A Purdue professor has said he will continue to publicly speak against the potential legislation for creation science to be taught in public schools.
Wednesday, the Indiana Senate education committee voted 8-2 to allow creationism to be taught in public schools. Creation science is the belief that all the universe as we know it was created by the Christian God. There are plans for this bill to be voted on this legislative session.
John Staver, the co-director of the Center for Research and Engagement in Science and Mathematics Education, drove to Indianapolis on Thursday to speak with Channel 18 specifically in protest of the legislation. Staver said he is firmly against such a bill which goes directly against the first amendment of the U.S. constitution.
“It violates the establishment clause of the first amendment, that the congress shall not establish a religion or free exercise thereof,” Staver said. “It’s a specific expression of specific religion. Creation science in a science class in public school is unquestionably a violation of the establishment clause.”
Staver said he is a bit surprised by the bill passing the senate panel due to the long history of similar bills being rejected in the past.
“There is a lengthy amount of court cases in the last 50 to 60 years that document this clearly,” Staver said. “These folks believe in what they’re doing and they are apparently not concerned with the legal history.”
If this does become law in Indiana, according to Staver, as this is a direct violation of the first amendment, the state will be in a lot of legal trouble.
“If this does become law, they are going to face legal problems and, given the legal precedents, it is very likely to lose,” Staver said. “And then they’re going to have bills to pay and schools are struggling enough with bills to pay without this happening.”
Eric Meikle, the education project director of the National Center for Science Education, said there have been bills similar to this one introduced all across the country, though none of them have passed. Meikle said he is uncertain why senators believe teaching intelligent design is appropriate in a science class.
“I have trouble understanding why people think it’s necessary,” Meikle said. “If they want classes on philosophy or comparative religion, they can do that. There’s nothing that stops classes about religion, just don’t promote religion.”
Indiana senator Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, chairman of the education committee, is in favor of the legislation and was unavailable for comment Monday night. Local church pastors from St. Thomas Aquinas, Campus House, West Lafayette Christian Church and Convent Church were unavailable for comment on the topic.