Louisiana Creationism: One Honest Newspaper

You undoubtedly know the situation in Louisiana, but if you’re new to The Controversy between evolution and creationism, we’ll provide some background. Our last post on this topic was Louisiana Evolution Book Decision on 7-9 December. Our regular readers 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; but we also deploy other pejorative labels. 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.

Almost 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.

That’s enough background. In the Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge, we find an editorial with a startlingly forthright title: Anti-science goal of law. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

If you believed the advocates of Louisiana’s “Science Education Act,” the whole point was not to ban evolution from textbooks in science classes. Rather, it was to provide a way for teachers to introduce “supplemental materials” that would question the purported weaknesses in evolution.

We knew the purpose of the law because: (1) we know how to read; and (2) we knew that the law was promoted by the Discoveroids. It’s unlikely that anyone was fooled, even when they were being lied to by politicians like Ben Nevers. Still, it’s a genuine pleasure to stumble across a newspaper that doesn’t conceal their ignorance or cowardice by retreating behind journalistic jive and reporting: “One side says X, and the other side says Y.” Let’s read on:

[R]ep. Frank Hoffman, R-West Monroe, frankly admitted the lie the other day.

Another of the same group of creationism advocates had challenged some proposed life-science textbooks, on the grounds that the books treated evolution as the basis of biology. Hoffman was one of the votes on a review committee that objected to the texts.

Yes. Hoffman’s partner in perfidy, Ben Nevers, had also objected to the textbooks. His pathetic cover story was that he objected on grounds of costs — an issue he never raised regarding any other books. We hadn’t paid attention to Hoffman’s objections, but we knew that along with Ben Nevers, his comrade in creationism, he too had been a sponsor of Louisiana’s anti-evolution “Stupidity Statute.” (Defaming public figures requires actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth; so we must relax our customary restraint in order to accurately describe creationist politicians.)

Let’s continue with the editorial, as the Advocate tells us about Hoffman’s justification for his anti-science vote:

His objection? That the books under review were not consistent with the spirit of the 2008 state law.

What? Well, dear reader, you and your Curmudgeon know the true “spirit” of Louisiana’s 2008 Stupidity Statute — like everything else promoted by the Discoveroids. We won’t hold back here, but neither will we exaggerate when we tell you that the statute’s true purpose is to cripple the minds of the children so they’ll grow up to be ignorant, gullible, and obedient peasants in a theocratic dictatorship.

What does the Advocate say about the law’s purpose? They won’t go all the way with us, but they go pretty far. They work up to it gradually:

What is the spirit of the “Science Education Act” in reality? It is to challenge evolution, not simply protect intellectual freedom of teachers who want to “question” evolution’s “weaknesses.”

They not only understand what’s going on — which is a journalistic rarity regarding science — they’re also willing to say what they know. Then they say even more:

The fraud behind the “Science Education Act” is that it was called a measure narrowly designed to deal with a specific problem. Rather, it is part of an anti-intellectual crusade that can serve only to hobble the education of Louisiana’s children, and will have the effect of bringing ridicule on this state.

Not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, although we’ve been writing about this subject for quite some time, we can’t recall a better editorial. Our compliments to the Advocate‘s Opinion Page staff.

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

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5 responses to “Louisiana Creationism: One Honest Newspaper

  1. What weaknesses?

  2. What weaknesses?

    Well, see, there are unknowns in evolution, it continues to be an ongoing science. A devastating set of affairs, I know.

    In medicine, chemistry, physics, and astronomy, the continuation of science is a strength, as more and more becomes known. In biology, this is a serious weakness.

    You’ll, uh, have to ask the IDiots why the continuation of research facilitated by the theory of evolution is a weakness when it’s not a problem for other disciplines and their theories. If you can get anything coherent from them about this, it should be interesting, whatever its intellectual value.

  3. Glen,
    You see, there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns, and then there’s complete BS, which is what these “weaknesses” fall under.

  4. Robinson: “What weaknesses?”

    Simple: Evolution doesn’t explain what it doesn’t claim to explain (e.g. every last molecular detail of the origin of life, first flagellum, etc.). So if you can fool students into thinking that evolution fails to explain what it doesn’t claim to explain, then it automatically inherits all sorts of “weaknesses.” Then, by playing “don’t ask, don’t tell” with the supposed “better explanation,” you conceal the real weaknesses from students. Including the particularly fatal one that those long-falsified alternate “theories” come in mutually contradictory (YEC, OEC, etc.) versions.

    What appalls me much more than teaching students those “weaknesses,” which they can already learn on their parents’ dime, is that the scam artists who peddle them have every intention of censoring mainstream science’s thorough refutations of them. All at taxpayer expense, no less!

  5. There is some hope in Louisiana. With luck, over time that small brave band may actually grow.