Zack Kopplin Vs. The Louisiana Science Education Act

Published May 28th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson


Here’s a video of Zack Kopplin on Hardball last night.  Zack is the student battling the Lousiana Science Education Act – a law that would allow “supplemental textbooks and other teaching materials” into science classrooms.  Zack saw this (correctly) as a backdoor method to teach Creationism and has been leading the fight against it.

Some of us remember the LSEA bill passing in 2008.  Zack’s been trying to get it repealed since then.  He found a senator to sponsor the repeal and has since found thousands of supporters (including over 40 Noble Laureates).  Yesterday Zack brought teachers and scientists to testify in favor of the repeal in front of the Louisiana Senate Education Committee.

Zack makes a couple excellent points on Hardball.  One is that science *is* a process of critical thinking (one of the ostensible purposes of the law is to promote critical thinking).  Another point is that a state’s science standards determine how their students will be viewed elsewhere. 

He also slams Michelle Bachman which is both fair and entertaining.

All in all it was an excellent appearance.  Zack deserves a lot of credit for his work.  I for one am very impressed and I’m confident he has a bright future ahead of him.  Whatever the fate of the repeal, Zack’s done a tremendous service for the cause of rationality.  The fight is as important as the outcome.  The Louisiana legislature may reject reason for a few more years but the rest of the world has benefited from watching this ordeal.   There are bills similar to the LSEA all across the country – it’s an ongoing struggle, and I’m glad there are people like Zack on our side.

Zack, please let us know if you need anything from Team FSM.  We have your back.

422 Responses to “Zack Kopplin Vs. The Louisiana Science Education Act”

  1. A person says:

    Hi, I am a Christian, I agree to some extent with Sarah but not completely. I think it is wrong to say anyone’s belief system is stupid and that doing so achieves nothing. Personally, I don’t like to go without evidence, you are probably now thinking something along the lines of “wait what….” or simply “crazy fool”. There is (as far as I know) a great deal of evidence for Jesus’s existence, a great deal of evidence for his crucifixion and a great deal of evidence for his resurrection. Starting from there, there are a few options for explanations: we all know the first one; the second one is that he was crazy(he did die after all); the third is that he was a brilliant illusionist. The third option is unlikely as he was willing to go through, well, hell. this involved being whipped to the extent that chunks of raw flesh would have been hanging off his back, I’ll not get any more gruesome. The second option seems unlikely as it requires him to escape death after the aforementioned torture; then being nailed through the wrists(which feels like tweezers being taken too your ulnar nerve(funny bone)); then being stabbed in the side and locked in a tomb. After somehow surviving, he would then have needed to push the stone aside to escape. There is far more too this topic than I have space to fit in this comment so if you’re interested, look for “The Case for Easter”.

    I have no problem with evolution. In fact, I see it as a relatively workable theory, I know little about biology. I, however, know a great deal about physics and, the big bang theory doesn’t actually make much sense. Firstly, “Energy (and matter) cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.” the big bang makes no attempt to actually explain creation. it simply moves the problem of how the universe was created back a little. There is no suggestion as to where the Higgs field came from or where the singularity it caused to expand came from. There can never be an explanation within the current theorem of physics for creation as, well, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”. I’m not saying we should abandon physics and say “god did it” I’mm saying that this particular theory doesn’t work particularly well. There is also no explanation as to what caused the secondary expansion which is still accelerating to this day. Then we have antimatter, it annihilates the whole theory in a ball of energy. The big bang theory relies upon energy (in the form of a singularity) being transformed into matter. When this happens, an equal amount of antimatter is created, where is this antimatter. Where is the antimatter is misleading, why hasn’t it annihilated the universe is more appropriate. When matter and antimatter come into contact, they annihilate; to explain this, some scientists postulated (contrary to all evidence ever gathered on the subject) that there may be 1% more matter created than antimatter.

    The First Cell
    The explanation for the first cell “appearing” used to be that when lighting struck prehistoric earth, the atmosphere reacted to produce amino acids. Someone even decided to do the experiment, unfortunately the used the wrong atmosphere. In the correct atmosphere, cyanide and fluorine are the products, not looking great for life. So since that theory didn’t work, someone somewhere decided to outsource the problem to asteroids. It’s part of the scientific method to come up with alternate theory’s(obviously) but simply saying “an asteroid did it” is no better than saying “god did it”. I have found no explanation as to how the carbon molecules got to these asteroids. *the next bit is based on logic, biological experiments may contradict it* But if we pretend there is a reasonable explanation as to where these molecules come from and that all the pieces of a cell form close to each other at the same time. Effectively we have all the pieces of a cell in a test tube. The easiest way to simulate this would be to put a cell in a test tube and burst it. So for the first cell to form, something who can raise people from the dead is required, you all know where I’m going with this.

    Now, I have to go so I don’t have time to proof read this and I probably won’t be back on this forum so; please don’t hate if you were thinking of doing so. The most effective thing you can do against this post would be to reply with effective arguments for those who read this and your comment. If you reply with hate, you will not offend me as I won’t read it and you will simply make yourself look bad. To some extent this is a lesson for arguing in life. if you are hateful to someone, you may bully them into submission or suppression but you will make your point of view look bad to others viewing the argument.

    • Keith says:

      My first question is “where are your sources?”. Regarding the atmosphere of the early Earth, there are several different claims. I googled a number of sites (trying to find the more recent ones) and came up with different answers. I did not look at the “Answers in Genesis” site because I wanted sites that seemed reputable ( I really don’t know if they are or not). If you google “atmosphere of primitive Earth” you will get lots of hits. All you need to do is look at the ones posted recently and which appear to come from a source that is genuine (that’s the hardest part). If you are lazy you could go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8nYTJf62sE&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL82yk73N8eoX8RpvQfjdupAKFWKjtMhTe and trust that potholer54 is right.


    • The Reverend Toni Rigatoni says:

      Should A Person return and check the responses he/she will not find hate as there is no hate in the original post; as any Pastafarian will tell anybody who will listen. and even those who wont, we will respond in kind, ‘as you sow. so shall you reap’ as it were. I can’t see the reason for his mention of it.
      The piont AP makes about the annihilation of the universe due to the interaction of matter and antimatter he answers quite adequately himself so it needs no response really.
      It is a shame though, that he says he will not be back, as further interaction, especially with sane, calm and intelligent posters is always welcome. Does his refusal to follow-up evidence a closed mind? Or as I suspect, will he check out the responses, but by saying he wont be back he has left himself an out in case he finds he has argued to the limit of his knowledge? I don’t claim any great knowledge of physics but I suspect that might well be the case judging by the lack of depth in his claims.

      Merry Christmas and may the Sauce be with you all.

      The Reverend

      • Keith says:

        A Person may be back under a different name. That way he/she can save the embarrassment. I don’t know if he/she has read any responses (my response to the first cell question still has “your comment is awaiting moderation” beside it: am I blacklisted?)

        • The Reverend Toni Rigatoni says:

          I have followed your posts Keith, and I see no reason why you should be blacklisted, besides, this one got through ok. Did you use a different email address or mistype it by chance? Try re-posting and see what happens.

          Sauce be with you.

          The Reverend

        • Keith says:

          The same thing has happened. It could be because I posted some links with my reply. Perhaps mentioning Potholer54 evokes some weird curse. I used the same email address.

      • Tom Cruise says:

        Fuck yeah!Spaghetti Monster

    • Keith says:

      My first question is “where are your sources?”. Regarding the atmosphere of the early Earth, there are several different claims. I googled a number of sites (trying to find the more recent ones) and came up with different answers. I did not look at the “Answers in Genesis” site because I wanted sites that seemed reputable ( I really don’t know if they are or not). If you google “atmosphere of primitive Earth” you will get lots of hits. All you need to do is look at the ones posted recently and which appear to come from a source that is genuine (that’s the hardest part). If you are lazy you could go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8nYTJf62sE&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL82yk73N8eoX8RpvQfjdupAKFWKjtMhTe and trust that potholer54 is right.


    • TheFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

      The Big Bang theory doesn’t make sense? It wouldn’t be a theory if it didn’t!
      http://www.big-bang-theory.com/ shows evidence. What do you have, person?

      • Apprentice Frederic says:

        The history of anti-Big-Bang posters (and we’ve seen a few here) seems to support the appropriateness of the obloquy and contempt that they usually dish out: that’s because they are commenting on *their own* version of the theory, rather than, for example, the clear and fair précis you’ve linked above. And the posters all ignore the efforts that are the heart and soul of real science, namely, subjecting evidence – observation, mathematical theory, and experiment – for ALL alternatives to continued, open, and widespread scrutiny. Although I am certainly NOT a member of the astrophysical community, I have to guess that the person who called his name “a person” would probably not create much of a stir in that community. I did think that he should get full marks, however, for courtesy….

    • umokayum says:

      look this is bull there is no such thing as a flying spaghetti monster and the fact you made it into a religion is fucking dumb. this is no religion there is no spiritual connection and there are no red trails or meat falling anywhere and his ass must be rotting. go and do something productive with your life and go build something. not sit there write a “gospel” about who knows what kinda fucking monster while probably on some sort of psychedelic drug to make you think of some crazy shit like this. anyone who believes in this is missing brain cells that helps them think critically. so good job all of you. you have just joined a religion that lowers your intelligence level and causes loss of common sense. (claps happily)

      • SillyKiwiMan says:

        Still more credible than your imaginary sky-fairy. Ours has never demonstrated gross sadism, hypocrisy, genocide, slavery and most importantly, our deity has a kick-arse sense of humour. Unlike yourself…

  2. Atsap Revol says:

    I’ll just respond to the first paragraph. Contrary to what “A Person” said, there is not a “great deal of evidence” for Jesus’s existence, crucifixion, or resurrection. Apart from the Bible, there is not a historical record of Jesus. There are records of other sons of god born of virgins who also raised the dead, healed the sick, and walked on water. These incarnations supposedly lived before Jesus. Isn’t it likely that the story of Jesus is just a continuation and extension of existing myths? If Jesus, indeed, lived, there is no documentation apart from the Bible of the miracles he performed.

    This leaves plenty of material in “A Person’s” statement for other Pastafarians to critique.

    • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

      Ah, but you took the center cut of meat, my friend. You deserve it though, Atsap.

      I’ll take ““an asteroid did it” is no better than saying “god did it”.” Astronomers see millions of asteroids. God is being very coy. Or maybe he’s retired now. Back in the old days Yahweh came around a lot, and you had better run when he did. So maybe his not being around is a good thing. I’ll be in the “no smoting” section if you need me.

    • Pete Byrdie says:

      I’ll have “the Big Bang Theory doesn’t actually make much sense”, if there are no other takers. The Big Bang Theory is derived directly from the visible evidence, hewn chunk by chunk as each new discovery has been made. Parts of it are untested, and some people might suggest untestable, but it’s still derived from observation and built on verifiable physics. It doesn’t imply that the matter and energy in the Universe was “created”, even if we don’t know exactly what form that matter and energy took before the Big Bang, or even what physical laws governed it. Nobody claims science has all the answers. But then science is an ongoing process of exploring the physical Universe, not an attack on religion, so it doesn’t attempt to compete with religion by claiming all the answers. When science doesn’t know something, scientists will say, “we’re still trying to figure this bit out”. Nowhere in science is an entity the like of which has never been observed and for which there is no evidence conjured up fully formed and fully believed in as God is conjured forth and believed in by Christians. No amount of saying that science doesn’t have all the answers brings an entity as unlikely as God to the table.

      The evidence that the balance of matter and antimatter in the early Universe wasn’t at an exact 1:1 ratio is that we now have a Universe with a tiny amount of matter in it. But, as with inflation, there are still plenty of questions to be answered, thankfully.

      • Apprentice Frederic says:

        PB: Your comment too well-put and too relevant to not deserve emphasis, albeit unneeded! Science (all of it, and certainly the development of the big bang theory (or hypothesis, maybe?) ) is a process, not a revealed orthodoxy, and careful and sophisticated efforts – scrutinized with equal care and sophistication – are, just as you say, going on to develop a consistent picture. A relevant sidelight that is nutritious food for thought is that the “Big Bang” tag was actually originated by Fred Hoyle, one of yesteryear’s greatest astrophysicist / cosmologists. Hoyle was in fact a big bang skeptic and had informed and fairly unconventional views on the origin of life in the universe as well….As another sidelight, I wish that DR. ASTRONOMER were still posting…

        • Keith says:

          Not forgetting that Fred Hoyle also wrote very good science fiction (admittedly in collaboration with others at times). I remember watching “A for Andromeda” and “Andromeda Breakthrough” on TV when I was a kid.

        • The Reverend Toni Rigatoni says:

          Me to Keith, wasn’t that some scary shit at the timer?

        • The Reverend Toni Rigatoni says:

          Ok TIME then!

        • Keith says:

          It certainly was. It taught me never to touch the bus bars on a computer. Even watching what was salvaged today on DVD I’m still impressed with it. The Hartnell Dr Who years, Pathfinders, even Space Patrol (the puppet series): stuff I loved as a kid and still love as an adult: sci-fi was exciting in those days. Then there is the Quatermass series which I never got to see until I was an adult. All great stuff done on a shoestring budget. They all knock the socks off the crap that writers like Colin Moffatt spew out today.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          Keith, Rev. T., thanks for the reminders!!! My fave was “The Black Cloud” LOL.

    • AnObservantBypasser says:

      Ah, see, this is a big misconception with both Christians and non-Christians. I am a non-Christian myself, but I have an appreciation for history. The man that is referred to as “Jesus Christ” was indeed a real man who was crusified because of his association with “untouchables”. The only things debated on or whether or not he was the “son of God”, or even a prophet of this god. But, he was, indeed, a real person who lived in those ages.

      • Atsap Revol says:

        Observant Bypasser, could you please cite a reference or two (other than the Bible) that supports your conviction that JC really existed? And that he was crusified [sic] because he associated with untouchables? I thought the term “untouchables’ was associated with the Indian Caste system. You claim to have an appreciation for history. Better stick with history, because your writing suggests that you did not major in English composition.

        • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

          Yes, let’s hear what the historians of the time said about Jesus Christ…..[crickets chirping]…Nothing? The man who had such a brutal execution, rose the dead, preached to thousands at the Sermon on the Mount, etc., etc, and not a peep? What’s cited by most is a passage from Josephus that was revealed as 300+ year addition by Eusebius, one of Constantine’s bishops to make it appear as if Josephus knew of the man, and thought him divine. The truth was Josephus was talking about Christians, and not necessarily kindly.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          AR, tFtPtM, Keith,
          FWIW, I found some few bits of commentary re this “historic Jesus” issue on the internet and the more dispassionate and less self-serving ones tended to agree fairly well with one another and with all you. For much of it, I was too uninformed to judge or even guess, and am happy to see your more knowledgeable reactions. On the other hand, *something* must have happened, however embroidered, distorted, or contrived the non-contemporaneous accounts probably are (Siddharta’s historicity and Mohamed’s night ride are – probably – similarly afflicted.), just judging by the results we see now. All that having been said, the disappointing thing, the thing that should be criticized, deplored, and in fact mocked, is just the inconsistency between the valid-enough moral teachings of all these “historic” figures and the contemporary behavior of lots of “moral” leaders. One thinks of Fred, Pat, and a few Popes over the ages in particular. And I don’t remember seeing any “..how fucking dare you…” posts from either Buddhists or Moslems. Dunno why.

        • Keith says:

          We only have to look at the vagaries surrounding Joseph Smith (do any “prophets” have uncommon names?) nearly 200 years ago. There has never been any concrete evidence to back his claims and because of the passage of time the chances of finding contemporary evidence to prove or disprove his claims will get less and less. The default position is not to believe unless something convincing turns up. If the Mormons have such evidence they should present it for an unbiased review.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          Keith – absolutely! My argument was a only wussy conjecture that these guys at least existed, not that their attributed miracles were valid, LOL. Joe Smith – and there are lots of *those* – may be an exceptional case study in that he made his own nutty claims, rather than dying and letting his followers make them a hundred years or so later.

        • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

          Keith mentioned the Mormons and THEIR lack of proof. All religions have some obvious absurdities; for instance the Torah/Bible mentions people riding camels at least a thousand years before they actually did. Along that same vein, the Book of Mormon talks of the 3 great civilizations in the Americas when Jesus visited there, and makes many mistakes. It mentions horses, sheep and cattle which did not exist in the Western Hemisphere at that time, and wouldn’t for approximately another 1500 years.

      • Keith says:

        I’m certain there were plenty of people by that name (or rather its Jewish “Yeshua” or whatever) who were crucified by the Romans. I doubt they had the tag of “Christ” attached to their name. Undoubtedly there were plenty of people in late Roman Britain by the name of “Arcturus” but that doesn’t mean any of them were kings. When you strip away the supernatural elements, the borrowed mythology and the spin, in both cases you are left with a name but no background material. Any claim relating to the biblical character called “Jesus” should, as ATSAP points out, include references, preferably contemporary ones.

      • Cannon Chris says:

        I also disagree; read up on Constantine and how he borrowed mythologies from neighbouring states for political reasons. The Bible was swiftly created, by hundreds of Constantine’s scribes, to win-over Christians. That, in itself, should not dissuade you from belief; make up your own mind. If God is love, then I am also a believer! Aaaaaaarghhhh…..

        PS: We no longer regard it as justice for one person to pay the price for another person’s unwanted behaviour; a ‘whipping boy’ is now considered obscene, but was acceptable two thousand years ago.

        Greetings, Monsignor AR. I am no longer Captain Birdseye. I now have charge of a 12-year-old foster child. Should she post a comment, as I encourage her to, will you all be kind to her?

        • Keith says:

          I’m certain we will welcome her comments, Cannon Chris. It would be great to have some input from younger people.

        • Atsap Revol says:

          Cannon Chris, we will welcome posts from your foster-daughter. I too change my pasta-nym from time-to-time. Sometimes I post as Ferenst Anrtplogist, sometimes as the Farting Chocolate Dude, and sometimes as others. My other names have their origin in some illiterate Hate Mail Post. I once even became the alter ego of the infamous Big Guy. A little schizophrenia is good for the soul!

          I enjoy reading your literate posts.

          AR, Monsignor of the Marinara Mission

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  5. Just me says:

    I find it interesting that AP mentions that energy can neither be created or destroyed. Since the point was brought up I just wanted to know that if everything is made up of energy in one form or another how can anyone claim that someone created the universe or anything in it since as we all know energy can not be created or destroyed. hmmm just saying.

    • Captain Birdseye says:

      JM, regarding energy, there is a missing line that says it can only change its form: energy and matter are interchangeable (Energy = Matter x Speed of Light squared). Thus, one can make a little matter out of a whole load of energy, but not in one’s kitchen.
      Also, because 0 = -1+1, one can create matter out of nothing, provided the negative (anti-matter) is kept well away from the positive (matter). Aaaaaarghhhhh…

      • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

        In my kitchen we keep the matter and anti-matter in seperate cupboards.

        • Rev. Wulff says:

          Just remember to recycle your magnetic bottles when you’re finished with them.

        • Captain Birdseye says:

          A wise move; and adding some to your cooking will certainly spice up your life.

  6. Cat Caywood says:

    Hey guys, I’m a Catholic. Have been my whole life. Wanna say you Pastafarians are some pretty rational dudes from what I can tell. Hilarious name too. Positivity, man. This Zack fellow is right. Creationism can be taught in a classroom. A sunday school classroom. People will choose to learn what they will. My God is not supposed to be forced on anyone. I think we could agree on that. The Flying Spaghetti monster never harasses me, right? Anyway, later guys I’m gonna get high.

  7. Rasputin says:

    I wish people would stop saying nice things about Richard Dawkins. He’s an athiest. He doesn’t believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The whole point about pastafarianism is that we are THIESTS, not athiests. Reading this website always makes me feel hungry. That can’t be just a coincidence. I know with absolute certainty that I am being touched by the FSM’s noodliness. Unlike Richard Dawkins, when I die I will spend eternity drinking beer and partying with strippers. It makes perfect sense to me, and I feel sorry for Mr. Dawkins because he won’t be with us.

    • Keith says:

      I have not heard Prof. Dawkins tear shreds off of the Pastafarian religion so I am inclined to cut him some slack. It should also be noted that he is married to a Gallifreyan and must have information far beyond that of humble Earth people, so I respect him for that. Disbelieving in any god is not, in my opinion, as bad as believing and bowing down to false gods like Jehova. His/Her/It’s Noodliness probably doesn’t care what Prof Dawkins thinks, anyway.

  8. Rasputin says:

    Yeah, you’re right. There is more common sense on this website than in all the regular religions combined.

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