Published on Dec 12, 2012
Why is the inclusion of creationism and “intelligent design” still a viable proposal for American biology curricula? What other secular policies are at risk of religious intrusion? NCSE board member Barbara Forrest dissects the issue with a panel of experts, including Barry Lynn, Chris Mooney, and John Shook. Where: Center for Inquiry, Washington, DC. When: 10/22/2011
“Some proposed high school biology textbooks are under fire because critics say they put too much credibility in the theory of evolution,” the Baton Rouge Advocate (November 9, 2010) reports. Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and a cofounder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science, charged that the criticisms were orchestrated by the Louisiana Family Forum, a religious right group with a long history of promoting creationism and attacking evolution education in the state. “They had their people going through the books, writing up complaints and sending them,” Forrest said.
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) signed the Louisiana Science Education Act into law in 2008. This act is a stealth creationist bill.
Darrell White of the Louisiana Family Forum told the Advocate that the proposed biology textbooks fail to comply with the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, the 2008 antievolution law that his organization shepherded through the legislature. “If this was a beauty contest, we have got all ugly contestants in these biology textbooks.” The LSEA (enacted as Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1) purports to encourage teachers 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” and allows teachers to use “supplemental textbooks” in order to do so.
“What has happened,” Forrest told the newspaper, “is that the Louisiana Family Forum is attacking the process of textbook selection” in the hope of forcing disclaimers to be added to the textbooks (as in neighboring Alabama), requiring the revision of their treatment of evolution, or encouraging the use of supplemental classroom materials that dispute evolution. (In 2002, the LFF attempted to convince the state to include evolution disclaimers in biology textbooks, as Forrest noted in a July 26, 2010, letter to the editor of the Hammond Daily Star.) Moreover, several critics of the textbooks were reported to complain specifically that the textbooks under consideration lacked information about “intelligent design”.
By WILL SENTELL
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: Nov 9, 2010
Some proposed high school biology textbooks are under fire because critics say they put too much credibility in the theory of evolution, officials said Monday.
A state panel is set to review the issue Friday after Louisiana’s top school board last month delayed action on the textbooks amid questions.
Critics contend some biology I, biology II and other school books under scrutiny for public classrooms put too much credence in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
“It is like Charles Darwin and his theory is a saint,” said Winston White, of Baton Rouge, who filed a comment with state officials reviewing the textbooks.
“You can’t touch it,” White said.
But others said the textbook criticism is being led by the Louisiana Family Forum, which touts itself as a group that promotes traditional values.
“They had their people going through the books, writing up complaints and sending them,” said Barbara Forrest, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana University and co-founder of the LA Coalition for Science.
Update (h/t reine.de.tout):
By WILL SENTELL
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: Nov 13, 2010
A state advisory panel Friday voted 8-4 to endorse a variety of high school science textbooks that have come under fire for how they describe evolution.
The vote followed more than three hours of discussion.
Two of the “no” votes were cast by Senate Education Committee Chairman Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, and House Education Committee Vice-Chairman Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe.
The decision likely paves the way for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve the textbooks when it meets Dec. 7-9.
The textbooks that triggered criticism were approved earlier this year by a review committee that spent months studying them.
But final action on the biology I and biology II, and environmental science textbooks was delayed by BESE last month amid criticism that they put too much credence in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Backers of the books said Darwin’s ideas are widely accepted in the scientific community and that continuing debate in Louisiana is an embarrassment.
“We have been here before,” said Tammy Wood, a veteran educator in East Baton Rouge Parish who has been involved in previous controversies over the teaching of evolution.
“I don’t know why we are here again,” Wood said.