LOUISIANA GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL had a press conference today, during which it was hoped he’d announce his position on the misleadingly named “Louisiana Science Education Act,” about which we’ve been blogging (most recently: Louisiana’s Ben Nevers: Creationist Doublethink). The bill allegedly promotes teachers’ “academic freedom” to teach science — which freedom already exists — so this law is utterly unnecessary for that purpose.
No rational observer doubts that the law’s stealth purpose is allowing teachers to sneak creationism into their science lessons, by using “supplementary materials,” which the law permits but doesn’t define.
Today’s press conference has come and gone, and we still don’t know the Governor’s decision.
The bill was overwhelmingly passed by both houses of the Louisiana legislature, who doubled their pay during the same legislative session — a measure which Jindal didn’t veto — so there is little hope that he will veto the creationism bill. A veto is regarded as unlikely because Governor Jindal has publicly indicated that he has creationist leanings — despite having majored in biology at Brown University.
The Louisiana Coalition for Science, founded by Dr. Barbara Forrest, had posted an open letter to Bobby Jindal, urging him to veto the bill, and numerous pro-science blogs joined in her campaign.
The Louisiana bill has been actively promoted by the Discovery Institute, a creationist “think tank” in Seattle, which has also promoted similar measures in other states, modeled on their so-called Academic Freedom Act, but none have become law. These anti-evolution bills have been touted as part of a campaign coordinated in connection with the release of Expelled, Ben Stein’s anti-science documentary, which was financed by Canadian Walt Ruloff, a Christian evangelical software millionaire, as we reported here: Ben Stein’s “Expelled” — A Canadian Conspiracy.
Whichever way Jindal goes on the anti-evolution bill, the remaining question will what effect his decision will have on Jindal’s chances — if he ever had any — of being chosen as John McCain’s running-mate.