Nothing makes sense except in the ‘light’ of creationism

At least not in Louisiana.

Not far back, I warned that we need to watch out for Bobby Jindal. He’s the anti-science mook of a governor from Louisiana that recently signed into a law a bill which targets the facts of evolution and global warming.

Remembering Jindal as a good student in his genetics class, Landy hoped that the governor would recall the scientific importance of evolution to biology and medicine. Joining Landy in his opposition to the bill were the American Institute of Biological Sciences, which warned that “Louisiana will undoubtedly be thrust into the national spotlight as a state that pursues politics over science and education,” and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which told Jindal that the law would “unleash an assault against scientific integrity.” Earlier, the National Association of Biology Teachers had urged the legislature to defeat the bill, pleading “that the state of Louisiana not allow its science curriculum to be weakened by encouraging the utilization of supplemental materials produced for the sole purpose of confusing students about the nature of science.”

But all these protests were of no avail. On June 26, 2008, the governor’s office announced that Jindal had signed the Louisiana Science Education Act into law. Why all the fuss? On its face, the law looks innocuous: it directs the state board of education to “allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied,” which includes providing “support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied.” What’s not to like? Aren’t critical thinking, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion exactly what science education aims to promote.

s always in the contentious history of evolution education in the U.S., the devil is in the details. The law explicitly targets evolution, which is unsurprising—for lurking in the background of the law is creationism, the rejection of a scientific explanation of the history of life in favor of a supernatural account involving a personal creator. Indeed, to mutate Dobzhansky’s dictum, nothing about the Louisiana law makes sense except in the light of creationism.

It’s fascinating that the group of people who claim to be the most moral of all mankind are the ones who are constantly seen lying about their intentions. Rather than to continue saying “We are creationists. We believe absurd things which have no basis in science. We want these things taught in the secular school system. Oh, and by the way, we need to talk about the whole “secular” thing”, they instead say “Academic freedom is being quashed because our ideas are not being accepted.” Of course, academic freedom has nothing to do with accepting every bad idea that comes around. If it did, not only would the Bible be an acceptable alternative discussion to the fact of evolution, but so would the Koran, Greek myths, and whatever the hell it is Tom Cruise believes. We would see Christian Science being regarded as an acceptable alternative to actual medicine and medical practices. We would see astronomy professors attempting to inform students of stellar evolution while in the next class an astrologer would tell the students why it’s a lucky week for capricorns.

Creationism and its twin in a cheap tuxedo, Paley’s Watchma…I mean, intelligent design…are not rejected on the basis that evolution cannot stand up to criticism. They are rejected because evolution already has stood up to criticism. That is why it’s a scientific theory. It stands with equal validity to cell theory, atomic theory, and the theory of gravity. It is established beyond all doubt. Proposing a necessarily complex (not to mention invisible) creator only raises more questions – namely, if the question is “How do we explain complexity?” then we are raising that very question with such a proposition. That is, saying life is so complex it needs a creator raises the question of the existence of the complexity of that creator.

One Response

  1. This law is nothing more then the new “teach the controversy.” No doubt, the ACLU will swoop in (not on the law itself, but on what it can be used for, ) and then promptly have it taken out because it’s not science (or legal.)

    There is an excellent video here about how IDers like mixing free speech with academia, and then cry when they get criticized.

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