Thursday, February 9, 2023

Lectures seek to draw focus on intelligent design theory

September 10, 2001

State Rep. John Hansen, D-Dexter, will be on campus Tuesday to speak about two creationist bills pending in the Legislature.

The lecture, “Science, Politics and the Michigan Anti-Evolution Legislation,” is part of a lecture series sponsored by the Lyman Briggs School. The event is set for 7:30 p.m. in C-106 Holmes Hall.

Hansen, who is also the chairman of the House Education Committee, will discuss House Bill 4382, which says schools should teach both evolution and intelligent design, a religious belief that humans were created by a higher being. He’ll also discuss House Bill 4705, which says schools cannot censor intelligent design.

Hansen said the bills would change Michigan science curriculum standards by saying evolution is an unproved theory and requiring schools to teach the competing theory, which is that “life is the result of the purposeful, intelligent design of a creator.”

The bills were introduced last spring by state Rep. Robert Gosselin, R-Troy.

Jack McHugh, Gosselin’s legislative aide, said their objective is to present both perspectives to Michigan students.

“The legislation that has been introduced is not creationism,” he said. “It seeks to create a level playing field in Michigan classrooms between the theory of evolution based on random mutation and the theory that life as we know it is the result of the intelligent design of a purposeful creator.”

But Hansen, who was a former teacher and superintendent, said of himself and his advocates, that “this is a group of people concerned about science education and the impact of religion on it.”

Robert Pennock, an associate professor in the Lyman Briggs School, said Hansen’s lecture is crucial to understanding the relevance of the proposed bills.

“I think this is going to be important to get an insider’s perspective of how this bill came to be proposed and what citizens can do to oppose it,” he said.

Pennock will also be lecturing on the issue of creationism. His speech will be part of a library lecture series, titled “Kansas Redux?: Responding to the Michigan Neo-Creationism Legislation.” It will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 in W-449 Main Library .

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