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  Zack’s been trying to get it repealed since then.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”

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  1. IncredibleMouse says:

    FYI – The Repeal was shelved. Its a horrifying disgrace to Louisiana. http://ncse.com/news/2011/06/repeal-bill-officially-dead-006753

    • Keith says:

      Quite disgusting! When Zac says they’ll be back with a stronger case I hope they’ll listen properly, although you cannot get a stronger case that demonstrable and observable science.

    • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

      LOL. That article stated “Louisiana is the state that has gone the furthest in approving legislation that opens the door to allowing alternatives to science taught in its schools.” So true! Not alternatives to specific scientific theories, but alternatives to science. Perhaps next they can introduce magic as an alternative to medicine, or witchcraft instead of math.

      • Keith says:

        Perhaps they’ll appoint Daniel Radcliffe as Dean of the university.

        • Mhairi says:

          Actually, since Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist that could be a step in the right direction :p

          The only better thing, of course, would be if he was a Pastafarian.

    • Son of Ugly says:

      I think that one thing that should be done, in conjunction with the next attempt to dump this legislation, is to also introduce a termination of all state taxes bill because God will provide.

      If that’s too big a jump, reduce all pay and allowances for those in favour of Intelligent Design to zero for the same reason.

      I’d like to see how the “True Believers” vote.

  2. dkoikadabra says:

    Hilarious hypocrisy. Religion should be rejected when it is forced and an excuse for bigotry. Science is quickly becoming what Catholicism was during the Spanish Inquisition. Equating, say, our understanding of space can just as equally be called a fairy tale as much as the Book of Genesis; was it not believed in the 19th century that space was composed of ether? Then of the void? Oh, wait, now we’ve revised that to believe it _is_ composed of something, we just can’t agree what it is composed of.

    It’s alot like throwing rocks in a glass house. You mock each believer in a religion for believing in something they cannot see or touch or prove, and yet, your own belief (Science, with the capital S) proposes “theories” which, when you boil it down, are just rephrased beliefs, something that it _might_ be one way or the other (without absolute proof that it is).

    If you want to reason with this intellect you laud each other for supposedly possessing, step back and look at your very own fanaticism and blind belief. Is it really any better than those you deride? Is your religion any less blind than the others?
    Of course it isn’t. But I’m sure you’ll shout it down anyway.

    • stylusmobilus says:

      Drained and Washed Clean is going to have a field day with that!

    • Atsap Revol says:

      @ dkoikadabra

      Let me get started before D&WC jumps in and has a field day. You have no conceot of what science is. You have based your opinion on Parade Magazine, TV productions, and the trashy magazines for sale at the grocery checkout. Elsewhere in the posts you will find an excellent description of the meanings of HYPOTHESIS and THEORY.

      Through the empirical method, science continues to refine concepts of reality. There is no doubt much more to learn about the moons of Jupiter, but probably not much now known will require revision as more is learned. Fifty years ago practically nothing was known other than that the moons existed.

      Seventy years ago, the basis for biological inheritance was poorly understood. Chromosomes were known, but the entities loosely called genes were not described chemically. The wonderful work of Watson and Crick revealed the chemistry of the DNA helix and how it carries the information for the creation of a new organism. More will be learned about DNA, but the basic information and theory will remain as they are now.

      During the development of new knowledge, there will be conflicting hypotheses. Concurrently with Watson and Crick’s work, Linus Pauling in seeking the chemical nature of DNA pursued the idea that it was a helix with three strands. Now even high scool biology students know that DNA is a two-standed helix composed of four bases. That is they know unless they have been confused by Intelligent Design nonsense.

      OK, D&WC, take over.

      Atsap Revol

    • Omnipotent Zombie says:

      “Science is quickly becoming what Catholicism was during the Spanish Inquisition.” Did you really just say that? So, at what point did science start torturing, hanging and burning thousands of people alive for not believing in it? I could harp all day as to how dead wrong your analogy is. That statement sounds like some good old fashioned fear mongering to me. And then, you bash current scientific theory just becuase it may be proved wrong later. That’s bollocks.

      Theories are not “just rephrased beliefs”. Theories are hypothesis that are based repeated experiments by scientists, using scientific method. “just rephrased beliefs” is exactly what religion is.

      You do know that FSM is a satire on religion right?

      • Rick says:

        Why does it need to be? I whole-heartedly believe in a flying spaghetti monster , in fact, i was eating pasta last night and I believe i saw his representation staring back at me. Truly moving experience.

    • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

      Scientists – and hopefully all fellow Pastafarians – are not blind, in that we welcome new knowledge. As opposed to St. Augustine, calling curiosity a “disease”. Religions have locked themselves into the distant past; apparently their gods and prophets couldn’t see beyond the present.

      “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.” ~ Albert Einstein

    • TiltedHorizon says:

      Ladies & Gentlemen, here is a prime example of how to build a Straw-man argument.

      First you define a logically flawed premise like: “Science is quickly becoming what Catholicism was during the Spanish Inquisition.”
      Then you proceed to take the ridiculous argument apart using logic which was ironically absent in the original assertion. The ease of which it is taken apart is a direct reflection of how weak the originating argument was to begin with.

      Does dkoikadabra explain how science is like “Catholicism was during the Spanish Inquisition”? Nope. The reality is science is nothing like “Catholicism was during the Spanish Inquisition” or to be more specific, science is nothing like religion.
      Science is a process describing the systematic study of structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation. It is fallible, which is why theories are repeatedly vetted. That which stands the test of time and endless scrutiny is eventually taught for the next generation to test, improve or disprove. This is nature of science, it is not perfect but it is self correcting.

      Religion is not a process, scripture is not based on systematic study, words on paper do not qualify as observable, none of the fantastical event are testable or even logical. The only explanation it offers is an assertion: God did it. The claim of divine origin implies infallibility, any attempt to question it is met with ostracisation, hostility or violence. This is the nature of Religion, it claims to be perfect therefore there is no need for self correction. There are some exceptions of course; it only took the Catholic Church 350 years to apologize (self correct) to Galileo.

      There is a reason why Science needs to be likened to Religion before it can be attacked, because that is the only way to undermine its credibility. At which point one only needs to argue which ‘belief’ is more credible or less ridiculous.

      • Jestermoon says:

        I could not have said it better myself, now all we have to do is get the rest of the religious world to see the same truth and we are done!

    • Drained and Washed Clean says:

      Hilarious hypocrisy.
      ** First, let’s review the definition of hypocrisy; “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not”. I would think that is more appropriate for people who expect to be rewarded after they die for being judgmental and hateful to anyone who doesn’t believe as they do while claiming that their religion is based on love and acceptance (but if you don’t convert to our beliefs you’ll suffer forever!!). We are all perfectly honest about what we are here for. But it appears the ABOUT tab was lost on you.
      Religion should be rejected when it is forced and an excuse for bigotry.
      ** Yes. Religion begets bigotry. It is a necessary component to the existence of religion. So, all religion should be rejected.
      Science is quickly becoming what Catholicism was during the Spanish Inquisition.
      ** You are saying that science is putting people on the rack until they admit that science is the one true god? I must have missed those news articles. However, it does seem that Catholicism (and every other major religion) is still fighting to this day: Palestine, Balkans, Northern Ireland, Kashmir, Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India/Pakistan just to name a few (Thank you Mr. Sam Harris). How many people have died to defend their idea of their imaginary friend? Now, how many people have died defending their scientific theory? Hmmm…
      Equating, say, our understanding of space can just as equally be called a fairy tale as much as the Book of Genesis;
      **Really? We have sent satellites into space. We have pictures. We have samples. We have people who have done repeatable experiments to prove what we understand about space. Then there were other scientists who repeated those experiments and, amazingly enough, came up with the same results. We have evidence to support our understanding of space. And we admit the things we don’t understand yet. But Genesis? The world began with 1 man and 1 woman who had children? So the world started with incest, but we show no genetic signs of that… Huh… And yet other people magically appeared in other places? But wait, who’s Lilith? Also makes me wonder about Noah and this ark that he took the mosquitoes but not the dinosaurs (so unfair)… But science can’t find evidence of a world wide flood. Even more curious, seems that the person that the book of Genesis was written hundreds of years after Moses would have existed… So you’re totally right. Our testable, repeatable understanding of space is totally like Genesis…
      was it not believed in the 19th century that space was composed of ether? Then of the void? Oh, wait, now we’ve revised that to believe it _is_ composed of something, we just can’t agree what it is composed of.
      ** So, does god prefer war or peace (Ex. 15:3; Rom 15:33); Who was Joseph’s father Jacob or Heli (Matt 1:16; Luke 3:23); Who was at the empty tomb, Mary and Mary or Mary, Mary, and Salome, or just 1 Mary (Matt 28:1, Mark 16:1, John 20:1); How many animals were in the ark, 2 of each, or 2 of each and 7 clean (Gen. 7:2, Gen 7:8), and which was created first, animals or humans? (Gen 1:25-26, Gen 2:18-19). See, when science realizes that they have an incorrect theory they fix it. Now you can go to NASA’s website and see exactly what scientists say the universe is made up of: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_matter.html – But it would be super great if you could resolve all the contradictions in the bible as well as the fact that the events that happened in the bible can’t be proven historically.

      It’s alot like throwing rocks in a glass house.
      ** 2 words “a lot”. And it is nothing like that.
      You mock each believer in a religion for believing in something they cannot see or touch or prove, and yet,
      ** Well, more like holding a mirror… but usually when that hits too close to home it appears as mocking. And if we could just skip straight to that prove part… If any of them would offer any then none of this would be necessary would it?
      your own belief (Science, with the capital S)
      ** Since when did science become a proper noun?
      proposes “theories” which, when you boil it down, are just rephrased beliefs,
      ** I think we need to review some definitions. Belief: Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons. Now let’s look at accepted: come to recognize (an opinion, explanation, etc.) as valid or correct. Where in there is what science does? Scientists do not accept. They test. They retest. If something is wrong scientists will admit it. They also admit those things that they do not yet understand and try to figure it out. Facts do not require belief. They are facts. Do you understand how long facts are tested before they are proclaimed to be theories? Theories is a big word in science and it is not assigned lightly. Only one who has no knowledge of science would make a juvenile mistake like that.
      something that it _might_ be one way or the other (without absolute proof that it is).
      ** So you are trying to reason that science and religion are formed in the same way? That which has been passed down for generations full of logical fallicies, inconsistencies, mistranslations, historical inaccuracies and hasn’t changed (which is a bad thing by the way, not the good thing you seem to think it is) and makes up excuses for the previously listed things (or just flat out ignores them) is better than the study, testing, retesting, debating, and peer reviewed system that science utilizes?
      If you want to reason with this intellect
      ** It pains me to acknowledge that there is one more person in the world who confuses fact and fiction and reality and mythology. It makes me sick to be quite honest. If you would like to point out any of your “intellectual” statements, I would greatly appreciate it. I seemed to have missed them…
      you laud each other for supposedly possessing,
      ** Could you please show evidence that we don’t know what we are talking about? Where have we posted untruths? Where have we lied? What information that we have given is wrong? Until you can produce evidence of claims, you have no leg to stand on. However, you have shown through this work that you pride yourself in your ignorance.
      step back and look at your very own fanaticism and blind belief.
      ** First, please list our actions that would count as “fanaticism”, and would this be a good time to mention the ABOUT tab again?
      Is it really any better than those you deride?
      ** Yes. We don’t kill people. ABOUT tab.
      Is your religion any less blind than the others?
      ** What religion? Eyes WIDE open, dude. ABOUT tab.
      Of course it isn’t.
      ** Says the person defending people who believe in an invisible friend who is its own father that talks to them in their heads…?
      But I’m sure you’ll shout it down anyway.
      ** Only because you made it so easy.

      • Piratemom says:

        (Throwing Parmisan cheese into the air)
        Hooray for logic!
        and Thank you for your wonderful use of it.

    • stylusmobilus says:

      Well done dkoikadabra. You not only got Drained.., but Atsap, OZ, TheFewTheProud..,and Tilted. You got some of the best we have to offer. You made the A-list, dude.

    • midnight rider says:

      There are religious fanatics and there are science (logic) fanatics. Both take an extreme stance. Both are biased. I don’t subscribe to other people’s religions, but I dont totally deny there may be a god either. Also, I submit that science starts out with the assumption that there is indeed an objective universe to be observed. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe this is all a (bad) dream I’m having and all of you are in it. :) “Certainly not!”, says one of my dream characters, “I’m REAL!” Funny how dream people always defend their own existence. Ha! This is all fun stuff, especially quantum mechanics and non-dual philosophy.

      I’m reading the Holographic Universe right now. Fascinating. The Self Aware Universe after than. Check out this essay http://www.ascentofhumanity.com/chapter6-1.php and most especially this one http://faculty.virginia.edu/consciousness/

      Have a good one. :)

      • wulff says:

        If I’m not real, who’s wearing my underwear?

        • Keith says:

          How do we know you are wearing underwear? Lets see some photographic evidence!

        • Mal says:

          Please, no. On the off chance you’re not wearing any underwear, we don’t need pictures.


  3. Nir Wana says:

    As a resident of an officially catholic country (Belgium, yes it does exist :p) I find the mear thought of putting “creationism” on the same level as and integrated in any scientific class belonging in the “only in America” category.
    Over here, about 75% of all schools are catholic schools, obviously chances are great one grows up in them.
    In these you get 2 hours a week of “religion” classes, which are mostly just moral with a touch of christianity and every other class has nothing to do with religion, like it should be.
    State schools are the same, but you get the option to have 2 hours of moral without the touch of christianity.

    I may not live in a great country (+1 year without govt, lots of discrased priests and such) but at least we’re not being shamed by religious fanatics to pretty much every other country in the world by having “creationism” put as a valid idea for science…

    Zach, I’m sorry, but if you win, I have one less reason to laugh (about USA, not just Lousiana)… but then again, if you do win, it’ll also be one less reason to avoid contact with Americans (and infection of stupidity) ;)
    So a free argument for all facing what Zach is facing: Any law that allows teaching of creationism in a science class makes your country the laughing stock of a shitty place called Belgium.

    • m610 says:

      Belgium is a pretty cool place.

      I’ve heard your sentiment from many of my non-US friends. And my US friends! This whole thing is embarrassing. We are acting like the nuts in those (other) countries where the terrorists come from. Maybe we should bomb ourselves. ;)

      If you really want to hear something scary, we have an election coming, and the guy this video is about is running – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eOOcgu7JdU&feature=BFa&list=HL1310978453&index=4

      • Keith says:

        WOW! Knee jerk reactions for jeebus! I am so glad I do not live in America, the land of the freaks.

    • m610 says:

      Oh, and I sure wish Europe and other countries would be more vocal on this issue. Maybe if people here saw the world was laughing at them they’d take another look at this issue.

      • EdwoodCA says:

        Would be nice, but perhaps they’re being kind by not picking on the mentally challenged.

      • Piratemom says:

        Sadly, being laughed at qualifies as “persicution” and only makes the idiots more self-righteous.

  4. Jared Jammer says:

    I’m quite disappointed to see that this blog has declined posting my previous comment. Darwinists not only fear critical thinking in the classroom, it seems they fear it on their blogs, too.

    • Sky says:

      what exactly are you talking about? we are pastafarians.

    • Omnipotent Zombie says:

      Nobody declined anything. you are free to post your thoughts. Perhaps you should re-post your thoughts and submit again.

    • rationalone says:

      Well Jared Jammer; It appears as though you are confused about who is who, Darwinists, or what I call REALISTS, are only looking for facts rather than fairy tales. Creationists are just unable to discern fact from fantasy. Kudos to Zak. May truth and reality reign!

      If you pay attention you will note that some posts belong in the trash. Yours in particular should have been crumpled and tossed prior to you posting them.

  5. Pawsrent says:

    I’m not lying, Michelle Bachman lives five minutes away from me.

    • Horsehockey Horace says:

      …..Take off running, now! While you can escape!

  6. Bitti says:

    Theodicy is humorous, religions are joke. Unfortunately most of them are sad jokes.

  7. Ryan says:

    This makes me sad. In a country where science is used everyday for every purpose, from beauty to getting to work, they cannot seperate fact from fiction, valid, adjustable scientific theories, to singular, one sided dogmatic religions.


    p.s. how many people have been killed in the name of a prophet of science or science itself? but religion? o.0

  8. Sarah says:

    Oh my FSM, I think I’m in love

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