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Support for Louisiana repeal effort
Support for the effort to repeal Louisiana's antievolution law is mounting. The American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the Louisiana Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Society for the Study of Evolution together with the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of Naturalists have all endorsed Louisiana's Senate Bill 70, which if enacted would repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17.285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008. All of these statements are posted at the Louisiana Coalition for Science's website.
Additionally, the Repeal Creationism website — run by Zack Kopplin, the Baton Rouge high school student who is spearheading the repeal effort — now lists the endorsement of a number of prominent scientists and educators: Francisco Ayala, Niles Eldredge, Susan Epperson (the plaintiff in the 1968 Supreme Court case Epperson v. Arkansas, which established the unconstitutionality of bans on teaching evolution), Paul R. Gross, Lawrence S. Lerner, Kenneth R. Miller, Neil Shubin, John Sulston (the forty-third Nobel laureate to support the repeal effort), and Tim White. Also endorsing the repeal effort is the Clergy Letter Project, representing more than 14,000 religious leaders who acknowledge the scientific importance of evolution.
As Barbara Forrest — a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University, a cofounder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science, and a member of NCSE's board of directors — wrote in her op-ed for Houma Today (April 26, 2011), "There are compelling reasons for repeal. First, the LSEA permits public school science teachers to use creationist materials under the guide of 'critical thinking.' ... Second, neither science teachers nor scientists requested this law. ... Third, Louisiana lost a national convention because of the LSEA. ... Other organizations may do the same. ... Fourth, ... school board members have discussed using the LSEA to teach creationism. ... School boards are being tempted to risk lawsuits when teachers face layoffs because of budget cuts!"