Saturday, February 14, 2009

Louisiana's Shameful Science Policy Hits Its Wallets

Via Pharyngula, last year Louisiana passed the ironically-named "Louisiana Science Education Act", which is basically one in a long string of dumb pieces of legislation used by Creationists to try to sneak religion in the back door of schools. The wording says something about allowing teachers to bring special materials (i.e. non-approved textbook materials) to refute particular "controversial" topics like evolution and global warming.

Many scientific organizations urged our Governor to boycott the bill, but he's a religious conservative so he ignored them and signed it into law. And now it's hurting Louisiana in more ways that one.

The annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology was going to be held in New Orleans this year, but because of the passing of this moronic bill, the organizers decided to move the venue to Salt Lake City. So the stupidity of this bill basically cost the New Orleans local economy a week's worth of revenue from about 2,000 scientists and students who would have attended the meeting.

So not only is such legislation medieval and educationally-backward, it's economically-damaging. Unless, of course, the hit is offset by religious or creationists groups coming here when they otherwise wouldn't because the state is a haven for science-denial. Good times.


Philip said...

Wow, it's bad enough that they decided to move the convention because Louisiana placed religiosity ahead of education, but their alternative was Utah? Ouch.

Rob said...

Yeah, that's like going to Atlantic City instead of Vegas because they are opposed to legalized gambling. Besides, since when was New Orleans a symbol of religiosity?

Seriously, if a state governing body passes some law such as this I doubt they really care if it offends some scientific group. Just about anything you do will offend someone. The question will be if such boycotts are widespread will they reverse their decision? Not likely.

Derek James said...

Well, the choice of Utah wasn't arbitrary. According to the story, last year:

"Utah, in contrast, passed a resolution that states that evolution is central to any science curriculum."

So the Mormons are more scientifically progressive. Go figure.

Philip said...

Dammit, the last thing I need in my life right now is a reason to like mormons.

Philip said...

I'm having trouble putting this all together - Utah is scientifically progressive, but only 22% of Mormons accept evolution:

mark said...

Rob said when we New Orleans a symbol of religiosity.

Mardi Gras is a Religious holiday. Fat Tuesday is the day before ash wednesday which is the beginning of lent. Lent is a time of pennance so they live it up before beginning a time of denial.

New Orleans is known for a celebration around a religious holiday.