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Louisiana Science Education Act survives another challenge

The following excerpt is taken from an Associated Press report by Melinda Deslatte, which was published in thetowntalk.com on May 1, 2013:

A Louisiana law that allows public school science teachers to use supplemental materials in their classrooms will remain on the books, despite criticism that it’s a back-door way to teach creationism.

The Senate Education Committee voted 3-2 Wednesday against the proposal by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, in what has become an annual debate before the panel.

House Bill 26, which was sponsored by Senator Karen Peterson, was an attempt to repeal the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act. By deferring the legislation, the senators effectively killed it in committee.

The 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act, which was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal, expressly forbids the promotion of any religious doctrine in the classroom, but allows teachers to “use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner,” including evolution and origin-of-life theories. Additionally, teachers using supplemental resources must first “teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system,” and the State Board of Education reserves the right to veto any inappropriate supplemental materials. Guidelines adopted by the state education board further stipulate that any supplementary information presented by teachers must be “scientifically sound and supported by empirical evidence.”

Voting for the repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act were Senator Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge and Senator Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte. Voting against the repeal were Senator Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, Senator Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, and Senator Mack “Bodi” White, R-Denham Springs. Senate Education Committee Chairman Conrad Appel did not vote, abstaining for the second year in a row, although in 2011 he opposed a similar attempt to repeal the Act.

Leading the repeal effort is Zack Kopplin, a Rice University student from Baton Rouge who has been lobbying for years to overturn the Louisiana Science Education Act. However, Kopplin was forced to acknowledge, in response to a question from Education Committee Chairman Conrad Appel and Senator Mike Walsworth, that no complaint had ever been lodged about creationism being taught in schools since the law was passed in 2008.

Kopplin has claimed that the Louisiana Science Education Act is hampering science education in his native state. “This law is about going back into the Dark Ages, not moving forward into the 21st Century,” he said.

In fact, the State of State Science Standards 2012 report gave Louisiana an overall science grade of “B”, which places it near the top of the list of the USA’s 50 states. Louisiana’s overall score of 7 out of 10 is broken down into two components: Content and Rigor (score: 5 out of 7), and Clarity and Specificity (2 out of 3). The score for content and rigor (4.7 out of 7, to be precise) was averaged over several science subjects: Scientific Inquiry & Methodology, Physical Science, Physics, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, and Life Science. Life Science was awarded an almost perfect score of 6 out of 7. The score would have been even higher, but for the fact that the Louisiana’s Life Science curriculum standards for Kindergarten to Grade 8 don’t explicitly mention the word “evolution.” Instead, they simply state that “life changes over time.” The omission of the magic “E” word annoyed the report’s authors, who support the teaching of Darwinian evolution in schools.

Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, in his closing argument for Senator Karen Peterson’s repeal bill, asserted that the Louisiana Science Education Act had harmed the state of Louisiana, stifling business and preventing scientific organizations from convening in his city. However, Russell Armstrong, an education adviser for Gov. Bobby Jindal, denied the claim, noting that the Act had not prevented companies such as IBM, Sasol and General Electric from coming to the state.

However, the Senate Education Committee 3-2 vote against Senator Karen Peterson’s attempt to overturn the Louisiana Science Education Act was her narrowest defeat in three years: in 2012, similar legislation was defeated 2-1 and in 2011, it was defeated by a margin of 5-1.

Freedom of critical inquiry in Louisiana’s schools has survived another day.

The image at the top is a photo of Louisiana’s State Capitol building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, courtesy of Wikipedia and Chris Miceli.

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5 Responses to Louisiana Science Education Act survives another challenge

  1. Thanks, News. In my opinion this wouldn’t be happening without this website and a few others.

  2. If neo-Darwinists truly want no part of “Design Thinking” in the classroom, then I suggest that they start in their own backyard and get rid of it there:

    Brian Cusack’s Latest: Anti Parsimonious, Teleological, Petitio Principii, Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc and Misrepresentations—Other Than That It’s Perfect – October 2011
    Excerpt: ,,,evolutionists craft clever explanations that cast evolution and its natural selection in the active role of a designer. The theory sounds so much more plausible when natural selection responds to a need by creating a new design. ,, Out of one side of their mouth they rail against teleology while from the other they appeal to it over and over.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....nious.html

    “Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing…. Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets.”
    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics, 2001 (pp. 199-200) William Provine – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Cornell University

    Moreover this ‘design thinking’ that is constantly smuggled in the back door of Darwinian thought has been there since the beginning:

    An Early Critique of Darwin Warned of a Lower Grade of Degradation – Cornelius Hunter – December 2012
    Excerpt: And as for Darwin’s grand principle, natural selection, (Adam Sedgwick asked Charles Darwin) “what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts.” Yet Darwin had smuggled in teleological language to avoid the absurdity and make it acceptable. For Darwin had written of natural selection “as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent.” Yet again, this criticism is cogent today. Teleological language is rampant in the evolutionary literature.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ed-of.html

    Here is the entire letter from Adam Sedgwick in its polite but crushing critique of the theory Darwin had just devised:

    Letter from Adam Sedgwick to Charles Darwin – 1859
    http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-2548

    If one doubts that ‘design thinking’ was with Darwinian thought right from the beginning, here is an article, with an excerpt from a peer-reviewed paper, showing just how deeply rooted in Theological thought (design thinking) Darwin actually was in his book ‘Origin’:

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human begins are not justfied in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    If someone wants to learn more about Darwin’s theological roots, here is an excellent lecture on the topic:

    The Descent of Darwin – Pastor Joe Boot – (The Theodicy of Darwinism) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKJqk7xF4-g

    Perhaps some may say, “Well that Theological thinking of Darwinism was just in the beginning but now, 150 years later, Darwinism has all this nifty ‘scientific’ evidence backing it up and therefore Darwinism is no longer rooted in ‘design thinking’.” Well one would be completely, and utterly, wrong if he claimed that.

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....34/?MUD=MP

    Dr. Seuss Biology | Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVx42Izp1ek
    accompanying pdf
    http://www.ctvn.org/origins/pd.....iology.pdf

    In the following video, at about the 55:00 minute mark, Phillip Johnson sums up his, in my opinion, excellent lecture by noting that the refutation of his book, ‘Darwin On Trial’, in the Journal Nature, the most prestigious science journal in the world, was a theological argument about what God would and would not do and therefore Darwinism must be true, and the critique from Nature was not a refutation based on any substantiating scientific evidence for Darwinism that one would expect to be brought forth, especially in such a prestigious venue as Nature:

    Darwinism On Trial (Phillip E. Johnson) – lecture video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=3293s

    And in the following quote, Dr. John Avise explicitly uses Theodicy (the discipline of reconciling God with natural evil) to try to make his case for Darwinism:

    It Is Unfathomable That a Loving Higher Intelligence Created the Species – Cornelius Hunter – June 2012
    Excerpt: “Approximately 0.1% of humans who survive to birth carry a duplicon-related disability, meaning that several million people worldwide currently are afflicted by this particular subcategory of inborn metabolic errors. Many more afflicted individuals probably die in utero before their conditions are diagnosed. Clearly, humanity bears a substantial health burden from duplicon-mediated genomic malfunctions. This inescapable empirical truth is as understandable in the light of mechanistic genetic operations as it is unfathomable as the act of a loving higher intelligence. [112]” – Dr. John Avise – “Inside The Human Genome”
    There you have it. Evil exists and a loving higher intelligence wouldn’t have done it that way.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....it-is.html

  3. If neo-Darwinists truly want no part of “Design Thinking” in the classroom, then I suggest that they start in their own backyard and get rid of it there:

    Brian Cusack’s Latest: Anti Parsimonious, Teleological, Petitio Principii, Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc and Misrepresentations—Other Than That It’s Perfect – October 2011
    Excerpt: ,,,evolutionists craft clever explanations that cast evolution and its natural selection in the active role of a designer. The theory sounds so much more plausible when natural selection responds to a need by creating a new design. ,, Out of one side of their mouth they rail against teleology while from the other they appeal to it over and over.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....nious.html

    “Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing…. Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets.”
    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics, 2001 (pp. 199-200) William Provine – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Cornell University

    Moreover this ‘design thinking’ that is constantly smuggled in the back door of Darwinian thought has been there since the beginning:

    An Early Critique of Darwin Warned of a Lower Grade of Degradation – Cornelius Hunter – December 2012
    Excerpt: And as for Darwin’s grand principle, natural selection, (Adam Sedgwick asked Charles Darwin) “what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts.” Yet Darwin had smuggled in teleological language to avoid the absurdity and make it acceptable. For Darwin had written of natural selection “as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent.” Yet again, this criticism is cogent today. Teleological language is rampant in the evolutionary literature.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ed-of.html

    Here is the entire letter from Adam Sedgwick in its polite but crushing critique of the theory Darwin had just devised:

    Letter from Adam Sedgwick to Charles Darwin – 1859
    http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-2548

    If one doubts that ‘design thinking’ was with Darwinian thought right from the beginning, here is an article, with an excerpt from a peer-reviewed paper, showing just how deeply rooted in Theological thought (design thinking) Darwin actually was in his book ‘Origin’:

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human begins are not justfied in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    If someone wants to learn more about Darwin’s theological roots, here is an excellent lecture on the topic:

    The Descent of Darwin – Pastor Joe Boot – (The Theodicy of Darwinism) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKJqk7xF4-g

    Perhaps some may say, “Well that Theological thinking of Darwinism was just in the beginning but now, 150 years later, Darwinism has all this nifty ‘scientific’ evidence backing it up and therefore Darwinism is no longer rooted in ‘design thinking’.” Well one would be completely, and utterly, wrong if he claimed that.

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....34/?MUD=MP

    Dr. Seuss Biology | Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVx42Izp1ek
    accompanying pdf
    http://www.ctvn.org/origins/pd.....iology.pdf

    In the following video, at about the 55:00 minute mark, Phillip Johnson sums up his, in my opinion, excellent lecture by noting that the refutation of his book, ‘Darwin On Trial’, in the Journal Nature, the most prestigious science journal in the world, was a theological argument about what God would and would not do and therefore Darwinism must be true, and the critique from Nature was not a refutation based on any substantiating scientific evidence for Darwinism that one would expect to be brought forth, especially in such a prestigious venue as Nature:

    Darwinism On Trial (Phillip E. Johnson) – lecture video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=3293s

  4. And in the following quote, Dr. John Avise explicitly uses Theodicy (the discipline of reconciling God with natural evil) to try to make his case for Darwinism:

    It Is Unfathomable That a Loving Higher Intelligence Created the Species – Cornelius Hunter – June 2012
    Excerpt: “Approximately 0.1% of humans who survive to birth carry a duplicon-related disability, meaning that several million people worldwide currently are afflicted by this particular subcategory of inborn metabolic errors. Many more afflicted individuals probably die in utero before their conditions are diagnosed. Clearly, humanity bears a substantial health burden from duplicon-mediated genomic malfunctions. This inescapable empirical truth is as understandable in the light of mechanistic genetic operations as it is unfathomable as the act of a loving higher intelligence. [112]” – Dr. John Avise – “Inside The Human Genome”
    There you have it. Evil exists and a loving higher intelligence wouldn’t have done it that way.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....it-is.html

    What’s completely ironic, in the preceding theological argument from Dr. Avise, is that Dr. John Avise’s ‘theological argumentation’ for Darwinism, from the overwhelming rate of deleterious mutations occurring to humans, turns out to be, in fact (without Darwinian Theological blinders on), a very powerful ‘scientific’ argument against Darwinism ever creating anything of any complexity at all, much less creating the unfathomable levels of integrated molecular complexity currently being found in life (even the ‘simplest’ of life on earth):
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....7430067209

    In this following debate Dr. William Lane Craig is shocked to find that evolutionary biologist Dr. Ayala blatantly uses theological argumentation to support Darwinism, and uses little to no scientific evidence to support it, and thus invites Dr. Ayala to present scientific evidence, any scientific evidence at all, that Darwinism can do what he claims it can:

    Refuting The Myth Of ‘Bad Design’ vs. Intelligent Design – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg

    This following quote from the ardent and angry atheist Jerry Coyne, in anticipation of Dr. Stephen Meyer’s forthcoming book on the Cambrian Explosion in June, ‘Darwin’s Doubt’, is particularly telling as to the kindergarten level of Theological discourse people, who have the audacity to question Darwinism’s scientific premises, are treated to:

    “Yes, baby Jesus made the phyla!”
    - Jerry Coyne – evolutionary professor at a major university
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....71321.html

    Here are some more quotes, which are also based on the ‘unscientific’ theological premises of Darwinists, that were recently used to support the, in my honest opinion, now falsified ‘Junk’ DNA argument:

    “Perfect design would truly be the sign of a skilled and intelligent designer. Imperfect design is the mark of evolution … we expect to find, in the genomes of many species, silenced, or ‘dead,’ genes: genes that once were useful but are no longer intact or expressed … the evolutionary prediction that we’ll find pseudogenes has been fulfilled—amply … our genome—and that of other species—are truly well populated graveyards of dead genes”
    – Jerry Coyne

    “The human genome is littered with pseudogenes, gene fragments, “orphaned” genes, “junk” DNA, and so many repeated copies of pointless DNA sequences that it cannot be attributed to anything that resembles intelligent design. . . . In fact, the genome resembles nothing so much as a hodgepodge of borrowed, copied, mutated, and discarded sequences and commands that has been cobbled together by millions of years of trial and error against the relentless test of survival. It works, and it works brilliantly; not because of intelligent design, but because of the great blind power of natural selection.”
    – Ken Miller

    “We have to wonder why the Intelligent Designer added to our genome junk DNA, repeated copies of useless DNA, orphan genes, gene fragments, tandem repeats, and pseudo¬genes, none of which are involved directly in the making of a human being. In fact, of the entire human genome, it appears that only a tiny percentage is actively involved in useful protein production. Rather than being intelligently designed, the human genome looks more and more like a mosaic of mutations, fragment copies, borrowed sequences, and discarded strings of DNA that were jerry-built over millions of years of evolution.”
    – Michael Shermer

    Dr. Hunter sums up the situation with ‘Darwinian science’ nicely here:

    From Philosopher to Science Writer: The Dissemination of Evolutionary Thought – May 2011
    Excerpt: The science is weak but the metaphysics are strong. This is the key to understanding evolutionary thought. The weak arguments are scientific and the strong arguments, though filled with empirical observation and scientific jargon, are metaphysical. The stronger the argument, the more theological or philosophical.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....riter.html

    If some Darwinists claim that I am wrong and that there is in fact scientific evidence for Darwinism, then I wholeheartedly invite them to present it here on UD (or anywhere):

    Calling Nick Matzke’s literature bluff on molecular machines – DonaldM UD blogger – April 2013
    Excerpt: So now, 10 years later in 2006 Matzke and Pallen come along with this review article. The interesting thing about this article is that, despite all the hand waving claims about all these dozens if not hundreds of peer reviewed research studies showing how evolution built a flagellum, Matzke and Pallen didn’t have a single such reference in their bibliography. Nor did they reference any such study in the article. Rather, the article went into great lengths to explain how a researcher might go about conducting a study to show how evolution could have produced the system. Well, if all those articles and studies were already there, why not just point them all out? In shorty, the entire article was a tacit admission that Behe had been right all along.
    Fast forward to now and Andre’s question directed to Matzke. We’re now some 17 years after Behe’s book came out where he made that famous claim. And, no surprise, there still is not a single peer reviewed research study that provides the Darwinian explanation for a bacterial flagellum (or any of the other irreducibly complex biological systems Behe mentioned in the book). We’re almost 7 years after the Matzke & Pallen article. So where are all these research studies? There’s been ample time for someone to do something in this regard.
    Matzke will not answer the question because there is no answer he can give…no peer reviewed research study he can reference, other than the usual literature bluffing he’s done in the past.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-453291

    So in closing I reiterate, if neo-Darwinists truly want no part of “Design Thinking” in the classroom, then I suggest that they start in their own backyard and get rid of it there. Unfortunately for angry neo-Darwinists, getting rid this ‘design thinking’ is far harder than they realize it to be:

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    Music and verse:

    Proverbs 21:30
    There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

    Violin Street Musician – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj68U_RGywY

  5. Zack Kopplin is about as clueless as they come…

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