The local paper today carried the disturbing news that yahoo GOP lawmakers want to teach non-science -- so-called "intelligent design" -- in Indiana public schools.
Intelligent design is the theory that a supernatural hand, and not just the random process of natural selection, guided the development of life on Earth.
Recently, 36 of the 52 Republican state representatives, including House Speaker Brian Bosma of Indianapolis, sent questionnaires to constituents asking, among other issues, whether intelligent design should be given equal time in science classes.
Rep. Bruce Borders, R-Jasonville, said he would file legislation mandating the teaching of intelligent design if no other lawmaker did.
"It's a passionate issue for me, personally," Borders said.
The proposal comes a little more than a month after Bosma and a handful of other House members met privately with Carl Baugh, host of the Trinity Broadcasting Network show "Creationism in the 21st Century," to discuss bringing intelligent design to public schools.
Baugh was in town as the guest of Zion Unity Missionary Baptist Church, a small Indianapolis church whose pastor, the Rev. Fredrick W. Boyd Jr., is an acquaintance of Baugh's. Baugh is founder and director of the Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas.
Boyd said Bosma and the lawmakers already were pursuing the idea, but they wanted to hear Baugh's thoughts on how to create the legislation.
Similar initiatives are being discussed in legislatures nationwide. The National Conference of State Legislatures said 11 legislatures have debated intelligent design this year. None has enacted a law, and in most cases bills died in committee.
In Pennsylvania, the issue is being played out in federal court, where the parents of 11 students are suing a school district for requiring that intelligent design be taught as an alternative to evolution.
But as Professor Meyers tirelessly points out, Intelligent Design is not a theory or an alternative to evolution; it is not, in fact, science, and has no place in science classes. (See also: The Panda's Thumb.) Shame on these GOP yahoos for proposing to dilute Indiana's educational standards by pandering to religious zealots with pseudoscientific claptrap.
Update: Kudos to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for at least expressing doubt over the teaching of non-science in science class. Unfortunately, he echoes the bogus talking points of the ID-iots by suggesting that there's an equivalence between it and evolution.
The state should be removing mandates from schools -- not adding to them, Gov. Mitch Daniels said Thursday, maintaining he'd be reluctant to sign a bill requiring teachers to incorporate intelligent design into their lesson plans.
His comments come as House Republicans are trying to gauge public opinion for the concept, which maintains that the development of life on Earth required a supernatural designer. At least one Republican has said he will sponsor a bill in the upcoming 2006 session if no other lawmaker steps forward.
Daniels said Thursday his policy is to support greater freedom for teachers and principals.
"I'd have to think hard about a bill that would require any particular curriculum or assignment," he said.
However, he added that if he were running a school, he would want students to think critically and be exposed to competing ideas.
"But that's different from saying the state, let alone the legislature, ought to force that or any other such rule on everybody," he said.
I also note that Daniels' comments embrace the possibility of local school boards mandating the teching of this hucksterism in science class. Daniels should have issued a categorical statement that only science should be taught in science class. It's a shame that even a Republican of Daniels' pro-business stripe feels compelled to pander to religious extremists and pushers of pseudoscientific hogwash.