Creationist Legislation for Indiana in 2012?

We haven’t had any creationist legislation proposed in Indiana in the almost four years this humble blog has been around. The only time we’ve mentioned the state was to talk about one of their congressmen: Mark Souder, Creationist Fool, Resigns.

Well, we also reported Whitcomb at Ft. Wayne Creationist Revival Meeting, and those events are often used for creationist networking, so perhaps today’s news was inevitable. Anyway, Indiana now joins the wretched roster of states that — in this century! — are considering laws to force creationism into public school science classes.

In the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Indiana we read What’s next: Creationists in the classroom. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

After the 2011 session, it’s tough to imagine what education issue GOP lawmakers could possibly offer to push Indiana schools further behind. Now we know – creationism in the classroom.

We like the reporter’s attitude. The tale continues:

Sen. Dennis Kruse, chairman of the Senate education committee, has filed SB 89, providing that “the governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.”

M’god — he’s chairman of the education committee! This is his page at the legislature’s website: Senator Dennis Kruse. His occupation is one we haven’t seen yet for a creationist legislator — he’s an auctioneer. And here’s his bill: Senate Bill 0089. It would add a new section to an existing statute. The proposed new section provides, as the newspaper correctly reported:

Sec. 18. The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.

That’s rather straightforward. It’s also idiotic. It’s not even one of those slippery “academic freedom” bills. It’s raw creationism. The man must have been living alone in a cave for the last 20 years. That bill could never survive a court test. Let’s read on in the Journal Gazette:

Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education [NCSE], told me that attempts to pass creation science legislation are practically unheard of given the decisive 1987 Supreme Court ruling. By a 7-2 vote, the court ruled that Louisiana’s Creationism Act, which allowed the instruction of evolution only if it was taught alongside creationism, was unconstitutional.

She’s talking about Edwards v. Aguillard. We continue:

Kruse filed a creation science bill in 2000, when he was a first-term state representative. It died in committee in the Democratic-controlled House. Today, he’s an influential committee chairman in a GOP-controlled General Assembly.

Whoa, baby! This thing might have a chance of passing. Here’s one last excerpt:

One thing is certain: If Kruse wants the bill approved in this short session, it will happen. If the legislation reaches the full Senate and House, Republicans there will have a difficult time rejecting it.

Isn’t that great? Hey, NCSE has a post about the news: Creationist legislation in Indiana. You’ll want to read it for yourself, but we have to highlight this:

“The obvious problem,” commented NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott, “is that the Indiana legislature can’t authorize a school district to violate the Constitution. … It’s disturbing that a veteran legislator like Kruse is ignorant of — or indifferent to — the blatant unconstitutionality of his bill.

From this source we learn that the Indiana legislative session for 2012 runs from 04 January to 14 March. We’ll be watching.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

23 responses to “Creationist Legislation for Indiana in 2012?

  1. Over the years I have received messages from colleagues in ‘northern’ states strongly criticizing Oklahoma and other ‘southern’ states for having such ignornant legislators for introducing creationist bills. My answer was always ‘be careful, these bills will likely appear in your state in the future.’ The recent bills in New Hampshire and Indiana prove me correct. As long as we have ignornant fundamentalists in state legislators (and most states have some) we will continue to see this craziness spread.

    In many cases the authors do not expect the bills to pass, but file them to please their conservative voters, but there is always the chance they might pass. They MAY even know that they are unconstitutional, but do not care as long as they believe they are pleasing their constituents. State science and other organizations, as well as individual voters, need to oppose the measures vigorously throughout the legislative process. Battling these bills gets tiresome, but we can not stop efforts to defeat them.

  2. Let’s go back to Dover (where the Disco Tute still lives in 2005) and review our history.

    The Dover Area School Board mandated the “teaching” of intelligent design creationism. The science teachers refused to do so citing their professional code of ethics to not teach false information. It was the school administration, not the teachers, who read the infamous creationism statement in the biology classroom.

    As Barbara Forrest pointed out recently, science teachers will do what science teachers do and that’s teach science. In my experience, a creationist teacher (e.g. John Freshwater) will teach creationism illegally whether sanctioned by an authority or not.

    All of these academic freedom, teach the controversy and creationism bills are nothing more than a Dover Trap and any teacher or school that steps into it will find out that neither the school administration, school district, state school board, legislature or propaganda stink tank (Disco Tute) will prevent a federal suit. And like Dover, it will be over.

    Until the next time.

  3. Doc Bill: All true, but why go through the legal process, wasting state and other funds, if the bills can be defeated in legislatures? Also, we have found that fights to oppose such legislation provides an opportunity for proper education of voters on the issues.

  4. Holy $h*t!! First, the Indiana legislature passed the voucher act, now law, giving state money to parochial schools, and now this! The voucher law is being challenged in court, as this creationism act would surely be if it were to become law, but what a waste of money! And that’s MY money, because I live here in Hoosierland.

    If Sen. Dennis Kruse doesn’t know that his bill is unconstitutional, he certainly will shortly, as will the rest of the legislature. Any legislator voting for this piece of excrement should be impeached for violating his or her oath of office, wherein the legislator vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution. In fact, once Kruse is informed of his bill’s unconstitutionality, he should be impeached if doesn’t immediately withdraw it. (Of course, such impeachment would never happen, since his party is in the majority.)

  5. vhutchison says: “The recent bills in New Hampshire and Indiana prove me correct.”

    Yes, the rot is spreading to the north. It’s not a good trend.

  6. V is right. Huge sums of money have already been wasted on this nonsense, and for what? Kangaroo Kourts, textbook stickers, never-ending appeals by crackpot teachers and don’t get me started on the Texas state BOE! However, as we’ve seen in Texas (and, potentially, in Dover if things has gone another way) the ideologues won’t stop with creationism. Social studies “re-engineering” is right behind.

    Nope, Barney Fife was right. We’ve got to nip it! Nip it in the bud! Nip!

  7. Ceteris Paribus

    Re ‘the rot is spreading to the north’, Indiana was never a prototype northern state. According to Wikipedia, in 1925 over half the members of the General Assembly, and the Governor, were members of the Indiana Klan.

    When I was working there around 1990, I witnessed an Indiana architect openly make a racial remark during a design meeting for the construction of a university building located just across the river from Louisville, KY.

    RetiredSciGuy can tell us if the situation has changed much, but while I was there I-70, running east to west thru Indianapolis, pretty much defined the cultural border between north and south for that state.

  8. Doc Bill: “The science teachers refused to do so citing their professional code of ethics to not teach false information.”

    Everyone needs to read that 1000x. The objection was to false information. Not constitutionality. Not religion.

    Pardon the broken record, but we have not one, but two, very different battles to fight. The courts, like Dover, have been doing one job well so far. But why in God’s name do we keep duplicating their effort? Note: I am not saying that we should not summarize the court cases often. In fact we’re not doing that enough because most people still never heard of Dover. All I’m saying that we are doing ourselves a great disservice if our only objection to the anti-evolution activists’ demands is that they are illegal, or worse, “religious.” Most people, and thus most NON-Fundamentalists, don’t care. And they like religion. But they don’t like bearing false witness. That majority would care if they knew that anti-evolution activism is immoral, and misleads students. They would care if they knew that students are already free to learn anti-evolution propaganda on their own time and their parents’ dime, and ignore the refutations if they so wish. They would care if they knew that the scam artists and their trained parrots demand that students learn false information precisely where they’re least likely to challenge it, and at taxpayers’ expense to boot. They would know which side is truly demanding censorship, and that it ain’t us “Darwinists.”

    I know there are lots of issues, and that Fundamentalists will continue to be elected for the foreseeable future. But not all radical Fundamentalists deny evolution, and even many who do will not risk pursuing anti-evolution legislation. The least we can do is influence which Fundamentalists get elected. Most Fundamentalist voters care much more about abortion and gay marriage than they do about evolution or creationism. I too used to think that evolution education was a “minor issue.” But it gets right to the heart of “how we think.” As the Curmudgeon says, this country was founded on Enlightenment principles. Radical authoritarians lately like to downplay that and play up that it was founded on Biblical principles. The fact is that they’re both right, and the common principle is “thou shalt not bear false witness.” Anti-evolution activism violates that. It’s that simple.

  9. Don’t all of these legislative efforts and their associated legal challenges boil down to just two options: either the “intelligent designer” is an alien of a sufficiently advanced race, in which case these folks want us to believe we may have been created by aliens, or the “intelligent designer” was one of a myriad of gods (Odin, Krishna, etc.) in which case religion is being inserted into a science curriculum.

    And, wouldn’t we have to go through all of the creation myths, er, scenarios, and study them one by one, starting with the Egyptian gods who masterbated and from their seed came the human race? And would the Yahwist’s tale stand out as any more reasonable than any of those other nonsenses?

    Why don’t we draw up a real ID curriculum with all of the possible IDers: aliens, Eqyption gods, Norse gods, Etruscan gods, Greek gods, Roman gods, etc. And submit that curriculum as an amicus brief on their behalf? Let’s be proactive!

  10. I guess Kruse hasn’t signed on to the DI’s ID lie, errr, ummm, I mean “strategy”.

    Even though the courts struck down teaching “creation science” in public school classrooms over 30 years ago, like the Polish military in 1939 attacking Nazi tanks with horse mounted cavalry and challenging the Luftwaffe with biplanes, Kruse is still trying to use “creation science” as his primary anti-evolution weapon.

    Kruse is more ignorant than the average creationism activist. Most know enough not to suggest teaching “creation science” in public schools. The DI has even abandoned, for now, attempts to get ID into public school classrooms and has instead adopted the fall-back strategy of pushing “critical analysis” of evolution in classrooms. Kruse is way behind the times in anti-evolution warfare.

  11. @stephenpruis:

    You are doing what ~99% of us “Darwinists” do, and what I consider “taking the bait.” Clueless Biblical rubes might squirm, but ID peddlers have a well-rehearsed response that they take no position on the designer’s identity, and don’t advocate teaching ID anyway (at least in the last ~10 years).

    It’s much better to ask them designer-neutral “what happened when” questions like “How many years ago did life originate on Earth?” and “Which lineages share common ancestors?” Clueless rubes might give opinions revealing their YEC or OEC preference, but what’s more important than the Genesis link is that the claims are easily falsified – not to mention mutually contraditctory if you can get different answers from different rubes.

    Meanwhile ID peddlers, and politicians like the 2 Ricks (Perry & Santorum) who are in on the scam, dread questions like that. Oh, they’ll likely smile, evade the question and change the subject, but that’s only because they’re confident that such questions will rarely be asked. If they are asked enough – and there are 1000s of “what happened when” questions that “Darwinists” are glad to answer and back up with independently verifiable evidence but the scam artists know better than to try – they will start to squirm. The Fundamentalists that they pander to will forgive them, but the majority will lose patience at the evasion.

  12. Posted on Facebook by Genie Scott:

    “This is supposed to be a slow week! This bill sounds silly, but it might be more worrisome, as Sen. Kruse is chair of the education committee and according to Indianans, has a lot of clout in the legislature. Hard to imagine there would be enough Indiana legislators to totally thumb their noses at the Supreme Court, but there have been other currents in American politics that seem to express willingness to do so, so maybe.
    http://ncse.com/news/2011/12/creationist-legislation-indiana-007001

  13. In this particular place, the law in question supports “creation science”, and I suspect that if someone asked the legislator “what happened and when” that the answer would be simple: “In the beginning God created.”

    http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/IN/IN0089.1.html

    “Sec. 18. The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.”

  14. Ceterus Paribus comments, “RetiredSciGuy can tell us if the situation has changed much, but while I was there I-70, running east to west thru Indianapolis, pretty much defined the cultural border between north and south for that state.”

    The bigotry is less open, but it isn’t limited to just Indiana. Most of my years have been spent in Ohio and Illinois, and I think there is little cultural difference between these three states. I currently live in the northern half of Indiana, and the bigotry here is about the same as one would encounter south of I-70. You still see plenty of Confederate flags, and up here it has nothing whatsoever to do with “preserving the proud “Southern Heritage”.

    But all this is far off-topic.

  15. TomS: “I suspect that if someone asked the legislator ‘what happened and when’ that the answer would be simple: ‘In the beginning God created’.”

    You know better than almost any other critic of ID/creationism that we can never give scam artists or their trained parrots questions that allow such an evasive answer. Wording like “how many years ago” and “how many ‘kinds’ were created individually” is what’s needed at a minimum. Fence-sitters in the audience need to see the blatant double standard, whereby deniers demand that “Darwinism” account for the whereabouts of every atom since the beginning of the Universe, but they are exempt from answering even most basic questions about their alternate “theory.”

    Since Michael Behe is one of the most cited evolution-deniers of the last 20 years, and is the one who has publicly conceded the most to evolution, namely ~4 billion years of common descent, every evolution-denier needs to be asked whether they agree with Behe on that, and if not, whether they ever challenged him directly.

  16. It’s always so tempting to take the bait offered by the creationists and pretend that they have some legitimate issues to discuss. Scientists are always so eager to talk about their particular interests, so they explain information theory or population genetics to an audience who were only too glad never to look at a science textbook again. The outcome of that is that the impression is left of creationism that they might be wrong, but that it is worthwhile to study it.

    Please, “creation scientists”, tell us when the creation stopped, what sort of animal was it that lacked eyes before they got eyes intelligently designed into them, why are humans more like chimps than like any other thing on Earth today, … All of the questions that would come to mind if someone were seriously thinking about describing a “creation science”.
    What would you teach in a class after saying “in the beginning God created”?

  17. TomS asks:

    What would you teach in a class after saying “in the beginning God created”?

    The same thing you’d teach in a class on abstinence, after saying: “Don’t do X or Y or Z until you’re married.”

  18. I recently discovered the “Planet of the Apes” by Faye Flam of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and I highly recommend it.
    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evolution/
    She recently informed us about another bill in New Hampshire, and there is something about them at ncse.com.
    What struck me about this was this from one of the NH legislators, which contrasts with the IN bill:
    Hopper acknowledged that although he would like to see “intelligent design” taught in classrooms, he was not able to find a successful legislative precedent.

  19. First, my sympathies to RetiredSciGuy – we ‘saw the light’ in 1968 and left Elkhart County for the Rocky Mountains. As we Hoosier expats like to say, “Indiana is nice place to be from.” We still have family and friends in the area and I can attest first hand that racism and anti-intellectualism is alive and well in northern Indiana. Obama is the Muslim anti-Christ, Latinos should all be sent ‘back home’, ‘we want our country back’ and the N-word for blacks are all common in Goshen. And of course the pacifist Mennonite college is continually chastised for being anti-American. Thus, the creationist gambit in the Indiana legislature comes as no surprise.

  20. Come on people. Please explain what’s constructive about dredging up crap from 85 years ago to try to tar Indiana–the old ridiculous KKKanard, as though it explains everything about a state of over 6 million people in which a majority voted for Obama. Why? I’m as against the creationist bill passage in my home state as anyone else here, but I don’t think it reflects much of anything other than the delusions of Sen. Kruse. An active atheist group in Indianapolis–gasp! a part of town that is south of I-70–is very big on vocally and publicly opposing this. To say this junk about Indiana (or Ohio and Illinois for that matter) makes you no better than the people branding secularists as cannibals of aborted children, or whatnot. And guess what, Douglas E–those idyllic havens in Rocky Mountains have a far higher concentration of white supremacist groups than the Midwest does! Your smugness betrays the fact that, if you even have people of other races living near you (and much of the Rocky Mountains do NOT) they’re are some who are apt to say much the same thing. The Bible might be a work of fiction, but its sawdust/plank analogy still has cogency among persons of faith and non-faith. You’ve reminded me of why I stayed in the Hoosier State: even the religious fundies of not-so-great education level are at least generally decent and lack the sneering hubris of many of the posters here.

  21. Well, so much for my failed attempt at a bit of tongue-in-cheek Hoosier heckling. I mistakenly thought that we Hoosiers could poke a bit of fun at ourselves. So, to be more serious, obviously Indiana has a large number of great people past and present including the folks who ran the Hoosier House, just north of New Paris, that was an important link in the Underground Railroad; the folks at Goshen College who invited MLK Jr to the campus even though he could not be lodged at any motel or hotel in Goshen; and so on. Although I would like to see the data re white supremacist groups in Colorado vs Indiana, I will acknowledge that we have a significant population of folks who revile and want to discriminate against gays and lesbians – Focus on the Family being a leader in this arena – and against other minorities. And I will stand by my personal observation of overt racism re the POTUS, heard in coffee shops, the barber shop and even in churches in Indiana whereas I have personally heard no such vitriol in Colorado. Of course it exists in both states, but appears to me to be much more overt in Indiana.

    ps Colorado has a white person not Hispanic population of 70% and Indiana’s percentage is 81.5%

  22. Douglas E says: “Well, so much for my failed attempt at a bit of tongue-in-cheek Hoosier heckling.”

    Hey, don’t forget the Indiana Pi Bill.

  23. A great hoozer tale!