Creationists Still Can’t Control the Framing

Zack Kopplin went on the Michael Medved radio show along with Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute to talk about creationism in schools, particularly in Louisiana. This was in the context of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal saying recently that the Louisiana Science Education Act allows the teaching of creationism in public schools and he’s fine with that. And here’s how Luskin dealt with that:

Among other things, Luskin suggested that Governor Bobby Jindal was “confused” about the purpose of a bill that he personally signed into law. Recently, in an interview with NBC News, Governor Jindal claimed that the LSEA provides local school districts with the ability to teach creationism and intelligent design, which is, in fact, exactly what it does. However, Luskin, an attorney who has spent the last few years of his career navigating around the rhetorical contours of well-established law on creationism, likely realized that Jindal’s comments exposed the charade. If the Governor admits the law is about providing for the teaching of creationism as science, then the Governor is also admitting that the law is unconstitutional. Notably, after first suggesting that Governor Jindal was “confused,” Luskin then mistakenly claimed that Jindal had never actually mentioned the LSEA in the context of creationism and that this was all a fabricated talking point. In fact, as the video and the transcript of the interview prove, Governor Jindal specifically referenced the LSEA, by name. As hard as the Discovery Institute may try, they simply cannot rewrite history or alter the evidence.

Bobby Jindal is the Governor of Louisiana. Bobby Jindal signed the LSEA into law. Bobby Jindal is responsible for enacting and enforcing the law. Bobby Jindal says the law is about providing local school districts with the ability to teach creationism and intelligent design as science. And as Casey Luskin knows, teaching creationism and intelligent design as legitimate science in the public school classroom is unconstitutional and violative of the Establishment Clause. End of story.

And in fact, Jindal had explicitly mentioned the LSEA when giving his answer:

“We have what’s called the Science Education Act, that says if a teacher wants to supplement those materials, if the school board’s OK with that, if the State school board’s OK with that, they can supplement those materials.

“Bottom line, at the end of the day, we want our kids to be exposed to the best facts. Let’s teach them about the Big Bang theory. Let’s teach them about evolution. Let’s teach them….

“I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about creationism, that some people have these beliefs as well.

“Let’s teach them about intelligent design.”

No, Jindal is not “confused.” He just doesn’t have the ID talking points down. And this is the problem that the creationists always run into. They know that in order to have any chance of passing constitutional muster, the legislators who advocate and vote for the law, whether it’s state legislators or local school boards, just be very careful not to let the cat out of the bag and say that the bill is intended to provide a backdoor to teach creationism. But they always do anyway. Why? Because for them it’s about scoring political points, which means posing for the public as the people who are standing up for Jesus. And that’s why our side keeps winning these cases, because the politicians can never stick to the DI-approved talking points.

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  • eric

    Its not just about scoring points, the problem (for creationists) goes deeper than that. At some point, a policy or law has to be implemented. You actually have to do something in the classroom. At that point, the stealth falls away. So any strategy based on stealth or misdirection will ultimately fail a court challenge when creationism is implemented. Really the only way to teach creationism in schools is to get a SCOTUS that approves it, or get a bunch of lower courts that ignore it/approve it in the face of SCOTUS silence.

  • slc1

    As I have mentioned several times before, Governor Jindal has a BA from Brown in biology. What a waste of a first class education.

  • The same thing happened during the Dover case. At least one school board member was caught saying they were “standing up for Jesus.” Realizing that these overtly religious motivations meant this wouldn’t the proper test case for their stealth campaign, the DI withdrew their support.

    I think it’s more than just pandering to the ignorant for many of these school board members nd legislators, though. Many of them really do believe that they are bringing America back to Jesus. If they those, that just proves that Satan holds sway over the government.

  • They just can’t get the message across that everyone should just wink knowingly. But then again, their current political base isn’t exactly known for subtle communication. Or understanding anything other than vague buzzwords.

  • scienceavenger

    …their current political base isn’t exactly known for subtle communication. Or understanding anything other than vague buzzwords.

    Or understanding that there is this neat technology out there called “smart phones” (solved your problem there Newt) and “the internets” which tend to work together to make universally available to the public, potential jurors and judges, whatever you publicly say.

  • erichoug

    Gotta love Creationists, they just can’t seem to hold back and they end up screwing themselves in the ass, every time.

    BTW, I almost thought the one guy I was arguing with would have a stroke when I kept repeating back all his points with the phrase “Intelligent Design” and what not replaced with creationism.

    Him: “I think that school districts are missing out by not looking in to Intelligent Design, I mean it is real science and they are ignoring it.”

    Me: ” Nah, Creationism really doesn’t belong in a science class room.”

    Him: “We’ll i’m not talking about Creationism, I’m talking about ID.”

    me: “Yeah, that’s what I said, Creationism…”

    Him: “No, no, no I keep telling you! I’m not talking about Creationism, I am talking about ID.”

    Me: “Yeah, like I said, Creationism.”

    Him: “GAH!”

    If you’re going to argue with IDiots, you may as well amuse yourself.

  • DaveL

    Their problem is that, in order to get their agenda passed, they must do two things:

    1) Whip their base into a self-righteous frenzy about stomping science for Jesus; and

    2) Get them all to keep their mouths shut about it.

    Good luck with that!

  • peterh

    “No, Jindal is not “confused.” He just doesn’t have the ID talking points down.”

    ID’s talking points?

    It has none.

  • No One

    At some point this will end up in court.

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  • criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton

    I really like Zack Kopplin. He’s done a lot of good fighting the good fight to keep the pseudoscience creationist nonsense out of our schools. Too bad most likely none of us, will live to see the day that creationists just give up.

  • brandthardin

    Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.