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Atheist Community of Austin
Louisiana Court Ruled Creation Science Can Be Taught

On June 27, 2008 Baton Rouge, Louisiana the Louisiana Science Education Act was passed - Louisiana public schools can now teach the theory of intelligent design and 'scientific' criticisms of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the new law in June. The Louisiana Science Education Act now allows teachers to supplement the state's curricula with additional scientific materials.

Lawmakers were enthusiastically in favor of the Act signed by Jindal. The state Senate had passed the bill (SB733) with a unanimous vote, and the state House had approved it by a vote of 93-4.

Republican governor, Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, signed the bill into law. Even though on (Dec. 20, 2005 Harrisburg, Pa. - a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones criticized the Dover Area School Board, the decision in October 2004 to introduce intelligent design into the science curriculum violates the constitutional separation of church and state.)

This development has national implications, not least because Jindal is rumored to be on Senator John McCain's shortlist as a potential running mate in his bid for the presidency.

On 21 May Barbara Forrest (a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and an expert in the history of creationism) testified in the Louisiana state legislature on the dangers hidden in the state's proposed Science Education Act. She had spent weeks trying to summon opposition to the bill on the grounds that it would allow teachers and school boards across the state to present non-scientific alternatives to evolution, including ideas related to intelligent design (ID) - the proposition that life is too complicated to have arisen without the help of a supernatural agent.

She stated that the bill's language, which names evolution along with global warming, the origins of life and human cloning as worthy of (open and objective discussion), is an attempt to misrepresent evolution as scientifically controversial.

Those on Forrest's side numbered less than a dozen, including two professors from Louisiana State University, representatives from the Louisiana Association of Educators and campaigners for the continued separation of church and state.

I agree with you that it is shameful that Barbara Forrest got so little in the way of support. However, you can't challenge the constitutionality of something that's not yet a law. I think they will be facing more problems by doing this than they ever imagined. It looks like they could use some 'intelligent design' in their legislature.

Previous cases do not apply to Louisiana. The Louisiana State Education Act could remain in force for years before court rules that it is unconstitutional. That will leave the use of supplemental scientific material to be determined by local school boards (amazingly unqualified in other cases) in the intervening years. This bill is supposed to promote critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussions of theories. The topics that involve scientific subjects that need critical thinking are (including but not limited to) evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning (human cloning is not the subject of any scientific theory.)

The Louisiana levy system is also an environmental issue. Researchers say wetlands can lessen a storm's overall impact when it hits land. As we lose wetlands, everything becomes at risk. The Mississippi should be diverted so the sediment stops going off the continental shelf where it does no good, when the wetlands desperately need it. When the water was constricted and forced to flow along a specific corridor, land started eroding, native flora and fauna declined, and wetlands started vanishing into open water. The natural flow should be restored to the Mississippi River so that floodwaters would flow into the wetlands, depositing much-needed nutrients and sediment. This mud and silt brought stability to the land and created a favorable environment for plants to grow and hold the wetlands in place. For the wetlands to recover they need both sediment and freshwater. A diversion would send the river's rich muddy water into marshes and shallow water. The waves and coastal currents of even big storms could bring the sediment into the coast and new land slowly would be built. "Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were not our worst-case scenarios. Another big hurricane will come.

The folks in Louisiana should have been more concearned about the un-intelligent design of their levies.

Linda- Have you heard of the Wedge Document?

I know the (Wedge Document) is reputed to be a leaked internal document that spells out the goals of the Intelligent Design movement. I have read it. It's full of propaganda linking science to materialism (not oil corporations, the media or Republican Party.) I think the "wedge document" condemns any social or philosophy that improves the condition of society. I don't know for sure who wrote it, but it is alleged (by a large number of people) to be a marketing plan developed by the Discovery Institute. I think it is typical of the creationists (and the Religious Right.) Most everyone has witnessed their attempts to give American society a radical makeover so they will conform to dimwit beliefs. You don't have to look too far to find dangerous fundamentalists. They are the single greatest threat to freedom and democracy in the United States. Anyone can reject any scientific theory (even those that were verified decades or even centuries ago) but religious or political convictions are the real dogma not scientific theories. Only through vigorous testing and careful evaluations will the most plausible and accurate hypotheses survive and develop into theories. Science is about "critical thinking." They don't need help from flat earth people to do it better. (Evolution and The Big Bang Theory are not getting weaker as some would have you believe they are getting stronger.)

What's strange is that the "wedge document" doesn't actually offer an alternative "scientific theory". It does not define an error with any known scientific theory. If it were only about science I don't think anyone would object to ID. However, establishing fundamentalism in America by introducing the concept of a creator in science classrooms is in my opinion the agenda. This is an old conflict, with ID merely the latest guise in a war on Separation of Church and State. Most of the support comes from former supporters of creation "science", who see in the ID movement a potential way to get around the legal rulings that killed creation "science". The Creation Research Society (CRS) was formed from a schism in the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) 1963. The ASA does not take any official position on the creation/evolution debate. Membership in ASA requires signing of a statement of faith, and possession of at least a bachelor's degree in science. Henry Morris head of CRS the "Father of Creation Science" taught at a Southern Baptist Church, but left over theological differences to form his own College Baptist Church, and one of his guests pastors was Jerry Falwell. It has been purported that Falwell and Morris became silent partners. Falwell's Moral Majority Inc. gave financial support to Morris's creationist institutions, and Falwell plugged Morris's creationist books. (That's how they all work.) Later on CSR disaffiliated with Christian Heritage College and from the ICR. ICR remained affiliated with the Christian Heritage College until the early 1980's, when it became expedient for the creationists to downplay ICR's religious connections. ICR attempted to maintain that it was a scientific institute with no religious affiliations, but at that time most ICR staffers, including Henry Morris and Duane Gish, were still adjunct professors at the Christian Heritage College. ICR is still important to the young-earth creationist movement, and is responsible for most of the creationist literature that is available. Another active old-earth creationist organization is the Foundation for Thought and Ethics. The FTE produced a proposed creationist biology textbook, Of Pandas and People (which had not been approved by any state education boards) but turned up in school. FTE claims it is a scientific group, "proclaiming, publishing and preaching the Christian gospel and understanding of the Bible." Pandas lists two authors, Percival Davis and Dean Kenyon. Davis later co-wrote a book titled Case for Creation with young-earth creationist Wayne Frair. In 1994, Davis was asked by the Wall Street Journal if he had religious motives in writing Pandas. "Of course my motives were religious," Davis replied. "There's no question about it." (Wall Street Journal, cited in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan 9, 2005.) Dean Kenyon was one of the creation "scientists" who testified during hearings on the Louisiana "balanced treatment" bill that creationism was science and had no religious basis whatsoever. Kenyon is now a Fellow at the Discovery Institute, the leading proponent of Intelligent Design "theory".

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