Louisiana Creationism Update (12 Jan ‘09)

BACKGROUND: Louisiana is the only state, so far, that has enacted an anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism “Academic Freedom” bill modeled after the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). The Louisiana statute permits unspecified “supplemental materials” to be used in science classes. The future of creationism in Louisiana’s public schools has been placed into the hands of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

We have another news item from the Daily Advertiser, published in Lafayette, Louisiana, “the oldest continually operating business in Lafayette Parish”: School science guidelines evolve with state panel. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

In a letter to BESE members, Barbara Forrest of the Louisiana Coalition for Science, notes that a draft of the guidelines posted late last week on the BESE Web site deletes a sentence that had been included in an earlier draft: “Religious beliefs shall not be advanced under the guise of encouraging critical thinking.”

“It is an important statement that will help teachers and administrators avoid costly legal challenges,” Forrest said of the deleted language.

Forrest also zeroed in on language added to the guidelines: “Evaluations of supplementary materials shall be made without regard to the religious or non-religous beliefs and affiliations of the authors of supplementary materials.”

Isn’t that just dandy! Let’s read on:

The beliefs of the author of any material proposed for use in a science class are valid considerations for whether such material should be used, Forrest wrote. “There is a difference between a document that derives from a respected scientific organization such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an article found on a Web site promoting the idea, for example, that the moon landing was a hoax,” Forrest said.

Nicely put, Barbara! Moving along:

The latest draft of guidelines was posted after Gene Mills of the conservative Louisiana Family Forum complained that the earlier draft guidelines were hostile to religion.

Right. Teaching straight science and leaving out the Noah’s Ark theory is “hostile to religion.” Here’s more:

The newest draft guidelines still include a stricture against teaching “creationism or intelligent design” — theories on the development of life that have been struck down by federal courts as religious-based. The draft also prohibits materials that “advance the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind.”

That BESE meeting (we think it’s tomorrow) is going to be interesting.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

2 responses to “Louisiana Creationism Update (12 Jan ‘09)

  1. Thanks for the informative post. The Daily Advertiser has really been staying on top of this.

    I wonder why this was taken out:
    “Religious beliefs shall not be advanced under the guise of encouraging critical thinking.”
    While this was left in: The draft also prohibits materials that “advance the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind.”

  2. Lauri, great to see you here! I was wondering myself why some deletions were made, while other anti-ID language was left in. I guess the creationists want to see contradictory language stay in, so they have a toehold. It’s all a bit confusing.