Louisiana’s Ben Nevers: Creationist Doublethink

EVER SINCE William Jennings Bryan made a world-class fool of himself in the Scopes Trial, creationists have been crudely attempting to conceal their goals by speaking in a kind of code, which has — pardon the expression — been evolving as they experience one court setback after another.

Having failed when they tried to ban evolution, and later when they demanded “equal time” for Noah’s Ark to be taught along with the theory of evolution, they then invented the colossal joke of “creation science.” When that got shot down by the courts, they came up with Intelligent Design “theory.” That’s been getting blown away in court, so now they’re trying the ploy of seeking “academic freedom” to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of the theory of evolution.

A classic practitioner of this long-running and laughable deception is Louisiana state Senator Ben Nevers, who was the sponsor of that state’s creationism-friendly Louisiana Science Education Act, which permits teachers to use undefined “supplementary materials” in class, presumably to be acquired from the Discovery Institute, a creationist think tank in Seattle.

The Bogalusa Daily News in Louisiana has a story about this distinguished lawmaker: Nevers: Science bill not about religion. It’s loaded with creationist Newspeak, an exotic language which Senator Nevers appears to have mastered. Here are some excerpts, with bold added for Curmudgeonly emphasis:

This is strictly about teaching science in the classroom,” he said. “It has nothing to do with religion.”

Louisiana needed a new law for that? Let’s hear some more from this brilliant legislator:

The bill specifically addresses the issue of religion, said Nevers. It reads that the measure “shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against any particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”

Right. It “shall not be construed.” Does Nevers think he’s fooling anyone? That language is right out of the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom Act. If Nevers really wanted to address the un-Constitutional promotion of religion, which is what he claims he wanted to do, the law would say something like:

This act does not authorize the presentation, by any state employee in any state school, of any religious doctrine, even when erroneously labeled as a scientific theory. This includes, but isn’t limited to, creationism and intelligent design.

Language like that would have done the job; but that isn’t the job Nevers wanted to do. Okay, one more excerpt:

“I have been criticized, but I had no other meaning than what the bill says,” he said. “I think this is certainly needed in Louisiana, and I think it will be a model across the nation.”

What can we say? With leadership like this, Louisiana is certain to retain the position it has earned in the esteem of the civilized world.

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