The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) reports on a bill that was approved unanimously by the Louisiana House Education Committee, was passed by the Lousiana Senate, and will soon move before the Lousiana House of Representatives. Senate Bill 733, the slyly named “Lousiana Science Education Act”, would require that teachers be allowed to “use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.” The problems with this are twofold.
First, the Louisiana education standards already encourage teachers to instill critical thinking in their students, and to use that skill in every class, including science.
Second, the bill specifically names those sciences that the religious right in the US seems to get so riled about: evolution, abiogenesis, and the climate science behind global warming.
This bill is clearly intended to allow teachers to sneak intelligent design materials into their classrooms, a tactic which has already been stricken down in a federal court. It is meant to encourage the laughable idea that evolution and intelligent design are somehow on equal footing, that ID somehow deserves time in science classrooms despite its utter lack of theory, research, and resemblence to real science. Teachers who do so are only misleading their students about the success of modern evolutionary theory, and about the nature of science.
There is only one possible outcome if this bill passes. A teacher will introduce ID materials in his/her class. A parent or other concerned citizen will sue. The ACLU, or some equivalent organization, will take charge of the case. The school district will lose, because precedent has been set in federal court for regarding intelligent design as creationism in sheep’s clothing. The school district will then have to pay millions of dollars out of the taxpayers’ own pockets. All of this, just because some Louisiana House committee didn’t bother to look up “science” in the dictionary.
How many more millions will taxpayers have to spend before the religious right stops trying to peddle religion in public school classrooms? If you live in Louisiana, please let your representative know how you feel about the war on science being waged in your legislature.