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  Zack’s been trying to get it repealed since then.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. Benji Frank says:

    i know zack…odd kid

    • rdiac says:

      Yeah….. Elvated capacity in altruism, civic virtue, insight or communication ability often sticks out. Go figure that it should stick out more when all four’s the case……

  2. cl78 says:

    another hell bound american that wouldn’t have happened if there were parents who respect Gods love and belief that the only way into heaven is through HIM, Jesus Christ

    • stylusmobilus says:

      I’d rather he happened than a fairy tale believer who thinks a sky zombie saves you from a fire breathing goat with a star tattoooed on his head. Zack has already made a worthwhile contribution at his young age. Apart from stealing oxygen off good people and animals, what have you contributed that is worthwhile?

    • Atsap Revol says:

      cl78, thank you for being judgmental, even though according to your New Testament, Jesus said”Judge not, lest ye be judged. Your kind of Christian is like a burr in my britches. You assume an air of superiority and threaten eternity in hell for those who do not believe as you do. I pity you and your little closed-in world of narrow dimensions. There is a wonderful world out here with marvels that far exceed the superstitious mythology of your beliefs. Zack is far smarter than “young earth” folks that deny factual scientific data.

      More power to you, Zack
      Atsap Revol

    • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

      Wow, cl78 – you know all! How did you come to this fantastic knowledge? Did you do research, experimentation, observation of natural phenomenon? Or did you just buy into the fables that have been rammed down your throat since infancy?

    • Mal says:

      cl78, your thought process is flawed. I had LOTS of parents who “respect(ed) God(‘)s love and belief that the only way into heaven is through HIM, Jesus Christ,” but I am still hell bound, as you say, because I have my own brain, and I can make my own decisions. You see, when a logical person is presented with two choices, one being belief in an age old fairy tale and the other being supported by demonstrable evidence, only one of those choices is actually a possible outcome. Evidence will ALWAYS trump faith in a logical mind.

      Why believe in what cannot be proven when proof of more sensical beliefs is all around us?

    • midnight rider says:

      Jesus told me yesterday that the bible is fiction and that there is no heaven and no hell either.

  3. Heather says:

    I’ll be praying for all of you. You don’t know what I believe and I don’t know the specifics of what any of you believe. I’m not here to judge. I just found this interesting. I know that I am alive right now and I hope that knowing someone in the world is doing the best thing that they can for you (which I believe is true with everything that I am) gives you some peace. Some might think my prayers are useless but I’ll pray anyway because I believe they are powerful. There is a time to pray and there is a time to act. Trust me, when the time comes to act, I won’t hesitate. Even if you doubt my prayers I will physically do my part in living by what I believe is right by loving and caring for other human beings. Choose the path you’ll walk in life. Your choices won’t affect me but I hope your choice is the right one. (whatever the “right one” is)

    • Keith says:

      And I’ll be doing what I think is right by ignoring your prayers and your exhortations. It is sheer arrogance to think that because you imagine you are right and we are wrong you have a right to try to influence our lives.

    • stylusmobilus says:

      I am one of those who thinks your prayer is useless. But go on, waste your time. Unfortunately for most Xtns the time to pray and the time to act get confused. When are you going to act, Heather, or will you continue to allow your actions to be dictated by imaginary beings? And, you have judged, by condescending to us by saying you’ll pray for us. Perhaps Heather, you should listen to yourself and choose a path, rather than be indoctrinated in one. Your bracketed comment suggests you can’t make that decision.

      That sounded so nice, Heather, but I am not confused…you believe your higher authority puts you above us, and hold contempt for our lack of belief.

    • rastarr says:


      It’s disingenuous of you to presume the stance of someone who’s “…not here to judge.” You commented on this website because you judge.

      You can believe in whatever imaginary friend you want, so long as it doesn’t affect me. The problem is that it does. How would you feel if our American currency stated: “In Allah We Trust”? That’s how I feel about your nonsensical drivel, whatever it is.

      Pray for me in one hand, and s&*t in the other. See which hand fills first.

  4. midnight rider says:

    Christians are the ones who usually say, “I’ll pray for you.” So, I bet you’re a Christian.

    See http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/05/29/a-guide-to-christian-cliches-and-phrases/

    “I’ll pray for you”

    Translation: “This conversation is over. My mind exploded.” Or, “I refuse to believe you won this argument.”
    Acceptable Response: “Thanks, you’re so kind.”
    Unacceptable Response: ”Instead of praying, why don’t you read a non-Christian book?” Or, “I’ll think for you.” Or especially, “Liar.”
    [Inspired by Richard, Gdad, and Wazza.]

  5. the dude says:

    Factually science, at this point, offers no more answers than creationism in regards to the origins of the universe. The Big Bang theory basically argues that something came from nothing, which is against the law of physics. Specifically it argues the existence of a concentration of mass gases that culminated in an explosion that sponsored the universe, but they offer no solutions regarding the origin of those gases. Therefore the scientific answer, correctly called a theory because it at this point remains unproven, requires equally as much ‘faith’ as does the argument of intelligent design. The difference between Christianity and science at this point becomes who has the power to control what is accepted and taught. Too much venom exists between these groups, i suppose, to ever accept that what one group may believe is not plausible can still be possible. But science, by it’s own definition, is in failure by not ackowledging the truth that their theories are just that… theories. Teaching it as fact at this point is really nothing more than declaring the unproven ‘truth’ that the world is flat and requiring everyone around them to believe it, as was done centuries before. I say prove the theory, but until you do, you have no grounds for denying other ideas, regardless of your anger towards them.

    • Atsap Revol says:

      Dude, your post attempts to give equal footing to science and mythology. The Big Bang rightfully is not being taught as fact. Evolution, on the other hand, is supported by so much evidence that it should be and is taught as a well-supported theory. Creationism or Intelligent Design are not able to stand the test of evidence; they are just mythical explanations of how life as we know it came to be. Dude, you need to understand the difference between the meaning of HYPOTHESIS and THEORY. I won’t repeat the definitions here, they’ve been covered many times on this site. See a good dictionary or take a science class.

      Christianity perpetuated the idea of a geocentric universe, witches and demons, and a satan who can stand up to an “omnipotent” God. The difference between Christianity and science is not which has the power to control what is accepted and taught: the difference is which has evidence of actual cause and effect relationships in the world.

      I am not angry, I have no venom, but I have ample justification for denying the ideas of Creationism and Intelligent design a place in a biology class. That’s what this site is all about.

      Atsap Revol

      • the dude says:

        Atsap, Hi! Thank you for your reply. If the Big Bang is the only theory allowed in the discussion, then I think holding a monopoly on the explanation on the origin of the universe inside the hallowed halls of our education system could be seen the same as being taught as fact, and even if it isn’t heralded as such, the fact that there is no contestation allowed in the classroom would make it appear as such, especially to a 13 year old. If I wrongly muddied the waters between hypotheiss and theory then i do apologize, but the fact remains that the Big Bang theory requires the same amount of ‘faith’ as does any religious explanation. I believe that this one particular position is firmly planted in logic, and I believe most true students of science would be inclined to agree. It puzzles me why this rather flagrant loophole in the theory isn’t more profoundly proclaimed; I’ll admit it has been my assumption that by critiquing it, it ‘offends’, and the fervor with which it is rebutted could be viewed as almost ‘religious zealotry’ in nature. I admit i do find that contradiction pretty funny. Seriously, i think “where did the gases come from?” is no more radical a question than “Is there a God?” They hold equal importance in relation to the two explanations, as they are the linchpins in the argument and neither can, at this point, be validated. And I personally entertain the notion that intelligent design, if allowed to play thru, does have some rational applicability, albeit far reaching ones to be sure; especially when you take a big look at the universe and watch it turn like so many cogs in an awe inspiring clockwork sort of way. But I digress. The fact of the matter remains that the Big Bang theory cannot support itself under real scrutiny, and therefore you should either abolish both arguments, or neither. Both require what i believe to be equal ‘leaps of faith’, beliefs in an unverified mechanism, therefore making one no more or less valid than the other. As for evolution… well, we’ll leave that one for another time :)

    • Apprentice Frederic says:

      Hey, dude, your comments characterizing the Big Bang, the “law of physics”, and the nature of a “theory” suggest that you actually have no standing whatsoever in this discussion. You are right, however, about two things: that there is a lot of venom, and that Christians see this as a struggle over who has the power to control what is accepted and taught. The problem, of course, is that Christians have ALL the answers direct from Jesus, and science is still building. If you ever figure out which end of a telescope or a microscope to look into, you will begin to understand. In the meantime, why dontcha forget about it????

    • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

      “The Big Bang theory basically argues that something came from nothing, which is against the law of physics.”

      A. No, it doesn’t.
      B. Something from nothing is NOT against the law of physics.
      C. The only link between the BB theory and evolution is a very tenuous one made by creationists.

  6. the dude says:

    I’m sorry Apprentice, but I believe I do have some standing. You can see my argument, and i’ve noticed you’ve refused to make a direct comment regarding it. You have however spent your time straining to insult others and myself without creating a legitimate counter-argument on your own, as Atsap was intelligent enough to do. I haven’t had many problems with microscopes or telescopes, but if i do perhaps i’ll repost here at a later date to let you know. I don’t see any reason why I should ‘forget about it’, although seeing as i’m playing devil’s advocate to your current position and you’ve not bothered to collect and present any sort of counter argument of your own, i assume you’d like me to :) I don’t claim to be anything more than a spectator regarding the realm of physics and these particular areas of interest, but i do earnestly study them, at least at some amatuerish depth, and I’m willing to bet there are many who are willing to argue virtually any point under the sun without bothering to put forth the effort to genuinely discover the facts on their own. Much like those who love to throw quotes from the Bible in Christians faces without ever bothering to study the book as a whole themselves, those who garner their information from others or from the ‘innernet’ (haha) or those who feel empowered by using information out of context, these are the ones I believe who are spreading the predominant amount of misinformation. The Big Bang should be questioned, at its heart it is undeniably fallible, and therefore it is no better nor worse than intelligent design, which i’ll note is not only revered by the dirty, ignorant faithful, but also by relevant, noted and esteemed scientists and thinkers worldwide. It deserves to have it’s arguments heard, just as your arguments deserve to be heard.

    • Apprentice Frederic says:

      Dude, as a gesture of only partial contrition for my irritable previous post, I will try to comment directly on your argument.
      First, your description of the big bang theory is a bit flawed, a bit misleading, and a bit irrelevant to creationism/ID as most of us understand C/ID. BB scheme does not start with nothing, and it doesn’t start with gas either. In fact, it explicitly stipulates that it’s not necessarily clear what happened to create conditions at t=0. The theory – and I use the word correctly to describe a framework of observational facts, mathematical models, conclusions of other theories, etc., that fit together coherently and make verifiable predictions. “Hypothesis” and “speculation” and “conjecture” are perhaps progressively weaker (and more pejorative, if you wish to use them so) words. Various parts of the BB theory have been around for a long time, perhaps starting with observatories on a spherical earth, revolving around the sun, noticing the apparent expansion of the universe. Progressively deeper and more powerful experiments (nonetheless wussy on a cosmic scale) seem to have verified some important quantitive details about the relative number and kind of atomic nuclei, based on and consistent with the notion of a BB. Very recently, the so-called microwave background radiation has been measurred and studied in detail, and again APPEARS to be consistent with some kind of a BB. Now, all of this came about because large numbers of people debated and discussed and argued – and experimented! – and measured! – until there was at least fairly reasonable consensus. There was for a long time a view that the Universe was actually in an eternally steady state, and for all I know, that might be revived. You are – FSM forgive me – right: the BB theory should be questioned. Speaking of insulting, however, your notion that Christian dogma, handed down on a flaming platter by the representatives of God himself, deserves to be compared with that process, or that the failure of BB theory – right, or even wrong – is arrogant, condescending, and insulting in the extreme.

      Let me buy your admirably modest disclaimer of expertise and make a suggestion: there’s a great book by a CCNY theoretical physicist named Michio Kaku; “Hyperspace” by name. It’s fun to read and covers a lot of issues related to what “theories” do, how they are built, and what makes / breaks them. There isn’t a lot of persecution in the book, but I have to admit that scientists are occasionally snotty enough to say things like: “It’s not even wrong!”
      Pasta be with you, Dude

      • Apprentice Frederic says:

        PS: Sorry, I garbled the last sentence of the first paragraph. The gist was supposed to be that even if BB theory, right or wrong, doesn’t explain how things started, it’s still not so bad if it helps explain the next 15 billion years. And there’s more work to be done. And anyone who likes explanations from a flaming bush better is arrogant, condescending, and insulting in the extreme.

  7. the dude says:

    A very strong reply Apprentice, thank you. And if i’ve appeared arrogant, condescending, and/or insulting in any way, then I do apologize. Regarding BB – as i understand it, the basic, all but concrete factual ‘theory’ of BB goes like this: A tiny, mind bogglingly dense point of energy (without an origin) exists in an otherwise complete and utter void (without origin). Then, without causation, this tiny uber dense energy explodes (i’ve heard explained that this explosion could have been caused by the collective compression of hydrogen and helium atoms, thus my reference to gases), hurling it’s density into trillions of shards across this empty void. Normally, because it’s a void and provides no resistance, these shards and gases would have traveled at an equal speed AWAY from one another – according to the laws of physics – but thru some miracle (oops) they did not. Some slowed down, gave the huge clouds of gases time to form stars, those stars created gravity wells, those gravity wells pulled in planets, and so on. Sounds almost, well, Biblical, doesn’t it? The fact that BB’s core logic consists of devices without origins performing acts without causation makes it as much bullshit, if you’ll provide me that one, as anything else. That’s really where i’m at. I appreciate your time, and your arguments are as sound as any i’ve heard. But if you’re angry about someone peddling mythical solutions at you that insult you, then I’d think you’d be more inclined to understand why i’m a bit testy over BB being peddled on me. Again, thank you.

    • Apprentice Frederic says:

      Dude, your response was gracious, and I will try as best I can to follow suit. We will, of course, have to agree to disagree. I happen to believe that the BB theory that you heap scorn and criticism upon is YOUR statement of it, rather than the astrophysical community’s, but I certainly don’t speak for them, either. You will find discussions of BB theory – strengths, weaknesses, and unknowns, in many places, ranging from the Astrophysical Journal thru more popular but perfectly reputable magazines such as “Scientific American” or “Astronomy.” I think it’s fair to say that all of these sources regard scientific knowledge as being forever incomplete and being forever improved, and that they (with me scampering along behind) would shrug off any perceived failure to address First Causes straightway off the mark that you have siezed upon to belabor – again, inaccurately, I believe. They – and I – would also shrug off biblical revelation as having any standing whatsoever in this discussion. We’re not comparing different revelations, we’re comparing different approaches to gaining understanding.

      There is, BTW, a poster to this site who is absolutely entitled to an opinion – even if she thinks I’m full of bullshit. DR. ASTRONOMER, where are you when we need you????

      • Apprentice Frederic says:

        Hi, Dude, just another brief PS: serendipitously, I just got back from my PO Box with the current issue of “Astronomy”: the cover page article is “Before the Big Bang: What Triggered Cosmis Genesis?” You may well wind up unsatisfied, but – forgive me – it’ll be for better reasons, anyway, LOL.

    • Noodly Goodness says:

      I’m sorry but I can’t remain silent on one point:

      If you argue that the Big Bang theory is fundamentally flawed and therefore obviously incorrect since science currently cannot explain what came *before* the inflationary period, then you have also argued that Divine Creationism is likewise flawed and therefore obviously incorrect.

      For indeed, where did God come from? What existed before Him?

      The only way to explain it is with faith; yet He *always* existed is not a logical nor valid argument.

      God had to come from somewhere in order to exist, after all, just as the singularity had to have come from somewhere.

      Also, you might be interested to know that BB theory isn’t the only show in town, it’s just the best supported and most popular. Look up the theory of ‘branes sometime. You seem intelligent and so I think you will enjoy the ideas presented.

      P.S. I can prove that according to the Bible, God is an Extraterrestrial. (Now I’m not making fun, just playing a logic game)

      1. According to the Bible, God created the Earth.
      2. If God created the Earth, God could not have been on or of the Earth when it was created.
      3. Extraterrestrial means ‘not of the Earth.’
      4. God is an extraterrestrial.

      This logic is pretty solid, and cannot be refuted using the given definitions; this logic shows how ‘facts’ can be twisted up to obfuscate and offend.

      You admit to a limited knowledge of the science of the Big Bang, and yet dismiss it out of hand because of ‘faulty logic.’ Theorists working on the origin of the Universe know, of course, that there has to be an explanation for where the singularity came from, and what came before it. The whole point of their work is to try and refine the science, observe, experiment, and try to identify those very items. Dismissing the BB as ‘only a theory’ completely misses the point of the scientific method–ignores it, in point of fact.

      Gravity is ‘just a theory.’ Yet the apple still falls when it breaks from the tree, and the Earth still goes ’round the sun.

      Night all

  8. Thea says:

    But you guys, the idea of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is ridiculous. We need to teach kids that a talking snake convinced a woman made from a rib to eat a magic apple because it’s a sensible, reasonable explanation.

    • TiltedHorizon says:

      Clearly you are taking the bible out of context to make it sound silly. Let’s clear this up shall we?

      In the beginning there was nothing. Then an all knowing ‘something’, which exists outside of the aforementioned ‘nothing’, created everything. At this point, the all knowing ‘something’, with his omnipotent hindsight, realized something was amiss. Hence, using dirt as an ingredient, because all of the aforementioned ‘nothing’ was used up, the ‘something’ created man. The ‘something’ then gave man the earth and command of all the beasts which roam it. Life was good except something was still missing. Thankfully the all knowing ‘something’, being all knowing, realized that Man, much like the male & female beasts that roam the earth, needs a female mate. D’oh! A forehead slap later woman is created from man’s rib. Why a rib? Cause the supply of ‘nothing’ was used up and using the same dirt as man would mean equality which is un-something-like. So man & woman are given the earth and are blessed with free will, the ‘something’ then instructs them to not eat from tree of knowledge. This was obviously important as the ‘something’ was so fixated on the tree that he/she/it/whatever forgot to mention there were other free willed ‘somethings’ in the area. Enter the talking snake. Long story short, Apples = BAD, man + man = BAD, woman man, woman >= man = BAD, and BAD = Stoned. Note: Stoned = BAD unless Stoned + something’s name = Good.


      • Mal says:

        Thanks for “clearing” that up. I’m somehow more confused than I was before.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “I’m somehow more confused than I was before.”

          That is where ‘faith’ comes in.

        • Omnipotent Zombie says:

          The less questions you ask, the more sensible it seems.

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