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.
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