April 2009 Church & State | AU Bulletin

A well-known scientific group that attracts nearly 2,000 scientists to its annual meetings has announced that it will boycott New Orleans for its 2011 conference.  

The Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology sent a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal telling him that the organization disapproves of Louisiana’s opposition to sound science education.  

“We will not hold the Society’s 2011 annual meeting in New Orleans even though the city has been a popular venue of us in the past,” the group’s president Richard Satterlie wrote. “The SICB leadership could not support New Orleans as our meeting venue because of the official position of the state in weakening science education and specifically attacking evolution in science curricula.”  

Last year, Jindal signed into law the so-called “Science Education Act,” a measure allowing teachers to introduce into the classroom “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” about evolution.  

This boycott is the “first tangible result” of the law, and it is both “negative for the state’s economy and national reputation,” the Louisiana Coalition for Science said.  

The SICB has decided to move the meeting to Salt Lake City because Utah public schools consider evolution central to their science curriculum.  

Richard B. Katskee, Americans United’s assistant legal director, in an editorial for U.S. News & World Report said it is time for creationists to give up on pushing religious concepts in public schools.  

“The creationists won’t admit it,” he wrote, “but the debate is over, and they lost.”