Discovery Institute: Ecstasy Over Louisiana #2

Our title was selected to remind you of what we posted three years ago: Discovery Institute — Ecstasy Over Louisiana (now Part 1).

We posted that in 2008 when Louisiana became the only state in the US to pass 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).

That law was misleadingly named the Louisiana Science Education Act (the “LSEA”). The legislature passed it almost unanimously — a fine example of bi-partisan ignorance. The bill was promoted in that state by the Discoveroids’ accomplices, the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), run by Rev. Gene Mills, and it was signed by the state’s ambition-crazed governor, Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist.

Many of you remember how the Discoveroids went into a wild frenzy of celebration when the LSEA was passed in Louisiana. They posted at least five celebratory articles at their creationist blog. They’re all linked in “Part 1” which we mentioned at the start of this post. The LSEA was the jewel in the the Discoveroids’ crown. Aside from a few pseudo-science books and creationist documentaries, it was all they had to show for the millions they had spent promoting their theocratic wedge strategy.

Bear in mind that the LSEA is far more important to the Discoveroids than, say, Ken Ham’s Creation Museum is to ol’ Hambo. That goofy museum, after all, is merely a privately-owned attraction for fools. Louisiana is a state! Think about that. They have police and prisons, they collect taxes, they have all the coercive apparatus of government at their command — and those instruments are in the hands of creationists. Hambo has his silly amusement park, but that requires voluntary visitors; the Discoveroids are tantalizingly close to ruling a Tenth Century fiefdom.

They almost lost it when some particularly unrestrained morons on the school board in Livingston Parish publicly declared their intention to use their power under the LSEA to teach raw creationism in science class, (see: Bruce Chapman’s Louisiana Damage Control), but the Discoveroids were able to calm things down while staying in the background.

Their glorious achievement was again threatened by Zachary Kopplin, a high school senior, with his Campaign to Repeal Louisiana’s Creationism Law, but the Discoveroids’ discipline has once again paid off. As you now know, yesterday the Louisiana Creationism Repeal Failed in Committee.

With that background, we can appreciate what has just been posted at the Discoveroids’ blog: Louisiana Preserves Science Education Act That Encourages Academic Freedom to Discuss Criticisms of Darwinism. To our delight it’s by Casey Luskin, everyone’s favorite creationist, and apparently the only one who is not a Discoveroid “fellow.” Casey says, with bold font added by us:

Yesterday the Louisiana State Senate Education Committee voted 5-1 to kill SB 70, a bill intended to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). … It is the first Academic Freedom law passed in the nation to protect public school teachers who teach students to think critically (read: scientifically) on controversial scientific topics like Darwinian evolution.

Yes, it’s “the first Academic Freedom law passed in the nation.” Where will the madness strike next? Let’s read on:

Before voting down SB 70 the Committee heard testimony from both sides. Predictably, opponents of the LSEA who wanted it repealed repeatedly talked about “creationism,” “creationism,” and also “creationism.” [Links omitted.] LSEA-critics didn’t quote from the law, and completely ignored the fact that the law prohibits any advancement of religion in the science classroom.

Casey refers to the transparently disingenuous Section 7 of the Discoveroids’ model Academic Freedom Act, which is found in the LSEA. Some version of that is in all the similar laws introduced (so far unsuccessfully) in various state legislatures. We’ve commented on it before, saying that if such bills really had a secular scientific purpose, the Discoveroids and their useful idiots in various legislatures wouldn’t be promoting them. We also said:

The “cloaking device” clause is nonsensical, self-referential language that attempts to tell the courts how to construe the bill. … The ridiculous “Hey, Judge: Here’s how to construe this law” section of such bills is comparable to a suicide-bomber’s explosive-laden vest being sewn with a tag saying: “Attention Bomb Squad Coroner: The deceased wearer of this garment should not be construed to be a suicide bomber.”

What else does Casey tell us? He recites some of the testimony of the creationist witnesses, which we imagine was scripted in Seattle. Thrilling stuff. Then he concludes with this:

LSEA critics are living proof why we need the law, because they refuse to admit that there is a scientific debate one evolution, and instead denigrate and deny the existence of those who are scientific skeptics of neo-Darwinism.

Thankfully, Louisiana legislators saw through the talking points of the Louisiana Darwin lobby and realized that the LSEA is necessary to protect sound science education.

So there you are, dear reader. Louisiana remains firmly in Discoveroid hands, and there is rejoicing in Seattle. It’s pretty much what we expected.

Oh wait — just as we were about to hit the “Publish” button we spotted yet another Discoveroid post on the same subject. This one is by John West: Scientists Issue Letter Supporting Louisiana Science Education Act. Check it out and look at the list of distinguished signatories. Geniuses all!

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

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5 responses to “Discovery Institute: Ecstasy Over Louisiana #2

  1. DI propaganda: LSEA critics are living proof why we need the law, because they refuse to admit that there is a scientific debate (sic) one evolution, and instead denigrate and deny the existence of those who are scientific skeptics of neo-Darwinism.

    Thank God I turn off my irony meter before reading such insanity. The DI knows darn well that if there were anything close to a scientific debate they would have no need to pull their stunt with the deliberately vaguely worded “dissent” statement (technically all biologists are “skeptics of neo-Darwinism”). Based on comparison to “Project Steve,” that statement represents <1% of scientists. Further scrutiny shows that the list is mostly signed by non-biologists, and is heavily padded with names of prior card-carrying members of anti-science organization. If that ain't bad enough, only a small minority of the biologists on the list deny common descent!

    If anything, DI antics shout even louder than we critics do that there is no scientific debete over evolution (the fact or the theory).

  2. Louisiana is a state! Think about that. They have police and prisons, they collect taxes, they have all the coercive apparatus of government at their command — and those instruments are in the hands of creationists… [T]he Discoveroids are tantalizingly close to ruling a Tenth Century fiefdom…

    Thanks for putting this in raw perspective. I agree with you completely. My own circle of friends, secular humanists all (and all cartoonist/animators, but that’s another story), dismissed the significance of the Dover trial out of hand. I followed it day-by-day, sometimes on the edge of my seat. To this day I believe that they, an intelligent bunch, nonetheless never fully grasped what was at stake. Now I can’t get anyone to understand that what occurred in Louisiana (and possibly may even happen again in Texas) bodes ill for the education, for the country and for the future. Pessimist I may be, but alarmist I’m not; not really. This is serious, for the exact reasons you’ve stated so clearly. Ill tidings, indeed…

  3. During the hearing on SB-70 yesterday one of the Senators held up a list of 15 scientists who supported the LSEA. Fifteen! Count ’em, folks! Ten plus Five. I don’t know if he said something Disco Tuttish like “prestigious” or “distinguished” or “special” (as in Isn’t That Special), but I went through the list and what did I find?

    Not much.

    Let’s play Find the Biologist! Here’s the list:

    Wade Warren, Ph.D. Biologist and Louisiana creationist. Maybe he’ll run for governor.

    Caroline Crocker, Ph.D. Teaching contract not renewed at George Mason University for teaching creationism in intro. biology; worked for the DI; fired by the DI; working again for the DI.

    Charles Garner, Ph.D. Organic chemistry. Teaches at Baylor. Creationist “expert” appointed by the Texas SBOE

    Robin Zimmer, Ph.D. Environmental toxicologist; Full-blown out of the closet creationist; runs Center for Faith and Science creationist website

    Michael Egnor, Ph.D. Not a PhD, but a MD – neurosurgeon. Vocal creationist; brain-mind dualist; source of the word “egnorance”

    Ralph Seelke, Ph.D. Microbiologist; intelligent design promoter; has a departmental disclaimer on his university web page

    Charles Delzell, Ph.D. Mathematics; LSU faculty! DI “Darwin doubter”

    Cornelius G. Hunter, Ph.D. Biophysics. Adjunct professor at Bible Institute of Los Angeles. Vocal creationist.

    Charles Voss, Ph.D. Retired electrical engineer; young earth creationist; testified for the LSEA

    David Elliot, Ph.D. Louisiana College, again; signer of DI’s dissent from Darwinism document

    Donald Johnson, Ph.D. Chemist and information scientist; retired intelligent design promoter; believes DNA is a computer.

    John Oller, Ph.D. Linguistics; writes for the Institute for Creation Research; well-known creationist

    David Deming, Ph.D. Geophysics and general crank from what I can tell. Professional contrarian. No standing in biology, however. Seems to be the “Klinghoffer of OU” (oklahoma) Wikipedia entry lists his “problems” with authority

    Donald Ewert, Ph.D. Microbiologist; denies common descent; promotes “intelligent design” creationism

    Rebecca Keller, Ph.D. Biophysics; supports “intelligent design” creationism-LITE; worldview homeschooler; writer for the Christian homeschool market

  4. One of the LFF’s “scientists” who testified cited Wikipedia as a scientific reference. Enough said.

  5. @Doc – great post. The “usual suspects” it seems.

    It would be gratifying to see the local papers carry something like the above, either in a story or on an op-ed page, i.e. a list of the “scientists” in support of the LSEA and their specific backgrounds in pseudo-science and the promotion of Intelligent Design, making very clear the intent of the LSEA and the quality of the “scientists” that support it. It would especially effective to contrast that list of cranks with Zack’s list of 43 Nobel Laureates. The politicians who pandered to these “experts” should be called to task and publicly embarrassed for their gullibility and/or their dishonesty.