Archive for the 'Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District 2005' Category

Published by admin on 31 May 2012

Speaking of not getting the memo: Philosopher Bradley Monton on the LA Science Education Act

Bookmark and Share

By Barbara Forrest

The intelligent design (ID) creationists at the Discovery Institute (DI) are nothing if not tech-savvy. They make masterful use of the Internet, producing podcasts, videos, and slick websites to get their message out (see here, here, here, and here). You’d think, then, that they could make sure that all of their supporters had received that little memo saying that the Louisiana Science Education Act DOES NOT PERMIT TEACHING INTELLIGENT DESIGN (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). They apparently forgot to send it to Bradley Monton, an atheist philosopher who announced his support for ID (you read that right) in the title of his book, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design. Or maybe he failed to notice it in his inbox. Or maybe he read it and forgot. Or something. Whatever the reason, DI just can’t seem to keep its people from periodically telling the truth about the Louisiana Science Education Act.

Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 18 Dec 2011

Textaddons.com — Would teachers really use this pathetic stuff? (Updated)

Bookmark and Share

 By Barbara Forrest

It’s almost Kitzmas time again, which means that it’s almost the sixth anniversary of the decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover [pdf] that was handed down on December 20, 2005. Although the Kitzmiller ruling applies only in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, it has served as a powerful legal statement that intelligent design (ID) is merely warmed-over creationism, the teaching of which is unconstitutional in public school science classes. But in Louisiana we have something else to celebrate:  December 7, 2011, marked the first anniversary of the Louisiana Coalition for Science’s successful effort to persuade the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to approve new biology textbooks for public school biology classes.

It is important to recall this event because it marked the first — and so far only — victory that defenders of science have had in Louisiana, a state in which — where public officials are concerned — standing up for science is a liability rather than a cause for commendation. (UPDATE: An alert LCFS member noted my omission of the fact that LCFS successfully fended off HB 580 during the 2011 legislative session. This stealth creationist bill would have undercut the oversight of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education over school districts’ purchase of supplementary materials and would have written the professional staff of the Department of Education out of its role in reviewing textbooks, etc. That victory came in spring of this year, so we will have another anniversary to celebrate next June!)

The people who have attacked the teaching of science in Louisiana are still around. One of them is young-earth creationist (YEC) Charles Voss, who for years has partnered with the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) in its effort to undermine the teaching of evolution. Voss is vice-president of the YEC Origins Resource Association (see the ORA Facebook page). ORA’s president is YEC chemist Edward Boudreaux (do follow this link), who was involved in the passage of the 1981 “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act,” which was declared unconstitutional in 1987 by the United States Supreme Court. (See Boudreaux’s Facebook page.) Note that the ORA was founded in 1980 as “Louisiana Citizens for Academic Freedom in Origins.” (Ring any bells?) Let’s take a look at what Voss has been doing since the approval of the textbooks last year.

Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 20 Dec 2010

Merry Kitzmas, everybody! A gift from the Louisiana Coalition for Science


Bookmark and Share

By Barbara Forrest

It’s Kitzmastime! Today, December 20, marks the fifth anniversary of the victory for science education and the Constitution in the case of Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005). As a result of the ruling [pdf] in favor of the plaintiffs delivered by Judge John E. Jones III, we now have a landmark legal opinion that will serve as the resource of first resort for the judge in the next case stirred up either by the creationists at the Discovery Institute or their foot soldiers in Whereverville, USA. This notable pre-Christmas holiday comes on the heels of a victory for science education in Louisiana: the decision by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve new high school biology textbooks for public schools. To celebrate both this local victory and the Kitzmastide anniversary, the Louisiana Coalition for Science has an inspirational Kitzmas present for you. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 02 May 2010

Show “Judgment Day” in Louisiana Public Schools

By Barbara Forrest

Bookmark and Share

To increase high school students’ exposure to evolutionary theory prior to their enrolling in a college biology course, a high school biology teacher in Louisiana could request to show his/her students Judgment Day. The program appears to meet the ‘supplemental instructional materials’ criterion of the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). Certainly we would argue that viewing Judgment Day ‘promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories’ . . . by its thoughtful coverage of the information presented by witness[es] for both the plaintiffs and defendants. Although the LSEA has all the appearances of a stealth creationism document . . . , it does not prohibit a high school biology teacher from requesting to supplement the standard textbook with high-quality scientific material such as Judgment Day.

Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 11 Apr 2010

Louisiana Creationist Textbook Addendum Rejected in Tennessee

By Barbara Forrest

Bookmark and Share

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 30 Jan 2010

Intelligent Defense

au-logoAmericans United for Separation of Church and State is one of the nation’s foremost defenders of religious liberty as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. AU played a vital role in the first intelligent design legal case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005). In its monthly publication, Church & State, AU will be profiling activists who have worked on behalf of church-state separation. Below is the first of these profiles.

January 2010 Featured

By Sandhya Bathija

Louisiana Activist Barbara Forrest Counters Religious Right Attacks On Public School Science Classes

For Barbara Forrest, fighting for church-state separation and quality science education in Louisiana – and the rest of the nation – has become her civic duty.

“Someone once said, ‘knowledge brings responsibility.’ I had the skills to do it, I knew what was going on, I understood it,” Forrest said, describing why she wrote her first book with co-author Paul R. Gross, Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, a 2004 work (updated in paperback in 2007) that exposed the theocratic agenda of the Discovery Institute and other creationist organizations. “I don’t want these people running my country and running my kids’ schools.”

Read the rest of this article on AU’s website.

Published by admin on 10 Jan 2010

BESE can’t say we didn’t tell ‘em.

By Barbara Forrest

Bookmark and Share

In June 2009, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) received dozens of letters from concerned teachers, scientists, and citizens all over Louisiana asking them to reject a creationist-influenced policy governing the implementation of the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) of 2008. This law, written by the Louisiana Family Forum with assistance and legal advice from the Discovery Institute, permits the use of creationist supplementary materials in public school science classes. Several months later, in January 2009, BESE adopted the policy by which local school districts must implement the LSEA, gutting the prohibitions against teaching creationism that had wisely been written into the policy by the Dept. of Education on the advice of expert science teachers and scientists on the specially constituted Louisiana Science Education Act Advisory Committee. The policy was inserted as §2304, “Science Education,” into Bulletin 741 [doc], the Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, to instruct parish and local school officials concerning the implementation of the LSEA. First, however, the policy had to be posted in the Louisiana Register for public comment (April 2009 [pdf], pp. 740-741). BESE received public comments in the form of letters from citizens, teachers, and scientists who support teaching science honestly and accurately. BESE ignored their letters, and the policy is now in effect. In January 2010, Louisiana begins the new year burdened with not only a creationist law implemented by a creationist policy, but now also a creationist complaint procedure that will turn every complaint about supplementary materials into a dog and pony show rather than a serious consideration of materials being used in a science class. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 01 Jan 2010

A Dubious Honor for Louisiana at Year’s End

By Barbara Forrest

Bookmark and Share

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 20 Dec 2009

Merry Kitzmas!

Barbara Forrest

Bookmark and Share Four years ago today, December 20, 2005, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in the case of Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, Judge John E. Jones III ruled that teaching intelligent design (ID) creationism is unconstitutional. In celebration of this anniversary, the Louisiana Coalition for Science, whose co-founder Barbara Forrest served as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in this case, has posted links to some online resources about the trial. Kitzmiller was the first legal case involving ID creationism. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 26 Jul 2009

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

By Barbara Forrest

Bookmark and Share

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 »

Next »