Indiana’s Senate Education Committee has given the OK to a bill that would allow creationism to be taught alongside evolution in the state’s public school science classes.
Despite Purdue University professor of chemistry John Staver’s testimony in front of the panel, saying that creationism is “unquestionably a statement of a specific religion,” the bill was approved by a vote of 8-2, reports the Times of Munster.
The bill allows for the teaching of “creation science” and that the “origin of life” originating via a deity is an acceptable theory.
Ken Falk, legal director for the Indiana branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a news release that the bill goes against U.S. Supreme Court precedents that state that the teaching of creationism in public schools is unconstitutional, and that the bill “wastes time and resources” because the legislators voting for it know it will face legal challenges.
“[It] confuses an already complicated issue,” Falk added.
Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) said that the bill will not mandate the teaching of creationism, and that it will be up to individual schools on whether or not to add the theory to its curriculum.
“I believe in creationism and it’s worthy of being taught equally with evolution theory,” Kruse told the Indianapolis Star. “Just because there are constitutional concerns doesn’t mean you don’t try to get something done you believe in.”
As the bill was debated, the Associated Press reports Sen. Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis) said, “What are we afraid of? Allowing an option for students including creation science as opposed to limiting their exposure?”
Schneider also said that there are “legitimate questions about the theory of evolution” and that “many scientists agree with the concept of ‘intelligent design.'”