As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune last month, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) moved its January 2011 meetings from New Orleans to Salt Lake City. The reason? The recently enacted Louisiana Science Education Act, which, according to critics, “allows local school boards to introduce creationist materials into the classroom under the guise of promoting ‘critical thinking’ toward the theory of evolution.”

According to the article, Utah rejected a similar measure three years ago. So Salt Lake City gets the conference. The article also notes the skiing is better in Utah than in Louisiana.

The letter from SICB President Richard Satterlie to the governor of Louisiana announcing the decision is posted at the organization’s website. Here are a couple of paragraphs from that letter.

The Executive Committee voted to hold the 2011 meeting in Salt Lake City in large part because of legislation SB 561, which you signed into law in June 2008. It is the firm opinion of SICB’s leadership that this law undermines the integrity of science and science education in Louisiana.

* * *

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. Utah, in contrast, passed a resolution that states that evolution is central to any science curriculum.

From a public policy perspective, this issue is not as simple as it seems. Google “scientism” or read this short piece for a quick intro to that debate. But the Utah approach to science education certainly seems like the better one for both teachers and students. At least the SICB thinks so.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
error: Content is protected !!