Barbara Forrest on the Lunacy in Louisiana

AT the website Louisiana Coalition for Science, maintained by Dr. Barbara Forrest, a star witness for the winning side in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, there’s a great new article on something we’ve been writing about since 2008: Louisiana is the only state, so far, that has enacted an “Academic Freedom” bill modeled after the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids).

The bill, which permits unspecified “supplemental materials” — wink, wink — to be used in science classes, was signed by governor Bobby Jindal, perhaps the world’s only creationist who was a biology major at Brown University. That worthy is also known as Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist, and he’s been honored by winning your Curmudgeon’s coveted Buffoon Award (see: Creationist Bobby Jindal).

If you want a complete understanding of what happened in Louisiana, we invite you to visit Barbara’s site to read Nothin’ in Louisiana but “Academic Freedom” (Right). We know you’re going to read it all, so we’ll give you only a few excerpts, with bold added by us:

In 1981, the Louisiana legislature passed and Gov. Dave Treen signed the “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act.” (See the YouTube video about this law at the end of this [Barbara’s] post.) This law required that “Commencing with the 1982-1983 school year, public schools within this state shall give balanced treatment to creation-science and to evolution-science.” It was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 19, 1987, in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard.

There are several links in Barbara’s article, including the video, but we’re omitting them to encourage you to visit her site. Let’s read on a bit more:

In 2008, the Louisiana legislature passed and Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the “Louisiana Science Education Act“ (LSEA). The LSEA “requires [the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education], upon request of a local school board, to allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” Here is Jindal’s June 2008 response on Face the Nation when asked about his support for teaching creationism:

Again, we’re omitting Barbara’s links, and also the video which she embeds in her article. We continue:

Both the 1981 and the 2008 laws were justified as defenses of “academic freedom.” Both were introduced specifically to promote creationism: the [1981] Balanced Treatment Act was designed to promote “creation science,” and the [2008] LSEA was introduced to promote intelligent design (ID) creationism.

Here’s more:

In 1987, New York University law professor Arthur Miller hosted a TV program, Headlines on Trial, which devoted one show to the Louisiana Balanced Treatment Act, which required Louisiana public school science teachers to teach creation science whenever they taught evolution. Making the case in favor of the legislation were Sen. Keith and well-known young-earth creationist Duane Gish. Making the case against it were Dr. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, and attorney Jay Topkis, who argued — and won — the case for the plaintiffs before the Supreme Court.

Where else can you get background information like this? We have no doubt that Dr. Forrest will be an expert witness in the inevitable litigation that will challenge the new Louisiana law. Moving along:

Now let’s flash forward again to June 2008, when the Discovery Institute, too, was denying to high heaven that there was any intent to promote creationism in the LSEA that it helped write. DI staffer Robert Crowther protested, “Critics have smeared the LSEA by falsely claiming the law would allow the teaching of creationism or other religious beliefs.”

One last excerpt, and then you’re on your own:

In Louisiana, where French is still the second language, we know what this means: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” The study of history reinforces this old truism, and it’s amazing what a little history reveals about the ancestry of the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act: the LSEA is merely a resurrection — in drab, washed-out, and totally transparent terminological clothing — of the 1981 “Louisiana Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act.”

That’s just a small sample of what awaits you at Barbara’s website. There’s not much else to be said, except what we’ve said before: Dr. Barbara Forrest is the greatest. Now click on over there and read her entire essay.

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One response to “Barbara Forrest on the Lunacy in Louisiana

  1. I actually take a somewhat positive view about LA right now; since 2008 the LA coalition for science hasn’t found any creationism teaching to litigate, which means its probably not grown (over what was hidden there to begin with).

    There is a difference between passing vague legislation and teaching creationism in schools. The fundamentalists have done the former. But so far they’ve been unable to convert it into gains in the latter. Yeah, we need to keep an eyeball on the situation, but so far this bill has had all the impact of the unpassed Santorum amendment. I.e. none.