinks it’s true or not. It is nice, however, to see yet another legislator who uses “creationism” and “intelligent design” interchangeably.