This, my friends, is big news.

It is extremely rare, almost unheard of, for 41 Nobel Prize Laureates to endorse the repeal of a law in Louisiana. Kudos, again, to Zack.

Quoting from Zack Kopplin:

Dear Members of the Louisiana Legislature,

As Nobel Laureates in various scientific fields, we urge you to repeal the misnamed and misguided Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) of 2008. This law creates a pathway for creationism and other forms of non-scientific instruction to be taught in public school science classrooms.

The warning flags many of us raised about this law have now been proven justified. Members of the Livingston Parish School Board recently announced their desire to include creationism in the science curriculum for the 2011-2012 school year. Clearly, the LSEA is well understood by Louisiana school administrators and public officials as having created an avenue to incorporate the teaching of creationism into science curricula in Louisiana schools.

Louisiana’s students deserve to be taught proper science rather than religion presented as science. Science offers testable, and therefore falsifiable, explanations for natural phenomena. Because it requires supernatural explanations of natural phenomena, creationism does not meet these standards. Seventy-two Nobel Laureates addressed these issues in 1987 in an amicus brief in the Edwards vs. Aguillard U.S. Supreme Court case, which originated in Louisiana after the passage of a 1981 creationist law:

“Science is devoted to formulating and testing naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena. It is a process for systematically collecting and recording data about the physical world, then categorizing and studying the collected data in an effort to infer the principles of nature that best explain the observed phenomena. Science is not equipped to evaluate supernatural explanations for our observations; without passing judgment on the truth or falsity of supernatural explanations, science leaves their consideration to the domain of religious faith. Because the scope of scientific inquiry is consciously limited to the search for naturalistic principles, science remains free of religious dogma and is thus an appropriate subject for public-school instruction. . . .

The grist for the mill of scientific inquiry is an ever-increasing body of observations that give information about underlying ‘facts.’ Facts are the properties of natural phenomena. The scientific method involves the rigorous, methodical testing of principles that might present a naturalistic explanation for those facts. To be a legitimate scientific ‘hypothesis,’ an explanatory principle must be consistent with prior and present observations and must remain subject to continued testing against future observations. An explanatory principle that by its nature cannot be tested is outside the realm of science.

The process of continuous testing leads scientists to accord a special dignity to those hypotheses that accumulate substantial observational or experimental support. Such hypotheses become known as scientific ‘theories.’ If a theory successfully explains a large and diverse body of facts, it is an especially ‘robust’ theory. If it consistently predicts new phenomena that are subsequently observed, it is an especially ‘reliable’ theory. Even the most robust and reliable theory, however, is tentative. A scientific theory is forever subject to reexamination and — as in the case of Ptolemaic astronomy — may ultimately be rejected after centuries of viability. . . .

A thorough scientific education should introduce these concepts about the hierarchy of scientific ideas. Such an introduction would permit the student to relate the substantive findings of science to the process of science. Just as children should understand and appreciate the scientific theories that offer the most robust and reliable naturalistic explanations of the universe, children should also understand and appreciate the essentially tentative nature of science. In an ideal world, every science course would include repeated reminders that each theory presented to explain our observations of the universe carries this qualification: ‘as far as we know now, from examining the evidence available to us today.’ . . .

Scientific education should accurately portray the current state of substantive scientific knowledge. Even more importantly, scientific education should accurately portray the premises and processes of science. Teaching religious ideas mislabeled as science is detrimental to scientific education: It sets up a false conflict between science and religion, misleads our youth about the nature of scientific inquiry, and thereby compromises our ability to respond to the problems of an increasingly technological world.”

Scientific knowledge is crucial to twenty-first-century life. Biological evolution is foundational in many fields, including biomedical research and agriculture. It aids us in understanding, for example, how to fight diseases like HIV and how to grow plants that will survive in different environments. Because science plays such a large role in today’s world and because our country’s economic future is dependent upon the United States’ retaining its competitiveness in science, it is vital that students have a sound education about major scientific concepts and their applications.

We strongly urge that the Louisiana Legislature repeal this misguided law. Louisiana students deserve an education that will allow them to compete with their peers across the country and the globe.


Nobel Laureates

Sir Harold Kroto, Chemistry, 1996

Sir Richard Roberts, Physiology or Medicine, 1993

Elias J. Corey, Chemistry, 1990

Steven Weinberg, Physics, 1979

Herbert Kroemer, Physics, 2000

Roderick MacKinnon, Chemistry, 2003

Douglas D. Osheroff, Physics, 1996

Alan J. Heeger, Chemistry, 2000

Robert Curl, Chemistry, 1996

Kurt Wüthrich, Chemistry, 2002

Martin Chalfie, Chemistry, 2008

Jack W. Szostak, Physiology or Medicine, 2009

Phillip A. Sharp, Physiology or Medicine, 1993

Craig C. Mello, Physiology or Medicine, 2006

Stanley Prusiner, Physiology or Medicine, 1997

Roger Y. Tsien, Chemistry, 2008

David Gross, Physics, 2004

Roger Kornberg, Chemistry, 2006

Robert Howard Grubbs, Chemistry, 2005

Sidney Altman, Chemistry, 1989

Jerome I. Friedman, Physics, 1990

Thomas A. Steitz, Chemistry, 2009

Venki Ramakrishnan, Chemistry, 2009

Horst Stormer, Physics, 1998

Peter C Doherty, Physiology or Medicine, 1996

Gerhard Ertl, Chemistry, 2007

Richard Schrock, Chemistry, 2005

John L. Hall, Physics, 2005

Riccardo Giacconi, Physics, 2002

Wolfgang Ketterle, Physics, 2001

Jack Steinberger, Physics, 1988

Robert C. Richardson, Physics, 1996

Frank Wilczek, Physics, 2004

Alexei Abrikosov, Physics, 2003

Roy Glauber, Physics, 2005

Susumu Tonegawa, Physiology or Medicine, 1987

Anthony J. Leggett, Physics, 2003

Russell Hulse, Physics, 1993

Eric Wieschaus, Physiology or Medicine, 1995

Rudolph A. Marcus, Chemistry, 1992

William D. Phillips, Physics, 1997

3 thoughts

  1. It is here, finally :-). Hope winter was kind to you, mine was horrible. Winter here is touch and go. Anyway, last year I put on a new extension on my deck, screened it in I mean, It took me 3 days. I used a couple plans from this download. I don’t know if you do this sort of thing at all at home, your own handy work I mean, but if you do, this download has around 16k plans in it that are really simple to follow. Anyway, good to know you’re still doing well, hope to hear from you soon.


    PS – Almost forgot to tell you the site address 🙂

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