Unless they are stopped which, frankly, does not seem very likely.

The Livingston Parish School Board, in Louisiana, is poised to enthusiastically support the introduction of creationism into the school curriculum as a requirement, and possibly even toss out evolution. You people in Louisiana are truly a bunch of morans*. You do know that, right?

Barbara Forrest, author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, has written a letter that you may want to read about the school board’s intentions, and the NCSE has a detailed press report here.

Here’s the thing that is so remarkable about this situation, and the thing that gives Louisiana Your Stupid State status on this blog: Most of the time, when the law is laid down in a given state or federal court district, it becomes apparent that pushing religion and/or creationism into public schools is embarrassing and costly. Yes, indeed, this school district will probably be set back considerably after the creationists force them to expend huge amounts of money in legal fees to support a position the can’t win. That is what generally happens. So, what is so astonishing about this particular case is that the most recent major slapdown of creationists in the courts was Edwards v. Aguillard in which “The court found that the Louisiana Legislature’s actual intent was “to discredit evolution by counterbalancing its teaching at every turn with the teaching of creationism, a religious belief.”

Really. Get a job, morans.

Comments

  1. #1 Jared
    July 26, 2010

    I’ve given up on the parishes such as Pointe Coupee, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, the Felicianas, and everything north of Rapides…

    I haven’t found an intelligent person in any of them yet in all the times I’ve visited.

  2. #2 Larian LeQuella
    July 26, 2010

    Ah, the most dumb state striving to become even more dumb! Best of luck to them. Maybe we can turn them into some sort of special home or zoo?

  3. #3 Erp
    July 27, 2010

    Southeastern Louisiana University in an adjacent parish seems to have partnered with the school district for some educational activities.

    I suspect they would have something to say (beyond Barbara Forrest who is a faculty member there) and as a stakeholder might be listened to (certainly no shying away from evolution in the University’s Biology department’s web pages). It looks like one student group is already organizing against it.

  4. #4 William
    July 27, 2010

    What if they breed?

  5. #5 Phillip IV
    July 27, 2010

    I think you misspelled the word “pariahs” in the title of your post.

  6. #6 MadScientist
    July 27, 2010

    “… is poised to enthusiastically support the introduction of creationism …”

    A celebration of ignorance?

    Next thing ya know, the license plates will read:

    La: State of Blissful Ignorance

  7. #7 Lorax
    July 27, 2010

    Hey these people have their first amendment rights. Freedom of religion!!11!

    These people have likely heard the science and based on their specific social and cultural environment, chosen to value the worship in the one true savior over a bunch of reality. We need to accommodate these people and viewpoints, otherwise they will be turned off to other areas of science. If you treat these people in these Louisiana parishes harshly, you will probably lose more of Louisiana and possibly Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas.

    Oh, and science doesn’t know everything.

  8. #8 D. C. Sessions
    July 27, 2010

    Who needs education when the jobs are so good in oil and fishing?

  9. #9 Mike Haubrich
    July 27, 2010

    I’m with Lorax here. You are being mean when it is simply not necessary. What you need to do is swamp the school board with straight facts and treatises on the scientific method and how it differs from religion, and how yes, even though there are “other ways of knowing” then NOMA protects the kids when their faith is challenged (or they can just study evolution and get good grades and then dismiss it when they are done with that chapter.)

    Don’t be so mean, Greg. Those people are also dealing with an oil leak. You can’t expect them to think straight, can you?

  10. #10 Maria
    July 27, 2010

    Maybe there’s a correlation to be made here? The more unexplainable, uncontrollable bad stuff happens to a people the stronger they devolve into blind religious faith? Or maybe it’s just the heat.

  11. #11 Mu
    July 27, 2010

    If their minutes reflect the “someone with religious beliefs teaching creationism” comment quoted in the article, that should not even go to trail. Decided on summary judgment motion. The only bad part is the money they’ll waste on lawyers instead of teachers.

  12. #12 Ender
    July 27, 2010

    Lol. Retards.

    Unfortunate for those it affects though. The kids.

  13. #13 rob
    July 27, 2010

    louisiana isn’t entirely useless. it can always be used as a bad example.

  14. #14 Stephanie Z
    July 27, 2010

    Ender, my brother used to care for a man profoundly affected by Down’s Syndrome. He was quite capable of understanding that something that was wrong yesterday is still wrong today. You might want to find a different word.

  15. #15 Ender
    July 27, 2010

    No intention to upset you or him. Sorry. Words evolve, Moron, Idiot etc were once medical terms, and have lost that meaning, as has retard in many subcultures. If someone were to say, “he’s got Down’s, he’s retarded”, I would hear that the same as “he’s got Down’s, he’s a moron” and be offended for the same reason.
    Retard, I don’t know which way it will go in the end, my money’s on the same way as the aforementioned words, but there’s a pushback against the change of meaning, as you illustrate, which may well be successful.

    My first cousin has developmental disabilities. He is not a retard. These people are. It is a pity that the meanings of these words are not in sync for the two of us (nor I suspect between me and much of the SciBlogs community), but your definition does not take precedence over mine merely because it is more traditional.

  16. #16 B. Johnson
    July 27, 2010

    Next time a hurricane hits Louisiana they shouldn’t receive
    FEMA funds or any other type of aid.

    After it’s God’s will isn’t it?

    And who are we to interfere with God’s will? ;-0

  17. #17 DuWayne
    July 27, 2010

    Ender –

    While “idiot” and “moron” used to be acceptable medical terms, “retarded” still is and is used to describe a very specific condition. Retard is the word that is used to describe people within a particular range of cognitive function and ability for self care. To be specific about what defines a person as being retarded, one either uses that word, or by needs will have to explain defining characteristics that could fill several pages. If that is a specialty, there are very large books.

    It is much simpler for someone to say “retarded.”

    Developmentally disabled, btw, is not an acceptable shorthand, because that describes a much wider range of behaviors. Low intelligence isn’t particularly useful either, as that can mean all sorts of things and isn’t specific. Low functioning can be used to describe people who have a very high cognitive function, but who are also incapacitated to some degree or another by mental illness.

    There are a lot of labels that fit some aspect of what is meant by retarded, but they are all insufficient in some way. That is why the word is still in use in this context.

    Yes, words evolve and take on new meanings, that doesn’t mean those changes are always benign. Indeed when it comes to words becoming insults, they generally are anything but benign. The use of “retard” or “retarded” as an insult it definitely one of those cases.

    That doesn’t mean you aren’t welcome to use it as an insult. You’re also welcome to use “fag” as an insult – or any number of racially or ethnically offensive terms. There is no law that requires you to use language that I, or anyone else thinks is acceptable.

    It is just that there is also no law suggesting that I can’t think you’re a fucking asshole for using the language you do, the way that you do.

  18. #18 Jeff
    July 27, 2010

    It is ironic, and not the least bit uncommon, that the person whose post we are responding to, while I am sure considering himself to be bright, posted a critique overflowing with poor grammar and misspelled words.

    Perhaps the most ironic was his spelling of the word “moran,” which should have been spelled moron. I was ready to chalk it up to a typo, but it appears twice in his post. The first time it makes an appearance it has an asterisk which is supposed to refer to something else on the page, something which (if I’m inclined to be charitable) must have been accidentally deleted.

    I’m sure, however, that in this society, where the deck is stacked so heavily in favor of macro-evolutionists, that the poster is ultimately correct in his assertion that the unavoidable court case will eventually result in another loss for Creationists.

    And that is a shame, as Creatinists have something extremely important to contribute to a true scientific world-view. We ignore the God construct and various God hypotheses at the risk and peril of our science, as to leave Him out of our thought processes renders our thinking incomplete and unsatisfactory, and our science suffers accordingly.

    The Louisiana decision, if the poster is accurate in his characterization of it, was an over-reaction to the numerous cases that have been fought (and won) by macro-evolutionists against the teaching of Creationism in any form in the science classroom. From a legal standpoint it was inevitable. They tried to peacefully co-exist, side by side with a competing world-view that is really inconsistent both with theirs and the available evidence.
    No quarter was given, so now, from their perspective, this means war.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    July 27, 2010

    Perhaps the most ironic was his spelling of the word “moran,” which should have been spelled moron.

    Actually, what is MOST ironic is that your lengthy rant predicated in part on the term “moran” missed that this is an allusion. Anyone else want to point this out to our friend “Jeff” or shall we Google it for him??

    The first time it makes an appearance it has an asterisk which is supposed to refer to something else on the page, something which (if I’m inclined to be charitable) must have been accidentally deleted.

    The asterisk is a link. Web pages have these things caled “links” .. you “click” on them. With your “mouse.”

    They tried to peacefully co-exist, side by side with a competing world-view that is really inconsistent both with theirs and the available evidence.
    No quarter was given, so now, from their perspective, this means war.

    A self serving, inaccurate, and obnoxious characterization of what has really happened. And, something that looks a little like a threat.

    I love having these insane creationist rants as comments. Excellent documentation of why we need to be vigilant when it comes to our system of education and attempts to jam specific religions down our kids throats.

  20. #20 jeff
    July 27, 2010

    Very good then. Thanks for schooling me on that one. The link was most amusing.

    My comment was certainly not a threat, as I am personally convinced of the truth of the evolutionary construct. I also think it would serve to strengthen our science in schools if we did teach competing views and explain what the best minds in opposing groups have to say.

    Very little in science is finally settled and beyond dispute or further consideration.

    On another note: I enjoyed reading about you and think you have a wonderful blog.

    Cheers

  21. #21 DuWayne
    July 27, 2010

    My comment was certainly not a threat, as I am personally convinced of the truth of the evolutionary construct. And I also think it would serve to strengthen our science in schools if we did teach competing views and explain what the best minds in opposing groups have to say.

    Do not fucking go together. Unless you have been hiding under a rock, or truly don’t give a flying fuck about science education, those two concepts are completely counterintuitive.

    While I am sure that Greg has considerably more experience with creationism in schools, I am familiar enough with the issue. Someone who talks about believers in “macro”evolution, is inevitably a creationist. Or a fucking moran. Often times both. People who claim to want to teach the “controversy,” who also claim to accept evolution, are lying – about 99.99% of the time. I have run across one person who fits that bill – one.

    Putting together the whole “macro”evolution with the rest and I am pretty damned certain you are full of shit.

  22. #22 jeff
    July 27, 2010

    Perhaps you are mistaken. Are you Kreskin? How do you determine someone’s intent? Unless this encounter does not count as “running across” me, you have at least “run across” two.

    The problem with your view, Duwayne, is that my proposal is what science is about. Yours is religion and dogmatism. They indeed fucking go together and I’m guessing you need a bowel movement, although I’m having a hard time discerning why that is germane. Many of the greatest thinkers throughout history have done their best thinking while “full of shit” as you so eloquently put it.

    Furthermore, the terms “Creationist” and ”
    Evolutionist” are only mutually exclusive because of your narrow construct, not mine.

  23. #23 Toby
    July 27, 2010

    Jeff, you will not be the first, or the last, internet commenter to appear to be new to the debate while in reality being quite old to it.

  24. #24 DuWayne
    July 27, 2010

    Perhaps you are mistaken.

    On this? That is slightly more likely than my getting struck by lightening and winning the lottery – and only then because I have never bought a lottery ticket in my life.

    The problem with your view, Duwayne, is that my proposal is what science is about

    Ok, now we are moving that likelihood I am wrong down a bit.

    Furthermore, the terms “Creationist” and ”
    Evolutionist” are only mutually exclusive because of your narrow construct, not mine.

    Ding! Ding! Ding! I win!

  25. #25 Joshua Zelinsky
    July 27, 2010

    I have slight worries that if this got to the Supreme Court they might actually overturn Aguillard. Given the current court’s makeup I could see that as a possibility, although unlikely.

  26. #26 Ender
    July 28, 2010

    DuWayne, your choice to use Retarded as a modern medical term is perfectly reasonable. I suspect that you are behind the curve; describe someone in a medical examination as ‘Retarded’ in ten years and I suspect you will not get a great reception. (It’s already largely unacceptable in the UK.) But as I said, it could go either way.
    I welcome the day that retard becomes equivalent to moron, as I think the term has already become irreperably tainted by being used as an insult, and that fighting back against the shift in meaning will just extend the time during which it is problematic.
    I could indeed use fag as an insult, and I will, if the useage shifts enough. Maybe once it shifts as far as “Zounds!”

  27. #27 Conan the Pseudonymous
    July 28, 2010

    And that is a shame, as Creatinists have something extremely important to contribute to a true scientific world-view. We ignore the God construct and various God hypotheses at the risk and peril of our science, as to leave Him out of our thought processes renders our thinking incomplete and unsatisfactory, and our science suffers accordingly.

    Scientists ignore the “God construct” because it’s an unfalsifiable, unverifiable, non-sensical, emotive, ineffable and archaic construct that is indicative of a pre-scientific worldview or a significant anti-scientific bias, should the science not correspond with your presumptions. It’s not because we’re all part of some “Evolution construct” or paradigm that refuses to acknowledge some fact known only by the wise creationists.

    Honestly, you sound like the worst kind of moran, Jeff. An unaware moran, much like the sign-holder. Unaware of your moranism.

  28. #28 DuWayne
    July 28, 2010

    Ender –

    I suspect that you are behind the curve;

    No, I am definitely not. The use of that term is still going strong in brand spanking new psychology texts, because it is still very useful.

    I welcome the day that retard becomes equivalent to moron, as I think the term has already become irreperably tainted by being used as an insult, and that fighting back against the shift in meaning will just extend the time during which it is problematic.

    It doesn’t matter though. Retard has been an insult virtually since it was coined. Change the term to something else and as soon as it reaches beyond strict clinical usage, that term will become an insult too. The problem isn’t with the word, it is with a society that is all too comfortable using technical terms that describe various mental problems as insults.

    Please understand that I am not trying to be sanctimonious about this. I am guilty of this shit too. And in some cases, I accept that some people are going to be offended by my use of language – that is inevitable. In others, I try to be more cognizant of the language I am using. It is all about figuring out who you don’t mind offending.

  29. #29 Mark
    July 28, 2010

    In the final analysis, all the christian god wants is for you to die.

  30. #30 Ender
    July 28, 2010

    “No, I am definitely not. The use of that term is still going strong in brand spanking new psychology texts, because it is still very useful.”

    Still, I suspect you will find the term used more often as a synonym for idiot than a medically accurate term. The definition could go either way in the end, but is more likely to drift in the direction of most use, which renders you behind the curve, regardless of new psychology texts that are also behind the curve.

    No worries, you don’t sound sanctimonious.

  31. #31 Stephanie Z
    July 28, 2010

    No, Ender, DuWayne doesn’t sound sanctimonious, but you do. Your argument is based on what people “should” mean by use of the word, not what it’s actually used for. Plus you completely miss the point that by using it, you’re giving credit for inability in a situation that’s much more generally marked by willful ignorance.

  32. #32 DuWayne
    July 28, 2010

    Ender –

    You’re missing the point here. It really doesn’t matter if 99% of the time someone says retard, they are using it as an insult. Indeed it wouldn’t surprise me if that is the case. That doesn’t put me, or my field of study behind the curve. It just means that there is a significant portion of our society that feels entirely comfortable taking a technical term used to described a segment of the population who, among other things, have substandard cognitive functionality and use it as an insult. It is absolutely no different then using schizo or schizoid as an insult. It is no different than accusing someone of being a down syndrome motherfucker. It is no different than the rather dated insult of calling someone a Pollack. It is no different than using a phrase like nigger-rigging. It is no different using faggot, to infer someone is weak.

    Some of those are more generally acceptable than others. Some used to be more acceptable. But all of them are inferring that having a characteristic that a given individual has no control over, is contemptible enough to consider it an insult.

    But lets get back to retard. What would you suggest we do to describe someone who is retarded in a clinical context? Though I am not a therapist yet and will probably do more research and teaching, than clinical work, I will be doing at least some clinical work. When I do so, I will have paperwork to file on patients. Should I be dealing with someone who is retarded, what should I put instead of retarded? Should I write several pages to describe the characteristics that define retarded? Or should we come up with yet another term?

    If we come up with yet another term, how long after it too becomes an insult can we still use it and still get upset that motherfuckers want to use it as an insult?

  33. #33 Dave
    July 28, 2010

    How ’bout putting on the form “Let’s just say the guy came in on the short bus”?

  34. #34 Ender
    July 30, 2010

    “No, Ender, DuWayne doesn’t sound sanctimonious, but you do”

    Sorry. Certainly not intending to be.
    Not sure how I am, since I’m suggesting that different uses are permissable and that no-one, certainly not me, is better or more righteous in their use.

    “Your argument is based on what people “should” mean by use of the word, not what it’s actually used for”

    I’m saying that different people use the word differently, and that the ‘traditional’ use has no inherent importance. Not what people “should” mean, but what they do mean.

    DuWayne – Sorry, you appear to be taking my prediction about the future fate of the word as a criticism of you or your field. Either the word loses it’s medical significance or it doesn’t. If it does, (as I suspect it will), you are behind the curve. If it does not, you are not.

    Using ‘retard’ as an insult is different from using ‘moron’ or ‘schizo’ for the same reason, but in opposite directions. Moron has lost it’s medical connotations, and is insulting to no group. Retard has mixed connotations, different sub-cultures use it differently, some retain the medical connotations, some do not. Schizo has not got mixed connotations, it refers exclusively to a group of people and is offensive. This last position is shared by the word faggot.

    To your question about a replacement for retard – replacing the word with the full list of the characteristics would be unnecesarily unwieldy and does not take into account the way people use language, it would be quickly replaced itself with a word or short phrase that signifies those characteristics. We should come up with another term. Delayed is a synonym of retarded in that context and variations on that are probably our best bet.

    If that becomes an insult, we can remain offended for as long as we believe they are referring to the group of disorders that word described rather than just using it as an insult such as moron.

  35. #35 Ender
    July 30, 2010

    “No, Ender, DuWayne doesn’t sound sanctimonious, but you do”

    Sorry. Certainly not intending to be.
    Not sure how I am, since I’m suggesting that different uses are permissable and that no-one, certainly not me, is better or more righteous in their use.

    “Your argument is based on what people “should” mean by use of the word, not what it’s actually used for”

    I’m saying that different people use the word differently, and that the ‘traditional’ use has no inherent importance. Not what people “should” mean, but what they do mean.

    DuWayne – Sorry, you appear to be taking my prediction about the future fate of the word as a criticism of you or your field. Either the word loses it’s medical significance or it doesn’t. If it does, (as I suspect it will), you are behind the curve. If it does not, you are not.

    Using ‘retard’ as an insult is different from using ‘moron’ or ‘schizo’ for the same reason, but in opposite directions. Moron has lost it’s medical connotations, and is insulting to no group. Retard has mixed connotations, different sub-cultures use it differently, some retain the medical connotations, some do not. Schizo has not got mixed connotations, it refers exclusively to a group of people and is offensive. This last position is shared by the word faggot.

    To your question about a replacement for retard – replacing the word with the full list of the characteristics would be unnecesarily unwieldy and does not take into account the way people use language, it would be quickly replaced itself with a word or short phrase that signifies those characteristics. We should come up with another term. Delayed is a synonym of retarded in that context and variations on that are probably our best bet.

    If that becomes an insult, we can remain offended for as long as we believe they are referring to the group of disorders that word described rather than just using it as an insult such as moron.

  36. #36 Ender
    July 30, 2010

    Sorry, the second comment has more readable formatting. Could a mod delete the first comment and this one? Thanks.

  37. #37 Greg Laden
    July 30, 2010

    What is a mod?

  38. #38 DuWayne
    July 30, 2010

    Ender –

    Retard has mixed connotations, different sub-cultures use it differently, some retain the medical connotations, some do not.

    No it doesn’t. Any more than schizoid does. It means something very specific and because it means what it means, it makes an effective insult. You can pretend that the commonality of it’s use as an insult changes it’s meaning in a clinical context all you want – that doesn’t make you correct. People also use schizoid as an insult (though not so often, as it is a bit dated) too, does that mean we need to come up with a different term for schizophrenia?

    When people use the term retard as an insult, they are essentially claiming that the person being insulted fits one of the clinical criteria for being retarded. They would not use that term, were it not for the clinical definition. The term does not, in point of fact, actually matter – it is what that term defines that is being used as an insult. All that coming up with a whole new term would do, in a cultural sense, is provide a whole new insult for people who do or say stupid things.

    Meanwhile, in clinical psychology, it would mean trying to actually convince psychologists across the board, to adopt a new term in exchange for the perfectly useful term we already have. The reasons that cretinism, and moronic fell out of favor, wasn’t because they became insults, it is because they were found not to be useful – they were used as blanket terms that covered far too many possible combinations of characteristics. The same is true of idiotic.

    Trying to re-term clinical definitions is problematic. It is problematic when you are doing so, because the definition changes – it is fucking ridiculous to try, when the definition is not actually changing. For a good example of this, there are psychologists who absolutely will not use the term “addiction” because of it’s negative connotations. Seriously. If you don’t understand the problem with this, click my name and click on my addiction tab – one of my early posted papers will explain. In short, addiction and substance use disorders are already a convoluted mess. Trying to then turn around and completely change the language altogether just creates room for even more confusion.

    Especially when you have a patient who, for whatever reason, needs to see a different therapist – or is also going to be seeing a psychiatrist for medications. We try to keep the clinical language common for a reason. That is a very important one. Changing terms is problematic, because it fucks up that common language and bad things can happen when you fuck up common clinical language.

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