Indiana Creationism: New Bill for 2015

The state of Indiana didn’t have a creationism bill to consider last year, but they did the year before. That was Indiana Creationism: Dennis Kruse Again. Now it appears that Senator Dennis Kruse is back in action.

In the Journal and Courier of Lafayette, Indiana we read Evolution, science back in bill’s cross hairs. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Sen. Jeff Raatz says he doesn’t have a problem if teachers who don’t see eye to eye with the science curriculum in their classrooms decide to turn the tables on what he considers any sort of “science with controversy.” The ethics of human cloning. Climate change. Evolution.

Raatz? Who’s he? Here’s his page at the Indiana Senate’s website: Senator Jeff Raatz. He and Kruse have introduced Senate Bill 562, which:

Requires the state board of education, the department of education, governing bodies of school corporations, superintendents, principals, and other public school administrators to: (1) endeavor to create an environment within public schools that encourages students to explore questions, learn about evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to different conclusions and theories concerning subjects that have produced differing conclusions and theories on some topics; and (2) allow a teacher to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of conclusions and theories being presented in a course being taught by the teacher. [Bold font added by us.]

That looks familiar. Back to the Journal and Courier:

In fact, the Indianapolis Republican said, those teachers should have the right to discuss and teach competing theories, while being defended against reprisal from the state or their districts. Call it a back-door approach to failed attempts to chip away at state standards on teaching evolution and to bring creationism into the public school classroom, if you want, Raatz said. The bulk of the science world probably will, he figured. He considers it a call to action on critical thinking.

Ah, just what Indiana needs — a courageous creationist. Let’s read on:

This week, Raatz and Sen. Dennis Kruse — who has made a cottage industry out of taking swipes at evolution being taught in Indiana classrooms — filed a bill crafted from model legislation built by one of the leading anti-evolution think tanks in the United States.

Jeepers — what think tank could that be? The news story continues:

“Here they go again,” groaned Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, an Oakland-based group.

The NCSE has a good article on this bill — see Antiscience legislation in Indiana. Here’s more from the Journal and Courier:

The bill does fulfill a promise Kruse made two years ago. In 2012, Kruse carried a bill that would have given local school boards the option to “require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science.” … Kruse’s 2012 bill ultimately was watered down — it cleared the Senate as a measure that gave schools permission to create non-science elective courses that looked at the origin of life — and then was trashed by the Indiana House.

We wrote about that: Indiana’s 2012 Creationism Bill: It’s Dead. The thing had been amended to the point where it was totally crazy. It provided: “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.” So Krause vowed that he’d be back. Moving along in the news story:

As the next General Assembly session approached in 2013, Kruse said he was working on a new approach with legislation developed with the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based public policy think tank and leading proponent of teaching science through the lens of intelligent design.

Krause is a smart man — he consulted with the experts. We’ve written about their proposed legislation — see Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws. Another excerpt:

But Senate Bill 562 doesn’t specifically mention evolution. Instead it covers “some scientific subjects, such as, but not limited to, human cloning, (that) may produce differing conclusions and theories.” But Raatz said he would open the door to any controversial science topic — whether it includes intelligent design or anything else.

Not very subtle. On with the article:

“Could it be seen as an anti-evolution bill? Could be,” Raatz said. “That doesn’t bother me at all. Essentially, we’re saying there are competing theories and we should allow the discussion in the classroom. Not to promote anything or one over another. But that we should have the ability to discuss.”

No, not very subtle at all. Here’s our last excerpt:

[Raatz] said he expects Senate Bill 562 will land in the Senate Education and Career Development Committee. Raatz is a member of the committee. Kruse is the committee chairman. No hearings had been set as of Tuesday.

Yowie — the Education Committee is run by creationists! Well, maybe the rest of the legislature has some brains. We shall see. The Indiana legislature adjourns on 29 April.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Indiana Creationism: New Bill for 2015

  1. Being a born & bred Hoosier, the following is said in a completely deadpan manner:

    Oh. Yay.

  2. Presumably the teaching of critical thinking goes as far as finding the weaknesses in ID too. Or is it only evolution that is wrought with errors?

  3. Creationists can say “there are “competing theories” to evolution. They can say the moon is made of green cheese, too (a “competing theory” regarding the moon’s physical makeup). Or if they’re not willing to go quite that far, they can just say the moon landings were faked. (Some people actually do.) But saying so doesn’t make it so.

    Creationism isn’t a “theory,” it’s a doctrine. The proof is that for all its claims of evidence, none of the original “findings” they lay claim to actually support their ideas. Either they’re willful misrepresentations, or they’re outright frauds, or they simply aren’t reproducible by anyone not committed to creationism (in which case they may be the results of incompetence or, again, fraud). That’s why they’re reduced to challenging the evidence for evolution: they haven’t any of their own besides “it says so in the Bible,” and it’s been a couple of centuries since that counted as scientific proof.

  4. Hey, that reminds me. The Disco Tute was going to “take action” against Ball State. What ever happened to that?

  5. Thanks for the reminder, LadyAtheist.

  6. And Indiana wonders why so many of her graduates leave the state after graduating from Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Indiana State…….

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is of one mind with Kruse and Raatz. He’s always speaking of his efforts to attract high-tech companies to Indiana. Good luck with that if this bill becomes law.

  7. rsg notes “And Indiana wonders why so many of her graduates leave the state after graduating from Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Indiana State…….” and….Goshen, Manchester, Earlham…..
    A Hoosier in Colorado

  8. @ Gary #1:

    I’m a Cornstalker born, but a Sandgroper bred, and I join you in your enthusiasm. Fizz pop.

  9. @Eric Lipps
    As to creationism not being a theory – of course, I agree.
    What I think of is an “advertising concept” – except that this may be thought of as a theoretical concept – what an advertising campaign is based on. “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs are what you want” (I hope that I am inadvertently plagiarizing anything more than the name of Calvin’s favorite cereal). Sort of like political campaigns rather than consumer products, though, with negative ads being prominent.

  10. At least these guys are up front about their motives, and what they hope their legislation will permit teachers to do.

    As we all know, ID was designed not as a science, but as a support for legislation. All of the vagueness about the designer and the careful avoidance of who/what/where/when/how questions makes no sense from a scientific perspective, but makes complete sense from a legal perspective. Even so, the DI’s motives are so explicitly stated and transparently anti-science that it should cause trouble when a legislator admits openly to having consulted with the DI in crafting the bill, no matter how carefully the bill avoids references to creationism/ID. Hopefully that will be the case.

  11. There are judges who have ruled, in Federal Courts, “Creationism is not science.”.