Creationist Debate Stalls South Carolina State Fossil Bill

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When 8-year-old Olivia McConnell proposed that her state, South Carolina, adopt a state fossil, she may not have expected her request to prompt a drawn-out fight with creationists in the state legislature.

In letters to her local representatives, Olivia asked that the woolly mammoth be made the official state fossil, because mammoth teeth dug up by slaves in a South Carolina swamp in 1725 were among the first vertebrate fossils discovered in North America.

Her senator, Kevin Johnson, told CBS News this week that he thought a bill honoring the request "would just fly through the House and through the Senate." But the bill is currently languishing in the House, months after it was proposed in January, because some lawmakers with creationist beliefs have objected on religious grounds.

The original text of the bill simply read: "The woolly mammoth is designated as the official state fossil of South Carolina."

In its most recent iteration, which was shot down in a vote on April 9, the bill had been amended to read as follows:

"The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the 'Columbian Mammoth', which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field."

Written By: Megan Gannon
continue to source article at livescience.com

64 COMMENTS

  1. It is very rewarding to see an eight year old girl propose such a thing, but sadly no surprise to see her idea get bogged down by a different set of fossils. It shows how deluded these fuckwits are that they think that their proposal could be enshrined in law. If it were to pass of course, then we all have our favourite biblical bollocks that could then also be enacted as law.

  2. . “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.

    This is unbelievable! Have they realised how foolish they’re going to look when Christianity goes the way of the religions of antiquity?

    • In reply to #2 by Nitya:

      . “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.

      This is…

      This is going to embarrass the majority of Christians, and will make some I know angry, which is all to the good; you never know, it might even bring some of them to their senses.

      • In reply to #4 by Stafford Gordon:

        This is going to embarrass the majority of Christians, and will make some I know angry, which is all to the good; you never know, it might even bring some of them to their senses.

        It should embarrass them. I can’t imagine an inscription like this being attached to a building in Rome, or any of the more traditional bastions of Christianity. What are they trying to do to their community?

        • In reply to #5 by Nitya:

          In reply to #4 by Stafford Gordon:

          This is going to embarrass the majority of Christians, and will make some I know angry, which is all to the good; you never know, it might even bring some of them to their senses.

          It should embarrass them. I can’t imagine an inscription like this being attached t…

          They are attempting to maintain control of their flock; ignorance is bliss.

    • In reply to #2 by Nitya:

      This is unbelievable! Have they realised how foolish they’re going to look when Christianity goes the way of the religions of antiquity?

      No need to wait that long, Nitya; they look foolish now to all the wide world, though most of them will probably never know that.

      I had to laugh when I read this article; it is just so daft. Those South Carolinian creationists must be desperate if, in order to get their creationistic humbug into law, they will stoop to hijacking an innocent bill for adoping, as other states have done, a prehistoric mascot for the state. They are idiotic killjoys.

  3. What a laugh!

    “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou obtained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”

    Looks like it’s done the reverse on this occasion.

    Fancy, an eight year old child being more intelligent and better educated that the “adult” administrators of her State.

    A laugh? Well, not really.

  4. @OP – In its most recent iteration, which was shot down in a vote on April 9, the bill had been amended to read as follows:

    “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina **and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.” **

    … In order to demonstrate that a large number of legislators are utterly unfit for purpose due to theistic educational atrophy at an early age!

  5. Perhaps it is time that South Carolina appointed an official “State Fuckwit”, with whoever added the creationist crap to Olivia McConnell’s original proposal being named the first one.

  6. So ridiculously funny! What do these people think is going to happen to them if they embrace proven scientific facts? They are living in a hell of their own making called stupidity. I hope their heaven is nothing more than lining up for dunce hats at the pearly gates and sitting facing a corner for eternity.

    • In reply to #11 by Thomas Carter:

      As a native South Carolinian, I hang my head in shame. Is there a hole close by that I can crawl into and hide my embarasent.

      Stand tall, Thomas. You have the support, I am sure, of everyone here if you have to put up with such ignorant drongos among your elected representatives.

  7. I saw this on TV. The senator commented that he didn’t realize that the idea of a state fossil was proposed by an eight year old. He said, knowing that, he would work to make this proposal a reality. I got the distinct impression that his Creationist comment was grandstanding on an issue that he thought was coming from a “secular” adult source.

  8. They probably consider young Olivia McConnell as one that got away.

    The first task facing organized religions practitioners’ is to put the fear of God into you at as young an age as possible, and having created that dependency on them, they then prey on you for the rest of your life professing to be saving you from yourself.

    It’s neat trick, and for the most part it sadly works, especially if the child’s parents have also been subjected to the same mind bending treatment.

    Luckily for her Olivia’s mum and dad appear not to have suffered it. Result? An eight year old free thinker! In that neck o’ the woods a very dangerous beast indeed.

    I heard a purveyor of “the tripe” on the radio this morning, telling everyone that they need his wares in order to fend off the evil eye, or what ever it is that’s supposed to be lurking in wait for us all; well, he would say that, wouldn’t he.

    He was arguing, or attempting to argue, against the separation of church and state; and I’m bound to say that the atheist opposing him was not putting forward her argument at all well.

    Sighs, and slopes off into the kitchen to make a cup of tea.

  9. Oh, but creationism doesn’t COST us anything. It is JUST a belief.

    Where the hell is lonevoice? Or CumbriaSmithy???

    Lawyer me this, believers. My tax money is being spent and my time wasted so that these fucking idiots can add languge to an 8 year olds proposal and end up with

    “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.”

    Instead of

    the woolly mammoth be made the official state fossil

    To appease people who cannot reconcile a TOOTH that is (demonstrably) older than their belief system claims the UNIVERSE is?

    And, I am supposed to sit by idle, twiddling my thumbs and allowing this idiocy to cost my family and I both TIME AND MONEY???
    I am supposed to smile and be “the bigger person”? Where are the common sense equipped religious folks? Why aren;t they as mad as me?

    The should be twice as mad because in addition to the transgressions I have delineated above, the common sense religious folks are being dragged down and stereotyped as stupid because of these assholes.

    Oh, but unless you speak up, I don’t know you exist. Common sense religious folks raise your collective voices and shit on these idiots. Only then will there be the possibility of me being “nice”.

    • In reply to #19 by crookedshoes:

      Where the hell is lonevoice?

      Here I am. Hi.

      I’ve only just read this post/article so my apologies for arriving late at the party. I wasn’t hiding.

      I haven’t done any background reading on this case but I don’t agree with the actions of the creationists. My very brief reading of the article indicates that they want to insist on an overtly creationist statement on the emblem being added to it and I don’t think that would be appropriate or necessary.

      To me, the adoption of a fossilised mammoth as a state emblem would be great and I think the creationists may have shot themselves in the foot by seeking to insist a creationist interpretation be added to it. Simply saying that the fossil is a fossil shouldn’t have offended anyone.

      And, while the fossil is there for all to see, what would stop the creationists (or anyone else for that matter) from using is as a teaching point about creation/evolution if they so choose – or not, as the case may be. I’m certainly not going to try to defend the actions of a creationist simply because I too am a creationist.

      As you can see, for me personally, I see no great issue and I don’t feel strongly about it. But then, it’s not my taxes that are funding the legislature in South Carolina.

      • Awesome. I thought that this would be your stance and I RESPECT it. As usual, we ultimately discover that we have more common ground than initially thought. We see that “good”, “thinking” people can have different views on many “important” points and manage to find commonality.

        I’m not one for forcibly imposing my views on others

        This we agree on and if more folks were to adhere to this stance, tolerance and peace could win the day.

        I’m not going to try to defend the actions of a creationist simply because I too am a creationist.

        And I respect your right to be wrong.

          • HA! That made me chortle. Good work! A smile on A Wednesday morning makes it all worthwhile.

            In reply to #61 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #60 by crookedshoes: “I respect your right to be wrong.”

            Thank you. And I yours.

  10. Its should be passed but with the following changes to be put into its ridiculous perspective. “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, the period which as we know spanned from around 200 million years ago when mammals appeared until man was created some 6000 years ago, and is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, again which by the way, was created very very late on that day around 180 000 years ago and died out around 20 000 years ago. Pity that their is evidence that they were preyed upon by man” Dammit…

    “Adults who believe in invisible people are stupid”

  11. This is unbelievable ! I would laugh but its not really funny. I feel sorry for that 8 year old girl growing up with leaders that are so delusional. By the time she is an adult what sort of world will she live in.

    • In reply to #25 by tbiddulph:

      I would expect that a ‘Lawmaker’ would need to have passed some sort of basic intelligence test in order to qualify for the job!

      That would more likely disqualify them in my native South Carolina, where “eggheads” are held in suspicion. My 10 year old nephew attends a public (in the US that’s tax funded) school here, and there are pictures of blue-eyed Jesus in almost every room. Anything that is not a direct reading of the King James Bible here is taken as lies straight from the pit of hell. People have argued that some stop signs are not biblical — seriously!

  12. “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.”

    I would recommend a “reductio ad absurdum” approach. Not only should this bill be approved, but a provision attached that this declaration should appear in all science textbooks. It will live down in history !

  13. I await, whilst breathing normally, the rapid response of such posters here as Lonevoice, Cumbria Smithy and any other sensible Christian, to reject the ridiculous approach of these state legislature members. Who are of course Christians ! Who else has an objection to fossils ?

    I wait. I breath easily. Is this a silence I hear ?

  14. I actually created an account just to comment on this article. As a (fairly liberal) christian one of the things that pisses me off the most is when other christians try to erase the line between church and state. There is no justification for this behavior and I am ashamed that it is occurring although unfortunately not surprised. I plan on writing a letter to some of these senators asking them to leave their religious beliefs out of laws. For the record not all of us are this ridiculous just an unfortunately large amount. Signed a christian teaching her younger siblings evolution. :)

    • In reply to #31 by christinadek:

      I actually created an account just to comment on this article. As a (fairly liberal) christian one of the things that pisses me off the most is when other christians try to erase the line between church and state. There is no justification for this behavior and I am ashamed that it is occurring although unfortunately not surprised.

      It must be very irritating for educated American Christians, when these well funded (often small sects of) posturing scientific illiterates, present themselves as representing the “expert” viewpoint of a wider range of Christians.

    • Thank you for representing the level headed Christian folks. I wish there were more (here on Dawkins and worldwide) that would do as you’ve done. Lonevoice, indeed.

      In reply to #31 by christinadek:

      I actually created an account just to comment on this article. As a (fairly liberal) christian one of the things that pisses me off the most is when other christians try to erase the line between church and state. There is no justification for this behavior and I am ashamed that it is occurring alth…

    • In reply to #31 by christinadek:

      I actually created an account just to comment on this article. As a (fairly liberal) christian one of the things that pisses me off the most is when other christians try to erase the line between church and state. There is no justification for this behavior and I am ashamed that it is occurring alth…

      Welcome Christina!

    • In reply to #31 by christinadek:

      I actually created an account just to comment on this article. As a (fairly liberal) christian one of the things that pisses me off the most is when other christians try to erase the line between church and state. There is no justification for this behavior and I am ashamed that it is occurring alth…

      It’s refreshing and encouraging to hear from someone like yourself christinadek.

      When you say you teach your younger siblings evolution, do you mean that you’re a teacher, or a family member who does so?

      Anyway, I hope that like me, your first visit leads to you being a regular.

  15. “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.”

    Have to say that it’s good this amended version was not passed. The article suggests that it was the crazy creationists that blocked it but it’s not a text that I could have allowed to pass had I a vote in the matter.

    • In reply to #37 by paulmcuk:

      “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.” Have to say that it’s good this amended version was not passed. The article suggests that it was the crazy creationists that blocked it but it’s not a text that I could have allowed to pass had I a vote in the matter.

      I think you are missing an important point. The original amendment was a simple statement that said the mammoth was the official state fossil. There was no language about the “sixth day with the other beasts of the field”. Part of what happens as a bill becomes law is that various committees amend and revise the language. It was the crazy creationists who then amended the bill to make it include the nonsense about the “sixth day” and it was probably the creationists who voted for that bill and the sane people who then voted it down.

      • Didn’t miss it as such. One would certainly hope that sane lawmakers voted down the amendment but the article doesn’t confirm that. It states only that the bill is currently languishing in the House “…because some lawmakers with creationist beliefs have objected on religious grounds.” Since almost all lawmakers in the US at least pretend to be religious, I wonder whether any would vote down this amendment for fear of being labelled atheist, which leaves the prospect that even those words were not sufficient for the creationists (presumably concerned that any reference at all to fossils opens the door to atheism).

        In reply to #46 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #37 by paulmcuk:

        “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field, is designated as the official State Fossil of South Carolina and must be officially referred to as the ‘Columbian Mammoth’, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other b…

  16. I’m amazed they haven’t added to that as really they haven’t quite got there yet it should actually read…..

    “Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field at a time when the world was flat.”

  17. I love the enquiring mind of this young girl who sees a fossil for the value and history it represents. I facepalm because of the unfortunate disillusionment she must feel when the ‘Adults’ get worked up in lather and try to tell her that it is only 6,000 years old or that it simply does not exist because of their faith. Unfortunately these creationists will never change their minds – even if an 8 year old brings them the evidence of how wrong they are. If an 8 year old can see it; why can’t these brainwashed automatons see it (I know the answer and this is a rhetorical question aimed at the creationists)?

    • In reply to #39 by Eyerish:

      Unfortunately these creationists will never change their minds

      Not unless transplants become available! – At which point, they should get a good trade-in price for the old ones in untarnished condition – never been used!

      • In reply to #41 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #39 by Eyerish:

        Unfortunately these creationists will never change their minds

        Not unless transplants become available! – At which point, they should get a good trade-in price for the old ones in untarnished condition – never been used!

        But never been tested!

    • In reply to #42 by Graham1:

      Yet another stupid creationist story. We know the US is filled with such nutters. No more of this tiresome stuff, please, editor.

      I am an American. This need to be brought out in the public so it can be seen for what it is.
      These peoples view need to be advertised. It’s the only way this stupid crap can stop.

      • In reply to #52 by alf1200:

        In reply to #42 by Graham1:

        Yet another stupid creationist story. We know the US is filled with such nutters. No more of this tiresome stuff, please, editor.

        I am an American. This need to be brought out in the public so it can be seen for what it is.
        These peoples view need to be advertised. It’s…

        As Americans, sorry I’m going to get on my soap box for a minute, we need to do more than educate people about how stupid this is, we need to get more involved in our democracy and get as many of these idiots as possible out of office next November in the mid term elections. Make sure to vote, encourage your friends and family to vote, and get involved in supporting candidates that stand for reason and science. Some places to go to get active:

        Secular Coalition for America

        Global Secular Organizing and Strategy: USA

        Organizing for Action

  18. When are these creationist fundies going to realise that the following statement:

    “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field”

    is on the same level and has as much basis in fact as:

    “The Columbian Mammoth, which was created after Odin and his brothers slayed the hermaphroditic giant Ymir and constructed the world from his corpse”.

    Joking aside this story is incredibly sad. What a bunch of IDiots.

  19. Or perhaps the senator would require this additional tag line if he were representing the state of Washington. “Our state fruit is the apple which indirectly caused the fall of Eden and humanity being cast out of God’s garden.

    Or perhaps the senator would require this additional tag line if he were representing the state of New York. “Our state flower is the rose, which represents the crown of thorns that was placed on our Lord and Savior’s head.

  20. These creationists have a form of psychosis. They are demonstrating a “loss of contact with reality”. The public needs to be protected from this. Separation of Religion and state is the best way to protect the public from this psychosis. I really want to see more people using laws against these religious groups. Children have the right to knowledge and the facts of reality. Organizations that attack these rights need to be stopped. Religion can not be used as a form of defamation against the hard work of scientist throughout history and our current time. The last few centuries of science has debunked the Abrahamic mythologies and the world needs to accept that reality. Promoting a global psychosis is no longer acceptable.

  21. While I certainly, wholeheartedly agree that the wacked out amended bill should not be passed, I must say that neither should the original. I’ve often wondered why we have such things as state birds, flowers, trees, songs, etc. How do these further the protection of our individual rights? Just a waste of time.

    The original bill should be rejected and perhaps a polite letter should be publicly sent to this girl thanking her for the suggestion, encouraging her to continue pursuing her scientific curiosity, but also explaining that the purpose of government doesn’t include naming official state fossils, elements, musical instruments, or anything of the sort. I see a great teaching moment here.

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