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Creationism Rears Its Ugly Head in Pennsylvania

PA State Rep. Dennis Leh (R) contradicts Charles Darwin by proving not all living organisms evolve to a higher form.

House Blenders: “Radical” Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

It’s 1925 all over again! The radical Christian Right and their wingnut enablers continue to push their pet cause of public school religious indoctrination dressed up in lab coat. It’s called Intelligent Design, and it’s their latest attempt put lipstick on the pig called Creationism.

First it was the State Board of Education in Kansas holding hearings on whether Intelligent Design deserved to be taught in high school science classrooms alongside evolution as a legitimate alternative scientific theory to the origins of life. Now Pennsylvania State Rep. Dennis Leh is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow local school boards in Pennsylvania to mandate teaching of Intelligent Design alongside evolution.

(AgapePress) Proponents of intelligent design, or ID, study objects in nature and consider empirical evidence in an attempt to isolate what they consider to be signs of intelligence — physical properties that necessitate design. The concept of ID holds that the complexity of the universe is such that it must have been created by an intelligent guiding force.

One of the sponsors of the intelligent design bill, Representative Dennis Leh, feels school children need to be taught an alternative to evolution to ensure they are receiving a balanced science education. School children “need to realize that evolution is only a theory. It’s not backed by sound science,” he says, “and there are many, many scientists — [including] bio-scientists and physicists – who do not believe in evolution.”

Critics of the legislation claim ID theory is a secular form of Bible-based creationism. Leh admits that he would prefer to see children taught that the universe and everything in it were created and did not evolve out of primordial slime.

“Personally, I am a creationist,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker says. “I don’t hide that, and I certainly don’t apologize for it. I think it takes far more faith to believe in evolution — that things just appeared out of nothing — than [to believe] they were created by an intelligent Creator, in the Christian sense.”

But although he is personally convinced that all life and nature were created by “the one true God” and that evolution is a false theory, Leh says he and other supporters of the intelligent design bill “believe that these two teachings should be taught at least side by side.”

OK, Rep. Leh, I’ll type this slowly so you can understand. Science is the search for natural explanations for physical phenomena. Science doesn’t claim to have the final answer on everything. When confronted with a mystery, science studies the data, forms hypotheses, tests hypotheses through replicable experimentation, and then defines theories that conform to the results. If new data come on, theories are revised.

When confronted with a mystery, science does not throw up its hands and say “God did it!” Science is concerned with the “how” of nature, not the “why”. Discussion of divine origins of the universe are perfectly acceptable in a philosophy or theology class. Science doesn’t try to explain why there is evil in the world or how to be a moral person; Theology shouldn’t try to explain how planets form, life appears, and veterbrates evolve.

Oh, and Rep. Leh? Evolution is a scientifically-accepted fact. Modern biology, botany, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, paleontology, zoology, archaeology, and every other “-ology” you can think of that doesn’t start with “the-” support and prove the tenets of evolution. There’s a name for these bio-scientists and physicists who do not believe in evolution; they’re called “quacks”.

Plus, you are misunderstanding the word “theory”. You think it means “guess”. But it really just means “an explanation that fits the evidence”. Gravitation is “just a theory”, too. No one has been able to prove how gravitation operates, but nobody denies that gravitation is a fact.

Now, lest anyone think my atheism is clouding my judgment here, understand that there are plenty of scientists who are very devout religious people who have no problem reconciling evolution with their belief in a Creator. “God is infinite,” one of my Christian friends once told me, “so why can’t the Big Bang and plate tectonics and natural selection be the mechanisms by which He creates?”

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