Saturday, August 07, 2010

Livingston Parrish Tests Louisiana Science Education Act

You knew this would happen. A bit back, the state of Louisiana enacted new science standards based on "academic freedom" with the noble intention that all legitimate avenues of scientific theory be examined. Then, in its infinite wisdom, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education stripped out language that would have prohibited recent earth creationism taught in public schools.

Now, it seems, that the Livingston Parrish School Board is taking the state board at their word and considering teaching creationism. From comes this story about the plans afoot:

The discussion came up during a report on the pupil progression plan for the 2010-11 school year, delivered by Jan Benton, director of curriculum.

Benton said that under provisions of the Science Education Act enacted last year by the Louisiana Legislature, schools can present what she termed “critical thinking and creationism” in science classes.

Board Member David Tate quickly responded: “We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?”

Fellow board member Clint Mitchell responded, “I agree … you don’t have to be afraid to point out some of the fallacies with the theory of evolution. Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.”

It is difficult to believe that these board members would undertake such a plan without at least considering that the spectre of Dover looms large. It will test how narrowly rendered Dover was, but if creationism is taught under the guise of academic freedom, it will shine a larger light on the nature of those laws that were popular one to two years back.

A story in Panda's Thumb by Kenneth Miller about this relates:

Predictably, the Discovery Institute is now doing the same thing it did back in 2005 to the Dover School Board. They’re turning on their own supporters, and asking how anyone could possibly confuse their ideas with creationism. In this American Spectator article, Bruce Chapman, President of the Discovery Institute, now states that the very people who supported his efforts to get the LSEA passed are “ignorant” of the content of intelligent design theory. Darn. I wonder how those poor folks managed to think that ID equals creationism?

Somehow, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Could it be that the next Kitzmiller Reunion will be in Louisiana?

Unless saner heads prevail, Miller will be right.
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