The Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology, formerly the American Society of Zoologists, has said it will not hold its 2011 annual meeting in New Orleans as planned to protest a new law in Louisiana that lets teachers use “supplemental textbooks to help students critique and review scientific theories,” according to the New York Times, Feb 17, 2009, page A14. The law, the society claims, is a backdoor effort to sneak creationism into classrooms.
SICB’s annual meetings attract less than 2,000 attendees. Compare that with Pittcon, which averages 20,000, or ACS annual meetings, which bring between 8,000 to 10,000 people to one city for a full week. With proponents of creationism continuing to press their belief as science, it appears that SICB has decided it’s time for scientists to strike where it really hurts: the pocketbook. Why should scientists continue to convene in and bring money to states that deny the theory of evolution?
I admire SICB’s guts, though I wish their target didn’t have to be New Orleans. New Orleans is a great city for scientific gatherings, and after the devastation it suffered from Katrina, it needs everyone’s support for its revival. New Orleans’ citizens shouldn’t have to suffer more because of the state’s pandering to the religious right.