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Senate Hearing to Repeal the Louisiana's Creationism Law

SB 175 to repeal Louisiana’s creationism law will be heard in Senate Education Committee meeting in the Hainkel room of the Louisiana State Capitol on Thursday April 24th. We need your support!

Please join our campaign to repeal the misnamed and misguided Louisiana Science Education Act, R.S. 17:285.1, which was passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2008.

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Please come support science. Even if you can't make it or are from out of state, you can follow these steps to help:

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Step 1: Tell your friends to take part in our day of action and share this event with them. Email them, talk to them in person, and share it on social media.

Step 2: Contact the Louisiana Senate Education Committee and your legislators ask them to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.

http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Bios.aspx?cid=H

Senate Education Committee Contacts:

Senator Conrad Appel (Chairman)
(866)[masked]
[masked]

Senator Eric LaFleur (Vice-Chairman)
(337)[masked]
[masked] 

Senator Dan Claitor (Tell Senator Claitor "Thank You!" for voting to repeal creationism last year)
(225)[masked]
[masked]

Senator Jack Donahue
(985)[masked]
[masked]

Senator Elbert L. Guillory
(337)[masked]
[masked]

Senator Mike Walsworth (Remind Senator Walsworth how evolution works
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQObhb3veQA

(318)[masked]
[masked]

Senator Mack "Bodi" White
(225)[masked]
[masked]

Senator Page Cortez
(337)[masked]
[masked]


Step 3: Sign our petitions and share it with 50 friends. 

http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-louisiana-to-teach-real-science-in-public-schools-not-creationism-and-climate-change-denial

Step 4: Share our website, www.repealcreationism.com with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter and other social media like Reddit. 

Step 5: Set up a meeting with your legislator and ask them to repeal this law. 

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Background:

According to the Baton Rouge Business Report, the Louisiana Science Education Act is “widely viewed as Louisiana's creationism law.” Simply put, the intent of this law is to create loopholes that allow the teaching of creationism, including intelligent design creationism, into public school science classes in Louisiana. Senator Karen Carter Peterson has filed SB 175 to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.

Governor Bobby Jindal recently advocated teaching creationism using the Louisiana Science Education Act, saying, “what are we afraid of?”

The repeal effort has the unprecedented support of 78 Nobel laureate scientists--nearly 40% of all living Nobel laureate scientists in physics, chemistry, or physiology or medicine. This incredible number surpasses the historic 72 Nobel laureate scientists who filed an amicus brief in opposition to Louisiana’s first creationism law during the Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court case.

Other prominent scientists including Ken Miller, the author of the popular Miller-Levine biology textbook are also strong supporters of the repeal. 

Nobel laureate chemist and supporter of the repeal effort, Sir Harry Kroto, says,

"One can only be amazed that [the repeal] has managed to assemble such massive support (75 Nobel laureates) for the effort to ensure that only educational material which is supported by reliable evidence is presented in the science lessons of Louisiana's schools."

The conservative Thomas Fordham Institute released a report that said Louisiana's science standards suffer from a "devastating flaw" because of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The report said:

“The Louisiana science standards are reasonably challenging and comprehensive, but they suffer from a devastating flaw: Thanks to the state’s 2008 Science Education Act, which promotes creationism instead of science, the standards (especially for biology and life science) are haunted by anti-science influences that threaten biology education in the state.”

The repeal is supported by local and national educator organizations. The Louisiana Science Teachers Association, the Louisiana Association of Biology Teachers, and the National Association of Biology Teachers all have called for a repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act. 

The Louisiana Science Teachers Association said “with a great sense of urgency” because the “[Louisiana Science Education Act] is an attack on scientific evidence to allow the teaching of a religious belief in science class, a direct violation of the United States Constitution.” 

The Louisiana Science Teachers Association explained, “at a moment in time when Louisiana is in search of economic development we can least afford such a dramatic step backward... We risk losing highly educated adults and their children to other states.”

The Advocate, Baton Rouge’s newspaper also has called for repeal. Its editorial page wrote, "we hope the Louisiana Legislature takes the opportunity it has this year to repeal entirely the misnamed 'Louisiana Science Education Act.”

Major science organizations are backing the repeal effort. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest science organization in the world with over ten million members has endorsed the repeal. Other organizations have which have called for the repeal are the American Institute for the Biological Sciences, the American Society for Cell Biology, The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Society for the Study of Evolution with the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of Naturalists.

The teaching of evolution is sound science and is also compatible with religious faith, a position that is supported by mainline religious denominations. This is why the Clergy Letter Project, an organization with over 15,000 clergy members who support teaching evolution in public schools have endorsed the repeal effort. 

This law is costing our state; tourism is the largest industry in New Orleans and the third largest industry in Louisiana. The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology pulled a prescheduled convention from New Orleans in response to the passage of the Louisiana Science Education Act. Their 2011 convention was in Salt Lake City rather than Louisiana. Our tourism industry is less competitive because science organizations don’t want to come to our state. It costs us jobs.

The New Orleans City Council voted unanimously to endorse the repeal because they’re tired of hemorrhaging jobs and threatening the future of our students. Council Member Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, 

"The Louisiana Science Education Act inhibits science focused students of all ages and inadequately prepares them for jobs in the science field. With the New Orleans Medical Corridor poised for tremendous growth, this law also profoundly impacts our ability to fill jobs in the cutting-edge science fields with students educated in our state's public schools."

Joining these other calls for repeal are over 70,000 people who signed a Change.org petition calling for the repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act. 

The Louisiana Science Education Act is already producing its intended result; the Livingston Parish School Board is taking steps to act on the legislation’s goals. According to an account in the July 24, 2010, Baton Rouge Advocate, discussing the Louisiana Science Education Act, board member David Tate said: “We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in Creationism. Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach Creationism?” Fellow board member Clint Mitchell responded, “I agree … Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.” 

Please take action to help us repeal this bad law!

Other information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Science_Education_Act

http://www.repealcreationism.com/endorsements/

http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2013/04/science_education_act_provides.html

Join or login to comment.

  • Lynn

    I was actually going to try and go if just to listen to the debate. Too bad I missed it. I'll try for the next event. I have a lot of stuff going on plus three Meetup groups I organize. Have a great week!

    April 24, 2014

    • Charlotte

      It does sound like you have a lot on your plate! There will always be another event that might fit.

      April 25, 2014

  • Charlotte

    We are grateful to Zack Kopplin and Karen Carter Peterson for trying to keep this on the table. Louisiana doesn't need "extra" science in the science classroom. We need to quit deluding ourselves that this bill is a simple way to IMPROVE our students. That was never the intention. Thanks to everyone who could attend to put in your green card!

    2 · April 25, 2014

  • Charlotte

    Here's one example from the petition website of how this is affecting classrooms around the state: "The bill is already producing its intended result. The Livingston Parish School Board is taking steps to act on the legislation’s goals. According to an account in the July 24, 2010, Baton Rouge Advocate, board member David Tate said: “We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in Creationism. Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach Creationism?” Fellow board member Clint Mitchell responded, “I agree … Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.”

    April 22, 2014

    • Spencer Thunderball T.

      My line of questioning reflects my stubbornness to only rely on verifiable sources. Thus far I have only found conjecture concerning what this law implies– not what it has actually done. Unless there is a verifiable case of the law allowing Creationism into public schools I do not believe repealing the law to be a prudent venture. Or rather - it's a waste of time. Laws don't get repealed without public outcry.

      You're more likely to ensure creationism remains far from public school by clarifying the language within subsection D or adding additional amendments.

      April 23, 2014

    • Spencer Thunderball T.

      You can find someone in the state senate willing to add an amendment to the law by riding it on a farm bill or something. Getting it repealed is a giant struggle.

      April 23, 2014

  • Lynn

    Interesting. I definitely do NOT favor one dominating the other.

    April 23, 2014

    • Charlotte

      This isn't about domination as much as allowing science to be taught in the science classroom. Religion has no place there because it isn't based on the same principles. Likewise, I don't think we see scientists telling ministers what to preach on Sunday. So, each should dominate in their specific realm.

      2 · April 23, 2014

    • Lynn

      By dominating, I was referring to that school board more than anything. I don't like anyone pushing their views on another whether those views are religious or not. I am a bona fide free thinker.

      April 23, 2014

  • Lynn

    Although I do not oppose it being presented AS AN ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS in a classroom, I personally have seen little if any actual proof. I always found it interesting when you'd get a group of Christians in a classroom where the instructor had views like most of the people in this group. The sparks would definitely fly because the Christians would be going on and on about Creationism … but without being able to present any evidence. Science is based on proofs and replication of proof, not philosophical ideas so I do understand the complaint about it in a classroom. I find that school board being of all one belief disturbing as well. Free thinking means that one is able to express their own views, even if the majority in a given situation is in disagreement. And to discuss those views in a civilized manner. If that can't be done, it's not a discussion. It's an argument …

    April 23, 2014

  • Joseph P.

    Creationism brings up two problems. First it is based on dogma and not testable hypotheses, second, it is not universal in that there are hundreds of different creation myths across cultures over time. Science has to be generalizeable and universally applicable (an electron for example behaves the same way everywhere)

    2 · April 23, 2014

  • Spencer Thunderball T.

    If D is a cynical attempt to cover their ass while at the same time breaking their own law does anyone have any citations of this actually happening?

    April 21, 2014

  • Spencer Thunderball T.

    I guess what I am saying is if this bill is being used by pro-creationists then it would appear they are violating a critical subsection of their own bill. Do they not understand their own law? Or was section D put in there specifically intended to be violated on the ground while confusing State legal counsel? The way D reads wouldn't it be appropriate to seek legal action against people who are violating the subsection? Those violators of course would be anyone teaching creationism in class.

    April 21, 2014

  • Spencer Thunderball T.

    I just moved to NOLA from Chicago. So I don't understand how this law can be used to enforce creationism given section D which makes it clear religion cannot be a part of the discussion. Is there a loophole in this law which is allowing misuse? Do you have any news articles or academic papers to cite how this is being misused? §285.1. Science education; development of critical thinking skills, Acts 2008, No. 473, §1, eff. June 25, 2008. http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=631000

    April 21, 2014

  • kevin

    Really sad I will not be able to make this. I have found absolutely no credible evidence to the creation myth and it belongs no where near a science classroom.

    1 · April 18, 2014

  • Lynn

    Interesting. Personally, I favor both theories being presented with neither being lawded over the other. But if the law is establishing creationism as the more likely theory ... this has not been scientifically proven. I'm going to look at this further before taking either side on it. Thanks for sharing this.

    April 17, 2014

  • Rose

    I will try to make it...

    April 14, 2014

  • Joseph P.

    This is surreal...sorry I cannot make it but I will spread the word.

    April 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sad to miss this, but Appel is my state senator, so I'll be sure to send him a nasty-gram.

    April 11, 2014

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