By Barbara Forrest
Readers who saw the December 2, 2010, post here about Louisiana creationist John Oller no doubt recall the abundant evidence that Oller is a young-earth creationist — or “YEC” in creationist-watching parlance. Serving on the Technical Advisory Board of the Institute for Creation Research and writing creationist articles over a period of thirty years, writing an article for Answers in Genesis (AIG) in which he invokes the biblical Tower of Babel story to explain the diversity of human languages, and attending an AIG conference as a “creation scientist” at the infamous “Creation Museum” (see Ken Ham, “The Definition of ‘Information,’”) — somehow that all just seems to point in the YEC direction. Our December 2 post was the first analysis of Oller’s identity as a creationist. Although he is an integral player in the Louisiana Family Forum’s creationist game plan, Oller has flown under the radar, having been overshadowed in the media coverage by LFF executive director, Rev. Gene Mills, and LFF operative Darrell White.
After the December 2 post was published, Oller did not respond to attempts by Independent Weekly journalist Walter Pierce to contact him for Pierce’s own December 8 article. (See “Devolve,” Independent Weekly, Lafayette, LA, December 8, 2010.) The IW is published in Lafayette, LA, where Oller lives and works. According to Pierce, “The Ind reached out to Professor Oller for comment on his views on these topics via phone and email. He didn’t respond to our overtures.” According to a January 3, 2011, article in the Acadiana Gazette (about which there is more below), Oller “didn’t return their calls because it was finals week and he felt that his students had to come first.” It is interesting that final exams [pdf] at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette did not keep him from spending the entire day of December 7 (the second day of ULL exams) in Baton Rouge at the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meeting, where he testified against the adoption of new biology textbooks for other teachers’ students.
Oller’s pre-BESE-meeting unresponsiveness to the Independent Weekly was understandable. He had to try to preserve his façade of scientific authenticity for his testimony against the textbooks; no other “scientists” showed up on the Louisiana Family Forum’s behalf at that meeting. And after getting the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) passed in 2008 and then getting control of BESE policies implementing the LSEA in 2009, the LFF’s winning streak was at stake. But, as they say, that was then, and this is now. After the LFF lost its December 7 battle against the textbooks, Oller fessed up only three days later.
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