Nobel Laureates Tell Gov. Jindal to Repeal Anti-Evolution Law

A Louisiana high-school senior who is leading an uphill battle to repeal his state’s anti-evolution “academic freedom” law just added a bunch of heavy hitters to his list of supporters.

Less than a week after a state lawmaker introduced a bill to repeal the law, officially known as the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), 41 science Nobel Laureates sent a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal and members of the legislature backing the measure.

“Biological evolution is foundational in many fields, including biomedical research and agriculture,” the Nobel Laureates wrote. “It aids us in understanding, for example, how to fight diseases like HIV and how to grow plants that will survive in different environments.”

Baton Rouge Magnet High School student Zack Kopplin initiated the campaign last summer to repeal the law, which permits teachers to introduce classroom material questioning the validity of evolution and other sciences that are “controversial.”

On Friday, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) filed SB70 to repeal the law, which passed in 2008 with overwhelming support from the House and Senate. This new legislation will be considered in the upcoming regular session of legislature, which starts Monday.

Jindal has said through a spokesperson that he opposes repealing the law.

The Nobel Laureate letter says:

Because science plays such a large role in today’s world and because our country’s economic future is dependent upon the United States’ retaining its competitiveness in science, it is vital that students have a sound education about major scientific concepts and their applications.

We strongly urge that the Louisiana Legislature repeal this misguided law. Louisiana students deserve an education that will allow them to compete with their peers across the country and the globe.

The law is based on intelligent design-promoter Discovery Institute’s sample “Academic Freedom” bills, which pave the way for sneaking creationism into science class. While lawmakers have denied the law has anything to do with inserting creationism into science class, I’ve written about how members of Louisiana school boards interpret the law here.

Whether lawmakers will heed a bunch of bona fide experts in their fields remains to be seen, but their statement certainly adds a lot of weight to Kopplin’s argument that LSEA is a “job-killing law.”  

Kopplin’s web site provides more information about the campaign.