And our favorite state politican is back in the headlines today. Utah State Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan), who has spent the entire summer auditioning for the role of village idiot, is once again leading the charge to introduce ‘divine design’ into Utah biology classes:
If human evolution is taught in biology class, then the idea of an intelligent force creating the universe ought to be taught in philosophy or another required class, a Utah senator told state school officials Wednesday.
But State Office of Education leaders, who met with Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, on the matter, don’t want to add that instruction, curriculum director Brett Moulding said.
If the two sides can’t compromise, Buttars says he’ll carry a legislative bill to make sure that they do.
“Legislation is a last resort,” Buttars said. “I’m still working on it, but I’m really not highly hopeful we’ll come to a consensus.”
Considering his first resort was to publicly make an ass out of himself repeatedly, and then, just for good measure, go to the editorial page of USA Today and give the whole nation a dose of his foolishness, you can imagine how eager I am to see what the ‘last resort’ will look like.
Although I have to admit- watching Sen. Buttars and the Utah BOE argue over the educational merits of Nietzche v. C.S. Lewis might be entertaining enough to galvanize my support for any legislation he might propose.
*** Update ***
The cunning souls who propound intelligent design are playing with fire, because they have introduced intelligence into the discussion. It is a standard to which they, too, must be held. The theory of intelligent design must itself be intelligently designed. I cannot judge the soundness of their science, but that is not the only standpoint from which they must be judged. Their science, after all, is pledged to a philosophy. Philosophically speaking, I do not see that they have demonstrated what they congratulate themselves for demonstrating. The “argument from design,” the view that the evidence for the existence of God may be found in the organization of the natural world, is an ancient argument, but philosophers have grasped, at least since the sixth section of the third chapter of the second book of the Critique of Pure Reason, that it may establish only the wisdom of a creator, and not the existence of one. It is impossible, of course, not to marvel at the complexity and the beauty of the natural order; but marveling is not thinking. The mind may recoil from the possibility that all this sublimity came into being by accident, but it cannot, on those grounds alone, rule the possibility out, unless it is concerned only to cure its own pain. (Cosmic accident is also an occasion for awe.) Intelligent design is an expression of sentiment, not an exercise of reason. It is a psalm, not a proof…
I had thought, in my Judaic innocence, that Aquinas had gloriously secured natural causality for the Church once and for all. Now I must suppose that the Church’s unsophisticated new construction of God’s will is a manifestation of God’s wisdom. For His agents on Earth have cultural uses for anti-Darwinism. They think it will make us good, because Darwin makes us bad. No doubt this is why President Bush wants “to expose people to different schools of thought,” and have intelligent design taught alongside evolution: to retard our corruption. But isn’t the idea that morality is founded in nature itself a sin of materialism? And are we to teach other false ideas alongside other true ones? I do not want my son to waste his time on phlogiston. I mean, what is truth? The question is begged yet again, this time by the pomo of Crawford.