Louisiana Creationism: Zack Strikes Back

A few days ago we posted Racism Is Darwin’s Fault. That was about a bizarre letter that appeared in the Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge.

The letter was written by Darrell White, founder of the Louisiana Family Forum (the “LFF”). That’s the creationist activist group largely responsible for the Louisiana Science Education Act (the “LSEA”) which was passed in 2008. We call it the “Every Child an Idiot” law.

Darrell’s letter used the “Race and Gravy” meeting held at the First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge as a pretext for a wild creationist rant in which he claimed that Darwin was the root of all racism.

Today we are pleased to see that the Advocate has printed a letter responding to Darrell’s screed — and it’s by none other than Zachary Kopplin, the Baton Rouge Magnet High School senior who is spearheading the Campaign to Repeal Louisiana’s Creationism Law.

Zack’s letter is titled Race and Gravy not about evolution. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

It’s good to know that retired Judge Darrell White supports racial equality and the mission of Race and Gravy, a group fighting to end racism in Baton Rouge.

Unfortunately, in his letter to the editor about the Race and Gravy forum, Judge White hijacks the focus of the forum to advance the argument that racism was somehow caused by the theory of evolution. As a panelist at the forum, let me assure you this is not something we spent any time discussing.

How is it possible for Zack to be a high school senior, work for the repeal of Louisiana’s creationism law, and still have time to participate in the Race and Gravy forum? Let’s read on:

The true purpose of the forum was to come together and discuss how to “turn the corner on race” here in Baton Rouge. The keynote speaker, David Livingstone Smith, an evolutionary biologist, explained that there is no scientific basis for racism because as humans we are all members of the human race.

Perhaps that was what triggered Darrell’s rant about Darwin. The event featured a genuine evolutionary biologist who argued that science doesn’t support racism. Darrell apparently couldn’t tolerate the idea that science might be a force for good in the world, so he had to demonize Darwin.

Hold on — there’s no way we can analyze Darrell’s thinking, and we shouldn’t try; pay no attention to our speculations. All we can do is argue against his creationist legislation.

Continuing with Zack’s letter:

Using evolutionary biology, Smith argued that current science shows us we are all humans and that surface level differences such as skin color are scientifically insignificant. Judge White’s nonsensical attempt to link scientific thinking from around the time the Civil War ended slavery in America to racism incorrectly characterizes the speaker’s argument, confuses the good work of the forum and does nothing to move our city forward as a united community.

There’s more to Zack’s letter, and it’s attracting some comments posted by readers of the Advocate, so click over there to see what’s happening. The comments reveal that Zack and Barbara Forrest aren’t the only sane people in Louisiana. Who knew?

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Louisiana Creationism: Zack Strikes Back

  1. It’s a great letter! I am glad Zack is in Louisiana to fight the good fight.

  2. However badly Mr. White misundersts evolution is, if he thinks Darwin is the cause of slavery, his misunderstanding of history is worse.

  3. Super letter, Zack!

  4. cnocspeireag

    The paper doesn’t allow foreigners to make comments. I suppose it keeps the average IQ in double figures :-)

  5. There is a definite contrast between the comments on Judge White’s letter and the comments on mine. I found that pretty interesting.

  6. Well done, Zack. Well done.