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Antievolution legislation in Indiana


Antievolution legislation materialized in Indiana, but not in the form originally threatened by its sponsor. According to the Indianapolis Star (January 11, 2006), Representative Bruce A. Borders (R-Jasonville) introduced House Bill 1388 in the Indiana House of Representatives on January 10, 2006. Although Borders was quoted in the Star (November 2, 2005) as describing himself as "passionate" about "intelligent design" and declaring his intention to submit a bill making it a required subject in Indiana's public schools, HB 1388, if enacted, would only mandate that "[i]n adopting textbooks for each subject . . . the state board shall not adopt a textbook if the state board knows the textbook contains information, descriptions, conclusions, or pictures that are false." (The text of the bill is not yet available on the Indiana legislature's website.)

The target of the bill is clearly the treatment of evolution in textbooks; Borders was quoted [Link broken] by the Star as saying, "Many of the things that have been used to support macroevolution have been proven to be lies. ... It will take those out." Borders also acknowledged to the Star that his change in strategy was due to the December 2005 decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover, which held that it is unconstitutional to teach "intelligent design" in the public schools." NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch commented that the fallback strategy of deprecating evolution "is increasingly going to dominate the creationism-evolution landscape" in the wake of the Kitzmiller decision.

Fran Quigley, of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, told the Star, "I can't imagine that the state board [of education] needs to be told by the General Assembly not to give false information to our schoolchildren." Obviously aware of Borders's purpose in introducing HB 1388, however, he added, "If this is an effort to run evolution out of the science curriculum, it fails to account for the fact that the scientific theory of evolution has been corroborated by hundreds of thousands of independent observations ... No persuasive evidence has been put forth in 150 years to contradict the theory of evolution." House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), who was previously enthusiastic about "intelligent design" legislation, downplayed the legislature's current interest, and Representative Jerry Denbo (D-French Lick), who drafted a bill of his own that would allow teaching "intelligent design," decided not to introduce it: "There's no hope," he told the Star.