Louisiana School Board Wants to Teach Creationism

In Louisiana, the Livingston Parish School Board wants to teach Creationism in the public schools and unanimously voted in favor of continuing discussion on this.

This type of thing only happens when a school board is taken over by people who don’t know the law and don’t care about the education students receive. Who needs

Take a look at the statements made by the board:

Board Member David Tate quickly responded: “We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?

If Creationism was based in science, why would a religious teacher be needed…?

Fellow board member Clint Mitchell responded, “I agree … you don’t have to be afraid to point out some of the fallacies with the theory of evolution. Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.”

Who wants to bet that Mitchell can’t name one legitimate “fallacy” of evolution?

[Board President Keith] Martin, noting that discipline of young people is constantly becoming more of a challenge for parents and teachers, agreed: “Maybe it’s time that we look at this.”

Right… teaching Creationism will simultaneously get students to turn off their cell phones in class and shut the hell up. I’m sure every teacher would agree to that one. Spoken like a man who’s never set foot in a classroom.

Part of me wants them to go forward with this. Let them teach Creationism, get sued, lose the case, and lose money. They deserve it.

But the students in the Livingston Parish schools deserve better. They need teachers who know the difference between science and faith — in other words, teachers who are more concerned about reality than the Bible.

They’re not going to get it, though. And they’re the ones who’ll suffer in college because of it.

  • Doug

    I lived in LA for a little over a year and while I was there Livingston parish seemed to be the butt of every joke I heard about uneducated and backwardness this is the last thing they need. From my understanding the education system there is already horrible.

  • http://cousinavi.wordpress.com cousinavi

    We believes it, so our children should be teached it.

    This is just like that time I seen me a sasquatch. I’m sick to here and back of people tellin’ me that because I had a few drinks I didn’t see no sasquatch, cuz both me and the sasquatch knows I did done seen it.

  • http://alliedatheistalliance.blogspot.com/ pinkocommie

    When I read this, all I hear is – I ain’t no kin to no monkey. Yikes.

  • http://middleman-is-lost.blogspot.com/ MiddleMan

    From the comments section: “Creationism needs to put science where it belongs..back in creationism.”

    head/desk

  • Jeff Dale

    This type of thing only happens when a school board is taken over by people who don’t know the law and don’t care about the education students receive.

    On the contrary, they do care, very much, about education. They want all kids to be well educated in what they think is true. As to what they “know,” they’ve learned to convince themselves and solemnly affirm that they “know” things that they manifestly do not know. If the law contradicts what they want to believe, they can just “know” that it doesn’t, or else they can assume that eventually the law will be overturned by like-minded folks who “know” the law is bad.

  • AlWig

    Once again Louisiana, you make me ashamed for living here. I taught at a low income school in South LA last year and it is amazing how horrible students can be and even more amazing how stupid administrators can be!

  • mouse

    I always feel sorry for students who already know they want to go into a science field when stuff like this happens. I remember reading a few years ago about some poor kid in Kansas who got rejected from the college science program he wanted to get into because of the curriculum there. He ended up getting in later but had to take a bunch of classes at a JC to fix his academic background.

  • Hitch

    How many years since the Monkey trial?

  • Dave B.

    they’re the ones who’ll suffer in college because of it

    When I was an undergrad, the administration held a weekly forum to discuss student life issues. One week, the discussion was whether evolution should be taught in the intro bio classes, as some students were objecting to it. Colleges suffer too when education fails.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    Wow. These people are talking about teaching Creationism, not even Intelligent Design. They’re not even trying to disguise it.

    Doesn’t every other large, liberal democracy in the world have national education standards when it comes to academics? I’m all for direct democracy and local control of schools, etc., but is it really best to have local yokels, who may or may not have any training in education or academic disciplines, making such huge decisions about curriculum? (On the other hand, a lot of these people do have said training and expertise, which is even scarier. The infamous Texas school board is composed almost entirely of educated “professionals” in various fields, including Education. Ugh. Get me an aspirin.)

  • Lymis

    Can we force them to put a little sticker on the course material (paralleling the “evolution is only a theory” stickers) that says something along the line of “Creationism is only a religious doctrine, and some people question its place scientific discussions”?

    No, of course not.

  • http://seangill-insidemyhead.blogspot.com SeanG

    I don’t see in the article that they directly intend for creationism to be taught in a science class. I don’t see a problem if they teach christian myth alongside other myths in a social studies or anthropology class.

    (that was hard to type with a straight face)

  • Simo

    I’m all for the teaching of Creationism in school. Yep, you heard me right. I think that ALL students should take a “World Religions” course that includes Christianity AND all the other major world faiths.

    Unfortunately, THAT’S not the kind of Creationism most people who want Creationism in schools want taught.

    Universal education standards! The horror! I teach in Louisiana, and you should have heard the cries of “Socialism!” when Obama wanted to address the nation’s children about responsibility taking. These people don’t trust the federal government–which is exactly why they want it to have more control.

  • Matt

    Then all they have left to teach them is that Obama is a Muslim Marxist who wants to take away all their money and give it away to illegal immigrants and that technology is fake and guns are “magic” and all you have to do in life is invade other countries and steal their oil or rape the ocean and then you can use the money you make to buy pickup trucks, more guns, and beer, maybe a prostitute or two, who by the way is going to hell, but you’re not because you have jesus, and god forbid if your barefoot and pregnant wife ever did anything like that!!! P.S. Oh, and kill all those no good gay people.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    From the quotes of the board members in the article, we can pretty fairly conclude that these folks are angling for the “alternative thoery/evolution is just one theory among many” argument—in which case, they would be looking to introduce Creationism in a scientific context (i.e., in science class). When they say things like

    We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?

    and

    you don’t have to be afraid to point out some of the fallacies with the theory of evolution. Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.

    they’re kind of tipping their hand; clearly they want Creationism introduced to students as an “alternative” to evolution by natural selection. When they talk about getting a teacher with religious beliefs to “get [Creationism] into the classroom,” it’s extremely unlikely they mean in a Social Studies/History of Mythologies context. Even if Creationism were “taught” outside of the science classes, it would still be trespassing onto the territory of science by making claims about how life formed on Earth. The only way around that would be to teach Creationism the way Greek mythology is taught—i.e., here are some adorable myths people used to believe but are just that, myths—and the Creationists certainly don’t want to do that.

  • helvetebrann

    Universal education standards! The horror! I teach in Louisiana, and you should have heard the cries of “Socialism!” when Obama wanted to address the nation’s children about responsibility taking. These people don’t trust the federal government–which is exactly why they want it to have more control.

    You have hit the nail on the head. Even in California, I had students who sat out Obama’s speech because of the fear of their parents.

    I have a very hard time understanding how they can honestly state that a religious idea should be taught in a science classroom.

  • flatlander100

    This 31 year former resident of S. Louisiana recalls that schools in either Livingston Parish, or Tangi Parish [close by] went into court to keep teacher-led prayer in the classroom… and lost. They tried to find a way to ignore the decision, were sued again. And lost. And they gave it a third try at evading the decision. And lost.

    What the Livingston Parish school board is up to now is not at all surprising. I figure it will take three lost court cases, with the public picking up the tab for the costs for both sides before the tax payers get tired of it. Again.

  • The “Eh” theist

    @Andy Wow. These people are talking about teaching Creationism, not even Intelligent Design. They’re not even trying to disguise it.

    Perhaps they thought with all the godless atheists focused on attacking intelligent design that we’d miss them slipping the “C” word back in? *rollseyes*

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    If they did teach creationism in the classroom it should take all of about 10 seconds.

    “Class, we are now going to cover the creationism theory of how the world came into existence. Creationism says that ‘God did it’. OK, now moving on to other subjects…”

    Of course, in reality, they will probably spend 6 to 8 weeks saying “God did it”. Each class will start with “OK class, turn your bibles to page X”.

  • Numyummy!

    I interned in a first year college classroom (writing) and encouraged students to write whatever they felt passionately about for their first papers as long as they had the research work (citing, MLA etcetc.) assigned to it. I let them peer edited their neighbors papers the next class. A student wrote a paper on evolution vs. creationism and it just so happens that the student that edited the paper confessed (embarrassed enough) she could not accurately help with the argument because she had never been taught evolution. When her grade school and hs science classes talked about the subject matter, her parents conveniently dismissed her from school. Withholding academics from your children?? Appalling.
    Your children want to learn creationism? They can! It’s called church. Somebody needs to bake some delicious baby cupcakes for that school board while they rethink this decision.

  • Rich Wilson

    The real WTF is that it’s Livingston parish, not county.

  • flatlander100

    Rich:

    You wrote: “The real WTF is that it’s Livingston parish, not county.” Not really. “Parish” is the term for “county” in Louisiana. It has, when referring to the local governmental divisions, no religious connotations.

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Iason Ouabache

    @Hitch How many years since the Monkey trial?

    Eighty five years. And 23 years since Edwards v. Aguillard, which you’d think that people from Louisiana would remember. They did get their asses handed to them nicely in that one.

    @Jeff P: Of course, in reality, they will probably spend 6 to 8 weeks saying “God did it”. Each class will start with “OK class, turn your bibles to page X”.

    It will take them at least that long to go through the entire TalkOrigin’s list of faulty Creationist claims.

  • Dan W

    Ugh. If these morons want their bullshit religious views taught in class, they could offer an optional class on comparative religions or something. But most definitely DO NOT force their religion into science classes where it doesn’t belong.

  • sarah

    I am so glad I was never exposed to the “evolution is just a theory, creationism is true” rubbish when I went to catholic school. I think if they did I would have forced myself to speak up because that is just wrong.

    I did take a World Religions class when I was a Senior in high school which was interesting. It was nice learning other religions besides good ole Christianity.

  • Dan

    I’ve asked this before…

    As the victories for evolution in the courtroom add up over trials like the ones we may see here, does the side in favor of creationism loose more and more possibility of ever winning? =

    Because the side in favor of keeping evolution as the only thing taught in the classroom can point to more and more verdicts from judges in more and more locations who voted to keep creationism out of the science classroom.

    Any ideas?

  • Steve

    As already said, that they outright call it Creationism and not Intelligent Design shows that they are even more backwards than may seem.

    Not that there is much of a difference, but anyone who is really serious about this calls it ID. Whereas Creationism explicitly references god, ID strips away any religious reference and leaves that open. Thus it superficially looks like science when it really isn’t. They still start from a fixed conclusion and arrange their evidence to support it.

  • http://cousinavi.wordpress.com cousinavi

    The struggle against ignorance can never be won. The enemy is heavily armed and wears fact-proof armour.

  • Geek Gazette

    It scares me that so many people in this country think the same way as this school board. There are a lot of calls for this kind of thing in the middle America rural town where I live. Luckily we have enough reasonable, educated people to keep it from becoming official.
    Unfortunately, even those reasonable, educated people tend to be religious. (Actually I am the only non-religious person I know of in town. I suspect that there are more, but I have yet to find them.) So public school teachers get away with telling kids not to see movies or read books (Harry Potter, Twilight, Golden Compass, Percy Jackson)because they are offensive to their god. The school principals and even teachers offer prayers at school events and saying something against it isn’t the smartest or safest move a person could make.
    I don’t know the attitude in the rest of the country but the extremist, who see teaching creationism as a reasonable alternative to evolution, seem to not only be gathering steam in my area, but becoming more dominant. They seem to all be gun happy, and tend to think it is there duty to “defend” this country. Honestly they just seem like a bunch of blood thirsty gun nuts that are looking for an excuse to prove the size of their manhood by killing someone. A lot of them get their “news” from Fox and actually believe that there is a liberal conspiracy/agenda and that another civil war coming. It seems that people are becoming less rational and more paranoid every day.
    I’m genuinely worried that this country, at least in the mid-west and south, may end up being a place that I not only don’t want to be, but a place where it isn’t safe to be.

  • http://www.brophyfootball.blogspot.com Brophy

    I guess we can thank the ignorant-reinforcing pseudo-science propaganda of Ray Comfort and Ben Stein for these ardent presumptions amongst (make)’believers’.

    I would love to hear Dr. Dawkins initial reaction to hearing something like this (lol). With people like this influencing school boards, its easy to see why America’s democratic process has become such a charade.

    The funniest thing about the whole measure was that they want to introduce this under the guise of ‘critical thinking’……..the fucking irony

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Geek Gazette Says: A lot of them get their “news” from Fox and actually believe that there is a liberal conspiracy

    Technically speaking, there was a liberal conspiracy. It was called the Enlightenment and was a challenge to the theocracies and monarchies of the middle ages. This liberal conspiracy led to the scientific method, great art, educating the masses, the American revolution, and so many other facets of modern life.

    The American founding fathers were all Enlightenment liberals who formed a representative system of government where the representatives should be educated enlightened citizens (the best of the best) who can make the best decisions possible for their place and time.

    True representative government, though, is were the majority picks the most typical representatives possible which can easily turn out to be reactive uneducated bigots (the worst of the worst).

    There is still a bit of the old liberal conspiracy left from the founding fathers. Some people did make a big stink when Palin was running for vice president (heart beat away from president). The liberal conspiracy is much weaker for local elections. In many locations, there is truly representative school board members who have to be reigned in by what is left of the national liberal conspiracy.

    Purely representative government can be a scary thing when the majority are bigots and would prefer to drag those with minority views (or tendencies) behind pick-up trucks.

  • alex

    Of course, they will ignore the fact that way more cultures and religions than Christianity hold a creationist viewpoint. Somehow, I doubt they want to teach the students that the world was created from vomitus and saliva of Ennead, who emerged from the primordial waters and masturbated to relieve his loneliness. After all, this country ain’t founded on none of them Egyptian principles, right?…

  • Geek Gazette

    @ Jeff P
    I was speaking more of the “their coming to get our guns and turn the country into a godless, socialist, white hating, nazi-like regime that puts people in FEMA concentration camps” liberal conspiracy that Rush and Glen Beck are always going on about. The one that all my working class, religious friends think is true.
    To me a working class person that blindly follows the Right’s agenda is like an non-white joining the KKK. It is a self defeating path. Of course a liberal that blindly agrees with the Democrats is in the same boat.
    I’m a moderate, so I strongly agree with some ideas, kind of agree with some ideas and completely disagree with ideas on both the Right and Left. Overall both parties disgust me because of the crazy talk, elitism and lies they spread. I know that the agendas of both sides are more important to them than the people of this country, but right now they are all we have. What scares me is the number of people that I know who don’t see it and are hardcore behind one party or the other. Kind of like they are supporting their favorite sports team. Doesn’t matter if they are right or wrong, you can’t persuade them to go against their team. Until we manage to get more political parties, that are not just extreme versions of the existing two, in Congress to keep things in check, we have to pay more attention to what both sides are doing. To keep this country sane the people are going to need to be more knowledgeable and active in the process. Right wing conspiracy, left wing conspiracy, it doesn’t matter. Neither side completely has our best interest or the interest of this country in mind.

    I don’t consider the Enlightenment influence on the founders of the country to be a conspiracy. Of course all of the founding fathers weren’t students of the Enlightenment either. There were some Christians in the mix, most of them just weren’t as prominent as people like Jefferson, but they had some influence. Even if it was minor for the most part. That diversity of opinion is what I think made the country great. Something that politicians have spend the past 200+ years destroying. Now everything is about conformity, left or right, red or blue. Bucking the system or having new ideas is political suicide.
    I think it is sad that even though it was 200+ years ago, all of the founders seem to be smarter than a majority of the “leaders” of this country are today.

    As Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, who is supposedly affiliated with The Family, said in Religulous:
    “You don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate, though”

    How sad is that? These are the people that lead our country now.

  • Bob

    @Geek Gazette:

    “You don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate, though.” — Mark Pryor

    It’s more about a grasp of facts and critical thinking ability than raw IQ. I know some pretty smart people who have hopped aboard the Tea Party bus and believe all of the Evil Socialist Plot drivel being sold by FOX News and other slime merchants.

  • jose

    I’m sorry, could anyone lead me to some resources so I can learn the basics about how this school board thing works? We have a different system in my country and I was hoping to better understand this problem by learning something about it first. Particularly, how on earth could a bunch of nutjobs like the ones described in this post have been given the power to decide what students should and shouldn’t learn.

  • Ben Zalisko

    This post got me thinking about a new potential problem… I’m pretty sure that judges have only prevented creationism/ID from being taught as science in a science classroom. There is nothing preventing creationism from showing its face in something like a religious studies course, even if this course was to focus on only one religion. I could see creationists trying to get their own class where they simply rip down what students learn in science class. As far as an ignorant student is concerned, each would have their own class, so each idea would be considered of equal value.

    On another note, I have often promoted the idea of directly addressing pseudoscientific ideas in science class, such as alternative medicine, creationism, and astrology.

  • Ben Zalisko

    This post got me thinking about a new potential problem… I’m pretty sure that judges have only prevented creationism/ID from being taught as science in a science classroom. There is nothing preventing creationism from showing its face in something like a religious studies course, even if this course was to focus on only one religion. I could see creationists trying to get their own class where they simply rip down what students learn in science class. As far as an ignorant student is concerned, each would have their own class, so each idea would be considered of equal value.

    On another note, I have often promoted the idea of directly addressing pseudoscientific ideas in science class, such as alternative medicine, creationism, and astrology.

  • Geek Gazette

    @ Ben Z

    Your religious studies class, where ID can be taught in public schools does exist. They claim it is just a class that teaches the influence the bible has had on art, literature and world events. While I am a long way from my high school years so I have no first hand experience, but people I know or have spoken with claim to have these classes in their schools. Everyone one of them has said it is obvious that it is there to undermine secular classes and science. Fortunately, the class is mostly an elective. Still even one kid that is taught to belief fantasy and myths over logic and scientific evidence in a publicly funded school is a travesty and a disservice to humanity.

  • Kayleigh

    This is my parish. I am so embarrassed by this. There are no words to describe the shame I feel, although I know I shouldn’t take it personally. It’s not like *I* had any choice in the matters of ridiculous school board appointments, being too young to vote at the time. But it still makes me sick to my stomach because my poor little brother is stuck in this parish school system until he graduates. Major facepalm.


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