Moral Low Ground


Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse Introduces Bill Allowing Creationism to be Taught in Science Classes

The Indiana state senate has voted to present a bill that would allow the teaching of creation mythology alongside established scientific theory in public school classrooms.

According to the Huffington Post, Republican Sen. Dennis Kruse, head of the state senate’s Education Committee,  introduced the measure, which the Committee voted 8-1 on Wednesday to present to the full senate. If passed, the bill would allow “the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life.” It specifically mentions “creation science,” which is something akin to “healthy cigarettes.”

This is Kruse’s second attempt at passing such an absurd bill. He tried to do so back in 2000, but his measure thankfully died before it made it past a committee vote. But like Jesus in the resurrection myth, it has risen from the dead– and is now threatening logic and reason in the place where such things matter most, our children’s classrooms.

Sadly, Indiana isn’t the only state eyeing pro-creationism bills. The Huffington Post reports that Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Missouri are also considering similar measures.

Proponents of the bill say students should be taught a variety of theories on the origin of life. Perhaps there is room for such theories in philosophy or theology classes, but giving creationism, which has absolutely no scientific validity whatsoever, equal weight with the well-established theory of evolution in order to promote Judeo-Christian mythology does a great disservice to Indiana’s students.

And exactly what sort of creation theory will be taught? There are myriad competing creation myths, from the Dreamtime stories of Australia’s Aborigines to Bumba, the great god of the African Boshongo, who had an awful bellyache and vomited up the sun, moon, stars, animals and people, to Pan Gu, who whacked his way out of the big black egg of the primeval universe with a broadax and created heaven and earth as believed by hundreds of millions of Chinese. Christians may laugh and sneer at these beliefs, but are they any more fantastic or less credible that what they believe? Anyone who’s honest with themself must admit that they are not.

Pan Gu breaks forth from the black egg to create heaven and earth… is this any more scientifically valid that Judeo-Christian creation mythology?

Beyond the issue of giving equal time to varying creation theories, which, let’s be honest, just won’t happen, there’s the more important point of scientific merit. When it comes to creationism, there is none– especially in a science class. Teaching creation as an alternate or competing theory to evolution is akin to teaching students that babies may come from storks, or be the result of a sperm fertilizing an egg.

The overwhelming majority of scientists, 90% or more of them– including some who may be religiously or spiritually inclined, reject creationism as an explanation for the origin of our universe (or multiverse). Everything about creationism as expressed in the Old Testament can be disproven by anyone with a middle school education. Christians will invariably try to poke holes in the theory of evolution, holes that modern science is closing almost as fast as they’re poked. Christians will also fall back on the tried-and-true “evolution is just a theory” argument. Yes, it is– just like gravity.

“Anyone who thinks that the earth is less than 10,000 years old [as described in the Bible]… the best excuse for them is lamentable ignorance,”  Richard Dawkins, one of the planet’s preeminent evolutionary biologists, told the National Geographic Channel. “Ignorance is no crime, but it’s something to be remedied by education. Anybody who is not ignorant, anybody who’s been shown the facts, and who still believes the world is less than 10,000 years old, there’s got to be something wrong with them… They’ve got to be staggeringly ignorant, or insane.”

The problem with teaching creation mythology in public schools is that the “lamentable ignorance” Dawkins cites would not be remedied, but rather perpetuated by the very educators who ought to be setting the record straight.

Fortunately, only 13% of teachers surveyed in a nationwide study published in the journal Science said they were in favor of teaching creation theory “in a positive light.” That’s encouraging. Perhaps that’s because the more scientific education one has, the less likely one is to believe in supernatural dogma and unfounded fantasy. But ignorance and superstition still reign supreme in our society, and Sen. Kruse’s embarrassing bill will only perpetuate the reputation of the United States as a backwards nation of Bible-believing, science-averse idiots. In places like Indiana, it’s a reputation that’s well deserved.

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  1. Chis BriggsJanuary 29, 2012 at 8:30 amReply

    Mockery of Creationism is not the way to turn people scientifically. Scientific theories stand on the weight of their own evidence and it is the role of Science classes to teach the evidence and present balanced arguments. If there are ethical considerations then they have to taught in context of social issues not religous ones.

    Those who believe in ‘alternative theories’ are neither staggeringly ignorant or insane but Faith-driven.

    Creationism is a doctrine in many faiths and so the question that has to be answered for believers is: does Evolutionary Theory in any way undermine or contradict my faith or can it be aligned into my faith?

    That is not a question for Science classes but for Religous Education to ponder.

    • Brett WilkinsJanuary 29, 2012 at 1:28 pmReplyAuthor

      “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” ~Mark Twain.

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