It all started with a tweet.
(This is actually common in my world.)
The tweet I saw was from a local news outlet, announcing that a bill allowing creationism to be taught in Indiana science classes was on the floor of the state senate.
It didn’t seem to get much attention- at that moment, for the days following, all of the attention was on the Right to Work bill and the Superbowl Village. Heck, my college roommate and I even wrote Indianapolis a love letter in two parts– a history and a city guide of what to do.
Because when Indiana is good, it is very good.
But when it is bad? It is horrid.
I was surprised at my reaction- honestly, not a whole lot riles me in politics. I’m luke-warm when it comes to unions. I’m pessimistic when it comes to healthcare reform. I want tax dollars to be spent wisely.
But bring up an education issue, an issue that would directly affect what my own child learns in a science class?
My mama bear comes out.
That night I emailed my state senator and urged friends to do the same.
The bill passed in the Senate today, 28-22, and from what I can tell, straight along party lines. (Thanks, State Senator Merritt, for a) not acknowledging my email, not even an autoreply, and b) voting in favor of this rubbish)
Thankfully, an amendment has been added that will hopefully make it something that no science teacher worth their salt will touch – an amendment that broadens the bill to say if schools choose to teach something other than science in science class, they have to include multiple creationist stories, not just what’s in Genesis.
Thank you, State Senator Vi Simpson, for this clever addition. There are a lot creation stories a science teacher could choose from, many of which are featured on http://www.magictails.com/creationlinks.html. Of course, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 1987 that teaching creation science was unconstitutional, but that didn’t stop State Senator Dennis Kruse from proposing the bill, because as he says in today’s Indianapolis Star online, “”I believe in creation, and I believe it deserves to be taught in our public schools.” Seriously? This is a reason to present a bill to the senate floor?
The focus on here is really on how humans came to be, but when you start teaching creation stories as science….it sort of upends not only biology, but geography and geology as well.
Because if this is really what they (Christian creationists) want to teach (from http://www.creationcurriculum.com/):
Our mission is to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ through educating individuals of all ages about the evidence for creation. We believe that God made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them in the time and manner specified in Genesis: by His Word in six normal, solar days. We also believe that God made the first man, Adam, directly from the dust of the ground and not through an evolutionary process. We also believe that science, rightly interpreted will be consistent with the Old and New Testament Scriptures.
Then I ask how are other science classes going to deal with the questions from young scholars who are taught that Genesis is actually a real possibility?
Are the ice ages real? How did the mountains come to be? What about plate tectonics? Are they a hoax? What about the dinosaur bones that are older than the people bones? (can you tell I live with kids who like to ask questions?)
I just don’t get it. Granted, the way the bill is written now, with the amendment, there’d have to be more than one version presented. So let’s look at the Hindu story of creation.
In this story, the people of the world come from Purusha, the creator of all things. The people come from Purusha’s body….and that’s how the Indian Caste system came to be. People are to live and marry within their own class to fulfill their life’s purpose.
That belongs in science class, right?
Comparative literature? Sure thing. Sign both my kids up! They’d love it.
Science? No way.
I’m off to email my state representative, Brian Bosma, and to write a thank you email to state Senator Vi Simpson. I’m urging you to do the same- here’s a handy link to do just that: http://district.iga.in.gov/DistrictLookup
I’ll admit, I am shocked by a) how this has gotten to me and b) how many people think that creation stories belong in science class. I mean, I know better than to read the comments on the news websites, but when there are over 100 comments and a good number of Facebook likes, it’s like Internet rubber-necking and I can’t turn away.