The New York Times investigates the ongoing effort by lawmakers and activists to get junk science into public schools. Since 2008, 5 states have passed “academic freedom” laws that make it easier for teachers to introduce creationism and climate change denial into their classrooms. The article explains how, under the guise of promoting critical thinking, lawmakers passed legislation undermining the teaching of evolution.

The Louisiana law permits public schoolteachers to use materials critical of established scientific thought, with “evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning” singled out as targets. No blatant advocacy of creationism or intelligent design is authorized. But those concepts make their way into classrooms all the same, as a means of fostering “critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories.”