Please join our campaign to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, R.S. 17:285.1, which was passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2008. Simply put, the intent of this law is to allow the teaching of Creationism, including Intelligent Design, in public school science classes in Louisiana.
On April 15, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson introduced SB 70 to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.
Teaching creationism, which is a religious belief, is in clear violation of Supreme Court rulings on the subject (one of which, Edwards v. Aguillard, originated in Louisiana).
The young people of Louisiana deserve the best possible scientific education. Creationism is not science, and teaching it as science leaves our students at a disadvantage when competing in the global economy.
The teaching of Evolution is sound science and is also compatible with religious faith, a position that is supported by all mainstream religious denominations.
The Louisiana Science Education Act costs jobs. The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology cancelled its 2011 convention in New Orleans to protest this law. How many others will do the same? How many businesses will locate elsewhere because they want well trained scientists? How many researchers will take their talents elsewhere or never come to Louisiana because of this anti-science law?
The bill is already producing its intended result. The Livingston Parish School Board is taking steps to act on the legislation’s goals. According to an account in the July 24, 2010, Baton Rouge Advocate, board member David Tate said: “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 … Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.”
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The bill is already producing its intended result. One school board is taking steps to act on the legislation’s goals. In Livingston Parish, Jan Benton, Director of Curriculum, told the Livingston Parish School Board that the law’s purpose is to allow the teaching of “critical thinking and creationism” in science classes. Here is an excerpt from the article about the board’s discussion in the July 24, 2010, Baton Rouge Advocate.
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.”
Not a single one of our public school science teachers or any of Louisiana’s university professors spoke in favor of this bill in the Legislative committee hearings or at the policy hearings before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
By repealing this law, the Louisiana Legislature can put an end to this mistake, which has already negatively impacted Louisiana’s reputation. The law resulted in a decision by the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology not to hold its 2011 convention in our state, a result that we cannot afford during this recession.
While this law harms Louisiana’s reputation, this law is also harming our futures. Other organizations may follow the example of the SICB and decide to boycott the state which will deprive us of any opportunity to meet and learn from many of the best scientists in the country.
We need to be educated truthfully and properly with the best science we can learn that will prepare us for the global economy. We support the repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act because if we are taught creationism rather than proper science, we will not be prepared to compete in the global economy.
Please repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.
The Students of Louisiana