Celebrate the courage of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in the fight for freedom. He has shown tremendous courage in signing the Louisiana Science Education Bill, an important blow for academic freedom.
"Our freedom to think and consider more than one option is part of what has given America her competitive edge in the international marketplace of ideas,” said biology scientist Caroline Crocker to the Louisiana House Committee on Education. "The current denial of academic freedom rights for those who are judged politically incorrect may put this in jeopardy.”
Crocker was testifying on the bill allowing supplemental materials into Louisiana public school science classrooms about evolution, cloning, global warming and other debatable topics. The legislature went on to unanimously (35-0) pass the bill. Now it has become law because of Gov. Jindal’s courage.
One would think legislation which allows an environment that promotes “critical thinking” and “objective discussion” in the classroom would please everyone -- it did the bipartisan group of legislators in Louisiana -- but such is not the case. The New York Times felt threatened by the legislation, calling it “retrograde,” naming its editorial on the topic, “Louisiana’s Latest Assault on Darwin.” They were attempting to pressure Gov. Jindal to not sign the law, using a number of tactics including implicit ridicule, subtle belittling insults and untruths.
The law is straightforward and clearly restricts any intent to promote a religious doctrine. There is no mention of either intelligent design or creationism. Darwinism is not banned and teachers are required to teach students from standard textbooks. But the Times calls the legislation a “Trojan horse” because the state board of education must, upon request of local school districts, help foster an environment of “critical thinking” and “open discussion” on controversial scientific subjects. This allows teachers to use supplemental materials to analyze evolution and show views other than Darwin’s theory. It allows evolution to be criticized, and the law protects the rights of teachers and students to talk freely about a wide range of ideas without fear of reprisal.
The Times’ fear is that objective discussion “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.” They called any school district “foolish” if they “head down this path.”