"Origins Science" Bill in Ohio

On January 23, 2002 House Bill 481 was introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. This bill would require that "origins science" be "taught objectively and without religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption." Although the bill does not contain the words "biology" or "evolution", it uses the phrase "origin of life and its diversity" several times, as well as "origins science". The bill also calls for students to "understand why origins science may generate controversy." This last phrase seems to echo the wording of last year's Santorum Amendment to the Federal Education Bill, which suggested that students should understand why biological evolution "... generates so much continuing controversy...", but without using the word "evolution". (The Santorum Amendment was removed from the Education Bill, H.R. 1, in conference and is not present in the text of that law.)

The primary sponsor of HB 481 was quoted in the January 24 Columbus Dispatch as saying, "We are not suggesting that the theory of evolution should not be taught, but we are trying to encourage that all competing theories be presented and instruction on why certain theories are controversial." The same Representative is sponsoring HB 484, which would require Ohio's new science standards to be approved by the General Assembly before going into effect.