According is Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana we should teach the facts of science. In an interview, NBC’s Hoda Kotb asked Governor Jindal if creationism should be taught in our schools. The obvious answer is yes. In 2008, Jindal signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which modeled after a bill written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as Academic Freedom Bills. The Louisiana senate passed the bill unanimously, and in the House, the vote was 94-3. Only three legislators opposed the bill in Louisiana. When Jindal talks about science education, as he did at a forum in New Orleans, we should check what he says in the context of how political activities of the right-wing through the activities of ALEC, and the Discovery Institute have influenced his thinking. Jindal signed the Louisiana Science Education, which many observers suggest is an anti-science bill. Jindal knows better, but it is politically incorrect for him to put trust in the science educators of Louisiana who have opposed the Science Education Act since he signed it. A former high school student, now an undergraduate at Rice University, has headed a campaign to change the Louisiana law. Here is what I wrote about this activist science educator on this blog last month:
Zack Kopplin is an American science education activist. While he was a high school student at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, the Louisiana legislature passed the Louisiana Science Education Act signed by Governor Bobby Jindal. Zack Kopplin, who is now a history major at Rice University was very surprised that Governor Jindal signed this anti-science act, especially since Jindal has a degree in biology, and was a Rhodes Scholar. In his senior project, Kopplin initiated a campaign to repeal the Louisiana Act by recruiting Professor Barbara Forest, a philosophy professor who had testified in the 2005 Dover intelligent design/creationism case in Pennsylvania. He also teamed with Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson to write bills to repeal the act. Seventy-eight Nobel Laureates have also signed on to support Zack Kopplin. The AAAS and 70,000 people have signed his change.org petition.
Kopplin was interviewed by Bill Moyers. When Kopplin answered Moyers’ question, “What was it about the Louisiana Science Education Act that you didn’t like?, here is what Kopplin said:
Well, this law allows supplemental materials into our public school biology classrooms to quote, “critique controversial theories,” like evolution and climate change. Now, evolution and climate change aren’t scientifically controversial, but they are controversial to Louisiana legislators. And basically, everyone who looked at this law knew it was just a backdoor to sneak creationism into public school science classes.
Here is a clip from the full interview between Jindal and Kotb. Its only three minutes, and I do suggest you watch it before going on.
According to Jindal, evolution, global warming and climate change, creationism, and intelligent design should be taught in the science classroom in Louisiana schools. In his view, we should teach the facts, and let the student decide what do believe. Jindal, in his interview, put it this way:
We have what’s called the Science Education Act that says that if a teacher wants to supplement those materials, if the school board is okay with that, if the state school board is okay with that, they can supplement those materials. … 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 people, some people, have these beliefs as well, let’s teach them about ‘intelligent design’.” “What are we scared of?” he asked. (excerpted from the National Center for Science Education article, Jindal connects the dots.)
Jindal undermines the nature of science, and nature of science teaching when he make statements like these. He undermines science teaching by ignoring the difference between science and religion, and being party to groups that disguise their intent of teaching creationism and intelligent design by spraying or crop dusting the legislatures with bills such as the Academic Freedom bill. Jindal claims that we should teach the facts of science to the kids in Louisiana. The problem is, I don’t think he knows the difference between a fact and a theory, or a law, or for that matter a religious belief.
What do you think about the remarks that Jindal made about the nature of science teaching?