Friday, January 27, 2012

Science education an endangered species in Indiana schools

Creationism2I make no bones about loving my state, despite its right-leaning ways; I live in a very Democratic county, and I’ve often defended my state based on what I experience here in my little nest of liberals. I was pretty happy when we recently voted in the youngest Mayor for a city of our size, Pete Buttigieg. Super smart guy, seems very decent, and I look forward to seeing what he does with our city. (Sadly, we are out of the city limits, so couldn’t actually vote for him. We supported him in other ways, though!)

However, I am deeply ashamed to see what my state legislature recently did. They sent a bill out of committee to be voted on in Congress. SB 89 would allow for the teaching of creationism in public schools, and it got an 8-2 vote out of the Education Committee to be passed on to the Congress. The Education Committee! 8-2! I’m surprised they didn’t just burst into flames right then and there.

As someone who has tried to show to friends from all over the country (as well as a few other countries) that not everyone in Indiana is a stupid rube, I can’t begin to tell you how humiliating this is. The bill doesn’t specify in which classes creationism can be taught, so it means that any school district in the state could allow it to be taught in science class. This makes me want to cry.

Creationism is not science. I honestly don’t know how I can state that any stronger or convince people who think that “Hey, what’s the harm? Teach both.” No. NO. You cannot teach creationism in science class because it is
not science. It is based on a religious belief and on a religious book. Numerous court cases have upheld decisions that creationism and intelligent design are religious concepts, not scientific ones.

I have no problem with creation myths being taught in comparative religion classes, as long as they are elective classes. I have no problem with creation myths being taught in literature classes as part of a study of religious books of various cultures. But teaching it in science class? I have a serious problem with that. America is lagging behind in science education compared to the rest of the world, and this will only make the problem worse.

CreationismThis is nothing more than religious indoctrination being taught in our public schools. This so-called “education committee” (exaggerated, sarcastic finger quotes) does not seem to comprehend the implications of this. First and foremost, if by some stupid chance the Indiana state legislature actually passes this bill (and I wouldn’t put anything past them), it will most assuredly be challenged and after long legal battles, declared unconstitutional. This will cost the Indiana taxpayers millions in legal fees. Second, it is obvious that the ‘creationism’ they want to teach is that of the Judeo-Christian faith. That is a direct violation of the First Amendment, which states that no religion shall be promoted above any other, so are they prepared to dictate the teaching of ALL creation myths? There are quite a few.

Finally, let me reiterate. I can’t state this strongly enough. Creationism is not science. It cannot be proven, it cannot be duplicated, it is in no way, shape, or form anything even resembling science. It can’t even be studied in order to see if it’s credible. It is not a scientific theory. Some claim that it is, but that shows a lack of knowledge when it comes to the scientific method. It is a religious concept, and as such, has no business in the science classroom. There is no “teaching the controversy,” because there IS no controversy. Evolution is scientific; creationism and intelligent design is religious.

We’re getting close to the Super Bowl, and we’re going to have people from all over the country coming to Indiana. I find it embarrassing that this comes at a time when my state legislature has actually moved this idiocy out of committee. Governor Daniels wants us to be seen as a great place to do business. It would be nice if our legislature would not pass this stupid bill that makes us look like a great place to have a hoedown while we all dance around in our overalls and eat corn and thump our Bibles. Gahhh!


  1. Yikes. Maybe you should build an ark. With an "education committee" like that, the end must be near ...!

  2. i find this crazy as when i taught science in the catholic schools, we taught evolution, not creation if the catholic schools are acknowledging that science is not the same as religion, you'd think it'd be a no-brainer for the PUBLIC schools to follow suit. Then there's that pesky, persistent issue of separation of church and state which will inevitably be challenged, costing the taxpayers money but more importantly, cost the students a rigorous, research based, scientific education.


  3. I hear you Beth, and I am right there with you in your frustration. All of a sudden since the teabaggers got control of things, opinion/belief has become equal to facts.
    You'll want to follow Zack Kopplin @RepealtheLSEA on Twitter, or look into his stuff. He's a high school student fighting the lame law they passed in Louisiana. He refuses to waste his time learning non-science in science class. Quite a awesome young man.
    You might also want to keep an eye on the National Center for Science Education and their Voices for Evolution book/series. The Center is lead by Eugenie Scott, the executive director. She's quite an amazing woman and is neck deep in fighting this "ID/creationism is science" battle. She's one of the scientists who is "expelling" Ben Stein's idiocy. :)

  4. We certainly see eye to eye on this issue, Beth. I've already written to my state senator.

  5. I am in complete agreement with you. I have 2 kids in Indiana public schools right now, and this infuriates me. If it does pass, so much time and money is going to be wasted fighting court battles - money that could be better spent on other needed programs.

  6. So many good things here, but this definitely is not one of them.

  7. I see the husband already stopped by. You'd really like Eugenie Scott.


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