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Utah school board members compare themselves to Galileo while trying to block teaching Earth is billions of years old

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Conservative members of Utah’s state school board this week compared themselves to famed astronomer Galileo in their failed efforts to prevent the enactment of new science standards on topics such as evolution, climate change, and even the age of the Earth.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that conservative school board members raised multiple objections to new science standards over fears that Utah students would not be exposed to “both sides” of the “debate” over evolution and climate change, which the vast majority of scientists believe are real phenomena.

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“There’s differences of opinions,” school board member Alisa Ellis said during a meeting this week. “It doesn’t mean someone is unintelligent or uninformed or belongs in a garbage can. But let’s teach both sides of the issues.”

Ellis objected to lesson plans that ask students to prove that climate change is being caused by human activity, while board member Jennie Earl wanted to strike language from the standards saying that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old. And board member Lisa Cummins said she’d like to see children study whether water vapor, rather than carbon, was responsible for climate change.

“Galileo was mocked and ridiculed,” Cummins said in justifying her stance. “If we shut down that discussion, that’s not critical thinking.”

The conservative board members lost their final battle to change the standards, however, and the board held an 11-to-4 vote in favor of the new standards.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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