Zack Kopplin’s Dec. 7 Shreveport Times Op-Ed

Since this opinion piece can no longer be accessed at the Shreveport Times’ website, I’m posting a copy here.

As the Louisiana Board of Education (BESE) prepares to vote today on whether to approve life science textbooks that teach proper science, including the theory of evolution, lots of confusion and misunderstanding has surfaced about the boundaries between science and faith and the role each can play in our lives.

As a senior at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, I feel strongly that BESE should immediately adopt proper science textbooks that teach evolution without any disclaimers, revisions or supplementary materials. It’s been eight years since we’ve updated our textbooks; Louisiana public school students desperately need new books that teach proper science and will prepare us for success in the global economy.

Some would like to insert the supernatural and faith-based beliefs of creationism and its offshoot, intelligent design, into public school science textbooks and classrooms. These beliefs have a proper place in church and in philosophy and religion courses, not in public school science class. Scientific theories are observable, naturalistic, testable, repeatable and falsifiable. Creationism and intelligent design do not meet these criteria. Evolution does.

I often hear evolution criticized because it is “only a theory.” The scientific meaning of the word theory is very different than the everyday use describing an unproven conjecture — like the “theory that Carl Weiss wasn’t Huey Long’s murderer.” That theory is open to debate.

In science, a theory is a well-supported group of facts that have been thoroughly tested and retested and shown to have predictive ability to explain natural phenomena. Major theories like the theory of gravity and the theory of evolution undergird entire branches of science and have helped send men to the moon and develop medicines to fight disease.

There is also talk about something called “Teaching the Controversy.” There is no controversy among scientists about evolution! This point repeatedly has been made by prominent science organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Scientists, which contains 10 million members and has made strong statements in support of teaching evolution. Any attempts to act like there is a controversy are disingenuous.

Finally, creationists also pretend there are “flaws” in the theory of evolution. There are no flaws. In fact the National Academy of Sciences states on their website that because evidence supporting evolution is so strong, “scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred, and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution has taken place…”

For the sake of our students, I hope BESE makes the right decision and adopts textbooks our students need for success.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Digg Stumbleupon Tumblr
This entry was posted in LSEA. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Zack Kopplin’s Dec. 7 Shreveport Times Op-Ed

  1. brian mccrorie says:

    Evolution is “testable” and “repeatable”? Can you document this assertion?

    • Zack Kopplin says:

      I would advise you to contact the professors at the nearest university to you, I’m sure they would be glad to explain evolution to you, and they have the best qualifications to do that too.

      There are also great materials at the National Center for Science Education (www.ncse.com). I would also suggest you visit Ken Miller’s Evolution Page (http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/) and Berkley’s Understanding Evolution (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_01).

      • Nicole Glynn says:

        Zach,
        It will be very difficult to win an argument with those who have not seemed to have evolved themselves. Best of luck to you.

      • John E. D. P. Malin says:

        Zack:

        Wonderful response to a fool! The three properties of competently performed scientific experiments are: testability, repeatability & falsifiability! Mr. McCrorie has conflated a scientific description of a natural phenomenon with actual laboratory experiments! The great Dogma of Science is Evolution! It is this notion in the human mind that makes sense of literally billions of tiny scientific details—from microscopic life to macroscope galaxies—and all in-between!

        John

  2. Gary says:

    @Brian,

    He did document it. He wrote that it’s “testable” and “repeatable”. What I believe you meant was, “Have you, Zack, ever done any research and documented any evidence showing the ‘testability’ and/or ‘repeatability’ (of tests) for evolution?” Now, I don’t know Zack all that well. But I would guess not. He’s young and just getting started on his (probably very illustrious) career. But since you seem to want to test him on it, if that’s all you bring to the discussion, seriously, go back to your Bible. You have no business whatsoever involved in any way, shape or form with anything remotely related to science.

  3. John E. D. P. Malin says:

    Monsieur Zack:

    You are to be commended for your considerable efforts in advancing intelligent reaction and repealment of Louisiana Science Education Act bill (2008) that should never had become law in the first place.

    You give honor and distinction to yourself, your culture and your “majestic” State of Louisiana! I am proud to even know of you. Give my affections to your parents, they must be immensely charmed and gratified for your efforts to uphold Scientific integrity in the classrooms of Louisiana!

    Respectfully,

    John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*