Louisiana needs our help! NOW!

Louisiana needs our help! NOW!

Louisiana needs our help! NOW!

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
June 18 2008 1:36 PM

Louisiana needs our help! NOW!

I just received an urgent email from Barbara Forrest on behalf of the Louisiana Coalition for Science: the education bill that will allow creationism to be taught in public schools has now passed both the House and the Senate in the state government. In other words, if Governor Bobby Jindal signs it, it becomes law. And then Louisiana is doomed.

It's almost a foregone conclusion that Jindal will sign it; oddly enough a man who is both a creationist and thinks exorcisms can cure cancer may not have a very good grasp on reality.

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Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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However, that doesn't mean our voices shouldn't be heard. He needs to hear that the reality-based community of his state is against this bill! And since passing the bill will make Louisiana a laughing stock across the planet, it can't hurt to have everyone's voice heard.

There are three points to be made (shamelessly taken from Barbara's email, with my comments italicized):

Point 1: The Louisiana law, SB 733, the LA Science Education Act, has national implications. So far, this legislation has failed in every other state where it was proposed, except in Michigan, where it remains in committee. By passing SB 733, Louisiana has set a dangerous precedent that will benefit the Discovery Institute by helping them to advance their strategy to get intelligent design creationism into public schools. Louisiana is only the beginning. Other states will now be encouraged to pass such legislation, and the Discovery Institute has already said that they will continue their push to get such legislation passed. [In other words, we're talking domino effect here. If the Disco 'tute gets confident, we'll be fighting this battle over and over again.]

Point 2: Since Gov. Jindal's support for teaching ID clearly helped to get this bill passed in the first place, his decision to veto it will stick if he lets the legislature know that he wants it to stick.

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Point 3: Simply allowing the bill to become law without his signature, which is one of the governor's options, does not absolve him of the responsibility for protecting the public school science classes of Louisiana. He must veto the bill to show that he is serious about improving Louisiana by improving education. Anything less than a veto means that the governor is giving a green light to creationists to undermine the education of Louisiana children. [In other words, he might take a coward's way out and not sign it, and it'll pass. So we have to make sure he actually does veto the bill. This is unlikely, given his predilection for fantasy, but we have to try.]

You can contact Jindal's office here. Remember, be polite, but be firm. A rude message will get nowhere. But a passionate one that's polite can make a big difference. In your comments, tell him that this bill will set the state backwards, not forwards, in science education, and that he must veto it.

You can contact the Coalition for Science and lend them your support as well. They could use it.

This is very serious. Louisiana is on the brink of passing an unconstitutional law, one that is unneeded, and indeed will undermine scientific teaching in that state. We must let this be known. Tell everyone you know. Send them the link to the LACS. Do whatever you can, but do it now.