A block of senators opposed Gov. Brad Henry’s nomination of Dr. Virginia Ann Dell of Oklahoma City to the state Textbook Committee when her nomination was considered by the Senate Wednesday.
The Senate narrowly voted to advise and consent to Henry’s nomination of Dell on a 25 to 22 vote.
“Despite her impressive academic degrees and her service as a teacher at the Oklahoma School of Science and Math, her errant belief that the teaching of the Intelligent Design Theory blurs the line between the separation of church and state is the first of many problems to arise with her nomination,” stated Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond.
Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, stated, “Nothing exists in state or federal law that prohibits the discussion of creationism or Intelligent Design theory in the classroom. Let’s encourage open and honest discussion of all theories so students can learn to think critically and, with their parents’ guidance, develop their own worldview.”
Dell’s responses to questioning in the Senate Education Committee showed she is unwilling to even allow a mention or discussion of alternative theories on the origins of the universe.
“Dr. Dell’s blind allegiance to the theory of evolution – and her unwillingness to even consider the inclusion of other valid theories such as Intelligent Design or evolutionary creationism – makes her an unacceptable nominee in my view,” said Jolley.
The Intelligent Design theory holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.
“Dr. Dell’s views are too closed-minded and too liberal to qualify her for this critical position responsible for selecting textbooks for our schoolchildren,” Mazzei stated.
“Since this is Gov. Henry’s second appointee to the Textbook Committee to openly hold this viewpoint, I fear he is trying to stack the Textbook Commission with liberals whose goal is to stamp out all discussion of alternatives to the theory of evolution in Oklahoma classrooms,” Jolley said.