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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."
White evangelical Protestants were most likely to not believe in evolution, with two-thirds saying humans have existed in their current form since the beginning of time. Half of black Protestants said the same. Only 15 percent of mainline Protestants agreed.
Views among the general population have remained roughly the same since Pew last surveyed on evolution in 2009, although the gap between Republicans and Democrats on the issue has grown. Currently, 43 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats believe in human evolution, while in 2009, 54 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats held that view.
LAKE CITY, S.C. -- Eight-year-old Olivia McConnell, from New Zion, S.C., is so passionate about science, she can be found searching for -- and finding -- shark's teeth in the playground sand during recess.
Asked why she spends her recess looking for shark's teeth, Olivia replies, "Well, I like fossils."
Olivia McConnell CBS NEWS
Her love of fossils led her to discover that South Carolina has no official state fossil. She knew one of the first fossils found in North America, from an ancient kind of woolly mammoth, was dug up in South Carolina, so she wrote to Gov. Nikki Haley and other state lawmakers to lay out the case.
"I wanted it to be the state fossil because I didn't want that history to be lost, and our state to not get credit for it," Olivia says. "If something's wrong I've got to help out. It's just the right thing to do. That's what I'm all about."
At the state Capitol, Olivia's letter went to her senator, Kevin Johnson, who thought a state fossil was a great idea.
originally posted by: peter vlar
Do you have children? you would be surprised at how well they are able to not just grasp complex ideas but also formulate opinions and dare I say...think for themselves. Why would you think that an 8 year old is being brainwashed and used as a puppet for some insidious plot? What negative connotation can stem from thinking a state fossil is a cool idea? It's not like they don't teach science in the 3rd grade. In fact, it may not necessarily even stem wholly from a scientific point of view. When I was in elementary school we learned about things like state birds, state trees etc... in History. A state fossil is a rather likely extension of such.
originally posted by: TheToastmanCometh
I think they should elect Olivia and other like-minded tots like her to replace the fossils in the state capitol
originally posted by: SoldierCarryingHashbrowns
The phrase "from the mouths of babes" comes to mind here... you'd think something as inoffensive as a state fossil wouldn't ruffle feathers but then I remember that a select few throwbacks are still kicking around...