A Fact Sheet About The Louisiana Science Education Act

Fact Sheet on the LSEA

Please join our campaign to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, R.S. 17:285.1, which was passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2008. Simply put, the intent of this law is to allow the teaching of Creationism, including Intelligent Design, in public school science classes in Louisiana.

  • The young people of Louisiana deserve the best possible scientific education. Creationism is not science, and teaching it as science leaves our students at a disadvantage when competing for jobs in the global economy. (http://ncse.com/evolution/why-teach-evolution)
  • The teaching of Evolution is sound science and is also compatible with religious faith, a position that is supported by all mainstream religious denominations.  (http://ncse.com/media/voices/religion)
  • The Louisiana Science Education Act costs jobs. The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology cancelled its 2011 convention in New Orleans to protest this law   (http://www.sicb.org/resources/LouisianaLetterJindal.pdf).  How many others will do the same?  How many businesses will locate elsewhere because they want well trained scientists?  How many researchers will take their talents elsewhere or never come to Louisiana because of this anti-science law?
  • The bill is already producing its intended result. The Livingston Parish School Board is taking steps to act on the legislation’s goals. According to an account in the July 24, 2010, Baton Rouge Advocate, board member David Tate said: “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 … Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.” (http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/99153999.html)

How you can help:

  • Organize civic and student groups like science clubs to pass resolutions endorsing a repeal of this misguided law. (please email a copy of your endorsement letter to RepealCreationism@gmail.com)
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26 Responses to A Fact Sheet About The Louisiana Science Education Act

  1. Les Lane says:

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance
    Thomas Jefferson

    What creationists call evidence against evolution is usually missing information. Incompleteness is in fact an important characteristic of science.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Pingback: Press Release: The Repeal is Public! | Repealing the Louisiana Science Education Act--Creationism in Disguise

  3. Pingback: Louisiana Coalition for Science » The Repeal Effort Has Begun: Repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act

  4. Floyd A. Lee says:

    Sincere thanks to Mr. Kopplin for allowing comments and responses.

    (1) If the Louisiana Science Education Act violates any Supreme Court rulings (including “Edwards”), it seems very odd that evolutionists haven’t filed suit already.

    (2) Multiple major incompatibilities exist between evolution and Christianity. While giving due respect to previous Supreme Court decisions, the existence of such incompatibilities would naturally be of interest and importance. Here’s a summary:

    http://cjonline.com/interact/blog/contra_mundum/2010-05-22/two_religions_part_two

    • Zack Kopplin says:

      A couple things.

      There must be a plaintiff brave enough to come out, and put their name on the legal papers. Once they do that, they will face threats and harassment, and their kids in school may face even worse. Court cases take time, if we cannot succeed with the repeal, the law will eventually be declared unconstitutional, it just may take years and years.

      Second, evolution and Christianity are not incompatible. I would suggest you visit the NCSE’s list of religious organizations endorsing evolution, http://ncse.com/media/voices/religion.

  5. Mike says:

    Regardless of how many religious organizations endorse evolution, religion still promotes the idea that you can obtain certain knowledge without testing or evidence. That is the exact opposite of science and as much as I admire Eugenie Scott and the rest of the crew at NCSE I could just strangle the lot of them for talking past this very important point just to maintain an unneeded relationship with the faithful. The children in Louisiana need to have a broad, fact based education and I don’t see that happening if we keep allowing a group of thoughtless egomaniacs to sabotage that effort for the sake of indoctrination into iron age mythology.

  6. LRA says:

    Zachary-

    I just wanted to give you a word of encouragement, here. This work that you are doing is of utmost importance to the integrity of science education in our nation. I’m a Texan, so I know firsthand the frustration of dealing with theocrats who want to deny people their right to a secular education by hijacking the public education system. Their behavior is outrageous and disrespectful not only to people in science and social studies, but also to people who practice mainstream Christianity.

    Keep up the excellent work!

    :D

  7. Pingback: The Campaign to Repeal the Creationist “Academic Freedom” Law in Louisiana « The Skeptical Teacher

  8. Kurt says:

    Wanted to echo LRA’s words and congratulate your noble efforts on repealing this rediculous amendment. I am a Texas resident as well and am all too aware of the fundamentalist’s efforts to force their religious interpretations into public school science curriculums. Its a battle that is truly worth fighting and I support your movement 100%.

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  10. Pingback: Louisiana Science “Education” Act « "My religion is to do good."

  11. Mr. Kopplin,

    The legislation you’re fighting doesn’t tell anyone they can teach creationism in schools. If some are doing that, then address those who are in violation of Edwards v. Aquillard – don’t toss the baby out with the bath water. The LSEA does teach students to approach science skeptically even if certain theories or models are now widely accepted; geocentrism was widely accepted by scientists in Galileo’s day but skepticism and critical analysis caused it to go the way of phlogiston! By attempting to insulate the theory of microbes-to-man evolution from critical inquiry, you’re actually leaving science and even education far behind. When you insist on presenting fish-to-philosopher evolution in schools in an uncritical, rosy, and one-sided manner, you’re engaging in indoctrination, not education. Instead of teaching science, you’re relating dogma.

    It’s hubris to suggest that no one has legally challenged the LSEA because such an act would apparently require an act of martyrdom. No courage is required to initiate something that would only gain you the backing of the major scientific organizations with a presuppositional commitment to microbes-to-man evolution – only thick skin. It hasn’t been challenged because it’s not unConstitutional; it contains specific language to forbid teaching religion. But the Darwin Faithful cannot allow their theory to suffer critical analysis and that’s why folks like you and atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman fight against a key concepts of the scientific method [skeptical and critical analysis and the non-static nature of scientific knowledge] in order to maintain a High Wall of Protection around the it!

    As to your charge that evolution and Christianity are compatible, you could not be more mistaken. Evolutionary views may be imposed upon Scripture but only at the expense of tossing out traditional, apostolic doctrines. In other words, it is not compatible with historical Christianity nor with Biblical revelation. Those who impose evolutionary interpretations upon Scripture must do so by significantly editing Scriptural revelation and therefore by significantly altering Christian doctrine and theology. I’ve exposed the fact that the signatures on atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman’s pro-evolution Clergy Letter are all largely from liberal, mainline denominations who long ago abandoned historical Christianity (some of the “clergy” on his letter do not even meet the basic requirements of a Christian, such as a belief in the historical, physical resurrection of Jesys Christ, and thus are clergy in name only) and from recognized cults like the Unity “church.”

    I urge you to stand up for reason, education and science by abandoning this misguided quest to keep science from being taught critically in the classroom. It should not matter in the slightest whether you feel there is a scientific alternative to evolution; if a scientific claim cannot stand up to critical analysis it should be thrown out with phlogiston and geocentrism!

    You’re not fighting against creationism, you’re fighting against skeptical scientific inquiry.

    Regards,
    Rev Tony Breeden
    Founder of CreationLetter.com and the Creation Sunday Movement

    • Zack Kopplin says:

      Rev. Breechen, you know as well as I do that the intent of this law is to sneak creationism into the public school science classroom. You don’t need to look further than Sen. Ben Nevers’ quotes to find proof.

    • Lee says:

      I have been taught in all my science classes, since elementary school, that Scientific Theories are just that – Theories! As a teacher, I will teach my students the same thing. I don’t need any kind of law to tell me to do so, its what science teachers have always done! Scientists are always open to, looking for, and testing new theories. Even Scientific Laws are not 100% proven, and are able to be disproven by contradicting evidence. It is the current known evidence that leads to the Law. Here is one of many articles explaining laws and theories for you, and others who may not know: http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/a/lawtheory.htm
      In addition, you are the one saying “Christianity” is not compatible with Science. So, we’re back to Christianity being the only correct answer. Intelligent Design is only for Christians? Other people of faith can’t believe that there is a “higher power” that created it all? The bible is the only source for creationism? Many educated people who know the Theory of Evolution are also people of faith- many faiths and beliefs. If this is about your Christian Ideology, then you loose, for the specific fact that your only evidence is the Bible. For the record, your “ad logicum” comments do not make you seem smarter, only snooty.

      • Lee,

        Your reply is precisely why I bemoan the educational system in the US. You handilly display a level of ignorance on what a theoiry really is that you are doing Zack’s job for him. A theory is much more important than a fact, because it explains things.

        I’d gladly invite you to test “only a theory” of gravity next time you are at the top of a sky scraper. If anything, we know much, much more about evolution than we do about gravity, for what it’s worth.

    • Maria says:

      Revered Breeden,

      Despite your penchant for ten dollar words, you clearly don’t understand the difference between science and theology, or between theory and dogma. Maybe the fact that you received your education from a non-accredited post-secondary institution precludes you from grasping these key differences. Or maybe your insecurity in your own faith drives you to assert scientific evidence where clearly none exists.

      I find it laughable that you would use geocentrism to make a point about critical analysis and skepticism. Do you forget that the Christian church was so threatened by heliocentrism that Galileo himself was found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, was forced to publicly recant his theory, and spent the last nine years of his life imprisoned? To assert that teaching creationism in the classroom is critical analysis of the same bend that allowed for the advancement of science in the 1500’s is hypocrisy of the worst kind.

      Let’s continue on with your reference to geocentrism. This is a theory that is support by biblical text in Psalms 93:1, 96:10, 104:5, in 1 Chronicles 16:30, and Ecclesiastes 1:5. Do you argue, then, that we should return to teaching geocentrism in the scientific classroom based on “critical analysis” of biblical text? Or do you admit that the clear scientific evidence that the world does in fact move, and that the sun does not actually “return” anywhere – since it never actually moves from its original place – disprove what the bible states?

      If faith and science are incompatible, how do you explain your acceptance of the planets movement around the sun, despite biblical text to the contrary? Or do you believe that the sun moves around the earth?

      Ad logicum, indeed.

  12. Mr. Kopplin,

    You have in fact ignored my points. You appear to be commiting an ad logicum, supposing that by refuting one piece of my rebuttal that you need not address other independent supports. Since you do not value critical thinking [at least where it concerns microbes-to-man evolution], I’ll forgive you the fallacy of logic and instea dpoint out that even if Sen. Nevers had intended this legislation to sneak in creationism, such a Trojan horse action would be futile, precisely because Edwards v. Aguillard negates the possibility of the LSEA being used to teach either ID or creationism; thus, even if Nevers intended the LSEA as a Creation Trojan Horse, his efforts were doomed from the get-go. The language of the LSEA especially coupled with Edwards v Aquillard does not allow for the teaching of either creation or ID. In a nutshell, your objection concerning Nevers’ motives is irrelevant to the point.

    Therefore to allege that this bill allows for the teaching of creationism and to characterize the repealing of the LSEA as a repealing of creationism is hubris. What are you fighting against then? Oh, for the uncritical acceptance of microbes-to-man evolution. Yet the scientific method is built of skeptical inquiry and critical analysis from which no theory or model is supposed to be exempt. It is this aspect of the scientific method that has allowed us to progress from Newtonian physics to Einsteinian physics, and from geocentrism to heliocentrism. You’re being a puppet in the hands of those who want to enforce an evolutionary dogma and illegitimately protect it from criticism. This insulation of a favored model is unscientific and, if the Galileo affair has taught us anything at all, ill advised. By repealing the LSEA, you will give the rest of the country the impression that some models and theories should be insulated from the self-correcting mechanisms of scientific inquiry and you will thus do true science a great disservice.

    Please come to your senses, sir.

    Regards,
    Rev Tony Breeden
    Founder, CreationLetter.com & CreationSundays.com

    • Zack Kopplin says:

      This bill has been used in attempts to put creationism in the public school science classroom. As Rep. Walt Leger said on Thursday, “actions speak louder than words,” and this is being used for the teaching of unconstitutional creationism. You can pretend it is not, but the evidence is there.

    • John E. D. P. Malin says:

      Rev Tony Breeden:

      You may bamboozle the tender, aristocratic mind of a youth with your silly ad logicum foolishness [Logos (=Latin, verbum) is a Greek term; ad verbum is the proper Latin; and there is no fallacy of ad verbum], however, I am a mature man with competence in Hebrew learning.

      Your appealment to ‘historical Christianity’ and ‘biblical revelation’ reveals [pun intentional] to me you know neither! You might re-read your ancient Biblical Hebrew text: Genesis 1: 11 [scribal gloss]; 1: 12a, 12b; 1: 21b(alpha), 21b (beta); 1: 24a, 24b; and 1: 25a (alpha), 25a (beta), & 25b (alpha) for the biological expression “(each) according to its species.” This is the Hebrew Bombergiana [Daniel Bomberg's printed Hebrew Bible text of 1524-25 prepared by the scholar Jacob ben Hayyim]!

      Please observe the actual Tiberian Hebrew vocalization of this repeating expression: lemino, leminehu, leminehem, & leminah! Even the ancient scribes had more sense in their head than you do!

    • Tenncrain says:

      “It’s hubris to suggest that no one has legally challenged the LSEA because such an act would apparently require an act of martyrdom”

      Plaintiffs (they were challenging ID, most happened to be Christians) and family of plaintiffs in the 2005 Dover PA trial were regularly harassed, one (Kitzmiller) even got death threats.

      Indeed, Judge John Jones himself got threats against his life after he rendered his decision against ID/creationism. Jones and his family needed 24/7 protection.

      Susan Epperson (the Arkansas teacher and Christian who’s court challenge lead to 1968 US Supreme Court decision against anti-evolution laws) received much harassment and taunts, including from the then-new Creation Research Society.

      BTW Tony, I use to be like you, I happen to be a former young-earth creationist. I was born and raised a faithful YEC. As it is, when I discarded my YEC beliefs (if painfully), I was at times taunted and strongly looked down upon by other YECs, even some family and friends. So, I may understand a little bit of what Epperson and the Dover plaintiffs went through.

      “By repealing the LSEA, you will give the rest of the country the impression that some models and theories should be insulated from the self-correcting mechanisms of scientific inquiry ”

      By repealing the LSEA, it would show that only science should be taught in science classes, not theology sneaked through the back door disguised as science.

      Irony is, evolution opponents could gather their ‘scientists’, have these scientists do original experiments, regularly promote their findings at science seminars and meetings, have the results published in scientific peer review journals, etc, etc. This could be the fastest way to get new views into science classrooms, for if enough mainstream scientists feel there is scientific merit, new scientific views against evolution could quite automatically be included in science classrooms.

      Yet at both the 2005 Dover trial and the 1981 Arkansas ‘creation science’ trial, creationist/ID advocates demonstrated under oath that they do virtually no research, virtually never published papers in peer reviewed science journals. Perhaps little wonder why creation science and ID were both ruled as religion and not science at their respective trials.

      Indeed, even in recent years, several ID/creationist advocates have openly admitted there isn’t a creationist/ID ‘scientific’ model available to counter evolution. This includes young-earther Paul Nelson, it even includes ID Godfather Phillip Johnson.

      And yet despite this, despite not having earned some form of consensus from the general scientific community, anti-evolutionists want to ram their views into science classroom anyway (via the political process in effort to short-circuit the science peer review process); how fair is this when other science paradigms have to fight and claw and earn their way towards scientific acceptance?

      Unless the consensus of the general scientific community changes in light of any new findings, science classrooms need to reflect the findings of the scientific community at large, not pressure from nonscience political groups, not anything teachers want. At present, the vast majority of biologists, geologists, paleontologists accept that there is strong evidence for evolution via multiple lines of independent evidence (genetics, biogeography, the fossil record, the ‘Nested Hierarchy’ or common decent patterns, and so on).

    • David says:

      Mr. Kopplin IS standing up for reason, education and science.
      - Reason is a foundation of science. Reason as well as evidence has shown that this law will be used to have creationism posed as an alternative theory to evolution.
      Creationism is not a theory, it is a belief system.
      - Education is what is at stake. An education that will either prepare students or leave them ignorant.
      - Science does not need a law to allow skeptical inquiry and critical analysis, they are also foundations of science.

      Mr. Kopplin is fighting against having creationism given a equal standing with evolution in the classroom. Evolution is based on observable facts. It is a scientific theory supported by the continual accumulation of data and based on skeptical scientific inquiry and observation of all available facts. A well-established scientific theory such as evolution is the pinnacle of scientific knowledge. Creationism is not a theory. It is borrowed from a compilation of texts written by non scientists and written about topics other than science. Creationism does not even make a plausible hypothesis as it fails to explain observations of nature and it fails to make predictions that can be confirmed by experiments.

      Mr. Kopplin is fighting to retain skeptical scientific inquiry. Not to have it replaced with non thinking adherence to contradictory ideas that do not explain facts or observations.
      Mr. Kopplin would rather schools teach observable, proven facts and scientific theories which are constantly questioned and revised as new information comes to light.
      Mr. Kopplin is striving to keep true science in the classroom rather than have it replaced with unquestioning dogma which does not stand up to a scientific inquiry.

      Science does not attempt to answer questions of religion.
      Religion should be as intelligent and not take it upon itself to attempt to answer questions of science. Religion is poorly equipped to do so.
      - This would be like Scientific American sponsoring a law requiring evaporation be taught at church on Sundays as an alternative to how Moses parted the Red Sea.

      It is a good thing that scientists are not so petty as to start arguments that make them look stupid…

  13. Joseph Cisneros says:

    We are talking about a science classroom. The idea that we should nrrowly focus on imagined flaws in evolutionary theory (or global warming and human cloning for that matter) is meant to interject doubt into what is a scientific consensus. While not specifically citing creationism in a classroom may allow this law to slip by the courts, there is no question as to its intent. What fundamentalists have always feared is that evolution contradicts their specific interpretation of the Bible. The good Reverend is allowed to look at his Bible as fact, but fact derived from revelation or inspiration, not science. Want to talk about God and creation in a public school setting? Start a comparative religion class and speak about the variety of creation beliefs around the world. Creationsists don’t do that because they want their authority to be the only authority. They don’t want the competition. Please leave the science class to teach science.

  14. Scott says:

    Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 US 578 (1987) was ruled unconstitutional because the Creationism Act required that Creationism be taught if Evolution was to be taught and vice-versa. Comparatively, The Kitzmiller v. Dover, 400 F.Supp.2d 707 (M.D. P.A. 2005) case required a Creationism statement be read before Evolution could be taught. In contrast, the LSEA allows Creationism/ID to be used to encourage debate. It does not allow it to be taught in lieu of Evolution, or require it be taught in conjunction or as a disclaimer to Evolution.

    Teaching Creationism in school is not per se unconstitutional if it is taught within a secular framework as part of a social studies class or some other class such as world religions. Teaching a religious belief is unconstitutional where it promotes only one religious belief to the exclusion of all others, including scientific belief.

    I would agree that the LSEA is unconstitutional if it requires that Creationism/ID be taught as a fact in conjunction with Evolution. I did not read the law as stating this. I am/was under the impression the law only allows that Creationism be used in a critical thinking class to spark debate over known and accepted scientific theories.

    Am I reading this law incorrectly? If so, how? I can see the potential for abuse to use the law as a back door for teaching Creationsim as science, but that door gets slammed shut by the first person to complian. A great deal of the Establishment Clause jurisprudence is focused on public schools.

  15. Here’s my two cents:

    In response to those who assert that introducing creationism into the science curriculum inspires healthy debate, you’re missing the point of science education altogether. Science education is supposed to teach students what is known about the world based on observable evidence, experimental results, and scientific inquiry, and more importantly how to learn about the world for themselves. That’s how the scientific method works.

    Creative ideas explaining observable events and testable hypotheses should be encouraged, but debate over what has already been demonstrated to be true based on beliefs that have no testable hypothesis and do nothing to explain what has been demonstrated as reality just wastes the opportunity to teach students how to learn for themselves. It’s much more important to teach students how to determine truth than it is to tell them what we think the truth is. The truth we know may change, but the methods of determining the truth will last beyond our lifetimes, and that’s what students need to learn. They’re not going to get that kind of education anywhere else.

    Science class is not the kind of class where you would want students to debate. In science, you can experiment to test hypotheses, but anything other than teaching inquiry using the scientific method and established facts falls into the realm of the Humanities. That’s what Humanities classes are for. Humanities classes are intended to teach students varying beliefs and social mores, critical analysis of texts, and how to debate ideas. Humanities classes are far more appropriate for the discussion of religious belief (provided that all belief systems are presented in an accommodating and respectful way). While I would prefer that my own children not be taught religion, within the context of a sociological study of world religions and varying belief systems, I can understand its value. But in a class that’s intended for science, religious beliefs have no place.

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