It’s been five months since we looked at Louisiana’s Science Standards Review Panel. As you know, Louisiana was the first (of only two) states to enact the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA), which is modeled after the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom bill.
The state’s plan to revise its science education standards involved a large group of people — more than 100, mostly teachers — who would examine and edit the standards, with an opportunity for the public to make comments. The committee was scheduled to make its recommendations to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) on 13 Feb 2017. BESE will then study suggested changes at its March meeting.
Among the panel members was Wade Warren of the Louisiana Family Forum. We wrote about him in Louisiana Legislature Used Creation Science Witnesses. He and the Louisiana Family Forum actively supported the LSEA. Another panel member was John Oller, a creationist. You may recall him from some of our earlier posts — for example: Ken Ham Supports John Oller’s Lawsuit.
Well, the panel has finished its work. In the Baptist Message, a website that doesn’t describe itself, but which features a map of Louisiana in its header, we read Committee denies LC’s Warren’s edits for state’s new science standards.
That sounds like good news. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
The state committee charged with writing new science standards for Louisiana schools has moved forward without the small edits lobbied for by Louisiana College biologist Wade Warren.
Good news indeed! Let’s read on:
Declined were edits no larger than two-word additions reflecting science information currently included in many textbooks such as the sudden appearance of body forms in the fossil record known as the “Cambrian Explosion.” The sudden appearance of fossil forms is viewed by some as problematic for the Darwinian idea of gradual change over large periods of time. “I think it was very clear there were no content answers for my content questions,” Warren sad. “So, in that sense, it’s very disappointing, but not surprising.”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They won’t be teaching the “controversy.” Then the article says:
The review committee met in New Orleans, Feb. 13., in a public forum, and concluded with a vote moving the new standards forward to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for final approval. Warren’s “no” was the sole dissenting vote. The meeting was cordial throughout.
Egad! Is Louisiana coming to its senses? After that they tell us:
Warren proposed an edit to standard MS LS4-1 titled “Biological Evolution, Unity and Diversity” that reads: “Analyze and interpret data from patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction and change of life forms throughout the history of life on earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.”
Warren asked why his proposed edit of “sudden appearance” after the word “extinction” was not appropriate, telling the committee, “This is a known fact about the fossil record — sudden appearance.”
True. The the Earth is unstable, and fossilization is rare. The fossil record isn’t a smooth, consecutive collection, containing every creature that ever lived. Sometimes a fossil gets found all by itself, without a convenient collection of all of its ancestors.
Skipping over some back-and-forth exchanges the board members had with Warren, the article continues:
Warren said current research does not resolve the problem for evolution, but intensifies it. “A number of papers have come out in the last few years showing that the problem of sudden appearance that occurs during the Cambrian period is much bigger than was known by Darwin,” Warren said. “There are even more body plans that we know of now.”
There are more than we know of? Okay. Let’s read on:
[Committee chairperson Cathi Cox-Boniol, Lincoln Parish School System] stressed to the committee that the Life Science work group “overwhelmingly approved” the recommendation that Warren’s concerns be addressed in an appendix provided with the standards. The recommendation follows the standards to BESE for approval.
Ah, the recommended standards will have a creationist appendix. That’s lovely! This is how the article ends:
“I’m not convinced the standards as they’re written will inform public school teachers enough so they know,” Warren said. “I’m disappointed, but we just keep teaching people and educating people and you never can tell what might happen.”
Anyway, nothing is final yet. The panel recommendations are scheduled to be voted on by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education when it meets March 7-8. There will probably be a lot of creationist lobbying going on before then. We’ll be watching.
Addendum: For a deeper glimpse into the mind of Wade Warren, he wrote this for his employer, Louisiana College: The Value of a Christian Liberal Arts Education.
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