Education Icon Education
Evolution Icon Evolution
Free Speech Icon Free Speech

Nature Admits “Bioscience is Thriving” in Louisiana, Blows Up Darwin Lobby Talking Point

In early 2008, when the Louisiana State Legislature was considering passing its Science Education Act — the nation’s first academic freedom law — we heard all kinds of ominous warnings threats about how science and tech businesses would leave Louisiana if a law permitting the critique of evolution in public schools was passed. More recently, when Tennessee was debating its own proposed academic freedom law earlier this year, we saw the same kind of fear-mongering.

At that time, I wrote a piece noting how Louisiana’s science and technology industry hasn’t failed as a result of its law. In fact, over the past few years, business groups have given Louisiana awards for its burgeoning sci-tech economy. Now, even the journal Nature has recognized the growth of Louisiana’s successful science and technology fields.

An article in the most recent issue of Nature, “All jazzed up,” notes: “Bioscience is thriving in New Orleans as the city bounces back from multiple disasters.” The article explains how important new pharmaceutical, agro-tech, environmental, and other new biotech companies have all started in Louisiana since 2009 — which of course is since the Science Education Act passed. The article states:

Not long ago, New Orleans and the surrounding area had virtually no start-up companies. But in the past few years, nearly 60 have sprung up, many in the biosciences sector, attracting the attention of big-time investors, out-of-state venture-capital funds and pharmaceutical companies. Although the city is certainly not yet an established biotechnology hub, onlookers see the potential for significant growth.

Now keep in mind that it’s not every day that Nature publishes an article like this about a burgeoning bioscience hub in a particular city. And of course the causes of this growth are varied — they have a lot to do with investment in Louisiana in the wake of Katrina and the Gulf Oil spill.

But the point is this: Darwin lobbyists cried that Louisiana’s sci-tech economy would tank because of the Science Education Act, and guess what happened? Nothing of the kind.

Now Nature has blown this mainstay argument of the Darwin lobby to bits. Whoops!


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



academic freedom billsLaw and CourtsLouisianaTennessee