Last week we wrote about Louisiana’s 2015 Creationism Repeal Effort — an attempt to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA). The LSEA was based on the Discovery Institute’s anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act. But something was missing.
In all earlier attempts to repeal the LSEA, besides Senator Karen Carter Peterson who courageously sponsors the repeal bills, we could always expect Zack Kopplin to be involved. He drives the Discoveroids crazy because: (1) he makes sense; and (2) he gets more press coverage than they do.
Well, dear reader, Zack is back. He has an article at Slate, titled Dismissing Darwin, in which he gives examples of creationist horror stories in Louisiana’s public schools. Some may be controversial as to whether they were specifically caused by the LSEA, or just the sort of thing that traditionally goes on in Louisiana, but the LSEA presumably protects those teachers, and the overall effect of Zack’s presentation is quite powerful. The first paragraph is all we need to excerpt. If that doesn’t encourage you to read the whole thing, nothing will:
When I was a high school senior in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2010, I began a campaign to repeal my state’s “creationism law,” which allows teachers to sneak religion into public school science classes by using materials that criticize evolution. Seventy-eight Nobel laureates and many other prominent scientists and educators have joined me in calling for the repeal of this law, officially known as the Louisiana Science Education Act, and tens of thousands of people have signed petitions against it over the past four years, but so far we’ve failed. Louisiana teachers can still bring religion into public school science classrooms, legally.
In addition to that, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) posted this about Zack’s article: Creationism revealed in Louisiana schools. They quote Zack:
I have evidence that religion, not science, is what’s being taught systematically in some Louisiana school systems. I have obtained emails from creationist teachers and school administrators, as well as a letter signed by more than 20 current and former Louisiana science teachers in Ouachita Parish in which they say they challenge evolution in the classroom without legal ‘tension or fear’ because of pro-creationism policies.
Will this have any effect on the Louisiana legislature? We doubt it. Here’s a link where you can monitor the progress of this year’s repeal bill. It was pre-filed on 31 March — the day the legislature convened — it was sent to Senate’s Committee on Education. That’s where all the earlier repeal bills have died. Nothing has been scheduled yet for this year’s bill — no hearings, no votes. Alas, we’re expecting a replay of what happened to all such bills before. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on 11 June.
The Discoveroids haven’t yet posted about the situation. No doubt they will. The LSEA is their biggest triumph, so they have to defend it. They’ve never made any contribution to science, and they never will, so Academic Freedom bills like the one they promoted in Louisiana (and later in Tennessee) are all they’ve got to show for the millions they’ve spent, and they won’t let it go down without a fight.
To understand what we say next, you may need to read the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws. In the spirit of one of the most absurd provisions of the LSEA, we close with this:
Addendum: Breaking news! We’ve just been informed that there’s a hearing on the repeal bill scheduled for today, at about 10:30 or 11 AM in the Hainkel room in the Louisiana State Capitol. You can watch it here.
Addendum: More breaking news! NCSE has posted Repeal effort fails again in Louisiana. They say: “Louisiana’s Senate Bill 74 (PDF) was deferred on a 4-3 vote in the Louisiana Senate Education Committee on April 22, 2015, which effectively kills the bill in committee.”
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