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Utah House votes down anti-evolution bill

[JURIST] The Utah House of Representatives Monday voted down a much-watched bill that would have challenged the teaching of evolution in high school science classes in the conservative state. The so-called "Origin of Life" bill [text] as initially presented would have required teachers to issue a disclaimer to students saying that not all scientists agree on the theory of evolution or the origin of species. While the bill did not explicitly present an alternative to the evolution theory, some think that the bill may have encouraged the teaching of the intelligent design [JURIST news archive]. The measure was defeated 46-28.

Just before the vote, Majority Whip Stephen H. Urquhart [official profile] amended the bill to strip it of most of its original language, maintaining that science and religion should remain separate and leaving intact only a provision that the Utah State Board of Education [official website] "shall establish curriculum requirements relating to scientific instruction." Legislative officials say the bill is not likely to be revived before the legislature is adjourned on Wednesday. The New York Times has more. The Utah Daily Herald has local coverage.

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