Creationism bill passes Indiana Senate

Newflash! 28 out of 50 Indiana state Senators are still complete morons (emphasis mine):

On January 31, 2012, the Indiana Senate voted 28-22 in favor of Senate Bill 89. As originally submitted, SB 89 provided, “The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.” On January 30, 2012, however, it was amended in the Senate to provide instead, “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 Senate spent less than twenty minutes considering the bill, with its sponsor Dennis Kruse (R-District 14) defending it. Kruse acknowledged that the bill would be constitutionally problematic but, he told the education blogger at the Indianapolis Star (January 31, 2012), “This is a different Supreme Court,” adding, “This Supreme Court could rule differently.” The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana’s legal director Ken Falk was previously quoted in a story from the Associated Press (January 26, 2012) as saying that the bill is clearly unconstitutional and invites lawsuits: moreover, he added, “when lawmakers propose legislation they clearly know will end up in the courts, it wastes time and resources.”

[…] The bill now proceeds to the Indiana House of Representatives, where its sponsors are Jeff Thompson (R-District 28) and Eric Turner (R-District 32), who is also the house speaker pro tem. Thompson, interestingly, is also a cosponsor, along with Cindy Noe (R-District 87), of House Bill 1140, which would require teachers to discuss “commonly held competing views” on topics “that cannot be verified by scientific empirical evidence.” While evolution is not mentioned in the bill, Noe cohosted a controversial dinner at the Creation Evidence Expo in Indianapolis in 2009according to the Fort Wayne Reader (August 23, 2010). In any case, HB 1140 seems to have died in committee.

…You know, I got nothing. I dealt with this idiotic crap for the 22 years I lived in Indiana, and I’m running out of new material. Now it’s just time to get the popcorn and watch the stupidity play out.

The only reason I wish I still lived in Indiana is so I could be the one to petition for Pastafarianism.


  1. Kassul says

    I wonder how much of his own personal money Dennis Kruse would be willing to bet on this surviving court cases?
    We see he’s willing to spend the state’s money in court fighting for this, but his own?

    “If SB 89 is found to be unconstitutional by our courts, I’ll donate $250,000 to the ACLU.”

    Ahhh, one can dream eh?

  2. Wilson says

    I don’t know. If what the bill says is indeed that “the curriculum for the course must include theories [on the origin of life] from multiple religions”, that sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

    As soon as any religion can come up with a scientific theory – as opposed to a mythology – on the origin of life, it should probably be ok to mention it in class. Until then…

  3. Brian says

    Very big of them to include Scientology as one of the explicitly permitted creation myths! I look forward to the first Indiana teacher that requires a discussion of Xenu on the final.

  4. Makoto says

    It’s the “from multiple religions” that bothers me. Sure, there are multiple scientific ideas of the origin of life, and by all means, teach that they’re out there, how they differ, and what the process is to validate/disprove them. That’s part of understanding the scientific process and the universe around us, both important things.

    But “religious theories”? Religious theories are stories. Could they match up with science? Sure. In that case, teach the science, and note where it came from. They do that with other science (Newton, etc), so it’s not a big leap.. assuming the religious theory is actual science.

  5. says

    Am I wrong or too naive to be optimistic, given that the law doesn’t mention science classes and cannot be appealed to as somehow changing the unconstitutionality of injecting religion into science classes. And at least when it comes to teaching about religions in other classes, it prevents the focus being on only one, which could be viewed as an improvement.

    Obviously I can see some trying to appeal to this law to justify importing creationism into science classes – my point is that I don’t see that it would allow them to get away with doing so any more than they could have before.

  6. Tom Singer says

    Well, as long as they teach the various creation stories from Christianity, Judaism, AND Islam ….

  7. nemothederv says

    scientology? heh
    Today, boys and girls, we will be learning about how life on earth originated when the evil Xenu froze a bunch of prisoners in carbonite and dumped them into volcanoes

    I hope they record the phone calls from complaining parents. I would love to hear them

  8. peterh says

    Don’t forget to include Tolkien’s manifestly invented Mythology of Britain. Or the Popul Vu. Additional examples may spring to mind. If there’s sufficient effort towards a balanced & inclusive diversity, there won’t be time left in the curriculum for shop class or cheerleader practice.

  9. icecreamassassin says

    I too am thinking this…it almost sounds like the bill could be construed as the school corp is allowed to have classes on religious ‘theories’ of origin of life, and should this be the case, multiple religious ‘theories’ must be taught.

    However, I have a hard time believing this is the intent of the bill, seeing as how there is currently nothing preventing religious philosophy classes. I imagine that the lack of mention of science is part of a wedge strategy.

  10. kantalope says

    Test section number three, the weather (1 point each):

    Clouds are made of the brain matter of which titan? Thunder is the result of a) impact from Thor’s hammer or b) Zeus’s lightning bolt? List evidence for your choice. Should you try to appease Poseidon, Njord, Tiamat, or Ulmo during a hurricane and what would be the most effective sacrifice to do so?

  11. lordshipmayhem says

    Kruse acknowledged that the bill would be constitutionally problematic

    “constitutionally problematic” = “patently illegal”

    The stupidity is strong with this one.

  12. says

    I think the idea that multiple religions will pass the courts when a single religion didn’t is… novel. It’s also a bit disingenuous – in practice only Christian creation myths will be taught – saying “well we *could* teach Scientology creation myths too, if we wanted” isn’t going to make this law more egalitarian.

    Also, when they say “Well maybe *this* supreme court will OK it” it’s something of a tacit acknowledgment that they know what they’re attempting is illegal. They’re not really saying it’s legal, or that it should be legal – They’re saying they know it’s illegal, but they think they can get away with it anyway.

  13. N. Nescio says

    Since I moved out to the West coast, I’ve been flying the flag of the State of Indiana outside my house. That’s where I’m from, and I love my home State. I certainly do not love what idiots like Kruse are doing to it. Maybe it’s time to think about taking that flag down.

  14. says

    I want some industrious biology teachers to add in great finals questions like:

    “The creation story taught in Genesis is considered to entirely and empirically false by overwhelming majority of the scientific community: true false ”

    And have enough of these questions such that the students would either have to confirm that their christian creation stories are false and not science or fail the test.

    Of course they’ll talk about “religious oppression”–but nothing on the test would be incorrect or libelous.

    Otherwise–I like the idea of a 2-part final–where the first part is entirely a huge test asking specific mythological questions from all kinds of obscure religious texts…

  15. SuperM says

    “This is a different Supreme Court,” adding, “This Supreme Court could rule differently.”

    That says it all. Indiana, this could be the start of a beautiful theocracy! Yay for you.

  16. Reginald Selkirk says

    The “multiple religions” bit was amended in by Democrats, esp. senate minority leader Vi Simpson, in an attempt to poison the bill. They knew they didn’t have enough votes to stop it outright.

  17. says

    The purpose of science class isn’t to present origin stories. It isn’t religion, after all.

    The purpose is to teach the scientific method, and some things that science has determined to be true.

    Evolution is within the realm of things science has learned about. Religious origin stories aren’t.

  18. Timberwoof says

    Sometimes I wish I were a science teacher. I’d look at all the listed creation myths (and some more) and present what evidence there is for them. I would not miss the opportunity to point out that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam share their creation myths. I would also trot out many more creation myths than they legislators listed, and make some charts comparing and contrasting them. I’d show that all of these myths have a certain mythical or made-up flavor to them, that they have zero evidence, and that they have zero explanatory power. And yes, I’d include Scientology and point out that it was written by a second-rate science fiction writer, and is not all that different from the rest.

    “Now let’s look at an explanation that fits with the evidence, does a pretty good job of explaining how we got here, and still has plenty of room for new discoveries.”

    Hm. Maybe I’ll make some YouTube videos instead. They can’t fire me for those.

  19. says

    As I see this Indiana schools will be required to teach absolutely ANY religious creation story or fall foul of discrimination law. Now is the time for each and every one of us to invent a new religion with it’s own creation story and move to Indiana so we can demand our fiction be taught along with all other fictions. How will the schools find time to teach non-religious subjects?

  20. Ben says

    Wilson’s making a funny. “theories” as a scientific term requires actual proof, therefore NONE of the religions have “theories” of the origin of life, just creation myths. Therefore the only “theory” is evolution, and the bill is contentless because its proponents barely speak English.

  21. jamesemery says

    Hi, Jen! :)

    I’m so glad to see so many new posts; I was afraid you’d gotten too busy to keep up with the blogging! We miss you when you’re not around!

    Also, congrats for getting out of Indiana. That state is beginning to worry me :/

  22. says

    Actually, Oklahoma is trying to do something similar.

    My non-Christian friends were always puzzled by me because the one part of Biology I liked and the test where I always scored in the high 90’s was the unit on evolution. It boggled their mind that me (fairly conservative Christian) could actually process the material and expound on it. My response: “it actually makes sense to me.” Even if I believe there was some hand that set everything in motion, you can’t deny that evolution occurred unless you close your eyes and plug your ears.

  23. Calaban says

    “Even if I believe there was some hand that set everything in motion….”
    Not that there is any reason to think that.

  24. imnotspecial says

    Yes, I believe it can be a good thing. The more kids are exposed to other religions, the more they might conclude that they are all based on human fantasies and that gods don’t write books.

  25. Reginald Selkirk says

    No problem. He just needs to pull a Shortey.

    Sen. Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma… submitted a bill that would forbid the Oklahoma Supreme Court from reviewing the constitutionality of laws passed by the legislature.

  26. Fred5 says

    Of course it isn’t the intent of the bill. This amendment (PDF) was introduced to make it clear who will have to teach this information.

    It’s still pending but could they get more blatant if they tried?


  27. Joven says

    Clearly the earth is a marble floating in a jar of black goop in the wizards academy at Discworld which rides on the back of 4 elephants atop a giant turtle, which travels on a sea of cookie dough inside a giant vat and is the result of a botched experiment by Twilight Sparkle, who lives in Equestria which exists because Princess Celestia beat Cthulhu in a game of poker and she won his vacation planet.

    I could go on, but you could just read about it once the textbooks are printed.

    So, when do we get to pass a law that requires churches to teach evolution and big bang cosmology…oh right, that would be wrong, separation of church and state and all, even though it clearly doesn’t say that in the constitution, and requiring churches to teach evolution wouldn’t prohibit their free exercise…or are we not using the assholes guide to selective reading when we’re going the other way?…

  28. says

    House Bill 1140, which would require teachers to discuss “commonly held competing views” on topics “that cannot be verified by scientific empirical evidence.”

    Well, then, evolution and the big bang theory are safe from this bill.

  29. peterh says

    Consider the irony: All these brain-dead conservatives, who far too often place their insupportable trust in chastity/abstinence for teens, advocate the exposure of said teens to the creation myths of “many religions” including their incest, orgies amongst the gods, fathers/mothers copulating with daughters/sons, gods in the guise of animals copulating with humans, gods as themselves copulating with animals, gods as themselves copulating with humans . . . .

  30. Pieter B, FCD says

    Since they’re talking about education, shouldn’t the bill read “multiple religions which may include, but are not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology”?

    [/grammar Nazi]

  31. Stephen Pollei says

  32. M Groesbeck says

    You’re not a grammar Nazi unless you support military force and/or mob violence in support of a set of rules developed over the past couple of centuries and projected onto what had been (and, realistically, still is) a chaotic, flexible, and heavily context-sensitive set of semantic conventions.

    Since you don’t seem to be supporting violence in defense of an imaginary “proper” version of the language, you’re just a grammar “traditionalist”.

  33. says

    I’ve always been partial to the term “grammar authoritarian.” Traditionalist makes it sound like there’s actually a tradition to grammar. That’s authoritarian propaganda right there.

  34. M Groesbeck says

    I think “traditionalist” works as long as you put it in scare quotes. After all, the “traditions” involved are mostly a set of deliberate attempts to invent extra excuses for classism.

  35. says

    I never said you had to agree. :) I’m aware that there are people that think I’m daft for believing it and I accept that.

  36. says

    It is not official yet but Speaker of the House Brian Bosma has said in an interview that it will not be heard in the house because of the Constitutional issues involved. If this is so, this is good news. I think the letters sent by CFI and other organizations and individuals did have an effect. Now we need to start working on the School Voucher system which supports private schools. Private schools do not have to abide by state approved curricuilum and can basically teach whatever they want with very few restrictions.

    For details on how this proceeded through the Senate with video clips of proceedings, read my two bloggs:

    Stay active and keep writing letters. Also, attend Indiana Civic Day on February 11 at the Indiana State House. This is sponsored by CFI-Indiana and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. So, if you are near Indiana on Febrary 11, please attend this important event.

    We need to keep making our secular voices heard. Look what happened with the Komen Foundation decision. They recinded it after public outcry. We can win this battle with the religious right if we get out there and make our voices heard.

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