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Friday, June 27, 2008

Governor Bobby Jindal passes Louisiana bill to permit critical thinking about Darwin, and such

Big fun on the Bayou:

I see where Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has signed the Science Education Act On Evolution and Education, according to which

Upon the request of a local school board, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be required to "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." Assistance from the State Board in this area now will "include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied."
I wonder if this law will result in an expensive Supreme Court challenge for Louisiana.

I understand what drives all this. I would love to see the Selfish Gene cult, the St. Darwin of Down House League, and the You Gonna Fry! You Gonna Die! School of Ecology off school premises for good.

Still ..., I have mixed feelings about the whole "law" business.

What I understand: Having shuffled through tons of materialist sludge in textbooks and teachers' guides (and succeeded in red pencilling at least some of it into hell), I would love to help write sludge-free material. For example,

- we don't have any idea how life began, so we will act like Darwin and discuss subjects on which we have reasonable (though not by any means unassailable) information, rather than useless speculation.

- lots of what we are now learning about life's development does not conform to theories that were widely accepted even in the recent past. But that is what happens when we study a dynamic field. We see changes. That is what a dynamic field is: One in which we see changes. If you want to study a field in which you will not see changes, move to a planet where nothing changes.

- despite the vast changes in life over time, there is still no free lunch. That fact has implications beyond biology. Learn it here and you will not need to learn it elsewhere.

All that said, I hate government interference in education.

Unofficial history of government interference in education: 2500 years ago, the government of Athens forces Socrates to drink poison. Things have gone on pretty much the same from there, except that paperwork now replaces poison: Every student a project. Every teacher a bureaucrat. Every headmaster a snitch ... O brave new world, that has such people in it ...

Bayou, blue bayou, surprise me, will you?

Here is why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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