Campaign to Repeal Louisiana’s Creationism Law

The state of Louisiana has long been a foul sinkhole of creationism. See Who Sucked the Brains out of Louisiana? Here’s some background if you’re new to this situation. Our regular readers can skip the next few indented paragraphs:

Louisiana is the only state in the US that can boast of passing an anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism “Academic Freedom” law modeled after the Academic Freedom Act promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

The Louisiana Science Education Act (the “LSEA”) was passed in 2008. It encourages the use of unspecified “supplemental materials” — wink, wink — in science classes. We refer it as Louisiana’s “Every Child an Idiot” law; but we also deploy other pejorative labels. The LSEA was enacted notwithstanding a landmark decision from the US Supreme Court striking down Louisiana’s earlier creationism law (see: Edwards v. Aguillard).

Virtually the entire state of Louisiana is a creationist wasteland. That includes their governor, Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist (who is also a winner of your Curmudgeon’s coveted Buffoon Award). Although he had been a biology major in college, Jindal signed the bill after it was passed almost unanimously by the state legislature, led by the bill’s sponsor, senator Ben Nevers. (See Louisiana’s Ben Nevers: Creationist Doublethink.)

Let us not forget the state-level promoters of the LSEA, who appear to function as fellow-travelers and obedient servants of their Discoveroid puppet-masters in Seattle. There is Darrell White, founder of the Louisiana Family Forum (the “LFF”), and also Gene Mills, president of the LFF.

Almost the lone voice of sanity in that benighted state has been philosophy professor Barbara Forrest, a star witness for the winning side in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. She is founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science.

Now you know what’s wrong with Louisiana. But just as things seemed hopeless, we have some good news from that state. You may find this difficult to believe, but there’s an effort under way to repeal the horribly misnamed Louisiana Science Education Act. At Barbara Forrest’s website we read: The Repeal Effort Has Begun. Barbara says:

Zachary Kopplin, the Baton Rouge Magnet High School senior who has mounted an effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, has just issued a press release. It is the official kick-off of his campaign to get this creationist law repealed. The Louisiana Coalition for Science is proud to be working with Zack in this effort.

This is fantastic! A high school student is trying to undo the madness imposed on the state by almost the entire legislature, their creationist-exorcist Governor, and that creationist activism group with the give-away code-word “Family” in its name (any organization with the word “Family” in its title is either creationist, abortionist, or it’s connected with Charles Manson).

Barbara gives a link to Zack’s press release announcing his campaign: High School Student Launches Campaign to Repeal Louisiana’s Creationism Law. The lead paragraph says:

Building upon a grassroots effort last winter that was successful in fighting off efforts to insert creationism into Louisiana science textbooks, Baton Rouge Magnet High School Senior Zack Kopplin is helping lead an effort to have the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) repealed during the Louisiana Legislature’s 2011 Regular Session. State Senator Karen Carter Peterson (New Orleans) has announced that she will sponsor the repeal legislation.

Zack has already lined up a state senator who will sponsor the repeal bill! According to the press release, he’s been on the radio and he’s been the subject of an op-ed. And now he has the enthusiastic support of Barbara Forrest. Compared to that, your humble Curmudgeon’s support means little, but Zack’s got it. We’re with Zack!

Read Zack’s entire press release. And keep your eye on this kid; he’s formidable!

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

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19 responses to “Campaign to Repeal Louisiana’s Creationism Law

  1. Thanks! Hopefully Louisiana can pull itself out of the mud.

  2. As a Louisiana boy my own self, as they say, good on you, Zack.

    (and don’t use grammar like this until you become a writer and get your Creative License.)

    You have an opportunity, Zack, that most of us don’t have to call out the emperor and tell everybody he has no clothes. They can’t very well call you an east coast liberal elite, can they? Nope, you’re a product of the system they want to wreck. You may escape but what about your fellow tadpoles in the second, third and fourth grades? How many of them will overcome a potentially stunted education?

    I was fortunate growing up in Louisiana in the *cough*50-60’s*cough* because we had a real Sputnik moment and our teachers geared-up and fed us a steady diet of science and math. We suspended class during space missions and huddled around a radio in the classroom to hear the latest news. It was exciting, and that’s the way school should be. Perhaps our Zack will be able to remind the legislators of that.

  3. Curmudgeon: “(any organization with the word “Family” in its title is either creationist, abortionist, or it’s connected with Charles Manson).”

    Did you mean anti-abortionist?

  4. Zack Kopplin says: “Hopefully Louisiana can pull itself out of the mud.”

    Maybe, but permit your Curmudgeon to offer a bit of advice. If things don’t go as you hope, don’t let it get to you. This is a very long struggle, and it won’t be over in a flash. There’s a load of inertia on the other side, and it won’t yield easily. Just stay with it.

  5. We can always hope though, and in his biology major heart, the governor supports a repeal.

  6. Filgby asks: “Did you mean anti-abortionist?”

    No. I was thinking of family planning. I’m not taking any sides in that one, but it’s one usage of the word by activist groups. That’s all I was saying.

  7. Zack Kopplin says:

    … in his biology major heart, the governor supports a repeal.

    Maybe, yet he signed the thing. That tells you about his character. In politics, and in every other aspect of life, character is everything. Maybe he really would like a repeal, but he’ll bend with the wind. He might even veto a repeal bill if he thinks it’s to his political advantage.

  8. Shh, we want to give him as much cover as possible

  9. In politics there’s what a person believes and what a person believes will get him elected or re-elected.

    Obviously, Brown University biology major graduate with a BS, Jindal, believes that pretending to be a creationist moron garners him more votes than being an east coast, liberal elite, which he actually is. Where is Brown University?

    Jindal somehow thinks that we, the electorate, don’t realize he’s pandering. Hello, Jindal, yes we do!

    Jindal thinks he has a future in politics, but he doesn’t. Neither does he have support nor does he have the backbone to do the right thing for the people of his state. Just another Huey Long.

  10. In my experience, many bio majors are creationists/IDers. An example: A bio major friend of mine was in my apartment last year and saw my geologic timescale poster on the wall. After studying it, she actually said “Do they ever talk about God or Creation in your geology classes?” I said “No, we only talk about SCIENCE.” She seemed miffed to know that here at New Mexico Tech science is science and not “theo-science”. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that Bobby is one of those creationist biologists.

    And to Zack, keep up the excellent work! You have the weight of the scientific community on your side.

  11. Zack,

    Let me add my kudos. For what it’s worth, one of Gov. Jindal’s bio profs at Brown, Arthur Landy, had written to ask that he not support the original bill. Prof. Landy might be a good person to talk to for extra support; I’ve dealt with him in a limited way professionally and he was very reliable.

    Best wishes!

  12. SciTech,

    Did you happen to notice that the creationist bio majors were pre-med, and therefore had no intention of doing scientific research? That would be my guess – and hope – but I’m curious.

  13. Sometimes ya just gotta admit there may be hope for the future.

  14. James F, yeah, I do think that is often the case here at Tech with the creationist biologists. Many of the them are pre-med/pre-vet school so I guess their creationist beliefs HOPEFULLY won’t affect the work they end up doing. I don’t mind people being creationists, I mind when they try to legislate their beliefs and force them onto others.

    One thing that especially annoys me about teaching creationism in schools (other than the fact that it isn’t science and shouldn’t be discussed as a valid alternative to real scientific theory) is that the state is supporting the teaching of Christian beliefs to other peoples’ children. There are a lot of other religions besides Christianity, and maybe the parents should be the ones to decide what sort of theologic education, if any, to give their children. It’s disrespectful, and of course, unconstitutional to say the least. Good luck Zack!

  15. Zack-

    I am so impressed with and supportive of your efforts! Congratulations on having the gumption to stand up to the IDiots! 😀

  16. Zack Koppelin: “Thanks! Hopefully Louisiana can pull itself out of the mud.”

    Many thanks to you from those of us who don’t live in LA, but care very much about the education of the children there. For me it’s not the “promoting religion” that’s the iseue, but the deliberate misrepresentation of evolution and the nature of science that every anti-evolution actvist obsessively promotes.

    I do have one request, though, in addition to seconding the Curmudgeon’s advice. That is to find out what Jindal’s position is on the age of life and common descent. Given his biology degree at Brown he must have heard of Kenneth Miller, and Michael Behe, one of Miller’s chief opponents, who, unlike most anti-evolution activists, concedes ~4 billion years of common descent. My suspicion is that he privately accepts at least as much as Behe does, but will try to weasel out of an answer, so as not to offend anyone in the “big tent.” But we could be pleasantly surprised with an admission that he finds no problem with evolution, and only defends pseudoscience for some reason of “fairness.”

  17. SciTech: “After studying it, she actually said ‘Do they ever talk about God or Creation in your geology classes?’ I said ‘No, we only talk about SCIENCE’.”

    I would have added: “That poster shows the timeline of God’s Creation. Do you find a different one more convincing? If so have you challenged creationists who don’t? If not have you challenged creationists who do?”

  18. Good one, Frank J, however, I try my level best NOT to engage the subject too deeply with creationists…they don’t argue with reason or logic and it actually drives me insane. Like the Curmudgeon says, it’s a waste of time arguing with creationists. You can’t get anywhere with it so why bother?

  19. @SciTech:

    I have gotten somewhere with it. First, there are plenty of “creationists” who are not yet irreversibly compartmentalized or in-on-the-scam. But even with those who are, I am simply interested in determining which of the mutually-contradictory “theories” they find most convincing, and why. Sometimes they admit that the “why” is belief in spite of the evidence (Omphalos creationists). If so I can rest assured that they are unlikely to spread misinformation about evolution and the nature of science.

    If they evade simple “when” questions, chances are they’re at least partly in-on-the-scam. That usually ends the discussion, unless there are 3rd parties present who can see which “side” has something to hide. Half the people who accept evolution think it’s fair to “teach the controversy” in science class. But they think twice when they see the games that anti-evolution activists play.

    I also take the advice of NCSE’s Eugenie Scott and “defuse the religion issue.” I never criticize their belief in God or the comfort they find in scripture. Often they are surprised to learn that most mainstream religions accept evolution based on the evidence that Pope John Paul II described as “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated.”