Friday, January 27, 2006

ID's fate in Utah, Dems and the Bible, negatives

Intent matters: Monday, I mentioned the emergence of a pro-intelligent design bill in Utah, was slow on the follow-up. After some more checking, both Ed Brayton and The Commissar have noted attempts to sneak this through which are likely to fail, given that intent can be used along with language to determine constitutionality. Ed Brayton has also made an interesting suggestion: before legislators can write legislation on science, they'd better be able to pass an AP test on the basic sciences.

Democrats introduce bill to teach Bible: Democrats in Georia and Alabama want to teach the Bible. The Times quotes some Democrats as saying they want to shed their secular image - though if it's done right, it could be a good idea in and of itself. The fact that they're doing this to boost their image may be a sign it won't be done right, though it's supposed to differ from a previously proposed Bible course:
Democrats in both states have introduced bills authorizing school districts to teach courses modeled after a new textbook, "The Bible and Its Influence." It was produced by the nonpartisan, ecumenical Bible Literacy Project and provides an assessment of the Bible's impact on history, literature and art that is academic and detached, if largely laudatory...

The state's Democrats, including some sponsors of the bill, opposed a Republican proposal a few years ago to authorize the teaching of a different Bible course, which used a translation of the Scriptures as its text, calling it an inappropriate endorsement of religion.
It's also encouraging to see the opposition they're getting:
"Their proposal makes them modern-day pharisees," State Senator Eric Johnson of Georgia, the Republican leader from Savannah, said in a statement. "This is election-year pandering using voters' deepest beliefs as a tool."

Saying he found "a little irony" in the fact that the Democratic sponsors had voted against a Republican proposal for a Bible course six years ago, Mr. Johnson added, "It should also be noted that the so-called Bible bill doesn't use the Bible as the textbook, and would allow teachers with no belief at all in the Bible to teach the course."
Well, at least it's encouraging if Johnson's side loses. Does this guy have any respect for separation of church and state.

Howard Dean has endorsed the idea, while Americans United isn't happy, saying it ignores "bad and ugly uses of the Bible."

Proving a negative Franc has a critique of the silly mantra "you can't prove a negative." This is one of those things that started as a semi-valid point (you can't prove a universal negative; there might be a white raven somewhere in the forest) into something that people just repeat without thinking about it.

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