Louisiana Creationism Repeal: 10 March 2012

When we left this subject (see Zack is Back!), Zachary Kopplin’s Campaign to Repeal Louisiana’s Creationism Law was gearing up for another assault on the forces of ignorance. This is Zack’s website devoted to last year’s (and now this year’s) repeal effort.

Back in 2008 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 infamous piece of legislation is the Louisiana Science Education Act (the “LSEA”). The legislature passed it almost unanimously. The bill was promoted by the Louisiana Family Forum, run by Rev. Gene Mills, and it was signed by the state’s ambition-crazed governor, Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist.

Although last year’s repeal effort was supported by 41 Nobel Laureates for Repeal, Louisiana’s entrenched stupidity was too strong, and the bill never got out of committee. But Zack isn’t quitting. Our last post reported that he had he had lined up 72 Nobel laureates to support this year’s repeal effort. But wait — there’s more!

In the Times-Picayune of New Orleans we read N.O. senator files bill to repeal law critics say could allow teaching of ‘creationism’. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A bill to repeal the state law that critics say could allow the teaching of creationism as part of an overall discussion of the theories of evolution in schools has been filed by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, for debate at the legislative session opening Monday.

Peterson filed Senate Bill 374 to erase the “Louisiana Science Education Act,” that allows the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, at the request of local school boards, to “foster an environment” promoting “open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied, including evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning.”

Peterson sponsored the repeal effort last year. This is her page at the state Senate’s website: Senator Karen Carter Peterson, and here’s SB374 (SENATE BILL NO. 374). Unfortunately that’s not a direct link; you’ll have to enter SB374 in one of the search boxes. This is the bill’s text (pdf file). Leaving out some legislative technicalities, it says:

Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:

Section 1. R.S. 17:285.1 is hereby repealed.

Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon signature by the governor or, if not signed by the governor, upon expiration of the time for bills to become law without signature by the governor.

That statutory citation refers to the notorious “Louisiana Science Education Act.” We like Peterson’s drafting style — short and sweet. Okay, back to the Times-Picayune:

Zach Kopplin, a student who was involved in the original campaign to defeat the bill’s passage, said the repeal effort is being backed by 74 Nobel laureate scientists, “nearly 40 percent of all living laureates in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine.”

Now he’s got 74 Nobelists. Will that impress the Louisiana legislature? We doubt it. One more excerpt:

In a written statement, Peterson said that since Gov. Bobby Jindal has asked the Legislature to focus on education issues and ways to improve K-12 schooling at the session, then “the first place to start is to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.”

We also note that John Farrell, who writes for Forbes, has this at their website: Round Two in the Louisiana Science Education Wars. Farrell says:

Among the many scientists who signed the petition supporting repeal, Steven Weinberg, Sheldon Glashow, Leon Lederman. Among those who endorsed it: Kenneth Miller and Francisco Ayala.


The next step is to see whether Peterson’s new initiative makes it out of committee. I’ll keep an eye on this as the process moves forward.

Zack has a Facebook page about the subject: Online Day of Action to Repeal Louisiana’s Creationism Law.

Finally, the Independent Weekly of Lafayette, Louisiana has this story: 75 and counting: Nobel laureates target ‘science’ act. Wow — the total is now up to 75. The article says:

Seventy-four recipients of the Nobel Prize in the sciences have now signed a letter addressed to state lawmakers urging them to repeal the act. A 75th scientist, Sir John Sulston of Britain — Sulston was the 2002 Nobel winner in medicine — has endorsed the letter without signing it.

The article gives the full text of the letter they signed, and a complete list of the signatories. There are no Peace Prize winners, and no Literature Prize winners either. They all won their medals in the sciences. So let’s see if this has any effect on the Louisiana lawmakers.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Louisiana Creationism Repeal: 10 March 2012

  1. Tomato Addict

    Way to go, Zach!

  2. Good old Ken Miller who probably lectured to the young biology major Jindal at Brown University.

    But, it’s not about the science. Never was. It’s about politics and nowhere is politics more fun than in Louisiana, and that means money. If science brings in more money and votes than the LFF, then the repeal will go through. Until then, no way. Or, as they say in Louisiana, no way.

  3. If the LSEA really did “[allow] the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, at the request of local school boards, to foster an environment promoting open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied, including evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning” I would support it and oppose efforts to repeal it.

    But it’s a scam to mislead students, so I oppose it, and support any effort to repeal it. But with a caution: Remember that supporters are among the most rabid quote miners in existence, so please be careful how you describe the LSEA.

    @Doc Bill:

    I was told that Jindal did not have Miller as an instructor. But whether or not if he did, I suspect he went into Biology class with the same goal as (Discoveroid) Jonathan Wells did – to learn enough about it to be able to misrepresent it to the largest audience possible.

  4. techreseller

    Wait godless scientist versus my good saintly preacher here at home. Tain’t no contest here boys and girls. I don’t need any furriners telling me what is right.