Barbara Forrest on Repeal of the LSEA

Dr. Barbara Forrest has just written a splendid essay titled Respect Requires Repeal, posted at the website of the Coalition for Louisiana Progress. It’s about the current effort to repeal the infamous Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA).

If you need some background on the LSEA and the campaign to repeal that creationist law, see Louisiana Creationism Repeal Bill Filed. If you don’t know who Barbara Forrest is, she’s a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, co-author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse, a founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science, and a star witness for the winning side in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

Now that you’re current, let’s see what Barbara says about the repeal bill. It’s a long essay, with lots of historical information. We know you’ll be reading it in full, so we’ll give you only a few excerpts, with bold font added by us:

How could a state where public education is so crucially important — and whose governor is a Rhodes scholar with an Ivy League biology degree — do this again? Wasn’t one Supreme Court decision about creationism in Louisiana enough?

Apparently not. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s declaration in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) that Louisiana’s 1981 “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act” was unconstitutional, the legislature has again capitulated to the Religious Right by enacting a law permitting public school science teachers to use creationist teaching materials.

Good, huh? Let’s read on:

This law was promoted only by creationists. Neither parents, nor science teachers, nor scientists requested it. No one wanted it except the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a religious organization that lobbies aggressively for its regressive agenda, and the Discovery Institute (DI), a creationist think tank in Seattle, Washington, that couldn’t care less about Louisiana children.

Barbara gives a lot of history about the campaign to pass the LSEA, and everything is footnoted. This is a very authoritative article. Then she says:

Virtually every significant creationism outbreak in the United States since 1999 has been the product of DI’s aggressive execution of its “Wedge Strategy” for getting intelligent design into public schools. Typically, DI operatives arrive on the scene after local Religious Right groups do the initial spadework, a pattern that DI followed in Louisiana, where its proxy, the LFF, had promoted creationism for a decade.

She’s talking about the wedge strategy, the Discoveroids’ road map to theocracy. Hey, this is interesting:

The softspoken Rev. Mills [head of the LFF], as much a political operative as a man of the cloth, plays hardball: “[Y]ou don’t go to a gunfight with a knife in your hand.” (He has also stooped to exploiting tragedy to promote his antievolution agenda, referring to Jared Loughner, who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, as a “mentally disturbed Darwinist.”)

Suave guy. Hey, get this — it’s about LFF operative Darrell White:

White’s now-defunct “Origins Science” website featured links to Answers in Genesis, which runs the infamous “Creation Museum” in Kentucky, and to intelligent design creationist materials. He also contends that the “uncritical teaching of Darwinian evolutionism” caused the 1999 Columbine shootings.

We’ve only scratched the surface of Barbara’s essay. Here’s one more excerpt, and then you’re on your own:

Senator Karen Carter Peterson will introduce a repeal bill in the 2011 Regular Session of the legislature. If it survives the Senate, Rep. Walt Leger will handle it in the House. In 2008, both houses passed the LSEA with only three dissenting votes — reflecting the LFF’s influence while Jindal was still on his political honeymoon with a legislature that was reluctant to cross him. Now, three years later, the repeal bill will give both the legislature and the governor a chance to correct their mistake.

Okay, now click over to the Coalition for Louisiana Progress and read the whole thing. Barbara Forrest is a national treasure.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Barbara Forrest on Repeal of the LSEA

  1. It never ceases to amaze me how humans so steadfastly cling to their beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence, and seem obliged to ram them down less-than-consenting throats.

    Let them prove that Earth is only 6000 years old – under the same rigorous criteria as the rest of science – then they can teach it as ‘science’ to impressionable youths.

  2. The only problem is that they can’t prove scientifically that the earth is only 6000 years old. So their only recourse is to criticize science and claim that it is wrong. Over the years much has been written about a strong anti-intellectual thread that has weaved its way through American history. Given that the U.S. it the greatest technical innovator in the history of the globe it is ironic that we have one of the strongest anti-science lobbies around. Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe this response is ultimately a response, if only unconsciously, to the demystification brought on by an advanced technological society.

  3. Well this changes everything. Since “Darwinian evolutionism” caused the 1999 and 2011 shootings, and I read somewhere that it cause the Holocaust and many other bad things too, it must not be taught at all. It is irresponsible to demand just “supplemental materials,” or “strengths and weaknesses.” The only right thing to do is to ban the teaching of “Darwinian evolutionism.” 😉

  4. Biokid: “The only problem is that they can’t prove scientifically that the earth is only 6000 years old.”

    The DI activists, and almost certainly Jindal, know and accept that the Earth is 4.5-4.6 billion years old, and that it has been inhabited with life for ~80% of that time, with tool-making hominids a relatively recent (2-3 million years) arrival. LFF may have some YECs and Omphalos creationists but these people are all slaves to the big tent. So the strategy is “Don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when, but throw anything at ‘Darwinism’ that you can.”

    I hope everyone got the sarcasm in my last comment. If these people truly believed that evolution lacks evidence they would (1) state clearly what the evidence points to, and (2) not give away their real objection with all the Klinghofferesque nonsense.