It comes as no surprise that the Louisiana State Legislature has overwhelmingly approved a bill that seeks to undercut the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The state, after all, has a sorry history as a hotbed of creationistsâ€™ efforts to inject religious views into science courses. All that stands in the way of this retrograde step is Gov. Bobby Jindal.
In the 1980s, Louisiana passed an infamous â€œCreationism Actâ€ that prohibited the teaching of evolution unless it was accompanied by instruction in â€œcreation science.â€ That effort to gain essentially equal time for creationism was slapped down by the US Supreme Court. The new bill requires the state board of education to help create an environment that promotes â€œcritical thinkingâ€ and â€œobjective discussionâ€ about not only evolution and the origins of life but also about global warming and human cloning, two other bÃªtes noires of the right.
It would have the pernicious effect of implying that evolution is only weakly supported and that there are valid competing scientific theories when there are not. In school districts
foolish enough to head down this path, the students will likely emerge with a shakier understanding of science. If Jindal has the interests of students at heart, the sensible thing is to veto this Trojan horse legislation.