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Zack Kropplin Fighting Against Creationism In School


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http://io9.com/5976112/how-19+year+old- ... eationists

For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he's making a difference.

Kopplin, who is studying history at Rice University, had good reason to be upset after the passing of the LSEA — an insidious piece of legislation that allows teachers to bring in their own supplemental materials when discussing politically controversial topics like evolution or climate change. Soon after the act was passed, some of his teachers began to not just supplement existing texts, but to rid the classroom of established science books altogether. It was during the process to adopt a new life science textbook in 2010 that creationists barraged Louisiana's State Board of Education with complaints about the evidence-based science texts. Suddenly, it appeared that they were going to be successful in throwing out science textbooks.

I had no idea that Louisiana teachers could ignore text books and teach whatever the hell they wanted.

If you scroll down the link, the video is interesting.

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I always wondered what happens in states such as these, that have sent education back to the Stone Age, if a student does a research paper that goes against what's being taught. Say, a paper that scientifically debunks creationism point by point. Or one on human sexuality. Or birth control. Or gay rights. And so on and so on. Legitimate, well thought out research. Can the school refuse to accept it and demand that these students only research and write about approved topics? I would love it if every student who doesn't buy into this crap would fight back in such a manner. I'd think the schools would have some major lawsuits on their hands. And well deserved too.

Go Zack!

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I always wondered what happens in states such as these, that have sent education back to the Stone Age, if a student does a research paper that goes against what's being taught. Say, a paper that scientifically debunks creationism point by point. Or one on human sexuality. Or birth control. Or gay rights. And so on and so on. Legitimate, well thought out research. Can the school refuse to accept it and demand that these students only research and write about approved topics? I would love it if every student who doesn't buy into this crap would fight back in such a manner. I'd think the schools would have some major lawsuits on their hands. And well deserved too.

Go Zack!

The odd thing is that in 1983, I was learning about evolution. My biology teacher wrote on the board common sense reasons why creationism couldn't be taught. No one was upset or left his class

1. Whose creation theory will you teach?

2. You can't use scientific proofs to prove or disprove god so religion isn't science.

there were others but I just remember those two. The second one is, to me, the most powerful. Christians don't really want scientists to use scientific methods to prove or disprove god. Can you imagine an experiment in which people are broke into group. One group gets medication to cure a deadly disease. The other group gets a placebo and religious people pray for them. Scientist can than deduce which side did better. If you can't prove there is a god, how can you teach him/her in science class that deals with facts?

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What's even more odd is that going way back to the late 1960s when I was in junior high, I distinctly remember having a discussion of evolution vs. creationism (although it probably wasn't called that back then) and how one did not necessarily have to negate the other. The teacher brought up how some religious groups believe that the earth was only a few thousand years old so consequently they didn't believe in an evolutionary process that took millions of years. However, there was really no consensus on what constituted a "day" according to the bible, therefore the seven days it supposedly tool for god to create the universe could in actuality have taken 7 billion years, with evolution being part of god's plan. I remember a very lively debate--one where no one's Underoos got wedged up their butts, and it's a memory that's stuck with me all this time. It always jumps to the front of my brain whenever these creationist kurfuffles rear their ugly heads. Because it does make some sense. But faith trumps fact every time.

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I always wondered what happens in states such as these, that have sent education back to the Stone Age, if a student does a research paper that goes against what's being taught. Say, a paper that scientifically debunks creationism point by point. Or one on human sexuality. Or birth control. Or gay rights. And so on and so on. Legitimate, well thought out research. Can the school refuse to accept it and demand that these students only research and write about approved topics? I would love it if every student who doesn't buy into this crap would fight back in such a manner. I'd think the schools would have some major lawsuits on their hands. And well deserved too.

Go Zack!

The teacher would probably just give the student as bad a grade as they could get away with without making waves. When I was in 11th grade in 2002, I wrote a research paper supporting genetic engineering. My teacher was against the whole thing so she gave me a C-. I was a really smart teen and mostly got good grades but I have a few bad ones here and there so I didn't feel like I had any standing to challenge the bad grade. She did this to everyone in the class that she disagreed with, which was quite a lot because this particular assignment required us to pick a controversial topic.

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My bio teacher introduced our first foray into evolution by saying, "Some people would like it if we taught you creationism, but that's not what we do here." That was that. Granted, it was 2000 in the Northeast.

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The teacher would probably just give the student as bad a grade as they could get away with without making waves. When I was in 11th grade in 2002, I wrote a research paper supporting genetic engineering. My teacher was against the whole thing so she gave me a C-. I was a really smart teen and mostly got good grades but I have a few bad ones here and there so I didn't feel like I had any standing to challenge the bad grade. She did this to everyone in the class that she disagreed with, which was quite a lot because this particular assignment required us to pick a controversial topic.

That's just bad form on the part of the teacher; the grade should be on the strength of the argument, not whether or not you reach the conclusion the teacher likes.

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I'm from Ireland where most schools are catholic. We never got the 'creationism' thing, sure in earlier school years it was presented as part of religious education but I don't ever remember a teacher 'teaching' it as a fact. In second level we studied genetics in science, evolution wasn't really part of the curriculum but 'intelligent design' or whatever was never mentioned. One of my science teachers was a nun and never brought it up! Its baffling to me that there's a 'fight' to bring religious literature into the classroom like this.

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It pains me that this is even an issue in 21st century America. Do other countries have these sort of ongoing thrashing arguments over nonsense?

If you want to believe the Earth is 14K years old or whatever, knock yourself out. Believe what you want. But don't expect that in which you profess "faith" to be anything remotely like something that should be taught as part of the scientific process. If you want your kids to grow up with a 13th grasp of the universe, homeschool. Don't expect everyone else's kid to have to wallow in the same vat of ignorance.

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I live in the UK, so there is no separation of church and state and I went to a church school. We were given 'god did it, just like it says in the bible' as one possible theory re the origins of life and then it was on with the actual science.

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In my public school, teacher was a Christian. He presented both evolution and creation as possibilities, not really stressing one over the other. And that was it. It did not interfere with the actual science of the course. We still had to study other aspects f evolution in he textbook.

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In my Honors Biology class sophomore year, in an AZ. school, my bio teacher was LDS and refused to teach evolution. So, we had a substitute for the weeks that unit covered.

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In my public school, teacher was a Christian. He presented both evolution and creation as possibilities, not really stressing one over the other. And that was it. It did not interfere with the actual science of the course. We still had to study other aspects f evolution in he textbook.

I can see how a Christian might view the creation story as supporting evolution. Some of my religious friends take the stance that god simply provided bronze age people with an explanation that they could understand. However, the idea that they are equal scientific explanations for the way life formed on the planet is wrong. A teacher shouldn't present them as being equally possible.

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In my public school, teacher was a Christian. He presented both evolution and creation as possibilities, not really stressing one over the other. And that was it. It did not interfere with the actual science of the course. We still had to study other aspects f evolution in he textbook.

Did he also present astrology as a possibility?

The problem with presenting both is that creationism is not science and should not be presented as such. And it does interfere with the actual science of the course because, first of all it's not science, and secondly every minute spent on creationism is a minute that can't be spent on actual science.

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I was raised in a non-religious household, so I was about 14 before I found out that people actually believed that God literally created the world in seven days. I can't believe that I was that old before I knew that. I also had a biology teacher around that time that gave a little disclaimer before he started talking about evolution. The whole thing baffled me.

I still have trouble understanding exactly what creationism and intelligent design people believe. I try to read it, but it never makes any sense to me.

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I was raised in a non-religious household, so I was about 14 before I found out that people actually believed that God literally created the world in seven days. I can't believe that I was that old before I knew that. I also had a biology teacher around that time that gave a little disclaimer before he started talking about evolution. The whole thing baffled me.

I still have trouble understanding exactly what creationism and intelligent design people believe. I try to read it, but it never makes any sense to me.

God created the world in stages. Each day represents a stage with something new created on it. That is why some Christians can believe in evolution and creationism. However, some Christians believe that god spoke everything into immediate existence with no evolution of living creatures or plants. So house cats were house cats from day one.

I used to think that Intelligence Design just meant that people thought god was behind evolution but, for the most part, it is another word for creationism.

Some creationist believe in kinds. There were certain animals that could develop variety so they believe in a kind of evolution but not really. The topic of kind confuses me a bit but maybe someone else could describe it

Just for the record, I'm an atheist but growing up in the south eastern US, you learn weird things. LOL

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I was raised in a non-religious household, so I was about 14 before I found out that people actually believed that God literally created the world in seven days. I can't believe that I was that old before I knew that. I also had a biology teacher around that time that gave a little disclaimer before he started talking about evolution. The whole thing baffled me.

I still have trouble understanding exactly what creationism and intelligent design people believe. I try to read it, but it never makes any sense to me.

I was in my early 20s. I had never encountered anything like that before. :?

It was when Stockwell Day was running for Prime Minister of Canada. There had been an article in the paper about his beliefs about dinosaurs and humans living together, and I had told my friend about it as a sort of "Can you believe this!?" story, and she was like, "Well, actually..." :shock:

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I was in my early 20s. I had never encountered anything like that before. :?

It was when Stockwell Day was running for Prime Minister of Canada. There had been an article in the paper about his beliefs about dinosaurs and humans living together, and I had told my friend about it as a sort of "Can you believe this!?" story, and she was like, "Well, actually..." :shock:

Oh, thanks! You had to remind me of Stockwell Day! :angry-banghead: He was my gateway Canadian fundie. I'd heard about people like him kind of existing in the US, but was really baffled. Then I researched his background and beliefs, and immediately got a membership with the Young Liberals, because the idea of somewhat like him being in power, scared the bejesus out of me. Also, his anti-choice beliefs freaked me out (more), but anyway...

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I am Christian and see no conflict between evolution and God. The whole thing comes about because of Christians who refuse to look at different translations and/or original documents.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kairos

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature.[1] Kairos (καιρός) also means weather in both ancient and modern Greek. The plural, καιροι (kairoi or keri) means the times.

(Bolding mine.)

The description of the creation of the world in Genesis, using the original text rather than KJV, uses "Kairos". I have had this argument with so many other Christians but the majority refuse to use the Greek and always fall back on what their King James Bible says.

Anyway, stepping off my soapbox, I wish Zack all the best. Creationism is NOT SCIENCE. Why can't people get it through their heads? My kids learn evolution in their science lessons and the learn about the bible in scripture class. (Government schools have a 30 minute scripture lesson every week in our state. You are allowed to opt out but schools are not allowed to offer any alternate activity while the lessons are on so opting out means sitting the library being bored. My school has Christian, Muslim and Buddhist scripture.)

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I am Christian and see no conflict between evolution and God. The whole thing comes about because of Christians who refuse to look at different translations and/or original documents.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kairos

(Bolding mine.)

The description of the creation of the world in Genesis, using the original text rather than KJV, uses "Kairos". I have had this argument with so many other Christians but the majority refuse to use the Greek and always fall back on what their King James Bible says.

Anyway, stepping off my soapbox, I wish Zack all the best. Creationism is NOT SCIENCE. Why can't people get it through their heads? My kids learn evolution in their science lessons and the learn about the bible in scripture class. (Government schools have a 30 minute scripture lesson every week in our state. You are allowed to opt out but schools are not allowed to offer any alternate activity while the lessons are on so opting out means sitting the library being bored. My school has Christian, Muslim and Buddhist scripture.)

That's an interesting look at it Miggy, and I'd tend to go with the original language/translation that KJV saw fit for Genesis (despite it's Hebrew origin....which probably has an entirely different meaning).

Anyway, just curious about the scripture reading class, is scripture, including Muslim, Buddhist, & Christian, taught in this time-slot, or is just time to do some religious reading? Would it be okay for someone who declares their religion as atheist to pull out a copy of Christopher Hitchens' "The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever" and declare it atheist scripture, or would that student still be relegated to the library? I'm so fascinated by the fact that public schools still have these types of classes!

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Scripture classes are taught by local church ministers, youth pastors and volunteers from local churches, not by class teachers. There is a syllabus that each group follows rather than just being random lessons. The Christian one is great because it was put together by Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians and I love seeing all branches of Christianity working together. Any recognised religious group can have a scripture class as long as there is someone to run it. Not sue how Atheism would fit into that but I can't see it being a problem as long as there was a structure to the lessons. I never looked into it as it didn't concern me. My school has the three classes because these are the main three religions in my school. (The few Hindu kids go to non-scripture.) Other schools would have different classes, depending on their student population and the availability of people to teach.

I believe all states have scripture but don't quote me. I have only taught in New South Wales. Relatives teach scripture lessons in Victoria so they definately exist there. There is a debate at the moment whether schools should be allowed to teach a class on morals and values to the non-scripture kids.

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That's an interesting look at it Miggy, and I'd tend to go with the original language/translation that KJV saw fit for Genesis (despite it's Hebrew origin....which probably has an entirely different meaning).

Anyway, just curious about the scripture reading class, is scripture, including Muslim, Buddhist, & Christian, taught in this time-slot, or is just time to do some religious reading? Would it be okay for someone who declares their religion as atheist to pull out a copy of Christopher Hitchens' "The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever" and declare it atheist scripture, or would that student still be relegated to the library? I'm so fascinated by the fact that public schools still have these types of classes!

What is weird to me is that countries whose public schools have these classes end up with adults who are less to the right. I wonder why?

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I teach science in Louisiana. I have never been told to teach creatism and all the science teachers I know do not and will not teachcreatism. Please understand most science teachers pushed hard not for that bill to pass. But like most things in Louisiana why listen to our profession, we cant possible know how to teach or what works f :evil: or our kids.

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What is weird to me is that countries whose public schools have these classes end up with adults who are less to the right. I wonder why?

Probably because the adults teaching these classes are more centrist/leftist in the first place ;)

I live in Scotland, which has a long history of religion in public education, but also a long history of general political leftism. Public education here is the result of the 16th-century Church wanting everyone to be able to read the bible, and to this day has "religious and moral education", but perhaps contradictorily religion is considered a very private matter here, and it would be terribly rude to ask a stranger what church they go to. The teachers, and the people creating the curriculum, probably hate the Tories (it's almost a sport here), and are proud of programmes like the NHS.

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