1. says

    And fortunately, some of the religious evolutionists spoke up as well:

    Father James Carter of Loyola University is both a scientist and a
    man of faith. He says that creationism and ancillary topics are
    appropriate to discuss, just not in the science classroom.

    “It’s not science,” he said. “Students are encouraged to think
    something that’s bad science is good science in order to get an idea
    that belongs in the philosophy or religion classroom, but not the
    science classroom.” ”

    But what good is the religious and non-religious opposition to theocracy and anti-science when no one even raises any questions during the time given for debate? Not even the three who voted against it bothered to object.

    Apparently ignorance is the default, at least in the legislature.

    Glen D

  2. says

    It is good to know that there are some fighting for adequate and evidence-based science education, but it is infinitely more sad, IMHO, that the actions and motives of politicians can trump the efforts and credentials of scientists.

    And it is even more disappointing that this bill is headed back to the Senate for a vote on a provision that will further limit the ability of educators to offset its effects. As has been noted many times on other threads, a side effect of the academic freedom bills – one that has caused its defeat on at least one occasion – is that its language would allow the teaching of comprehensive sex education in places it was previously prohibited. But this provision to be voted on next is one that serves to null that effect:

    The Senate already has agreed to the bill, but it heads back to that chamber for approval of a provision that would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to prohibit supplemental materials it deems inappropriate. Nevers said he will ask the Senate to approve the amendment. He stressed that the amendment does not require BESE to review all the materials. The state board would only step in if someone raised a question about whether the material was appropriate.

    Disgusting, indeed. Though all it means is that the schools in Louisiana are soon going to start losing a good deal of their academic credibility.

  3. says

    Just so you don’t get the wrong impression of Louisiana…

    Too late.

    Besides, don’t you know that the plural of anecdote is not evidence?

  4. Pablo says

    I didn’t realize Barbara Forrest was at SELa. Wow, such a great resource and the state shits on her.

    She deserves so much better.

  5. James F says

    What I also find distressing is not only that there was virtually no opposition to the bill in both houses of the Louisiana legislature combined, but also that the bill extends past evolution to include the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning. Contrast that to the situation in Florida, where bills dealing only with evolution ignited considerable debate (the vote in the Florida Senate was particularly close, 21-17) and eventually died. First Edwards v. Aguillard, now this. What’s wrong with Louisiana?

  6. says

    How did such a patently ridiculous bill pass the Louisiana House with such a vast majority? Ninety-four to three? Did someone spike the Legislature’s water with LSD?

  7. sailor says

    “The House of Representatives just gave the Religious Right a green light to use other people’s children for their own agenda”
    I think that remark by Barbara Forrest sums it up perfectly. Watch their brains turn to mush.

  8. JD says

    Can’t wait to see the physics and physiology of voodoo classes. Especially if they use Lisa Bonet in the hands on laboratory activities.

  9. brandon says

    Louisiana is a deeply religious state. Disregarding a lot of sociological complexity, it has a Baptist North and a Catholic South, you can look on a map at interstate 10 as it cuts across the state and very nearly make the correct divisions between the two.

    To the South, the Catholics don’t care about Evolution, it’s not an issue. Most of the Catholic schools here teach it. In the Northern parishes, where the evangelicals rule the roost (and where, several of the poorest sections of the country exist along with the remaining dry parishes) this stuff doesn’t occur, because they’re already in control, the Baptists/Evangelicals. What you’ll see though, is a lot of these idiot events popping up in the Southern parishes, Aguillard, the recent controversy in Tangipahoa over school prayer, the “witch law” in Livingston Parish (also the only southern parish to vote overwhelmingly for Duke in that election) and what it is, is very simple: Baptists feeling surrounded by heathens and attempting to assert their alleged moral superiority. I say Baptists, but I mean evangelicals. These people have a serious identity problem and feel tremendous amounts of insecurity. When I was a kid, Jimmy “How much for the woman AND the little girl” Swaggart used to condemn Catholics with what would be considered hate speech today. And he was relatively controlled compared to some of the anti-Catholic, anti-non white rhetoric you’d hear. Scary stuff from small town would-be theocrats.

    Luckily, if this passes the houses and our increasingly weak-knee’d governor feels bullied enough, we are in possession of Supreme Court in Louisiana that takes a dim view on things of this nature. Not to mention the fairly liberal federal judicial district we fall under.

    Jindal and I were graduated from the same HS. Many years apart, but with a lot of the same staff. When I was there, we had this one a**hole chemistry teacher who was a holy-roller. But that was it, I took honors and later AP biology II, and we definitely talked about evolution, alot, without any kind of conspiracy theory nonsense.

    Also, the Catholic churches around here are not really what you’d call centers of social justice or evangelical zeal. They’re more like social clubs. Very easy going, laid back, god is love la la la. Where-ever-the-hell he picked up this very evangelical tack on the sciences is beyond me.

    Anyway, my point is. It’s the fucking Baptists who are pushing this shit, the rest of us either couldn’t care less – or think it’s absurd and are actively opposing it, as we did a few year’s since when another legislative star, Rep. Broome, I think, proposed putting a “racism warning label” on biology textbooks, because Darwin was a racist or some such – luckily after some editorials from the local, liberalish rags, that ended only in public embarrassment for the rep.

    Barbara Forrest is an asset to this state. We need her here, to counter-balance the David “I love family values AND whores” Vitters of our government and their parasitic orgs, like the Family Research Council, (who sponsored and wrote this BS, despite what they claim to the contrary) that thrive off illegal federal earmarks. I don’t know about her work at SELU. I can’t imagine there’s too much research going on there. But from what I understand, she’s definitely on the front lines and on hand for the various lobbying groups that need back-up when this kind of inanity crops up. Not just here, but in the surrounding states.

    I know I seem kind of pro-Catholic, but I was raised Catholic despite being atheist since before I could talk, so that’s the lens I look through for these issues. This anti-evolution stuff just, didn’t exist in the Catholic community, and in a larger sense, isn’t a debate except in the megachurches and in the deluded minds of these parochial god-botherers. Lot’s of other nutty stuff to be sure, but not this crap.

  10. Walton says

    It seems rather incongruous that a “very religious state” would vote in frighteningly large numbers for David Duke. I certainly don’t think Jesus would have approved of Duke’s quasi-fascist racial hatred and white nationalism.

    Here in the UK we have Nick Griffin, leader of the absurd “British National Party”, who is our closest counterpart to Duke (indeed, I believe the two of them are friends). But he certainly doesn’t obtain support from religious people (indeed, church leaders have spoken out against him). Thankfully, lunatics like him are a long way from achieving any significant power over here (though they do manage to inspire wild hysteria on the Left every time they get a couple of votes, as if fascists were going to take over the country tomorrow).

  11. says

    It seems rather incongruous that a “very religious state” would vote in frighteningly large numbers for David Duke. I certainly don’t think Jesus would have approved of Duke’s quasi-fascist racial hatred and white nationalism.

    In my experience, what Christians believe Jesus would have approved of varies so much as to be nearly impossible to generalise.

  12. says

    “They aren’t all deluded gomers, only their politicians are. ”

    Well, yes, clearly not everyone in the state will be deluded.

    But “only their politicians”??

    Did elections get suspended there and I missed it?

    I think you meant to say “but not only their politicians are – clearly there are a *lot* of other deluded gomers there because somehow those dipshits get elected”.

    …or words to that effect

  13. agg says

    Shouldn’t LA Family Forum be more properly abbreviated LAFF (as opposed to LFF as in the article)?

  14. brandon says

    It seems rather incongruous that a “very religious state” would vote in frighteningly large numbers for David Duke.

    Hardly. David Duke’s rhetoric is soaked in Jesus Christ this and that. When he ran against Edwards, he used some of Edwards’s somewhat mocking comments about religion to leverage what he got. Duke attracts people of the same mentality as those who flock to Farrakhan – poor, marginalized, racial, separatists who need scapegoats and a “big bad” to explain their dreadful circumstances. From what I understand, after Duke got out of the federal pen for tax evasion charges, his book was huge in Russia, where he peddled it as a quasi-religious martyrdom story that found a wide audience among Russian Christian-Nationalists.

    Also, we’re talking about Louisiana, where governor’s elections rarely see more than a million votes to either side. In the election you’re probably referring to, the Governor’s election, Duke received less than a million votes in both the primary and the runoff – gaining only 200,000 between each.

    Primary results
    Final results

    But yeah, that’s 200,000 too many. Being religious is obviously not a prophylactic against being a shitty human being.

  15. says

    No, my mail server is more like a comatose child. I’m supposed to be getting a new machine for the lab soon, though.

  16. Walton says

    Brownian at #13:

    “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

    “The second [commandment] is this: love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    I don’t think any of that lends much support to David Duke’s perspective.

  17. says

    It seems rather incongruous that a “very religious state” would vote in frighteningly large numbers for David Duke.

    It only seems incongruous if you know absolutely nothing about the history of the Ku Klux Klan. Walton, and I mean this very sincerely and respectfully, I highly suggest you learn the basics of US history with regard to religion if you want to participate in these discussions.

  18. says

    No, my mail server is more like a comatose child. I’m supposed to be getting a new machine for the lab soon, though.

    Ok thanks. Had a couple bounces and wasn’t sure if you gave it an epipen shot yet.

  19. windy says

    “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

    Would Jesus have approved of “pre-emptive” warfare, Walton?

  20. says

    @#20 Brownian OM —

    No, but in Luke 12:47 he supports beating slaves. Maybe they’re still stuck on that verse.

    Amusingly, looking up that verse up on Bible Gateway, I got the following side-bar ad: Let God Use YOU!

    Errr…no thanks.

    Many racist Xians cite various bits from the epistles recommending slaves’ obedience to their masters as support for their bigotry too.

  21. Walton says

    To ndt at #21: I’m entirely aware that the KKK historically based much of their bigotry on (Protestant) religion. I’m not ignorant of American history, though I do see how you got that impression (my comment was poorly worded).

    Rather, what I should have said was that I was making a deeper point about religious bigotry in general. Christian fundamentalism is, supposedly, based on sola scriptura; the Bible comes first, and all doctrine and behaviour should be scripturally justified. And I don’t see how any literate modern reader, reading the Gospels, can possibly think that Jesus would have endorsed racial hatred of any sort. Perhaps in the cultural context of the nineteenth century, when racist theories (both religiously and pseudo-scientifically based) were not uncommon, it was more excusable. But it is not something which can be excused today, and it’s not something that I can understand.

  22. says

    Barbara Forrest is truly a heroine for all of her hard work at both the local and national levels! All in Louisiana that share the opposition to the creationist attempts in the legislature there should weigh in to help the new organization. Lots of dedicated activists could really help with a daunting task.

    The success we have had (so far) in Oklahoma was due in large part to the actions of many dedicated activists who wrote op-eds and letters to editors, lobbied legislators, etc. Several state and national organizations issued press releases and sent letters to the Governor. Everyone can contribute – please sign up and help the Louisiana Coalition for Science, especially if you live there!

  23. says

    @#26 Walton —

    Christian fundamentalism is, supposedly, based on sola scriptura; the Bible comes first, and all doctrine and behaviour should be scripturally justified.

    Key word there being supposedly.

    Christian fundamentalism is a lot about politics, a lot about bigotry, and very little about scripture except insofar as scripture is useful in supporting the first two. Fundamentalists quote-mine the bible as badly as they quote-mine people they disagree with.

    There are also major problems with the notion of sola scriptura doctrine. For one thing, it claims to get all of its justification from scripture, but when you look for the scriptural justification of the sola scriptura doctrine itself, it degenerates into a circular argument — “I know scripture is true because scripture tells me so.” There are no indications within the bible that the text came from a divine or even superhuman source. In fact, one might argue that there are indications that it did not (or, at least, that God was lying/insane while dictating it) based on how self-contradictory the bible is on some of the most basic questions (eg, the various accounts of the death of Judas).

    In addition, the trinity doctrine, which most Xians (fundies included) hold as cornerstone of Xianity, has no clear scriptural support, and different passages seem to espouse different views on the relationship of Jesus to YHWH. Really the only part of the NT that can be seen as unequivocally espousing trinitarian doctrine is the Comma Johanneum present in some translations of 1 John, but that wasn’t in the original text of the scripture and is not included in most modern translations. (The fact that Calvin, who advocated a form of sola scriptura, authorized and advocated the execution of Servetus for heresy on the subject of the trinity has a certain irony in light of this.)

    I’ve also found it rather odd that protestants include the epistles as covered under sola scriptura doctrine since, had they been written a couple centuries later, they’d be considered part of non-scriptural “tradition” rather than the bible. What is it about living in the 1st/2nd century that privileged Paul et al’s ramblings over those of later theologians?

  24. Crudely Wrott says

    Ever concise, the words of Etha Williams distills something perceived previously only as a gut feeling into two sentences brimming with clarity. Like sunrise after a night of contemplation comes the light:

    “Christian fundamentalism is a lot about politics, a lot about bigotry, and very little about scripture except insofar as scripture is useful in supporting the first two. Fundamentalists quote-mine the bible as badly as they quote-mine people they disagree with.”

    As a former True Believer I can testify that there is a specie of Christian that cares not for anything that really happens. They lay their treasures up in the land of “what ought to happen.” For a while I actually thought that was a pretty good dodge. Until I noticed that the MOs of the “elect” were mostly indistinguishable from those of anyone else.

  25. Pat says

    Crudely Wrott:

    This is true of just about any fundamentalist movement. “Fundamentalist” is code for “the way I like to think it was” – and so you get honor killings regardless of what a religion might actually say because that’s just the way things are done. Female circumcision, slavery, and whatnot: the successful franchise theologies co-opt local tradition in their own branding.

    Cults start with absolute control; but this model eventually gives way to the franchise model to properly expand. Local power mongers then have the option of forming a new cult, or transforming a franchise into a cult model through the label of “fundamentalism.” Fundamentalism is harder to spread than franchise models, so the method of expansion for fundamentalism is taking over central government institutions, or the central government itself.

    So we end up with “fundamentalists” making a cult out of local tradition in the trapping of whatever franchise is most successful, or a new cult.

    You can be more successful as a fundamentalist, or even a franchise, if you can establish a pedigree, so many cults are converted franchises.

  26. says

    Walton, what you say is mostly true, but for us in the States it doesn’t matter. Christianity hasn’t had much to do with the words ascribed to Jesus for 1600 years. Some would say it abandoned the ideas of Jesus much earlier when Paul got in the picture. The authoritarian, exclusive nature of Christianity turns it into a ready tool for those who want to control others with deception, bigotry, and fear. My country has a bad history with deception, bigotry, and fear.

  27. Crudely Wrott says

    At Pat, #30:

    Yep, that’s right. Anything to justify the unwarranted when the unwarranted gives comfort.

    What is amazing and distressing about the ways of the fundies, is that they are mistaking the mistakes of science as evidence of uselessness. Of course, the faithful neither make mistakes nor are they mistaken in their ignorance of real people doing real things. And yet they are open to innuendo, ancient wisdom, selective interpretation, et cetera. Closing one’s eyes also makes the sunrise dark.

    I have always found it passing strange that some would denigrate actual human accomplishment. A sad observation of humanity is that many are so easily led by appeals to an authority that has no corporeal existence. Religious interpretations of the nature of things can thereby become indistinguishable from the leanings of political parties and, from the POV of the great unwashed, indistinguishable from the shrill cries of those who have caught science making a mistake.

    As if science was not based on mistakes. The difference is that science will admit it (or be found out by science) and fix it while religion will become more shrill and stoic (and be cheered on by the congregation).

    It all boils down to education and the dedication of parents and interested adults. On occasion, such as the efforts of citizens in Louisiana to promote good science curricula, I am heartened. Other times I weep.

    To be a fundamentalist in any religious sense is to admit failure as a functional human and to agree that ignorance is what our children shall learn, so that they will be just like us when they grow up. This presumes that those teaching have in fact grown up.

    There is an observable difference between teaching legend and teaching history; between teaching good study habits and teaching rote; between teaching how to research answers and being satisfied with spoon fed dogma.

    I have a feeling, based upon observation and the Grand Procession Of Unintended Events And Consequences, that the prospect for rationality is favorable. No apologies for my faith in my fellow man. And no apologies for my disdain of vanity and self aggrandizement, which is the attraction and simultaneously the horror of gullibility. Of course, I could be wrong. I just hope that our sanity will trump its opposite.

  28. Robert Byers says

    The posters here forget that some 70% of Americans see teaching both creationism and evolutionism as fine with them. This state is just more then 70% and because of the great hurricane perhaps feel they need some extra favour from God.
    A lot of posters here talking about the Baptists and Catholics would be arrested in canada for hate speech. This would be wrong, I’m conservative about ancient freedoms, but you sure don’t know how to persuade your opponents. Then you wonder why evolution exclusivity in schools and credibility in society is on the eve of destruction. Carry on London,