This week, both houses of the Louisiana legislative branch approved Louisiana Senate Bill 733, a.k.a. the Louisiana Science Education Act, and the bill now goes to Gov. Bobby Jindal for approval. The bill aims to introduce more academic freedom in Louisiana science classes, specifically on the topics of evolution, global warming, and human cloning.
The bill aims to introduce more academic freedom in Louisiana science classes.
Sen. Ben Nevers, a sponsor of the bill, justified the bill by arguing the importance of supplemental science information when textbooks are only updated every seven years. Of course, critics believe the supplemental materials will be religiously themed creationist materials.
An article in the Christian Post quotes John West, vice president for public policy and legal affairs at the Intelligent Design-backing Discovery Institute, who explains that:
The proposed Louisiana law expressly states in Section 1C that it “shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”
It will be an interesting legal battle.
Thus, it will be an interesting legal battle if—or perhaps when—there is a lawsuit and the bill does make it into the courts. As Answers in Genesis has made clear on numerous occasions, while we do not support forcing all science teachers—evolutionist and creationist alike—to teach evidence against evolution, we do support efforts to allow voluntary, open discussion of the creation–evolution controversy in public school classrooms.
Meanwhile, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State blog touts a new poll conducted by several national scientific societies (including the National Academy of Sciences and National Science Teachers Associations) that “runs contrary to studies through the years, which showed Americans backing creationist accounts to the findings of evolutionary biology.”
The poll’s questions, however, were apparently poorly thought through. For instance, the blog touts that 61% of the respondents answered “yes” to whether they believed “all living things” evolved over time. But we would answer “yes” to this question, too (as we’ll explain below), and we’re certainly not backers of mainstream evolutionary biology! Take a look at this section of report:
We asked half of the respondents about their views on the evolution of “all living things” and found that 61% accepted that “all living things have evolved over time.” Of those, 36% thought all living things “evolved due to natural processes such as natural selection,” and 25% thought “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating life in the form it exists today.” . . . [W]e found weaker overall support for creationism: 28% and 31% agreed with statements that “all living things” or “humans and other living things,” respectively, were created in their present form.
Whoever wrote the questions was apparently uninformed of actual creationists beliefs. As we said above, we at Answers in Genesis would answer that all living things have “evolved” over time—since creation—just not in an upward fashion, with one kind of animal evolving into another kind. Instead, the changes life undergoes are what we observe—changes based on variations in their pre-existing genetic makeup and natural selection.
We do believe change has occurred since Eden.
We would also answer that this “evolution” has happened due to natural processes, not because of God’s guidance, because we believe God’s creative acts ended on Day 6—before the effects of death and natural selection.
Finally, to the question of whether God created all living things in their present form, we would have to say no, because we do believe change has occurred since Eden. Thus, according to this poll, we’d be framed as anti-creationist evolutionists! And the rest of the poll is similarly based on poor knowledge of what most creationists actually believe.
Of course, since the response to previous polls—which have often shown significant public support for creationism and intelligent design—has been calls for more evolutionary education, shouldn’t evolutionists’ response to this poll be, “Relax, creationism’s on the run! No need to give such emphasis to evolution education”? Don’t expect it!
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