Prospective Antievolution Bill Mutates in Indiana
Perhaps I am assigning too much Machiavellian ingenuity to Discovery Institute, where they’ve only displayed amazing intellectual klutziness in the past, but bear with me a moment.
First read this:
In 2011, Kruse’s Senate Bill 89 would have allowed local school districts to require the teaching of creation science — despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 1987 case Edwards v. Aguillard that teaching creation science in public schools is unconstitutional. SB 89 passed the Senate but was amended there to delete the reference to creation science and to require reference to “Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology”; the speaker of the House of Representatives declined to let it come to a vote there, citing concerns about a potential lawsuit, and the bill died when the legislature adjourned.
Describing his new idea as “a different approach,” Kruse explained to the Star, “I would call it ‘truth in education’ to make sure that what is being taught is true … And if a student thinks something isn’t true, then they can question the teacher and the teacher would have to come up with some kind of research to support that what they are teaching is true or not true.” He added that the bill would delegate the exact implementation of the process to local school districts: “It’s going to be written in kind of a broad way.” Although Kruse was not quoted as mentioning evolution in particular, the Star seemed convinced that it was in his sights.
Nate Schnellenberger, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association and a former biology teacher, told the Star that a teacher faced with a student’s challenge to demonstrate the truth of evolution could simply “turn to the textbook and use fossils as an example.” Citing the possibility of students demanding evidence of such uncontroversial facts as the moon landing, he argued that the bill, if enacted, would be unduly burdensome to teachers. “I think we’ve got more important things to worry about than that,” he commented. “It’s just another thing to add to the myriad of hoops teachers have to jump through now that take away from actual instruction.”
What if the goal isn’t to get a normal science teacher challenged however? What if the goal is to get one of those teachers who already leans towards Creationism challenged by a student shill from a local church so that the creationism friendly teacher can then have ruse and reason to introduce Discovery Institute materials into the class? Have this occur enough times across a state and you establish precedent, standard, and then practice. It’s not like Discovery Institute hasn’t worked with local churches to position things in the past either, recall Kitzmiller and who paid for the textbooks.