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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Akin to omitting gravity,’ ‘Materialistic atheism,’ ‘What we risk’

Among those testifying at this afternoon’s hearing on school standards:

Dave Greegor, a retired ecologist who long taught at the university level and worked with NASA on climate change, told the senators that omitting important facts is “in effect lying.” He said, “This in my mind would be akin to addressing principles of physics and omitting gravity.” He said, “Fortunately the youth are way out in front. They aren’t going to be fooled by any omission of a few words. … The earth is not a grand experiment. .. We don’t get another shot at it.”

Robert Compton of Midvale said he is opposed to the rule, and said schools have been unwilling “to teach the evolution-creation controversy.” Compton said, “Idaho’s next-generation science standards are atheistic and based on materialism wherever they touch on the religious sphere. … Thus promoting this bill … does in fact favor the teaching of a religious position, materialistic atheism. .. Atheism has no valid source of moral values.”

Of the first dozen people to testify this afternoon, Compton was the only one to take this position; all others urged approving the standards as-is, including sections on climate change.

John Segar, a recently retired fire director at the National Interagency Fire Center, said, “I can tell you first-hand experience, I know what climate change is, I know what it looks like.” He said, “These university professors know a lot more about it than I do. …. As a taxpayer, as a citizen, this stinks of censorship.” He said schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra did a good job of ensuring the new standards were well vetted. “This is a good package,” he said.

Austin Hopkins, a scientist from Boise, said, “I hope that you vote to support these standards as-is, with all the references to climate change.” He said his interest and curiosity about science were sparked by an ecology class he took in his junior year at Centennial High School in Boise; now he has graduate degrees in science. He said, “I think this is what we risk by not including these five standards, is hindering that spark.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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