Louisiana Creationists Want to Ban Biology Textbooks That Teach Evolution

US News • Views: 31,944

Since Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed the anti-evolution “Louisiana Science Education Act,” the sponsors of this law have been oddly silent; but now the other shoes are starting to drop, as a group of citizens backed by the Christian Louisiana Family Forum (there’s that “family” word again) are attacking the state’s proposed biology textbooks because they teach evolution without giving equal time to creationism. Laurie Lebo explains:

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported this week that a state panel is scheduled to review the issue Friday after the state’s school board held off adopting the biology I and biology II textbooks due to the complaints.

Winston White, one of the residents who complained about the books, said, “It’s like Charles Darwin and his theory is a saint. You can’t touch it.”

It’s worth noting that White is the son of Darrell White, who was one of the Louisiana Family Forum founders. This move is all part of an ongoing broader strategy, one that the LFF, which is affiliated with Focus on the Family, has been behind since the beginning.

Darrell White also told the Advocate that the textbooks don’t comply with the anti-evolution law known as the “Louisiana Science Education Act,” which the Family Forum helped write and successfully lobbied for in 2008. The LSEA instructs educators to promote “critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” It also allows teachers and school districts to use “supplemental textbooks,” which are just code words for creationist and pro-intelligent design materials. …

In written comments to state officials, David Mathers, of West Monroe, said he would “like to see intelligent design explained as an alternate theory to the theory of evolution.”

Curt Eberts, of Monroe, made the same point. He faulted a biology textbook he reviewed for lacking material on the concept of intelligent design.

And it gets more ridiculous, because the state panel that’s supposed to review these anti-science complaints includes the chief sponsors of the anti-evolution law. Nice.

Who is on this panel that will review the complaints Friday and make recommendations to the state school board? According to the National Center for Science Education:

The council includes a state senator and a state representative appointed by the governor; interestingly, the legislators presently on the council are Senator Ben W. Nevers (D-District 12) and Representative Frank A. Hoffman (R-District 15), who were the chief sponsors of the LSEA in the Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives in 2008.

Anybody want to place a bet on what the panel will recommend?

UPDATE at 11/12/10 4:57:50 pm:

A bulletin from the NCSE:

This just in: Louisiana’s Textbook/Media/Library/Advisory Council met today and voted 8 to 4, recommending that the Board of Education and Secondary Education (BESE) adopt the high school life science textbooks that creationists have been opposing. In short, the Council endorsed the original recommendation from the science textbook committee.

But this is at best a brief victory. The real battle will come when BESE meets on December 9. Stay tuned.

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