Home » News, Origin Of Life, science education » Indiana Senate passes bill to teach Christian, Hindu, and Scientology origin of life – among others …

Indiana Senate passes bill to teach Christian, Hindu, and Scientology origin of life – among others …

Remember “Creationism to be taught in Indiana science classes”? In “Ind. Senate votes for schools to teach creationism” (NWI.com, January 31, 2012), Dan Carden reports that the state senate passed the bill:

The Republican-controlled Indiana Senate on Tuesday voted 28-22 to allow school corporations to teach “various theories of the origin of life.”

Senate Bill 89 requires a school choosing to teach creationism to use multiple religious perspectives and suggests, but does not require, teaching the beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology.

Wow. Here.

The crazy part is that “origin of life” normally means the origin of the first living cells, and most religious groups have avoided detailed explanations of that.

Most science groups should have avoided detailed explanations of that too. No one knows. Maybe no one ever will. So why is it on the curriculum?

State Sen. Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute, said any school corporation that teaches the religious origins of life is just asking for a lawsuit, and local taxpayers will be stuck footing the bill.

You have to wonder who really wants that.

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22 Responses to Indiana Senate passes bill to teach Christian, Hindu, and Scientology origin of life – among others …

  1. Seems like an extension of academic freedom-present all sides and let the students decide.

    Or does the “comparative” in comparative religion scare news? Don’t want students exposed to those naughty “false religions.”

    Maybe we should keep science in science class. What’s a parent in Indiana to do?
    Call the NCSE? ACLU?

    But those are evil secular organisations!

    What a dilemma….

  2. Most “journalists” seem to insist that this bill (which specifically addresses the origin of life) permits teaching creationism alongside evolution. I guess the distinction between the diversity of life and the origin of life is just too subtle, so anything that explains one just naturally ought to explain the other as well. Or, having pickled their brains in Darwinian Kool-Aid, they are prepared to endow evolution with creative power over non-living material too.

  3. *sigh*

    Mitch Daniels, why didn’t you run for President? Would have made my vote a lot easier.

  4. But those are evil secular organisations

    There’s a gulf of difference between ‘secular’ qua Agnosticism and ‘secular’ qua Atheism. One is ambivalent and the other is a religion. Your intellectual chops are evidenced by your ability to tell the two apart. (For a completely generic ‘your’.)

    The ‘dilemma’, such that exists, exists only in the minds of the religiously faithful that can’t figure it out.

  5. Maus,

    Regarding the fallacious idea that atheism is a religion, see this (and be sure to click on the link at the bottom).

  6. “The ‘dilemma’, such that exists, exists only in the minds of the religiously faithful that can’t figure it out.”

    So the NCSE and ACLU are Agnostic and non-threatening?

    Or atheist, and the dilemma still present. I’ve been informed the NCSE is quite athistic/evil on other threads.

  7. Hi DrREC,

    Could you use blockquote tags when you’re quoting other people? It would make your comments more readable.

    Thanks.

  8. Only biblical creationism is worthy.
    Not foreign religfions.
    The point should be that the people can decide if other ideas about origins can be taught if otherwise there is only evolution.
    The people would nbot waste peoples time with anything other then Genesis.

    This is all about teaching the truth and then who allows or prohibits options on the truth.

    Creationism is worthy as its historic, common, and always proclaimed replaced and defeated by the rise of evolution and company.
    Hindu stuff is just a careless analysis or an attempt to diminish creationism.

    No way around it this is all about censorship, control, and bossyness about the common heritage or origins and the common possession of the schools and kids by the people.
    No state censorship.
    Let the people decide fair and square.
    I understand 70% agree with BOTH sides being taught.
    Intellectual competition is good for progress.

  9. champignon:

    Regarding the fallacious idea that atheism is a religion, see this (and be sure to click on the link at the bottom).

    The US Supreme Court has ruled that atheism is a religion. They count- you don’t.

  10. champignon,

    First of all, religion doesn’t require a deity. From the very first definition at Dictionary.com:

    a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    Atheism is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, namely, that it’s intent-free all the way down.

    Also, as Joe pointed out, atheism has been ruled a religion in the U.S. federal court recently (2005).

    WND – Court Rules Atheism a Religion

    My opinion is that, in the context of the U.S Constitution, the word religion should be synonymous with worldview. This circumnavigates the whole “bald isn’t a hair color!” word-games that atheists play. All worldviews, whether they believe existence is rooted in an intentional first cause (God) or not (atheism), are treated equally.

  11. Jammer,

    Atheism is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, namely, that it’s intent-free all the way down.

    No, atheism is the lack of a belief in gods. Look it up.

    My opinion is that, in the context of the U.S Constitution, the word religion should be synonymous with worldview.

    Not surprisingly, you want to redefine ‘religion’ so you can say that atheism is a religion.

  12. champignon: No, atheism is the lack of a belief in gods. Look it up.

    Atheism is a denial of God (a purposeful, intentional root of existence), which is the negative aspect of atheism. This negative aspect logically entails a converse positive aspect: belief in a purposeless, intent-free root of existence.

    This is the unproven belief that the atheist has faith in, and he has the onus of demonstrating it true.

    champignon: Not surprisingly, you want to redefine ‘religion’ so you can say that atheism is a religion.

    Not surprisingly, you want to use a definition of religion that would exclude atheism, allowing your worldview to infiltrate the classroom.

    Anyway, I gave a very reasonable explanation for my opinion: It promotes fairness, and prevents people with political agendas (ACLU, NSCE, etc.) from playing semantics.

    Point blank: You, and the Eugenie Scotts of the world, are irreligious fundies. I will not allow my future child(dren)’s education to be controlled by your ilk in any way, shape, or form.

  13. Atheism is a denial of God (a purposeful, intentional root of existence), which is the negative aspect of atheism.

    No, atheism is lack of belief in god or gods. Some “strong atheists” believe that there is no god, but most simply do not have a belief in god or gods, any more than they have a belief in the tooth fairy.

    We don’t call a-tooth-fairy-ism a religion, why should we call a-theism a religion?

    There is one a-theistic religion, and that is Buddhism. But most atheists are not Buddhists. They are just ordinary people who don’t believe in god or gods.

  14. Again the US Supreme Court has ruled that atheism is a religion.

    Their opinion counts.

  15. ” But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.”

    It said ” none at all ” has the same protections with regards to 1st Amendment as religions do. That does not make them equal,only equally protected

  16. Right and we, the people, are to be equally protected from it (atheism).

    Therefor forcing it on public school students should be against the law.

  17. I agree, not teaching about god isn’t the same as teaching there is no god,

  18. Elizabeth Liddle: No, atheism is lack of belief in god or gods. Some “strong atheists” believe that there is no god, but most simply do not have a belief in god or gods, any more than they have a belief in the tooth fairy.

    You’re resorting to atheism/agnosticism conflation, which kairosfocus corrected you on a few months back, with the help of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. This is the game atheists play to evade the burden of proof the positive aspect of their position requires, which begs the question: If atheism is such an intellectual position, why resort to such shenanigans?

    DrCraigVideos – Atheism Redefined As Absence of Belief – YouTube

    As the above video makes clear, the word atheism does not simply mean a lack of belief in God, but “without God.” A = without, theos = God. It’s not merely an absence of belief, but an outright denial of God’s existence. In denying God’s existence, the atheist worldview logically entails belief in a non-God explanation for existence. If not A, then non-A.

    As far as I can reason, there three positions one can hold about the origin of existence:

    ——————-
    Position I: Belief that existence is rooted in a purposeful, intentional cause, as opposed to a purposeless, non-intentional cause. (theism, polytheism, deism, etc.)

    Position II: Belief that existence is rooted in a purposeless, non-intentional cause, as opposed to a purposeful, intentional cause. (atheism)

    Position III: No belief either way, due to either a lack of convincing evidence from both positions, or intellectual laziness. (agnosticism)
    ——————-

    Of the three positions, both theism/deism and atheism forward positive beliefs which require evidence, whether empirical or logical, to support them. Maybe there is little-to-no evidence for God, but even if that’s the case, unless there’s superior evidence for a non-God explanation for existence, atheism remains bankrupt.

    For the record: I am a theist with no (organized) religious affiliation. I believe the fine-tuning argument, coupled with the nature of nature (the existence of reason, logic, math, emotions, consciousness, intelligence, spirituality, science, information, etc.) makes God a more reasonable conclusion than any mindless, chaotic (atheistic) explanation.

    Elizabeth Liddle: We don’t call a-tooth-fairy-ism a religion, why should we call a-theism a religion?

    As far as I know, the tooth fairy myth has nothing to do with the origin of existence, our universe, life, nor morality–the primary questions that make up a worldview/religion. I’m not sure what she (it?) has to do with the discussion.

    Let me say, I consider neither atheism nor theism, by itself, a religion, but a worldview. I believe that in order to rise to the level of a religion, a worldview requires more than just beliefs about existence. More on that later…

    Anyway, what I’m saying is that, in the context of the separation of church (religion) and state, it’s only fair to make religion synonymous with worldview. This prevents people who hold dogmatic worldviews–whether atheist, theist, or anything in between–from using semantics to legally justify teaching their personal views in the classroom.

    For example, there have been multiple biology textbooks that make clear-cut atheistic claims (I know Casey Luskin has highlighted these textbooks many times; I’ll search them out if you’d like).

    My opinion is that these sort of claims are every bit as unconstitutional as would be any theistic claim brought into the classroom. Claiming that atheism isn’t a religion (with a biased definition of religion that requires a deity), therefor, there’s no violation of the Establishment Clause, is a sham. By that reasoning, I could claim that life was designed by God, claim that it’s a non-religious, generic theistic position, and therefore, it’s Constitutional.

    My opinion is that either both ends of the spectrum are unconstitutional, and should be removed, or both are Constitutional, and should be free to be taught in class, without the fear of parents flooding the courtrooms with their tears. Surely that’s fair?

    It seems that those whose opinions matter (thanks, Joe) agree with me.

    Elizabeth Liddle: There is one a-theistic religion, and that is Buddhism. But most atheists are not Buddhists. They are just ordinary people who don’t believe in god or gods.

    It depends on how one defines religion.

    What about atheists who have dogmatic adherence to views on:

    • The existence of, well, existence (purposeless and unintentional).
    • The existence of our universe (purposeless and unintentional).
    • The existence of Earth-based life (purposeless and unintentional).
    • The existence of human life (ultimately purposeless and unintentional).
    • Morality (no ultimate foundation; based entirely on [evolved] reason).
    • The (absence of) an afterlife.

    …and who:

    • Frequently read atheistic literature.
    • Proselytize for atheism (including on the Internet).
    Attend church-like atheist sermons conferences.

    I know many people who fit every single one of the above listed criteria. Should these people be considered religious atheists? If not, why not?

    What is it about their strong adherence and devotion to atheism that differs from, say, the devoted Christian’s adherence to Christianity?

    Is it simply that they lack faith in God(s)? But, then, religion doesn’t require faith in God(s), as you’re clearly aware of, hence your comment on Buddhism.

    What is Elizabeth Liddell’s (or anyone else’s) demarcation line that separates religion from non-religion?

    In my opinion, atheists who fit the above criteria are religious. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you fit the above criteria. If so, then I consider you every bit as religious as anyone else who posts here.

  19. You’re resorting to atheism/agnosticism conflation, which kairosfocus corrected you on a few months back, with the help of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. This is the game atheists play to evade the burden of proof the positive aspect of their position requires, which begs the question: If atheism is such an intellectual position, why resort to such shenanigans?

    Why should kairosfocus “correct” an atheist on what an atheist is? Why should William Lane Craig define it?

    Wouldn’t you be better off asking an atheist what an atheist is?

    Atheists often distinguish between “strong” and “weak” atheism, where the former is the belief that no god or gods exist and the latter is lack of belief in god or gods.

    Agnosticism, as first coined by Huxley, referred to the view that the existence or otherwise of God was in principle unknowable.

    Most atheists do not hold this view. They simply do not believe in any god or gods any more than they believe in leprechauns.

    If you want to dispute the position that people who call themselves hold, then find out what that position is. Don’t just grab a definition from some passing theist, and apply it to all atheists.

    The vast majority of atheists do not “deny” God any more than they “deny” Santa Claus. They just get on with their lives on the assumption that the whole thing is, literally, a myth.

  20. And how do atheists explain their existence?-> “A bunch of untestable things happened and here we are”

  21. 21

    Is very easy to understand what is meant when it is said that atheism is a religion. It is a secular one and in as much as it is secular and without God it differs from Christianity and other traditionally accepted forms of religion. Those differences don’t mean it is not like a religion. More strictly speaking it is analogous to a religion it does not matter that it is not always and everywhere thought of as a religion per se. As intelligent agents we add new words and insights to our lexicon all the time. The insight that atheism is like a religion is a true insight and that is all that matters. The most telling marks are that it requires faith and commitment.

    I like what Sir Francis Bacon says about the subject. Its a little bit of knowledge that leads to atheism but the more in depth study that leads back to God.

  22. Only biblical creationism is worthy.
    Not foreign religfions.

    And definitely not one of those middle-Eastern religions, like Judaism or that other one started by a Jew 2000 years ago.

    Or do you mean the more modern versions of Christianity that are American. Like Catholicism? Oh, that’s Italian. Methodism? English (same for Anglicanism, of course). Baptism started with English too (but there are also continental flavours).

    What are you left with? Just Mormonism and Scientology?

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