Update from the Granite State

A columnist for the Nashua Telegraph (July 3, 2011) discusses the two antievolution bills on the horizon in New Hampshire. As NCSE previously reported, two requests to have antievolution bills drafted for the 2012 legislative session were included on a list of legislative service requests dated June 14, 2011. David Brooks, who writes the "Granite Geek" column for the Telegraph, interviewed both of the legislators who submitted the requests.

Jerry Bergevin (R-District 17) asked for a bill "requiring the teaching of evolution in public schools as a theory" — which, as Brooks notes, seems to imply that evolutionary theory is "nothing more than a complex guess." Responding to Brooks's query, Bergevin explained, "My LSR is not anti-evolution, I am anti-indoctrination," and added, "This LSR would include a study of the proponents' ideology and position on atheism.” Brooks commented, "I'm not sure what he means by evolution’s 'proponents,' since that constitutes most of the world’s scientific community."

Gary Hopper (R-District 7), who asked for a bill "requiring instruction in intelligent design in the public schools," explained, "Darwin's theory is basically antiquated," and also complained that evolutionary theory is at bottom "a theory that we are here by accident, that there is no purpose. The conclusion is that we're a bunch of accidents … you really have no purpose for existence. ... Teaching a child that it's very possible that they were designed would infer [sic] that they actually have a purpose. There's some purpose they were created, so that is a reason to live."

Brooks, for his part, disagreed with the legislators' view that accepting evolution is tantamount to nihilism, writing that on the contrary, "[c]reationism is meaningless, but evolution is a door to infinite wonder." "But," he concluded, "this is irrelevant here, because it has no bearing on what to teach in science class. My taxpayer dollars pay science teachers to teach science, not philosophy. Let's hope lawmakers don't try to get in the way."