State Sen. Chris Buttars' efforts to force schools to teach intelligent (divine) design as an alternative to evolution is a thinly veiled attempt to force his personal religious beliefs on students. This effort to pass off religion as science is an abuse of Buttars' legislative power and influence.
The physical evidence for a 4.5 billion-year-old Earth and for evolution as an explanation for fossils of extinct and present life forms is much stronger than Buttars appears to know. The anatomy of humans has many characteristics and oddities that indicate descent from an earlier life form. Either that or that God is a very poor bio-engineer. For example, can intelligent design explain why humans have too many wisdom teeth for the size of their mouths; a pelvis designed for walking on all fours, but a spine for walking upright; entanglement of urinary and reproductive structures; or why even Buttars' DNA differs from chimpanzee DNA by less than 2 percent? Perhaps Intelligent Design (ID) should instead be called Incompetent Design?
The basic argument for intelligent design, that life is too complex to arise naturally, is falsified by the second law of thermodynamics. This law is a law of experience, such laws summarize, without exception, all observations of the natural world. Specifically, the second law tells us that increasing complexity is a natural consequence of all spontaneous processes, that is, that natural systems tend to become more complex with time.
The King James Bible says "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground," but it does not say how it was done. I suggest we leave it to science to discover the processes of physical creation and leave it to prophets, not the Utah Legislature, to interpret scripture.
Lee D. Hansen is professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry at Brigham Young University.