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West: Louisiana Science Education Act Is Important as a “Stereotype Breaker”

Louisiana Science Education Act

This week we’re celebrating the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Louisiana Science Education Act. It was a turning point in the effort to secure academic freedom for science teachers. That effort was never going to be an overnight success, but the LSEA marked an important beginning.

Why is it important? In a conversation for ID the Future, John West and Sarah Chaffee discuss the act, adapted from model language by the Center for Science & Culture, and why it matters.

A point Dr. West makes is that the LSEA was a “stereotype breaker.” Stereotypes are of course one of the top weapons that Darwinists have in their arsenal for discouraging resistance to evolutionary dogma. You don’t want to be one of those science-denying creationist fundamentalists, do you?

A Lesson from Darwin

In fact, West notes, the LSEA shattered clichés like that in several ways. For one, it enjoyed broad bipartisan support — it was not a matter of Republicans versus Democrats. That’s got to be one reason it has resisted attempts at repeal led by activist Zack Kopplin, who has since moved on to other pursuits (as Sarah Chaffee notes here). For another, it enjoyed support from scientists. It was, again, not a battle of citizens versus science.

Finally, it was not “anti-science” at all but on the contrary, pro-science: that is, if by science you mean an enterprise entailing critical, objective analysis and weighing of evidence. In fact, the LSEA took inspiration from Darwin himself, who wrote that in scientific inquiries, “a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

Download the podcast or listen to it here. Happy birthday, LSEA!

Photo: Louisiana State Capitol, by nobis-scotia, via Flickr.