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Education United States Science

Louisiana Passes Intelligent Design Law 1574

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the teaching-magic-in-science-class dept.
H0D_G writes "The US state of Louisiana has passed the 'Science Education Act,' a piece of legislation that could allow Intelligent design to be taught in schools. From the article: 'The act is designed to slip ID in "through the back door"'"
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Louisiana Passes Intelligent Design Law

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:14AM (#24132495)

    ...we all know how Christianity feels about slipping things in through the back door.

    • You mean... (Score:5, Funny)

      by MRe_nl (306212) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:19AM (#24132563)
      priests should do it, but not talk about it?
      intelligent design (ID) - the proposition that life is too complicated. Go go Ganesh!
      Stop believing, start thinking.

      • by heretic108 (454817) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:34AM (#24133975)

        Why don't the IDers slip in a different spin:

                ~/god# make
                ~/god# ./big-bang
                ** universe created
                ** planet Earth instantiated
                ** animal life evolving
                ** humans emerging ...

    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:20AM (#24132569)

      You make fun of Christianity's aversion to homosexuality, but the fact of the matter is that the harsh restrictions on the lifestyles of Christians make the taboos such as homosexuality and miscegenation all the more attractive. Such extremes such as celibacy have forced even priests into the arms of pederasty.

      Christianity and religion as a whole encourages the polarization of actions into "good" and "evil" and by forcing the pendulum to the "good" side makes the "evil" side more attractive than an a-moral philosophy can do.

      • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:31AM (#24132747)

        Such extremes such as celibacy have forced even priests into the arms of pederasty.

        That's an interesting perspective. I've always thought that the opposite was true: that the priesthood attracted homosexual pedophiles because of the lifestyle and ready access to children under the guise of a trusted authority. I wonder if this is something that can be reliably studied?

        • by kestasjk (933987) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:17AM (#24133629) Homepage

          I wonder if this is something that can be reliably studied?

          I think getting the children for the study might be a bit of a problem.

        • by Bombula (670389) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:19AM (#24133683)
          The priesthood has also traditionally provided a mechanism of denial for self-loathing homosexuals: if you're gay and believe it is immoral/sinful/whatever and don't want anybody to know about it, choose an occupation whose description and qualifications are ostensibly antithetical to homosexuality.

          Note that the priesthood is not the only mechanism available for such denial: being a mega-preacher or a republican politician with a 'family values' platform are also high-profile examples.

          • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:43AM (#24134215) Journal

            Why can't people recognize that "God" is a metaphorical reference to the universe which science is dedicated to studying?

            When a scientist brings forth an equation that describes the manner in which mutation and natural selection come together to create higher order life out of lower order life, which was created out of chemical soup, they are "contemplating the nature of God".

            It's such a stupid thing to fight about. If you took a perspective where you were using scientific tools to examine God in which we all live, and you subjected your conclusions to rigorous processes with peer examination, and you created a model based on verifiable facts that described the "Personality" of God, it wouldn't be any different from modern science.

            The equations of a scientist are an abstract representation of the Personality of God, and the stories of religion are personified representations of the equations of a scientist. Everyone is talking about the same damned thing, and arguing about which metaphor they like the best.

            It's like watching two parents fighting over whether their daughter is a beautiful little flower or a cute little button. The religious communities and the scientific communities are just as bad as each other in this regard.

            • Science and Faith (Score:5, Insightful)

              by EgoWumpus (638704) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @11:05AM (#24134819)

              First, I highly recommend you read "Finding Darwin's God" by Dr. Ken Miller for an interesting treatise on the interplay between the realms of science and faith.

              But more than that I recommend that rather than shoehorning the idea of spiritual faith into an idea of science you accept that for most people faith has little to do with making a metaphorical reference to natural phenomenon. It may turn out that you're precisely correct - that the idea of 'God' is best equated to the idea of the 'Universe as a whole'.

              It may be - and probably is - that spiritual faith has little to do with 'using scientific tools' at all. It doesn't have to do with equations or with rigorous processes. Indeed, if you compare the modern conception of science to Buddhism's Noble Eight-fold Path, it fits pretty well into step five; begging the question of what the others are, or are for?

              Traditionally the answer to that has been a very personal one. But I encourage you to recognize that while you can say that science is a way of examining God, this is not true for all people - that spirituality has little to do with the explanation of the material experience. Until there is that general acceptance there will be a great deal to fight about.

            • by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @11:15AM (#24135135) Homepage Journal

              Why can't people recognize that "God" is a metaphorical reference to the universe which science is dedicated to studying?

              Because it's not true. Most of those who use the term use it to mean a man with a beard who wears a white dress, lives in the sky, and can do magic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:18AM (#24132539)

    Makes sense...after you've experienced the great flood (Katrina), why shouldn't you believe everything else in the Bible?

  • by VMaN (164134) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:19AM (#24132549) Homepage

    .. as it also opens the door for the teachings of our noodly saviour

  • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:19AM (#24132557) Homepage Journal

    So, when are they going to give equal time to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • by diskofish (1037768) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:19AM (#24132559)
    As a member of the Church of FSM, I am insulted. If they are allowed to teach ID in the classroom, then the story of the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be allowed as well. Blessed be his noodly greatness!
    • by d3ac0n (715594) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:29AM (#24132713)

      Well, given how badly misreported this law has been, I'm not surprised that you misunderstood it.

      All this law does is provide legal protection for teachers to tech "alternate views" to the Theory of Evolution. It is NOT exclusively restricted to ID teaching. This could, logically, also include FSM theory. So don't worry, be Happy! Teachers in LA can now ALSO tell children about the Noodly beginnings of humanity in addition to other creationist teachings.

      Seriously, this really is much ado about nothing. It's just an anti-stupid lawsuit law, to protect teachers who simply ACKNOWLEDGE the fact that not everyone believes ToE is correct. That's it, nothing more, no matter what the militant Atheist sites and D-Kos may say.

      • by mangu (126918) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:48AM (#24133057)

        ... to protect teachers who simply ACKNOWLEDGE the fact that not everyone believes ToE is correct.

        So, should we also protect teachers who simply ACKNOWLEDGE the fact that not everyone believes the Earth is round?

        A teacher's job is not to tell the children what some people believe, his job is to teach what is known to be the most accurate theory in existence.

        As for teaching alternative views, I have nothing against that, as long as they are presented exactly as that: alternative. If a teacher presents the "ID" theory in class, it should be shown why ID is not a reasonable alternative to evolution. Children should be aware that ID exists, because they will find it mentioned outside of class, but they should be aware that a well-informed and intelligent person would have absolutely no doubt that evolution is the correct alternative.

        • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:23AM (#24133741)

          A teacher's job is not to tell the children what some people believe, his job is to teach what is known to be the most accurate theory in existence.

          Exactly. A teacher's job is to impart knowledge and accepted theories to allow for some critical thinking. If they want to grow up and do research into ID and can demonstrate that it can stand to scientific scrutiny then, and only then, should it be taught in our public school system.

          If those ignorant of accepted science and who think and act on religious beliefs find their way on to somebody's National ticket, I will vote for the other guy by default. What one wants to believe for themselves, in their own time - that's their prerogative and I endorse it. However, it's another thing making National or State policy on those beliefs. Never put the control of weapons into the hands of the delusional- only bad things can happen. Case in point? 1930-1940s Germany.

        • by wrook (134116) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:44AM (#24134233) Homepage

          A teacher's job is not to tell the children what some people believe, his job is to teach what is known to be the most accurate theory in existence.

          I disagree. A science teacher's job is to teach science. This means that they should educate their students on currently accepted scientific models and show how they fit into the scientific process.

          I get frustrated hearing people talk about scientific models as if their accuracy can be measured. Their *predictability* can be measured. We don't have a clue what's *really* happening. And we don't have to in science.

          The scientific process is about making models. We want the simplest model whose predictions can be observed. We value the simplest model, not because it's most likely to be true, but because it is simple. Who wants to use a complicated model when a simple model predicts everything that you can see?

          ID fails as a scientific model in several respects. First *it makes no predictions*. So, as a scientific model, it is completely useless. "God did it" doesn't help me decide if I should try to wipe out the rabbits in Australia with a disease. There are lots of other problems with ID as a scientific theory. But you know what, I don't even go there because ID is not useful.

          Now, I have absolutely *no* problem with someone teaching ID in a religion class. Religion is where we make believe that we understand how the universe really works. While we're at it, lets put the people who preach that our current scientific models is *actually* what's happening there too. Because that's just another religion.

          As we can not directly observe the universe, we can say nothing (very much) about what is really there. We can say what we observe and we can predict what we will observe in the future, But that is not truth. It is, however, *useful* since our interaction with the universe is through our observations.

          So to recap: Science is about making useful models. Religion is about conjecturing about the truth of the universe. Don't mix them up.

      • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:52AM (#24133147) Homepage Journal

        All this law does is provide legal protection for teachers to tech "alternate views" to the Theory of Evolution.

        And pray tell, what scientific alternative to Evolution is there? Name one scientific hypothesis or theory which can be used as a substitute for Evolution.

        Contrary to your sniping at militant atheists*, this DOES allow the teaching of ID and other religious, not scientific, based precepts in a science curriculum.

        This could, logically, also include FSM theory

        Um, yeah. I dare you to find one teacher in Louisiana who, even as a joke, would teach anything about the FSM. I guarantee you that should any teacher be so bold to do so, calls for their head on a pike would immediately go out regardless of what you claim this law says.

        Here's a question: why is it that one, and ONLY one, religious group wants their viewpoint shoved down everyone elses throat yet, when the mention of allowing children being exposed to other religious or cultural viewpoints these same people have apoplectic seizures because somehow that could "contaminate" the children. If it's acceptable to shove your views down my kids throat, why can't I do the same to yours? After all, if you're just trying to provide equal opportunity to show different points of views, then you shouldn't have a problem with other people having their say.

        *I laugh every time this phrase is used because a large portion of the people who don't want ID to be taught in school come identify themselves as one of the four major religious groups.

      • by Leftist Troll (825839) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:54AM (#24133187)

        Public school teachers have no right to teach "alternate views" based on mythology and superstition. If a chemistry teacher starts teaching alchemy, they should be fired for incompetence. Same goes for a science teacher trying to teach Intelligent Design.

      • by Paranatural (661514) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:00AM (#24133273)

        So what? You said it yourself. It allows teachers to teach 'alternate views' of the Theory of Evolution. Such as that it's wrong, and they'd better read their Bibles. The protection from lawsuits is just a happy side-effect.

        If you think that this will ever be used to teach anything other than creationism, then you are:

        1) Hopelessly Naive.
        2) Someone who has never been to Louisiana.

        This law will ensure that no one from Louisiana will ever receive a real education.

      • by Tom (822) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:18AM (#24133639) Homepage Journal

        All this law does is provide legal protection for teachers to tech "alternate views" to the Theory of Evolution. It is NOT exclusively restricted to ID teaching. This could, logically, also include FSM theory. So don't worry, be Happy! Teachers in LA can now ALSO tell children about the Noodly beginnings of humanity in addition to other creationist teachings.

        That's the words. Every law consists of two parts: The words and the interpretations. Judges do and will ask what the intention of the law was, and I think GP as well as almost everyone else here correctly assumed the same thing that judge will end up with.

        But if you're a teacher in that area, why don't you test it out? Teach the FSM creation theory. No, wait, that wouldn't be taken seriously, and religiots are bad at humour - teach the islamic creation theory, and omit the christian one. Wanna bet on the number of lawsuits that'll hit you before you're even through?

        Seriously, this really is much ado about nothing. It's just an anti-stupid lawsuit law, to protect teachers who simply ACKNOWLEDGE the fact that not everyone believes ToE is correct. That's it, nothing more, no matter what the militant Atheist sites and D-Kos may say.

        Name one acknowledged evolutionary scientist who today considers the theory of evolution to be incorrect. Not minor detail nitpicking, an actual scientist in this discipline who thinks the whole theory is bonkers and should be replaced with something else entirely. Just one and I'll shut up.

        The fact of the matter is that Darwin is right up there with Newton and Einstein. There is as much doubt in evolution as there is in relativity. Both have been tested extensively and passed - again, and again, and again.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:21AM (#24132585) Homepage Journal

    they are almost always at the bottom of the list when it comes education in this country or are the butt of jokes about being backwoods hicks.

    If they like being laughingstocks, that's no skin off my nose. They have no one to blame but themselves.

  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:22AM (#24132597)

    ID is not science. It's not even rational thinking. If we're going to teach ID, why not Astrology and Palm Reading while we're at it? They're every bit as valid as ID.

    If I had a kid in the Louisiana school system, I'd start home-schooling (assuming I hadn't already).

    • by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:28AM (#24132695)

      Astrology is actually more valid than ID, since it's a scientific theory. About any variant of astrology is falsifiable -- it gives testable consistent predictions. Predictions which are largely false, but a disproved theory is still a theory.

      A theory, something that ID is not.

      • by Entropy2016 (751922) <entropy2016@yahoo . c om> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:37AM (#24134027)

        Astrology is actually more valid than ID, since it's a scientific theory.

        No, no it's not. Maybe back in the "stupid ages" you could have argued it was a hypothesis, but never a theory.

        According to the National Academy of Sciences,
        "Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time."

        About any variant of astrology is falsifiable -- it gives testable consistent predictions.

        Wether something is falsifiable or not isn't relevant to wether something is true. It's only relevant to wether you can prove it's true. Imagine it's the year 1000 BC. Some crackpot submits a hypothesis called Quantum Mechanics. Quantum Mechanics would be as true back then as it is nowadays, but you'd never be able to prove it in that era with their technology.

        If you're really suggesting that a falsifiable idea is in some way superior to non-falsifiable ones, then surely in the year 1000 BC astrology would be superior to Quantum Mechanics, which would be quite wrong.

        Do not mix falsifiable ideas with non-falsifiable ones. They don't mix. It's apple's and oranges, *not* apples and rotten-apples.

        A theory, something that ID is not.

        I'm gonna go with "duh" here.
        And besides, who here ever said it was a theory?

  • by Narpak (961733) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:22AM (#24132607)
    All glory to the Hypnotoad!
  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:23AM (#24132613)

    Dear Louisiana,

    Please do not slip anything through my child's back door. Intelligent design or otherwise.

    Yours,

    A Parent.

    PS: I look forward to a pirate-based global warming curriculum.

  • by gosand (234100) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:24AM (#24132625)

    ... right where ID belongs.

  • Typical politician (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mangu (126918) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:25AM (#24132637)

    Born in 1971 to parents recently arrived from India, Jindal is a convert to Roman Catholicism and a Rhodes scholar - hardly the profile of a typical Bible-belt politician

    There's no need to be a "Bible-belt" politician - a simple politician will do.

    It seems that in Louisiana the Bible thumpers have gained some pretty big influence, if the 94-3 and unanimous votes mean anything. A veto would have no chance to stand, so Jindal took the easy way out and signed the law.

    However, he might have lost a lot in the process. By not challenging the majority, he just stands in the middle of the mainstream. If he had vetoed the law, he would have stood as a voice for reason. He might have lost the next election, but he's liable to lose it anyhow, since he seems to be indistinguishable from at least 94 other politicians.

     

    • by vivek7006 (585218) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:50AM (#24133111) Homepage
      He will never veto it, because Jindal supports [time.com] the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.
    • by Paranatural (661514) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:23AM (#24133747)

      Being from Louisiana, I can shed some light on this.

      Let me give you some history.

      Our last Governor was Blanco, who was never very strong. She only won because her competition was yet another corrupt old white guy no one liked, and Jindal, an Indian. The apathetic white male population basically didn't show up, and so women carried the vote. I'm all for a good female candidate, but Blanco was never it. My mother and Aunt were both organizers of NOW, my mother founded the Women Business Owners Association of Baton Rouge, and was a very politically active feminist. When Blanco was elected, both my mom and Aunt were PISSED. Because basically, the woman was a wishy-washy wimp. When Katrina and Rita hit, all she could ever manage to do was cry and whine.

      This made Jindal a shoo-in for the next election. While he looks fine on paper, he's anything but mainstream. He was a proponent of teaching ID in schools well before he was ever elected. To suggest Jindal would attempt to veto this would be akin to suggesting Bush would have tried to veto the Patriot Act.

  • by d4m4$74 (1321703) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:26AM (#24132677)

    Why is the act called the Science Education act while no science at all is involved?

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:32AM (#24132761)

    Wonder if I'll be reading about this in 20 years from the prospective that this is what allowed religious fanatics to create generations of religiously indoctrinated Christianized children that jail and execute intellectuals.

  • For The Children (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:34AM (#24132795) Homepage

    I hear this excuse for ID all the time. "We need to teach both, for the children to have a well rounded education".

    I'll meet them half way. Go ahead teach your ID in schools, For The Children. And because we care so much that the children receive both sides of the story, you start teaching evolution in Sunday School. After all, it's for the sake of the children.

    • Re:For The Children (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @10:37AM (#24134039) Journal

      Actually, I remember being taught Evolution as a kid... in Catholic School. They also described Darwin as the man, right down to his own religious convictions, and his assertions that Evolution was never meant to supplant religious belief (which makes the whole proposition of Evolution as an anti-religious proof to be silly at best). IOW, we got the full scientific curricula, as well as the historical and personal context.

      Meanwhile, the public schools (by comparison) still teach the lowest-common-denominator version of it.

      This brings up something bigger than Evolution though, IMHO. While Catholic schools still teach classes in Logic, Critical Thinking, and Rhetoric (the latter esp. in Jesuit-run schools), the public schools don't even bother. I think that lacking to be a far greater scientific travesty than whatever gets taught during a Biology class.

      /P

  • by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:34AM (#24132799)
    Science education in this country is getting ridiculous. We go and try to teach scientific "facts" to kids before we actually teach critical thinking and scientific method. It's the NATURE of science that there are - or should be - no "sacred cows" - including evolution or ID or whatever. There is NO room for dogma in scientific thought, and we are seeing way too many people discount notions of the supernatural simply because it's supernatural. Science should be open to everything - including the unmeasurable and unexplainable.
  • by wiredog (43288) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @09:58AM (#24133243) Journal

    Here [slashdot.org]

    Some local school board will take the Act as a permit to bring religious instruction into their science classes. That will irk some parents. Those parents will sue. There will be a noisy and expensive federal lawsuit, possibly followed by further noisy and expensive appeals. The school board will inevitably lose. The property owners of that school district will take the financial hit.

    ...

    Helping to defend creationist school boards in federal courts is not the Discovery Institute's game. Their game is to (a) make money from those spurious "textbooks" they put out, and (b) keep creationism in the news so that they don't run out of lecture gigs and wealthy funders. So far as those legal bills are concerned, Discovery Institute policy is: Let the dumb rubes fund their own stupid lawsuits.

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