Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | August 7, 2008

Critical Thinking in Louisiana

Mind Your Head

Recently Louisiana’s Republican governor Bobby Jindal signed a critical thinking bill that may have nationwide repercussions.

It will encourage logical analysis of important scientific, economic, and moral issues like cloning, global warming, and evolution in place of unthinking acceptance of scientism’s propaganda.

Governor Jindal signed the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) June 26, 2008. The bill received strong bipartisan support from the legislature with the State Senate passing it unanimously 35-0 and the State House registering only 3 votes against it (94-3).

LSEA gives government school teachers the right to present evidence both for and against evolution. It permits teachers to use supplemental materials to help students analyze and critique scientific theories objectively, instead of dogmatically insisting that certain theories cannot be doubted or challenged.

Teachers are still required to teach local and state science curricula standards, but local school boards may authorize supplemental materials. Students will learn the current scientific consensus, but will also be allowed and encouraged to evaluate the evidence supporting and the evidence challenging a theory. This is what critical thinking is all about.

A famous scientist once said,

“A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

This is what the LSEA seeks to promote. By the way, that famous scientist was Charles Darwin.

If so requested by a local school board, LSEA requires the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to

“allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”
(From the Louisiana Science Education Act.)

Critics claim the bill is a back-door attempt to introduce Intelligent Design or even Creationism into the science curricula of government schools. They claim this despite a provision that the law

“shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”
(From the Louisiana Science Education Act.)

A big advantage of this law is that it promotes critical thinking (sadly lacking today) and introduces competition into the scientific theory arena. Competition is good—it’s very effective at winnowing out the chaff.

Dr. John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research commented:

“The majority of the people of the state of Louisiana are logically minded enough to know that their children did not arise from random mutations in animal populations, and they don’t want such an erroneous view taught in the name of science. They can see the underlying ‘religion of naturalism’ motivating many educators and textbook writers, and they don’t want their public schools dominated by a narrow religious viewpoint that goes against the closely held values of the majority of citizens. They want their children better equipped in science, and to not have valuable classroom time taken up by unsupported views of the past with little relevance in the present.”
(From Morris, Acts & Facts, President’s Column, “Academic Freedom Battle Continues State by State”, Aug 2008, p.3.)

This law will undoubtedly be challenged in the courts, even though the Louisiana ACLU has admitted the law is constitutional. If it withstands the challenge, it will likely be a model for similar bills across the nation.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Thursday August 7, 2008 A.D.

Read my August 2008 Bible-Science newspaper column:
Age of the Earth 4 — History’s View.

For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

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