Louisiana LSEA Repeal Hearing Today?

A week ago, based on a news story we found at the website of KATC, the ABC affiliate television station in Lafayette, Louisiana, we we posted Louisiana LSEA Repeal Hearing Tomorrow. That was totally wrong. There was no such hearing.

Things may be different now. In The Advocate of Baton Rouge, Louisiana we read Kopplin to continue fight against teaching creationism in public school science classes . Before we get to that, the next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:

This is about the latest effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA), which became law back in 2008. That law is based on the Discovery Institute’s anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act (about which see the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws).

Our previous post on this year’s attempt to get rid of the thing was Louisiana’s 2014 Creationism Repeal Effort. This year’s bill, like last year’s, was filed by Senator Karen Carter Peterson, who seems to be one of the few sane members of the Louisiana legislature.

Her bill is Senate Bill 175 (pdf file). Here’s a link where you can monitor the progress of her bill, and here is where you can see the Education Committee’s Agenda.

Okay, we’re all together now. Here are some excerpts from The Advocate, with bold font added by us:

Zachary Kopplin, one of the most visible opponents of teaching creationism in public school science classes, will testify before the Louisiana Senate Education Committee on Thursday in a fourth attempt to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.

Nothing shows up at the legislature’s website to suggest any such activity in that committee today. That’s how it was when we wrote about the ABC news story a week ago. We’re accustomed to things being messed up in Louisiana, so we’ll do the best we can — but we’re not making any promises. On with the news story:

Kopplin told LSU students he is not hopeful for a more favorable outcome this year and said he has his eyes set on the November 2015 elections when new committee members could swing support in his favor. “Whether we pass or fail tomorrow, it does not really matter because this is sort of ground zero for a much larger fight for science in this country.”

What was Zack doing at Louisiana State University? Let’s read on:

Kopplin was at LSU to receive the Manship School of Mass Communication’s Courage and Justice award, which carries a $1,000 prize underwritten by the Hans and Donna Sternberg Foundation.

[...]

The Courage & Justice award is given to an individual who pursues a “perceived just cause” while displaying courage and ethics in the face of opposition, lack of resources, and substantial time commitment.

That’s splendid. Congratulations, Zack!

There’s not much else in that story about the hearing, but we found another story about Zack and his award in the Daily Reveille, a student newspaper at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s titled Kopplin to continue fight against creationism legislation. They say:

Kopplin testified before the Education Committee three other times, resulting in three unsuccessful attempts to pass a repeal bill. Sponsored by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, the proposed repeal legislation failed 5-1 in 2011, 2-1 in 2012 and 3-2 in 2013. “I don’t care that they beat us last year,” Kopplin said. “We will be back tomorrow, and we will be back until we win.”

The creationists must really hate Zack. That’s a certain sign that he’s doing the right thing. We continue:

Kopplin said he’s not opposed to creationism being discussed in religion classes or acceptable history courses, but he opposes the idea of creationism as a science because it is based on faith and not physical evidence. Science is just an explanation of how the natural world works,” Kopplin said. “It says nothing about religion or the supernatural. That’s a different area entirely.”

There’s more, of course, but that’s enough to get you to click over there. Now we’ll just have to wait until we find out if this time there really will be a hearing on the repeal bill today. The media have been wrong before. Even if they’re wrong again, we’re delighted to learn the news about Zack’s award. Way to go, Zack!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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“Your Inner Fish” Episode 3 Tonight

Tonight on PBS will be the third and final episode of Your Inner Fish, hosted by Neil Shubin. He discovered Tiktaalik, and told the tale in Your Inner Fish (Amazon listing).

Episode 3 is titled “Your Inner Monkey.” Oh no! According to the PBS description:

In the final episode of the series, “Your Inner Monkey,” Shubin delves into our primate past. He travels from the badlands of Ethiopia, where the famous hominid skeletons “Lucy” and “Ardi” were found, to a forest canopy in Florida, home to modern primates. En route, he explains how many aspects of our form and function evolved.

We learn that a genetic mutation in our primate ancestors conferred humans’ ability to see in color — but it was an advantage that led to a decline in our sense of smell. The shape of our hands came from tree-dwelling ancestors for whom long fingers made it easier to reach fruit at the tips of fine branches.

Shubin concludes by tracing the evolution of the human brain — from a tiny swelling on the nerve cord of a wormlike creature, to the three-part architecture of a shark’s brain and the complex brain of primates. As Shubin observes, “Inside every organ, gene and cell in our body lie deep connections with the rest of life on our planet.”

But the creationists are certain that they ain’t no kin to no monkey. That’s why they’ll see this as an outrage! They’re convinced that the only thing keeping them sane and rational is the belief that they were specially created. Guess what, creationists — your belief isn’t working!

If you watch the show tonight, this is the place to talk about it. If you don’t watch it, no problem — go ahead and talk anyway.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Kirk Cameron Gets Award for “Excellence”

Strange sounds were coming from the Drool-o-tron™. Its blaring sirens sounded like it was in pain, and its flashing lights were oddly subdued. We were compelled to look at the blinking letters of the wall display — they said WorldNetDaily (WND). The struggling device had locked our computer onto this article: Dr. Ben Carson honors actor Kirk Cameron.

We immediately understood the problem the Drool-o-tron™ was having. We had always thought Ben Carson was one of the good guys. Last year the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled Ben Carson for President. But WND had his name in a headline along with Kirk Cameron. Strange indeed!

You know who Cameron is. We’ve written about him several times, for example: Kirk Cameron: World’s Dumbest Human?, and also Kirk Cameron and the Crocoduck. No one can forget his supporting role in Ray Comfort’s famous “Banana video”.

Now WND was telling us that Ben Carson is honoring Kirk Cameron? The mind boggles, and to stop its approaching breakdown, we had to shut off the Drool-o-tron™ while we examined the article. We don’t know what to make of it, but here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

With former newscaster Sam Donaldson serving as Master of Ceremonies, the Carson Scholars Fund recognized Kirk Cameron, Aubrey Chernick and Brooks Robinson at a banquet held April 6 in Woodland, Md.

Founded by the legendary pediatric neurosurgeon, the Carson Scholars Fund “awards students who have embraced high levels of academic excellence and community service with $1,000 college scholarships.” The Fund additionally recognizes three notable figures with the Leadership Award, the Sonya Award and the Power of Excellence Award.

What in the world is going on here? The article informs us:

Actor and producer Kirk Cameron was presented with the Power of Excellence Award, “for demonstrating excellence in his career and becoming a positive role model.”

Aaaargh!! We’ll say that again: Aaaargh!! And yet again: Aaaargh!!

The rest of WND’s brief article is about awards given to other people. None of that interests us. But if you want to know more about the creationist who was just presented an award for “becoming a positive role model,” you can read yet another of our posts: Kirk Cameron (Banana Boy): The Joy of Eggs.

Your Curmudgeon is too dazed to say anything else.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #418: Arizona Preacher

Today’s letter appears in the Arizona City Independent, a bi-weekly published by Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. of Casa Grande, Arizona. The title is Causes of the crisis.

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), but in this case the letter-writer is a preacher. It’s Pastor Jim Mumme of the Evangelical Methodist Church located in Arizona City, Arizona. Here are a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, here we go:

We have planted the seeds of godlessness, and we are reaping the harvest in this world. The events of the past couple of weeks, and actually of the past several years, show this to be true. Why would so many people be invading schools, shopping malls, and churches with guns, and turning them upon innocent people, as has dominated much of the news lately?

Verily, ’tis the harvest of godlessness. Then the rev says:

Why wouldn’t they? They see adults killing babies in abortion clinics, and some doctors killing the sick and elderly patients who come to them. Gangsta and Gothic Rock music is pandemic among our young people. The movies, television, and the Internet produce sex and violence in dumpster amounts, to be consumed by youths whose parents are nonexistent for all practical purposes. The kids have learned how to kill by watching it on TV and researching it on the Internet. They want to get in on the action.

The evil is everywhere! Let’s read on:

Behind the action is a complete disregard and disgust for human life. Kids are taught in our schools that they are just animals, the products of evolution. They are taught that there is no God, and they believe there is no real accountability, whether in this life, or at the end of this life. With no future worth living for, they become hedonistic, living for all the gusto they can get packed into their youth. And for many, this gusto involves violence. Suicides continue to proliferate among our youths also.

Aha — it’s Darwin’s fault! The rev continues:

The teaching of evolution lies behind many of our society’s ills. Many college students have been brainwashed into believing a false view of science and into thinking the Bible has been disproved.

That explains why there are so many biology professors running around raping babies, bombing shopping centers, and shooting up the campus. Here’s more:

Dr. Ian Taylor writes, “When humans try to eliminate God, they have no reason to behave rationally. The tyranny of self interest dominates daily decisions. The “survival of the fittest” rules streets, alleyways, homes and nations. This is the legacy of humanistic evolution.”

We never heard of Ian Taylor, but he’s probably the author of In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order (Amazon listing). We checked the website of Answers in Genesis. He shows up several times in their index — for example: ‘Nebraska Man’ Revisited. Moving along:

The 20th century, will be remembered as one of the bloodiest in history, as one hundred and twenty million people were killed in 130 wars since 1900, more than in all the previous wars in history. The history books of the future likely will portray this 21st century also as studded with warlords and oppressors like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Tse Tung, Saddam Hussein, and others like them. They also will trace many of the problems in our country to false prophets in religion and false professors in universities.

We rarely see Darwin blamed for the behavior of Idi Amin, but it makes just as much sense as blaming him for all the others. One last excerpt:

Sadly, it is a large segment of the intellectual community that believes and propagates the false science of evolution and the false philosophy of secular humanism. Our culture has been led astray from its foundation of truth and basic, universal laws. “Truth is on the scaffold, and lies upon the throne.” It will take some very brave people to stand up against what the German theologians call “The Zeitgeist,” the spirit of the times.

So there you are. Now you understand the times in which we live. Another great letter is added to our collection.

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