Senate Panel OKs Creationism Teaching Bill

Because it’s important to teach one myth as science in Indiana:

An Indiana Senate panel has approved a bill that would allow creationism to be taught in Indiana’s public schools.

The Times of Munster reported that the Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee voted 8-2 Wednesday to send the legislation to the full Senate despite pleas from scientists and religious leaders to keep religion out of science classrooms.

The bill allows schools to authorize “the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life” and specifically mentions “creation science” as one such theory. Creationism is the belief that the Earth and its creatures were created by a deity.

Purdue University professor of chemistry John Staver told the panel evolution is the only theory of life’s origins that relies on scientific investigations. He says creationism “is unquestionably a statement of a specific religion.”

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  • Andrew Hall

    You know, I always wondered about the Nephillim(angelic-human hybrids) in the OT. They existed before the Flood and afterwards. Did they have their own ark?

    • Michael

      Maybe they all died. They’re hybrids, remember? You can always make more.

  • Yoav

    Is there a way to make those who voted for the bill pay the court costs once they lose the inevitable lawsuit and the law is declared unconstitutional, so the schools don’t have to waste any of their already thin budget on this?

    • FO

      People allowed them into power, people will pay.

  • Rob Jase

    Amazing how states fight for the right to be the least educated.

  • drax

    It’s time for the FSM to fly again!! This time to Indiana. The Gospel of the FSM is as plausible as any other creation story. We can’t keep this important theory out of our schools!!!

    • JK

      From our point of view it would be – but the senate panel is christian (TM) and will allow only “theories” base on “christian values” I guess – and the FSM has nothing to do with it.

      Imagine asking the panel to rule to teach “fresh water and salt water” don’t mix as described in the holy book of islam. I guess they would not favor that one either…

    • RickRay1

      I’m on my way !

    • RickRay1

      I’m definitely on my way after I stop for some meatballs!

  • trj

    The bill allows schools to authorize “the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life” and specifically mentions “creation science” as one such theory. Creationism is the belief that the Earth and its creatures were created by a deity.

    Provided, of course, we’re talking about the Christian deity. Watch the self-same Republican panel freak out if any school dared to teach creation science with, say, an Islamic twist.

    • Schaden Freud

      It’s too bad nobody pointed out to them at the time that the wording would also allow schools to teach non-christian theist origin stories. That might have been enough to scupper the bill.

  • Noelle

    I like the idea of teaching the how we use to think of stuff prior to science and how we know what we know now approach. A nice overview of various religious creation stories would be interesting. So too the controversy that comes with science challenging the status quo. Sounds like an excellent thing to include in every science curriculum. Challenge those little brains. Maybe make them write research projects on a religious creation story or one of the legal issues either current or past. The multi-disciplinary approach is more interesting and good for learning.

    • Ryan G

      It sure sounds like a great project…for a history class. Science class should always be about such things as: the table of elements, biology, geology, astronomy, etc.

      Any “debate” about ‘s creation story is a waste of time in a *science* class.

      • Noelle

        Why in the world should history be relegated to history and science to science, as if the two do not exist together? My favorite med school topics were the ones that gave it too me all at once. Show the whole picture. Give me the old timey superstition, the snake oil, the botched experiments, the crap people are picking up on Oprah. Give it to me with the double-blind research studies and all the atoms and biochemical pathways. Don’t restrict me to a star when I can see the galaxy. A child’s mind is not so small she can’t grasp the whole. If my HS science classes had done this, I might’ve stayed awake and paid attention, instead of having to teach it all to myself at home.

        • Siberia

          I had classes in school about evolution that told us about the history of the evolutionary thinking – from creationist-style magical thinking, through lamarckism, and to what we understand as the truth now – that is, evolution. It was good to explain why the others were wrong and evolution is right.

          • Noelle

            And you turned out ok?

            • Siberia

              Yes, I did. I never even considered the possibility of people not believing evolution (it was always a settled issue to me) until I started prowling atheist blogs. Of course, I don’t know whether it’s the same for my friends, but there was no “debate” at school: just facts.

      • Noelle

        If you’re interested in checking out a great book that does this history, politics, religion mix with real science, check out Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon. The most interesting stuff I’ve ever encountered on the periodic table.

      • Noelle

        Also, I would never encourage “debate”, as it is stupid.

      • vasaroti

        Basically, I agree, but I think a clever teacher can roll with it. Take no more than two class periods to discuss creation myths in alphabetic order, with Hebrew falling between Assyrian and Inuit, and ask students to consider the various environments people lived in, and how this affected their creation myths. With the Assyrians, the bonus is you get to introduce the concept of warfare for basic natural resources, and how humans boogered up their own environment.

    • Bill

      Sounds great for a social studies, sociology etc… classroom.

      Not a science class though.

      • Noelle

        You want me to copypasta everything I just replied to Ryan? Or do you disagree with that as well?

        • DMG

          Teaching the context & history from which modern scientific theories arose is of course invaluable. I remember learning about all the stages of development of atomic theory – from the four elements through Rutherford’s gold foil experiment…

          But each historical point was always presented as “this is what we used to believe, and here’s why it was wrong, and the experiments to prove it.”

          That’s not the case with creation science/intelligent design. These movements are not historical – they are modern-day belief systems that claim to be alternatives to the theory of evolution and related science.

          The purpose of presenting creation science in the classroom is not to illuminate the process of finding answers in science. Rather, it’s to instill doubt in that very process, by putting its answers on the same level as, “or, some people think a wizard did it”

      • Bill

        I saw what you wrote to Ryan, not trying to be obtuse just agreeing with him.

        The problem here is not that we should act as if science and history exist in separate non-overlapping universes, the problem is that this is an attempt to have creationism taught AS SCIENCE. If we were talking about a curriculum that discredited creationism as a non-scientific and erroneous example of what humankind thought before evolution, I’d be ok with it. Of course that would also run in to problems, not the least of which will be serious legal challenges.

        What you are proposing is not what is actually being proposed in this law, nor will it exist in American public classrooms. In light of that, I’d prefer if we make it clear that creationism has no scientific validity by keeping it out of science classroom.

        • Noelle

          Ah. I’m not suggesting one do as the creationists are hoping. The bill does not stipulate one needs to. I’m suggesting reworking science education in general.

          I’m also not suggesting only the Judeo-Chritian story be mentioned. As vasaroti says, there are a lot of different stories out there. There are also past and present legal and political battles with science. Exploring them is better than ignoring them. Keep the science hard and strong, test it out, know where it came from, know where it’s going, know what it means. Don’t teach only the rote skills of memorizing scientific facts and then send young people into the world without knowing how to use that information or how to recognize and refute misinformation. Inspire exploration.

          Now spending a lot of class time on myths and fairy tales isn’t necessary. That’s what homework and projects are for. I don’t care for debate as a project (like debate team-style debate with teams each taking a side). I’m talking multiple-sourced research projects. 10 page papers, video-projects, art projects, creative stuff, whatever. I’m also not suggesting an environment where one chooses a side. We don’t choose that Helium is a Noble gas. But we can learn why, where that term came from, where helium comes from, why it works well for party balloons, how much is left on earth, what else it’s used for.

          Why should that be set aside for a different room and time? Why can’t it be inside the same class?

          • Bill

            I like the ideal curriculum you are suggesting, all I’m saying is that there’s zero chance it will happen. These attempts to get “myths and fairy tales” in to the science classroom are not for purposes of dicrediting them, it’s with an express purpose of presenting them as on equal footing with science.

            When Noelle is named dictator of American educational policy, I may be ok with this approach. Given current reality I prefer to keep actual science in the science classroom.

            • Noelle

              Fair enough. I am willing to defer until such time as my dictatorship is well-established.

  • Joseph Bennett

    My own home state can go fornicate itself with an iron rod….

  • night

    It’s funny how their target is evolution, yet they use the words “origin of life”. Umm, apples and oranges?

    • DMG

      Abiogenesis is too long a word for these people. ;)

      But yeah, it’s a pet peeve of mine too when people refer to evolution as a theory about the origins of life. Evolution assumes life already existed as a starting point. It’s a theory of the origin of diversity and adaptive complexity in life.

      It lowers the bar for theories on the origin of life, to be sure – now they just have to explain how some self-replicating chemistry arose – but that’s still a distinct question.

  • GDad

    The kerfuffle in the USA over voter fraud has the wrong focus. We should look at legislature fraud. Rather than keeping voters away from the polls, we should be trying to install some bars to keep legislators out of the statehouse and on their meds.