Bobby Jindal and Creationism (Guest Voice)

[Editor's Note: We've done several posts here on Louisiana Bobby Jindal's post-election comments which are quite moderate in tone. But he is also at the center of an ongoing battle in his home state that is worth remembering and puts his stand on issues into a wider context. Here's a concise Guest Voice post that'll help.]

Bobby Jindal and Creationism
by Zack Kopplin

Louisiana’s Governor, Bobby Jindal, recently spoke out against anti-intellectualism in the Republican Party. He said, the Republican Party must “stop being the stupid party.”

Governor Jindal is well positioned to put his money where his mouth is. During his term he has supported the passage of several anti-science laws. Instead, he should support their repeal.

We have a creationism law in Louisiana. 78 Nobel laureate scientists have called on Governor Jindal to repeal this law. He should listen to them.

We have a creationist school voucher program. We are funding at least twenty schools that are teaching creationism. These schools are receiving at least $4 million of public money. The Jindal administration should remove these creationist schools from its program.

Governor Jindal, please do the right thing and support an educated science policy. Please teach our students evolution.

Zack Kopplin is a student at Rice University. He has won the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in Education and the National Center for Science Education’s Friend of Darwin Award. He is leading the repeal of Louisiana’s creationism law and he exposed creationist voucher schools.

You can see his work on the issues at repealcreationism.com and creationistvouchers.com

Author: Guest Voice

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25 Comments

  1. More and more I am starting to feel that those of the “atheist” religion are bullies to Christians. Our country was formed based on freedom of religion. Who are you to tell others what to believe in? Why do you think your atheist religion is superior to all others? Live and let live.

    Let us focus on the things that matter about a politician. Is he a leader, is he honest, does he make good economical decisions, is he fair. Those are the things we need to focus on. Leave a person’s religious beliefs out of politics, please.

    PS (And I do not want to get in a debate about this, but please remember there are respectable scientists who do not agree with you.)

  2. As Science Digest reported:

    “Scientists who utterly reject Evolution may be one of our fastest-growing controversial minorities… Many of the scientists supporting this position hold impressive credentials in science.”

  3. A former Evolutionist, Dr. Wilder-Smith debated various leading scientists on the subject throughout the world. In his opinion, the Evolution model did not fit as well with the established facts of science as did the Creation model of intelligent design.

    “The Evolutionary model says that it is not necessary to assume the existence of anything, besides matter and energy, to produce life. That proposition is unscientific. We know perfectly well that if you leave matter to itself, it does not organize itself – in spite of all the efforts in recent years to prove that it does.”

  4. Yes, there are a few respected Christian scientists that reject evolution…not because of the science, but because they cannot fit evolution into their religious upbringing. These are the same kind of conservative scientists that reject global warming by cherry picking small studies here and there.

    The problem with arguing the scientific merit of creationism is that there are no facts to back up the proposition. Not knowing how the earth was created is not proof that there is a god. It is almost as silly as worshiping the sun….except that we actually need the sun.

    Creationism can be taught….in social science, not natural science. Of course, the all of the major religion’s idea of creationism should also be taught…or is teaching Islam to Christian children not ok????

  5. We know perfectly well that if you leave matter to itself, it does not organize itself – in spite of all the efforts in recent years to prove that it does.”
    This is pure BS. The nature of matter and it’s interactions are defined and becoming clearer. Transistors and solid state electronics are organized. Where does the Bible explain transistor effect or tunneling? Entropy and enthalpy even explain chaos without divine intervention.

  6. The resurgence of superstition in the guise of religion is making the people in our country more stupid. It is also making us the butt of jokes in more civilized regions of the world. Freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion. We are better served in this country when religion is a personal matter and doesn’t infiltrate government. The founders knew this and addressed it often. Let’s all try to meet the challenges of the future by not going backwards eh? Don’t be afraid of knowledge, and don’t be afraid to re-examine what you may think is knowledge.

  7. @Summerwind,

    Welcome to TMV (nice screen name)

    Regarding

    “Who are you to tell others what to believe in? Why do you think your atheist religion is superior to all others? Live and let live.”

    You are exactly right.

    That is why we should not let religion get into politics and have politicians “tell others what to believe in,” i.e. attempt to have religion trump science and all other logical and reasonable evidence regarding “creationism”

  8. More and more I am starting to feel that those of the “atheist” religion are bullies to Christians.

    That’s an interesting point of view, to say the least. First off, I’d point out that many Christians accept evolution as solid science. Equating acceptance of evolution with atheism is simply wrong.

    Second, about that bullying thing…if I want to have my kid learn about evolution in a public school science class, it is going to be a fight. Thanks to the incessant nagging of “Christians,” this very well-established scientific theory – one of the pillars of modern science – simply cannot be taught in many public schools. References to it are excised from textbooks. School boards packed with creationists keep it out of science classes. Activists attempt to shove “scientific creationism” or “intelligent design” into classrooms in place of actual science.

    “Christians” have been fighting the teaching of science in public schools for nearly a century now. Who is the real bully?

  9. Summerwind
    The greatest mythology is that the United States was founded as a “Christian Nation” it was not.

    None of the Founding Fathers were atheists. Most of the Founders were Deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. They spoke often of God, (Nature’s God or the God of Nature), but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity. Some people speculate that if Charles Darwin had lived a century earlier, the Founding Fathers would have had a basis for accepting naturalistic origins of life, and they would have been atheists. We’ll never know; but by reading their own writings, it’s clear that most of them were opposed to the bible, and the teachings of Christianity in particular.

  10. It gets truly tiresome to get christians to understand that the bible is not a science book, and a biology textbook says nothing about religion. We need to keep religion out of science class.

    If you want to know where the courts stand, please read the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision.

    Why this law is still standing is amazing to me.

  11. Summerwind wrote “Why do you think your atheist religion is superior to all others? Live and let live.”

    According to your logic people who are not religious are religious. Atheism means not theism and not religious. People who are not religious do not belong to religions. Any five year old child could figure that out.

    Live and let live? Religious nuts who deny basic scientific facts, brainwash children, harass biology teachers, and fly airplanes into buildings deserve ridicule and contempt.

    Atheism is superior to your childish idiotic Christian death cult because atheism equals reality. Your cult equals fantasy.

    You also wrote “Scientists who utterly reject Evolution may be one of our fastest-growing controversial minorities.”

    You’re extremely dishonest. It’s virtually impossible to find a science-denying scientist anywhere in the world.

    Google “darwin killed god” and click the I’m Feeling Lucky button.

  12. cjjack wrote “Equating acceptance of evolution with atheism is simply wrong.”

    It’s obvious to everyone including Christians and Muslims evolution makes gods unnecessary. A magic god fairy who never had to perform any magic tricks is a fairy who never existed.

    In America only 15% of the population accepts evolution without supernatural intervention. Compare this 15% to the 100% of American biologists who accept evolution without a god’s magic wand. It’s obvious American Christians are terrified of evolution. Why else would they deny the whole thing or even worse stick their magic Jeebus man into biology?

    Google “darwin killed god” and click the I’m Feeling Lucky button.

  13. This is an outrageous use of tax dollars. Why on earth would we be spending money on institutions that promote this ignorance when millions of this nations children have no idea to properly handle snakes and other serpents to prove their righteous faith :)

  14. And for the record Summer, you make the same flaw in your reasoning that so many christians do. Atheists aren’t telling you or anyone not to believe in what you believe. You are not being oppressed by this. When we teach Christian creationism in Science classes, christians fundies are foisting THEIR beliefs on everyone else. You are confusing the fact you aren’t allowed to force others to hear your beliefs via public resources with the idea that you are being oppressed somehow. Essentially its the same play the victim BS we hear all the time. Creationism doesn’t belong in science class any more than it belongs in a baking class or driver’s ed.

    I mean seriously, just take a second and put another shoe on that foot. Instead of Christian creationism, you found out that your child was being taught Hindu religious beliefs in biology class. Wouldn’t that seem a bit odd to you? Wouldn’t that seem like somehow your child is being forced to hear something that really didn’t belong in that class? Wouldn’t you object? Of course you would. Because Hindus are almost as bad as atheists.

  15. Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.....da-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

  16. Intelligent Design On Trial NOVA

    Program Description

    In this two-hour special, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District. This program was coproduced with Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions, Inc.
    .
    In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution called intelligent design–the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply. Later, parents opposed to intelligent design filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state.
    .
    “There was a blow-up like you couldn’t believe,” Bill Buckingham, head of the school board’s curriculum committee, tells NOVA. Buckingham helped formulate the intelligent-design policy when he noticed that the biology textbook chosen by teachers for classroom use was, in his words, “laced with Darwinism.”
    .
    NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as “What is evolution?” and “Is intelligent design a scientifically valid alternative?” Kitzmiller v. Dover was the first legal test of intelligent design as a scientific theory, with the plaintiffs arguing that it is a thinly veiled form of creationism, the view that a literal interpretation of the Bible accounts for all observed facts about nature.
    .
    During the trial, lawyers for the plaintiffs showed that evolution is one of the best-tested and most thoroughly confirmed theories in the history of science, and that its unresolved questions are normal research problems–the type that arise in any flourishing scientific field.
    .
    “Judgment Day captures on film a landmark court case with a powerful scientific message at its core,” says Paula Apsell, NOVA’s Senior Executive Producer. “Evolution is one of the most essential yet, for many people, least understood of all scientific theories, the foundation of biological science. We felt it was important for NOVA to do this program to heighten the public understanding of what constitutes science and what does not, and therefore, what is acceptable for inclusion in the science curriculum in our public schools.”
    .
    For years to come, the lessons from Dover will continue to have a profound impact on how science is viewed in our society and how it is taught in the classroom.

  17. Actually (re)watched my link (1:53:18) and all I can say is the jury IS NOT out.

  18. This ‘Christians are persecuted in America’ meme from Evangelicals is beyond belief; at best, they are minor inconveniences.

    As for Jindal, I wouldn’t care if he believed the Earth was created last week by a two-headed kitten. I care what he’s going to make kids learn, and that the Creationist crowd he favors seems intent on forcing it down childrens’ throats by whatever dishonest means they can do it by.

  19. Right you are Steve, the jury is NOT out. That said, debunking is a 24/7 job. Crazy times…

  20. The thing that really bugs me about this is that if it were any other area of science, these politicians would have no problem accepting the generally agreed upon consensus, and rejecting mythology.

    If someone asked Jindal or Rubio if they thought demons caused disease, or if it was bacteria and viruses, they’d probably come down on the side of science.

    Is thunder and lightning the work of angry deities? Or is it just predictable weather? I think you’d be hard pressed to find a politician saying “well I’m no scientist, but it could be a thunder god…”

    Yet for some reason, when it comes to basic science like evolution and the age of the Earth, these guys are more than happy to throw modern science to the side. What gives?

  21. Just a quick note to follow up zippee’a comment: Our children trust us. They are innocents. The very least we can do on their behalf is provide them with reliable and honest information – information which is the work of generations of dedicated people who are NOT in the grip of non-scientific dogma. If our children choose to believe in some fantastic power or other after they have been given the rational foundations of knowledge then this is their prerogative, but let’s not innoculate them against it before they have any defenses.

  22. Well, cjjack, to be completely honest there are also people who use their creationist beliefs to claim that AGW can’t be real.

  23. lol, that was great cjjack. I can imagine Rick Santorum running down the street screaming….

    “The Thunder God is Angry!!!”

  24. I think there is an unnecessary assumption made that anyone who accepts the existence of evolution, cannot also accept a belief in God and visa versa. But actually the main point of contention between the Biblical account of creation and established science is that we really know that matter, the stars, the galaxy and planets, including the geological age of the earth, did NOT involve a timeline of less than 10,000 years or so. We also know that, the fossil record and geological evidence affirms that our planet is several billion years old, and that it did NOT begin with Adam and Eve in a Garden of Eden. There are many mythological and allegorical meanings one may find in the accounts of Biblical creationism, but, even though we know the Bible’s timeline is way way off (to put it mildly) and, might prefer to believe that all the fossil records and geological evidence concerning the history of this planet are clever ruses used by “the devil” to destroy our faith, there is no getting around the fact that many established dating techniques, of which carbon dating is only the beginning, tell a completely different story. Also, since all knowledge gathered by scientists comes from direct observations of reality, and/or, from deductive reasoning, if you accept medical science, or Physics, or chemistry, or any other body of knowledge amassed by using the Scientific method, you cannot reject geological records or the knowledge that comes from astrophysics. Not unless you also reject all other scientific disciplines as well—because they are all derived from using the same scientific method!

    Personally I see no reason why evidence of a big-bang occurring 13 billion years ago (or whatever the current estimate is) automatically negates anyone’s faith or belief in God. After all, we know that the physical universe exists, but just because it did not happen 10,000 years ago or take place in seven days, does not in any way logically negate the possibility of a higher power or creator.

    When you go back to the basic question of how it all began, religious people accept on faith that a God created it all—even though a logical skeptical mind might ask the question, “who then crated God!” But when the argument of causality is involved I believe that scientists cannot adequately answer “what created or caused the big bang.

    I have heard modern Astrophysicists and other scientists talk about parallel universes and energy coming spontaneously into being, but to me, all of this amazing speculation is similar to religious arguments because it assumes that something (in this case energy) arose out of nothing–or from an uncaused cause.

    Evolution occurs whenever a virus morphs through many thousands of generations that take place in a very small mount of time, and eventually becomes immune to antibiotics or other antidotes that would otherwise destroy it. So we know that all of life, as well as most probably, the entire universe, is constantly changing and evolving. If one understands the methods used by science but chooses to believe that God is merely tempting us to stray in order to test our faith, then one also cast doubt on every body of knowledge gained through scientific inquiry. However, even science cannot answer the age old question of how something came from nothing. Even the awareness of time, implies that causation drives a logical progression of existence.

    In many ways, even physicists (or especially them) are discovering more and more about the cosmos, and creating more and more far out explanations for things we don’t yet know, So, sometimes I think that just having faith that meaning and consciousness, have a shared and divine essence, makes more sense than believing some of the wild propositions about string theory and dark matter etc. It really seems that, the more we know, the more questions we raise–ad infinitum.

    Although I believe that religiously based superstition, has often held back our human evolution, I feel that just having faith in something that has always existed and cannot be either crated or destroyed, can be more honestly defined as “God” rather than attempting to use reason to explain the paradox of time and existence just (arising, our of nothing). However, believing in the divine origin of the cosmos, does not depend on what any religious text says, or even on any current far-out theory that scientists are exploring. There are many things that do not require either/or explanations, and a belief in evolution does not preclude any belief in a divine being or conscious purpose existing behind the universe! It is a completely unnecessary point of contention!

  25. Hi Petew,

    Thank you for one of the most cogent and dispassionate discussions of this emotional subject.

    I am with you, whether our world was created 6,000 year ago — as many believe — or whether it has been evolving for billions of years — as science reveals — either way, one can still believe in a God, in a Supreme Being.

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