Friday, February 20, 2009

Louisiana's Loss is Utah's Gain

The Salt Lake City Tribune is reporting that the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology is moving from New Orleans to Salt Lake City for their annual conference. The article, by Brian Maffly, notes:

The Louisiana Science Education Act -- similar to a measure Utah lawmakers rejected three years ago -- allows local school boards to introduce creationist materials into the classroom under the guise of promoting "critical thinking" toward the theory of evolution, critics say.

"This law undermines the integrity of science and science education in Louisiana," wrote Richard Satterlie, president of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, in Feb. 5 letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who signed the controversial bill into law last June.

"Utah, in contrast, passed a resolution that states that evolution is central to any science curriculum," the letter continued. "As scientists it is our responsibility to oppose anti-science initiatives."

The 2011 event will bring up to 2,000 biologists to Salt Lake City for the first week of January. For Satterlie, it was a tough call to bail on New Orleans, which twice hosted the society before Hurricane Katrina's devastating 2005 visit.

I wonder how SB 561 would fair if it were put to a referendum? More power to Utah.

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