MSNBC Video: High School Student Takes On Administration


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22 Responses to MSNBC Video: High School Student Takes On Administration

  1. Nice work and good-luck Zack.

  2. Facts_not_Slogans says:

    I would like your thoughts on the following:

    Can you find any specific wording in the bill that states creationism must be taught in the classroom? Also why would this lead to such a thing if the bill states that it isn’t meant to protect the teaching of any religious doctrine?

    • Fran says:

      Facts Not Slogans, you said:
      Also why would this lead to such a thing if the bill states that it isn’t meant to protect the teaching of any religious doctrine?

      Then why is this law needed, if not to provide a way to insert something other than science (evolution) into science classes?

      You should do some research into the origins of this bill; and also check out the Discovery Institute ( ) the Wedge Strategy ( ). Using the planned steps outlined in the Wedge Strategy, it’s clear, very clear, to see how it has come into play for passing the LSEA. The LSEA was passed for the specific purpose of getting into the classroom the Discovery Institute’s educational materials (the “alternate sources and textbooks”), which otherwise would never be allowed in a science class.

    • Tenncrain says:

      If schools ‘volunteer’ creationism/ID, such material could be protected by “academic freedom” laws. This is regardless of how little support creationism/ID has garnered from the general scientific community.

      In the early 2000s, pro-ID state school boards in Kansas and Ohio wanted to attempt ‘balanced treatment of evolution’ lessons, at least before both boards were tossed out by voters. Close inspection of these lessons show they came almost word for word from Discovery Institute publications, strongly implying religion; how could a court not conclude this violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?

      In the 2005 Dover trial, Judge John Jones (a Lutheran and conservative Republican) of course strongly ruled ID as religion and not science. But, he also commented on so-called “academic freedom” lessons; on page 89 of his decision, Jones said in his own words, “ID’s backers have sought to avoid… scientific scrutiny… by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard”.

  3. Zack, I thought you were terrific on the Hardball interview. You answered the questions and made your points very well. If I were you, I’d probably delete the troll above who decided to insult you personally rather than offer any kind of rational counterpoint. There’s too much good in life to waste time with that kind of nonsense. Also, this is your space: People who cannot speak to you civilly in it ought to stay out of it.

    • Zack Kopplin says:

      I’m not going to bother replying to him, but if he wants to discredit and embarrass himself, I’m fine with letting him.

  4. Michael says:


    I also thought you were very good in the interview. Being afraid of public speaking myself I’m sure wouldn’t have been able to hold my cool as well as you did….you were well spoken and articulate.

    Personal attacks are a desperate act of someone losing an argument.

    Keep up the good work and Zack for Congress!

    Michael from Vermont

  5. Dave Curtis says:

    If/when Zack debates Michael Ramsden of Zacharias Trust, everything will change. (Zack will lose very badly, in other words — but Michael will decimate him lovingly.) it will be a good learning experience for Zack; similar to the one the Apostle Paul experienced when he was considered the leading scholar of his time and was endorsing the killing of Christians. Until Zack debates the likes of Michael, he hasn’t done his due diligence. Debating politicians is way too easy, even for four years olds.

  6. Jeff Jensen says:

    Hey Zack. I’m an MD/PhD student at the University of Wisconsin and have an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Stanford University.

    Keep up the good fight; you have a bright future ahead.

  7. Pingback: Zack vs. Bachmann, Science vs. Pseudoscience – Search for Truth

  8. ken lubovich says:

    help me out here, zach….because i’d really like to know…if evolution isn’t a “theory” and is actually a “scientific fact” then why in over 250 million years have crocodiles not “evolved” and if man and woman “evolved” from apes, why are there still apes?…i’m not being sarcastic here, you seem to think you have all the answers, i’d really like to know?…as tommy lee jones said in “men in black,” “5,000 years ago everyone KNEW the earth revolved around the sun, 500 years ago everyone KNEW the world was flat” and 5 seconds ago you thought you had all the answers.

    • Lukey Pookey says:

      I’m not choosing a side in this grandiose debate. I’m merely going to point out the FACT that you ended a strongly opinionated retort with a movie quote, which says something about the validity of your comment. Think about WHAT you argue for, and WHY you argue for it. Join the dark side… we have cookies.

  9. Scott says:

    Hi Zack.
    Let me first state that I find you to be an exceptional young man. I admire your willingness to stand up for what you believe. It is a rare trait in this world.

    Please help me to understand why any discussion at all about Creationism/ID should be banned from public schools. I am not advocating that the law enacted should remain. I am merely wondering why it is so offensive to use the subject to spark debate in a classroom. After all, isn’t the first step in the Scientific Method to “Ask a question?” Asking how life began or how humans began seems as good a place to start as any. If there are some in the class that would hold to ID as the explanation, so much the better. The facts can then be honestly debated.

    What I’m trying to say is that people will naturally want to prove their respective positions as being the correct positions. This leads to delving into the facts to establish that the position asserted is, in fact, correct. I would posit that there is substantially more evidence of evolution than creationism, so what truly is the harm of using it to get students to research and learn?

    • Zack Kopplin says:

      Hey Scott,

      The reason there is a debate over this is because this law would insert creationism, which is backed by absolutely no scientific evidence, into the public school science class. It is perfectly fine to discuss creationism in a humanities class, but until there is scientific evidence for creationism, it should not be allowed in science class, for a number of reasons, including it violates the first amendment, doesn’t give students the science education they need to succeed, and is driving away science investment and tourism from Louisiana.

      • Andrew says:

        “There is no scientific evidence for creationism” – you have memorised your lines fine, Zack. Are we going to see some evidence for the “absence of evidence for creationism”?
        I know that the following point has been brought up in the comments to another post here, but it is clear to me, that you and your “billion” of NB prize winners are afraid. If the case for theory of evolution (and other atheistic creation myths) is that solid as you want us to believe, then why all this “repeal creationism” stuff? Bring it on! Blow creationism out of the water and show everyone the awesome power of modern science in just two periods! Not going to happen?
        As for the alleged impact on tourism, Kentucky’s tourism industry is apparently doing much better despite there being the Answers In Genesis’s Creation Museum.
        So far there is no shred of evidence telling me you actually looked at the arguments brought up by the other side of this debate. It is nice to have an opinion, but it is much better to have an informed one – makes a stronger case, you know 🙂

        • Tenncrain says:

          You said, “Are we going to see some evidence for the ‘absence of evidence for creationism’?”

          Sure thing! 😉

          The 1981 McLean vs Arkansas trial showed that the defense (defending the struck-down creation science law) provided zero examples of ‘creation science’ papers being rejected by mainstream science journals. During the 2005 Dover trial, it was evident that anti-evolutionists still did virtually no original scientific research; an expert witness for the defense (biochemist Michael Behe) admitted under oath to agreeing with the following remark, “There are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred….”

          Is the ‘science’ that creationist/ID organizations like the Creation Research Society, the Discovery Inst, etc, so special that they keep such ‘research’ to themselves?

          You said, “…you and your ‘billion’ of NB prize winners are afraid”

          I grew up a young-earth creationist. If anything, I and other former YECs feared discarding our YEC beliefs (for theological reasons). We actually went down swinging, even some Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks included.

          After accepting that creationism is both pseudoscience and even poor theology, some of us ex-YECs were even ostracized by other creationists.

          You said, “and other atheistic creation myths”

          If you are implying evolution is atheistic, that is a false dichotomy that only props up a nonexistent conflict. Most of the plaintiffs opposing anti-evolutionism in Dover and in McLean vs Arkansas trials were Christians and other theists. The Clergy Letter Project currently has almost 13,000 signatures from Christian clergy that support evolution.

          You said, “why all this ‘repeal creationism’ stuff?”

          To insure only science is included in science classes, not religion sneaked through the back door disguised as science.

          As mentioned, anti-evolutionists skip science. They instead try to cheat by using the political process (boards of education, legislatures) to get around the science peer review process.

          You said, “As for the alleged impact on tourism, Kentucky’s tourism industry is apparently doing much better despite there being the Answers In Genesis’s Creation Museum.

          I’m from Tennessee and know many that have visited AIG’s museum; no doubt it’s popular and it does give many many people great theological comfort even if the ‘science’ is rather useless in real world situations in the field and the laboratory.

          But Kentucky would be far better served from a science and education perspective by the proposed Kentucky Museum of Natural History:

          (Ark Park and Kentucky Museum of Natural History article on page 12)

          BTW, after the Louisiana Science Education Act became law, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology dropped plans to have its huge convention in New Orleans and instead went to Salt Lake City:

          As Zack says, how many others will do the same? How many businesses will locate elsewhere because they want well trained scientists? How many researchers will take their talents elsewhere or never come to Louisiana because of this anti-science law?

          You said, “So far there is no shred of evidence telling me you actually looked at the arguments brought up by the other side of this debate”

          Seems you have not looked at many of Zack’s other posts.

  10. Sigrid says:


    As a recent Rice graduate, I’m thrilled to hear that such an educated and dedicated student is joining the ranks of the Owls. Congratulations on what you’ve done so far; I know you’ll continue to do great things at Rice!


  11. Just wanted to say fantastic work Zack! Although I remain flabbergasted as to the apparent force creationism has in the US, it is very clear how hard you are working to ensure that science is science. I took both biology and a religion & philosophy courses in high school. Both have a place in education, but any discussion of creationism belongs strongly in the ‘religion’ category.

    There is no debate. Religion & philosophy have a very important place in society, indeed early religious scholars contributed a great deal to the development of the scientific discipline, think of the Franciscan Friar William of Ockham, now better known for Occam’s Razor, who produced works on logic, physics and theology. Indeed it would be difficult for a student to understand the scientific revolution without having some sort of background in the development of religion through the ages. However, that does not mean that we should disguise religion into science. It is simply nonsensical and misguided to do so.

    Let me know if I can help you with any resources.

    Keep up the good work.

    Djuke Veldhuis

    Cambridge, UK

    • John E. D. P. Malin says:

      M. Djuke Veldhuis:

      Wonderful observations for our young Louisianian, Zack, to internalize. Are you associated with any of the fine colleges at Cambridge University? The particularity of William of Ockham was prescient! The Oxonian “calculators” would be another pertinent example. In fact, all learning of science was protected and developed by the learned clergy.


      John E.D.P. Malin
      Cecilia, Louisiana, USA

  12. BK says:

    Good Job Zack. We are ALL behind you. Those who aren’t, are lost anyway.

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


    As usual, you have done a very fine job on national media! You were relaxed, alert, and heedful of Michael’s questionings to you. Your answers were focused, concise and relevant or pertinent. In short, you carried yourself well! As Michael the commentator told you, I too, “wish you well at Rice [University]”!

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