Saturday, December 02, 2006


Next Wave: Ouachita Parish

The Louisiana Family Forum, whose goal is to present biblical principles in centers of influence, loves the new Ouachita Parish "science" curriculum. So does the Discovery Institute.

The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, calls it "an underhanded way to undercut the theory of evolution." It represents, he says, the next wave of attack by anti-evolution forces to get their materials into public schools."

What is interesting about the Louisiana parish's new policy -- and the change in strategy it represents for the religious right -- is that the policy paints itself as protecting the academic freedom of teachers to "respond appropriately to differences of opinion about controversial issues."

The Louisiana Family Forum interprets this to mean that it gives teachers "the freedom to teach the full range of scientific evidence regarding controversial subject like evolution, thus supporting public expectations that Darwin's theory should be taught alongside scientific evidence both for and against it."

Ouachita Parish School Board member Red Sims doesn't really know what the new policy means but he hopes students there won't be taught the Darwin theory that "people came from monkeys."

Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute has this take on the now policy: “There is a disturbing trend of teachers, students and scientists coming under attack for questioning evolution,” said Luskin. “Free speech and academic freedom are cherished principles in America and too important to be sacrificed to the intolerant demands of extremists on any issue.”

In plain language what all this means is that the policy is designed to give teachers so inclined the right to teach one or another pseudo-scientific variant of creationism in public schools. The so-called "scientific evidence" put forward by Discovery and others has been utterly discredited.

The fact is, of course, that previous attempts, in Dover for example, to indoctrinate students with creation science and intelligent design were opposed by teachers who resisted a mandate from the school board to read an ID inspired statement designed to create doubt about evolution in biology classes there.

We didn't see Discovery rush to the defense of "cherished principles" in Dover. Quite the opposite.


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