An amusing exchange spotted while researching

From the minutes of the Constitutional Convention for the Philippines, January 24, 1935.

Mr. Araneta: Suppose the Legislature enacts a law prescribing that Darwinism, the theory of evolution, is the only theory that can be taught in every school including the private schools. Would that be constitutional under the Gentleman’s amendment?
Mr. Osias: Theoretically, yes, but, practically, I can not conceive of our future generations going to nutty as to prescribe or pass such a thing.
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13 thoughts on “An amusing exchange spotted while researching”

  1. This is part of an exchange over how much authority the state should have to regulate education, specifically how much the constitution should limit the ability of the legislature to regulate education. Darwinism seems to have been pulled out as an off-the-wall example of something that would never be universally taught in school, and I have seen no other mentions of it.

    They are discussing an amendment co-sponsored by Camilo Osias, which reads “All educational institutions shall be under the supervision of the State and subject to the laws thereof. The State shall establish and maintain a complete and adequate system of public education conducted primarily in the English language.”

    The final text reads:
    “All educational institutions shall be under the supervision of and subject to regulation by the State. The Government shall establish and maintain a complete and adequate system of public education, and shall provide at least free public primary instruction, and citizenship training to adult citizens.”

  2. Too funny. Yet the scary thing is similar arguments are still happening more than 70 years later in other parts of the world. Roy, do you have any idea of the state of evolution in the current educational system of the Philippines? Being a heavily Catholic country I can imagine a false sense of “debate”…

  3. I honestly have no idea, but I will make a note to look into it someday. But it is important to remember that the Catholic Church has actually be quite open to the idea of evolution in recent years, particularly post Vatican II. My impression is that Catholicism today allows for almost every aspect of evolution-except for intelligence which is ascribed to divine intervention – and takes a metaphorical view of the 6-day creation of Genesis, as opposed to the literalist view characteristic of evangelical Protestantism.

    For example, take a look at this essay by Vatican Observatory Director Jesuit Father George V. Coyne.
    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/Coyne-Evolution.htm

    The quote I gave above in the blog post is of course from well before Vatican II, and hopefully (probably?) doesn’t represent the current view of evolution in the Philippines.

    A quick google produced little info, but I did notice that National Academy of Science and Technology, The Philippines is one of 63 national academies to sign a statement in favor of teaching evolution. The United States is not one of them.

    http%3A%2F%2Fwww.icsu.org%2FGestion%2Fimg%2FICSU_DOC_DOWNLOAD%2F1017_DD_FILE_IAP_Evolution.pdf

  4. Full Catholic education for me. Learned everything about evolution plus taught in class by Christian Brothers to interpret the bible as metaphor. Know people who went to Jesuit schools who got the same.

    Lots of older churchgoers that I know simply choose to understand evolution as having reflected the big guy’s will.

  5. The standard Catholic dogma at the moment is that the physical shape of man evolved (naturally, but directed by God following God’s natural laws), but the soul (rather than ‘intelligence’) was created directly by God. On that point the Vatican ain’t budging – until they convene Vatican III and change their minds yet again.

  6. Yeah, and since the soul is not the subject of a lot of scientific research, there are really not that many problems.

  7. There was one (in)famous experiment about the soul – weighing people immediiately before and after they died. The experiment was, from memory, carried out by people who knew what they wanted to find out anyway, so the results were less than persuasive. This was a while back, if I remember rightly.

    Here we are:
    http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp

  8. Yeah, that’s the idea behind that movie 17 Grams or 27 Grams or whatever. I heard it’s good but haven’t gotten to it yet.

  9. It’s funny that you write this. I am in the US right now, and just flew over from Narita yesterday. As I was settling in on the plane, a military guy across the aisle was reading a pamphlet with a title to the effect of “Evolution: Is it Really Science?” That’s when I realized that I was headed back for la-la land.

    (The scary part is that this plane wasn’t even going to the South — it was going to San Francisco.)

  10. I once flew domestic in the USA and I swear that every single person in the plane was reading a “Why YOU deserve to be rich” book. I felt like I was on Mars.

  11. “(The scary part is that this plane wasn’t even going to the South—it was going to San Francisco.)”

    Yeah, but he was probably conneting to flight to Podunk, South Carolina….
    I could write a pamphlet titled “Evolution: Is it Really Science?” Inside would be one word in about 160 point: “YES.”

    I haven’t noticed anything odd about flying domestic in the USA myself, other than the inflight sales magazine is filled with the most amazingly tacky crap I have ever seen. I’m sure Mars is a lot saner….

  12. Unfortunately I was the one connecting to Podunk, South Carolina…

    The domestic flights were OK, besides the US Airways flight attendants hawking coffee for a dollar. On the bright side, selling drinks gives them an incentive to actually come through the cabin once in a while.

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