On Friday Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a potential running mate for John McCain and touted rising star in the Republican party, signed into law the Louisiana Science Education Act
. Is this, at long last, a law requiring the teaching of real science in science classes in order for students to graduate (which I called for a few months ago
, earning the wrath of a mob of religious homeschoolers)?
No. It’s actually totally the opposite. The Act requires state education authorities to allow “open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning,” which doesn’t sound so bad, actually. Open and objective discussion is vital for science to work. The reason Jindal signing this act is a bad thing is that advocates of creationism and its better-dressed identical twin intelligent design have been on the edge of their seats waiting for this to become law. Anti-science groups like the Discovery Institute see this as their opportunity to attack the validity of evolutionary biology and begin gradually introducing creationism into science classes.
Students in science class should be taught science. Creationism/intelligence design is not science. It is not explanatory, it is not falsifiable, and there is no evidence to support it. Science teachers should only deal with it to debunk it for the benefit of any religiously minded students who may come in still clinging to it. I’m not saying it’s the job of a science teacher to disprove a student’s religion; it’s the job of the science teacher to teach science. If science happens to negate religious beliefs — which it does in the case of Biblical creationism/intelligent design — so be it.
I might be making too big a deal out of this, though. John West of the Discovery Institute was happy to hear that Governor Jindal signed the act into law. “[T]his allows scientific criticisms of Darwin's theory to be taught,” he said. If that’s the case, we have nothing to worry about; creationists don’t have any scientific criticisms of evolution.