Dear Members of the Louisiana BESE Board,
My name is Zack Kopplin, and I am a senior at Baton Rouge Magnet High School. I testified in favor of adopting life science textbooks that teach proper science at the Textbook/Media/Library Advisory Council meeting. I am asking you to please make sure that Louisiana adopts textbooks that teach science that will prepare us, the students of Louisiana, for success in the global economy.
By proper science, I mean textbooks that teach the theory of evolution. Please vote to accept the textbooks that the Textbook Advisory Council recommended. Please accept them without any delays, revisions, disclaimers, or supplementary materials.
Evolution is one of the strongest scientific theories, it is comparable to the theory of gravity.
You will likely be asked to reject these textbooks because they do not allow “alternatives” to evolution or teach its “flaws.” You will also hear claims that there is a large controversy among scientists over the theory of evolution.
Please understand that there are not “flaws” in the theory of evolution. The “flaws” that you will be asked to consider are simply misunderstandings about the nature of science and observation, what a scientific theory is, and how the scientific method works. This was all thoroughly addressed at the November 12 meeting, and the council’s 8-4 vote in favor of adopting the already approved textbooks confirms it.
This brings me to the fundamental reason people will ask for the “flaws” of evolution to be taught. “Teaching the flaws” of evolution is creationist code language designed to help insert creationism or its offshoot intelligent design into the public school science classroom. These are the “alternatives” that you may be asked to insert. They are unscientific and unconstitutional and should not be placed in a public school science classroom.
Lastly, you will likely be told that there is a controversy among scientists about evolution. That is absolutely not true. You will probably be given a list titled “The Scientific Dissent from Darwin.” This list is relatively small and contains fewer scientists than the National Center of Science Education’s tongue-in-cheek parody of it, Project Steve. Project Steve is a list of scientists with the first name Steve or a variation of it who recognize “evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences” and are in support of teaching evolution in public schools. Not only does this list outnumber the “Dissent from Darwin” list, but it also contains a much larger number of eminent scientists and a much larger number of biologists. (http://ncse.com/taking-action/list-steves).
This parody notwithstanding, I also am attaching a letter from the American Association for the Advancement of Science on behalf of 10 Million Scientists that issues a strong statement of support for the teaching evolution. There is no controversy among scientists over the theory of evolution.
I hope that the BESE Board will vote on Dec. 7 to adopt textbooks that teach proper science. I have attached supplementary materials at the bottom of this letter and I hope that each of you will take the time to review the testimony from the Textbook Advisory Council’s meeting. It includes wonderful arguments in support of teaching proper science in public school science classes from Louisiana’s students, teachers, and scientists.
This the testimony I gave at the Nov. 12 council meeting.
Here is a link to the National Academy of Science’s book Science, Evolution, and Creationism. I plan to bring copies for each BESE member to the Dec. 7 meeting.
I am also attaching a link to PBS’ NOVA: Judgement Day, a program that provides additional context on this issue and provides clear arguments for why evolution belongs in science classrooms and creationism does not.
Thank you for your time. Once again, I must ask you, please adopt textbooks that will teach the Louisiana’s high school students proper science and prepare us for the global economy.