Today is the day when a special, statutorily-created advisory committee meets to review Louisiana’s school textbooks, after which they will make recommendations to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (“BESE”).
We recently posted Louisiana Creationists: “We want more ignorance!” which provides the background for today’s news. Basically, the creationists are on an anti-science crusade.
In The Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge we read an editorial by that newspaper’s opinion page staff: Keep politics out of texts. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
We hope that experience [of the state boards of education in Texas and Kansas] is much on the minds of the committee that today will hear complaints about textbooks for high school biology in Louisiana.
The committee will certainly be thinking of their fellow creationists in those two states. But they’re likely to see the madness in those states as inspirational, rather than cautionary. Let’s read on:
The committee members have a duty to reject intrusion of pseudo-science, such as creationism or its offshoot “intelligent design,” into science classrooms.
We agree, but we fear that the committee imagine themselves to be on a divinely ordained mission to suppress science and spread the word of creationism. We continue:
It’s one thing to be different culturally, as Louisiana is in so many ways. But the facts of science and biology do not change. For Louisiana to be different in the direction of ignorance would be a humiliation in the eyes of the nation and the world.
That was a very noble editorial, but nobility doesn’t apply to creationism, so it was probably futile. We have absolutely no confidence in this advisory committee. What happens today will be no more honest than an old-style Soviet show-trial.
As was pointed out by the National Center for Science Education in this article, Textbooks under siege in Louisiana, two of the committee members are state legislators. One of those two is senator Ben Nevers, who sponsored the Louisiana creationism bill that is now law. See Louisiana’s Ben Nevers: Creationist Doublethink. The other is Representative Frank A. Hoffman, and he sponsored the same creationism legislation in the state House. Both were appointed to the committee by Louisiana’s creationist Governor, Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist.
Your Curmudgeon is willing to bet five quatloos — five! — that the committee will reach a wacky creationist decision, but we can’t find anyone willing to bet that they’ll do anything else.
Surprise Update! See Panel endorse textbook that describes evolution, which says:
A state advisory panel voted 8-4 Friday afternoon to endorse a series of high school science textbooks that have come under fire for how they describe evolution. The vote followed more than three hours of discussion.
Two of the “no” votes were cast by Senate Education Committee Chairman Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa and House Education Committee Vice-Chairman Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe.
Louisiana has experienced what they call a lucid moment. But the battle isn’t over yet.
Update: See Lucifer Laughs in Louisiana.
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