Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Being all citizenish and junk

Typing a letterI very recently wrote about the bill making its way through my state legislature that would allow the teaching of creationism in public school science classrooms. At the time, it had only made it out of the Education Committee (sadly, by an 8-2 vote), but it has since gone on to pass the Senate 28-22.

This is simply unacceptable.

This afternoon, I got busy and wrote to my Representative (a Democrat), my Senator (a Republican), and my Governor (also a Republican). I wrote similar letters to all, but I reserved the most eloquence I could muster for Governor Daniels. After seeing some of the comments on a local station’s Facebook post about the bill, it only strengthens my belief that the last thing we need is to inject religion into our public schools, especially when it comes to science classes. It was amazing to see the misconceptions and downright perplexing ideas being voiced there, everything from “I say we let the kids decide!” to “Macro evolution hasn’t been proved, because you’ve never seen a species give birth to a new species” to that Golden Oldie “Man didn’t come from apes.” I’m happy to report that my head didn’t explode.

Anyway, here is what I wrote to Governor Daniels. I encourage my fellow Hoosiers who want to see a strong and vibrant scientific community and education in our state to write to your own legislators (if you aren’t sure who they are, you can find them here); I would even encourage anyone from out-of-state to write if you feel that this is an important issue. Who knows? Your state could be next.

Dear Governor Daniels,

I am writing in regards to SB 89, the bill under consideration in the Indiana Congress that would allow the teaching of creationism in our public school science classrooms. As I have watched the bill move out of committee and pass the Senate, I have grown increasingly appalled.

According to a study reported by Bloomberg and many others, America's schoolchildren rank 25th out of 34 countries in science education. It simply boggles my mind that Indiana's solution to this would be to inject a religious belief into our science classrooms.

Creationism has nothing to do with science. It is a creation myth that comes from a religious text, and as such has no place in a science classroom; some try to call it a theory, but it is not a scientific theory. Let me reiterate: it is a religious belief. Contrary to what some might think, most of us opposed to this bill do not wish that creationism never be mentioned. I would have no problem with it being discussed in a comparative religions class, a philosophy class, or a religious literature class. But keep it out of the science classroom.

Although we have differed on some issues lately, I truly believe that you want what is best for our state. You wish to create policies that will make us more business-friendly, and keep our best and brightest students in-state. Allowing this bill to become law will have the opposite effect. It will make us a laughingstock among the scientific community.

It will also result in an immediate challenge by organizations like the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and after millions of Indiana taxpayer dollars are spent in defense of this foolish and shortsighted bill, it will certainly be struck down by a higher court as unconstitutional. Similar cases in Louisiana and Pennsylvania have resulted in exactly that outcome. As someone who claims to be fiscally responsible, please don't force our taxpayer dollars to be spent on such a defense.

Please do not let this bill become Indiana law. As someone who spent her entire career in science, it breaks my heart that we are attempting to reverse advances in science by several decades. Veto this bill if it reaches your desk. The integrity of Indiana's science education depends upon it.

Thank you for your time.


  1. I'm amazed in this day and age Creationism exits..and especially that they want to teach it in schools as science! I want to tell the people behind it that "fine, we'll play it your way..the next time you get sick, no medicine for you-science came up with THAT, and no microwave either-that was science natural gas lines providing heating to your homes, no television, no water treatment, no inoculations against diseases..go sit in your living room and wait for everything you need to miraculously pop into existence and when it does, THEN I might take you seriously. Oh, and if I ever run across you and you were in a car accident and needed a tourniquet or had a heart attack, I won't perform CPR..I'll pray you live and hope THAT works as opposed to actually doing something."

  2. beautiful! i couldn't of said it better myself!


  3. Very eloquent! Next time I'm pissed I should get you to write my speech! I tend to cuss a lot!

  4. Well said... it stand as a very good essay on why creationism doesn't belong in a science class... you also should forward a copy to your local paper as well...

  5. "I would have no problem with it being discussed in a comparative religions class, a philosophy class, or a religious literature class. But keep it out of the science classroom."

    I 100% agree.
    It'd be an interesting class, i think, with a very interesting dialogue.
    But it's not science.

  6. I was wondering through -- now I'm mesmerized. Your presentation was succinct, logical and respectful. I pray that he thinks this issue through.

  7. Great response to the bill. I wish I wasn't surprised Beth, but you know what our legislature is like here. Recently, a law that allows parents to file objections to anything taught in class passed,despite massive opposition. School systems now have to try to find an alternative lesson if a parent objects.


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