Louisiana Law To Allow ‘Alternative Science Texts’ In Public Schools


One of the mangled messes that will be left in the wake of President Bush’s presidency is what’s been done to science – evidence-based scientific study (whether that pertains to, for example, evolution vs. intelligent design, comprehensive sexual health education vs. abstinence-only programs or the ever popular conflation of contraception with abortion).

I’m the first to acknowledge that a scientific area like physics, in particular quantum physics, is an exercise in creativity, suspension of disbelief and, to some extent, maybe even spirituality. It takes a leap of faith to believe in some parts of quantum theory, though based on solid scientific research, mind-blowing nonetheless. As Niels Bohr has said, "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."

Louisiana’s newest legislation to pass the Senate, therefore, shouldn’t be so mind-blowing to me. But it is.

By a vote of 36-0 (!), the Louisiana Senate passed the Louisiana Science Education Act (SB 733) – a bill that allows public school teachers to "supplement" their science textbooks with materials of their choosing – leaving a gaping hole for, say, religious or intelligent design content to walk right through.

Baton Rouge’s KATC.com writes,

"Supporters say the bill is designed to promote critical thinking, strengthen education and help teachers who are confused about what’s acceptable for science classes."

and

"would allow public school teachers [to] change how they teach topics like evolution, cloning and global warming." 

In fact, the bill cites those three topics specifically in its text.

Change how they teach global warming? To what? And "changing how they teach evolution" is barely veiled. What is the scientific alternative to teaching evolution? Oh, right, there is none. It’s called religion.

The bill also provides that the State Board of Education for Elementary and Secondary Schools can prohibit supplementary science materials they deem "inappropriate" – as in, say, evolution.

The Daily Women’s Health Policy Report has this to say:

"…opponents of the measure said it would be difficult for the board to ensure that religious materials were not being distributed to students at any of the 69 school districts in the state."

Isn’t that exactly what the board wants?

The bill now heads to Governor Jindal’s desk – a man who has been vocal in his support for…intelligent design.

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  • http://dangerousintersection.org invalid-0

    Physics denier Parsons makes a good case against these Alternate Materials laws based on the Discovery Institute template. There are now quite a few good looking sets of text books that look like science, but actually have little science behind them.

    These alternate texts (Pandas and People, Atlas of Creation, Quest for Right, Chariots of the Gods, etc) do make convincing arguments. Unfortunately, they don’t hold up to actual evidence when examined by anyone qualified to understand the subjects at hand.

    The connection between non-science and nonsense can be blurred, but must not be eliminated. Especially at the early stage of trying to teach children what science is.

  • http://www.scifaith.com/blog invalid-0

    It’s interesting that Newman sites a “Women’s Heath” text to support her complaint against this Louisiana legislation. I won’t go there…

    Mad Ellen tried to get Christianity out of our public schools in 1963 and we have general chaos as a result. In her hypocrisy, she insisted that prayer in schools was unconstitutional. As a atheistic bigot, she took the so called “separation clause” and twisted it 180 degrees to censor the faith that it was written to protect.

    Since then, evolutionism (with its natural creation story) has been installed as the state religion. Atheistic evolution is the only creation story that is endorsed by “science” and therefore is considered “religion free”. What a crock!

    Mad Ellen is gone, but her religion is still in control of our public education. All the crime, killings, hatred and perversion that goes along with it continues to plague our children. Newman seems to be blind to this reality, but so are lots of others that are filled with Mad Ellen’s paranoia.

    Wayne Hollyoak

  • invalid-0

    Wayne, If any of that nonsense were true then christians would have lower crime and divorce rates which they don’t. Just blaming everything bad on atheists is not just pathetic it is factually wrong. Athiests respect life like no christian can. Why? Because they do not have a belief in an afterlife. As soon as you believe that your real life is devalued to just some place to temporarily mark time in before your next infinitely better and longer after life begins. Also death for a christian is something to truly fear as they think they will experience their own death i.e. being ripped away from everything you know and love. No wonder they grab on to a God to cushion that horror. The good atheist on the other hand knows (no belief required)the only thing they will experince is the last moments of their lives. And life is nothing to fear.

  • http://www.caverslaw.com/Cavers/HelpCenter/divorce.html invalid-0

    From my personal experience I cannot corroborate any claims about one religion having more divorce than antoher. I will say that living in America, has made religions less known for divorce such as Hindu, Buddhism, etc. have divorces.