Louisiana’s Science Standards — Update

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.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

11 responses to “Louisiana’s Science Standards — Update

  1. michaelfugate

    How could Warren believe anything else? He teaches at a college requiring him to be a Christian and adhere to Baptist standards.

    His graduate work was in neurophysiology and he was an undergraduate at the college where he now works – not likely he ever studied evolution except from an ICR pamphlet.

    “The sympathetic nervous system and the pineal gland: Important components in the rat circadian system”, Warren, Wade Scott, Texas A&M University, 1995.

  2. 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

    Well, duh!!!??

    Darwin published 158 years ago, not long after the beginning of the scientific revolution, and it would be astounding if we hadn’t learned something in all those years. There were only a couple of hominin fossils known at the time, and they were not understood. Darwin did very well, all things considered.

    But IDers and other creationists think that if they can show that Darwin was wrong in some small matter that his entire theory is disproved. What a joke!

    Perhaps this is a result of their religious, rather than scientific, background–the founder of a sect or denomination is revered and their pronouncements are often considered sacred. There is no scientific method to evaluate their claims, so it all comes down to belief in the pronouncements of that founder. If they can be eroded or doubted, then the entire belief system is similarly eroded or doubted. This is what they are trying to do to Darwin.

    Unfortunately for them, science works in the exact opposite manner–we have 158 years of advancement, testing, research, and additional evidence to work with. We don’t have to rely on Darwin’s unchanging and unfailing word, as “true believers” might have to–we can test things for ourselves and advance our understanding beyond what Darwin knew!

    And, unfortunately for IDers and other creationists, Darwin’s theory is holding up pretty well.

    Sorry folks!

  3. Hail Darwin!! Hail Our People!!!! HAIL VICTORY!!!!!

  4. Oh the IDiots have a new headline.

    Washington Post Fake News Purveyor Valerie Strauss “Reports” on South Dakota Academic Freedom Bill.

    Last month it was Washington Post, Ken Ham and Dinosaurs. They do keep upsetting creationists at the Washington Post.

  5. “Sudden appearance during the Cambrian ‘Explosion'” — probably best explained by the fact that during the Cambrian, easy to fossilize shells first appeared. There wasn’t a “sudden explosion” of life in the Cambrian; life had existed and had been evolving for billions of years — it’s just that the organisms didn’t have any hard body parts that are easily preserved.

  6. Not to mention that the word “sudden” is misleading – the Cambrian Explosion lasted 20-25 million years. That’s a lot longer than Homo Sapiens has been around.

  7. “… the Cambrian Explosion lasted 20-25 million years.”
    Not to mention *MUCH* longer than the age of the Earth, according to most creationist wackaloons.

  8. Suppose that some unexpected mechanism were discovered in the history of life at a time scale of half-a-billion or more years – something other than ordinary evolutionary mechanisms, during the Cambrian Explosion and back to the Origin of Life on Earth. What if?

    I’m thinking of something like the discovery of cosmic acceleration/dark energy. A Big Deal, but not questioning cosmology based on General Relativity and the Big Bang. I can’t imagine anyone seriously suggesting that dark energy is explained by Intelligent Design.

    What if by some lucky chance someone did happen across “dark evolution” operating back then?

  9. Was that piece by Warren just about the most “stream of consciousness” writing one could imagine? Did it make any sense? Was there any point?

    On another note, the DI has found a new buzz phrase “alternative fact” – they are nothing if not derivative – how long before they wear it out?

  10. michaelfugate

    Here is a piece by one of Warren’s colleagues in the biology department:

    Click to access imp-391.pdf

    Higher order thinking it is not.

  11. 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.”

    Creationism, including its legal maneuver “intelligent design” (invented to get around inconvenient court rulings against teaching creationism in public schools), might disappear. Perish the thought!