From the Shreveport Times we have Alan Leshner: ‘Academic freedom’ bill dangerous distraction, a letter written by Dr. Alan I. Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), with 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. They publish Science, which has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million.
This is the second time Dr. Leshner has written about the situation in Louisiana. We wrote about the earlier occasion here: Louisiana creationism bill — heating up.
Here are some excerpts from Dr. Leshner’s latest letter (emphasis supplied):
… it is alarming that the Louisiana Senate and a key House committee have passed a bill that would undermine science instruction in public schools, despite strong opposition from scientists, teachers and others. Sponsored by Sen. Ben Nevers, the “academic freedom” bill would give educators license to question, on nonscientific grounds, core scientific facts like evolution.
But the bill isn’t truly about academic freedom. It is designed to introduce a religious idea called intelligent design into science classrooms. If it becomes law, the bill would unleash an assault against scientific integrity, leaving students confused about the fundamental nature of science and unprepared to excel in a work force that increasingly requires science-related skills.
Then Dr. Leshner mentions some history:
Louisiana has been here before. In the 1980s, lawmakers required equal time for creationism in science classes where evolution was taught. That was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, after considerable legal costs and damage to Louisiana’s global reputation.
Next, he makes a point that must be made:
Those who back the Louisiana bill insist their motives are not religious, but the evidence suggests otherwise. The measures have been promoted by intelligent design leaders, and support comes almost exclusively from one segment of the religious community. Their aim is clear: Erode students’ understanding and trust of science by sowing confusion and doubt, and count on religious ideas to fill the void.
We’ve quoted enough from the letter. It’s very good, and we recommend that you read it all at the above-provided link.
[The cartoon appears at the link to the Shreveport Times article, and it’s captioned “Jeff Parker/caglecartoons.com”]