Discoveroids & Indiana’s 2013 Creationism Bill

The state of Indiana seems doomed to experience a legislative struggle over creationism soon. As recently reported by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), there is Antievolution legislation on the horizon in Indiana. NCSE says:

Efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution are likely to be revived in the Indiana legislature, according to a columnist for the Lafayette Journal and Courier (November 10, 2012). At the center of the efforts is state senator Dennis Kruse (R-District 14), who told the newspaper that he plans to introduce a bill drafted by the Discovery Institute, presumably along the lines of the bills adopted, despite the protests of the scientific and educational communities, in Tennessee in 2012 and Louisiana in 2008.

This is the brilliant legislator’s page at the Indiana Senate’s website: Dennis Kruse. He pulled the same stunt in 2012, and of course we wrote about it. That adventure starts here: Creationist Legislation for Indiana in 2012? and ends here: Indiana’s 2012 Creationism Bill: It’s Dead. But the bill passed in the Senate before dying in the House.

We weren’t going to write about the 2013 effort until it got introduced into the legislature, but the Discoveroids are already climbing on board (they’re described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page). They have this new article at their blog: In Indiana, Academic Freedom on the Horizon, and it’s by David Klinghoffer. Note his oh-so-clever title, which is intended as a spoof of NCSE’s title (Antievolution legislation on the horizon). Here are some excerpts, with his links omitted and bold font added by us:

Joshua Youngkin, Center for Science & Culture program officer in public policy and legal affairs [i.e., he’s a Discoveroid lobbyist], has an excellent op-ed in the Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Indiana (“The case for academic freedom on evolution and in science class”). The Darwin Brigade is gearing up for a fight in the state, hoping to stamp out interest in academic freedom before it gets out of control and a kid happens to learn something dangerous.

Then he quotes what the Discoveroid lobbyist wrote in that newspaper:

You’ll hear that Discovery Institute, the education policy think tank where I’m a staff attorney, and its local allies seek to introduce “creationism” and “religion” in the science classroom. You will hear that this would cripple science education in the state — if it weren’t for the certainty that the law, if passed, would be struck down as unconstitutional.

I know you’ll hear these things because that is always what opponents of academic freedom say when the issue comes before state lawmakers.

Did you get that? We’re the “opponents of academic freedom.” The Discoveroids’ use of “academic freedom” as a propaganda phrase is a clever tactic because everyone is for freedom. But the word can be abused. For example, the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) uses the word “freedom” in defense of their policies. Their website says: “Our membership is open to all individuals sympathetic to man/boy love in particular and sexual freedom in general.”

To be fair, even though the Discoveroids sling the most outrageous slurs and constantly blame Darwin for Hitler, Mao, Manson, etc., using NAMBLA in this context is a bit rough. Nevertheless, our point is that the word “freedom” can be abused, and the Discoveroids are abusing it. That point is more politely expressed in this old post: Creationism: Abuse of the Language of Rights.

Okay, back to the Discoveroid article. Klinghoffer is still quoting from what the lobbyist wrote:

What’s the truth? Discovery and innovation, in scientific and other fields, depend on academic freedom.


Such a policy, protecting teachers who introduce cutting-edge science — not religion — in their teaching, may come up for a vote by Indiana lawmakers in 2013. If the law passes, Indiana would join other states that have taken legislative action to guarantee academic freedom in public schools.

Ah yes, “cutting-edge science” — like the Discoveroids’ “theory” of a magic designer. That’s right on the cutting-edge of the flat Earth. Then the lobbyist’s article mentions what he considers two educationally-advanced states that are on that scientific cutting-edge — Louisiana and Tennessee. The educational excellence of those two states is generally unnoticed, but the Discoveroids claim they’re way ahead of the other states because they’ve passed versions of the Discoveroids’ Academic Freedom Act.

That’s all there is to the Discoveroid blog article. It isn’t much, but it informs us that the Discoveroids are committed to the madness in Indiana, so 2013 should be an interesting year. The state’s legislature is scheduled to convene on 07 January. We’ll be watching as they flirt with that cutting edge.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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32 responses to “Discoveroids & Indiana’s 2013 Creationism Bill

  1. If creationism is to be taught in public schools, every religion’s creation story must be taught. That avoids showing preference to any religion, which our government shouldn’t do. And it would contribute to a well-rounded education. (Dreaming on…)

  2. Ah yes, Indiana, tsunami-free for two billion years, and a great place to be from, as my ex-Hoosier friends say. Say, if they get this piece of dreck passed, maybe they can continue their assault on American education by reinstituting the bill for which Indiana is possibly most famous, the Indiana Pi Bill:

  3. I find pastafarianism to be quite a fun way of ridiculing creationists without actually having to bother to argue with them…

  4. Ah, Indiana, where the leafy maples grow, the glorious Parkside where the Elkhart River flows. This gambit is just one more reason why the US should be divided up. Several scenarios have been proposed, but I particularly like The United States of Canada and Jesusland.

    @Mark – I have used that phrase often….

  5. Oldthinkers unbellyfeel IDsoc: Freedom = Slavery.

    Klingquaker doubleplusgood duckspeaker!!

  6. @Mark Joseph & Douglas E: Nope. You’re not flushing my home state down the historical toilet JUST yet.

    Retired Sci Guy: We’ve got our work cut out for us. I consider it a jump straight to the “triple dog dare” by using the newspaper of the town next to our alma mater. Fortunately, I have the various state reps addresses already in my files. Guess I’ll be sending out an updated version of my “Oh, HELL no!” letter to as many of them as I can.

  7. I will try (but doubtless fail) to not go into smug mode on this one: we do things very differently in the UK: Teaching evolution key to free school funding deal

    Any attempt to present as fact the view that God made the world could lead to new free schools losing their funding under government changes.

    The new rules state that from 2013, all free schools in England must teach evolution as a “comprehensive and coherent scientific theory”.

    The move follows scientists’ concerns that free schools run by creationists might avoid teaching evolution.

    […article continues…]

    It’s like the Discoveroids worst nightmare. And our own Caleb Foundation in Ulster won’t be best pleased, either….


  8. Actually, the evolution side made the “academic freedom” argument back in 1981, in the McClean case in Arkansas. Teachers were going to be forced to teach “creation science”, and claimed the academic freedom not to.

    But Judge Overton ruled that K-12 teachers did not have such a broad version of academic freedom, and had to follow the state’s education standards. Of course, the judge then tossed out the law in such brilliant, scathing language that the state didn’t bother to appeal, and the ground was laid for the Edwards Supreme Court decision.

    So, not sure that the Discoveroid’s argument has any merit. What a surprise that is.

  9. Ceteris Paribus

    Last year the Indiana legislature didn’t get their creationism bill passed, but did end funding to Planned Parenthood, and again pumped up their already prodigious charter school programs.

    But last year only the Indiana Republicans had only a super majority in the state senate. The state house, where the creation bill stumbled, had only 60 Republicans against 40 Democrats. After the November election, the house now has its own super majority: 69 Republicans vs 31 Democrats.

    That fact ought to singe some noodles off your blasphemous Pastafarian license plate frame. And it will warm the cockles of the hearts of Indianans who dream of a return to the 1920’s, when KKK members filled over half the legislature seats and the governorship.

    Anyone wanting to make making disparaging remarks about Indiana creationism inside the state lines needs to be fully dressed in fire and brimstone resistant armor.

  10. Megalonyx says: “we do things very differently in the UK”

    Yes. You eat kidney pie.

  11. Our Curmudgeon notes:

    You eat kidney pie

    Indeed — but only when we’ve run out of liver to accompany a plate of fava beans and a nice Chianti.

  12. We weren’t going to write about the 2013 effort until it got introduced into the legislature, but the Discoveroids are already climbing on board (they’re described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page).

    This is not surprising; early in and early out is their MO. They’ll egg the lawmakers on now, then disappear about the time the bill comes up for consideration. The only question in my mind is whether they’ll go quietly or leave with a flounce. “Creationism? God? Heavens, our support and active encouragement of this bill never had anything to do with that!!!”

  13. Perhpas it is because Indiana comes up regularly on Curmy’s radar, but it seems like there are a fair amount of Hoosiers and Hoosier ex-pats here. I am one of the latter – from New Paris. Gary, Retired Sci Guy…???

  14. There is no place where the culture war is more stark than Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana, home of Purdue University (Go Boilermakers!). On the one side of the sluggish Wabash River you have West Lafayette, full of horny students, liberal professors in ivory towers and, basically, the Devil’s Playground. (Well, except for the engineers.)

    True fact, there is a fence around West Lafayette not to keep people from coming in but to keep engineers from going out. True fact.

    On the other side of the Wabash is Lafayette. Going to Lafayette there is a sign on the bridge that reads:

    “Warning! There be Hillbillies!”

    True fact, there are no dentists in Lafayette. I’m not surprised that it’s full of creationists, though.

  15. Doc, my dentist is in Lafayette, and seems to do good work, so I think he really is a dentist. However, I get your point. The man who laid carpet in our house was from Lafayette and was missing his two upper incisors. He told us they were rotten, were hurtin’ somethin’ fierce, so he went to a bar, got good and drunk, went into the restroom, took a pair of pliers from his back pocket and yanked them out. And that IS a true story.

    Gary, I hear you about our having our work cut out for us. My wife and I are spending some time in Florida at the moment, so I missed that op-ed piece in the J&C. I knew this was going to happen as soon as Pence announced he was running for governor. We were planning on returning to Indiana in about a week, but I’m thinking maybe we should just stay here.

    One would think they would have learned a lesson from the way Mourdock got trounced, but no…

  16. Douglas E, it’s probably just a coincidence, the Hoosier Connection. Of the four regular contributors I know of (you, Gary, docbill, and myself), I’m the only one living there now, but I’m not a native Hoosier. I was born & raised in Chicago, went to Purdue, then spent my entire career in Ohio before moving to Indiana when I retired. Whatever it is that’s doing this to the Indiana legislature, I hope it’s not contagious or something in the water.

  17. Academic freedom does not include misinforming and mis-educating children

  18. Jim Thomerson

    There has been a previous example of a government supporting and insisting on bogus science. Have we learned nothing from Lysenko?

  19. @Douglas E: I was born and raised on the northside of Indianapolis. My immediate family is spread all around there (Indianapolis, Westfield, Lafayette and Pendleton). I just returned from there earlier this week having spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family.

    When they tried this at the beginning of this year, I sent Kruse an e-mail expressing my EXTREME dissatisfaction with this stupidity. What I got in response (about two months later, by the way), was this:

    Thank you for your email. SB-89 was amended and passed the Indiana State Senate. The Indiana House of Representatives decided to not hear the bill. The Creation Science bill did not proceed in the House, and therefore, will not become law in Indiana.

    In other words, trying to dissuade Herr Kruse fits the “mud wrestling a pig” analogy to a T. I won’t bother. Instead, I’ll hit up every OTHER senator I can, as well as those in the House, to dissuade them from even giving this stupid, insane, inane, unconstitutional bill a reading. Let’s hope for the best.

  20. Gary says: ” Instead, I’ll hit up every OTHER senator I can, as well as those in the House”

    Why not suggest that they amend the bill to add the old Indiana pi bill to it? That should really put the state over the top.

    Amended to add a link: Indiana Pi Bill.

  21. SC said:

    Why not suggest that they amend the bill to add the old Indiana pi bill to it?

    Let’s not tempt fate.

  22. Good one, Gary. (“Let’s not tempt fate.”)

    You definitely understand the mindset of the Indiana Legislature.

  23. RSG said:

    You definitely understand the mindset of the Indiana Legislature.

    *sigh* Unfortunately, yes, I do.

  24. Hoosier-folk – it seems to me that Indiana is a prime example of the depth of the red-blue divide. When we visit Goshen and have breakfast at the County Seat, you will hear talk of “n****** in the White House”, and “Obama will be our last President”. And then at the college, you will hear talk of social justice and conflict transformation. Talk about cultural dissonance…

  25. Its clear that creationists won’t learn from their losses. How many court cases have they lost? The time legislatures are wasting on this stuff is ridiculous. We have far more pressing problems in this country than trying to force religion into public schools and telling people what they can and can’t do in the bedroom.

  26. @Douglas E: It might be an example, but of the examples you cite, I’ve heard the first one in Glen Burnie, MD. That’s a suburb of Baltimore, and has a fairly diverse racial mix. Even though I’ve not heard the second one you cited doesn’t mean it hasn’t been said there, too. I’m willing to bet it has been, along with many other stupid things.
    So (unfortunately), it’s not just Hoosier-land that is home to such stupidity.

  27. Gary: I’m from MD; and have lived in Lansdowne, Linthicum, Glen Burnie, and Woodlawn. When I lived there, Glen Burnie did have a diverse mix, but many people had that “Let them live with their own kind” attitude. Such a shame, really. I was a minority in Woodlawn and never felt that anyone cared.

  28. @Gary – sad but true.

  29. MaryL said:

    When I lived there, Glen Burnie did have a diverse mix, but many people had that “Let them live with their own kind” attitude.

    Yup, Glen Burnie (“Glen Dirty”, as we used to call it when I ran with the volunteer fire department there), the “Gateway to the Atlantic”. I very much had the sense that I landed in Appalachia when I moved to Glen Burnie. Lots of dirty, jacked-up pick-up trucks and legions of rednecks. And, just as you said, everyone was expected to stay with their “kind”.
    Ah, “livin’ the GB dream!”

  30. Gary: for all that, I still miss the general area. Air doesn’t smell right w/o jet fuel fumes! And, old G.B. (between the firehouse and R.H.Lee Elementary) has some lovely old homes. I’m now in SW Florida and while I can get steamed crabs, there isn’t a snowball stand to be found. I have to watch the way I speak, so that I can be understood, and a lot of my accent has gone.

    I’ve never heard “Glen Dirty” before but it doesn’t surprise me. Ritchie Hwy. used to be great for shopping but the money keeps moving south.

  31. MaryL; “…while I can get steamed crabs…”

    What do you do to make them so mad? (Di-dum-TISH!)
    (Couldn’t find that rimshot button.)

  32. LOL! Manufacturers and programmers should be nagged about the rimshot oversight.

    That’s a Maryland tradition: the one crab who gets out of the pot and tries to scuttle away, trailing Old Bay in his wake. He must be mad about something…