So much bad publicity spins out of Louisiana about so many things that we don’t often get a chance to shine a spotlight on the competent, dedicated people who are the real reason that this state works at all. And since Thanksgiving is almost here, it is a good time to tell the world that Louisiana has intelligent, accomplished, dedicated citizens, teachers, scientists — and students! — who are trying to stop the damage that the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) and their allies are doing to Louisiana science education. Several of Louisiana’s finest testified on November 12, 2010, in favor of accepting the biology textbooks that had already been approved by the Louisiana Textbook Review Committee. ….
Last year, the American Freedom Alliance, a California based Don’t Think Tank, attempted to insert, Trojan style,* a creationist film called Darwin’s Dilemma into the repertoire of films shown at the California Science Center.
The film is a pro-Intelligent Design film, and behind this insulting and immature ruse was, you guessed it, the Discovery Institute.
Louisiana is one of those states where really stupid stuff tends to happen, especially when it comes to evolution in the school curriculum. Recently, a state panel was in a position to chose either creationist textbooks with which to abuse the children for whom they are responsible, or good biology textbooks to educate the children for whom they are responsible. Under considerable pressure to not become the next national laughing stock, the advisory council voted 8-4 to use the correct books.
That’s good news, but it ain’t not over yet. This was only a preliminary vote, and the final vote will be carried out next moth by the state board of education.
Barbara Forrest writes on the LA Science Coalition blog:
We now have a Texas-style attack on the selection of biology textbooks, courtesy of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), which brought us the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) of 2008…. This attack began with a volley of letters written by LFF operative Darrell White to various Louisiana newspapers in July…
Barbara then goes on to explain the recent history of this particular attack. This is a very worthwhile read, as an exemplar of this sort of shenanigans.
In the end, there may be creationist textbooks used in Louisiana. Or, there may be stickers inserted in actual biology books. And then there will be law suits. And Louisiana will be forced, at great expense, to do the right thing. What a waste.
See also Erik Robelen’s blog post covering recent events in Louisiana. I’ll keep you posted, and the NCSE will probably have an update soon (their current press release is here).
Update: This jsut came out from Barbara Forrest’s blog at LCS: Hell just froze over in Louisiana.
I just received this dispatch from Monica Metzler, President of the Illinois Science Council. This is important.
The current leading candidate in the Illinois Governor’s race has acknowledged his belief in intelligent design and his willingness to permit individual school districts to allow it to be taught. Teaching ID in schools isn’t a top campaign issue and doesn’t get addressed in debates, but the outcome of this election could mean a disastrous turning point for Illinois schools and science in general. The situation in Illinois is such that if Sen. Brady wins, many school districts in the southern half of the state may pursue teaching creationism in schools. …
This clip is State Senator Bill Brady who is the Republican candidate for Illinois Governor in an editorial board interview. Brady is from southern Illinois and extremely conservative both fiscally and on social issues. This is a very heated and close race for governor. Brady was ahead in polls for several weeks but the race is now very close between him and the Democratic candidate, current Governor Patrick Quinn.
Also, in a Congressional race in the very large 14th district, State Senator Randy Hultgren is challenging Congressman Bill Foster in an extremely tight contest. Congressman Foster is currently one of only 3 physicists in Congress. (The others are Vernon Ehlers of Michigan who is retiring, and Rush Holt of New Jersey who is in a close race.) This seat has been targeted by the Republican Congressional Committee and the Tea Party for takeover. It is a swing district (previously held by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert) and if Congressman Foster loses, it will be tough to win this seat back. This clip shows Hultgren stating his belief in intelligent design and willingness to allow school districts to permit it.
The contentiousness of campaigns nationally and the general disaffection people have with politics means most voters know very little about the candidates. I would greatly appreciate any assistance you can provide in getting the word out about these candidates. In races this tight, every bit helps.
Amy Binder and John H. Evans, associate professors of Sociology at the University of California at San Diego, have written a piece on efforts to force religion in the guise of Intelligent Design and Creationism down the throats of children in Texas.
Continue reading The Wrong Way to Approach the Evolution-Creationism Debate
First, there was plain and simple creationism, a Christian idea that, in an ideal Christian world, would be taught as part of any science dealing with the past, including biology (evolution), geology, and presumably history.
But the constitution stood in the way of implementing basic Christian teachings in public schools in the United States, though that battle took decades. Just as creationists were being driven off he landscape, a sort of Battle of the Bulge occurred, in the form of Intelligent Design.
Continue reading Intelligent Design’s Legal Status after Dover