Louisiana Votes To Keep Creationism In Science Class

Louisiana has voted by 3-2 to keep the Science Education Act, a piece of legislation that permits teachers to bring creationist textbooks into the classroom.

Bill 26, which was launched by teenage activist Zack Kopplin and sponsored by Senator Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans), was defeated on Friday following hours of testimony, including a formal statement from Kopplin.

This is the third time Kopplin has launched a legal bid to repeal the Science Education Act; his attempts at repeal in 2011 and 2012 were defeated 1-5 and 1-2 respectively.

Speaking to io9, Kopplin suggested there would be further attempts to repeal the law:

“For the past few months we’ve been organizing relentlessly and having people contact their elected officials to ask them to vote to repeal Louisiana’s creationism law.

“We lost again this year, but we’re making progress. We gained a second vote. And on top of this, it was clear that we will eventually win and repeal this vote. It’s up to the legislators to choose which side of history they want to stand on.”

io9 also flags up comments made by Senator Elbert Guillory (D-Opelousas) in the latest round of testimony, as reported by The Times-Picayune:

“[Guillory] said he had reservations with repealing the act after a spiritual healer correctly diagnosed a specific medical ailment he had. He said he thought repealing the act could ‘lock the door on being able to view ideas from many places, concepts from many cultures.’

‘Yet if I closed my mind when I saw this man – in the dust, throwing some bones on the ground, semi-clothed – if I had closed him off and just said, ‘That’s not science. I’m not going to see this doctor,’ I would have shut off a very good experience for myself,’ Guillory said.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is a supporter of the Science Education Act, while 78 Nobel laureate scientists – nearly 40% of all living Nobel laureate scientists – have backed Kopplin’s repeal campaign. The teenager tells io9:

“The fight for science in Louisiana is ground zero of this fight worldwide. As we change the debate in Louisiana, we’re changing the debate everywhere.”

[Image via Shutterstock.com]