SanfordOK with intelligent design: Sees theory as alternative toevolution
Edition:FINAL, Section: NATION, Page A1
Gov.Mark Stanford sees no problem with teaching intelligent design in theclassroom.
In an appearanceSunday on WIS-TV's "Newswatch" program, Sanford said there's nothingwrong with presenting students with alternatives to the theory ofevolution.
"I think thatit's just ... that there are real chinks in the armor of evolutionbeing the only way we came about," Sanford told program host DavidStanton.
Intelligentdesign posits that life on earth is too complex to be fully explainedby evolutionary theory alone.
Final approval ofstate biology standards hinges on whether South Carolina's EducationOversight Committee will adopt a set of four teaching "indicators"related to the teaching of evolution for high school biologystudents.
Final approval ofthese indicators will be taken up Feb. 13 by the full committee.Members — including director Robert Staton, a Republicancandidate for state school superintendent; Sen. Mike Fair,R-Greenville, and Rep. Robert Walker, R-Landrum — argue thatthe state should consider including intelligent design, and inWalker's case biblical Creationism, in the science curriculum.
Sanford spokesmanJoel Sawyer reiterated the governor's position. "What the governorsaid is simply that different people believe different things, andthat we should have an educational system that recognizes andresponds to the diversity of beliefs that exist among the people ofSouth Carolina."
But intelligentdesign isn't provable by experimentation and thus doesn't meet adefinition for a teachable science topic, according to College ofCharleston physics professor Bob Dukes and biology associateprofessor Robert Dillon Jr.
Dillon is afounding member of South Carolinians for Science Education, which agroup of scientists and educators formed after state legislators madestatements similar to Sanford's and in an effort to addresscontention over the final approval of state biology teachingstandards.
The pair took thegovernor to task for his televised statements. They argued that therearen't "chinks" in the armor of evolution, and said a later citationof the second law of thermodynamics was taken out of context.
In his Sundaystatement, for example, the governor said, "The idea of there beinga, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together andthe next thing you know you have a human being is completely at oddswith, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics."
"That's what thegovernor is confused about," Dukes said. "The earth is not a closedsystem and we can get order from disorder."
In December anintelligent design teaching measure in Dover, Pa., was struck down bya federal judge, who decried the school board's "breathtakinginanity." Dillon said Sanford and others were leading South Carolinadown a similar path toward a lawsuit.
Contact ChrisDixon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 745-5855.
AT A GLANCE
Transcript of thegovernor's statements on intelligent design on WIS-TV's "Newswatch."
David Stanton:What do you think about the idea of teaching alternatives to Darwin'stheory of evolution in public schools - for instance intelligentdesign?
Gov. Sanford: Ihave no problem with it.
Stanton: Do youthink it should be done that way? Rather than just teachingevolution?
Sanford: "Well Ithink that it's just - and science is more and more documenting this- is that there are real chinks in the armor of evolution being theonly way we came about. The idea of there being a ... little mud holeand two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you havea human being is completely at odds with ... one of the laws ofthermodynamics, which is the law of, of ... in essence, destruction.
"Whether you thinkabout your bedroom and how messy it gets over time or you think aboutthe decay in the building itself over time. Things don't naturallyorder themselves towards progression, ... in the natural order ofthings. So it's ... against fairly basic laws of physics and so Iwould not have a problem in teaching both. Uh, you saying 'This isone theory and this is another theory.' "