Louisiana Citizens Horrified that there’s Evolution in Science Books

A group of Louisiana citizens, believed to be backed by the conservative Christian Louisiana Family Forum, are attacking the state’s proposed biology textbooks because, well, they teach too much evolution.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported this week that a state panel is scheduled to review the issue Friday after the state’s school board held off adopting the biology I and biology II textbooks due to the complaints.

Winston White, one of the residents who complained about the books, said, “It’s like Charles Darwin and his theory is a saint. You can’t touch it.”

It’s worth noting that White is the son of Darrell White, who was one of the Louisiana Family Forum founders. This move is all part of an ongoing broader strategy, one that the LFF, which is affiliated with Focus on the Family, has been behind since the beginning.

Darrell White also told the Advocate that the textbooks don’t comply with the anti-evolution law known as the “Louisiana Science Education Act,” which the Family Forum helped write and successfully lobbied for in 2008. The LSEA instructs educators to promote “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.” It also allows teachers and school districts to use “supplemental textbooks,” which are just code words for creationist and pro-intelligent design materials.

Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, co-founder of Louisiana Citizens for Science and one of the creationist movement’s most damning critics, said she believes the complaints are merely a tactic to get disclaimers (Warning: These books teach evolution!) added to the textbooks, or pave the way for the inclusion of creationist supplemental materials.

Other people who lodged complaints said they did so because the books didn’t teach intelligent design.

In written comments to state officials, David Mathers, of West Monroe, said he would “like to see intelligent design explained as an alternate theory to the theory of evolution.”

Curt Eberts, of Monroe, made the same point. He faulted a biology textbook he reviewed for lacking material on the concept of intelligent design.

The textbooks are reviewed every seven years. So, just who is on this panel that will review the complaints Friday and make recommendations to the state school board? According to the National Center for Science Education:

The council includes a state senator and a state representative appointed by the governor; interestingly, the legislators presently on the council are Senator Ben W. Nevers (D-District 12) and Representative Frank A. Hoffman (R-District 15), who were the chief sponsors of the LSEA in the Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives in 2008.

Anybody want to place a bet on what the panel will recommend?

laurilebo@gmail.com'

Lauri Lebo is the author of The Devil in Dover: Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America, a book about the 2005 First Amendment trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover in which intelligent design was ruled creationism.