Indiana Creationism Bill Passes in Senate

The bizzrre, anti-science bill we last wrote about here: Indiana Creationism Bill Is Amended has just passed in the Senate. The vote was yeas 28 and nays 22. You can check the bill’s status here: Status of Senate Bill 0089.

The text of the bill, as amended, can be seen here: SENATE BILL No. 89. It adds a new section to an existing statute. The new provision says:

Sec. 18. The governing body of a school corporation may offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.

The bill now goes to the Indiana House, where it’s being sponsored by Jeff Thompson and co-sponsored by Eric Turner.

This legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on 14 March. At the rate things are moving, we shouldn’t have long to wait for results. Let’s watch what happens.

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18 responses to “Indiana Creationism Bill Passes in Senate

  1. Charley Horse

    It says must include…from multiple religions…
    Meaning more than one. Well if a school board decides
    to fund a class then Christianity, Judaism, Islam would
    satisfy that requirement and essentially be the same
    creationist myths taught…..
    so looks to me they have devised a method to get around
    the prohibition against teaching creationism. I seriously
    doubt, though, if it is offered as an elective..not compulsory…
    that few students would choose that class.
    Would be interesting to see the qualifications for teaching
    such a class.

  2. If they create a separate comparative religions’ “origin of life” class and do not introduce these “theories” in a science class, they might be able to get away with it for awhile. It *appears* they are no longer explicitly advocating “creation science” or creationism — though a Judge familiar with origins of “cdesign proponentsists” might think otherwise. The obvious motivation here has been religious.

    However, they must avoid mentioning science, the ToE, or abiogenesis in their comparative religious beliefs class. They will also have to define “theory” in this class as different from how science defines it.

    The moment they try to introduce science, the ToE, or abiogenesis into the class (and we know someone will) they will get hit with a lawsuit.

    This could be shape up into the most interesting case since Dover. The DI may not be able to resist the publicity potential.

    But I’m getting too far ahead of things. Daniels should veto it, stating it may be unconstitutional, sending it back to the legislature for clarification of exactly what they have in mind.

  3. Okay, I can’t tell. Are they still talking about something to put in a science class? If so, it won’t matter if they include every possible variation of creation science. Edwards vs Aguillard was very specific; no religion in science class. By including all of them, they’re just making that part easier.
    Assuming this is talking about science. I’d ask the Indiana Senate, but I don’t think they know.

  4. Scientology should definitely be included. Everybody should hear how, 75 million years ago, the evil alien emperor Xenu needed to cure overpopulation problems in this sector of the galaxy. So he called billions of his citizens in for income tax inspections, put them into suspended animation and then flew them to Earth (then known as Teegeeack) in spaceships which looked a lot like the DC-8. Once on Earth, Xenu dropped the bodies of these aliens into 10 volcanoes, killing them and releasing their souls – which Xenu then captured, brainwashed and then finally let them loose to infest the bodies of the primate ancestors of all humanity.

    As this viewpoint is as valid as any other, since it came from a Religion and no further evidence is required than Hubbard’s say-so, it is practically mandatory that schools include it in their curriculum.

  5. If I understand the news stories correctly, it seems that the senator who introduced the amendment voted against the bill as amended.

  6. We’ve been wondering what the Discoveroids have been thinking. Now we know.

  7. As Jack Hogan said, “The obvious motivation here has been religious.” They’ve been scrabbling for a toehold for years, and any toehold will do. They accepted the amendment because they think that if they can present as non-sectarian, their intent will be accepted as non-religious. If ALL religions are accepted as equal, then it somehow isn’t religion at all anymore, and it gets theirs in the door- the others can be booted out later. This is the argument made by those who think the Constitution doesn’t forbid religion per se in the Establishment Clause, just the favoring of any one over another by the government. They’ll work out the details of just how you can do the one, without leading to the other with such a naturally divisive subject, to later. These are people who will not apply the principle of “when you understand why you reject other religions, you will understand why I reject yours,” and it’s corollary, “reject all as equally ridiculous.”

  8. FWIW, this is the relevant section of the Indiana state constitution:
    “Section 4. No preference shall be given, by law, to any creed, religious society, or mode of worship; and no person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support, any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent.”
    So the amendment gets around the “no preference” clause nicely by a preferential reading of the word “preference,” together with “any.” I guess the “compulsion to support” (by taxpayers who aren’t religious) could be got around by saying, “they’re schools, not ‘places of worship or ministries.'” I can see a lot of expensive legal hairsplitting in the future, unless Gov. Daniels (or the House) obviates it by being realistic and seeing that it just ain’t gonna fly in the long run.

  9. Rubble: that’s a little…surprising.
    And there’s this (by way of PZ Myers):

  10. Same question as Gary – did we ever get clarification as to whether this law is referrring to teaching that crap in science class, or as a separate elective? If its the former, they’re going to run into all sorts of legal issues. If its the latter, however, it could pass muster since, AFAIK, comparative religion electives are perfectly legal. Though legality would also obviously depend on what actually goes on in the classroom; there are many ways to take the perfectly legal idea of comparative religion studies and make it illegal.

  11. Personally, and as the ex-head of the mathematics and science department in a British state school, I have no objections to the teaching of the “what” of various religions. In principle. This is what was taught in my school.

    But there were no attempts at indoctrination.

    And it was not taught as science.

    The only problem (and it is an emerging problem in British schools now) is that the education system can be infiltrated by people who cannot be trusted with children, and who will use any chink in the laws, regulations and curriculum standards to push their fanatical views on them. But for these sorts of people, the religious and scientific educational interests of the children could be served without all this stupid, expensive and time-wasting wrangling over the curriculum.

  12. From the link Rubble supplied.

    “There are plenty of scientific criticisms of Darwin’s theory today, and science students should be able to hear about them, not about religion.”

    For more information on teaching the scientific controversy over evolution without bringing religion into the classroom and violating the First Amendment, contact Discovery Institute…

    That’s rich. After backing two obviously religion motivated YECs promoting ID in Dover the DI now claims it doesn’t want religion in science classes. Oh yeah, right, we believe that. The DI is now only concerned with objective critical analysis of evolution and good science and stuff.

    This is why they are often referred to as the Dishonesty Institute. The DI often makes AiG and ICR appear truthful and above board.

  13. Way OT: SC, NCSE has put up a new bunch of Coppedge docs.

  14. RBH says: “Way OT: SC, NCSE has put up a new bunch of Coppedge docs”

    M’god! Okay, thanks. I’ll get to them.

  15. Rubble, thanks for the link. I was with ’em through the first two paragraphs, but they should have stopped there. Of course, they didn’t — they are the DI, after all.

  16. stylusmobilus

    Well if it is ‘not limited to, but may include’….that means Pastafarianism can (and must) be included as well.

    This calls for discussion among the Noodly faithful I think…..

  17. It may not get a House vote.

    Creationism bill may not get House vote

    A Senate-approved plan allowing public schools to teach creationism probably will not be voted on by the Republican-controlled House.

    House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he has not made a final determination on whether Senate Bill 89 will get a hearing and vote, but said he believes the General Assembly should not mandate what’s taught in science classrooms.

    “Delving into an issue that the United States Supreme Court has, on at least on one occasion, said is not compliant with the Constitution may be a side issue and someplace we don’t need to go,” Bosma said. “Parents, families have a choice on where their children go to school; it’s an increasing choice now due to the legislation we passed last year.”

  18. @Jack Hogan: Thanks for the link. I read through the article, then read the comments. As usual, the comments for teaching creationism were the usual “God of the Gaps”, “It’s only a theory and my theory is as good as your theory”, “let the kids decide”, and “evolution is a liberal agenda concept that will only lead to the downfall of society”. Considering that Kruse comes from northwest Indiana, these are his constituents. And it shows.
    I especially liked the one guy who said, in his kids’ science class, creationism is taught next to evolution. He’d also put his kids against anyone in the world. Personally, I’d like to see that. I have a few kids I can think of I’d put up against his.