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Opening Arguments

Another pointless gesture

Is there anybody who can actually argue with a straight face that this meets constitutional muster?

INDIANAPOLIS | An Indiana Senate committee on Wednesday endorsed teaching creationism in public schools, despite pleas from scientists and religious leaders to keep religion out of science classrooms.

Senate Bill 89 allows school corporations to authorize "the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life" and specifically mentions "creation science" as one such theory.

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.

One of two things will be true in any class bringing up "creation science": 1. The subject will be treated generally, with no reference to a specific creator, in which case the whole exercise will be pointless. I mean, we could be talking about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for Pete's sake (or Pastafarianism, for the unenlightened).  2. A specific creator will be touted, such as, oh, the one in Genesis, in which case there will be a clear violation of the First Amendment. Supporters of measures like this are clearly trying to get religion -- and, let's be honest, a very specific religion --into the public classroom, and those who say otherwise are lying or delusional.

And what's the point of passing a law "allowing" school corporations "to authorize" the teaching of creation science? They might as well pass a law "allowing" local police to catch crooks and firefighers to fight fire. Schools can already teach what they want, as long as theykeep in mind what their constituents will tolerate and what they will not.


Thu, 01/26/2012 - 11:27am

I would go a little further than that. I won't even touch whether "creation science" has any merits, because no one will ever change their views on that.

Rather, I would point out that this matter was settled in no uncertain terms in Dover, PA, when a federal judge, a Republican judge appointed by Reagan, lambasted "intelligent design," which is the same thing, as obviously just religion dressed up in a lab coat and therefore unconstitutional. The entire pro-religion school board faction was promptly voted off the board and the school wasted a lot of time and money.

An ACLU lawsuit would be inevitable, and the state would absolutely lose. Allowing creation science, even if no teacher actually taught it, would be a disaster. I think Mitch Daniels is smart enough to veto it.