In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.
Friday, July 19, 2024

Revisiting evolution

By TOM HUMPHREY A Tennessee lawmaker proposes to use the legislative process to get an answer to the question of whether the universe was created by a "Supreme Being." Under the measure, introduced by Republican state Sen. Raymond Finney, the answer would come from state Education Commissioner Lana Seivers "in report form" no later than Jan. 15, 2008.


A Tennessee lawmaker proposes to use the legislative process to get an answer to the question of whether the universe was created by a “Supreme Being.”

Under the measure, introduced by Republican state Sen. Raymond Finney, the answer would come from state Education Commissioner Lana Seivers “in report form” no later than Jan. 15, 2008.

Finney, a retired physician, said Monday that his objective is to formally prod the Department of Education into a dialogue about the teaching of evolution in school science classes without also teaching the alternative of “creationism,” or “intelligent design.”

The move would thus renew a debate that has raged off and on in the Tennessee Legislature since at least 1925, when the 64th General Assembly enacted a law forbidding the teaching of evolution — setting the stage for the famous John Scopes “monkey trial” in Dayton, Tenn., later that year.

Finney said there is no doubt in his own mind that everything in the universe, including human beings, was created by a Supreme Being.

“There has never been any proof offered that Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct,” he said.

“I’m not demanding that she (Seivers) to do anything,” he said, “just asking, ‘Are you sure we’re doing the right thing?’ ”

He said the resolution is “giving her the opportunity to say, ‘You’re wrong. There is no creationism.’ ”

As the resolution is written, if Seivers does answer no to the first question — stating that the universe was not created by a Supreme Being — she would be offered “the General Assembly’s admiration for being able to decide conclusively a question that has long perplexed and occupied the attention of scientists, philosophers, theologians, educators and others.”

But if she answers yes, or states that the answer to the creation of the universe is uncertain, then there is a follow-up question that must also be answered: Why is creationism not being taught in Tennessee schools?

Finney said he suspects that Seivers would answer that the means of creation of the universe is uncertain. Seivers was not available for comment.

But Bruce Opie, legislative liaison for the Department of Education, said state policy has been “over the last several years” that it is appropriate to teach students about creationism in religion or sociology classes, but not in biology classes.

“As far as his (Finney’s) question embedded in this resolution, I am a little bit confused,” said Opie. “It’s awfully interesting that he wants an answer from the person sitting as commissioner.”

The State Board of Education actually decides curriculum for public school courses, he said, and Seivers is basically bound by those board decisions.

As a Senate resolution, the measure needs approval only by the Senate — where Finney and fellow Republicans have a majority of members — to become effective as a formal request to Seivers. The Democrat-dominated House need not take any action.

The 1925 statute banning the teaching of evolution in Tennessee was passed by the General Assembly in March. Teacher Scopes was charged with violating the law and went on trial in July.

He was convicted and fined $100, but the conviction was overturned two years later by the state Supreme Court. The statute was repealed by the Legislature in 1967.

(Contact Tom Humphrey of The Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee at

25 thoughts on “Revisiting evolution”

  1. Fans of evolution always cite evidence for their claims, but not one piece of evidence cited has ever been validated.

    Macroevolution by its very nature cannot be tested. Microevolution, without validation of Macroevolution devolves to the genetics of Mendel which does not allow excursions beyond the species level (stasis) and all changes are variations within designated gene pools. Natural selection works to stabilize gene pools, not to disrupt them. Natural selection can only reduce or maintain information. It cannot create new information required for excursions beyond gene pool limits.

  2. Matt,

    “Mightn’t that be because if it had been proven it would no longer be referred to as a theory, but, rather, as a fact?”

    Theories don’t become facts. Facts are simply data that are stringed together to form theories. Evolution is once such theory that rests on so many facts, like common descent, that it doesn’t have much to worry about from extremist right-wing politicians.

  3. Fenney is absolutely brilliant. Obviously he knows a lot about the mythology of evolution. Too bad so many out there have been mesmerized into believing in the religion of Darwin.

    If the people who believe (and it IS a belief system) in evolution would do some deep studying in biology, and if they had normal logic capabilities they would cast away their belief in evolution post-haste.

    Here is a way to solve this argument, once and for all. Have the evolutionists build a copy of one of the so-called simple celled ‘creatures’ from SCRATCH, that is, starting at the molecular level. The place where evolutionists say life started by accident. Since the cell is so extremely complex, don’t wait for the scientists to make one, they CAN’T.

    Evoluton is the most clever ruse that has ever been foisted into/onto the ‘intellect’ mankind.

  4. Well, Creation is intelligent. And, there does seem to be an order, a plan to it.

    Could a great Intelligence, or Intelligences have envisioned a plan that evolution serves to manifest? Life forms do progress. Mutation happens.

    Arguing about eiter/or requires the abolishment of one idea or the other. It does not make any sense to abolish fact. And, myths do have truth at their base, though many may not see it.

  5. In 17th century England Whigs opposed the Tories. The Tories were hereditary nobles and royals with ideas so conservative that we would now consider them sociopathic serial-killers. The Whigs favored reforms that would recognize some rights for all white men, (fewer rights for everybody else of course), and thought that a man’s contribution to society, commerce, science, engineering, etc. should determine his position rather than his lineage. So Whigs were some of the first liberals! They even changed their name to The Liberal Party eventually.

    I think the conflicting ideas behind the Tory/Whig conflict live on today as Republican/Democrat. Of course the party names changed over time, (IE. Abe Lincoln was am American Whig before he joined the Republican Party, but he would certainly be a Democrat if he was alive today.), but the issue of concentrated wealth and power versus greater equality has always been the central issue.

  6. “There has never been any proof offered that Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct, “he said.

    Mightn’t that be because if it had been proven it would no longer be referred to as a theory, but, rather, as a fact? A theory, after all, is nothing more than a general set of propositions widely accepted as providing a framework for study by true scholars in any given field.

  7. Hi Kent…As you well know “all” of the posters concerning this story are highly focused and presumably pro-active too, but occasionally we need some diversion when this type lunacy pops up. I do find it interesting that some fundie republican from Tennessee is causing this fracas. They manage to disrupt and attack all areas of human endeavor. They are perrennial meddlers with actions that are regressive and dark, from evolution to waging bogus wars of aggression in distant lands. We can only hope the republican party becomes vestigial, then “extinct” in terms of this nation’s body politic…!

  8. .

    Ahem… People… FOCUS! Evolution versus intelligent design… PLEASE! People are DYING all over the Middle East because of an illegal neoconservative war.


    Come on…


  9. It appears as though evolution works in both ways, and the gentleman from Tennessee is proof positive that humanity has the ability to regress into something less evolved.

  10. I have always been a fan of the evolution of mankind. If nothing else it makes me feel important than I managed to survive all the ice ages and global warming cycles and here I am. In the last couple of months, I went on extended cable reception and found the “Science Channel” and spend easily 50% of my time on television learning about the universe and mankind and how we survived for billions of years. Somehow it makes the story of the bible read like a silly television series.

    I believe the humans have the capacity to learn both the creation and evolution without harm to themselves.

    I love the thought that my fat Siamese cat came from some mammouth fanged- tooth monster and my late and great labrador “Kate” came from the wolf pack. I read in Crichton’s latest book that blondes are originally from the light skilled Neanderthal species and are superior in their brain power than just plain old homosapiens. Yeah! I can buy that as I am a natural blonde from birth. Nobody told me I was superior until I read Crichton’s “Next.”

  11. The issue is not exactly about science and the teaching of evolution. I look at this issue as being essentially the same as the manger on the courthouse lawn fight.

    There is nothing keeping churches from teaching creationism or “intelligent design” in their tax-exempt churches and the ACLU would fight to the death to protect a church’s right to display a manger on its own lawn. So why do they fight these other fights?

    Obviously what is going on is something a little different than the surface issue. They want to recruit school children into their death-worshipping cults on public school grounds, they want to subjugate the public forum. That is the heart of evangelism.

    They are dangerous and need to be kept in their pens ( tax-exempt churches ) and out of government.

  12. Who/what designed/created the designer/creator? What’s the source of that meta-designer/creator? What testable evidence supports the notion of such designers/creators? How many superior entities exist, and how can we count them, if any?

    If humans were designed/created by one or more superior entities, why was such a bad job done on our implementation (eyes, back, tonsils, appendix, etc.)? Did the superior entities intend to design/create Nazis, Stalinists, Maoists, etc, or are those just unintended consequences, and what does their existence say about the competence of designer(s)/creator(s)?

    I think it was Ben Franklin who pointed out that belief in a designer leads to serious questions about such a designer. Are believers willing to face those implications honestly? I doubt it.

Comments are closed.