Barbara Forrest, member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Science Education and devastating expert witness for Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District, has written a wonderful analysis of Louisiana’s SB 733, otherwise known as the “Lousiana Science Education Act,” otherwise known as another attempt to sneak intelligent design creationism into public classrooms.
Ms. Forrest exposes the shift in strategy of the Discovery Institute from promoting intelligent design to pushing “academic freedom” bills in state legislatures. She further exposes the hypocrisy of this shift, going so far as to quote DI attorney Casey Luskin as saying that such bills will allow the teaching of ID in the classroom, because, according to an article from Baptist Press quoted in the analysis, “he considers ID to be ‘scientific information’ that the FL bill would have permitted teachers to present in their criticism of evolution.” In other words, as much as these people try to say that these bills are not about forcing ID in the classrooms, that’s exactly their intent.
The highlight of the analysis is the last few pages, in which Ms. Forrest breaks down each of the measures called for by the bill, and why each one is either unnecessary or unconstitutional. Some highlights:
[In response to the bill’s call to “promote students’ critical thinking skills and open discussion of scientific theories”]
There is no need for this bill precisely because the LA science standards already include sufficient provision for critical thinking in science instruction. The term “open discussion of scientific theories” is code language meant to permit the discussion of ID creationist criticisms of evolution.
[In response to the bill’s call to change the role of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education]
The BESE should not have the role of enabling school boards to allow teachers to introduce creationist discussions into science classes. There is no doubt that this legislation is intended to permit that.
[In response to the bill’s assertion that it does not promote any religious doctrine]
If SB 733 were truly about teaching science, such a disclaimer would be unnecessary. It is in the bill only because its supporters know that creationism is a religious belief and therefore that teaching it in public schools is unconstitutional. THey are hoping that any judge who might have to rule on such legislation will be either naive enough not to see through this disclaimer or biased enough to accept it at face value.
Barbara Forrest’s testimony in the Dover trial was instrumental because she was able to turn the ID crowd’s own words and actions against them. She has done that again with this analysis. The bill is scheduled for debate today: let’s hope the members of the House see reason!