From the December 1998 Idaho Observer:

Idaho to debate creation, evolution

Legislature to rewrite history and Inherit the Wind?

The irony here is more than we can bear. The very same body of people who we send to Boise so that we can have higher taxes, more laws and more government and who write very few laws themselves but only "sponsor" laws drafted by the lawyers of special interest lobbies--the very same people who undoubtedly support the constitutional amendment that will allow the state to play Wall Street roulette with the Education Trust Fund and the Education Trust Lands (see page 18) will get to decide whether or not the theory of evolution will be allowed to be taught in public schools as fact. Experience has taught me that what takes place in the legislative process is so vile and so corrupt as to be bordering on evil. Therefore, it is ironic that legislators have been charged with determining whether or not the theory of evolution truthfully explains the mystery of our creation. Somehow I have serious doubts that the Idaho legislature has been etherially mandated to provide society with a wise theological (or educational) direction regarding this matter. Unfortunately, my instincts tell me that the opposite is more likely to be true. ~DWH

TRUTH: The Missing Link in the Exiting Standards

by Kathy Thomsen

Since the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925, the debate over origins has raged. In 1999 it will be considered again--this time in the Idaho State Legislature. Key questions to be contemplated by our representatives include:

* Should the Theory of Evolution be taught as fact?

* Should the Theory of Intelligent Design (Creation Science) be excluded from the theories of origin presented?

* Should the majority of public sentiment which favors a balanced approach to origins be ignored?

What the law allows

The Supreme Court case, Edwards v. Aquillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987) struck down a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught along-side evolution in any public school presentation of origins. However, the case also affirmed creation science may be taught in the public schools (but it could not be mandated by state law) if the purpose of instruction is to set forth a scientific theory in the context of an academic study (as opposed to a devotional or religious setting). The Court specifically indicated that it is desirable for school officials to "encourage the teaching of all scientific theories about the origins of humankind."

The Court has also ruled it is within a legislature's (or school board's) legal discretion to supplement its science curriculum with academic explanations of the evidence showing the weaknesses in the evolutionary model.

What about the separation of church and state?

According to Idaho Code, "No religious or sectarian tenet may be taught."

The question arises over the interpretation of "religious." Both creation and evolution are inherently religious in nature, however, both can be mentioned with the emphasis on scientific investigation of evidence. In the case of Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297, 319 (1980), the Supreme Court ruled when instruction presents scientific evidence of a rational alternative to the evolution model and is not designed to promote religion, there is absolutely no legal bar to the adoption and promotion of such instruction.

Note: Intelligent Design/Creation is the doctrine of origins for Christianity; Evolution is the doctrine of origins for Secular Humanism (which has been declared a religion by the U.S. Supreme Court).

Were you there?

No one was present when the universe was formed, therefore science cannot "prove" the question of origins. It can only seek to evaluate the evidence which remains. Students should have the benefit of an atmosphere of open inquiry when it comes to origins. They should be equipped to distinguish fact, theory and hypothesis and critically examine the evidence surrounding the questions of origins.

A good place to start would be the evaluation of assumptions and dogma found in their own academically- defective textbooks which often cite "evidences" for evolution that were totally debunked years ago!

Dr. Bob Compton leads the charge for evolution-only standards

Shortly before the October hearings, Boise veterinarian Dr. Bob Compton, DVM, PhD., assembled a committee of concerned scientists and individuals qualified to thoroughly critique the Science Exiting Standards.

The 25-page, technically-explicit document supports a balanced presentation of origins in the Exiting Standards. The packet, which is available from The OBE Predictor Committee (see contact information below), addressed such pertinant issues as macro v. micro evolution, fossil records and dating methods, mutation, natural selection, adaptation, entropy etc. Also included were suggested improvements to the Science Standards--among them were the following outcomes currently missing from the Albertsons Foundation Exiting Standards:

"Students will understand that everyone views evidence in light of the worldview they hold and comprehend that allowing only one worldview retards science and leads to dogmatism.

"Students will understand the process utilized by the scientific method including observation, hypothesis formation, testing (models) and data collection - and know the limitations of the scientific method.

"Students will understand the evidence for and against the theory of evolution and understand competing models as they relate to the origin of the universe and of biological life."

Evolutionaries respond predictably with personal insults

Charles Riech, PhD, of Boise and others sent the State Board a critique of their own. However, the subject of their remarks was not the defense of the Theory of Evolution. Rather, they chose to attack the unqualified people who support the oxymoran of "creation science."

So much for tolerance.

Post Falls resident Kevin Krieg experienced similar treatment during the October 22 hearings in Coeur d'Alene when his pro-balance views were met with contempt by Science Commissioners Tom Bitterwolf and Bill Griffith. In a letter to the State Board, Mr. Krieg wrote, "...Mr. Bitterwolf's immediate words and actions were not only insulting, but as a member of a commission that is supposed to servce the public, they were inexcusable.

"I was told by Mr. Bitterwolf that I was denying my children a proper education and doing them a great disservice by adhering to my moral and religious beliefs... Mr. Bitterwolf refused to listen further, stating that he was a volunteer and was not paid for his services and therefore did not have to listen to the public.

Mr. Griffith was disturbingly intolerant of ideas, comments and worldviews of members of the public which he is supposed to represent."

Mr. Krieg requested that the State Board ask Mr. Bitterwolf and Mr. Grifith to resign and, if they fail to do so, dismiss them.

The integrity of the Exiting Standards Commission is compromised. Any process which blatantly disregards a large segment of the very public sentiment it supposedly seeks is fatally flawed. Further match funding for the Exiting Standards commission as well as the development of State Assessments should be denied.

Editor's note: What has been taking place throughout this entire exit standards adoption ordeal is what can be best described as bureaucratic supporters of an unpopular agenda wasting tax dollars to present the facade of representative government at public expense.

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