Creationism and Ohio's antiscience bill


A sponsor of Ohio's House Bill 597 — which if enacted would require the state's science standards to "prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another" — is giving mixed signals about his intentions. Andy Thompson (R-District 95) told the Cincinnati Enquirer (August 22, 2014), "Nowhere in the bill does it mention creationism," but then explained, "There is the perspective of faith and the perspective of science," contending that the bill would give local school districts the flexibility to include both.

"It's a hugely bad idea," NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch told the newspaper, referring to the objectionable provision of the bill. "It wouldn't require districts to teach [creationism] but would allow them to,” he explained. "That puts districts in a very difficult position, especially if there are a lot of groups in that area that are supportive of teaching creationism. Some will be tempted to push the limits and teach creationism. If they do, they'll get sued over it."

Thompson was dismissive of the prospect of a lawsuit, saying, "I think there are a lot of scare tactics out there. ... I have faith in the teachers and the districts." The Enquirer, however, alluded to the Kitzmiller case in neighboring Pennsylvania as well as recent incidents in the Ohio towns of Springboro, where there was a "proposal to include teaching creationism among an array of other origin-of-species theories in schools," and Lebanon, where a religious group was allowed to teach creationism along with archery in gym classes.