Louisiana Evolution Book Decision on 7-9 December

As we said in our last post on this topic, Lucifer Laughs in Louisiana, although an advisory committee has recommended approval of certain pro-evolution science texts for use in public schools, the final decision will be made by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

In The Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge we read BESE to consider textbooks on Dec. 7-9 . Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

More controversy is expected when Louisiana’s top school board decides whether to approve high school science textbooks next month, officials on both sides of the issue said Monday morning.

I don’t think there is any way that it will not be controversial,” said Jim Garvey of Mandeville, vice-president elect of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, also known as BESE.

Great! How can we maintain this humble blog unless there are stupid people who do stupid things that we can write about? Let’s read on:

A state advisory panel on Friday voted 8-4 to endorse a variety of high school science textbooks despite complaints over how they describe evolution. BESE is set to make a final decision when it meets Dec. 7-9.

Decisions, decisions. Will they teach science or anti-science? How is a Louisiana political appointee supposed to deal with such things? We continue:

Ian Binns, an assistant professor of science education at LSU, said he plans to attend the BESE meetings to show support for the textbooks. “I want to make sure we are teaching science in the classroom appropriately,” Binns said.

Wow! Barbara Forrest isn’t the only voice of reason in that state. There seems to be one other. This is a pleasant surprise. Here’s more:

But Lennie Ditoro, who lives in Mandeville, also plans to be on hand to renew her criticism of what she sees as flaws in the books. Ditoro, who has worked with the Louisiana Family Forum, said the textbooks omit information that needs to be discussed in high school classrooms.

[…]

Critics argue that this year’s proposed list put too much credence in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Yes, we know about the Louisiana Family Forum. They feel that it’s bad for “family values” if science books teach science. That would lead the little children into a life of sin. Remember: The family that drools together stays together.

One more excerpt:

Penny Dastugue of Mandeville, president-elect of BESE, said today she thinks the 11-member panel will approve the textbooks next month.

Maybe, but not without a fight. The forces of stupid will be there with torches and pitchforks. The BESE people are gonna be screaming and throwing chairs at each other. Verily, this will be a meeting to remember.

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6 responses to “Louisiana Evolution Book Decision on 7-9 December

  1. “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.”
    — Pastor Ray Mummert, Dover, PA

  2. Yes, but someone has to stand up to the experts.
    – Don McLeroy, Bryan, Texas

  3. ““It surprised me to hear that there might be some weaknesses and inaccuracies, and I want to know what those may be,” [BESE Vice-president Elect] Garvey added.”

    This is disturbing. Every educator in LA must be aware of creationism and the legal issues involving it by now. I can’t believe any Board member is sincere in saying he’s ‘surprised’ by creationist claims. My guess is that he’s lying because he doesn’t want to tip his hand before the vote, and the question becomes, is he hiding pro-creationist sympathies or is he hiding pro-science sympathies? Maybe SC can find out [grin], but either way I’m not impressed.

  4. @eric:

    With the caveat that I’m only looking at your excerpt, Garvey’s statement appears to be sarcastic. But even if he’s hiding pro-science sympathies, one has to watch exactly how one states it. I for one would have said:

    “Yes, I have heard all those ‘weaknesses and inaccuracies,’ and they have all been thoroughly refuted. Besides, if there was a promising alternate theory, proponents would not be wasting their time with ‘weaknesses and inaccuracies’ of the current explanation, but supporting theirs on its own merits. That they refuse to do that indicates that, at best, they have less confidence in any other expanation than they have (or pretend to have) in the current one. At worst, they deliberately want to mislead students to suit some political agenda.”

  5. But even if he’s hiding pro-science sympathies, one has to watch exactly how one states it.

    That was sort of my point. Even adopting an optimistic reading (i.e., ‘he must be trying to fool the creationists’), this statement is troubling. Like you, if he were pro-science I’d prefer that he were up-front about it.

    Then again, he’s an elected official. It may be asking too much for a politician to ever be up-front about any policy choice…unless it is backed by greater than 90% of their constituents.

  6. SC: “The BESE people are gonna be screaming and throwing chairs at each other. Verily, this will be a meeting to remember.”

    Maybe we can get a streaming feed? For that matter, this sounds worthy of cable news coverage!