Science gets the boot in Louisiana schools

Filed under: In The News, Day Care & Education, Religion & Spirituality

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal -- surprisingly, a biology major in college -- has signed into law a bill that allows school boards in Louisiana to select materials to be used in science classes in order to critique scientific theories. The law is supposed to be used to promote "open and objective discussion of scientific theories... including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

Given that the law was written and promoted with the help of the Discovery Institute, the Seattle "think" tank that orchestrated the Dover debacle, the point of the law seems clear: to allow school boards to select texts that question evolution -- such as the one produced by the Discovery Institute itself. Unfortunately, this will open school districts to very expensive lawsuits, a la Dover. In Oklahoma, the Governor vetoed a similar law, noting that school districts would suffer from "an explosion of costly and protracted litigation that would have to be defended at taxpayers' expense."

The scientific community, naturally, has opposed this legislation. The law will "unleash an assault against scientific integrity, leaving students confused about science and unprepared to excel in a modern workforce," according to Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Biologist PZ Myers offers up a scathing analysis that includes an alternative to the Discovery Institute's materials.

Personally, I think Louisiana has enough to worry about, thanks to Hurricane Katrina, and doesn't need the financial burden of school boards trying to push Intelligent Design into classrooms, but that's just me. Luckily, my kids don't go to school in Louisiana, but I'm sure they'll feel the effects of this for a long time as they end up having to deal with others who were "educated" with the help of the Dover Institute.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.