Friday, September 25, 2020

#2388: Mike Walsworth

Mike Walsworth is a former member of the Louisiana State Senate, representing District 33 from 2008 until he was term-limited in 2020. He previously served in the Louisiana House of Representative (1996–2008). Walsworth’s career is marked by his stalwart attempts to maintain Louisiana’s reputation as a backwards hole of fundamentalism and science denial, and he was a major supporter of Louisiana’s Academic Freedom Act, which in practice allows teachers to promote creationism and anti-science in public schools under the “teach the controversy” label.  

Walsworth himself is no fan of science, and this video is instructive: Walsworth is questioning a science teacher about teaching evolution, asking whether there was an experiment that would prove the theory of evolution “without a shadow of a doubt.” That, of course, is not how science works, but the teacher did mention Richard Lenski’s famous E. coli experiment, upon which Walsworth responded with a typical creationist gotcha question, namely whether the bacteria evolved into a person. No, Walsworth doesn’t have the faintest idea about what the theory of evolution actually says, and doesn’t hesitate to use his legislative powers to ensure that Louisiana’s kids won’t either. Walsworth also sponsored House Bill no. 580 in 2011 (which, sponsored by Frank Hoffman, had sailed through the house), which would allow local public schools to decide on their own to use state money for purchasing any textbooks they want, including, in principle flat-earth textbooks (not inconceivable in Louisiana). The bill was, of course, intended to promote creationism. Fortunately it died in the Senate.


When the Louisiana creationist act was up for repeal in 2016, Walsworth was of course among those voting to keep it, as did rabid young-earth creationist Sen. John Milkovich (D-Shreveport), Sen. Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton) and Sen. Mack “Bodi” White (R-Baton Rouge).


Diagnosis: Idiocy and ignorance even by creationist state legislator standards. And though Walsworth has been term limited, we wouldn’t bet on the situation in Louisiana improving much.

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