Center for Inquiry Urges Indiana Senators to Drop Creationist Bill

January 19, 2012

The following is a news update from the Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy:

As you might have already heard, the Indiana State Senate Committee on Education and Career Development is currently considering Senate Bill 89, which would allow school boards and other authorized educational administrators in the state to “require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.”

In response to this outrageous and unconstitutional proposal, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) today wrote to the ten members of the committee urging them to withdraw or oppose SB 89. Our letter was signed by Ronald A. Lindsay, President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry; Michael De Dora, Director of CFI’s Office of Public Policy; and Reba Boyd Wooden, Executive Director of CFI’s branch in Indianapolis.

To download and view our letter, click here.

The Committee on Education and Career Development consists of Sen. Dennis Kruse (chair and lead sponsor for SB 89), Sen. Jim Banks, Sen. Jim Buck, Sen. Luke Kenley, Sen. Jean Leising, Sen. Frank Mrvan, Sen. Earline Rogers, Sen. Scott Schneider, Sen. Tim Skinner, and Sen. Carlin Yoder. To contact these senators on your own, click here.

#1 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Friday January 20, 2012 at 7:52am

I fail to understand why the Indiana poposal is “outrageous and unconstitutional.” Is it any less “outrageous” that the theory of evolution should remain enthroned to exercize monopolistic control over the science classroom?

#2 Shahbazi (Guest) on Friday January 20, 2012 at 3:43pm

Dear Daniel,

When you have any proof of ‘creationist science’ then it can become part of the education system. As of yet - there is none.  What other fictional story can become part of scientific education if this is allowed?

#3 Dean R (Guest) on Friday January 20, 2012 at 3:56pm

It’s not hard to understand Daniel. Evolution is science and creationism is theology, 2 very different subjects that should be taught in different classes.

#4 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Sunday January 22, 2012 at 9:07am

There seems to be a lot of reasons to question Darwinian naturalism and also reasons to support supernaturalism (ID). To merely allow naturalism to reign uncallenged in the science lab does not represent good science or any form of reason.

#5 Thomas B (Guest) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 9:40am

Really, Daniel?  Can you name just one?

#6 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 11:54am

Thomas,

For one thing, the laws of physics are so elegant that they seem to point to a Designer rather than something that emerges from an explosion (the Big Bang). They are also unchanging - something hard to explain in the universe of molecules-in-motion.

#7 Chris (Guest) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 5:02pm

Mr Mann:

Firstly, the “Big Bang” isn’t at all like a chemical explosion - it’s an inflation of space-time, and we have direct observational evidence that it happened. For example, the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for some of this evidence.

Secondly, you’re making a tendentious aesthetic argument when you claim the laws of physics’ “elegance” point to a “designer”. Aesthetics aren’t science - where is your observable evidence of this designer’s existence,  much less that it has the characteristics of your favorite religion’s deity? You’ve left out a whole chain of inference about an entity you haven’t even shown exists.

Thirdly, yes, the laws of physics appear, on the observational evidence, to have been constant for billions of years . So how old do you think the universe is?

Fourth, and worst for you, by appealing to supernaturalism, you’ve basically admitted that your motive in wanting creationism taught in the public school science classes is religious, not scientific - which makes it unconstitutional. In addition, it would be a waste of time, since, on the observable evidence, creationism is false.

#8 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 8:11pm

Chris,

I’ll just respond to your critique that is “worst” for me. Admittedly, I have a religious motivation. However, should one’s ideas be dismissed because of his motivations? Just about all of the fathers of modern science had been Christians who were seeking to glorify God. Would you dismiss their scientific contributions because they had a religious motivation?

Besides, I don’t think it’s legitimate shift the focus away from the ideas/theories to the motivations. Yes, I know that the courts have done so, but I think that this represents a miscarriage of justice, even of rational discernment.

On last thought - Everyone has their motivations. We don’t do anything without some form of motivation. Isn’t it a matter of discrimination to disqualify someone who has a religious motivation, while giving a free pass to someone who has a naturalistic (merely another form of religious belief) motivation?

#9 Thomas B (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 at 8:06am

Daniel… The laws of physics “seem to point” to a Designer?  I’m sorry, I thought we were talking about logic and reason.  It sounds to me as if you’re only making an assumption, based on your admittedly biased beliefs.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, on a personal level.  But we should teach Science classes based on the personal religious beliefs of the teachers, should we?

#10 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 at 8:51am

Thomas,

I’m with you! Science shouldn’t be taught “based on the personal religious beliefs of the teachers.” However, this was never my stated position.

However, if we are going to talk about origins and ultimate causation, there are many reasons to prefer ID over naturalistic causation. For one thing, there isn’t a shred of evidence that our laws are natural and independent from an intelligent Being.

Meanwhile, there is much to suggest that they operate transcendently. They are immutable and act uniformly throughout the universe. How can this be if they have an intra-universe source? They also possess the elegance that we associate with intelligent design.

#11 Thomas B (Guest) on Thursday January 26, 2012 at 12:27pm

Daniel…. forgive me for saying so, but you seem a little confused.  First, evolution is not a religious belief.  Second, you STILL haven’t given me one logical or scientific reason for questioning it.  All you’re doing is repeating your religious belief to the effect that “naturalism is wrong” and “there must be a Designer.”

This is interesting, but a comment section is not a good place to argue something like this.  I suggest you join the forum.

#12 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Friday January 27, 2012 at 6:48am

Thomas,

You claim that evolution isn’t religious. Let me just give you one example that I feel is revealing. Evolution posits an unguided process in accord with naturalism. However, there is no evidence that it is unguided.

If you have evidence in support of this belief, then I’ll have to reconsider my charge.

#13 Chris (Guest) on Friday January 27, 2012 at 5:06pm

Mr. Mann:


Evolution is the change in allele frequencies over time in populations of living organisms, caused by mutation , genetic drift and both random and non-random (e.g sexual) selection. All of these are physical processes that have been demonstrated with repeatable observations.

If you want to posit additional “guiding” as a process, please provide observational evidence.

I’d like an exact count of the number of supernatural interventions that occurred, and when, in the development of penicillin resistant Streptococcus Pneumoniae, for starters. Please cite relevant articles from peer-reviewed biology or medical journals.

#14 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Friday January 27, 2012 at 6:42pm

Chris,

I don’t think that you are responding to my challenge - that the theory of evolution entails religion. One of its dogmas is “unguided evolution.” If this is scientific postulate, then you should be able to provide evidence that it is random and unguided. However, it seems that you are refusing to do so?

#15 Chris (Guest) on Friday January 27, 2012 at 7:30pm

Mr. Mann:

You don’t seem to get that the burden of evidence is on you to demonstrate that effects other than those documented in the scientific literature are at work in observed instances of evolution.

As far as evidence, it’s up to you to go through a subset of the thousands of scientific articles supporting naturalistic evolution. If you can’t be bothered to do so, that’s not my problem.

Finally, if we must class evolution as a religion because this evidence shows that observable physical processes and nothing else are at work, that’s a rather idiosyncratic and elastic definition of religion.

Indeed, such scientific theories as statistical communication theory, semiconductor theory, and electromagnetic theory, which also involve solely observable physical processes, would fit under this odd definition of religion.

Since the existence of computer networks relies on the application of such theories, perhaps you should discontinue this discussion. You may be committing grave sin according to your beliefs.

#16 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Friday January 27, 2012 at 7:51pm

Chris,

I’m so touched that you are concerned that I might “be committing grave sin.” I will certainly take your concern to heart.

However, it is evolution that is putting forth the postulate of “unguided evolution.” If such a postulate isn’t supported by the scientific evidence - and you seem to indirectly admit that it isn’t - then I would assume that it is supported by something else - namely naturalistic religion.

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