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Indiana fails

Indiana is preparing to promote creationism in their science classrooms. A legislative committee has advanced a bill that endorses creationism and “alternative theories” to the vote of the full senate. So it’s not a law yet, but it’s advancing down the path.

Here’s the horrifying part: it was approved 8:2 by the Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee. This is a group that is supposed to be the gatekeeper for good educational practices; you’d think their job was to screen out the random wacky garbage that individual, ideologically motivated members of the senate might poop out. But in the state of Indiana, they’ve handed that job over to goddamned Republicans in a calculated effort driven by their Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, to overhaul the state’s educational system.

It’s practically Republican gospel to destroy the system of public education in the US. It’s always going to lead to tears when you put those bastards in charge.

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. radpumpkin says

    I thought the teaching of creationism in public schools was ruled unconstitutional? why on earth is this pile of stupid even being considered then?!

  2. says

    Don’t worry, they only authorize “the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, so creationism is out.

    Oops, got to finish the sentence–“and specifically mentions “creation science” as one such theory.”

    Oh well, they can’t get the first thing right, is all. I’m sure they’re very intelligent and thorough otherwise (ha!).

    State Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, who voted for the measure, said if there are many theories about life’s origins, students should be taught all of them.

    OK, not a problem. Teach evolution. It’s the only scientific theory out there, dumbass. “IF” there are many theories, students should be taught all of them. You fail at the “IF,” jerk.

    Glen Davidson

  3. A. R says

    I think every state needs to install a Scott-light to summon the NCSE when this shit happens. PZ- and Dawkins-lights wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Imagine a gigantic cephalopod projected in light above the Indiana capitol building!

  4. raven says

    Next up will be:

    1. Bills prohibiting human fetuses to be sold for food.

    2. Outlawing Sharia law.

    3. Outlawing abortion and birth control.

    4. Outlawing sex except for procreative purposes.

    5. Bills oppressing gays.

    6. Bills mandating prayer in school.

    7. Bills turning Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin into fundie xians.

    8. Bills rewriting American history to make slavery a benign institution that never actually existed anyway among other things.

    The Tea Party/GOP are predictable. They have central organizations that just write the bills so some idiot legislator can submit them.

    Indiana must not have any problems if all their government can do is try to turn back the clock to the Dark Ages.

    I’m sure they will fix that and cause as many as they can.

  5. raven says

    A legislative committee has advanced a bill that endorses creationism and “alternative theories”

    Teaching alternative theories = teaching creationism.

    This teaching alternative theories is a fundie xian lie.

    What they actually do is just teach creationism. A creationist teacher will spend all their time babbling on about creationism and then claim there is no evidence for evolution and scientists just made it up because they are all atheists.

  6. Abdul Alhazred says

    If creationism bill passes, almost certainly they will lose the inevitable court challenge.

    But what a waste of resources.

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is why congresscritters and state legislators who vote for unconstitutional measures should be punished. X number (and it is small, say five), and you are out of any elected office, and can’t run for another.

  8. Brownian says

    But what a waste of resources.

    What, would you rather they put those resources into education and risk the kids growing up too smart to fall for Republican campaigns?

    Frankly, I’m surprised Republicans don’t ensure future loyalty by just straight up shooting their children in the head. It’d be a time saver, and even better, all of those notoriously liberal teachers would be forced to get real jobs.

  9. stan says

    Next up will be:

    [. . .]

    6. Bills mandating prayer in school.

    Sorry, that can’t be next up, because it came first. This guy has authored a bill which would allow a charter school to “require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day.” The text includes a provision for students to waive participation, but presumably they’d have to sit there while the prayer is “recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.”

    I assume the bills he’s authored concerning abortion, etc., are just as odious (list of bills authored or co-authored by this douche).

    – – –

    I admit I rather relish the notion of watching this creationism bill pass. The text is rather vague, given an obvious misuse of the term ‘theory’ as it pertains to science, but if it were to pass, I’d love to see parents sue not to deny the teaching of Creationism, per se, but to require that schools teach some other ‘theory’ regarding the origin of life. I vote for panspermia, or magick, or some well-described (but clearly fictitious) piece of fantasy which satisfies whatever silly requirements might be set in place for a ‘theory’ regarding the origin of life to be considered.

    That just sounds like so much win. It would be the literal realization of a ‘Teach the Controversy’ shirt.

    It’s of course ultimately inevitable that such a bill, were it to pass, would be struck down as unconstitutional, but in the meantime we’d have some moderately high-priced entertainment — moderately high, because it would come at the cost of the science education of a relatively small group of Indianan students.


    Stan

  10. julietdefarge says

    “But what a waste of resources.”
    Not from the politician’s standpoint. They get points from their ignorant constituents, and then they get to play holy martyr when the bill is squashed.
    The fact that the ‘war on science’ is destroying US dominance is irrelevant, from a business standpoint. If you only care about corporations, it doesn’t matter if goods are made in the US in sweatshops and sold to the Chinese middle class, or if the high tech R & D is done in the Ukraine with the finances transacted in Dubai.
    Constituents in your district are just these annoying things you have to manipulate to produce the best conditions for the corporations.

  11. ebotebo says

    I recall a thread not too many moons ago PZ. You are wrong for saying “god damn” republicans! It should be: “Fucking” Republicans!

    I’ll say no more.

  12. says

    Obviously this idiocy is not going to stop. Sooooo….get on with it! Teach the fekkin controversy. The sooner you guys do, the sooner you can remove yourselves from the world pool. *snarky grin* We won’t call it the Darwin Award though. I can’t think of a suitable alternative award title for those who purposely choose to be ignoramuses.

  13. Rey Fox says

    But what a waste of resources.

    Oh god. That’s what all this shit is. It’s a deliberate attempt to “starve the beast”.

    There is no line between Republican stupidity and outright maliciousness anymore!

  14. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    A while back, there was a report grading states, and Indiana had one of the best state curricula with regard to evolution.

    I remember calling someone related to the BoE (a science advisor maybe?) who had biology degrees just to thank her for being there. I couldn’t find the phone number, but she’ll probably already know about this, and she’d probably be just as unable to sway republicans anyway.

  15. says

    The heat was stifling, and it pissed me off.

    I was in a foul mood to begin with. The drive in to the capital building was more a conga line than a sprint, with cars piling up in the snow. The knuckles of my left hand were white as they grasped the steering wheel, and my right foot twitched.

    Johnson said, “Sir, could you please release the wheel and sit down back there? You’re supposed to wear your seat-belt.”

    I collapsed back into the seat. Johnson rolled up the window separating us. Fucker didn’t like me driving.

    Fuck the seatbelt.

    He said, “There’s some bourbon in the bar. I got the kind you like.” The green glowing numerals on the dash told me it was time to drink. It was already 8:05. I don’t typically drink before work, but I’m usually in the office by 8, so it all worked out the same, I figured.

    The old capital building leaked like the Exxon Valdez, so maintenance keeps the thermostat pegged. While my office was a nice toasty 74 degrees, the oppressive heat of the inner chambers transformed my comfortable bourbon warmth into a stupefying lead blanket. I wanted nothing more than to sleep, to close my eyes and let this day pass in glorious dream.

    Instead, I had to parlay with idiots.

    “Look,” explained old man Wilkins, “the governor wants us to overhaul education. How do you do that? We already teach science, math, history, English, and gym. We’re not doing too bad in our rankings. What more does he want?”

    I knew Frederickson was a fuckin’ bleeding heart liberal. I expected him to say something stupid. The happy little politically-correct idiot didn’t let me down. “We could overhaul the way schools are funded,” he said. “Schools in rural and poorer urban districts are vastly underfunded, and can’t hire decent teachers. We could bring up our rankings just by increasing their funding by, say, thirty percent.”

    At least Savvon had her head on straight. “Are you a fucking moron? You think Mitch wants to be known as the governor who increased the budget for education?” She’s the only person I know who waggles fingers at people. Her shaking index finger looked like it was about to worm its way up into Frederickson’s nose. “Don’t ever say anything like that in front of Governor Daniels. I will damage you like a frog in biology class.”

    I let them blather on for a time, losing myself in dreams. I realized I still had a swallow or two of breakfast in my glass. I thought about my coming re-election campaign. I dwelled a few minutes on how much I hate gay marriage, especially when Erik keeps harping on how he’s tired of sneaking around and we should settle down. I fixated on how much I needed another drink.

    Finally, I simply tired of the torrent of talk. We’d been in session long enough to make it seem as if we were actually working. “Enough,” I said.

    I had their attention.

    “The solution is easy enough,” I said.

    Frederickson actually sniffed. He’s such a cliché. “Oh? What might that be? Maybe we should reduce the school year by a month, right?”

    What a fucking surprise! Frederickson did have some good ideas, after all. He might make a decent legislator some day.

    “Not bad,” I said. “But really, Daniels wants us to overhaul the education system, right?” Everyone nodded, even Frederickson. “Well, let’s just teach different stuff.”

    I waited for this to sink in. They all nodded as if they understood what I meant, but I didn’t believe them. They’re all chronic liars. Finally, Savvon asked, “Like what, exactly?”

    I’m told my smile is my most endearing feature. Certain reporters claim it looks a bit predatory. I wondered as I grinned whether I looked dangerous or welcoming. At that moment, I didn’t care. “Like this. We teach evolution in biology, right?”

    Frederickson muttered, “Barely.”

    “Nevertheless,” I continued, “we still teach it. Let’s say there are other things to teach as well. It’s not like our kids aren’t already stupid. We can at least keep them from growing up like Frederickson, here.”

    “Oh, thanks,” he said.

    I nodded once, sharply. “You’re welcome.”

    Old man Wilkins looked as if he were holding back flatulence by sheer force of will. While that’s his normal appearance, his eyes fixated on the end of his nose, as if deep in thought, compounding the sense that thoughts came to him like a bowel movement to a constipated cow.

    “That’s not a bad idea, young man.” A grimace tortured his face a moment. “Is this applicable to other classes, as well? Could we, for instance, teach homeopathy in health class?”

    “Sure,” I affirmed. “Not homeopathy, of course, but maybe something about the dangers of vaccines, and the Big Pharma conspiracy, and maybe the dangers of gay-related immunodeficiency.”

    The suggestions came in a torrent after that.

    I felt a little bad for just a moment. The thought crossed my mind, just briefly, we might be doing our children, our state, our very country a disservice. Might we be sacrificing our kids’ futures, our futures, on the fiery and soulless alter of political expediency? Might we be causing harm?

    I tipped my glass back, and the last few drops of bourbon sterilized my doubts. Governor Daniels insists we overhaul our education system. The only other way to do that would be to follow Frederickson’s suggestions.

    And there’s no fucking way I’m agreeing with a communo-fascist Liberal.

  16. supermental says

    “It’s practically Republican gospel to destroy the system of public education in the US. It’s always going to lead to tears when you put those bastards in charge.”

    Very true.

    Seriously makes me feel better to read PZ when he is in this mood.
    I have very little respect for these people…

  17. doktorzoom says

    I’d love to see parents sue not to deny the teaching of Creationism, per se, but to require that schools teach some other ‘theory’ regarding the origin of life…

    I would insist that the Navajo creation story be taught, as it includes a detailed discussion of how First Man and First Woman discovered that his genitals could “shout” quite loudly the first go-round, but not much at all after that, while hers “shouted” more vigorously each time. Kids should know about scientific information like that.

    Also, I think it’s kind of cool that Navajo culture marks an infant’s first laugh as a sign that the baby has become genuinely human.

  18. davidrichardson says

    Now now, guys. Think of us Europeans. We really need to get our economies revitalised and growing again. Please don’t make it harder for us by turning out American students who understand logic, science, rationality, etc. Keep on producing these creationist loons and we stand a very good chance of taking some of your ‘market share’ in science.

  19. RagingPigeon says

    As someone from Indiana…while Mitch Daniels certainly isn’t the greatest guy to be holding office, he’s substantially more moderate than most Republicans, and I honestly don’t believe that this bill is being pushed through by Daniels or has him involved in this. Propagating a social issue such as this one doesn’t sound much like him.

  20. peterh says

    “I think it’s kind of cool that Navajo culture marks an infant’s first laugh as a sign that the baby has become genuinely human.”

    That is the most steal-worthy post of the week!

  21. glennedwards says

    Obviously the Education Committee of the Indiana Senate is just trying to keep up with their (1897) counterpart in the Indiana House

  22. Synfandel says

    Didn’t Spencer Tracy already settle the legal question and get nominated for a Oscar for it?

  23. andrewpang says

    PZ, why didn’t you mention how Indiana’s legislature went anti-union when Republicans passed “right to work (for less)” bill to be signed by Daniels next week? And now Indiana’s so-called Senate Education Committee is going anti-science too! Amazing.

  24. Aquaria says

    State Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, who voted for the measure, said if there are many theories about life’s origins, students should be taught all of them.

    I can’twait for the christer response to the Scientology presentation.

  25. says

    helenarrol #14. Teaching how stupid creationism is sounds like a good idea, but teachers don’t really have time for bogus nonsense. They don’t have enough days to teach the facts. And what about Mr. Hindu who wants equal representation? Or Wendy the Witch? Casper the Ghost? They all have their own special story to be told in the scientific classroom if this passes.

  26. truthspeaker says

    supermental says:
    27 January 2012 at 11:14 am

    “It’s practically Republican gospel to destroy the system of public education in the US. It’s always going to lead to tears when you put those bastards in charge.”

    Very true.

    Seriously makes me feel better to read PZ when he is in this mood.
    I have very little respect for these people…

    You know who I don’t have much respect for? The voters with moderate conservative ideas who would rather vote for an extremist Republican candidate than one of the many Democrat politicians who support moderate conservative policies. It’s like it’s become some tribal thing instead of voting for politicians based on what they actually do in office.

  27. truthspeaker says

    Nigel, that was awesome.

    (7th paragraph, first sentence, you have a tense mismatch)

  28. Pteryxx says

    nigel, you make me feel inadequate as a satiricist.

    Only if he can shout louder the second time.

    *flees*

  29. says

    truthspeaker:

    Thanks. And thanks for the copy editing. That’s the problem with these quick write-offs — I don’t have my wife to check over them for me. (She is in demand as a copy editor, at least among our writer friends.)

    “Leaks,” I guess. I recognize the tense drift across the story, which is generally intentional, but that one is just egregious.

  30. consciousness razor says

    Nigel:

    Very nice.

    When referring to the building, it’s spelled “capitol.”

  31. consciousness razor says

    Uhm, I knew that. I was bein’ all ironical and stuff.

    Ah, I see. A lesser artist would blame his tools, like spell-check for instance, but you are truly a master.

  32. says

    Ah, I see. A lesser artist would blame his tools, like spell-check for instance, but you are truly a master.

    That’s… that’s right! Artist. Tools. Master. Master of my domain and whatnot.

    That’s right.

    I’m glad you see it.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a dictionary I need to consult.

  33. dogfightwithdogma says

    Nerd of Redhead suggested in post #9 that legislators should be punished by removal from office for these transgressions against the Constitution. You are being way too easy on these morons.

    I’d go even further. I think there should be criminal prosecutions for willful violations of the constitution and U.S. Supreme Court rulings on constitutional issues, at least regarding those principles covered by the Bill of Rights. I am so freakin pissed off by the fact that we keep fighting this battle over and over again ad nauseam. This will continue to be the case, so I fear, until we start putting these assholes in jail for violating my constitution. (Yea, I know it belongs to all of us, but this is getting personal for me!)