Archive for December, 2008

Published by admin on 21 Dec 2008

Merry Kitzmas! — But It’s a Bittersweet Anniversary in Louisiana

By Barbara Forrest

Today, December 20, 2008, marks the third anniversary of the landmark decision in the first intelligent design (ID) creationism legal case, Kitzmiller et al. vs. Dover Area School District (2005). Ever since that ruling, the plaintiffs and those of us who served on their legal team in the now-famous “Dover trial” observe the anniversary by wishing each other an affectionate “Merry Kitzmas!” On December 20, 2005, in a Memorandum Opinion that a former Ohio judge described as “judicial poetry,” Judge John E. Jones III ruled that the 2004 ID creationist policy statement adopted by the Dover, PA, school board “violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and . . . the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

As an expert witness for the plaintiffs, I would like to thank Judge Jones for helping to preserve both the integrity of public school science education and the constitutional separation of church and state through his decision. I was honored to serve in his courtroom and in this case. But this year, the anniversary of the plaintiffs’ success in the Kitzmiller case has been turned bittersweet by my state’s refusal to learn the lessons of Dover and of our own history. Despite Louisiana’s passage of a 1981 creationist law and the subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), which outlawed the teaching of creationism, the Louisiana legislature and Gov. Bobby Jindal, by respectively passing and signing the LA Science Education Act (LSEA), ensured that our state will remain tethered to the bottom of every national quality-of-life survey. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 17 Dec 2008

Louisiana Looks Bad in Scientific American

By Barbara Forrest

The kind of publicity that Gov. Bobby Jindal brought to Louisiana by signing the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), a stealth creationism bill, is the kind that the state could well do without. The December 2008 issue of Scientific American, the country’s most respected science magazine for the educated public, calls the attention of the entire country to the fact that Jindal ignored his Brown University biology professor, Dr. Arthur Landy, who publicly requested that he not sign the bill. (Prof. Landy’s appeal was only one of many. See here and here.) In “The Latest Face of Creationism in the Classroom,” Glenn Branch and Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education use Louisiana as the prime example of the creationist strategy of disguising their agenda in legislation such as the LSEA: “Creationists who want religious ideas taught as scientific fact in public schools continue to adapt to courtroom defeats by hiding their true aims under ever changing guises.” Why did they use Louisiana as the prime example? Because we are the prime example—thanks to the Louisiana Family Forum, the Discovery Institute (the LFF’s partner in this sorry episode), the Louisiana legislature, and Gov. Jindal. Continue Reading »