Louisiana legislator invokes witch doctor to defend creationist law

Louisiana Sen. Elbert Guillory (http://senate.la.gov/guillory/) Louisiana Sen. Elbert Guillory (senate.la.gov)

In the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up category: A Louisiana state senator defended the Louisiana Science Education Act — a 2008 law that allows creationism to be taught in public school science classrooms through materials that ostensibly “critique” evolution — by invoking a witch doctor that he visited and found helpful. (See video below)

A bill to repeal the law was recently killed for the third straight year by Louisiana’s Senate Education Committee. In this post on Slate, Zach Kopplin writes about Louisiana state Sen. Elbert Guillory, who explained at a May hearing that he doesn’t think the law should be repealed because he wouldn’t want to dismiss faith healing as a “pseudoscience.” Guillory even describes his encounter with the faith healer, who was “half naked” and used bones in a ceremony.

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 am not going to see this doctor,’ I would have shut off a very good experience for myself and actually would not have discovered some things that he told me that I had to do when I got home to see my doctor.

 Kopplin, a student at Rice University who has been fighting the law for several years, said the law “was drafted by the intelligent design creationism think tank, the Discovery Institute, and promoted locally by the religious right lobbying group, the Louisiana Family Forum, to teach the controversy over evolution.” Kopplin gathered the support of 78 Nobel laureate scientists to support his position.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

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Valerie Strauss · June 6, 2013