Saturday, June 28, 2008

Louisiana's Stupidity Freedom Bill

Dissatisfied with Louisiana being in 47th place in student competency and hoping, no doubt, to lock up that prized bottom spot, Gov. Bobby "cast out the demons" Jindal signed Senate Bill No.733, authored by Ben Nevers or his staff of special ed interns. A few choice tidbits:

B.(1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school adminitrators to create and foster an environment with public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

They left out the Germ theory of disease, General Relativity, String Theory, Atomic Theory, Cell Theory, the Big Bang, Gravitational Theory and Plate Tectonics. Human cloning? That's a potential procedure, not a theory. Origins of Life? There are theories concerning the origin of life but I think we can safely say that life originating is pretty much a fact. Global warming is another hot button issue that makes no sense as a theory unless you are throwing in the human component. So that leaves Evolutionary theory. Surprise. And you might think that if you were going to pass a law promoting critical thinking concerning commonly accepted scientific theories you might want to look into exactly what constitutes a scientific theory. No doubt most of the Louisiana legislature are the beneficiaries of a Louisiana public school education.

And what organization stands ready to step into the breach and supply the poor overwhelmed State Board with a supply of misinformation (the new text is called Definitely Not Of Pandas and People) vast enough to totally befuddle the children of Louisiana? Hmm.

D.This section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

Honest. We threw that in the bill so there would be absolutely no misunderstanding as to our purely secular and scientific motives. Singling out evolution is purely a coincidence. Really. Move along, no Creationism or Intelligent Design to see here.

Of course, it can always be worse. Here's a choice morsel from the original bill:

Neither the Louisiana Department of Education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, superintendent of schools, or school system administrator, nor any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator or teacher, in the course and scope of his duties in such capacity, shall censor or suppress in any way any writing, document, record, or other content of any material which references topics listed in Paragraph A(4) of this section

Now that's scary - paragraph A(4) singles out the same "theories" named in the final version of the bill. No peer review, no scientific consensus, no statewide educational review, no nothing. I read that to mean that even psuedo-scientific crap from the Discovery Institute or Answers in Genesis is acceptable. Hell, even I, who has expertise in exactly nothing, could contribute to the dumbing down of Louisiana. Maybe I ought to. There's money in that thar alternative science.