Louisiana Creationism: Ask BESE to be Rational

You know the situation in Louisiana. As we’ve reported here, in about three weeks the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is going to decide whether to adopt solid, sensible biology textbooks which have already been recommended by an advisory committee, or whether they’ll take the route advocated by so many creationists in that state.

It’s creepy that BESE’s decision could go either way, but that’s how it is in Louisiana. As always, the struggle to preserve reason and competent science education is being waged almost alone by 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.

In a praiseworthy attempt to encourage BESE to behave rationally, Barbara has posted It’s Thanksgiving — give thanks where it is due — and then act!, urging her Louisiana readers to politely contact their BESE members. She says:

[W]e need people right now to contact their representatives on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and ask them (nicely!) to do the right thing and vote to accept the ALREADY APPROVED biology textbooks on December 7, 2010.

Read Barbara’s entire post; then if you think you can help, please do as she asks. It might make a difference. (Then again, all attempts back in 2008 to influence Governor Jindal to veto the creationism-friendly “Louisiana Science Education Act” were futile. See our post about Barbara’s 2008 email campaign, and this follow-up.)

Don’t be discouraged, dear reader. It really is possible that BESE may behave more sensibly than Jindal did. His example isn’t a terribly difficult standard to exceed. But when you write to BESE, please remember to do as Barbara requests — be polite!

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

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3 responses to “Louisiana Creationism: Ask BESE to be Rational

  1. Numbers do count! I hope those with brains in Louisiana will respond to Barbara’s request. Our experience here in very red Okahoma has been that large numbers of citizens letting legislators, board members, etc., know how how bad decisions can negatively influence education and economic development has sometimes been effective.

    People often say that law makers do not read messages or pay any attention; this is not usually true. Legislators, for example, may not read all they receive, but their staffs usually do, and at a minimum, they tally opinions on both sides.

    For one example, we are convinced that a very large outpouring of messages from individuals and state and national organizations convinced the Oklahoma Governor to veto a ‘Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act’ two years ago. That bill (now law in Texas) would allow religion into many aspects in public schools, including creationist viewpoints. Given that OK is now totally dominated by far-right legislators and state officers, we may have trouble to continue to keep creationist bills out, but we will continue to try. Conservative Repubs (most wear religion on their sleeves) now have supermajorities in both State Houses and hold all state offices, but NUMBERS STILL COUNT.

  2. vhutchison says: “Numbers do count!”

    Let us hope so here. It would be especially good if BESE heard from a lot of teachers.

  3. There SHOULD be disclaimers in biology textbooks about evolution, something along the lines of “Even though all the evidence supports evolution and is explained logically and consistently by it, and even though we understand more about the mechanisms of evolution than we do about the mechanisms of gravity, there are many people who have been lied to about this subject who find evolution to be a controversial subject. Be warned!”