Republican Bill To Allow Creationism In Indiana Classrooms, Says Critic

A bill currently being pushed by two Republican state senators in Indiana would permit schools to allow creationism in science classrooms, says critic.

According to WANE.com, a bill sponsored by Jeff Raatz of Connersville and Dennis Kruse of Auburn urges school administrators and educators to explore different “conclusions and theories concerning controversial scientific subjects.” Kruse serves as the chairman of the Senate Education Committee in Indiana.

In an interview with Journal and Courier, Raatz says he wants educators to explore scientifically unpopular topics, such as intelligent design, without risking the teachers’ employment in their respective school districts. The state senator says teachers must be able to delve into topics that deviate from the standard science curriculum, especially with subjects that he described as “science with controversy.”

The bill is designed not to force educators to teach competing ideas alongside well-established theories, says Raatz. It will, however, protect educators from sanctions if they decided to venture into unscientific ideas to explain scientific phenomena.

Commenting on the potential of the bill to be perceived as being against the theory of evolution, Raatz said, “Could it be seen as an anti-evolution bill? Could be. That doesn’t bother me at all. Essentially, we’re saying there are competing theories and we should allow the discussion in the classroom. Not to promote anything or one over another. But that we should have the ability to discuss.”

Although some members of the conservative and religious circles in Indiana approve of the bill, it has been met with widespread opposition from scientific communities in and out of the state.

Glenn Branch, deputy director of the California-based National Center for Science Education, said, “Bills like these are basically designed to free the hands of those few teachers who have funny ideas — funny ideas about evolution, such as creationism; funny ideas about climate change and climate change denial.”

“So if you look at the bill, it basically says is that when it comes to socially controversial issues like these, teachers can teach them as though they’re scientifically controversial,” Branch added.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the theory of evolution and almost none for the idea of creationism. A majority of scientists in the United States adhere to the theory of evolution, basing their belief on the fact that a mountain of evidence has already been collated to support the Darwinian thought.

However, a few groups still insist on “teaching the controversy” inside the classrooms. Some believe it is still best to explore alternative ideas to the theory of evolution, especially hypotheses that are religion-based, such as intelligent design and creationism.

[Image from Matthew Paulson/Flickr]