IT’S ALWAYS UNSETTLING when we find ourselves agreeing with the New York Times, but we have to remind ourselves that even they can sometimes express a worthwhile opinion — when it’s not about politics.
This is the Times editorial with which we agree: Louisiana’s Latest Assault on Darwin, and here are some excerpts, with bold added for emphasis:
It comes as no surprise that the Louisiana State Legislature has overwhelmingly approved a bill that seeks to undercut the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The state, after all, has a sorry history as a hotbed of creationists’ efforts to inject religious views into science courses. All that stands in the way of this retrograde step is Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Then they describe the bill:
Teachers would be required to teach the standard textbook but could use supplementary materials to critique it.
That may seem harmless. But it would have the pernicious effect of implying that evolution is only weakly supported and that there are valid competing scientific theories when there are not. In school districts foolish enough to head down this path, the students will likely emerge with a shakier understanding of science.
True, but they won’t be any more ignorant than their parents who elected the current legislature. One more excerpt:
As a biology major at Brown University, Mr. Jindal must know that evolution is the unchallenged central organizing principle for modern biology. As a rising star on the conservative right, mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain, Mr. Jindal may have more than science on his mind.
This is the most troubling thing. If McCain thinks that the way to solidify his support among the base of his party is by selecting a creationist ignoramus, then — even if that’s a correct assessment of his party — they’re finished as a national force. Or — involuntary shudder — if McCain does this and wins, then America is finished as a world power. Either way, it’s the Times‘ dream come true.
But it doesn’t matter if Jindal’s political calculations are running along those lines. McCain isn’t that stupid. At least we comfort ourselves by hoping that such is true.
If Jindal signs this “back to the Dark Ages” legislation, he’ll be finished as a national player, and McCain will show the Times that they’re wrong again.