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Society of Vertebrate Paleontology urges repeal of Louisiana ‘Creation Law’

Posted Nov 11 2008 2:26pm

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP), an international organization of 2,200 members, has urged Louisiana legislators to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, sometimes referred to as the creation law, and to “prohibit the injection of religious content in America’s public school classrooms.” 

The SVP is one of numerous scientific organizations to publicly oppose the law, including the National Association of Biology Teachers,American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

The SVP states that the law was passed “under the guise of ‘academic freedom’” but that its real intention is to “garner support and legal protection for the introduction of religious, creationist concepts, including intelligent design, in public school science curricula. By permitting instructional materials that are not reviewed by the state’s science standards committees, the Louisiana Act and those like it encourage teachers and administrators to work outside these standards. This makes it possible for local school boards to define science and science education to suit their own agendas, thereby compromising the quality of science education for students, and allowing religious discrimination in America’s public school science classrooms.” 

The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State has warned Louisiana officials that lawsuits will result if the law is used to introduce religion into public school classrooms. “Louisiana has a long and unfortunate history of trying to substitute dogma for science in public school classrooms, said AUSCS executive director Rev. Barry W. Lynn. “Let me state clearly and upfront that any attempts to use this law to sneak religion into public schools through the back door will not be tolerated.” 

In 2005 a U.S. district judge ruled that a Dover, Penn., public school board had violated the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment (concerning the separation of church and state) when it voted to introduce intelligent design into science classes by requiring students to listen to a disclaimer critical of evolution. The lawsuit had been filed by AUSCS and the Pennsylvania ACLU on behalf of Dover parents. 

Related:

Louisiana legislature passes 'creation bill' -- Opponents: "The Bible was never intended to be a science textbook"

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