Strong Support from Prominent Scientists for SB 70

The effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act has been endorsed by a number of eminent scientists including:

Dr. Francisco Ayala
Dr. Ayala is the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine. He has been awarded the National Medal of Science and the Templeton Prize.

Dr. Niles Eldredge
Dr. Eldredge is the curator emeritus of the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Paleontology.  He curated the museum’s Darwin exhibit and authored, among many other works, Darwin.  Discovering the Tree of Life, a companion book to the exhibit.  He was awarded the NCSE’s Friend of Darwin Award in 2011.

Dr. Susan Epperson
Dr. Epperson was the plaintiff in Epperson v. Arkansas, a 1968 United States Supreme Court case that invalidated an Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of human evolution in the public schools. She is a Professor of chemistry at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Dr. Kenneth Miller
Dr. Miller is Professor of Biology and Royce Family Professor for Teaching Excellence at Brown University. He has co-authored three Prentice Hall high school Biology textbooks and authored Finding Darwin’s God, “A scientist’s search for common ground between God and evolution.”

Dr. Neil Shubin
Dr. Shubin is the the Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, Associate Dean of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and Professor on the Committee on Evolutionary Biology.  He is also the Provost of the Field Museum of Natural History.  Dr. Shubin’s most recent discovery, Tiktaalik roseae, has been dubbed the “missing link” between fish and land animals.

Dr. John Sulston
Dr. Sulston was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.  He directed the UK’s Sanger Centre, and was a major contributor to the Human Genome Project.  He currently Chairs the Institute for Science, Ethics, and Innovation at the University of Manchester.

Dr. Tim White
Dr White is the professor of Integrative Biology and Co-director of the Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.   He is the curator of biological anthropology for the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and a research paleoanthropologist at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley.  He led the research team that discovered Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid fossil dating back 4.4 million years, among the oldest human ancestors yet identified.

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17 Responses to Strong Support from Prominent Scientists for SB 70

  1. John E. D. P. Malin says:


    Another collection of extremely important and significant people have been added to your most praise-worthy cause!

    Unfortunately, they are not the decision-makers. Do you have a feeling as to how many of our legislators actually care about this topic? Possess the necessary mental acumen to even understand its significance? Or will pander to local interest for future donor financial support [sell out the lives of our students for personal gain]?

    It does not forebode well that an Oxonian educated, Governor, who took his academic undergraduate work in Biology at Brown University, before he attended the “Biology” College at the University of Oxford, New College [the same college of Dr. Richard Dawkins, I might add], was the author of this sinister R.S. 17:285.1 law in the first place!

    I have confidence in your fair competition in regard to this matter. Instead of relying on intimidation & threat or protection & exclusion for your credibility and legitimacy, you have used the higher tools of engagement, strength, reliability and imagination in your “whole-of-nation” approach! Young man, you have solicited the leading citizens of our nation to your “simple” cause! No easy task!

    In performing so admirably, I think you have eroded the usual furtive forces of ignorance, greed and vanity that prompted this measure in the first place. In short, you and your friends have dispelled secretiveness, lack of frankness, duplicity, wary suspiciousness and basic unfriendliness of purpose! The usual enemies of social-economic progress in a society.

    Lastly, I trust you have given, at least, 5,000 fellow Louisianians the motive, means and opportunity to be at your Rally Thursday! I know you have inspired my twin brother and I to be there!

    • Zack Kopplin says:

      I’m hoping they will pay attention. Also, I believe our governor will support this repeal, because he is a biologist, and he knows how vital evolution is to biology.

      • John E. D. P. Malin says:


        Well expressed!

        Thanks to your considerable efforts in these matters, I suspect that Reason will prevail!

        Your talk was lucid and to the point [I reviewed your three YouTube clips, your organization sent to my FB wall]! I liked the assertion that there are known jobs in biology, there are none for “creationists.”

        I will keep my fingers cross!


  2. Tenncrain says:

    “there are known jobs in biology, there are none for creationists.”

    An important point indeed!

    It’s telling that “scientists” at Answers In Genesis, Discovery Institute, etc, have their paychecks largely supported by (big surprise) other conservative Christians; these Christians eagerly donate as this allows them to hear scientific sounding paradigms that fit their religious beliefs.

    But in order for scientists in private industry and academia to keep earning their paychecks, they need to get their science right on some regular basis. If AIG scientists went to work in the oil industry (which has lots of geologists and geophysicists), they would find their Flood Geology “science” to be completely useless. Just ask geophysicist and former young-earth creationist Glenn Morton; he and many other YECs in the oil industry had a rude and painful awakening when their Flood Geology beliefs were shattered by real life experience in the field.

    Looking from a somewhat different perspective, most listed ‘scientists who oppose evolution’ are not even in the life and earth sciences, they are things like engineers, mathematicians, etc. Of those rare ID/creation scientists in biology, geology, paleontology, many have very limited experience in the laboratory and in the field since getting their degrees. In addition, they have virtually never published their findings in mainstream science peer reviewed journals or participated at mainstream science meetings/seminars.

  3. John Kwok says:


    I wish I could share your optimism about my fellow Brunonian Governor Jindal. If I am not mistaken, one of his campaign pledges was to see a bill like LSEA passed by the Louisiana legislature, and he expressed his support for the teaching of Intelligent Design in Louisiana public school science classrooms. Despite pleas from many scientists, including his Brown University genetics professor, Governor Jindal opted to ignore them and instead signed LSEA. I hope Senator Peterson’s bill will garner a veto proof majority, since I fear that Jindal will veto it.

    • Zack Kopplin says:

      I don’t believe he will veto a bill championed by a student from his own high school. I also know he understands the importance of evolution in biology education. When the time comes, I believe he will stand up for science and sign the bill.

      • John Kwok says:

        Zack –

        I am being a realist. If he refused to listen to one of his favorite professors at Brown, a geneticist, then the odds of him listening to you are nil. I just hope Senator Peterson can get a veto-proof majority.

        • Zack Kopplin says:

          Luckily, we are a lot more organized this time, and there is a lot more support for the repeal than there was against the bill in the first place. I honestly think he won’t veto it.

  4. John Kwok says:

    Zack –

    Governor Jindal is an Intelligent Design ideological zealot. That’s what worries me about the potential outcome of Senator Peterson’s bill. I hope you and your colleagues are in the midst of lobbying Senator Peterson’s colleagues in the Louisiana state senate to ensure that there is a veto proof majority. While Jindal did concentrate in Biology at Brown (“to concentrate” is Brown’s term for “to major”), he didn’t take any courses that demonstrated how biological evolution is the key fundamental law of Biology. I am merely suggesting that, in light of Jindal’s strong political and religious biases, that some prudence is necessary here.

  5. Pingback: Audrey Bitoni » Blog Archive » Support for the Repeal is Growing! | Repealing the Louisiana …

  6. alison duffy says:

    Geaux Zack

    Glad to see there’s some critical thinking going on in Louisiana. Wish we had some going on here in Tennessee.


  7. Donald VanRiesen says:

    What are you so afraid of that you can’t let one THEORY be taught along side another THEORY. I thing if takes more faith to believe evolution than it does creationism(intelligent design). I don’t think in makes your state look stupid but rather enlightened by teaching both THEORY’S and letting the students sort it out for themselves.

    • John Strong says:

      ID is not a theory. It has no null hypothesis, it is not testable, and it is not falsifiable. It has no medicinal or industrial applications. Thus, it is not science.

    • Tenncrain says:

      The word theory has different vernaculars. The common meaning of theory is somewhat like a hunch, but not the scientific meaning.

      Scientific theories explain or support facts. Science theories forever remain theories (they don’t become facts); atomic theory will never become atomic ‘fact’. But in the same way atomic theory tries to explain thousands of facts about matter, evolutionary theory explains thousands of facts about how life has changed. Science theories are considered more important than facts, even laws.

      As John Strong touches on, creationism is not science. Creationism is religious. Therefore, it’s not a theory, at least not a scientific theory. Creationism can be in a history or comparative religion class, but not a science class. Many scientists who study evolution happen to be theists, but even they feel supernaturalism is not part of science.

      Besides, with ‘creationism’, are you referring to Christian creationism (and which kind, young-earth or old-earth?), Hindu creationism (which version?), Cherokee Indian creationism, Maori creationism of Polynesia, etc, etc?

      “…letting the students sort it out for themselves.”

      Science classes should not teach what students (or teachers) want, but only what has earned a broad consensus from the general scientific community. There is no controversy among general paleontologists, geologists and biologists if evolution has happened, only evolution side issues are debated. Unless this consensus changes, only evolution has earned a place in science classes. Evolution is supported by multiple lines of independent evidence (comparative anatomy of living species, the fossil record, genetics, biogeography, and so on).

      Backdoor attempts to inject pseudoscience or religion into science classes can have negative educational and economic effects:

  8. Kathy says:

    John Strong wrote:
    “ID is not a theory. It has no null hypothesis, it is not testable, and it is not falsifiable. I”

    And what, pray tell, is evolution’s null hypothesis?

  9. Anders says:


    I just want to write a comment as an “outsider” (I’m Swedish). The last few years I’ve seen more and more articles and news about the state of science education in the US, and more specifically some concerning the teaching of evolution. We don’t really have this problem in Sweden (basically everyone accept evolution), so most people here don’t think twice about this. But it is scary when one reads about the US situation. Although not as bad as e.g. the situation in Saudi Arabia, it is still very perplexing how an otherwise modern western country has such a creationist stronghold.

    And I would like to add: studying evolution is not just for kids who may want to work in biology in the future. More and more decisions in life concern issues such as the global environment/ecosystem, genetic treatment for diseases, etc. and I think everyone (not just kids) get a fairer chance of making informed decisions if they have a basic background in science (and biology and evolution are very important parts of science).

    Keep up the good work!
    (It seems to be needed.)

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