According to the Associated Press, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the latest creationism bill to come out of the Louisiana legislature “in the last few days.”
- Previous Bathtub comments, and text of the law, here, “Louisiana lashes out at science.”
- Pharyngula, “The Bill from Bogalusa”
- Prof. Forrest’s careful analysis
- New Orleans Times-Picayune story
Discovery Institute operatives claimed credit for authoring the bill and provided close support to advocates of the bill in Louisiana. Oddly, now that the bill has become law and is likely to be a litigation magnet, DI has backed off of supporting the bill.
That is an object lesson, which may be lost on Louisiana school boards. The bill is a bit of a stealth creationism bill. It doesn’t directly advocate creationism by name. It adopts the creationist tactics of claiming that criticism of evolution is critical thinking, a confused statement of what critical thinking is if ever there was one. Critical thinking should involve real information, real knowledge, and serious criticism of a topic. The bill is designed to frustrate the teaching of evolution. The part Louisiana school boards need to watch is this: The bill passes the buck on litigation to the school boards.
In other words, the Louisiana legislature, Louisiana Family Forum, and Discovery Institute will not support any school district that allows a teacher to teach the religious dogma that commonly passes as creationism and intelligent design.
As part of the War on Education and the War on Science, this is effective tactics in action. If any teacher in Louisiana seeks approval for anti-evolution materials as the law encourages, school boards are put on the spot. If the school board approves the anti-evolution material, it is the school board’s action that will be the subject of the suit; if the board disapproves the material, but the teacher teaches it, the teacher can be fired and would be personally liable for any lawsuit.
But if a science teacher teaches evolution as the textbook has it, the Louisiana Family Forum will complain to the school board that “alternative materials” were not offered.
So to avoid trouble, evolution will be left out of the curriculum. The kids are failing the tests anyway — who will notice, or care? Not the Louisiana lege, not the Louisiana governor.
As America slips farther behind the rest of the industrialized world on education achievement in science, Louisiana’s legislature has sided with those who promote the “rising tide of mediocrity.” If a foreign government had done this to us, we’d regard it as an act of war, the Excellence in Education Commission said in 1983.
So what is it when the Louisiana legislature and Gov. Jindal do it to us? Treason? Maybe Bill Dembski will ask Homeland Security to investigate this attack on America by Louisiana’s elected officials.