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Student Fights for Real Science

January 18, 2013
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An innocent-sounding piece of 2008 Louisana state science legislation has been allowing so-called science teachers to introduce their own brand of religion into their science classes in the form of supplemental texts purporting to show that Creationism is actually a science.

Enter 19-year-old Zack Kopplin, a Rice University student, concerned about the confusion these actions will create in young minds and about allowing fundamentalist religious superstitions to creep into general science and biology classes.

According to io9 internet postings, Zack has become one of the “fiercest–and most feared–advocates for education reform in Louisiana.”  It seems that some Louisiana teachers, as soon as the legislation was passed, began using their own supplementary, religiously biased materials in their classrooms, ignoring the standard textbook altogether.  When creationists started complaining about the new life sciences textbook up for adoption in 2010, it looked like the state committee was going to throw  it out, but Zack spoke in favor of it, and the result was that it was adopted.  That was his first venture into education politics.

He had studied the issues prior to writing an English paper about it, and decided as a senior to take on the problem as a senior project.  His work in this area has brought him plenty of criticism.  He was  accused of being the anti-Christ, of being a stooge of godless liberal college professors, and other standard trash-talks always trotted out when someone disagrees with fundamentalist dogma.

The problem here is that Creationism and its other forms, are just not science because none of its tenants are testable or falsifiable, whereas evolution is.  Teaching ideas that confuse students about what can be considered scientific can lead to any current half-baked idea being adopted as “scientific.”  The United states, with all its sophistication in other areas is sort of a laughing stock of nations because fundamentalists have so much influence in our national dialogue.

“I’m from Italy and my country’s got a sh**load of problems, but when I read that in the USA, the great land where lots of my people migrated to in search of some fortune, some dumb f**ks are discussing creationism, I feel a lot lighter….I mean even we know creationism is bullcrap.  And we have the pope!” says frankie89 in a post on the i09 website.

No reason exists why science and religion can’t exist together, but we taxpayers have a right to expect some separation.  We send our kids to public schools to learn about the real world–not some stylized version of it bereft of real facts or evidence.  Even where taxpayers’ money is spent on private schools, only science should be taught in science classrooms.  Many religious people see no reason why science and religious beliefs can’t coexist as long as there is separation.

Kopplin worries that denying evolution and climate change, and vaccines, and other mainstream science leads to bad decisions made by business and industry which ultimately affects our economic standing in the world.  “An official from LSU testified that he had lost researchers and scientists to other states because of the education act that Kopplin is fighting to have repealed.”

Sad that a 19-year-0ld to fight this battle.  Adults ought to know better.