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Old 02-02-2012, 11:21 AM   #1
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Indiana Senate passes bill putting religion in science class

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/...ence-class.ars

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Indiana Senate passes bill putting religion in science class

Yesterday, after almost no debate, the Indiana State Senate approved a bill that would allow its schools to teach the origin stories of various religions when a class touches on the origin of life. It now moves on to the state's House, where one of its cosponsors is currently the Speaker of the House.

Although the bill as written could be used to create a comparative religion class, its sponsor, Senator Dennis Kruse, has made it clear that he hopes to see it foster the teaching of creationism in science classes. The original text of the bill explicitly mentioned creation science; it has since been modified to mention a variety of religions, including Scientology. In a brief interview, Kruse expressed disdain for evolution, calling it a "Johnny-come-lately" theory.

As with many sponsors of bills of this sort, Kruse is apparently unaware of what evolution describes (hint: it's not the origin of life) and of the scientific meaning of the word "theory," which is not broad enough to encompass religious teachings. Unlike many of those other legislators, however, Kruse seems to be aware that legal precedent, in the form of Edwards v. Aguillard, prohibits the teaching of creation science in classrooms. Instead, he hopes that some school district in his state will shoulder the cost of returning the issue to the Supreme Court, which he thinks may choose to ignore precedent and revisit Edwards.

The year is young, but the National Center for Science Education is already tracking six bills in various states that target science education.
Mostly, I'm just scratching my head.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:02 PM   #2
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This is like requiring PE teachers to have a week where the kids do nothing but lay around and eat potato chips

"We've passed a bill today requiring all physical education departments to teach the basics of a sedentary lifestyle"
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:10 PM   #3
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We should totally let the states decide what to teach kids, what could go wrong?
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:12 PM   #4
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Yeah.. I was ashamed enough of my home state after it killed Planned Parenthood funding, and now this... It's enough to make me wonder whether or not to live and work here.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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We should totally let the states decide what to teach kids, what could go wrong?
The reason I find this to be an unconvincing argument is that there are examples, such as the legalization of marijuana, that are often criticized for being determined at the federal level.

We can always cherry pick issues to make an argument for or against states rights.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:25 PM   #6
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I wonder which 'various religions' are included. Even if this by some chance didn't get shot down in the end, many if not most teachers would teach the religious aspects as a joke.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:26 PM   #7
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:42 PM   #8
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Does the US have a religious education class like we do in the UK?

I mean, thats where that shit should be, not in science lessons.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:49 PM   #9
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I wonder which 'various religions' are included.
Scientology was included, so I expect many others are.

You know what? I'm kind of okay with this in an obtuse way. I think it should be in a Religion class and not a Science class, but whatever. When you open up discussion in a classroom about various religious beliefs - especially the main ones - you also open up the possibility that those beliefs will be picked apart and dissected and challenged. That doesn't occur in Sunday school, you know?

I'd be all for my children challenging the major beliefs in an open discussion. Might have an effect some parents didn't expect when they supported this. Who knows?
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:50 PM   #10
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When I was in high school we had a segment in our social studies class that went over the basics of the big religions, but that was only a couple weeks.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:56 PM   #11
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Given that Ars Technica incorrectly states the holding in Edwards, I am not necessarily convinced the rest of the article has much basis in fact.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:58 PM   #12
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In the UK, we do have Religious Education classes that are pretty much what Kato describes. The idea of not learning about religion at all in school makes about as much sense to me as not learning about history; whatever your personal feelings on the matter, it's a massive part of what shapes people as individuals and as a whole.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:02 PM   #13
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I don't think people are objecting to religion being taught in school...people are objecting to it being taught in a science class.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:23 PM   #14
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I don't think people are objecting to religion being taught in school...people are objecting to it being taught in a science class.
In a science class as an "alternative theory" to pesky ideas like evolution.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:38 PM   #15
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In a science class as an "alternative theory" to pesky ideas like evolution.
Might be interesting to hear the biology teachers fumble their way around questions of virginal conception during a discussion of reproduction?
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:43 PM   #16
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I hope biology teachers wouldn't fumble a conversation about virginal conception. If your biology teacher can't competently explain the life cycle of a honeybee or a microbe, you have a problem.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:44 PM   #17
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Even as a Christian this seems dumb. I mean, I'm all for religion being taught in schools (and by that I mean all religions) but do it with a subject that at least makes sense if you're going to combine them. Like History. Or Phys Ed.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:50 PM   #18
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Evolution isn't even a creation theory. It's a model that explains how genetic traits are filtered through generations.

Philosophical/religious theories and scientific theories aren't even the same thing. It's the same word, but the former discipline uses "theory" synonymous with conjecture, while the latter's definition of theory requires empirical evidence. What can be observed from nature. I have no qualms about comparative religious studies in public schools- these are part of any real humanities study- but they're antithetical to rational science.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:04 PM   #19
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I hope biology teachers wouldn't fumble a conversation about virginal conception. If your biology teacher can't competently explain the life cycle of a honeybee or a microbe, you have a problem.
Granted, I'm not up to speed on all the religions of the world, but a god born of a honeybee sounds pretty sweet.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:11 PM   #20
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but a god born of a honeybee sounds pretty sweet.
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