Friday, April 04, 2014

South Carolina: Naming the State Fossil

An eight-year-old girl by the name of Olivia McConnell had a great idea: suggest that the Columbian Mammoth, common to the state during the Pleistocene, be named the state fossil.  Great idea, right?  Not when politics and creationism get involved.  According to Ron Barnett of USA Today:
The Columbian mammoth survived an ice age, but whether it can survive the South Carolina Senate remains to be seen.

The elephant-sized mammal that once roamed this part of the world is on a path to become the state's official fossil. But it faces a new challenge this week, and the dream of 8-year-old Olivia McConnell who suggested that the Legislature adopt a state fossil hangs in the balance.

Last week, state Sen. Kevin Bryant tried unsuccessfully to insert a Bible verse into the bill. This week, the Republican from Anderson, S.C., is putting forward a new amendment that refers to the animal “as created on the sixth day with the beasts of the field.”

“I think it's an appropriate time to acknowledge the creator,” he said.
Every time that I read that the number of creationists who are democrats is more than you think, I have to wonder: “Yes, but did all of the Republicans who are creationists end up in the state house??”  It is one thing to honor the creator.  It is another to honor the creator with language that is patently young earth creationist in its origin.  The irony, of course, is that this language would be inserted over the traditional understanding of the Columbian mammoth, described originally by Falconer in 1857, which is that it went extinct around 13,000 years ago and was part of an adaptive radiation of Elephas genera beginning around 25 million years ago from what later became East Asia.  The other half of the clade is the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus. This would be jarring, to say the least. 

1 comment:

  1. Want to see what Christians (a few, anyway) ought to be doing about evolution, look at this:
    Joel Duff describing his own research which just appeared in PlosOne.