Louisiana Creationists: “We want more ignorance!”

Louisiana is known for more than swamps, ‘gators, voodoo, and gumbo. It’s also gained world-wide recognition as a land of creationism. But before we tell you today’s news, we’ll provide some background. If you already know the creationism situation in Louisiana, you can skip the next few indented paragraphs:

Louisiana is the only state in the US that can boast of passing an anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism “Academic Freedom” law modeled after the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

The Louisiana Science Education Act (the “LSEA”) was passed in 2008. It encourages the use of unspecified “supplemental materials” — wink, wink — in science classes. We refer it as Louisiana’s “every child an idiot” law. The LSEA was enacted notwithstanding a landmark decision from the US Supreme Court striking down Louisiana’s earlier creationism law (see: Edwards v. Aguillard).

Virtually the entire state of Louisiana is a creationist wasteland. That includes their governor, Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist (who is also a winner of your Curmudgeon’s coveted Buffoon Award). Although he had been a biology major in college, Jindal signed the bill after it was passed almost unanimously by the state legislature, led by the bill’s sponsor, senator Ben Nevers. (See Louisiana’s Ben Nevers: Creationist Doublethink.)

Let us not forget the state-level promoters of the LSEA, who appear to function as fellow-travelers and obedient servants of their Discoveroid puppet-masters in Seattle. There is Darrell White, founder of the Louisiana Family Forum (the “LFF”), and also Gene Mills, president of the LFF.

The lone voice of sanity in that benighted state has been philosophy professor Barbara Forrest, a star witness for the winning side in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. She is founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science.

Our last post on the ongoing tragedy in Louisiana was Klinghoffer: “You Caught Us. So What?” That was about the hilarious craziness of the creationist school board in Louisiana’s Livingston Parish, which openly declared that they wanted to use the new law to teach creationism. Their behavior was profoundly upsetting to the Discoveroids who always claim — and want their followers to pretend — that their anti-science activism isn’t motivated by religion. But nothing can really embarrass creationists, so the madness is continuing.

In The Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge we read Criticisms target evolution in texts. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Some proposed high school biology textbooks are under fire because critics say they put too much credibility in the theory of evolution, officials said Monday.

Amazing, isn’t it? Let’s read on:

“It is like Charles Darwin and his theory is a saint,” said Winston White, of Baton Rouge, who filed a comment with state officials reviewing the textbooks.

Who is that brilliant man? Bear with us, you’ll see. We continue:

But others said the textbook criticism is being led by the Louisiana Family Forum, which touts itself as a group that promotes traditional values. “They had their people going through the books, writing up complaints and sending them,” said Barbara Forrest, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana University and co-founder of the LA Coalition for Science.

What’s really going on here? The Advocate explains:

Textbooks for Louisiana’s public schools are typically renewed every seven years. Samples are made available in public libraries across the state. A special committee reviews the books, then makes recommendations to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, called BESE. Last month, BESE approved other science textbooks but delayed action until December on the high school life science books.

Ah, yes — the creationist citizenry are using their non-existent knowledge to review science texts. We wrote about that a few months ago. Here’s more from today’s news story:

Darrell White, who is the father of Winston White and is co-founder of the Louisiana Family Forum, said the proposed biology textbooks he reviewed fail to meet the benchmarks spelled out in a 2009 law aimed at expanding classroom talks on the theory of evolution. “If this was a beauty contest, we have got all ugly contestants in these biology textbooks,” White said.

Now you know who Winston White is. One more excerpt:

Forrest said she thinks critics hope to get disclaimers added to the textbooks, change their content or pave the way for the inclusion of supplemental materials that challenge Darwin. “What has happened is that the Louisiana Family Forum is attacking the process of textbook selection,” she said.

There’s more information in The Advocate‘s article. You’ll probably want to read it all. It looks to us like Barbara has her work cut out for her. She seems to be the lone voice of reason in that entire state. So stay tuned, dear reader. The fun is only getting started.

Addendum: For a full report on the situation, including a detailed historical account, see Barbara Forrest’s new post: Textbook Attack in Louisiana.

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

9 responses to “Louisiana Creationists: “We want more ignorance!”

  1. Hey now, its a complete misrepresentation to claim they’re going after evolution. They’re going after evolution, global warming, human cloning (???), and any other bit of science they don’t like or understand.

  2. I heard a rumor that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, will be renamed the Board of Elementary and Higher Education. 😉

  3. Knowledge just leads to thinking, and that leads to not believing ancient sacred lies. Is that anything a proper Louisianan is going to allow to go unchallenged?

    No! Louisiana is determined that the stereotypes about ignorance and stupidity in the South must be fact.

  4. @eric:

    Technically they’re not going after any of those, only their fantasy caricatures of them. Which is all they can do when they know that there’s no problem with the real science and no promise of any alternate science.

    I never cease to be amazed how every “kind” of anti-evolution activist, from the flat-Earth YECs to the common descent conceding Discoveroids, obsess over Darwin. I don’t remember my Quantum mechanics classes obsessing over Newton, “Newtonism” and “Newtonists.”

  5. I never cease to be amazed how every “kind” of anti-evolution activist, from the flat-Earth YECs to the common descent conceding Discoveroids, obsess over Darwin.

    Its probably a good thing that they do. It makes it trivially easy for judges to figure out what’s going on. If creationists came didn’t mention Darwin, Jesus, or Design every second sentence it’d be much more difficult to beat them in court.

    The press is our friend in this situation. Not because its liberal, but because creationists always provide juicy quotes. Any reporter would rather have a Buckingham rather than a Miller. My theory is that since the goal of the deception is to proselytize the public, by handing them a microphone during the legal process you short-circuit their strategic thinking. You’ve essentially given them the platform they were lying to get, and the facade drops away.

  6. Gabriel Hanna

    It’s pretty impossible for the majority of a state to keep a secret, fortunately, and that’s why the “wink wink nudge nudge” phase never lasts very long.

  7. Anybody want to join in with a bet book on the subsequent legal costs to the Louisiana state education budget for the inevitable Kitzmillver V2.0 court case?

    Im taking bets on $3million dollars and above.

    Im also taking side bets on how long it will take the DI to do a Pontius Pilate and deny any involvement once the court case is initiated. Im offering very favourable odds on 1 hour.

    The winners get a big I F ING TOLD YOU SO badge, beany and T shirt.

  8. Im also taking side bets on how long it will take the DI to do a Pontius Pilate and deny any involvement once the court case is initiated.

    No one’s going to take that bet, because (IIRC) it’s already happened. When Livingston Parish considered adding creationism to their curriculum earlier this year, the DI came out against them and denied any involvement.

  9. I just added an addendum to the post, linking to Barbara Forrest’s new article: Textbook Attack in Louisiana.