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Feb 01 2012

Indiana takes another step towards lunacy

Remember how Indiana managed to get a creationist bill through their Education committee? Crank up the dread, dismay, and disgust another notch: it has now passed the Indiana Senate, and is awaiting the approval of the house.

This is the bill that tries to avoid accusations of sectarian religious teaching by encouraging science classes to teach “Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology”. They really don’t get it. None of them are science, and they shouldn’t be taught as if they were.

60 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin Anthoney

    Won’t they get sued for copyright violation if they try to teach Scientology?

  2. 2
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    How to recognise and avoid common scams” is a worthy subject for schooling, but perhaps not in the science class.

    And besides: I thought it was against Scientology to teach it without charging money and paying copyright fees. Xenu for free? This bill smells like communism.

  3. 3
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but aren’t the creation myths of Judaism and Christianity pretty much the same thing?

    The more shit like this that happens, the more I feel like having a secular commune on some tropical island is a damned good idea.

  4. 4
    Q.E.D

    So Indiana legislators want science teachers to present the creation myths of christianity, judaism, islam, hinduism, buddhism and scientology. .. when would there be any time left to teach science?

    oh. I get it now.

  5. 5
    beezlebubby

    Actually, three of those faith traditions, Xianity, Judaism, and Islam, share the same origin story: Adam, Eve, Eden, a talking snake, and a forbidden tree. The authors of the bill are so fucking ignorant.

  6. 6
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    When the collective nation gets its ass handed back in school test scores, economics, ecology and alternative energy industry, and various other relevant areas, I’m betting these cretins just double down on teh stoopid and say Jebus will fix it. Moving to one of those aforesaid nations is looking very appealing right now, just so teh stoopid doesn’t hurt so much.

  7. 7
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    Also, I’m just wondering if they didn’t take those ‘Teach The Controversy’ t-shirts a little too seriously. Where the fuck is the Cthulhu Myth then? Doubly ignorant assholes.

  8. 8
    emilyrodgers

    As a Indianapolis resident for my entire life, I can tell you that Indiana Republicans don’t get it, but then again the Indianapolis Star (our largest paper) has a bible verse on the front page every day.

  9. 9
    Snoof

    Not good enough. I demand my children be taught about the death of Ymir, Marduk slaying Tiamat, the marriage of Gaia and Ouranos, Pangu and the void, Tak writing himself and the world, and the Great Green Arkleseizure.

    I mean, all those are _just_ as valid as Genesis.

  10. 10
    jaycee

    @beezlebubby: Islam, Judiaism, Xtianity have the same creation myth, yes. I wonder if this will even cause any detectable level of cognitive dissonance amongst the bill’s supporters?

  11. 11
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    *facepalm* Why are creation myths being taught in science classrooms? This is not even a minorly veiled attempt. It’s forcing religion on children in a science class.

  12. 12
    dutchdelight

    Scientology will not appreciate this bill, you’re supposed to pay before you get to hear all about their creation myth.

    Is the state going to pay for any copyright issues when scientology hears about the abuse of their IP?

  13. 13
    ButchKitties

    It looks like Cranston is going to have to pay the ACLU $173,000 for the legal fees incurred by their battle over a prayer banner.

    When Indiana inevitably loses its lawsuit to the ACLU, I’d like to see the legal costs repaid out of Dennis Kruse’s election campaign funds.

  14. 14
    Makoto

    @Audley – how would a secular commune on a tropical island ever be a bad idea, except for the hurricanes?

    This bill is just plain sad. Stupid waste of money for the writing and the later defending of it in court, where it will lose.

  15. 15
    birgerjohansson

    Snoof: ” the Great Green Arkleseizure”

    You beat me to it!

    Hmm.. didn’t the Sumerian creation myth feature some god shooting semen over the ground, thus creating something or other? The prude fundies don’t know what they are setting themsleves up for if they open the door to creation myths.
    — — — — — — — —
    “Where the fuck is the Cthulhu Myth then? ”

    Yes. Every well-educated kid should know about the rivalry between Hastur and Ctul´hu, and be able to name C;s three avatars.
    — — — — — —
    And I demand they teach how Kangaroo Bloke created the world, back in the Dream.

    The school kids must be allowed to test peyote and other hallucinogenic stuff to enter a trance, thus becoming able to look into the realm of Death the way shamans do.

  16. 16
    Taz

    If I were running against one of these senators, I’d put all my resources into ads declaring that my opponent voted to teach Islam in our schools.

    “Is Senator Blowhard trying to turn Indiana’s public schools into Madrassas? It certainly seems so.”

  17. 17
    jamesmcgrath

    Although dismayed, I have been trying to look on the bright side. The bill does not specify that one can teach about these religious viewpoints in science classes, and that clearly remains unconstitutional. By adding other religions, it also makes it less likely that anyone would try to appeal to this law to justify introducing creationism into science classes, since who in their right mind, or even slightly deranged, is going to give time from science class to several religions?

    And as far as teaching about religions in some other class (e.g. philosophy, world religions) the proposed law will require that time be spent on other traditions besides Judaism and Christianity, which is surely better than being able to get away with presenting one viewpoint as though it were the only one.

    Am I being too optimistic when I think that this law is not worded in such a way as to allow it to do actual harm to science education in Indiana – at least, not without getting taken to court in the same way as would have happened even without this law?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/02/good-news-and-bad-news-in-indianas-new-creation-science-law.html

  18. 18
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    @Katherine#11:

    Why are creation myths being taught in science classrooms?

    They think evolution is a sectarian creation myth.

    What’s boggling is how they can insist theory means “wild guess” then denegrate their own Truth by insisting they have a theory too. And have no qualms categorizing their notion with other “origin theories” that they think are absurd.

  19. 19
    helenaconstantine

    I thought the bill was amended in this way to kill it–to keep the fundaments from voting for it.

    in re # 3
    Considering they use most of the same texts (but add Jn 1:1 ff.), the Jewish and Christian myths are remarkably different. The Christians ret-con Jesus into it. The people Yahweh are talking to and about when he says we–it turns out for the Christians to be Jesus and the holy ghost.

  20. 20
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    @birgerjohansson#15:

    didn’t the Sumerian creation myth feature some god shooting semen over the ground

    The Egyptian myth from Heliopolis:

    Atum appeared on the mound and gave rise the air god Shu and his sister Tefnut, whose existence represented the emergence of an empty space amid the waters. To explain how Atum did this, the myth uses the metaphor of masturbation

    Then again Min was the “maker of gods and men” fertility god with giggle-inducing art.

    One feature of Min worship was the wild prickly lettuce Lactuca virosa [...] which has aphrodisiac and opiate qualities and produce latex when cut, possibly identified with semen.

  21. 21
    wpjoe

    @6 “When the collective nation gets its ass handed back in school test scores, economics, ecology and alternative energy industry, and various other relevant areas, I’m betting these cretins just double down on teh stoopid and say Jebus will fix it. ”

    Actually, I think they will just pass laws to allow public money to be given to private schools and school corporations (as is in the works in WI) claiming that corporations are the only thing that can save our education system.

  22. 22
    anuran

    Buddhist creation myths? That doesn’t make any sense.
    Of course, neither does the law.

  23. 23
    peterh

    It’s unclear as to whether RI, IN, KY or SD has the lead in the race toward another Dark Ages.

  24. 24
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    @helenaconstantine#19:

    Considering they use most of the same texts (but add Jn 1:1 ff.), the Jewish and Christian myths are remarkably different. The Christians ret-con Jesus into it.

    *googles for nutters*
    Jesus says he’s the alpha, no one has seen the father, yadda yadda… so Adam and Eve must’ve been talking to Word Jesus.

    It wasn’t enough to co-opt OT prophecies, they had to splice Jesus into the narrative too!?

  25. 25
    Nick Gotts

    The more shit like this that happens, the more I feel like having a secular commune on some tropical island is a damned good idea.- Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart

    Unfortunately, all those you could actually live on already have permanent inhabitants, apart from the Chagos archipelago, from which the inhabitants were deported by the British government, into poverty in the Seychelles, to make way for an American military base.

  26. 26
    Glen Davidson

    It’s a poison pill, clearly not something the Christers want, obviously not something anyone is going to implement. Just try teaching Buddhist and Scientology myths in the schools, and see how long their “open-mindedness” lasts.

    That is the point of adding in the rest of the world
    s creationist rot.

    Glen Davidson

  27. 27
    scottplumer

    What really makes me sad about that is that, come election time, the sponsors of this bill won’t be taken to task by their opponents for it.

  28. 28
    eclectabotanics

    I’m with Glen – sounds like pastafarianism without the carbs. If it keeps the babble out of the science texts, it works for me!

  29. 29
    Rey Fox

    Ah yes, in no way will this make science education into a huge clusterfuck requiring tons of remedial instruction to any Indianers going to college.

  30. 30
    mcwaffle

    The best part is that Scientology was clearly thrown in as an afterthought, “what the hell, why not?” sort of thing by people trying to make it sound inclusive without actually knowing a thing about it. That’s good PR though, that they’d even get that kind of shout-out. They are starting to seep into the public mind as “acceptable,” at least for the purpose of showing off how tolerant/inclusive/open-minded you are.

    I mean, come on, if you can shrug your shoulders at Scientology and say, “Well, it is true for them” then you’ve basically just… urg… I can at least comprehend why people would have deference for mythologies that are hundreds of years old. I think it’s nuts, but I can comprehend it. But Scientology is just so blatantly false, anybody pretending to be open-minded about it is really just showing their desperation to have somebody believe in their pet absurdity. /rant

  31. 31
    A. R

    Wouldn’t Edwards v. Aguillard apply here? Also, the Egyptians had several creation myths that varied depending on which part of the Pantheon was favored in any particular major city. Memphis for example, favored Ptah. And one even had a god’s ejaculate pegged a being responsible for creation.

  32. 32
    Kevin

    I think it’s a grand idea.

    It would take all of about half an hour to do a quick survey of the various creation myths of the major religions — heck, throw in Pastafarianism, too.

    Then the rest of the term could be spent debunking the myths with real science.

    No, god did not make the “heavens and the earth” at one fell swoop — in fact, it took about 10 BILLION YEARS for our solar system to be formed after the Big Bang. And required at least one supernova in order to create elements heavier than iron found on Earth. That’s why your preacher is wrong, children. You can’t change a “day” into 10 BILLION YEARS by claiming it’s a metaphor.

    I’m all for it.

  33. 33
    andrewwilkens

    The Democratic senator who added the other religions amendment was from my district, in Bloomington. I think it was to shy Christian Republicans away from the bill. But I could be wrong.

  34. 34
    robro

    As noted, despite the effort at ecumenical inclusiveness, there’s a lengthy list of creation myths from other cultures and religions not included. First, one must teach the (at least) two versions of the creation myth in the Bible. Then there are the ancient predecessors of the Judaic-Christian-Islamic tradition in western Asia, eastern Mediterranean. There are also the various remnants of these traditions still in existence such Mandaeism, Yazid, and Zoroastrianism. Then there are the various Germano-Celtic myths, American native myths, sub-Saharan African myths, Malay-Oceanic myths, central Eur-Asian, South Asian, Chinese, Japanese, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And, if you’re going to include Scientology, then perhaps there are other modern religious cults to include. It was, in fact, a course in World Religions that really began to open my eyes to the infinite possibilities of religion and the likelihood that all of them are equally bogus crap. So this law, should it pass, might do a lot for the spread of atheism in our society.

  35. 35
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    What’s boggling is how they can insist theory means “wild guess” then denegrate their own Truth by insisting they have a theory too. And have no qualms categorizing their notion with other “origin theories” that they think are absurd.

    Well, they’ve got a point. If you want to play Humpty Dumpty and define theory as “wild guess,” then all of the creation myths are theories.

    Of course, by that definition evolution doesn’t qualify as a theory.

  36. 36
    Neil Rickert

    Maybe people should use this new legislation as allowing them to dissect the Genesis creation story, and show that it is complete nonsense.

    Let the theists be the ones who squirm, and who sue to have the law declared unconstitutional.

  37. 37
    Loqi

    Anyone who has a child in the Indiana school system should start writing letters about how his/her creation myth is being left out, and threaten to take it to court if they don’t add your myth. If they do, “convert” the next day and send the same letter with a different religion. I’d love to see Pastafarianism, Jedi, etc. on the list. Hell, just start making up religions on the fly and demand they be taught too. For extra laughs, submit a religion in which heterosexuality is forbidden.

  38. 38
    unclefrogy

    I only have the info I see here and other places like this and what ends up in the news but this looks very bad. In practice this will be used by school districts as a way to teach “christin values” without being sued. I doubt it will help good science teachers really teach better science but will most likely help bad science teachers teach bad science (religion). It will be used to foster religion and religious values.

    the effect on education will be negative but the proponents will will not recognize it. I do not see how the bill will not land in court maybe all the way to the US Supreme Court.
    Will the court have the courage to make the correct decision?

    uncle frogy

  39. 39
    ladyatheist

    The latest incarnation of this bill requires the teaching of creation stories of other religions including the Judeo-Christian-Muslim one. Now the religious right is a against it. Funny how that works.

  40. 40
    A. R

    ladyatheist: It is indeed funny that when the very idea that other creation myths that sound about as ridiculous as the Genesis one should be taught, the Creobots spin on their heels. Perhaps they know that if kids are allowed to compare the Abrahamic bullshit to all of the other bullshit, they’ll realize that it’s all putrid bullshit?

  41. 41
    LykeX

    - We’re going to teach creationism in science class.

    - You can’t. It’s not science, it’s just mythology.

    - What’s wrong with that?

    - Nothing, but it’s not science and shouldn’t be taught as such. Teach it in religious education class or something.

    - Hmm, ok, compromise: We’ll teach creationism in science class, but…

    - Yeaaahh?

    - We’ll teach a whole load of conflicting and contradictory myths. Each one of them taught as science.

    - …

    - What do you think?

    - I’m moving to Canada.

  42. 42
    peterh

    @ #32:

    You’re over by an order of magnitude; best figures center on 4.5 billion.

  43. 43
    Circe

    I don’t know, but this might be a blessing in disguise. For me, it was the fact of being familiar with the widely different creation stories of the different sects of Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity that convinced me that they had to be wrong. But perhaps it also had to do with being told early on even by my very religious parents that the Evolution “story” was the real deal.

  44. 44
    alost

    Since I’m not aware of the particulars on how this would be implemented…if these “theories” would not be presented in a non-mandatory Cultures course, how could they be presented into a Science classroom? Many Science teachers are overtaxed as it is in getting through the curriculum, ensuring that students understand evolution in all of its applications in the scientific community, but when this bill introduces several alternate “theories” from a wide spectrum of world religions, how could that possibly be incorporated into the curriculum for, on average, a 45 minute class? Aside from paying lip-service to the idea that several other religious ideas, divorced from scientific theories, exist?

    How exactly will this “encouragement” work?

  45. 45
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    anuran,

    for one there is Buddhist cosmology
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_cosmology

    Some Buddhists also see Guanyin as a creator deity, but this might be due to Hindu influence.

  46. 46
    Therrin

    alost,

    How exactly will this “encouragement” work?

    “Teach this or be fired.”

  47. 47
    willow2054

    As an Indiana science teacher, I am astounded by this. There is so much wrong in the language of this bill, I can’t even believe it. I spent several hours over the last few days writing to senators and members of the house a polite, reasoned argument explaining why this should not become law. But in the back of my head, I was thinking batshitcrazybatshitcrazybatshitcrazy the whole time! Current wording looks like teachers may be required by school boards to present multiple creation “theories” including but not limited to the ones listed. So my corp could require me to teach Christian and Jewish and stop there? That’s “multiple”, even though they’re the same. This is seriously nuts.

  48. 48
    aussieseculardad

    Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel:

    …aren’t the creation myths of Judaism and Christianity pretty much the same thing?

    They’re similar, but have many differences around the edges. For example, Satan was a major player in theology by the time Christianity came along, so he got retconned into the tale as the snake. Also, somewhere along the line, Christians decided that the forbidden fruit is an apple. Jews remain open minded about it, though I’ve heard some claim that the fruit were grapes – because god was saving them for the wine at the first sabbath.

  49. 49
    A. R

    willow2054: If that’s true, than this is worse than I thought, since as you say, they could simply force you to teach only the Abrahamic creation myths on par with evolution. But then again, maybe the fundies are too stupid to see this loophole.

  50. 50
    LykeX

    You’re over by an order of magnitude; best figures center on 4.5 billion.

    Read again. He’s not talking about the age of the earth, he’s talking about the time between the big bang and the formation of the solar system.

  51. 51
    Ichthyic

    The more shit like this that happens, the more I feel like having a secular commune on some tropical island is a damned good idea.

    How about a mostly secular Temperate Island instead?

    With lots of cute flightless birds.

  52. 52
    Ichthyic

    It would take all of about half an hour to do a quick survey of the various creation myths of the major religions — heck, throw in Pastafarianism, too.

    Then the rest of the term could be spent debunking the myths with real science.

    I’ve seen this done.

    it’s fun, but only works for an elective-type course.

    there is simply too much material to cover in most science courses to limit it to this.

    If you really want to try it though, instead of making it a whole course, pick ONE creation myth, spend a day or two debunking it in class, and then offer it as an optional term paper topic for students to do the same with other creation myths.

    Even that would be pushing time, but it could work.

    …and if you plan to try it at the secondary level, expect as much flak as you can handle from students, parents, staff, etc.

    Well, at least if you plan to try it in someplace like the US anyway.

  53. 53
    DLC

    I want my favorite creation myth included as well!

    Roughly 2 thousand billion years ago, our galaxy passed through another galaxy, with the resulting tensions causing thousands of billions of planets to come into being. This event was foreseen by the Arisians, a race of beings of powerful mentality and masters of science and philosophy. The Arisians had planted their life-spores in the soon-to-be-fertile galaxy, and when life did develop, the Arisians were waiting and watching, for the Arisian masters of thought had also foreseen the coming of the inimical other — the Eddorians.

    – E.E. “Doc” Smith. the Lensman series.

  54. 54
    DLC

    N.B. : No, I don’t believe Smith’s creation myth any more than I do any of the religious ones.

  55. 55
    Ichthyic

    from the article:

    The Indiana Senate has approved a bill to allow the state’s public schools to teach creationism in science classes as long as they include origin of life theories from multiple religions.

    great. All any sane person would have to do, including the governor when he vetoes this, would be to simply say:

    there are no theories about the origin of life from ANY religion.

    once there IS an actual THEORY developed about the origin of life from within any religion, and they have submitted the supporting research and observations for peer-reviewed publication, we can revisit the idea of teaching them.

    I so fucking hate that the ignorant have co-opted the word “theory” to replace “guess” in the English lexicon.

    Hell, that ONE THING right there causes huge amounts of time to be devoted by university science educators to repair.

  56. 56
    Ichthyic

    - What do you think?

    - I’m moving to Canada.

    I like Farnsworth’s response better.

  57. 57
    willow2054

    Ichthyic, you’re right… I would be happy to teach any alternative theories to evolution. There aren’t any. And it would be easy for the governor to veto it on those grounds.

    Our governor is Mitch Daniels. I will eat my hat if he does anything other than fully support this. At least I can come here and be around sane people for a while. Sigh.

  58. 58
    willow2054

    This is what I read today, but not from from in.gov

    (I found it here…) http://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/indiana-creationism-bill-is-amended/

    “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”

    So the school corporation MAY require it. It doesn’t specify that this would occur in science classes. And as long as MULTIPLE (that means at least two) “theories” are taught, then it would be legal.

    So maybe my corp won’t require it. Maybe they’ll require it but put it in a literature, philosophy or social studies class (which I’d be happy to see, if they taught ALL viewpoints).

    Or they could force us to teach two – Christian and Jewish. They will have the ability to require this if this bill passes!! AAaaaagh!!

  59. 59
    woodyemanuel

    There is more to this story worth reading:

    “Vi Simpson: The Woman Who Punked The Radical Republicans in the Indiana State Senate and Their Creationist Bill”

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/02/vi_simpson_the.php

    The Democrat, who represents a district centered on Bloomington, says she was just trying to come up with a way to deal with a religious crusade at the state capitol.

    “We have elected a lot of folks, particularly in 2010, who have fundamentalist Christian backgrounds and what I consider a radical agenda of imposing their beliefs on others,” she says.

    The latest onslaught was a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Dennis Kruse, just the latest of attempts around the country to get equal time for Creationism in science classrooms. (Such laws are routinely ruled unconstitutional, but that never seems to hinder young-Earth activists. I have also put in a call with Senator Kruse.)

    “The bill was originally talking about ‘Creationist Science,’ and I thought that was a bit of an oxymoron,” Simpson says. “I wanted to draft an amendment that would do two things. First, it would remove it from the science realm. And second, school boards and the state of Indiana should not be in the business of promoting one religion over another.”

  60. 60
    Atticus Dogsbody

    Zoroastrians are gonna be pissed.

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