Jindal backs creationism lesson plans


I remember about a year ago when Ezra Klein noted that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is “considered among the most wonkish of the Republican Party’s class of rising stars.” It’s true; he is. When Jindal later argued he wants Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and move away from “dumbed-down conservatism,” he did so in part because of his perceived intellectual credibility.

With this in mind, consider this excerpt from a recent NBC News interview with Jindal (via the National Center for Science Education).

Asked about the role of creationism in public-school science classes, Jindal argued, “I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about creationism, that people, some people, have these beliefs as well, let’s teach them about ‘intelligent design.’”

Intelligent design is a part of the creationist model, which argues intelligent life is so complex, it’s dependent on a supernatural intelligent designer. It is not based on any scientific facts.

Jindal added that children should be exposed to competing claims – some of which are wrong – and can be encouraged to “make up their own minds.”

As a matter of proper education, this is ridiculous.  Classrooms are hardly the appropriate setting to expose kids to lessons known to be wrong. When teaching students about heliocentrism, we don’t usually invite critics who believe the earth is at the center of the galaxy in for a presentation. When teaching students the value of pi, we don’t encourage those who’d like to see it changed to just 3.0 to make their best in-class pitch.

“Make up their own minds”? Between fact and fiction? This is what’s become of the most wonkish minds the Republican Party has to offer?

I should note, as I’ve argued before, that when it comes to science, there’s already an equal and open playing field. Advocates of intelligent-design creationism can submit their ideas to journals, endure the peer-review process, and engage in a substantive debate with colleagues in their field. If their ideas withstand scrutiny, good for them – they’ll be part of the scientific canon and students will be exposed to their theories. If not, then their ideas need more work.

Jindal thinks creationists should skip this process altogether – bypass scientific canon and head straight for Louisiana’s public school science classes.

The governor made it sound as if he’s standing up for academic freedom, asking in the NBC interview, “What are we afraid of?” The answer, of course, is the fear of a generation of American young people who’ve been deliberately confused by lesson plans that include bogus claims on purpose.

Bobby Jindal and Creationism

Jindal backs creationism lesson plans