Classroom 'creationism' law under fire again
There's a renewed movement afoot to repeal what is widely viewed as Louisiana's creationism law. The Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 allows teachers to help students "understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner," using textbooks and "other instructional materials." But critics consider it a backdoor delivery of creationism and other religious beliefs into high school biology classes by allowing teachers to introduce materials questioning the validity of scientific tenets widely accepted within the mainstream science community, including evolution and climate change. Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, offers up Senate Bill 374, which would effectively kill the law as soon as the governor signs it. A similar bill died last year in committee, but this time around the measure is being supported by some heavy-hitters in the scientific community. Rice University freshman Zack Kopplin, who last year was a senior at Baton Rouge Magnet High, is still the driving force behind the movement and now has more than 70 Nobel laureates in the sciences signed on to the repeal effort. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau immortalized the debate last year in Doonesbury, with a Louisiana high school teacher telling his students they "are entitled to learn an alternative theory supported by no scientific evidence whatsoever." "This year, the governor has asked the Louisiana legislature to focus on education," Peterson says. "If this legislative session is truly about improving Louisiana's education system, then the first place to start is to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act." Read Peterson's bill here. —Penny Font
Today's poll question: Do you think creationism should be taught in public schools alongside evolution?
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