Thursday, January 08, 2009


Matthew 7:15

Now here's a surprise! It seems that the Louisiana Family Forum, a state affiliate of James Dobson's Focus on the Family and a major force behind the passage of Louisiana's version of the "academic freedom" bill, is unhappy with how professional educators are interpreting the law, the language of which you can find here. The relevant portions of the law are as follows (emphasis added):

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 administrators to create and foster an environment within 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.

Such assistance shall include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied, including those enumerated in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection.

A teacher shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board unless otherwise prohibited by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

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.

So what are the mean and nasty educators proposing?

Next week, members of a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education committee are to discuss policy language, to be included in the state school administrators' handbook, for determining what supplemental teaching materials can be used under the new law. ...

Proposed for discussion at the December meeting were requirements that any information in the supplemental material be "supported by empirical evidence." The proposed language also said religious beliefs "shall not be advanced under the guise of encouraging critical thinking" and that materials "that teach creationism or intelligent design or that advance the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind shall be prohibited in science classes."

And what is the LLF's objection?

"I would just summarize it this way," [Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum] said. "I would think that it left religious neutrality and took a tone of religious hostility. Or at least it could be interpreted by some to have done that."

So just what is not religiously neutral about the proposed language? The requirement of empiric evidence? That would seem to promote objective analysis and, anyway, if that is discriminatory against religion, isn't that an admission that there's no empiric evidence supporting religion and, in turn, it doesn't belong in science classes? The problem can't be the prohibition against advancing religion under the guise of encouraging critical thinking or against advancing the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind, since the law itself said that it wasn't to be construed to be promoting religion. Teaching creationism was already banned by the Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard, so that can't be it. And banning Intelligent Design can't be discriminatory against religion, since we all know that ID is all about the science and not at all about religion ... 'cause the Discovery Institute told us so. Besides, even the DI is against mandating the teaching of ID.

Oh, wait a minute! Maybe what's discriminatory is the fact that the educators are, so far, refusing to play along with the nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean that everyone associated with the passage of this law was exchanging while they were busily denying any religious motivation.

As Judge Jones said in the Kitzmiller decision:

It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

Can I have an AAAAmen!


And I love the pic!
I sto ... um ... borrowed it off the web, of course. a desultory search for the name of the artist was unsuccessful but it seems to be a favorite of the religious right. Turnabout and fair play and all that.
Gosh, reading the quoted law brought back memories of Oklahoma Senate Bill 320 (which I read just the other day). They are so similar, I am convinced they are proof of a single, Intelligent Designer that created them in a single creation event. How breathtaking! How inane!
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