Thursday, February 19, 2009

Louisiana: the Second Casualty

The Times-Picayune has an editorial on the recent decision of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology to spurn New Orleans for its 2011 convention. James Gill writes:

In his letter to Jindal, Satterlie says the society will be urging other scientific organizations to "reconsider any plans to host meetings in Louisiana."

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is already committed to New Orleans for this year, but that will be it. Its president Gregory Petsko has declared, "No future meeting of our society will take place in Louisiana as long as that law stands." "That law" is the Louisiana Science Education Act, which is named for what it is designed to destroy. Jindal signed it last year, clearing the way for creationism to be taught in biology class.

Satterlie wants Jindal to work for a repeal of the act in this year's session, but parting the Red Sea would be child's play by comparison. The bill received only three nay votes in the House last year, and none at all in the Senate, so even if Jindal were prepared to heed the voice of reason, he could probably never twist enough arms in the corridors of the Capitol to engineer a repeal.

But the voice of reason cuts no ice with Jindal anyway, at least on this issue. He refused to veto the bill last year, ignoring the pleas not only of Satterlie's group, but the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a slew of other learned bodies and even his old genetics professor from Brown University.

Perhaps he really does feel as strongly about ID as Kenneth Miller feels about evolution. If so, Louisiana is in for a bad time.

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