Baton Rouge Advocate endorses repeal effort again


The Baton Rouge Advocate (March 9, 2014) reaffirmed its editorial support (previously expressed in 2013) for the attempt to repeal Louisiana's so-called Science Education Act, which, Governor Bobby Jindal told NBC News in 2013, permits the teaching of creationism, including "intelligent design." Senate Bill 175 (PDF), prefiled by Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5) in the Louisiana Senate on February 25, 2014, and provisionally referred to the Senate Committee on Education, is the fourth attempt to repeal the act.

"If Louisiana allowed teachers to instruct students that the sun revolves around the Earth, there would likely be outrage at such an affront to science and education," the Advocate's editorial commented. "Yet that is just about what is in state law when it comes to evolution and the processes by which life developed on Earth. It’s just as mistaken to allow — actually, encourage — teachers to adopt 'supplemental materials' that 'critique' evolution, because evolution is as fundamental to biological sciences as the planets are to astronomy."

The editorial also expressed hope that "the Legislature will listen to reason and repeal the statute. Previous efforts have been scuttled in Senate committee, where the backers of creationism have more sway. Once a repeal bill gets to the floor, given how the law makes Louisiana look like Hicksville with a French accent, we like its chances." The previous attempts to repeal the LSEA were shelved by increasingly narrow votes of the Senate Education Committee: 5-1 in 2011, 2-1 in 2012, and 3-2 in 2013.

Endorsers of the repeal effort include the Louisiana Coalition for Science, the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the New Orleans City Council,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and a group of seventy-eight Nobel laureates in the sciences, representing nearly 40% of living Nobel laureates in the sciences.