Bad News, LA - Jindal Hops on Creationist Bandwagon

| 102 Comments

Bill Barrow of the (New Orleans) Times Picayune has the bad news:

Gov. Bobby Jindal attracted national attention and strongly worded advice about how he should deal with the Louisiana Science Education Act.

Jindal ignored those calling for a veto and this week signed the law that will allow local school boards to approve supplemental materials for public school science classes as they discuss evolution, cloning and global warming.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will have the power to prohibit materials, though the bill does not spell out how state officials should go about policing local instructional practices. … Critics call it a back-door attempt to replay old battles about including biblical creationism or intelligent design in science curricula, a point defenders reject based on a clause that the law “shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine … or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”

In signing the bill, Jindal issued a brief statement that read in part: “I will continue to consistently support the ability of school boards and BESE to make the best decisions to ensure a quality education for our children.”

Political observers said Jindal’s signature will please one of his key local constituencies: conservative Protestants in north Louisiana. Jindal’s long-term political challenge, they said, particularly if the Brown University biology graduate ever seeks national office, is not allowing his political image to be defined by such moves.

“It’s good politics if you are a conservative Republican politician,” said Pearson Cross, a political scientist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “That being said, not every place is Louisiana. … Certainly this is not going to do anything to endear Bobby Jindal to a majority of voters in places like California and Massachusetts and New York.”

Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat said: “The ideal candidate is one who has broad appeal. … To become president today, you can’t become isolated as the candidate of the religious right.”

Yet a cadre of scientists, national groups with a secular agenda, editorial writers and even Jindal’s college genetics professors suggested the bill could push Jindal toward that kind of identity.

Too bad Jindal didn’t heed Prof. Barbara Forrest’s appeak to veto the bill. Now it’s become a political hot potato, with possible implications come November.

The Louisiana Coalition for Science will have more coverage as events unfold, as will NCSE, which notes

… bill supporter David Tate, a member of the Livingston Parish School Board, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune (April 18, 2008), “I believe that both sides – the creationism side and the evolution side – should be presented and let students decide what they believe,” adding that the bill is needed because “teachers are scared to talk about” creationism.

102 Comments

The bill would look a lot different if the examples of scientific theories would have been changed into: Section 1. R.S. 17:285.1 is hereby enacted to read as follows: §285.1. Science education; development of critical thinking skills A. This Section shall be known and may be cited as the “Louisiana Science Education Act.” B.(1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, The Holocaust, The Apollo Moon Landings, The 9-11 Events and The Monster of Loch Ness.

Getting out my pirate regalia right away.

Tip of the iceberg.

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled as of yesterday that people who are injured in the course of exorcisms can’t sue — even if the exorcism was performed against their will. Even if they were physically restrained and falsely imprisoned.

America seriously needs to reconsider whether it was such a good idea to keep the southern states in the union back in the 19th century. There’s just something wrong with a lot of people down there. Jindal needs those people to vote for him.

We’re worried about science education in places that are effectively still holding witch trials. Maybe those places ought to be their own country. We can build a big fence along the border or something.

I’m very surprised that Jindal signed it, if only because, AIUI, he could have just done nothing and it would have passed. Had he done that there would still some uncertainty as to how much he actually supports pseudoscience, as opposed to just supporting the right of local boards to decide.

Now the microscope is (or ought to be) on John McCain. While he has defended “teach the controversy,” unlike Jindal, who seems to be clued in on ID’s evasion tactics, McCain has admitted accepting evolution. Given Jindal’s biology degree, I would guess that he privately accepts it too. But he obviously has a prior commitment to having the masses think otherwise.

If McCain chooses Jindal, he might gain votes from the fundamentalist far right, where he is weakest, but lose votes from pro-science conservatives who don’t want taxpayer-funded pseudoscience in science class. Either way, current polls show him with a big uphill battle.

Here is a copy of the Louisiana Science Education Act for anyone who has not yet read it for themselves.

http://www.legis.state.la.us/billda[…]p?did=498719

Governor Jindal has done the right thing, btw. Promoting “critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories” will only improve, not impair, science education.

FL :)

Eddie… wrote:

“…but not limited to, The Holocaust, The Apollo Moon Landings, The 9-11 Events and The Monster of Loch Ness.”

You forgot to include the JFK assassination, Tooth Fairies and Coulter’s book “Godless.”

Oh yes, what FL said.

Why, there are so many alternative theories explaining the origins of biological diversity these days! One of the best has recently been put forward by Oklahoman John Sparacio. If anything, his brilliant new theory is even better supported by the evidence than anything else proposed as an alternate explanation. I’m certain that it will be put before students in Louisiana classrooms in no time at all.

There’s so much garbage to choose from! There’s hardly room for teaching anything resembling biology… and really, who needs it?

Once again we hear from a school board member (David Tate) who has no expertise in a subject, say how that subject should be taught. And he adds the utterly foolish mantra, “teach both sides and let the student decide.” If I tried to decide for myself topics in history class (such as who won the Civil War, how the Vikings conquered the Incas, and the Babylonians’ use of steam engines), I suspect those same idiots would object.

Jindal is just pandering to his base. The bill passed both houses by overwhelming majorities. He had to either sign it, or grow a backbone and find a real job as something other than a politician. Given his attitudes, he probably isn’t going to be putting his Brown biology degree to work.

Louisiana has sent a clear message to the world that they just want to knock about in the basement of civilization forever. I’ve heard from Louisiana natives that companies tend to avoid setting up in that state. They have a hard time getting educated, skilled workers.

Another National Sacrifice Area but at least it is a voluntary one. Oil and gas drilling and the infrastructure for shipping facilities and refineries can be environmentally destructive to the point where states like Florida and California prohibit off shore drilling. Louisiana encourages it and my car thanks them for it.

And now we don’t have to feel quite as guilty for not fixing their wrecked main city.

FL Wrote:

Governor Jindal has done the right thing, btw. Promoting “critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories” will only improve, not impair, science education.

As you know and pretend not to, this bill will not do that at all. Teachers who would promote critical thinking skills will do it with or without this bill. But teachers itching to misrepresent evolution and censor the necessary refutations of those misrepresentations will see it as the necessary permission to do so. As you also know, teaching those misrepresentations effectively teaches “revisionist prehistory”, which makes it especially ironic that anyone calling himself a conservative would approve of it being taught at taxpayers’ expense.

The bill probably won’t make much difference. From various reports, schools in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Florida just teach creationism anyway. It ratifies the status quo more than anything.

Might just as well start preparing for the inevitable court case.

Frank J said: I’m very surprised that Jindal signed it…

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Jindal’s name recognition increases, so it’s not a bad thing for him in his quest to be McSwine’s vice-president.

FL said:

Governor Jindal has done the right thing, btw. Promoting “critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories” will only improve, not impair, science education.

FL :)

So then, please explain why forcing teachers to teach Creationism will improve science education when, not only have Creationists, especially yourself, demonstrated that they have a uniformly malevolent distaste for science education, but, in all those states that have adopted Creationism-friendly science curriculum guidelines, the educational systems turned out to be among the worst performing in the entire continent?

If you want Creationism taught in science classes, then are you lying about not wanting the Bible to be used as a science textbook?

The most remarkable feature of the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act is its internal contradiction. Although it claims to “promote critical thinking skills and open discussion,” it forbids critical thinking and open discussion about the motivation behind the bill when it proclaims by fiat that the act does not “promote any religious doctrine.”

FL said:

Governor Jindal has done the right thing, btw.

He did the right thing for his career.

He did the wrong thing for science, education, and reason.

It would be interesting if a courageous teacher actually took advantage of the law to teach evolution actually based on the available data. Do you think such a teacher would be fire-bombed or lynched?

Hands up those who think that the title of a piece of legislation must be a concise statement of its real intended effect?

That many, huh? Well, now, as it happens, I have right here in my pocket the attested deeds to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and I am instructed by my principals to let it go for a song.…

He did the right thing for his career.

Not so sure of that. Certainly in Louisiana, he would have self destructed if he didn’t pander to the prevailing anti-intellectualism.

Nationally, he probably type cast himself as one of countless regional wingnuts. The ones that have made an astounding mess of the USA. There is definitely a bit of a backlash against the fundies these days. As you sow, so shall you reap.

FL said: Governor Jindal has done the right thing, btw. Promoting “critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories” will only improve, not impair, science education.

A good science education will certainly contribute to skill in critical thinking, but a good science education is not a necessary product of the development of critical thinking.

Science education in primary and secondary school is intended to instruct in the knowledge and understanding (respecting natural phenomena) that science has produced. It is not a forum to debate the merits of alternative methods in seeking out knowledge and understanding. Any time spent on such alternatives will not improve a students grasp of knowledge and understanding of natural phenomena that we collectively refer to as “science”.

Dear Mike,

You’re remarks are bigoted, condescending ones, reminding me of comments questioning my nationality (I was born in New York City), since I don’t quite look “American”:

Mike O’Risal said:

America seriously needs to reconsider whether it was such a good idea to keep the southern states in the union back in the 19th century. There’s just something wrong with a lot of people down there. Jindal needs those people to vote for him.

We’re worried about science education in places that are effectively still holding witch trials. Maybe those places ought to be their own country. We can build a big fence along the border or something.

If we have any hope of ultimately prevailing against creos and their supporters like Jindal, then we should avoid remarks like yours. They’re counterproductive.

I wrote this online to Jindal:

As a felllow conservative Republican, I enjoyed hearing your views on “Face The Nation” last week. However, I strongly disagree with your support of the Louisiana Science Education Act (SB 733) and urge you to veto it immediately. Your support of this legislation will have dire consequences for the future of public secondary school science education elsewhere in the United States, and quite frankly, eventually, the United States’ preeminence in science and technology. It has embolden the bill’s external supporters, the Seattle, WA-based Discovery Institute, to work diligently towards the passage of identical bills elsewhere around the United States; until now only one similar bill has gone as far as committee review in the Michigan state legislature.

As a fellow alumnus of Brown University and as a product of public school education elsewhere in the United States, I understand your sincere desire and keen interest towards ensuring that your children are educated in the latest scientific advances. But this will stop if you do not veto SB 733, since its advocates seek a revolution not only in evolutionary biology, but also in the rest of science, thereby transforming it into an entity unrecognizable to scientists from Darwin’s time to the present. They wish to reject centuries-old established scientific methodology and replace it instead with a broader, more expansive, definition of science that would include the “scientific” study of supernatural phenomena; a definition which one of Intelligent Design creationism’s leading advocates, biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and Professor of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, admitted under oath during the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial, a devastating legal defeat for Intelligent Design creationism and its advocates (By failing to veto SB 733, you would be granting them the very legal victory they have sought since that trial - and have failed to attain - here in the United States.).

As a Deist I can appreciate your difficulties in accepting some aspects of evolutionary biology, and yet, I must observe that many religiously devout scientists like eminent ecologist Dr. Michael L. Rosenzweig, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, noted cell biologist Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, Professor of Biology, Brown University, and distinguished molecular biologist Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project, see no contradiction whatsoever between their own personal devoutly held religious beliefs and their commitment to excellence in scientific research (A distinction lost on Discovery Institute “scientists” like Professor Behe and his “colleague”, mathematician and philosopher Dr. William Dembski.). You will be following in the footsteps of such distinguished scientists as Rosenzweig, Miller and Collins if you veto SB 733; again I urge you to do so immediately.

We stand at the crossroads, embarked upon a titanic struggle for America’s soul, according to Brown biologist Kenneth R. Miller’s new book, “Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul”. Please join with me, eminent conservative writers John Derbyshire, Charles Krauthammer and George Will, and conservative scientists like biologist Paul Gross, who recognize that the barbarians are at the gates. If you veto SB 733, then you will help ensure that these barbarians do not destroy all that is noble and just in Western Civilization, including America’s preeminence in science and technology.

Sincerely yours,

John Kwok

P. S. I concentrated in geology-biology and history at Brown. I possess master’s degrees in biology and geology and have worked in epidemiological research at a notable medical school here in New York City.

Regards,

John

Ben Abbott said:

Any time spent on such alternatives will not improve a students grasp of knowledge and understanding of natural phenomena that we collectively refer to as “science”.

Having students learn about alternative explanations, especially when the aforementioned alternatives have already been revealed and repeatedly debunked as spurious nonsense, will cause irreparable harm to their science education, in fact.

John,

You’re not going to reach Creationists. Not going to happen. Forget about it. If it were going to happen, it would have happened already.

This has nothing to do with ethnicity and everything to do with insoluble, multi-generational ignorance that has been ingrained as a cultural icon. YOu are looking at part of southern identity when you’re looking at people like Donna Callaway, Bobby Jindal, David Gibbs, etc. It isn’t going to change.

The most productive thing that can be done with people who identify in this way is to give them what they want. They want a theocracy. Fine. They should have one, but it shouldn’t be part of the United States. They should have been let go 145 years ago.

As Mr Kwok points out, abandoning/dismissing/jettisoning/relegating to the styxs states/populations/people from this or other countries simply because they conflate their ignorance with piety, and wish to force others to do the same is obviously (at least it should be obvious) NOT AN OPTION. We must expose the self-destructive foolishness of these fools before they can achieve enough power to destroy everything. To exorcise these fools from our perceived social group is about as productive as saying, “I don’t like this malignant carcinoma that’s on my hand, I’ll pretend it doesn’t exist.”

Stanton,

And how is your comment not bigotry in the eyes of those you think you’re going to save from their “foolishness?” Do you still not understand that your “foolishness” is their core belief, part of what they consider their identity, and for that very reason the more of this “foolishness” you expose the more that you give them cause to celebrate the very leadership from which you’re attempting to remove influence?

And enough of this nonsense about bigotry and trying to apply this to some supposed opinion I have about people of other ethnicities or nationalities. My partner of many years was born and raised in the Middle East. I certainly made no effort to dissuade her when she decided to become a US citizen.

I have yet to see any evidence that “exposing their foolishness” has any productive effect whatsoever. Time and time again on this very blog I see scientists complaining that Creationists keep saying the same things over and over again, make the same mischaracterizations for years and years, that they don’t care about the evidence and that they ignore the repeated debunking of all of this… and yet you’re going to reach them by positing one logical argument after another, referring to the same evidence time and again?

News flash, folks. The governor of Louisiana just signed an “academic freedom” creationism bill into law because he believes in it himself, because his state is dominated by people who agree with its aim of slipping The Wedge into science classrooms and he needs their votes, or both.

The Texas Supreme Court just stated that churches who injure people in the course of exorcisms can’t be held civilly liable.

Florida’s “academic freedom” bill died because it started too late in the legislative session, not because it doesn’t enjoy broad support in that state. It will likely be back early in the next session and it will likely become law.

South Carolina’s government is issuing religious-themed “I Believe” license plates.

I don’t see where “exposing the foolishness” is having much of an effect on the ground, frankly.

This is not about “exorcising” a group, it’s about giving people the right of self-determination. If that’s what they want, they should have it. Your analogy of a malignancy is an apt one in one sense, however. You can’t reason with a cancer, either. From where I sit, it looks like this cancer is spreading and becoming more established, not less.

Perhaps piety is precisely a product of ignorance in this case. Your wishing to convince others to renounce their ignorance, in that case, is exactly the same thing as demanding that they give up their piety. To such people, your attempts to educate are nothing more than attempts to get them to convert to your religion. In which case, reason is the enemy. It cannot be used to change the situation and, indeed, all evidence points to that being the case.

Mike O’Risal said:

Stanton,

And how is your comment not bigotry in the eyes of those you think you’re going to save from their “foolishness?” Do you still not understand that your “foolishness” is their core belief, part of what they consider their identity, and for that very reason the more of this “foolishness” you expose the more that you give them cause to celebrate the very leadership from which you’re attempting to remove influence?

And enough of this nonsense about bigotry and trying to apply this to some supposed opinion I have about people of other ethnicities or nationalities. My partner of many years was born and raised in the Middle East. I certainly made no effort to dissuade her when she decided to become a US citizen.

I have yet to see any evidence that “exposing their foolishness” has any productive effect whatsoever. Time and time again on this very blog I see scientists complaining that Creationists keep saying the same things over and over again, make the same mischaracterizations for years and years, that they don’t care about the evidence and that they ignore the repeated debunking of all of this… and yet you’re going to reach them by positing one logical argument after another, referring to the same evidence time and again?

So, then, please explain why it is pointless to appeal to the reason and or piety to those who do not conflate piety with ignorance? Why should we give up hope so easily then?

I don’t see where “exposing the foolishness” is having much of an effect on the ground, frankly.

This is not about “exorcising” a group, it’s about giving people the right of self-determination. If that’s what they want, they should have it. Your analogy of a malignancy is an apt one in one sense, however. You can’t reason with a cancer, either. From where I sit, it looks like this cancer is spreading and becoming more established, not less.

Perhaps piety is precisely a product of ignorance in this case. Your wishing to convince others to renounce their ignorance, in that case, is exactly the same thing as demanding that they give up their piety. To such people, your attempts to educate are nothing more than attempts to get them to convert to your religion. In which case, reason is the enemy. It cannot be used to change the situation and, indeed, all evidence points to that being the case.

So then, what do you suggest we do about this? Exile all the creationists and their cronies to the South and secede from the Union? Round them all up on barges and noyade them all?

Mike O’Risal said:

Stanton,

And how is your comment not bigotry in the eyes of those you think you’re going to save from their “foolishness?” Do you still not understand that your “foolishness” is their core belief, part of what they consider their identity, and for that very reason the more of this “foolishness” you expose the more that you give them cause to celebrate the very leadership from which you’re attempting to remove influence?

Also, please explain why my thinking of wanting to educate people, even on a person-to-person basis, about matters of evolutionary biology with the expressed purpose of dispelling preconceived misconceptions is bigotry. Please explain to me why going up to a creationist, and looking him deep into his pupils while asking him “Why do you hate to learn so much?” bigotry.

So, then, please explain why it is pointless to appeal to the reason and or piety to those who do not conflate piety with ignorance? Why should we give up hope so easily then?

It is pointless to appeal to those people because they’re Ken Miller and Francis Collins. They’re not the ones trying to get Creationism slipped into science classes. They’re not the ones who see a conflict between belief and science in the first place. It’s pointless to appeal to them because it’s called “preaching to the choir.”

So then, what do you suggest we do about this? Exile all the creationists and their cronies to the South and secede from the Union? Round them all up on barges and noyade them all?

“We” don’t do anything. We let them decide where they want to go. Why do you assume that it is up to “us” to do anything, rather than just allowing “them” to do what they want to do in the first place?

Given a theocracy, given a place where they can have the faith-based law and belief-based educational system that they want, they’ll embrace it because they’ve already embraced it. “We” can then get back to using science as a tool to understand the universe and educating “our” children about the same. There would no longer be a pressing need for “us” to expose “their” foolishness.

You know, when some preacher starts shouting verses about saving your soul, he thinks he’s exposing your foolishness, too.

Also, please explain why my thinking of wanting to educate people, even on a person-to-person basis, about matters of evolutionary biology with the expressed purpose of dispelling preconceived misconceptions is bigotry. Please explain to me why going up to a creationist, and looking him deep into his pupils while asking him “Why do you hate to learn so much?” bigotry.

I never said that I thought it was. What I said was that they perceive it as such… because you’re presuming to tell them that you’re “educating” them in the first place. You’re stating right here that they “hate to learn.” That’s bigotry, because you’re telling them what it’s worthwhile to learn about. Who are you, exactly, to make that decision for them? As far as they’re concerned, they’re learning all they need to know by studying the Bible and taking it literally. You’re presuming to tell them that they’re wrong. But that’s part of their culture, and so what they’re hearing is, “Your culture is wrong. You’re learning the wrong things. Let me straighten you out.”

Mike O’Risal said:

You know, when some preacher starts shouting verses about saving your soul, he thinks he’s exposing your foolishness, too.

And did it ever occur to you that not all creationists are rabid, hellfire pulpit bullies who slaver over destroying and or converting their opponents? Did it ever occur to you that some are actually reasonable people who wound up listening to the wrong authority figures?

And did it ever occur to you that not all creationists are rabid, hellfire pulpit bullies who slaver over destroying and or converting their opponents? Did it ever occur to you that some are actually reasonable people who wound up listening to the wrong authority figures?

And you are setting yourself up, then, as the RIGHT authority figure? How has that been working out? The governor of Louisiana still signed that bill. Those license plates are still going on cars. I’m sure lots of Louisianans who support Jindal and “academic freedom” aren’t sticking pins in PZ Myers voodoo dolls and lots of those who support it in Florida aren’t bombing research labs (at least not in the five years I was there and meeting these people).

Yes, I’ve met Creationists who didn’t want to throw rocks at me. That doesn’t mean that they don’t try to change the government to eliminate church-state separation. It only means that they’re nice about it. The end is the same. Your looking them in the eye and unloading upon them a bunch of evidence for which they have no conceptual framework isn’t going to change their minds, either. Their framework is faith, not reason. The important thing in their minds is NOT GOOD SCIENCE. It’s values. Ventastega and Tiktaalik and citrate-utilizing E. coli don’t change that. At the core of these values is the belief that human beings are CREATED in the image of a deity. As soon as they think you’re telling them otherwise, they may smile and nod… and then go right back to whatever it was they thought beforehand.

The really nice ones will even pray for you.

Politics isn’t my cup of tea, as I don’t have any recipe on how to go about it. It is important of course, not just because of what anti-scientists do in the political arena, so I’m willing to learn as much as I can.

If I do have some ideas on how to choose, it would lean heavily on statistics of actual policies, and a preference for the robustness and efficiency of distributed systems.

harold said:

Naturally I favor non-violent “promoting freedom around the globe”. Who wouldn’t?

Agreed. But I would argue against John (assuming he is a liberal or libertarian) differently; democracy is important enough to be promoted, and it acts as a constraint on idealized freedom.

harold said:

I understand that it’s hard to find a good old-fashioned “social Darwinist”, “laissez-faire” party these days that doesn’t also support crazy hypocritical authoritarian theocracy. Sorry John, but those things tend to travel together. The “social liberal” who wants to to impose harsh economic policies is compartively rare.

Comparitively rare, but not non-existent. There are others like you. Bob Barr is running as a Libertarian. I don’t know what his views on evolution are, but Barr has consistently surprised me with coherent support of constitutional rights in the past, despite his behavior during the Clinton years. He may very well be okay on science.

There are two observable reasons why democracy is important beyond the bloody obvious of practicality and morality.

One is that when combined with free markets AFAIU it is correlated with improved living conditions for the poorest 20 % faster than anything else, and the Gapminder statistics on nations provides one proxy for that. Another is that democracy when combined with for the purpose sufficient social security it is correlated with increased rationality, and there is a recent Edge article providing one proxy for that.

I don’t think we can give libertarians a break here, neither idealized freedom of society nor freedom of markets is optimal when combined. Evidently economy has to give a little to make for a better society, and societal freedom has to give a little to make for a better economy.

iml8 said:

That is not the case in the USA. You can teach what you like in your own schools or home schooling. There is the slight problem of being *accredited* when a student goes on to advanced education in the mainstream, but this can be addressed (at least to a degree) by entrance exams.

Home schooling is different here too. I don’t think it is common if allowed; we do have regulations for “school duty”.

Similarly we have a licence systems for schools, AFAIU based on among other things a common curricula standards.

iml8 said:

I personally defend the right of groups to teach whatever they like to their kids in their own schools as long as it doesn’t cross the line into encouraging violence or the like. It is disagreeable for parents to teach their kids pseudoscience, but if the alternative is to infringe on the rights of groups to believe and raise their kids as they see fit, it is the much lesser of evils.

I’m not sure what you mean here, obviously a religious school can have voluntary services in between lecture times. But it also has to teach science and comparative religion, so pseudosciences is thrown out as well as censoring of religion.

I assume those schools sees it as a reason to improve their religious offerings in competition with other secular and religious views.

FL said: But you know, all that rejection of the Bible doesn’t mean anything for this particular thread.

Yes it does. Because as was made clear in Dover and more recently in the ACSI v. Stearns case, the way in which YECers teach “alternatives” is to impress upon the students that biblical quotation is “evidence” the same way that empirical observations are “evidence.” This is not true in science, and unless you are willing to accept other faith’s religious books on equal footing, you are not just being unscientific but also religiously bigoted.

Don’t believe me about my claim? The A Beka biology book under contention in the ACIS v. Stearns case states in the introduction: “If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts appear to back them.”

THIS is the problem with teaching creationism in schools. And it hasn’t gone away: the A Beka book was written in 1997.

Just to show you that I’m not rejecting the bible outright, I’ll say that there are at least two places in science where the bible is a completely legitimate reference. First, scientists are perfectly accepting of the idea that it will guide your donations. If your morality tells you to feed the hungry, and you take that as a reason to fund agricultural research, that is a legitimate use of the bible in science. Second, any book - bible included - can serve as a source of new hypotheses to be tested. The Mormons have been doing legitimate new world archaeology for decades, because their religious books tell them there should be new world precolombian Jewish settlements. They haven’t found any, but they do legit science as they search.

Where you get in trouble - and where I can almost guarantee YECers will get in trouble in Louisiana - is when biblical quotes are considered to be the same as, equal to, or superior to, scientific evidence. That’s not science, not even by Behe’s definition, and yet it is one of the key “lessons” creationist teachers try to impress on kids again and again.

Besides, as the LSEA itself points out:

“This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”

Such wording seems more than clear enough

Others have covered this - writing doesn’t make it so. To prove my point - the Koran has verses in it saying it was inspired by God. Do you accept that this is true just because its written? It’s the same logic - you must accept both, or neither, or come up with some other reason than “because they said it was so.”

Such wording seems more than clear enough

Gotta laugh. Why would anyone see any need to insert such language in the first place, except that this is a religious controversy having nothing to do with scinece (which does not need, and never has needed, any disclaimers that it’s science and not religion).

As the Newman law journal article says about a previous Louisiana law,

the bill was drafted and redrafted with the goal of preserving its religious objectives while trying to make it litigation-proof.

This is exactly what’s going on here. They’re doing everything they can to say “we want our religious faith preached as science, we want the real science eliminated, and we want to convince the courts that we have no religious motivations for doing so whatsoever. Nope, not us.”

Eric said:

The Mormons have been doing legitimate new world archaeology for decades, because their religious books tell them there should be new world precolombian Jewish settlements. They haven’t found any, but they do legit science as they search.

I wasn’t aware of that, but I can believe it. If you want to get real geneological expertise, the Mormons are the place to go – they have some of the world’s best geneological infosystems in place.

I believe this relates to the notion of retroactive baptism, where you can have your deceased ancestors baptized so they can get out of the slammer and through the gates of heaven. However, I asked a Mormon acquaintance about this one time and he genially dodged the question … I think Mormons have a tradition from their time of persecution of not going out of their way to discuss the more unorthodox of their doctrines with the gentiles.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

Every time I now read something by keith, I envision a pissed-off cockroach who can’t find a place to hide. :-)

Mike Elzinga said:

Every time I now read something by keith, I envision a pissed-off cockroach who can’t find a place to hide. :-)

Eh, it’s easy to deal with lunatic fringers if you just visualize them as little dogs that like to bark and treat them accordingly.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

Mike Elzinga said:

Every time I now read something by keith, I envision a pissed-off cockroach who can’t find a place to hide. :-)

AFAICT, Keith hasn’t posted on this thread. Perhaps a different one?

Dave

Dave Thomas said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Every time I now read something by keith, I envision a pissed-off cockroach who can’t find a place to hide. :-)

AFAICT, Keith hasn’t posted on this thread. Perhaps a different one?

Dave

Oops; yeah, I apparently had this thread up on my screen also and just typed the comment without checking. Duh.

Thanks Dave.

Unfortunately, much of the Mormon genealogical data is unreliable, and includes such obviously incorrect information as sons being born to parents who are over 100 years old. Some of the information is valid, of course, but the wise researcher will evaluate it carefully. Sorry, I know this is OT.

iml8 said:

Eric said:

The Mormons have been doing legitimate new world archaeology for decades, because their religious books tell them there should be new world precolombian Jewish settlements. They haven’t found any, but they do legit science as they search.

I wasn’t aware of that, but I can believe it. If you want to get real geneological expertise, the Mormons are the place to go – they have some of the world’s best geneological infosystems in place.

I believe this relates to the notion of retroactive baptism, where you can have your deceased ancestors baptized so they can get out of the slammer and through the gates of heaven. However, I asked a Mormon acquaintance about this one time and he genially dodged the question … I think Mormons have a tradition from their time of persecution of not going out of their way to discuss the more unorthodox of their doctrines with the gentiles.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

That’s ok mikey, another dumb move on your part is hardly surprising.

keith said:

That’s ok mikey, another dumb move on your part is hardly surprising.

The Fat Lady is singing, so I guess it’s time to close the thread. Cheers, y’all! Dave

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This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on June 28, 2008 12:31 AM.

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