In a press release from the Louisiana Coalition for Science, Governor Bobby Jindal’s college genetics professor asks him not to “hold back the next generation of Louisiana’s doctors.” The press release introduces an open letter from the group calling for Jindal to veto SB 733, a bill which opens the door to creationism in the classroom,

Professor Arthur Landy, University Professor at Brown University who teaches in the medical school, taught the then-premed. Landy says “Without evolution, modern biology, including medicine and biotechnology, wouldn’t make sense. In order for today’s students in Louisiana to succeed in college and beyond, in order for them to take the fullest advantages of all that the 21st century will offer, they need a solid grounding in genetics and evolution. Governor Jindal was a good student in my class when he was thinking about becoming a doctor, and I hope he doesn’t do anything that would hold back the next generation of Louisiana’s doctors.”

Jindal passed up medical school for a Rhodes scholarship studying political science. Politics thus took him away from promising careers in medicine, law, or exorcism.

The full LCFS press release is below the fold or at http://lasciencecoalition.org.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Creationist bill clears Louisiana legislature

Louisiana Coalition for Science calls on Governor Jindal to veto SB 733

Baton Rouge, LA, June 16, 2008 The Louisiana Senate has passed SB 733, a bill that creationists can use to force creationism into public school science classes. The vote accepts an amendment approved by the Louisiana House of Representatives. The amendment allows the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to prohibit certain supplementary instructional materials but gives no guidance about the criteria BESE should use for such prohibition. The LA Coalition for Science (LCFS), a group of concerned parents, teachers and scientists, has called on Gov. Jindal to veto the bill through an open letter on its website at http://lasciencecoalition.org.

“This bill doesn’t help teachers. It allows local school boards to open the doors of public school science classrooms to creationism with the blessing of the state,” explains LCFS member Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University. “Governor Jindal surely knows that evolution is not controversial in the mainstream scientific community. He majored in biology at Brown University, and he belongs to a church that considers evolution to be established science and approves of its being taught in its own parochial schools. The LA Family Forum is pushing this bill over the objections of scientists and teachers across the state. The governor has a moral responsibility to Louisiana children to veto this bill.” Forrest was an expert witness on the history of intelligent design creationism in a 2005 federal court case in which teaching intelligent design in public schools was ruled unconstitutional. She is the co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design.

Arthur Landy, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry in the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University, taught Jindal genetics in college. “Without evolution, modern biology, including medicine and biotechnology, wouldn’t make sense,” says Professor Landy. “In order for today’s students in Louisiana to succeed in college and beyond, in order for them to take the fullest advantages of all that the 21st century will offer, they need a solid grounding in genetics and evolution. Governor Jindal was a good student in my class when he was thinking about becoming a doctor, and I hope he doesn’t do anything that would hold back the next generation of Louisiana’s doctors.” Landy is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology.

Patsye Peebles, a veteran teacher from Baton Rouge and a member of LCFS, joins the call for Jindal to veto the bill. “If the governor wants to do more for Louisiana schools and their students, he should veto this bill,” insists Peebles. “Teachers don’t need the legislature and the governor telling them how to teach science, and we certainly don’t need creationist supplementary textbooks being foisted on us. This bill doesn’t solve any problems that teachers face, and it promises to create a whole lot of new problems for hard-working teachers.”

In an open letter to Jindal posted on the LCFS website, the group refers to a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision which overturned a 1981 creationist law in Louisiana. The letter also points to the involvement of an out-of-state intelligent design think tank in promoting the current legislation. “SB 733 is a thinly disguised attempt to advance the ‘Wedge Strategy’ of the Discovery Institute,” the letter explains. The Discovery Institute, LCFS points out, is “a creationist think tank that is collaborating with the LA Family Forum to get intelligent design (ID) creationism into LA public school science classes.” The letter further warns that “If SB 733 is allowed to become law, we can anticipate the embarrassment that it will bring to the state, not to mention the prospect of spending millions of taxpayer dollars defending the inevitable federal court challenge.” The economic effects of the bill would be more widespread, given the governor’s own statement that because of a “skills gap,” the “training and education of our citizens does not meet the requirements of available jobs.” Observing that “SB 733 sends the wrong message to the nation if we want to develop additional high tech companies such as the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LIGO, and other research universities and centers across the state,” LCFS adds, “SB 733 will sacrifice the education of our children to further the political and religious aims of the LA Family Forum and the Discovery Institute, an out-of-state creationist think tank whose only interest in Louisiana is promoting their agenda at the expense of our children.” The full letter is available online at http://lasciencecoalition.org.

Louisiana Coalition for Science is a grassroots group working to protect the teaching of science in Louisiana. On the web at http://lasciencecoalition.org.

Contacts:

Barbara Forrest / barbara.forrest@gmail.com / 985-974-4244

Patsye Peebles / patsye.peebles@gmail.com / 225-936-6074

Comments

  1. #1 James F
    June 17, 2008

    Good for Prof. Landy! A friend of mine was a grad student in his lab, and his work influenced one of my grad school projects – it’s good to see him being a vocal advocate for science. How I hope that this won’t fall on deaf ears.

  2. #2 C. David Parsons
    June 17, 2008

    THE BIGGER PICTURE IN THE DEBATE ON DARWINISM IS NOT INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

    The reason is elementary: the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents leave out the Triune God, Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Richard Dawkins can make the case for ďaliensĒ seeding the earth.

    The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

    “I am amazed at the breadth of the investigation – scientific history, biblical studies, geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and so forth – and find the style of writing to be quite lucid and aimed clearly at a general, lay audience.” ? Mark Roberts, former Editor of Biblical Reference Books, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

    The Quest for Right series of books, based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect, has effectively dismantled the quantum additions to the true architecture of the atom. Gone are the nonexistent particles once thought to be complementary to the electron and proton (examples: neutrons, neutrinos, photons, mesons, quarks, Z’s, bosons, etc.) and a host of other pseudo particles.

    To the curious, scientists sought to explain Atomic theory by introducing fantastic particles that supposedly came tumbling out of the impact between two particles, when in fact, the supposed finds were simply particulate debris. There are only two elementary particles which make up the whole of the universe: the proton and electron. All other particles were added via quantum magic and mathematical elucidation in an attempt to explain earthly phenomena without God.

    Introducing the scheme of coincidence, which by definition, “is the systematic ploy of obstructionists who, in lieu of any divine intervention, state that any coincidental grouping or chance union of electrons and protons (and neutrons), regardless of the configuration, always produces a chemical element. This is the mischievous tenet of electron interpretation which states that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an ďiĒ from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being.

    The Quest for Right is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a consequence, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline.

    The Quest for Right. http://questforright.com

  3. #3 Reginald
    June 17, 2008

    Oh good a spambot from Quest for Right, another hackneyed creationist attempt to cram more government down the throats of citizens who don’t want it.

    This is a ‘theory’ which explains that gravity is controlled by magical fingers and the sun’s real name is “SENSOR!” (which according to Kwest 4 Wight! cannot exist because gravity’s magical fingers can’t get around such a silly element as Hydrogen).

    I thought it was impossible to be stupider than IDcreationists, but damn I’m laughing like hell over here.

    Don’t despair though, citizens of Louisiana! If this bill gets past Jindal then all your schoolkids will be taught Kwest 4 Wight at the cost of 280 bucks a kid! Don’t you just LOVE big government wasting your money on teaching kids about magic gravity fingers? I know I do.

  4. #4 island
    June 17, 2008

    In an open letter to Jindal posted on the LCFS website…

    This really cracks me up, given that Barbara Forrest’s appeal to the politicians netted a cool three votes in the house, and none in the senate… where the votes were 94-3, and 36-0, in favor of the bill. What a joke.

    And it has been my observation that these academic freedom bills, which, in conjunction with the science standards, are typically worded to PROHIBIT the teaching of religion, creationism, “creation science”, “creation facts”… and ID.

    Neodarwinians assume without any proof that the DI has simply repackaged their game without changing their method, even though they know full well that a loss in the high court would wipe out their hope that ID will eventually become a real scientific theory.

    I think that the antifanatics are suffering from historic reaction-ism that doesn’t serve as a valid argument now.

  5. #5 Josh Rosenau
    June 17, 2008

    Parsons: Stop spamming my comment threads.

    Island: There’s copious evidence that ID is just creationism relabeled, and that this latest strategy (“critical analysis of evolution,” “strengths and weaknesses of evolution,” etc.) are just relabelings of the same old thing.

    The fact that these bills claim not to cover religion (they never mention “creationism” or “creation science” or “creation facts”) is not dispositive, since anyone can claim their ideas are purely scientific and not religious. The old advocates of creation science claimed that their work was not religious, even as they argued for a 6,000 year-old earth, etc. ID advocates made the same claims, even as they used the same arguments advanced by the creation science folks, and used the same definitions for ID and for creationism.

    When the Disco. Inst. describes what they actually want “critical analysis” to look like, it turns out to mean teaching the same bogus attempts to disprove evolution that have been stock in trade for the creationists since the ’20s. Their arguments are no more valid now than they ever were.

    If you don’t believe this bill is about creationism, check out the Louisiana Family Forum. They’ve acknowledged drafting the bill for its Senate sponsor. They also distribute what they call “textbook addenda,” filled with references to creationist literature (such as Jonathan Woodmorappe’s work on flood geology) and repetitions of creationist falsehoods about Darwin’s finches, etc.

    You write “a loss in the high court would wipe out their hope that ID will eventually become a real scientific theory.” But if it were really a scientific theory, the court they would be worried about would be the court of scientific opinion, as established through peer-reviewed publications, not through high school science standards or textbooks.

  6. #6 Thumper600
    June 17, 2008

    Say what???

  7. #7 James F
    June 17, 2008

    To add to what Josh has pointed out –

    Island,

    If, as you say, the bills will prohibit ID along with old-fashioned creationism, why is the Discovery Institute braying over the success of these bills? They have multiple posts on their blog on the whole affair. I agree that if the bills were read correctly the specific prohibition of religious viewpoints would apply to ID, but they’re banking on circumventing it.

  8. #8 island
    June 17, 2008

    There’s copious evidence that ID is just creationism relabeled…

    I agree, but the difference was the ability to prove that creationism was going to be introduced into the classroom. That is not the case now.

    When the Disco. Inst. describes what they actually want “critical analysis” to look like, it turns out to mean teaching the same bogus attempts to disprove evolution that have been stock in trade for the creationists since the ’20s. Their arguments are no more valid now than they ever were.

    Okay, Josh, I’m going to go take a look and see if I need to modify my position before I respond to the rest…

    I would say, however, that I don’t doubt that some loonie creationists (like you’ll find at the Louisiana Family Forum), will try it, but the wording of their own bills and the science standards will put them in violation of the law.

  9. #9 island
    June 17, 2008

    but they’re banking on circumventing it.

    Okay, prove it.

  10. #10 island
    June 17, 2008

    If, as you say, the bills will prohibit ID along with old-fashioned creationism, why is the Discovery Institute braying over the success of these bills?

    Oh, I definitely believe that there are valid scientific questions that the creationists would like to ask that neodarwinians would rather not face, so if that’s what they’re talking about, them I AM ALL FOR IT.

  11. #11 Mr. Gunn
    June 17, 2008

    “there are valid scientific questions that the creationists would like to ask”

    Really? You prove this.

    /btw, using the word neodarwinist is blowing your cover

  12. #12 island
    June 17, 2008

    “i” had said:
    “there are valid scientific questions that the creationists would like to ask”

    Mr. Gunn said:
    Really? You prove this.

    I will gladly do this, but bear in mind that it is not necessary to my position.

    I had started this now incomplete list of valid scientific reasons why Gov. Charlie Crist should sign when Florida was considering it, and remember that I am going to throw point number three back in the face of anyone who dismisses the evidence that I provide, out of hand. I admit that this stuff isn’t exaclty grammar school material, but that doesn’t matter to the point that I was making to the Governor.

    Also, this could rapidly get out of hand if it starts to become a game of “gangbang island”, so please don’t everybody pile on at once:

    http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=PluckPersona&U=f4af536be6e34501aa356a4a76ef99cf&plckPersonaPage=PersonaBlog&plckUserId=f4af536be6e34501aa356a4a76ef99cf

    /btw, using the word neodarwinist is blowing your cover

    Oh really, Mr Gunn??? I don’t think so, but your unfounded leap of faith to believe whatever you want to believe, in spite of the available evidence, most certainly does give you away.

    “The problem with neo-Darwinism is that Random changes in DNA alone do not lead to speciation. It was like confessing a murder when I discovered I was not a neo-Darwinist. I am definitely a Darwinist though. I think we are missing important information about the origins of variation. I differ from the neo-Darwinian bullies on this point.”

    -Lynn Margulis, as the honored guest speaker at the last evolution conference.

  13. #13 Travis
    June 17, 2008

    oh, island island island. not only has using the term “neodarwinism” blown your cover, but your use of quote mining is so droll.
    however, let’s imagine for a moment that you are not a fraudulent creationist such as kent hovind (in jail for 10 years) and address the issue. you want high school students to “learn the controversy” when first of all, there is no scientific controversy. the vast majority of the scientific community agree that evolution is a valid and provable theory, and that intelligent design can’t even make the position of hypothesis. secondly, even if there was a controversy, how do you expect high school students to be able to sort through such a controversy when the majority of them cannot even find iraq on a map, or understand a university discussion on the topic? should we teach the controversy of atomic theory? how about the controversy on general relativity? quantum mechanics? all of which are about as “controversial” as evolution is.
    no, this bill should not be passed. as soon as these students reach the level of education where they can fully understand the concepts, which would be at minimum college level, then they can learn the “controversy.”

  14. #14 themadlolscientist
    June 17, 2008

    What? That whackamole studied genetics? At least he’s consistent; he’s batting 1000 in “dumber than a brick.” (Apologies to any bricks who might be reading this.) Rhodes scholar. Yeah. Right. I don’t know which is scarier – his political asshattery (“political science” = greatest oxymoron since “jumbo shrimp” and “military intelligence”) or the idea that he might have been a doctor.

  15. #15 Thomas Fagan
    June 17, 2008

    It is interesting read what the Evolutionists have to say about Intelligent Design. They talk like they know something that we donít. First the reason macroevolution is called a theory is because there is no real evidence to support the cute little stories that Darwinists make up. You know the stories Darwinists make up about how it might have happened. At least ID is based on real science while Darwinists just make up stories like the one about the Tooth fairy. The Darwinist thinks that calling everyone who does not agree with them a Creationist is debating the issue. That is why we never see a real debate. It might be helpful to read ĎThe Edge Of Evolutioní by Dr. Behe concerning mutations if you think ID is not science based. If you really donít want to teach anything in science that is not proven to be true, How do you explain the teaching of macroevolution. Macroevolution, changing from a fish to a dog or a pig to a whale, is no more true than the story about the above tooth fairy. Certainly no one has ever seen any empirical evidence of macroevolution. If you are going to speculate in front of children about how macroevolution might have happened I see no reason why we canít speculate in front of children about how Intelligent Design might have happened. It seems to me that believing in ID is far more helpful to society at large then believing that we are nothing more than a fortuitous accident and no one cares if we live or die…. I wish all you Darwinists would stop trying to connect ID with creationism. Lets be honest, Darwinism is all about religious belief and the fear there might be a God. How else can you explain the massive campaign to prevent the teaching of ID in the classrooms by any means including manipulations, exaggerations and even lies about religious connections. All you Darwinists should calm down and live and let live. Most people donít care if you believe in God or donít believe in God. Its your choice, Live with it.
    tfagan

  16. #16 KDIsom
    June 17, 2008

    Thomas, your statements are wrong and self-contradictory.

    You say, ‘First the reason macroevolution is called a theory is because there is no real evidence to support the cute little stories that Darwinists make up‘, and thus indicate that you do not understand the term scientific theory.

    Try this from Wikipedia: In scientific usage, a theory does not mean an unsubstantiated guess or hunch, as it can in everyday speech. A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from or is supported by experimental evidence. In this sense, a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations, and is predictive, logical, and testable.

    Then you say, ‘read “The Edge Of Evolution” by Dr. Behe concerning mutations if you think ID is not science based‘, followed by ‘Macroevolution, changing from a fish to a dog or a pig to a whale, is no more true than the story about the above tooth fairy.

    Yet, Dr. Behe, an actual biochemist and the most legitimate of ID proponents, is an Evolutionist. He readily accepts common descent as ‘trivially true, and that humans and the other great apes share a common ancestor. Sheesh. Did you read the book?

  17. #17 Modusoperandi
    June 17, 2008

    Thomas Fagan “It is interesting read what the Evolutionists have to say about Intelligent Design. They talk like they know something that we don’t.”
    Obviously. We know not to fill in the gaps with *majik!*. A Designer of the gaps is as successful as the God of the gaps argument was. That is to say, not at all, as every new piece of data gives the Designer a little less room for designin’.

    “First the reason macroevolution is called a theory is because there is no real evidence to support the cute little stories that Darwinists make up”
    That’s the worst definition of theory ever. Start here.

    “You know the stories Darwinists make up about how it might have happened.”
    A reasonable, if incomplete, naturalistic explanation is better than one based on ignorance and wishful thinking. An uncomfortable reality, in other words, is better than the perfect fantasy. Seeing a gap and declaring “The Designer is there!” explains nothing, except for your own willingness to stop looking for an actual answer.

    “At least ID is based on real science while Darwinists just make up stories like the one about the Tooth fairy.”
    But the Designer is the Tooth Fairy. Obviously. Clearly, your baby teeth are payment for your irreducible complexity.

    “The Darwinist thinks that calling everyone who does not agree with them a Creationist is debating the issue.”
    ID is creationism. It’s not biblical Special Creation, but majiking up eyeballs were there were none before is still creationism.

    “That is why we never see a real debate.”
    No. We never see a real debate because ID is so vague as to be useless. The various competing hypotheses of abiogenesis are weak, IMO, but they’re worlds ahead of positing majik. The continued pushing of debunked canards of ID, like the eye, flagellum and the blood clotting cascade doesn’t make for much of a debate. Neither does the gap nature of ID, much like Creation Science before it.

    “It might be helpful to read ‘The Edge Of Evolution’ by Dr. Behe concerning mutations if you think ID is not science based.”
    It would be more helpful to read a review of Behe’s Edge of Evolution. Arguments from ignorance and personal incredulity are still logic fallacies, no matter how pretty and scientifical they sound. His testimony in the Dover trial pretty much shows how willing ignorant he is (Dover transcripts).

    “If you really don’t want to teach anything in science that is not proven to be true, How do you explain the teaching of macroevolution.”
    Theories aren’t proof. Proofs are for math. Theories are merely the best narrative that strings together the evidence. As such, theories change (or are abandoned) as new facts are discovered.

    “Macroevolution, changing from a fish to a dog or a pig to a whale, is no more true than the story about the above tooth fairy.”
    We don’t find tooth fairies in the fossil record, nor do we have samples of their DNA. Also, we don’t have different groups of tooth fairies, separated by sufficient distance to minimize or prevent interbreeding with other groups of tooth fairies.
    Creationism has the tooth fairy. ID has the unnamed possibly fairy who may or may not traffic in human teeth. Evolution says there is no evidence whatsoever for the tooth fairy, nor is one necessary at all.

    “Certainly no one has ever seen any empirical evidence of macroevolution.”
    Then why has the ToE has been around for 150 years, with a steadily increasing amount of evidence supporting it? Why is it supported by the fossil record (however incompletely)? Why do genetics and comparative genomics support it? Have you read Your Inner Fish?

    “If you are going to speculate in front of children about how macroevolution might have happened I see no reason why we can’t speculate in front of children about how Intelligent Design might have happened.”
    You speculate in front of children?! You monster!

    “It seems to me that believing in ID is far more helpful to society at large then believing that we are nothing more than a fortuitous accident…”
    Believe whatever you want, man, but if you want it in science class, bring evidence. I, meanwhile, will take an evidence-based “fortuitous accidenct”.

    “and no one cares if we live or die….”
    I care if we live or die. You care if we live or die. The evidence plainly shows that we’re both real. The unnamed, anonymous Designer…not so much.

    “I wish all you Darwinists would stop trying to connect ID with creationism.”
    Don’t blame us, blame the Discovery Institute. Blame the early drafts of Pandas & People. Blame the IDists who say that ID has nothing to do with religion, but then spout the old creationist rhetoric (“Evolution is just a theory!” “Eyes!”). You can blame us for making them dirty, but it’s they who are playing in the mud.

    “Lets be honest, Darwinism is all about religious belief and the fear there might be a God.”
    That’s honest? I thought “Darwinism” was all about the mountains of evidence from across a wide variety of scientific disciplines; a theory that best strings together the facts. If God (or Gods) is/are involved, and it/they aren’t way you think they did (instead working through evolution), that’s not the evidence’s fault, that’s yours.

    “How else can you explain the massive campaign to prevent the teaching of ID in the classrooms by any means including manipulations, exaggerations and even lies about religious connections.”
    Watch Expelled (or read virtually all of the many reviews), then tell us that “our side” is the one fighting dirty. Watch school districts go broke fighting lawsuits over bad ideas that The Discovery Institute initially supported (see Dover, or any of the numerous other “teach the controversy”-related suits that are in the works. Also, see above).

    “All you Darwinists should calm down and live and let live.”
    We do, for the most part. We do up to the point that someone comes and takes a dump in our public schools. ID, like Creation Science before it, and the much simpler argument from Genesis before that, is a big, oozing turd. Poo doesn’t belong in science class. Botany class, perhaps. It helps plants grow, I hear. I’ve never been a big fan of plants for that very reason. Damn flora!

    “Most people don’t care if you believe in God or don’t believe in God.”
    I don’t care if you do or don’t, either. If someone tries to jam the biblical argument from authority down my kid’s throat, however, we’re gonna tangle.
    Also, I thought ID wasn’t about God? You’re all over the place. Focus.

  18. #18 Modusoperandi
    June 17, 2008

    Correction:
    “Most people don’t care if you believe in God or don’t believe in God.”
    I don’t care if you do or don’t, either. If someone tries to jam the biblical argument from authority (Biblical literalism/inerrancy), ignoring the evidence (YEC), twisting it (Creation Science) or ignoring it (ID) down my kid’s throat, however, we’re gonna tangle.
    Also, I thought ID wasn’t about God? You’re all over the place. Focus.

    (Also, I fixed the link in my sig. I’m a nutty bunny. True story)