Louisiana Creationism & Barbara Forrest

AS you know, Dr. Barbara Forrest was a star witness for the winning side in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. That is why, if you took an opinion survey among the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), you would learn that they regard Barbara as the most hated woman in the universe.

She not only chopped them up in Dover, she continues to do so at her excellent website, the Louisiana Coalition for Science. Our last post extolling an essay by Barbara was Louisiana Creationism, Gene Mills, & Barbara Forrest.

We don’t understand how she did it, but Barbara has somehow exceeded her own standards of excellence and has produced an absolutely fantastic new essay on the current creationism situation in Louisiana. We’re talking about Livingston Parish School Board Wants to Implement Discovery Institute’s “Academic Freedom” Law, which appears at Barbara’s blog.

We’ve written about the situation in Livingston Parish, here, but that was nothing. What Barbara has written is for the ages. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Well, the Discovery Institute is apparently going to be nicely repaid for its investment in the Pelican State. DI’s promotion of its academic freedom legislation in Louisiana is bearing fruit. At its July 22, 2010, meeting, the Livingston Parish School Board announced its interest in teaching creationism under the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act. Actually, they did more than announce their interest. They proclaimed it.

The importance of that proclamation, dear reader, is that anything the Livingston Parish School Board does in furtherance of their creationist desires will be legally dead on arrival. They’ve already lost any litigation that may arise, because they’re going to flunk the first and second prongs of the Lemon Test — as happened to the creationist school board in Kitzmiller. Let’s read on:

If there was any doubt that people in Louisiana understand exactly why the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) was enacted into law in 2008, those doubts have now been dispelled. Our citizens have clearly connected the dots that link the LSEA and creationism.


Livingston Parish Director of Curriculum Jan Benton, in explaining to the school board on July 22 why the curriculum has not been changed in the wake of the LSEA, also explicitly made the connection. She told the board that “In the 2008 legislative session, the Science Education Act was adopted. It deals with creationism and the teaching of it in the schools. We had decided at that time to not teach it in our system.”

School board member David Tate, who appears to be the ringleader in this outbreak, has also made the connection. Here is what Tate said at the board meeting:

[Quoting Tate:] Every one of us (board members) sitting up here believes in creationism. We just sit up here and let them teach evolution and not take a stand about creationism. To me, how come we don’t look into this as people who are strong Christians and see what we can do to teach creationism in schools?

Barbara then delves into her well-documented history of earlier comments made by Tate and other prominent creationists about their educational intentions, stretching back for years. The documentation she’s compiled is awesome! Then she discusses the role of Darrell White, a retired Baton Rouge City Court judge who helped found the LFF — that’s the Louisiana Family Forum, an activist Louisiana pressure group run by Gene Mills.

She then documents — extensively — the connection between Darrell White, the Louisiana Family Forum, and the Discovery Institute, going back as far as 2003. She concludes this massive quantity of evidence by saying:

It’s safe to say that there is an ongoing relationship here. In fact, the evidence is undeniable that there is a direct relationship between the Louisiana Family Forum and the Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute is one of the only two organizations that promoted the LSEA, the other being the LFF. DI therefore shares with the LFF the direct responsibility both for this law’s passage and for whatever creationist initiatives result from it, whether in Livingston Parish or anywhere else in Louisiana

This, dear reader, is evidence just waiting to be presented in court at the first hint of creationism in science class. Come on, Livingston Parish School Board — Barbara’s waiting for you!

But wait, there’s more. Barbara then recounts Livingston Parish School Board member David Tate’s history of speaking about his desire to teach creationism under the protection of the LSEA. After that she presents this — the most entertaining part of her essay:

The boys at the Discovery Institute have been totally quiet about this development. They are surely hoping that no one will notice the elephant in the living room. … They’re probably already writing up a sanitized, code-term-saturated policy for the Livingston Parish School Board, which they hope will be more cooperative than the Dover, Pennsylvania, School Board turned out to be when DI tried to persuade that board to clean up its language.

One can just imagine the furious e-mail activity that must be taking place between Casey Luskin and Darrell White

What follows is, quite possibly, the best prose ever written in the annals of The Controversy between evolution and creationism. We won’t excerpt any of it for you. You’ll have to click over to Barbara’s essay and read it for yourself. You gotta do it! In our happy little niche of the blogosphere, that imaginary exchange is like the moon landing. It doesn’t get any better.

We’ll wrap this up with Barbara’s last two paragraphs. The caps, bold font, and color are hers:

NEWS FLASH for the Discovery Institute: Your old creationist terminology trick has been amply exposed and explained. This won’t work any more. It won’t fool anyone.

Here is the simple truth: The Discovery Institute is heavily invested in Louisiana — up to their eyeballs. Whether the Livingston Parish School Board or some other Louisiana school board implements the LSEA — in the way that we all know is intended — won’t matter. This Livingston Parish development — and any other initiative anywhere in Louisiana — will be the Discovery Institute’s baby (or, rather, its tarbaby). As we say way down south, “You cain’t disown this youngun. It’s the spittin’ image of its daddy!” The Livingston Parish CREATIONISM initiative — in whatever form it takes — will be the Discovery Institute’s offspring. Discovery Institute owns this.

What an essay! If British Petroleum had Barbara working for them, the oil spill in the Gulf would have preemptively capped itself, long before it ever dared to blow. But do the creationists in Louisiana have the brains of a mindless pool of oil? We shall see.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Louisiana Creationism & Barbara Forrest

  1. “But do the creationists in Louisiana have the brains of a mindless pool of oil? ”

    Yes. And that’s being generous.

  2. Barbara Forrest: The Livingston Parish CREATIONISM initiative — in whatever form it takes — will be the Discovery Institute’s offspring. Discovery Institute owns this.

    And Forrest pwns the Livingston Parish, LSEA, LFF, and DI in one fell swoop. Outstanding!

  3. Those of us who live and suffer in Louisiana can thank God (or the deity of your choice) for Barbara Forest. It amazes me how well she slices and dices the rhetoric and claims of the creationists. Critical thinking is a premium in this state and we’re fortunate to have her intellect working for us. Considering the lack of thought and critical thinking in the state legislature (and the Governor’s office) that has led to massive budget cuts to higher education, any of us in higher ed are glad to still be here. How long that lasts is yet to be determined.

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    I don’t care if people believe in Creation or not–what infuriates me is that they lie about what they believe and they lie about what the scientists say. It’s the same thing for the global warming deniers. They’re not honest and so it’s very difficult to engage with them.

  5. Good report. Barbara is really accomplished and this is an excellent example of her abilities to get to the details and explain them lucidly.

    Unfortunately, the ignoramuses that should read this likely will not, and if they do, their closed minds will not understand why their beliefs and proposed actions are wrong.

  6. Gabriel-

    Discovery Institute = Dishonesty Institute

  7. Victor correctly says:

    Unfortunately, the ignoramuses that should read this likely will not, and if they do, their closed minds will not understand why their beliefs and proposed actions are wrong.