Governor: Intelligent Design Theory Does Not Belong in Science Class

Governor: Intelligent Design Theory Does Not Belong in Science Class

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Gov. Jon Huntsman says intelligent design theory should not be taught in science classes, but he left open the possibility that it could be taught in other classes.

That was immediately seized upon by Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, who has been talking about requiring intelligent design to be taught in public schools.

Huntsman told his monthly KUED news conference Thursday, "Public schools are largely secular institutions. I would expect my kids in science class to be instructed in those things that are somewhat quantifiable and based on thorough and rigorous empirical research."

He said other concepts should be taught outside the classroom.

"At home -- and in churches or synagogues -- I would hope they could hear different ideas about creation," Huntsman said.

Asked if he was opposed to teaching intelligent design in schools, Huntsman said he was against it being taught in science classes.

"If it comes up in sociology or philosophy as differing views on creation, I think that's appropriate," Huntsman said. "But that doesn't happen until college or maybe later in high school."

"I think that's a good, clear pathway," Buttars said. "I don't have a problem with that. Don't teach it in science classes. Teach it in humanities or philosophy. He's right."

State curriculum director Brett Moulding believes the governor is saying such philosophy classes are better taught at the college level.

"That's consistent with what the state Office of Education has been saying about this issue," Moulding said. "When you start having discussions in a philosophy class, I think that belongs at the college level."

Intelligent design is based on the concept that life is too complex to be explained alone by evolution.

Buttars said parents have complained children are being taught that they evolved from apes. He said evolution is a theory that should not be taught in schools as fact.

Evolution of species is central to Utah's high school biology core curriculum.

The state Board of Education next week will consider a position statement on the matter. The statement likely will support the current curriculum and include language on teacher sensitivity to student beliefs, Moulding has said.

Buttars plans to address the board on his stand that evolution should be taught "as an unsubstantiated theory."

If the board refuses, Buttars said he would request that intelligent design be taught in some sort of humanities class.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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