Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Botched Bill

Noahs ark.2The July/August 2008 issue of Church & State, the magazine of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, has a good article by Sandhya Bathija, entitled "Eroding Evolution," on Louisiana's new and badly misnamed "Science Education Act."

Barbara Forrest, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana University and the star witness at the Dover Intelligent Design trial, correctly points out that the Louisiana law and the bills presently being pushed in Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Michigan and South Carolina by the Discovery Institute "are full of creationist code language." Furthermore, the main force behind the law in Louisiana is the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), a state affiliate of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.

As previously noted, the law allows local school boards to approve "supplemental material" for classes on evolution. In no coincidence at all, the LLF has produced its own "textbook addendum." If it is at all representative of the materials that actually find their way into the hands of innocent Louisiana children, the law will be fertile ground for underemployed constitutional lawyers.

As just a brief glimpse into the level of this material, it prominently quotes "geologist John Woodmorappe" on supposed "weaknesses" in the geologic record. Woodmorappe is actually a pen name for a notorious young-Earth creationist and frequent contributor to Answers in Genesis, whose most famous work is Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study. It is mind boggling that the public schools in Louisiana may eventually be teaching children to consider a pseudonymous author who, when push comes to shove, denies all the basics of science, as if he is a scientific authority.

I hope some day the children subjected to this abuse sue the state's legislators and governor for malpractice.

Dave S. said...

I love their 'origin of life' section (Topic: Origins: The Modern Ideas). The dates on their references (the date of the paper is 2000) are 1971, 1972, 1955, 1982, 1974, 1996, 1966, 1981, 1984 and 1984.

"Modern" indeed. I wonder if the actual textbook has anything more "modern".

And I liked this howler too:

"3. In Oregon, the three toed and the one-toed horse are found in the same strata which means that they lived at the same time in the same place. One is not the ancestor of the other."

Brilliant! But wait...I lived in the same house and at the same time as my parents, hence they cannot be my ancestors.

Ohhh...and Oxnard and Zuckerman and company...they are just larding out all the Creationist bigwigs of human evolution!
And quote mines:

Professor Stephen J. Gould of Harvard University confirmed Darwin's doubts when he stated, "All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt."
Dave S. said...

Ahhh the quote mines too.

Just to clarify, I don't mean to say that Oxnard and Zuckerman are themselves creationists, only that these are the big names good old fashioned Creationists use to support their views on human evolution.

That's the problem with the "academic freedom"'s not just for ID advocates. Any Creo wackaloon can use it. Makes you kinda misty-eyed to see these hoary old chestnuts dragged out once again.
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