Archive for the 'Explore Evolution' Category

Published by admin on 27 Sep 2012

A New Discovery Institute Defender in Louisiana (Updated 10/2/12)

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By Barbara Forrest

Our readers won’t be surprised to learn that Louisiana citizens frequently write letters to newspapers defending intelligent design (ID) creationism and the Discovery Institute (DI), the creationist think tank in Seattle that co-authored the Louisiana Science Education Act with the Louisiana Family Forum. Creationist letter-writing is virtually a cottage industry in the Pelican State. However, it may come as a surprise that one recent letter-writer, management consultant Cecil R. Phillips of Baton Rouge, apparently went to Seattle and met the ID creationists in person. So in addition to the Louisiana Family Forum, we now have another vocal ID defender in Louisiana. And some interesting dots appear to be connected.

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Published by admin on 11 Apr 2010

Louisiana Creationist Textbook Addendum Rejected in Tennessee

By Barbara Forrest

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In Knox County, Tennessee, a parent named Kurt Zimmermann has complained to the school board about the use of the word “myth” in his son’s honors biology textbook, Asking About Life (Tobin and Dusheck, 2nd ed., 2001), which is being used at Farragut High School. Zimmermann’s complaint is nothing new. It sounds much like many other complaints made to school boards by creationist parents. But this one has a Louisiana connection. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 01 Jan 2010

A Dubious Honor for Louisiana at Year’s End

By Barbara Forrest

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As the new decade begins in 2010, “Top Ten” lists  are a popular way to commemorate the events of 2009, and science is well-represented in the list-making. Wired Science lists the “Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2009.” The Examiner lists the “Top 10 Science Stories of 2009.” Scientific American has posted a slideshow of “The Top 10 Science Stories of 2009.” ScienceNOW, a website by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for publishing breaking science news , has listed “The Top 10 ScienceNOWs of 2009.” National Geographic News lists the “Top Ten Videos of 2009: Nat Geo News’s Most Watched.” And Religion Dispatches lists its “Top Ten Religion & Science Stories.” Louisiana closes out 2009 by being on two “Top Ten” lists, but these are lists on which the citizens of Louisiana should be embarrassed to be included. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 30 Sep 2009

For Immediate Release: Creationists Continue to Dictate BESE Science Education Policy


Bookmark and Share FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [pdf] / LA Coalition for Science / http://lasciencecoalition.org Baton Rouge, LA, September 28, 2009 — On September 16, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) ignored the recommendations of science education professionals in the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) and allowed the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a Religious Right lobbying group, to dictate the procedure concerning complaints about creationist supplementary materials used in public school science classes under the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). At BESE’s September 16 Student/School Performance and Support (SSPS) Committee  meeting, DOE presented recommendations for reviewing such materials (see attached DOE proposal). However, DOE’s recommendations were amended to include changes proposed by SSPS Committee chair Dale Bayard, the LFF’s point man at BESE (see attached draft). BESE committee members approved the changes without opposition after hearing testimony by creationists who attended the meeting. As a result, the prerogatives of the DOE professional science education staff have been severely undermined, as explained below. The audiotape of the meeting shows that Bayard and the LFF pulled off a royal snow job. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 26 Jul 2009

Alert for Louisiana Public Schools: Beware of Stealth Creationist “Supplemental Materials”

By Barbara Forrest

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To parents, public school teachers, principals, curriculum supervisors, school boards, and district superintendents of Louisiana:

Thank you for all you do to support Louisiana’s public schools. The public school system is a lifeline for our state’s young people, who count on you to make sure that their education prepares them for the 21st-century world. A good education is essential to their ability to live decent lives as productive citizens.

As the 2009-2010 school year begins, please remember that Louisiana now has a creationist law: the Louisiana Science Education Act [pdf] of 2008. For an analysis of the LSEA, see this document [pdf]. This law was promoted by the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a religious group whose director, Rev. Gene Mills, does not send his children to public schools (Gene Mills’ Christmas Letter 2008). In drafting the LSEA and influencing the BESE policy that implements it, the LFF partnered with an out-of-state creationist think tank, the Center for Science and Culture (CSC). The CSC is part of the Discovery Institute (DI) in Seattle, WA, the national headquarters of the intelligent design (ID) creationist movement. To learn more about the ID movement, see “Understanding the Intelligent Design Creationist Movement: Its True Nature and Goals” here [pdf].

You should be on guard against the creationist “supplemental materials” that this law permits under the guise of “critical thinking,” “logical analysis,” and “objective discussion.” Teaching creationism in public school science classes was declared unconstitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard 1987, which originated in our own state of Louisiana. Since “intelligent design” has been exposed as nothing more than creationism, the Edwards ruling applies to ID as well. Below are materials that should NOT be used in Louisiana’s public school science classes, along with tips that will help you recognize such materials. Our list may not include everything that could show up in our public schools. If you have questions about any materials, please contact the Louisiana Coalition for Science. We work directly with the National Center for Science Education. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 19 Jun 2009

Louisiana Family Forum is leaving it up to the teachers (NOT!)

LFF hasn’t endorsed any supplemental materials, but Mills says when a Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) proposed a policy on the new act that stated creationist and intelligent design information weren’t permissible, LFF persuaded BESE to remove the prohibition. He says what happens to the law is up to the teachers.

—David Winkler-Schmit, “Monkey Business: The Louisiana Science Education Act,” Best of New Orleans, March 9, 2009 [emphasis added]

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Published by admin on 25 Jan 2009

LOUISIANA OPEN FOR BUSINESS — CREATIONISTS WELCOME

By Barbara Forrest

“Louisiana Open for Business — Creationists Welcome”

That is the message that Louisiana public officials are sending to the rest of the country since the creationist LA Science Education Act (LSEA) was enacted into law in 2008. They are taking their instructions from, among others, the creationist Rev. Gene Mills, the executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), the Focus on the Family affiliate that engineered passage of the bill in the Louisiana legislature. Rev. Mills, whose own children are homeschooled and attend private Christian schools, actually made his victory announcement using those exact words: “Louisiana is open for business. . . . And academic freedom and inquiry are welcomed here in the state of Louisiana.” Of course, in referring to “academic freedom and inquiry” he was speaking in the well-documented creationist code language in which his friends at the Discovery Institute, an intelligent design creationist think tank, have coached him. Last year —2008— was a good year for creationists in Louisiana. So far in 2009, they are still batting a thousand. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 28 Nov 2008

The Discovery Institute Targets Texas

  • See Barbara Forrest, “Why Texans Shouldn’t Let Creationists Mess with Texas Science Education,” Southern Methodist University, November 11, 2008  — Video —  MP3

By Barbara Forrest

November 27, 2008

Texas science education is currently in the crosshairs of the Discovery Institute (DI), the conservative Seattle think tank that serves as the headquarters of the intelligent design (ID) creationist movement. DI’s supporters in the Lone Star state are using the same code-language strategy that its Louisiana supporters used earlier this year, in spring 2008, when DI targeted the science education of Louisiana children. Working through the Louisiana Family Forum, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, DI helped to promote the “academic freedom” bill that the legislature passed and Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law on June 25 as the “Louisiana Science Education Act” (LSEA). Long-time DI fellow David K. DeWolf admitted helping to shape the legislation, which is designed to permit the use of creationist supplementary materials such as DI’s intelligent design textbook, the deceptively titled Explore Evolution, in public school science classes. When Gov. Jindal signed the LSEA into law on June 25, the Discovery Institute declared victory. Now, in fall 2008, DI has targeted Texas. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 27 Sep 2008

Explore Evolution: A Stealth Creationist Textbook to Accompany the Stealth Creationist “LA Science Education Act”

By Barbara Forrest

September 27, 2008

Scientist and writer John Timmer has reviewed the Discovery Institute’s stealth creationist textbook, Explore Evolution, in Ars Technica. Three of EE‘s authors are well-known intelligent design (ID) creationists. Stephen C. Meyer is the director of the Discovery Institute’s ID creationist wing, the Center for Science and Culture (CSC). Two of his co-authors are his CSC associates Paul Nelson (a young-earth creationist) and Scott Minnich (a witness for the defense in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District). The other two, Jonathan Moneymaker and Ralph Seelke, are lesser-known ID supporters. Continue Reading »