Louisiana

A scan of the Baton Rouge Advocate article showing the text subsequently revisedState Senator Dan Claitor (R–District 16) is leading an effort in Louisiana to repeal various outdated laws on its books. In a recent report on these efforts, there’s an interesting comment from radical cleric Gene Mills.

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03.30.2016

Louisiana's Senate Bill 156 (PDF), which would have repealed the state's Balanced Treatment for  Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act, was rejected on a 4-2 vote in the Senate Education Committee on March 29, 2016, according to the Associated Press (March 29, 2016).

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03.14.2016

Louisiana's Senate Bill 156 (PDF) would, if enacted, repeal the state's Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act, which was enacted in 1981 and declared to be unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987. 

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07.22.2015

Adrian Duplantier. Photo via United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

Prompted by his unlikely appearance, bragging of his youthful exploits eating oysters, in Jason Fagone’s Horsemen of the Esophagus (2006), a book on competitive eating that I happened to be reading, I’m discussing Adrian Duplantier (1929–2007), in particular his role in the legal history of the creationism/evolution conflict. (I’m not really all that interested in competitive eating, after all, although I recommend Fagone’s book.) As explained in part 1, Duplantier was the district court judge who oversaw Aguillard et al. v. Treen et al., the case that eventually produced Edwards et al. v. Aguillard et al., the 1987 Supreme Court case that established the unconstitutionality of teaching creationism in the public schools. At issue in the case was the constitutionality of Louisiana’s Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act, enacted in 1981. But, as it turns out, there was a competing lawsuit, which delayed—and indeed threatened to derail—Aguillard v. Treen.

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07.15.2015

Adrian Duplantier. Photo via United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

The history of the creationism/evolution conflict is stalking me again, and in the unlikeliest contexts. I was recently reading Jason Fagone’s Horsemen of the Esophagus (2006), a book about competitive eating that I acquired on a whim from a used book store in Clovis, California. In a chapter entitled “The Gurgitator Islands”—“gurgitator” is the trademarked term for competitive eaters preferred by the International Federation of Competitive Eating—Fagone relates his visit in March 2005 to Metairie, Louisiana, to attend the Acme World Oyster Eating Championship. While there, he encountered a seventy-eight-year-old federal judge who proudly displayed a plaque commemorating a feat from his younger days: eating forty-one oysters in a minute. “If they gave me two minutes, I think I could eat my age,” he bragged: that would be thirty-nine oysters in a minute. (That’s nothing: the current record for the event is apparently forty-seven dozen oysters in eight minutes, averaging to 70.5 oysters per minute.)

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06.02.2015

"We will read in Genesis and them [sic] some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the student will present." So wrote a Louisiana science teacher to her principal, as quoted by Zack Kopplin, writing in Slate (June 2, 2015).

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04.22.2015

Louisiana's Senate Bill 74 (PDF) was deferred on a 4-3 vote in the Louisiana Senate Education Committee on April 22, 2015, which effectively kills the bill in committee. The bill, introduced by Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5), would, if enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008, and thus opened the door for scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution and climate science to be taught in the state's public schools.

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04.21.2015

Writing in Slate (April 21, 2015), Zack Kopplin reports, "I have evidence that religion, not science, is what's being taught systematically in some Louisiana school systems. I have obtained emails from creationist teachers and school administrators, as well as a letter signed by more than 20 current and former Louisiana science teachers in Ouachita Parish in which they say they challenge evolution in the classroom without legal 'tension or fear' because of pro-creationism policies."

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04.14.2015

Senate Bill 74 (PDF), dubbed the "Intelligent Outcomes Wanted Act," would, if enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008.

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04.24.2014

Louisiana's Senate Bill 175 (PDF) was tabled on a 3-1 vote in the Senate Committee on Education on April 24, 2014, which effectively kills the bill in committee, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate (April 24, 2014). The bill, introduced by Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5), would, if enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008, and thus opened the door for scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution and climate science to be taught in the state's public schools.

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