Veto of Louisiana's antievolution bill urged


The New York Times, in a June 21, 2008, editorial, urged Governor Bobby Jindal to veto Louisiana's Senate Bill 733, a bill that would, if enacted, in effect open the door for creationism to be taught in public school science classes. According to the editorial, "it would have the pernicious effect of implying that evolution is only weakly supported and that there are valid competing scientific theories when there are not. In school districts foolish enough to head down this path, the students will likely emerge with a shakier understanding of science." Noting that Jindal was a biology major at Brown University, the editorial commented, "Jindal must know that evolution is the unchallenged central organizing principle for modern biology," and concluded, "If Mr. Jindal has the interests of students at heart, the sensible thing is to veto this Trojan horse legislation."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, which previously lobbied against the bill, also urged Kindal to veto the bill in a letter (PDF) dated June 20, 2008. "The bill disingenously implies that particular theories, including evolution, are controversial among scientists," wrote AAAS's chief executive officer, Alan I. Leshner. "In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a Louisiana 'creation science' law. Rather than step backward, look to the future by seeking to provide Louisiana students with a firm understanding of evolution and other essential scientific concepts so they can compete for high-skill jobs in an increasingly high-tech world economy. Asserting that there are controversies about these concepts among scientists -- when in fact there are not -- will only confuse students, not enlighten them," he added. "I urge you to protect the future of science education in your state by rejecting this bill."