New Orleans schools ban teaching Creationism, reject Texas Creationist "science" textbooks

The Orleans Parish Public School Board has rejected the Louisiana Science Education Act, which followed Texas's lead by putting Creationism into the state's schools. A Board decision prohibits the teaching of Creationism in science class, and forbids the use of Texas's revisionist, Creationist "science" textbooks.

The policy says: "No history textbook shall be approved which has been adjusted in accordance with the state of Texas revisionist guidelines nor shall any science textbook be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories."

It stresses the separation of science and religious teachings:

"No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class. No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes."

Orleans Parish School Board votes to ban creationism [Tania Dall/WWLTV] (Thanks, Patrick!)


  1. One for the good guys. The “Good guys” being those who value evidence, logic and rational thought over blind faith and hypocrisy.

    Awesome. But I feel some lawyerley interference pending as the religious nut-jobs fight back.

      1.  I’m willing to agree that Louisianans might, but just because they’re Catholic? The Pope sure doesn’t use science to back up his position on contraception

        1. The church’s position on contraception is prescriptive (well, actually proscriptive); its position on evolution is descriptive. The former doesn’t require science since it’s just a rule and, “Because I said so,” is sufficient justification.

      2. This had to be passed because the devout catholic governor was the one pushing to teach creationism across the state. Thank God they did

        1. “devout catholic”

          I doubt this. He’s much more concerned with courting the Protestant evangelical vote than he is to practice his own faith.

      1. Yes, methinks Cory conflated the terrible approved Texas history textbooks with the terrible, but abandoned, creationist textbooks.

      1. No, I never heard any such story. I mean I never heard any story about a school board rejecting any legislation of any kind. Have you?

        1. This post is about exactly such a story.

          The Orleans Parish Public School Board has rejected the Louisiana Science Education Act,

  2. In 1986 my Freshman biology teacher taught creationism and evolution in a compare/contrast way. So, he’d present radiocarbon dating and the science behind it. Then he’d present how scientists use that data to evaluate fossils and how that fits in to our understanding of evolution. Then he’d present how creationists just . . . don’t believe in radiocarbon dating.

    I’ve always appreciated that class. It made very clear that creationism was not science, but left each person in the class to parse the details out (i.e. promoted the evil of critical thinking).

  3. Yuss.
    As much crap as we give the South when they do something awful, things like this need to be celebrated & encouraged. Any Boingers down there need to remember this when that School Board comes back up for re-election…

      1. So is Austin supposedly and Texas bubba culture still got what it wanted in sabotaging education standards even further. A victory is a victory.

      2. I constantly have to remember this (well, something like this) since I’ve moved to the Bay Area in California. Everyone likes to think of California as this awesome progressive place, but if you’ve ever taken the highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, you’ll see that there’s nothing in between except irrigated farms in the desert with billboards up complaining about how Congress is taking away the water that they artificially have. The exact area, by the way, which defeated the gay marriage equality act.

    1. Ehhhh… kinda, sorta. Everything North of Lake Pontchartrain skews waaaayyy right. New Orleans is in a similar boat as Austin. Those boats just happen to be floating in a sea of red.

        1.  That’s part of the point, I think: California is VERY red in terms of square miles… But square miles do not vote, and California’s urban areas are pretty massive and growing while the state’s rural areas are in a steady population decline.

  4. I wonder if the local school board has the authority to override the state legislature.  It would be sad if this was an empty gesture.

    1. It will never be an empty gesture. The idea that what I’m pretty sure is the largest school system in the state is pushing back this way is important, even if it is a legal nullity.

  5. I guess it’s nice, but it will take a lot more than just one school board to wrest control of the textbook publishers away from Texas.  Yes, at best this could be the start of a new and wonderful movement that will sweep the nation!  But at worst, this will just make it harder for the schoolboard in question to get relatively inexpensive, quality textbooks.

    The Muddle Machine dates back to 2004, but awesome as it is, I will link to it anyway unless someone can say that it is definitively out of date now.

    1. If you don’t already know it, you’ll learn from those posts that the prohibition against using which to introduce integrated relative clauses is a made-up “rule”, unsanctioned by the usage of good writers in any era. Still, I think that there’s a germ of sociolinguistic truth in Coulter’s theory — “which hunting” is a favorite sport of down-market American copy editors, so that the rate of which in integrated relatives is lower in American journalism than it is in British journalism. As a result, integrated which may indeed have an elitist flavor for those American readers who have noticed the difference.

  6. Good job for New Orleans.

    I happen to be southern and religious, but my beliefs do not belong in any classroom.  You can not pass off creationism as science because it is not anything close to science.  Those history books in Texas are not any better. 

  7. Religion is about believing the truth without evidence. Science is about proving the truth with evidence.

    They are both about the same thing.

    I am wary of scientists who profess unproven atheist religious beliefs as though proven fact.  They are as unscientific as the religious people that are not atheists.

    1. I’ve never once heard an atheist claim it has been proven or that it is even possible to prove there is no such thing as God.

      I’ve never known of an atheist whose beliefs could be described as “religious” except for vacuous and question-begging definitions of “religion”.

      Suggesting that religion and science are “the same thing” is pretty ridiculous. The only people I know of who hold such a position are Biblical literalists.

      1. I do not say religion and science are the same thing… Actually, I said they are “about” the same thing:  Truth.

        Most atheists act like the burden of proof is upon non- atheists to prove God exists, based on the presumption that it does not exist until proven otherwise.

        I look at the science, and find no difference between atheists and other types of religious people in this respect, neither  of which present scientific evidence to support their beliefs.  Atheists view themselves as being non-religious, yet believing God does not
        exists is as religious a belief as believing IT does exist, where there is no scientific proof to show the belief is true.

        An atheist has faith that God does not exist.

        Science verifies which religious beliefs are true, and which are not, and in this respect, they are compatible and are complimentary, with science filtering untrue notions out of religious traditions, and in this respect science itself could be considered an aspect of religion.

        The object of religion is the truth, as is the case with science, both respect and seek this same thing, and while science is method for proving the truth, religion relies upon “gut feeling” and other senses to discern the truth in a manner of theoretical science, which is then just believed until science either verifies the truth or that which is untrue.

        1. The object of religion is the truth

          Funny, I thought that the object was to control and abuse other people.

          1. A lot of people think that, which is why it probably happens so much to religions.

            Interesting to note that school on the other hand certainly does seek to control and abuse people, by some interpretations.

            In looking at the teaching of Christ, which some people call a religion, it is interesting to note that Jesus taught people to be loving and the opposite of being controlling, yet most who claim to be followers of his teaching do not follow it, and do the opposite, which others then copy and call “Christianity”, defaming the teaching of Jesus, which itself is a fine practical teaching of the laws of physics in commonplace terms.

          2. “A lot of people think that, which is why it probably happens so much to religions.”

            And where do those people come from? Within the faith.

        2. “I do not say religion and science are the same thing… Actually, I said they are “about” the same thing:  Truth.”

          Objective truth versus subjective experiential.

        3.  Wow-that’s an interesting conglomeration you’ve put forward (“science filtering untrue notions out of religious traditions”). No serious scientist I know of spends any time trying to “prove” or “disprove” notions from religious traditions. There are much more important questions to answer, and scientists are aware that you can’t “prove” anything to a believer who doesn’t want to believe what they are being told (hence the rejection of evolution by some Christians). And I keep putting “prove” in quotes, because scientists also know that the best you can do is look at what the evidence supports, that scientific “truth” can change, and that the only place you can actually prove something is in mathematics.

        4. You don’t understand atheism.  The only thing atheism believes is that you should work off of evidence.  An atheist for instance realizes that particle physics as we currently model it could very well be wrong.  It accepts that that belief might get upended tomorrow.  However, in the meantime, it makes sense to believe that particle physics is more likely to be closer to the truth than believing that very small invisible turtles push particles around.  Both could technically be true, but based upon observations of the world, particle physics as we currently understand it more likely to be correct than the invisible turtle theory.

          Likewise, an atheist could accept that there is a Christian god, that we are in a big VR sim, or that the flying spaghetti monster are what we have in store for the afterlife.  That said, seeing as how we have never found any even vaguely verifiable evidence of magic/gods/whatever, it is more likely that once you are dead, what appears to happen when you die is exactly what happens you die… you die and stay dead.  It isn’t an absolute belief that can’t be shaken, but it is close enough to live by.

          As an atheist, I think that it is entirely possible that we are living in some big computer simulation on some dude’s desk.  I accept this as being a possibility, and a possibility that isn’t all that far fetched.  That said, I live my life like I am not a computer simulation because there is no strong evidence to make me believe otherwise.  Likewise, I don’t live my life going to church and or by following the rules of ancient superstitious goat herders because while it is possible that they are right, there is no evidence for it.  I have a strict “assume reality is real” position that I tend to stick to until prove otherwise.

    2. I disagree with your logic: the “truth” must, by definition, be provable. Religion is about faith, which in turn is about believing something without evidence, but the very fact of a wide plurality of religions pretty much rules out any kind of monopoly on the truth by any one of them. And science is about proving theories which account for all the available evidence, not about knowing “the truth.” So, not at all the same thing, really. 

    3. Nope.

      Religion is about believing *something* without evidence.
      Science is about examining the evidence, in order to arrive at the truth.

    4. Please. You know that Religion and Science are in no way the same thing.

      Also, atheists don’t have religious beliefs.  They are asserting that there’s no evidentiary basis for beliefs the religious hold.  That assertion is not a “belief.” It is, as you yourself said, a fact.

      But, I’ll give you points for not saying evolution is “just” a theory.

      1. Yes.  Like I repeated above, I said religion and science are -about- the same thing, being:  The Truth.

        Are you saying that atheists do not believe that God does not exist? 

        It certainly is interesting how people all define some words a little differently, resulting in
        insynchronicities in communications.  I have found that in my interviews, atheists all have a slightly different description of what they think atheism is,and your expressions in this regard adds to that variety of definitions an most unique interpretation, for which I thank you for your interesting input.

        As per evolution, I have always viewed evolution as a critical part of creation, and not in competition with it.  Neither denies the other, only people do, in their combative interpretations which regard science and some of the things taught by religion as in opposition.

        Where science and religion meet and agree, is in the truth, whether confirmed by science, or yet to be confirmed by science, while the faithful wait for the proof which science promises to verify (one day).

    5. “Religion is about believing the truth without evidence. Science is about proving the truth with evidence.
      They are both about the same thing.”

      What on earth are you babbling about? Stop conflating things foolishly.

    6. “Religion is about believing the truth without evidence. Science is about proving the truth with evidence.

      They are both about the same thing.”

      So “with” and “without ” are about the same thing.  Yup, that will work well.

  8. Posted as a response to Godon Stark, for some reason Disqus seems to have made it a reply to all.

    Your logical fallacy is: Strawman

    You misrepresented someone’s argument to make it easier to attack.

    By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone’s argument, it’s much easier to present your own position as being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine honest rational debate.

    Example: After Will said that we should put more money into health and education, Warren responded by saying that he was surprised that Will hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenceless by cutting military spending.

  9. I like how unequivocal it is. “Do not bring your idiot-making devices into MY school district, Texas!”

    It’s probably possible to finesse this if you have to (ie: use it as an opportunity to teach how you shouldn’t believe everything you read or whatever), but you shouldn’t have to. 

  10. As a proud product of the Orleans Parish school system and current scientist , this is the best headline I’ve seen in a while. A true christmas gift

  11. I think this may count as “rebelling against God” and/or “not letting God into the classroom.”

    I fear a disaster, natural or man-made, will soon hit Louisiana, and they have only themselves to blame.

  12. Public school is a “Government school.” The teacher is a “Government official.” Thus there has to be separation of government and religion. Why is that so difficult to understand? Religion should be taught in the home, as there are too many different beliefs and opinions that do not agree with each other. Creationism if taught in the school would be by any definition, more than likely incorrect, as it would have to have government sanction and we all know what that means. Just let it go and take care of your own children in this respect as God commands, anyway. It is none of the government’s business and certainly not the schools.

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