BY NOW, everyone knows that the Louisiana legislature, in its wisdom, has passed SB 733, the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, authorizing unspecified “supplementary materials” for teaching evolution in state-run science classes, and it’s likely to be signed by Bobby Jindal, that state’s creationist governor.
The bill’s promoters are running around feeling righteous, pretending that they’re not a pack of drooling creationists, and claiming that this legislation is really some kind of pro-science accomplishment.
The Advocate (in Louisiana) has this article: Senate sends Jindal bill on evolution, which provides us with the expected reactions from both sides. Here are some excerpts, with bold added for emphasis:
Backers [of the creationist legislation] said the bill is needed to give science teachers more freedom to hold discussions that challenge traditional theories, including Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Hey, why not? Every maniac who owns a computer has a website challenging Galileo, Newton, and Einstein; and loads of them do the same thing with Darwin. If any self-deluded kook, living in his parents’ basement, is free to “challenge traditional theories,” why not extend the same freedom to the teachers of Louisiana? Continuing:
“It [the creationist legislation] provides assurances to both teachers and students that academic inquiries are welcome and appropriate in the science classroom,” said Gene Mills, executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum.
When have they not been? But now, when responding to such “academic inquiries,” the teachers will be free (and encouraged) to use the thinly-disguised creationist materials promoted by the Discovery Institute.
“I just believe that it is important that supplemental scientific information be able to be brought into the school system,” state Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa and sponsor of the bill, said after the vote.
Right. Hey, how about publications from this worthy source: Jack Chick Publications? That stuff is probably acceptable “supplemental scientific information” in Louisiana.
The other side has also been vocal:
Barbara Forrest, of Holden, a member of the group’s board of trustees [Americans United for Separation of Church and State], and a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, also criticized passage of the measure.
“I think what the Legislature has done is an embarrassment to the state in the eyes of the entire country,” Forrest said.
Well, yes. But then, so what? Your Curmudgeon is a fan of the federal system given to us by the Founders, and if Louisiana makes the choice to be a scientific backwater, they should have that right. We think they should be free to teach flat earth too. This is America. It’s up to them.