Archive for the 'stealth creationism' Category

Published by admin on 12 Dec 2012

Creationist Conniving in Central Community School System — Part One

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By  Barbara Forrest

On September 10, 2012, the Central Community School System (CCSS) in Central, Louisiana, adopted (1) “A Resolution on Teacher Academic Freedom to Teach Scientific Evidence Regarding Controversial Scientific Subjects” and (2) a policy on “Teacher Academic Freedom in Science Education When Covering Controversial Scientific Subjects.” These long-winded titles are a sure sign that stealth creationism is still alive and well in Louisiana. And the fingerprints of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) are all over this. In fact, the CCSS resolution and policy are the same resolution and policy that the LFF tried to foist off on the state through the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) after the Louisiana Science Education Act was adopted in June 2008. In fact, they are exactly the same — right down to the mistakes and the mendacity.

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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 31 May 2012

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

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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.

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Published by admin on 16 May 2012

Discovery Institute to LA Family Forum: “Repeat after me: ‘The LA Science Education Act is *NOT* a creationism law.’”

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By Barbara Forrest

There are times when we run across items that simply must be shared. This is one of those times. Alert readers may have read the April 17, 2012, Media Matters (MM) article by Simon Maloy, “The Unscientific Model: ‘Academic Freedom’s’ Creationist Pedigree.” If not, we recommend it, and besides, you need it as background in order to fully appreciate what we will share when you “Continue Reading” below. Maloy has done a good job of showing that the “academic freedom” bills being peddled by the Discovery Institute (DI) are the terminologically sanitized, direct descendants of the “equal time” creation science bills of the early 1980s. Louisiana’s 1981 “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act,” for example, was enacted “for the purposes of protecting academic freedom.”

The Balanced Treatment Act, which required the teaching of “creation science” along with evolution, was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. The Court explicitly rejected the “academic freedom” defense. But losing in court has never deterred creationists. A small band of brave souls simply — and opportunistically — ditched the “young earth” and “flood geology” (that’s Noah‘s flood) and rebranded themselves as “intelligent design theorists.” They also continued to write creationist legislation — except that such bills must now be written as “stealth” bills using code language such as “critical thinking,” as in the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). There is only one teensy-weensy problem: the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) and its disciples just can’t seem to get the “stealth” part down.  Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 05 Jan 2012

The Gutting of BESE’s LSEA Implementation Policy: The Untold Story of Alliance Defense Fund Involvement

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By Barbara Forrest

Let’s begin 2012 by looking back three years to January 13, 2009. That is when the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) persuaded the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to gut its policy for implementing the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). The gutted policy was inserted as §2304, “Science Education,” into Bulletin 741 [doc], the Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, which instructs local school administrators and school boards concerning laws passed by the legislature. How did the LFF accomplish this? Long story short: the LFF showed up at BESE’s January 13, 2009, meeting loaded for bear, bringing their Louisiana College creationist professors — and their attorneys — with them. As a result, BESE stripped from the policy an explicit prohibition against teaching creationism: “Materials that teach creationism or intelligent design or that advance the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind shall be prohibited for use in science classes.” The very next day, LFF executive director, Rev. Gene Mills, announced, “Louisiana is open for business.” But there is more to this story that has not yet been told.

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Published by admin on 20 Jul 2011

Memory problems at the Louisiana Family Forum?

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 By Barbara Forrest

Readers may remember this quote in which Rev. Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) described the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA).

This bill is not about teaching creationism or religion. If one reads the language of his bill, it is clear that it simply permits teachers ‘to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.’   [emphasis added]

Mills wrote this in an April 11, 2008, letter to the Hammond Daily Star, in which he had to do some very quick damage control after Senator Ben Nevers, who sponsored the bill for him, forgot to follow the script in his remarks in the April 6, 2008, Daily Star, in which he explained why he was sponsoring the LSEA on behalf of the LFF:

‘They [the LFF]  believe that scientific data related to creationism should be discussed when dealing with Darwin’s theory. This would allow the discussion of scientific facts,’ Nevers said. ‘I feel the students should know there are weaknesses and strengths in both scientific arguments.’  [emphasis added]

You could just about hear the kittens over at the LFF headquarters in Baton Rouge.

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Published by admin on 24 Jun 2011

Announcement: Louisiana HB 580 is dead.

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By Barbara Forrest

The Louisiana Coalition for Science (LCFS) is pleased to announce the demise of HB 580, which is official with the adjournment of the Louisiana legislature today, June 23, 2011, at 6:00 p.m. This legislation was, by every indication, nothing more than an attempt to reverse the Louisiana Family Forum’s defeat in its effort to block the approval of new biology textbooks for Louisiana public schools in fall 2010. However, even though HB 580 was another stealth creationism bill, no subject of instruction in public schools would have been safe from its effects. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 10 Jun 2011

Press Release: HB 580 — yet another Louisiana stealth creationism bill (no, seriously).

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By Barbara Forrest

Friends, we at the Louisiana Coalition for Science would like to be able to say that we are pulling your leg. But we’re not. Louisiana is about to enact into law yet another stealth creationism bill in the form of HB 580 — unless the Senate finally decides to put a stop to this foolishness within the next 13 days when the current legislative session (mercifully) comes to an end. HB 580 passed in the House of Representatives on June 8 with a vote [pdf] of 87 yays, 5 nays, and 13 abstentions. (Thank you, Rep. Walt Leger, Rep. Patricia Haynes-Smith, Rep. Regina Barrow, Rep. Barbara Norton, and Rep. Charmaine Marchand Stiaes.) Louisiana is the embodiment of one of the cardinal rules that every pro-science citizen has to learn:  CREATIONISTS NEVER GIVE UP. To which we now add a corollary:  CREATIONISTS WANT IT ALL. Louisiana creationists were given the proverbial inch in the form of the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), and since 2008 they have been industriously grabbing their mile.

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Published by admin on 03 Apr 2011

Did Louisiana Family Forum’s prayer network malfunction?

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By Barbara Forrest

For the three years since the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) was enacted, the Louisiana Coalition for Science has hammered constantly on the fact that the LSEA is a creationist law. The Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) has consistently denied this. But other people who share the same political and religious views as the LFF seem to have their own ideas concerning what this law is all about. Maybe the LFF’s memo didn’t get sent out widely enough through the prayer network . . . or the divine communication channels broke down . . . or something.

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Published by admin on 25 Feb 2011

(UPDATED) Another creationist “academic freedom” bill bites the dust: Oklahoma HB 1551 (and now SB 554)


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By Barbara Forrest

UPDATE (March 5, 2011): The National Center for Science Education reports that the second creationist bill in Oklahoma, SB 554, appears to have died in committee.

SB 554, a hybrid of the ‘academic freedom’ antievolution strategy and the flawed Texas state science standards, appears to have died in committee on February 28, 2011, when a deadline for senate bills to be reported from committee passed. SB 554 was introduced by Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who described it in the Durant Daily Democrat (December 24, 2010) as ‘requiring every publically funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution.’

The Louisiana Coalition for Science again congratulates the find work of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education and the other committed citizens who worked to protect the education of Oklahoma students! And Oklahoma has given Louisiana even more reason to follow their example and work just as hard to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act[end update]

Good news and kudos to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) for their good work in fighting for Oklahoma science education! Oklahoma HB 1551 (rtf) has been defeated in committee. The National Center for Science Education reports that OK Rep. Sally Kern’s bill, “which would, if enacted, encourage teachers to present the ‘scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses’ of ‘controversial’ topics such as evolution,” failed in the House Common Education Committee by a vote of 7-9. (It could be resurrected later in this session or in a future session.) The comments about the bill, however, were interesting.

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