Darwin wins! Louisiana dodges a bullet - for now.
Louisiana dodges a bullet - for now. I have no doubt but that this will come up again and again, every time new books are reviewed for approval.
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.
Ian Bins, who teaches science education at LSU, said debate over evolution in Louisiana sparks negative comments nationally.
“It is a very embarrassing issue,” Bins said.
Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Science at LSU, said evolution “is inextricably infused with all of biology.
“It is why we need to include that in our curriculum,” Carman said.
But Lennie Ditoro, of Mandeville, who has worked previously with the Louisiana Family Forum, said the science textbooks are flawed.
“The books are really weak on the side of examining scientific evidence,” Ditoro told the Textbook/Media/Library Advisory Council.
“Let’s not teach the kids that there is no controversy in the scientific community,” she added.