Louisiana Creationism: Slime-Slinging Time

The slime is being slung, the poop is being flung. The creationists are getting down and dirty, revealing their true nature. And they look like deranged street-brawlers.

Today is the day that Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) begins the process of approving biology textbooks. In a normal state run by normal people, this would be a relatively simple process. But we’re talking about Louisiana. The biology texts have been challenged by the state’s well-organized creationists on the grounds that — well, they teach science! By golly, they don’t want any of that stuff — not in Louisiana! The kids might actually learn something, and once that happens … well, who knows?

Here’s some background. 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; now you know what this is all about. In the Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge, we find a letter from Gene Mills, president of the Louisiana Family Forum. The paper titled it Mills criticizes professor, texts. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

In “Rules for Radicals,” Saul Alinsky advises leftist organizers to “antagonize opponents.”

The creationists are easing their way into this battle by starting out with Alinsky. You’ll know they’re getting to phase two when they move on to Hitler. Let’s read some more:

Well, the radicals are busy in Baton Rouge! Evidenced by Friday’s letters to the editor in yet another shameful mischaracterization of Louisiana Family Forum by Dr. Barbara Forrest, professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and self-described expert on religion.

Yeah, that Barbara’s a real radical. She actually wants science to be taught in the public schools. We continue:

Barbara Forrest, it seems, has made it her life mission to put the religious belief of all Louisianians on trial. Her conclusion: LFF advocates the teaching of religious creationism in the science classroom alongside evolution.

Observe, dear reader, what Mills is doing here. Attempting to demonize Dr. Forrest is his sole theme today. He’s sufficiently cunning to avoid talking about science or the theory of evolution — about which he knows nothing. Today’s letter is entirely about Barbara. Either that’s his plan for dealing with the issue, or it’s evidence of a mind that is totally unhinged. The more of Mills’ letter that we read, the less certain we are.

Click over to the Advocate and read the whole thing. After that, ponder the reality that Mills and his organization have enough political power to get their creationist bill through the Louisiana legislature and then have it signed by Bobby Jindal, their pandering Governor.

So the fun is beginning. Pull up a seat. The BESE hearing starts today and the creationists’ opening salvo is calling Barbara a Saul Alinsky radical. What’s next — will they accuse her of witchcraft? This is Louisiana, so anything is possible.

Update: See Committee of Louisiana’s BESE OKs Biology Books.

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 Creationism: Slime-Slinging Time

  1. Curmudgeon: “He’s sufficiently cunning to avoid talking about science or the theory of evolution — about which he knows nothing.”

    Or that he knows enough about it to know that we’re right.

  2. Nice comments to the editorial.

    Who is he writing for, anyway? Everyone in Louisiana knows what the LFF is about, and what the real intent of the “academic freedom” act is. Mills even clarifies that intent himself, in case anyone didn’t know, by denigrating Forrest not for her qualifications or for her position on science, but for her lack of religious faith. The message that Mills wants his supporters to send to the BESE is “don’t listen to Forrest, she’s an liberal atheist, and we don’t want them gol dang atheist textbooks in our schools.”

  3. This is oddly similar to Kitzmiller. There, TMLC’s strategy for dealing with defense experts was to counter with experts of their own (or in Padian’s case, not)…except Forrest. In her case, they attempted to get her removed as a non-expert and when that failed, they attacked her character. She was essentially the only one they attacked in this manner. They even brought up the point that she was a member of the ACLU. Talk about old school – didn’t “are you a card carrying member…” go out with the Nixon administration?

  4. Ed asks:

    Who is he writing for, anyway? Everyone in Louisiana knows what the LFF is about, and what the real intent of the “academic freedom” act is.

    I’m guessing that BESE already know how they’re going to vote on this issue. It’s difficult to believe that any of them are still open to debate. Even if they were, Mills’ tactics today are grotesquely foolish. My guess is that he’s worried about losing, so he’s preaching to his followers and making a “good show” for them.

  5. SC wrote:

    Today’s letter is entirely about Barbara. Either that’s his plan for dealing with the issue, or it’s evidence of a mind that is totally unhinged.

    I vote for both.

  6. Gabriel Hanna

    Just another illustration of the fundamental dishonesty of the creationist movement. Ever voter in the state who expressed an opinion on that bill, wanted it because they want a license to teach creation in school. They denigrate Barbara Forrest for accusing them of doing what they know they are hearts they want to do, and have said publicly that they want to do. Her charges are perfectly true and they know it. It’s a mass exercise in doublethink.

  7. Gene Mills got totally beat up in the comments. I’m not sure there was a single supporting comment, certainly nothing approaching factual support.

    He also got nailed for bragging how the LFF wrote the “academic freedom” act.

    First pride, then fall.

  8. retiredsciguy

    Eric wrote, “Talk about old school – didn’t “are you a card carrying member…” go out with the Nixon administration?”

    Actually, long before Nixon took office. The inquisitional phrase “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” was part of the McCarthy hearings in the early ’50s; Nixon was inaugurated in 1969.

  9. Mr C you must be aware that what he does – ignore the evidence and simply attack the credibility and character of the witness – is a standard legal technique used in courts to defend lost causes.

    Revel in that fact – the defenders of stupidity realise they cant effectively attack the evidence, and instead try the shabby pathetic tactic of trying to discredit a witness. A tactic that in Dr Fs case will ALWAYS fail. He’s preaching to the choir….the only ones convinced by his Beckish rant are the Faux News idiot brigade.

    Laugh, spit in his face, and enjoy his downfall.