Government & Politics
 

Anti-creationism crusade gains support; Capitol rally slated

I’ve neglected to update an issue raised in a previous post, so let’s seize the opportunity. Skeptics might say this alleged “update” is a poorly-disguised excuse for self-promotion, to which I’d firmly reply, “Hey, I think I hear an ice cream truck coming!”

Anyway, let’s get going, because there’s no time to waste like the present.

If you read my February Lens post on Baton Rouge high school senior Zack Kopplin’s quest to repeal the so-called Louisiana Science and Education Act of 2008, you were well-prepared for Gambit’s profile on Mr. Kopplin a month later. Conversely, if you somehow read the Gambit article but missed my original post, then shame on you. You should take an adult “time out” to contemplate your mistake and dwell on how insanely far-sighted my punditry can be, especially when it doesn’t involve observations about Katy Perry.

Seriously, though, it’s impressive to see Kopplin’s movement gaining momentum. On Sunday he sent out a press release informing us that State Senator Karen Carter Peterson introduced Senate Bill 70 to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), which in essence permits Louisiana school boards to allow the teaching of creationism and other anti-scientific theories in the name of “academic freedom” and “critical thinking.”

According to the release, Carter Peterson said, “Louisiana’s top priority must be to educate our children so they can compete for the high-paying jobs that we want to create in Louisiana… [This] ‘job killing’ creationism law undermines our education system and drives science and technology based companies away from Louisiana.”

Hear, hear.

Kopplin, the son of Andy Kopplin, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s chief administrative officer, is holding a rally at the capitol in support of the bill at 11am on April 28th. And his opponents are taking notice, too. A group called the Intercessors for America told its members to

Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in Zachary Kopplin’s heart, granting him understanding that “the universe was formed at God’s command.”

Technically speaking, that prayer request isn’t in opposition to Kopplin’s work. Many scientists and educators believe God initiated the creation of a universe … billions of years ago. And that evolution, as understood by science, has had ample time to kick in since then.

The title of my post on Kopplin even got a mention in the prayer request, which stated “Kopplin’s supporters…. are… comparing him to David in a fight against the ‘Goliath’ of the Religious Right.” (Due credit for the David/Goliath comparison goes to my editor, Steve.)

Kopplin’s supporters and church-state separation proponents are praising his battle with the Louisiana Family Forum, (an affiliate of Focus on the Family and an advocate of Intelligent Design), comparing him to David in a fight against the “Goliath” of the Religious Right.

The odds are still heavily stacked against Kopplin, but hey, if the New Orleans Hornets can beat the Lakers in L.A. without their top scorer, who’s to say what’s impossible? To his credit, Kopplin understands that repealing the LSEA might not happen this time around. It may take years of concerted political pressure. However, if SB 70 fails to pass, Kopplin has created a useful template for repeal advocates to use in the legislative sessions to come. And he has done so in admirable fashion, I might add.

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  • Robert Durbin

    “[This] ‘job killing’ creationism law undermines our education system and drives science and technology based companies away from Louisiana.”
    That’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read in quite awhile. Since when do companies ask about a person’s views on origins or creation? I think you will find many people who hold to a “creationist” view of some kind in all levels of academia, science, business, medicine, and education fields. When businesses are looking for a place to build or re-locate, I really don’t think anything like this factors into their decisions. This law doesn’t even REQUIRE teaching of creationism: “PERMITS Louisiana school boards to ALLOW the teaching of creationism and other anti-scientific theories in the name of academic freedom and critical thinking.” So discussing options in the origins of the universe and life isn’t educational? Talk about closed-minded.

  • M

    Thanks for the comment! Actually when businesses are looking to relocate, quality of schools is a significant concern. All things being equal, an excellent school system and a school system that wastes time on non-scientific “options” (as you put it) would become a factor, especially if national embarrassment is attached.

    There is nothing wrong with creationist belief… but it’s faith-based, not scientific. Teach that in Sunday School

  • {continuation of above comment which was inadvertently posted…]

    Learning about Prolemaic Astronomy or Four Humours Biology or Alchemaic Chemistry are other “options”, I suppose, but who wants students to waste time learning discredited theories or theories that can’t be proven?

    If it’s such a good idea, then why not teach Creationism in-depth in university level science classes, so we can really explore the educational “options” that LSEA allows us to review. How will employers view an LSU graduate’s preparedness, then?

    New Orleans lost out on hosting a large science conference this summer (and possibly the opportunity to host future ones), thus negatively impacting the economy the local economy and hindering job growth.

    http://www.sicb.org/resources/LouisianaLetterJindal.pdf

  • Rob

    Mr Durbin is spot on. We ought allow everything in the Bible to be taught in science class. For example, stars are embedded in a firmament, bats are birds, unicorns are real, and donkeys can talk.

    If you think those things are not proper facts to be taught in a science class, then you’re just close minded.

  • Brian R. Warren

    The “job-killing” language is eye-catching in light of all of the political hand-wringing about the budget, but I have to agree with Mr. Durbin at least in the sense that I don’t think many people will take this interpretation of the issue very seriously. Framing it as unnecessarily granting legal cover (of dubious constitutionality) to the idea of inserting religious propaganda into a science course may not be as popular but it is a more accurate characterization of the conflict.

  • Teddy

    Reply:Robert Durbin

    You mentioned: ‘I think you will find many people who hold to a “creationist” view of some kind in all levels of academia, science, business, medicine, and education fields.’

    I strongly believe that whoever holds such a view either does not care about origins of species, they are misinformed(due to religious factors) or harness a religious agenda. As a employer, would I want to hire ANY scientist or even anyone in the scientific field who lacks the knowledge in evolution?

    Mind you, evolution is such a major topic that to miss it you have to live under a rock(when compressed long enough, you become a fossilized specimen for observation of evolution many many years later). It is the basis for many biological theories and leaves behind many geological evidences.

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