“Darwin made it up”: Kentucky lawmakers ignorant on evolution and case law

This story almost seems like a time warp. It’s nearly inconceivable that educated people could say that evolution does not stand up to scientific scrutiny and to blatantly suggest that Biblical Creationism be taught after the well established legal cases that it can’t. Or, this is pathetic political grandstanding.

GOP lawmakers question standards for teaching evolution in Kentucky | Politics and Government | Kentucky.com.

Several GOP lawmakers questioned new proposed student standards and tests that delve deeply into biological evolution during a Monday meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education.

In an exchange with officials from ACT, the company that prepares Kentucky’s new state testing program, those lawmakers discussed whether evolution was a fact and whether the biblical account of creationism also should be taught in Kentucky classrooms.

“I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution,” Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, said Tuesday in an interview.

Another committee member, Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville, said he had a problem with evolution being an important part of biology standards.

“The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up,” Waide said. “My objection is they should ensure whatever scientific material is being put forth as a standard should at least stand up to scientific method. Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny.”

Tip: Justin via our story submission page

Justin writes: “The quote above is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read in a while.” Agreed! It’s NOT up to lawmakers to decide what is scientific fact. They are seriously mistaken on their role of lawmakers if they believe they can dictate laws of how nature works. Evolution is how life on earth IS. There hasn’t been a real dispute about that for more than a century. Where have they been? Someone take them to the zoo or hand them an issue of Nature journal.

So far, the standards have not been changed to suit the nonsense ramblings of the legislators. Meanwhile, YOU can do something by supporting the NCSE.

COMMENTING ON SOMEONE ELSE'S SITE IS NOT A RIGHT, IT'S A PRIVILEGE. READ AND UNDERSTAND THE COMMENT POLICY BEFORE SUBMITTING. NONSENSE IS NOT PERMITTED.

  28 comments for ““Darwin made it up”: Kentucky lawmakers ignorant on evolution and case law

  1. August 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    What has the world come to when children need to learn the facts? After all, hardly any of the elitist children attend the fine schools of Kentucky!

  2. LobsterTrouble
    August 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    The anti evolution movement saddens me deeply. Everyone here understands that we have mountains of supporting data for evolution, yet ignorance is alive and well. American society is in trouble. Simply turn on your television and see what passes for educational programming.
    Where are we headed when evolution is a lie, ancient aliens guide human history, and Jersey Shore is successful? We are becoming a society of simpletons.

    • daran
      August 15, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      Naturatl selection is the way of the world, the weaker and slower animals get weeded out.
      But Darwins theory of evolution is just that, a theory.
      No transitional fossils have been found.
      At school we were told about the “simple cell”
      Turns out that there is no such thing, cells are incredibly complex
      Abiogenis is a ridiculous theory, life spontaneously formed from a primordial soup!
      There are no facts, only a weak theory.
      People just believe without checking the facts.
      Dont believe in God? So what, please come up witha better theory than the moronic darwin theory

      • August 15, 2012 at 5:25 PM

        You need to learn science, Dude. You are the one who is really out of touch.

        This is a science-based blog. Please read the comments before attempting to reply with stuff like this.

      • Chew
        August 15, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        Guess which definition scientists use when they say something is a “theory”?

        the·o·ry
        noun \ˈthē-ə-rē, ˈthi(-ə)r-ē\
        plural the·o·ries
        Definition of THEORY
        1: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art
        2: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain natural phenomena —see atomic theory, cell theory, germ theory
        3: a working hypothesis that is considered probable based on experimental evidence or factual or conceptual analysis and is accepted as a basis for experimentation

        Thousands of transitional fossils have been found.
        (A few) transitional fossils

        Yes, “simple cells” are incredibly complex. You can thank science for figuring that out. How complex is the biology taught in the Bible? It tells us that if you hold up a striped branch in front of sheep they will have offspring that are streaked, speckled or spotted. Do you still want to discuss ridiculous theories?

      • Geoff
        August 15, 2012 at 10:50 PM

        I thought you were being sarcastic. It turns out you are ignorant.

      • Mark
        August 16, 2012 at 8:36 PM

        Evolution is a theory, because there is overwhelming evidence from many different fields that support and explain it.

        Creationism is an hypothesis, because it is an idea that someone made up, for which there is no evidence.

      • August 22, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        >Naturatl selection is the way of the world, the weaker and slower animals get weeded out.
        I’m cool with this. This is a good explanation.
        >But Darwins theory of evolution is just that, a theory.
        Gravity is also a theory. Prove that theory wrong by walking off a cliff.
        >No transitional fossils have been found.
        We have found many transitional fossils. They’re called fossils. Every fossil is transitional.
        >At school we were told about the “simple cell”
        >Turns out that there is no such thing, cells are incredibly complex
        Cells aren’t a simple chemical machine, but they’re simple to other multi-celled organisms.
        >Abiogenis is a ridiculous theory, life spontaneously formed from a primordial soup!
        Abiogenesis is the theory of self replicating molecules arising from non-self replicating molecules. This has been done in a laboratory. Ridiculous or not, it happened.
        >There are no facts, only a weak theory.
        Ignorance of observable and testable evidence isn’t proof.
        >People just believe without checking the facts.
        Irony much?
        >Dont believe in God? So what, please come up witha better theory than the moronic darwin theory
        No body said anything about evolution proving or disproving anything about a personal god, and I agree with your “so what” point. Evolution (not Darwinism) is the name given to the collected and tested evidence of speciation on Earth. It’s not guessing or story telling. We leave that to others.

  3. August 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    It’s not ignorance, it’s denial. They deny evolution. You’re not going to convince them.

    And while you may think of it as political grandstanding, I believe that attitude is deeply incorrect. American politics at this point are very tribal, based on identity more than ideas. Not for everyone, but the most important political bloc in American culture is one that is largely defined through race, religion, and various ideas of class. Not on actual policies (they support various economic/social policies, but other than “lower taxes,” these are tied much more towards issues of identity than actual rational governance. And even the lower taxes policy for many of them is because they don’t like the non-tribal nature of a equality for all fair-play government, so they’d prefer to starve it until it dies). This bloc’s fixations are shared by about 25% of Americans, but they are the largest bloc and the most willing to remake society as they see fit.

    This is why I said on the other post that supposedly bridge-building “both sides are bad” false equivalence rings hollow.

    I would also note that Kentucky is the state that has promised tens of millions of dollars in subsidies to the Noah’s Ark park, if it is ever built (you’ve seen the recent flutter of news stories about its shaky funding situation).

    • Massachusetts
      August 15, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      What’s the other post? I’d like to read it. I don’t want to make a false equivalency.

      That law makers quote was very disturbing, about how there’s no evidence. So, do you think it’s a rhetorical device so he can support his block, or do you think he really believes there’s no scientific evidence and the theory isn’t born out by investigation? If I understand you correctly you feel it’s the former rather than the latter, most likely?

      • August 15, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        I am referring to this post. While many politicians in America’s two major parties may not “get” science, I think it is fair to say that one, and only one, of those parties has made anti-science an important part of its rhetoric, and for the base of that party, major issues are deeply anti-scientific. Global warming denialism and creationism have become standard beliefs of the Republican party base, and in the case of global warming, has been demonstrated to be strongly tied to partisan politics. While there are of course Democrats that hold antiscientific views, as this is a common thing in American society, I would like to know exactly which anti-science views and positions are important to the Democratic party and its supporters.

        As for the quote, no, I do believe he believes it. He simply redefines what is good and bad science. All of the actual, careful, self-doubting science in the world done by the horrible anti-Christian godless secular humanist elites can be negated by a few random voices who agree with his position.

        Frankly, I don’t think most supporters of science have any idea how bad the situation is, or how structured their opposition is. They simply write it off as “ignorance” or “cynical” because they can’t conceptualize it for themselves, and think “clearly no one in the 21st century can believe this.”

        That is a form of deep denial itself, and just as divorced from reality as Creationism. One can wish it to be true, but that will not make it so.

    • August 16, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Many kids and adults have never even been exposed to learning evolution and biology in the educational setting. So, part of it IS ignorance. Denialists wish to keep it out of the schools so the nonexposure will remain. That is at least some of the problem.

  4. August 15, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    I am teaching this fall out of the book Conjuring Science, by Christopher Toumey. Toumey did an earlier ethnography of Creationists, but this book is a broader look at ideas of science in America. I’d argue that it’s opening couple of chapters are a must read for anyone interested in the problems science has in America.

    Of course, the thing is, if you like science, reading those chapters will likely cause you to be angry and depressed, with no real plan for recourse, no matter how much we chant “education” or “outreach.”

  5. Peebs
    August 15, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Evolution just a weak theory?

    As opposed to a story in a Bronze Age book which also tells us the Sun orbits the Earth and every animal on the planet lived within walking distance of the Ark.

    By the way, which Genesis story do you believe?

    There are two.

  6. August 15, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    There are times when I think the next great split on humanity will be based on the genes that enourage or don’t encourage religious belief.

    The Morlocks and the Eloi – and atheists won’t be the Morlocks, we don’t have that secondary need to kill that accompanies the religion gene..

    • Geoff
      August 15, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      Genius!

  7. Dave Bailey
    August 15, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I doubt that the politicians involved in this really give a damn. They are just willing to do and say absolutely anything that will get them votes with the hillbillies they represent.

  8. Gary
    August 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Ignorance is alive and well in Kentucky.

    I think one of the problems is the dual definition of the word theory. Creationist spin the term as negative and lacking substance. Unfortunately the scientific definition and the “street” definition are different and because of that it allows creationists to hide behind the street definition without ever acknowledging the actual scientific definition and the mountain of evidence backing it up.

  9. Marty Kunz
    August 18, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    I if you believe God created the universe, and the universe is as it is. Evolution has been discovered to be the main form of biological change for the past 3.8 billion years. Then you should believe in God’s work as it is observed and not the word ancient,ignorant man. To deny God’s process over man’s word is to deny God. Creationist are atheists.

  10. August 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    We’re doomed, aren’t we? These people are allowed to breed. Shoot me now.

  11. David Meek
    August 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Funny how religious people can get away with saying Darwin made it up, but what about John Smith and the Book of Mormon didn’t he make that up.

    • Brendan
      August 25, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      God talked to Joseph Smith! Darwin should’ve claimed divine inspiration.

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