creationismWhat is it about the South and teaching creationism in school? Here comes another one:

The Livingston Parish School Board will begin exploring the possibility of incorporating the teaching of “creationism” in the public school system’s science classes.

During the board’s meeting Thursday, several board members expressed an interest in the teaching of creationism, an alternative to the study of the theory of evolution, in Livingston Parish public school classrooms.

Benton said that under provisions of the Science Education Act enacted last year by the Louisiana Legislature, schools can present what she termed “critical thinking and creationism” in science classes.

Board Member David Tate quickly responded: “We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?”

Fellow board member Clint Mitchell responded, “I agree … you don’t have to be afraid to point out some of the fallacies with the theory of evolution. Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.”

(source)

This “Science Education Act” is basically a way to legalize a rape of the scientific process to get creationism into schools under the guise of “critical thinking”…  My ass. Basically, it’s a shortcut to give religious mythology a way into the classroom without requiring any evidence, testable theories, peer-reviewed research, or any science at all, actually.

This offense against reason and science reminds me of a similar case of fundamentalist Christians imposing their religious beliefs through school board actions. In Dover, Pennsylvania, the crisis came when Intelligent Design was touted as real science and worthy of special teaching time in the classroom. The court case is spectacular, and a victory for science in schools.

Nova ran a  great documentary piece on the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case. You can watch it all right here:

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

So what should happen in Louisiana? Is the Science Education Act something that could be repealed? What will happen to those schools? Will we be able to achieve another Dover victory in Livingston Parish?

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8 thoughts on “Louisiana School Board Considers Adding Creationism to Science Class”

Eric Jacobson · July 26, 2010 at 11:33 am

You know what? Let them do it. And when their precious little snowflakes get laughed at when they try to apply Fairy Tale Science to an actual, real-world job, they can suck the consequences. Fundies bring failure upon themselves – All we have to do is grab some popcorn, settle in, and watch the fireworks…

    Cameron Hord · July 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    While I would whole heartedly support your laissez-faire mentality for adults in this situation, I have some issues with teaching this to children. Children cannot adequately choose for themselves what to believe, so to try to convince them that science could be this wrong is damaging to modern society. Also, there are (probably) intelligent people in Louisiana who would oppose this and to have their children mandated to learn about creationism puts otherwise intelligent children at a disadvantage. We need to call upon the Flying Spaghetti Monster defense again to keep this from passing.

God is Pretend · July 26, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I’m with Cameron on this. If it were adults, I’d gladly sit back and watch them enter into life situations ill-equipped, but teaching this to children is being willfully neglectful to their education. These myths are perfectly suited for a Sunday school classroom, which is where the children whose parents want to submit them to that will take them. Keep it out of publicly funded schools that make it a habit to teach facts.

Andrew Hall · July 28, 2010 at 5:47 am

Some other new classes being considered by the school board:

Islam sucks
War of Northern Agression
Adam and Eve NOT Adam and Steve

R. Twain · November 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I do not get it. Your major complaint is that the theory of creationism would be presented to children. However, the question of the origins of life is generally not addressed in school until students are in their teen years. I would hope, at this point in their development, those students would be able to weigh the evidence of any theory that might be presented to them and be able to come to a rational conclusion on their own. Isn’t the goal of education, after all, not to produce drones who are simply able to regurgitate select information that has been fed to them, but to become mature and rational persons, able to sift through existing data and make a rational decision? By only allowing one theory as to the origins of life to be presented to students, I think the system inevitably is selling our students short and is insulting their intelligence. The Louisiana school board should be commended for their consideration and I would hope other states would follow suit.

LEN KLOTH · November 22, 2010 at 4:49 am

Science never proves anything, all theories are always open to challenge or adaptation. Science does falsify hypotheses, such as a young earth. A peer-accepted theory is an independently validated theory where alternative theories are either non-existent, falsified, far superior to competing theories, have overwhelming empirical evidence supportive of the theory or some combination of these factors. When it comes to the theory of evolution for example, we have geological data, fossil data from paleontologists, and now findings in molecular biology that provide not just independent validation across peers within a discipline, but overwhelming physical evidence that cross-validates across many scientific disciplines.

For example, one does not find rabbits in pre-Cambrian geologic strata, which is consistent with paleontological theories on common descent through the study of morphology, and the relationship of genetic properties of rabbits relative to tetrapods and fish in terms of what is common and what is different. All of this physical evidence also lines up with the periods of time required for evolution from pre-Cambrian species to evolve into life we discover in subsequent periods up through today, where the geological periods are validated with the math that predicts the length of time required for evolution based on DNA evidence and its mutational and species time rates. Math that has been validated in the lab and through the constant discovery of transitional fossils and the geologic time frames where they are discovered.

Science is also constantly creating predictions of past events by way of hypotheses and then attempting to validate those hypotheses with field and lab work. The location for where to search for a species like Tiktaalik, and then finding it is an excellent example. Contrary to what this reader believes, science would be centuries behind where we are now in our understanding if it couldn’t explain and validate past events.

Another example of predicting and validating a past event is the common ancestry of our middle ear bone gene deriving from the upper jawbone of tetrapods, which derived from gill arches in fish. Not only have paleontologists shown the morphological evidence for this evolution, but its been confirmed in the lab by molecular biologists by inserting that gene from these species into different species and getting the predicted result. Our gene inserted into a developing fish embryo does not develop into our middle ear bone, but instead into a gill arch. The relevant gill arch gene when inserted into a tetrapod embryo doesn’t develop into a gill arch but instead into an upper jawbone. Both the discovery of Tiktaalik and the ancestry of our middle ear bone are peer-accepted findings and well reported in Neil Shubin’s book, “Your Inner Fish”. Shubin led the team that discovered Tiktaalik.

A second example of predicting a past event and then validating it is human chromosome 2. Given other primates have an additional set of chromosomes; molecular biologists predicted by hypothesis that two of our chromosomes must have fused; explaining why we would have one less set yet all other evidence argues for common ancestry with primates. As we became technologically capable of better observing DNA at a molecular level, we were able to test that hypothesis. We subsequently found that our #2 contains redundant telomeres and centromeres – strong evidence two chromosomes fused into one. To pile the evidence on even further, we were able to validate that part of Homo Sapiens’ #2 band correlates almost perfectly to chimpanzee chromosome 13. This provides another prime example of studying features today, predicting a past event, and then finding and validating a past event occurred by the discovery of physical evidence corroborating such. There are countless more examples of how science is able to predict and validate past events.

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