Louisiana Creationism: “Double, double toil and trouble”

WE HAVEN’T stopped thinking about Louisiana, site of the shabby, solitary victory achieved by the creationists in their 2008 “Back to the Dark Ages” campaign.

In case you’ve forgotten, the deranged legislature of that state (alas, it’s the birthplace of our own father and grandfather) passed the so-called “Louisiana Science Education Act,” which was then enthusiastically signed by their creationist governor, Bobby Jindal. The law authorizes the use of unspecified “supplementary materials” — wink, wink — for teaching evolution in state-run science classes.

This wretched piece of legislation was modeled after the infamous
Academic Freedom Act, a call to ignorance being promoted by the nation’s most prominent creationism lobby, the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). They celebrated wildly upon learning of the bill’s passage: Discovery Institute — Ecstasy Over Louisiana.

Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, BESE, now has the legal authority to make rules for approving those “supplementary materials,” but they have not yet taken any official action. We don’t know, but we imagine that their meetings are riddled with pro- and anti-science factions, who scream at each other and maneuver behind the scenes about how to handle this mess.

Somehow, it brings to mind the gathering of witches in Macbeth, from which our title was taken:

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.

Where will Louisiana schools search for their supplemental materials? The law was written so they can go dumpster-diving through the creationists’ pseudo-scientific trash — the kind discussed here: Discovery Institute: Their Recommended Reading List. Even now, we can see them fondling those volumes:

Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

Your Curmudgeon has a few better suggestions. They could go this site, which is operated by The American Association for the Advancement of Science: Evolution on the Front Line, where they have links to several books, DVDs, and other sources, including this: Evolution Resources From the National Academies.

Or they could visit the website of Eugenie Scott’s National Center for Science Education, where there are notices of two new offerings: A new edition of “Voices for Evolution”, and also Padian featured in SVP video. SVP is the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Padian is Kevin Padian, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a superb witness in the Dover litigation.

For the moment, it’s up to BESE. Hey, we may have found the last page from an actual transcript of one of their meetings:

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.

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2 responses to “Louisiana Creationism: “Double, double toil and trouble”

  1. In the spirit of the balanced and open discourse on evolution sought by the Louisiana Legislature, I trust that the supplementary materials will include the cosmology revealed through the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). This well-thought-out version of creation is far more logical and rational than that presented by the Bible-based creationists.

    The Kansas State Board of Education apparently found FSM to be persuasive in their eventual rejection of the Discovery Institute “Critical Analysis of Evolution” lesson plan-inspired “amended standards” in February of 2007.

    The reputation of Kansas still suffers from the hit they took because of the 2005 Board of Education decision to allow the consideration of intelligent design in science classes. Hopefully a similar amount of ridicule will be directed toward Louisiana until this anti-science legislation is repealed.

  2. In Louisiana, it hasn’t even started yet. Next year is going to be very interesting.