If you are interested in helping with the effort or signing a petition, you can email us at:
Dr. Forrest helped me with a school board presentation in Knoxville, Tennessee and I wish the high school students would have stood up like you did at the meeting and like you are doing with your blog. Defenders of science, across the country, are applauding you and your work. Keep it up and thank you.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
My husband and I watched your segment on Moyer & company and applaud you for all of your efforts. We strongly agree with your stance and are so proud of you for having the strength of voice and insight at such a young age and to be free-thinking to be your own person. There are so many of us that feel the same out there and you have set a wonderful example and helps us all be strong together for our right to have a choice of what we believe or do not believe, especially when science shows hard proof that the bible an antiquated fictional. Too many do not want to face the hard proven facts.
I am a retired Chemical Engineer and Scientist, and I am very proud of you young man. You are willing to stand-up-to the face of public and congressional ignorance and exploitation embodied in this preposterous SB 733 bill. You present a countenance of common sense and respect for the people of Louisiana. You represent the kind of young person that we need to oppose the mental tyranny of the fundamental extremism that keeps Louisiana in the political Dark Ages. It is a fact that Louisiana is the 50th out of 50 states in education in the United States, and that we are the laugh stock of the country… particularly with the Louisiana “Science” Education Act. It is an embarrassment to say: “I am from Louisiana”. Maybe we can change that.
Thank you so much for your courage, and keep up the good work.
it will make a huge difference in how other states view us if we can repeal this law.
You may find my book (Fooling Ourselves: Self-deception in Politics, Religion, and Terrorism; 2009, Praeger) useful. Your library can get it throgh an interlibrary loan.
I argue tht most humans construct the way they see the world by sampling information from outside and inside their body. When most of the infomration is from inside the boady(e.g., ideology, cultural beliefs), they fool themsleves. Most scientissts sample information from outside the boady, e.g., experiments.
If you contact me I will be happy to discuss this furrther.
Harry Trianadis, Professor Emeritus of Psychology
University of Illinois
Although I now live in another state, I am originally from Louisiana and follow important events there. I appreciate your efforts, Zach. America needs more young people like you to stand up for good science education. It’s hard to believe that there are still laws like the Louisiana Science Education Act on the books in any state. It is refreshing to know that there are students like you in my home state who are taking this issue seriously.
You make me proud to be from Louisiana.
Congratulations I remember your first letter to the paper,I am glad you followed through and wish you success. I will sign a petition any time you want.
Stand strong, Zach! You are doing the right thing. It is young people like you and your allies who will help restore some dignity to the great state of Louisiana.
You have our support from Canada.
Honours BSc in Biological Sciences (University of Toronto)
Keep up the good fight, Zack! You’ve got the support out here…let us know how we can help you!
Thanks! You can send your friends and family to the website and to the Facebook page.
I just read about your campaign on Richard Dawkins website.
Its good to see someone fighting for science.
Keep up the good work!
I am an Australian living in the Dominican Republic.
I believe your ¨Creationism-By-Stealth¨ Act should NOT be repealed.
It is appropriate to include a summary of Creationism, Intelligent Design, Astrology, Right-To-Lifeism, Catholocism, Islam, etc. in science classes to show how these belief systems threaten the advancement of science. However this should be brief as not to take up valuable time spent actually teaching science.
A more comprehensive description, analysis and criticism on the major religions should be made in religious education classes. Perhaps an ¨Honest- in-Naming Subjects¨ Bill could be introduced, requiring fundamentalist Christian indoctrination classes be called such, and not given names like religious education, social science or ethics.
Meanwhile here in the Dominican Republic, I am witnessing droves of Evangelists from your Southern Buy-Bull-Belt stealing market share from the Roman Alcoholic Church. Although the Pope and the Vatican now admit that Evolution as scientific fact, Catholics here don´t know that and have negligible science education, hence are easy targets for Evangelists.
Out if the frying-pan into the fire?
Rather than in the science classes, discussion of those things goes in comparative religion and history classes.
I don’t think many people are saying there should be absolutely no discussion of things like creationism and ID in a science classroom. Such topics are bound to be raised sooner or later.
True, science education needs to reflect the general scientific community. Such lessons need to adapt as the scientific consensus adapts to new science findings, not because of political pressure from non-science advocates.
However, limited discussion of ID and the like could be fine in a science class….in the context of how they are not considered to be science, in the context of why things like ID have not earned some form of consensus from the scientific community. This said, state education standards/bylaws can be more than adequate for such purposes; so-called ‘academic freedom’ state laws are hardly needed for this and could do far more harm than good.
This fellow is on the right track for the wrong reasons. We need to recognize our own scientific elitism and that most of science is still very , very young. Perhaps Plato might add a bit of wisdom. He asks us to engage the most basic three-dimensional structures. What are they? Most people and many scientists do not know that the simplest is the tetrahedron. Fewer people and fewer scientists can tell you what is perfectly enclosed by it. Simply by dividing each edge in half and joining the points places a tetrahedron in each corner and an octahedron in the middle. Now what is perfectly enclosed within the octahedron? Hardly anybody knows and it is the second most simple structure on earth.
Going inside Plato’s simplest five structures renders more unpublished than publish information. And, that is just very basic stuff.
We are all quite young and still naive. The Creationist irritate us because they are so sure of themselves. Scientists who are also quite sure that we have the bedrock of understanding should also irritate us because they snub our youth’s creative insights and bursts of imagination.
There is so much more to learn.
Hats off to your activism and enthusiasm. I caution you on being sure that you are right and “they” are wrong. That’s an elitism and that leads to special brands of solipsism.
What can we say is very close to the bedrock of understanding?
Here is my feeble attempt:
Well Done and Keep on Keeping On, Zach!
I am a 70 year old, retired minister of education in churches in both the USA and Canada. My father was a Presbyterian minister whose father was a biology prof at VA Tech; my mother was a botanist whose father was a minister and president of a Christian college in S.C. Neither of them, nor myself and husband (professor of Bible in an interdenominational seminary) see any conflict between our deep, active faith and evolution; the two address very different questions in different contexts and formats.
You understand this. Your opponents do not. Taking a brave stand will bring you many attackers and you may not succeed in all you attempt. However, your stand will bring you inner integrity and strength. I wish you success — in both contexts.
Keep up the good work, Zack, you are an inspiration to all free-thinking people.
I just read about what you’re doing in Louisiana and I think it’s really great!
I’m a German biologist and the mere notion that something like Intelligent Design could be taught to students in science class is more than appalling to me (especially considering the fact that, among scientists, ID is nothing more than a bad joke). Frankly, it seriously makes me wonder about so-called human intelligence. It’s good to know that there are quite a few people out there who have enough sense to separate science from religious belief (and fight for that distinction).
Anyway, I just wanted to throw a big thank-you over the pond and wish you good luck!
Thanks! I’m hoping that we can get this law repealed.
Back in the early 1980s I was the ACLU lobbyist on behalf of repeal of the old law that became Edwards v. Aguillard. Sad that we have to keep doing this over and over again. Keep up the good work, Zack.
Thank you, and thank you for what you have done for Louisiana. We just have to keep going because we have to hope things will change.
Excellent job, Zack!
I lived in Louisiana in the 1980’s and early 90’s, and remember my frustration at the passage of the ‘balanced’ law. I know that this will be an uphill battle, especially under Louisiana’s current administration. You have a lot of support – please don’t hesitate to ask for help. This affects everyone – ignorance must not be unchallenged. Thanks for your courage.
How did it go? We brothers trust well! We e-mailed your local Baton Rouge television station, WVLA [NBC], as to whether they were going to cover your event on television!
We watched the 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. depressing news cycle! We will let you know here, if they respond to us.
You know my E-mail, James [James F. D. P. Malin] he will send to you after my posting!
I admire your passion. It is really nice to see someone with intelligence, dilligence and passion take such a stand. But I do have some questions for you. The last time I checked evolution was just a theory, hence the theory of evolution. And there is nothing out there that proves our earth wasn’t created, as in the biblical account. So when you put together your petition did you do your ressearch on both sides of the coin. Not just by asking scientists and clergy, but actually reading the bible and seeking evidence to prove or disprove. Also seeking evidence to prove or disprove evolution. If you have done this, I would love to see that data posted here. We want to make sure the truth is taught no matter how popular or unpopular that may seem. Please let me know your findings.
There is no scientific evidence against evolution. Creationism is not science. It offers untestable, unfalsifiable, unexpandable, and supernatural explanations for the natural world. That is why it does not belong in science classes.
There has not been one study on creationism published in a scientific journal. Until there is scientific evidence for creationism, it should not be in a science class. If there is scientific evidence (and at this time there is no evidence for it, while the evidence for evolution is overwhelming), then it would be permitted without this law to sneak it in.
Kudos on your great presentation on Hardball. Your appearance led me to your website, the comments of others and your responses. Your succinct, no-nonsense approach to this subject is admirable. One could wish that our elected officials in all areas of this country could be exposed to your cogent explanations on creationism vs. evolution.
As to the comment that evolution is referred to as a ‘theory’, it should be noted that the same can be said of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. It is still called that, despite an immense amount of research and scientific facts that support its validity. It us not called the ‘Law’ of Relativity. The comment by the reader, in and of itself, indicates how the teaching of science in this country is already inadequate. The LSEA and other ill-considered attempts to enshrine religious teachings and demote science would make an already bad situation even worse.
Keep up the great work, and best of luck at Rice. What is your intended major, if I may be so bold to ask? Your skills are such that I hope you plan a career in education of some sort, or better yet, political science. There is a dearth of evidence-based political discourse in this country. If U.S. politics is to be saved, it will be through the clear-headed explication of policies and their implementation such as you showed us on Hardball this evening.
Best of luck to you.
Tim in Vermont
First, you rock, man. I’ve been cheering you on FaceBook for months, and I admire your responses above to those that would insist ignorance should or could ever be equated with insight and discovery. Science is an integral part of culture. It’s discoverable and achievable — it’s not some foreign thing, done by an arcane priesthood. It’s one of the wonders and joys of the human intellectual tradition.
The wonderful Stephen J. Gould once said:
“Debate is an art form. It is about the winning of arguments. It is not about the discovery of truth. There are certain rules and procedures to debate that really have nothing to do with establishing fact—which creationists have mastered. Some of those rules are: never say anything positive about your own position because it can be attacked, but chip away at what appear to be the weaknesses in your opponent’s position. They are good at that. I don’t think I could beat the creationists at debate. I can tie them. But in courtrooms they are terrible, because in courtrooms you cannot give speeches. In a courtroom you have to answer direct questions about the positive status of your belief. We destroyed them in Arkansas. On the second day of the two-week trial we had our victory party!”
(After the McLean v. Arkansas creationism trial, as quoted in Review of the National Center for Science Education Vol. 24, No. 6 — November–December 2004)
Win those arguments – know we’re all behind you!
Excellent quote from Stephen. I had the privilege of knowing Stephen personally, and speaking in a symposium where he also presented a paper. As he mentioned (and I’ve discovered through hard experience), it’s literally impossible to “debate” with creationists. First off, many of them are very good at debate; and secondly, they cannot be reasoned with. You might as well try to reason with a brick (in fact you’ll make more progress with the brick!)
As a certified professional geologist and vertebrate paleontologist, I applaud Zach, and everyone here who supports him, in the effort to get this ridiculous law repealed where it has been enacted, and blocked where it has not. It’s especially pathetic that Louisiana would even contemplate such a thing, as LSU has one of the finest paleontology programs in the country, and LSU scientists have contributed greatly to our understanding of earth’s history and the history of life on our planet.
R. K. Denton Jr., CPG
Zack, I have nothing but words of encouragement for you and your efforts spearheading this campaign. When I say, “GO get ’em, kid!” please don’t take it as a statement about your age. You obviously have a great brain in your case. And I appreciate how you’re using it. Age doesn’t matter.
Oh… and thanks for calling out Michele Bachmann. As a Minnesotan, I’m pretty darned tired of her kooky antics.
I just saw you in Hardball, and wanted to lend my support. What you’re doing is great and I support you 100% sir.
Zack, i host an internet radio program and would love to interview you when you can find the time, get back to me when you can. email@example.com
Zack, i host an internet radio show and would love to interview you if you can find the time.
Sure, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work it out.
I just saw you in MSNBC with Michael Smirconish. You are so intelligent, smooth, together and powerful. YOU GO! I’m in Michigan. How can I help?
I just saw you on Hardball (5/27) and WOW! You are most certainly a hero and you’re doing the right thing!
Keep up the good work and you’re an inspiration!
Allow me to join the chorus of your new fans off of your Hardball appearance today. Seeing an intelligent, articulate, and fearless young man such as yourself gives me hope for the future of our nation. You deserve much praise and (I hope) more media attention for all you’re doing.
Keep fighting the good fight and good luck at Rice!
-Ben from Phoenix
You are an outstanding young leader and I applaud you for your effort. You’ve done an exceptional job gathering information and support and I wish you the best. Your first attempt was shot down today, but keep up the good fight. As a science teacher, I can’t imagine teaching concepts like Intelligent Design or Creationism in my class (and I even have a minor in Religion). I hope, for the sake of students in your state, your science teachers feel the same way I do.
Best of luck! I’m rooting for you!
About.com Evolution Guide
High School Science Teacher
I am incredibly impressed by your campaign and your initiative and courage. Though not a biologist, (I am a chemist and professor in Oklahoma), I am very concerned about the fundamentalist right shoving their mythology down the throats of our young students in lieu of science. My field, as does all science, depends on “Theories”, and science depends on a real understanding of what a theory actually is and what it is not, as well as the ability to distinguish between reality and belief. As you have said, this law defining a belief as reality does hurt the chances of young students in the worldwide technical marketplace. I personally would not hire a teacher or scientist who was uninformed on the very basis of the field.
Don’t be discouraged by the hate mail, etc. that I’m sure you will have already received, as ignorant fearful people lash out this way. There are lots of real people that are behind you, and you need only ask for our help. Your campaign is extremely important.
Lastly, as I feel strongly about your campaign and as a reward for your efforts, should you be interested, I would like to offer you and four of your friends a rafting trip in Colorado this summer through my little company if your time allows.
Dear Mr. Kopplin: I want to commend you and express my admiration and appreciation for the campaign you conducted. That the “Education” Committee was deaf to all this and to reason is par for what surrounds us in a good portion of the populace and >90% of our legislators (plus current governor). In the 1970s, the same committees behaved the same way when some of us scientists and some clergy members spoke before them against the first creationism bill. With minds made up, they passed what was thrown out later by the courts. Do not be disheartened. One must keep fighting, a few here and there will be educated and you can have some satisfaction from that.
Good luck in your future studies and endeavors.
We will. We’re already gearing up for next year, but honestly, session isn’t over yet, so we have a chance.
You are an inspiration! One person can challenge and change what is untrue information no matter who tries to make us believe otherwise. Thank you for forging ahead.
I am the President of the Freethinkers’ Society at Chapin High School in Chapin, SC. It’s not very often that passionate advocates for scientific understanding are able to create true progression for the cause, so my VP and I are fully supportive in your efforts. If unqualified leaders of our country are enforcing non-factual claims to be proliferated then action should indefinitely be the response by the public. If you are ever in need of extensive support do let me know.
Keep fighting the good fight dude – I would not have had the gaul at 17 to do what you’re doing – it’s impressive! If you’re ever in Boston….
B.S. Microbiology, UMASS Amherst
M.B.A. Candidate in Health Care Management, Boston University
The Bible has stood the greatest test which is the test of time. The more people try to put the fire out the more they fan the flames. Genesis 1:1.
dude, you are amazing. keep up the fight. you have facts on your side!
i wish i was as smart when i was your age.
Your intelligence and efforts raise my hopes for the future of science and education in America.
Teaching biology while denying evolution is like teaching computer engineering while denying electricity. It makes no sense whatsoever.
I have been listening to and participating in these debates for years and years now, and I have never ONCE heard any argument from creationists as to how their “theory” represents science. How is it in any way derived from scientific method? How is it in any way falsifiable? Most importantly, how are your gods (and christianity is polytheistic by the way) any more valid than the thousands and thousands (probably millions) of god beliefs throughout mankind’s history? What, aside from the fact that you were raised in a time and place where the “yahweh” of the ancient hebrews (modified of course) was the god of choice, makes you right and them wrong?
Zack, it makes me feel so much better about the future of our country when a teenager from the heart of the “bible belt” stands up and speaks out in the name of common sense and reason. Good luck to you!
Can I steal that first line for my random quote sig generator?
That is indeed sigworthy!
How sad that the Louisiana “Family Forum” , i.e., religious right, has turned this into a political issue. The legislature and governor may never give up their foolish notions that allowed this Act to be passed in the first place, but your tenacity at least keeps the repeal drive alive. Keep it up, Zach!! Btw- the piece on Huff Post on you was terrific.
Good work, as a member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Certified Professional Geologist, I applaud your efforts. Keep up the good fight, and if you need any support from me, I would be happy to lend a hand.
R. K. Denton Jr., CPG
I applaud what you’re doing. Especitally since it’s got to be frustrating to debate someone like Michelle Bachmann who rejects the concepts of logic, facts and objective reality. No matter how compelling the arguments against creationism neither she nor people like her will ever concede anything. Much like Harold Camping’s followers, the day after the world didn’t end they just came up with even more convoluted explanations and went on as before with a new date for the end of the world. They rearranged the facts (or simply denied them) to protect their beliefs — rather than change their beliefs to comply with the facts. Orwell coined the phrase “Double Think” to describe the ability of humans to engage in the mental gymnastics necessary to subjugate the facts to political considerations. The Fox news crowd are similarly Orwellian in their desire to abuse objective reality when it becomes inconvenient.
One of the major contributors to the rise of “Stupid Think” is the laziness of the unbiased segment of the news media which attempts to resolve all disputes by having competing sides debate. Hey debates are good — but you can’t rely only on debates to get at the truth. At some point the debaters have to be confronted with facts and reporting. Your basic CNN host doesn’t have the knowledge to gainsay incorrect factual assertions, bald faced lies, and flawed logic. Hence, these debates serve only to equate all opinions with no regard to their merit. John Stewart has repeatedly exposed this to much hilarity. But it’s a serious point as well in that it’s not simply a matter of individual choice whether to believe in a bunch of made up b—s— or to believe in the peer reviewed scientific consensus.
Fortunately at least we have a few high school students who still take this stuff seriously and have attempted to impel other smart people to action so as to prevent the forces of intentional self-delusion from winning by default. In this way, you’ve contributed significantly to human progress. Thanks.
Thank you Zack for your work on behalf of knowledge and rational thought.
I wanted to share what my daughter at age 4 said about creationism:
“If people say humans and dinosaurs lived together at the same time, it wouldn’t be true, because dinosaurs died and humans came later, but it would be a very nice story, because I really, REALLY like dinosaurs, and I want to pretend they lived and played together. So people could say it is just a story.”
Myths and legends are wonderful as they show humans’ ability to weave stories, as they try to make sense of their being on this planet.. As my daughter said it is just a story… We must support the teaching of evolution worldwide.
Thanks for your efforts to keep science in the science classroom.
You may not be aware NOVA did an incredible 2 hour special on this subject. It details the battle Dover, Pennsylvania had over Creationism being introduced into the science class as an alternative ‘theory’ to evolution and the federal case that followed. If you have not seen it, the entire program is available at the following link:
NOVA | Intelligent Design on Trial
This program should be mandatory viewing in every 9th grade biology classroom.
I encourage anyone who is not sure what to believe (or just has an open mind) on this issue will view this program. It’s quite enlightening.
Keep up the good fight Zack.
Wonderful, now we are parading compliments by some snotnose pain in the ass who needs to drum up issues instead of looking for a girlfriend. We can have these issues coexist and have people of faith mesh with evolution. Zack, please just shut up.
140+ Character Tweet
This issue in theory, should be very simple. Real Science is the continual search for truth. Religion generally has a predetermined set of answers that are to be learned and taken on faith.
My wife asking me “If she looks fat in these jeans” is not necessarily a search for truth. It may simply be her search for understanding, security or love.
I am not criticizing peoples beliefs. Just simply stating that religion is not science and therefore cannot be taught as such in public schools.
Keep up the good work.
Thank you very much for your great and inspiring work!
Greetings from Sweden.
Thanks for all your hard work, Zack! Don’t give up; what you’re doing is important. You’re not alone.
Thank you for fighting the “Louisiana Science Education Act”.
What particularly bothers me about this law is that it seems to be an attempt to use taxpayer supported public infrastructure to present and promote, not just religious views, but CERTAIN religious views.
Not all Christians, or even all evangelical Christians, are “creationists”. Or, “intelligent design” believers. At least, not in the same way as the groups who pushed this law.
Some Christian denominations believe in an intelligent Creator, but don’t choose to emphasize that aspect of their beliefs. They feel other things are far more important, like trying to lead a Christ-like life, and leaving the world a better place. They feel creation discussions are wasteful and distracting, and not in accord with their own religious outlook and teachings.
So, are kids from families who believe like that going to get equal time to present their views in science class? And what about the Hindus? Native Americans? Equal time for them, too?
How many minutes, hours, days, will this religious digression subtract from the teaching and learning of real science?
When I was growing up, Baptists and Methodists got into arguments over the nature of the Trinity. When we went to school we put our differences aside because public school was a neutral place, and thank goodness it was! If not, I could imagine my schoolmates and I might have formed cliques based on which church we attended–as if we needed yet another difference around which to build a clique.
So is religious polarization in our schools and communities what we really want? And considering Louisiana’s abysmally low science literacy levels, can we really afford to lose more teaching time for science in science class?
I don’t think so, on both counts.
Instead of putting up walls to keep us divided and down, Louisiana’s leaders should be helping us build bridges to a better future.
Thank you, Zack Kopplin, for helping tear down this wall.
Keep up the good work, Zack! Here in California we don’t have to worry about this sort of thing, but down there in the Bible Belt I imagine this is an ongoing struggle. Don’t get discouraged. There are a lot of us supporting your efforts!
Keep up the good work. With the publicity the issue is getting here in the Baton Rouge area we may be able to get better results in the next legislative session.
So why are you all riled up about teachers having the ability to present 2 theories on a scientific topic? Ideas are meant to be discussed and the validity of them to be challenged. This includes Evolutionary Theory. It’s freedom of choice and freedom to present intellectual ideas that are in debate. So long as it is in balanced manner, it is merely showing students what theories are out there. In the marketplace of ideas evolution should not have monopoly power, and yet, puzzlingly, you effectively want to take away any opportunity for critique of what is only theory .
When it comes to how the universe was created, evolutionary theory does not come close to answering the question. As it is clearly known by anyone who has sufficiently studied, Darwin’s evolutionary theory only comes into play when there is actual genetic material that is already present. According to scientists, prior to the big bang there was no matter, space, time, and no genetic material, absolute nothingness… so in effect evolution could not have been in operation and so cannot possibly be the cause of matter, space, and time coming into existence.
To claim evolution is the only theory that is applicable to scientific study is to be severely close minded, and short sighted.
Don’t be an idea Nazi and attempt to extinguish everything you happen to momentarily disagree with. By the way having Nobel Laureates in your corner, doesn’t particularly mean anything because they are merely operating under the scientific paradigm that they were taught. Once you get back to theorizing on how matter came into being they are outside of their realm of scientific expertise.
Go educate yourself on education first please. I don’t think anyone besides a creationist claims that the theory of evolution claims to explain the big bang. They are totally different theories. You have thoroughly demonstrated a lack of understanding of evolution and the scientific method. Creationism is not science and is backed by no evidence and therefore does not belong in science class. Teaching it also violates the separation of church and state.
Also, you misunderstand theory. In common use theory just means a guess, which is like a hypothesis in science. A theory in science, is a well supported explanation for natural phenomena backed by a large body of facts. It is the best explanation, the strongest designation, that science can give an idea.
Lastly, Nobel laureates actually are a big deal. Why don’t you google some of the people on the list?
Mr. Kopplin, I’m fully aware of what an education is, and probably much more thoroughly literate in the sciences than yourself as I did take multiple high level biology courses in my pursuit of a biology degree from Duke University. Are you even studying biology at Rice? From what I’ve gathered you are a history major, and probably have not thoroughly looked into the research and claims of evolution. This could be forgiven if you weren’t pridefully calling on all teachers to stop mentioning that intelligent design is a possible route of the creation of life.
Rice’s own ” Father of Nanotechnology” Richard Smalley was an “Old Earth Creationist, ” who stated “Recently I have gone back to church regularly with a new focus to understand as best I can what it is that makes Christianity so vital and powerful in the lives of billions of people today, even though almost 2000 years have passed since the death and resurrection of Christ. Although I suspect I will never fully understand, I now think the answer is very simple: it’s true. God did create the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and of necessity has involved Himself with His creation ever since. The purpose of this universe is something that only God knows for sure, but it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life. We are somehow critically involved in His purpose. Our job is to sense that purpose as best we can, love one another, and help Him get that job done.”
Again just parading the names of Nobel Laureates around does not make intelligent design illegitimate. These professors are adept at answering questions through the scientific method which requires there to be material to work with and measure. When they make judgement on what occurred or caused the big bang and the creation of matter, they are getting into the field of philosophy ie outside of their expertise
Even if you take two theories like the big bang and the creationism. The two are supported by the question: what is te origin of that?
In the big bang it all started from nothing. So how that explossion came from?
In creationism it all started from God. So who created God? And please don´t tell me that God created himself or you´ll be as incoherent as you claim not to be.
As i came to realize by learning from science and religion. Science try to explain what aroud us with facts, meanwhile religion trys to teach us how to act and what to think around ideas that we should not oppose. Also the book that we use to teach religion have archaic language and expression to an extend that we have many people twisting it to their own bennefits.
So why are you all riled up about teachers having the ability to present 2 theories on a scientific topic?
As Zack touched on, ID/creationism violates the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution because ID/creationism is religion and not science. Teaching creationism/ID in a public school science classroom is unconstitutional; this has been upheld by multiple court decisions over the decades, including the 2005 Kitzmiller vs Dover (Pennsylvania) School Board trial in Harrisburg. BTW, the Kitzmiller judge that strongly ruled against Intelligent Design (John Jones) is both a conservative Republican and a Lutheran.
But even if we put aside for the moment constitutional issues and say for the sake of debate that ramming pseudoscience into science classes is ok, why do you say only two sides? What should be taught besides biological evolution in biology class? Old-earth Christian creationism? Young-earth Christian creationism? Cherokee Indian creationism? Hindu creationism?
Again, why the artificial duality of only “two” sides?
When it comes to how the universe was created, evolutionary theory does not come close to answering the question.
Well, biological evolution is strictly limited to the study of the origins of species, not the origins of the universe (please look up cosmology/astronomy). For that matter, origin of life studies are also outside the realm of biological evolution (please look up fields like organic chemistry, abiogenesis, panspermia, etc).
To claim evolution is the only theory that is applicable to scientific study is to be severely close minded, and short sighted.
Well, if per chance your ‘scientists’ finally start producing real scientific evidence, finally start publishing this scientific evidence in mainstream science peer-review journals, finally start routinely showing up at mainstream science conferences with their evidence, and if per chance your ‘scientists’ persuade much of the current scientific consensus, your views could rather automatically supplement or even replace evolution.
But unless this happens, views that have not earned (key word, earned) a scientific consensus should not get a free pass. Science is more like a meritocracy, not a democracy. Biologist Ken Miller (who has been rather open about his Christian faith) explains this here.
To further nail in Zack’s point about how a science theory is a different vernacular of the word theory than that used by the average person,
here is Ken Miller discussing this matter (skip to about the 8 minute 30 second mark).
God bless you. You are the living proof that our generation is not stupid or lost.
Thank you. Just thank you. I was losing hope for middle America. You are the brilliance that they need to keep them out of another intellectual dark age. Thank you good sir!
Just wanted to stop by and congratulate you on the work you’re doing.
It’s great to see someone so young standing up to state legislators and officials and trying to get such an absurd act repealed. I’m from England and although this doesn’t directly affect my country (although there are some private faith schools who teach creationism **facepalm**), I agree completely with what you are trying to accomplish. It is unfeasible to me how in modern society, some people still base their view of the world on a book which has no scientific relevance or reflects any scientific discovery or advancement of the last 2000 years?!?
America needs people like you. People who are trying to equip new students, fresh minds, with solid, scientifically tried and tested information on which to base their decisions and to enable them to contribute to their society! To feed them false and downright wrong information such as Creationism is both morally abhorrent and socially damaging.
Keep up the good work, don’t let them get you down and if you’re ever in the UK, there will be a pint waiting for you!
All the best!
I just want to say to Zach personally that it’s inspirational what you’re doing, and I’d love to support you in this. I was lucky enough to go to school in the NorthEast USA and didn’t have to deal with the nonsense that’s being fed to some students now. You’ve been extremely level-headed in all your media appearances, and you make articulate arguments without attacking or being accusatory. Kudos to you and good luck in this fight!
Just learned of your exploits. Well done, young man. Gives me some hope for our species. You have my contact info. I am a lawyer, and I have a degree in physics, and I would be happy to offer you any of my skills and resources that I can. Keep it up!
Good luck with everything from the UK! Amazing work…
PS: Motorbiked through Louisiana and surrounding areas in 2009 and loved it.
I am an 18 year old high school student who grew up in New York. I have lived in Texas since I was a freshman and I love the south, but this kind of nonsense with creationism (which is very regionally confined) has always sparked my interest. I just wanted to compliment you on what a great way you are going about fighting for your cause. Using the fact that teaching creationism in science classes harms society as a whole is a great way to get even christians like myself on your side. Most people who fight separating church and state do it in an extremely pretentious manner, belittling a belief system many people hold dear. You, however, use the fact that this could slow the discovery of the cure for diseases and that’s great. Keep going dude.
I’m a DoD physiologist. We, and our colleagues who are experimental psychologists and physical scientists all understand on a very real and working level how utterly critical good science education is, and what a lack of it can do. It’s saving lives, especially here in DoD. I think I speak for many Department scientists here: we got your back.
As a UC Berkeley Physics graduate and a fierce proponent of science education, I want to thank you for your hard work. Keep it up Zack, you are a beacon of light for every student in the country that we can all make a difference!
I just read about you on io9. I’m cheering you from Canada, but I’m actually writing to mention the line between science education and LA oilfield jobs.
I’m from Canada, but used to visit my son when he worked in the Gulf out of Lafayette. He was recruited at entry-level because he had a geophysics undergrad degree. He became a drilling engineer with the company and is now a manager.
His co-workers, at his entry-level or higher, were from all over the world – and I mean all over. Of the dozens I met, only two I think were Americans, and zero were Louisianans. The only local workers were secretaries, office cleaners, some of the roughnecks and one chopper pilot. The company recruited abroad for its science and engineering people because it had to.
I don’t mean to be presumptuous in offering a foreigner’s opinion on your situation. It just seems to me that anyone interested in good jobs and Louisiana jobs for Louisianans would do well to consider where a proper science education fits into it.
All the best for you and your big, grand task.
All the best from me in Burnaby, BC! I am so impressed by your excellent and continuing efforts. You are so well-spoken and eloquent. Keep brushing your detractors aside and make the world a better place for our generation! Thanks for everything.
Simon Fraser University, Biological Sciences
Zack, Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to improve the world for others.
Keep up the good work. The hypocrisy must be exposed. No funding without accountability, the public schools certainly have to be, and the people of Louisiana, or any other state, should not have taxpayers dollars misused. Never give up. Young people like yourself give hope for the future.
Well done on your efforts to bring science back into the science classroom. Such a shame that someone even needs to do this.
I’ve had to confront bits of creationism in my education, but nothing like what happens in Louisiana. I’m a Christian and a scientist. The whole creationism thing is shameful. It seems to disallow free thinking.
I particularly like that you’re polite yet forthright in your arguments. To paraphrase Jesus “Be nice to your enemies, it will be like putting hot coals under their hats”.
All the best getting it repealed. It will be a long hard battle I think.
All the very best
Keep up the good work!
If I may, please check out Reynolds v. United States (1878). This is still the law of the
The underlying view is that actions based on religious beliefs are subject to the law.
From the case:
“would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the
land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could exist only in name under such circumstances”
My interpretation of this is:
People can believe whatever they want, but actions based on their beliefs is an infringement on the liberty of those people who want no part of their beliefs.
The proponents of ID complain that their religious liberty is being constrained but they
ignore the fact that their proclaimed religious liberty tramples the liberty of those who do not share the same beliefs. How ironic.
You should ask if ID meets the Daubert Standard. (guidelines for admitting scientific
expert testimony) If ID fails to meet the Daubert standard, why is ID even being considered as relevant?
Thanks for being braver and more proactive than I’ve ever been. Keep up the good work! This gives me hope that there are plenty of open-minded, rational people in states where “creationism laws” can even be legitimately discussed.
Zach! Yes! You go buddy…
This is huge. Just read a great article about your efforts. Keep up the great work. It is almost always people your age who DO accomplish the ‘big things’. The article was sort of about how your ‘youth’ seemed to be an impediment. Well whatever…. This is so important. I agree 100% that:
– Teaching Creationism in a ‘publicly funded’ classroom is unconstitutional.
– It does confuse students about the actual scientific method.;
-Your point that science is all about ‘failability’ and ‘disposability’ is such a great point. The basic premise of science is that all data are ‘a working-theory-until-proven otherwise’…and the process is about dis-proving some data and proposing theories to support other data, but all the while understanding that all data is essentially transient if something verifiable comes along that can in-validate the prior understanding – critical.
The idea that ‘faith-based’ notions can be ‘science’ contributes to the general erosion of intellect, it robs people of the ablilty to reason, – it erodes our nations ability to compete.
I am 56. IT guy, musician, etc. BS Computer Science.
I have survived a fundamentalist upbringing, and have been dealing with the ramifications of that my entire life. I think religious fundamentalism is dangerous. It leads to ‘magical thinking’ in all aspects of civil society. It fosters isolationism, fear, ignorance, racism, sexism, and has no place in the classroom. However, one insidious aspect of fundamentalism is that is allows participants to believe that the ends justifies the means. So even though many fundamentalists are proponents of constitutional rights, in their ‘heart-of-hearts’ they think that what they are doing is ‘right’. They think that because the US is a ‘Christian Nation” ( it is not, btw.) – their assaults on the constitution are validated.
So… you are a superstar.
Here in Australia ,this stuff in your country leaves us gobsmacked. What is it with the right in the USA (and therefore many fundamentalist oddities ) that allows this ludicrous creationist nonsense to still go on.? Do you need financial support/is there a site?
I really admire you for your strength and determination in carrying out your ideas and beliefs.
Creationists and evolutionists are now years fighting, battles useless, until you realize that only volumes joining forces in search of the truth, the true and absolute, we could open many doors still closed.
There are things unknown to science, that even if it occurs, can not give a logical explanation and can not be reproduced in the laboratory.
The strength evolutionist, is formed and is based on a theory, still under study and full of gaps and why.
The birth of our universe is a theory, still under study, but it remains only a fascinating theory.
There are also contradictions in materialism, in its existence.
In medicine incredible cases occur without any explanation.
Even creationism has its shortcomings, not having good explanation about it on many fundamental issues.
I am fascinated by science, but I also believe that there is an energy that moves all things, living and not, an energy can not be measured with technological equipment, an unknown outside of any existing measure before the foundation of everything known to us .
Thanks to quantum physics, many things are finding because, for one example, consciousness, given that property until a few years ago to the brain, but neurobiology is, however, very far from a complete theory of consciousness.
I strongly believe that a man must open your mind and bring his knowledge of all things, to know and be complete.
Good on you Zack, keep it up.
An article about you here in the Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/world/teenager-creates-a-stir-as-religion-defies-science-20130126-2ddfl.html
Here in Australia the teaching of creationism is a fairly marginal issue so it’s hard for us to understand the power and influence of the religious right in the USA. I applaud your strength and leadership in standing up in the face of such vocal opposition!
This year our state (New South Wales) will introduce ethics classes in some primary (including our school) http://www.primaryethics.com.au/ as a voluntary alternative for students not attending scripture classes in school time.
It’s early days for this program but I thought you might appreciate hearing about this. We’re really pleased with this valuable alternative for non-religious families, while respecting diversity and the rights of members of our community to engage with their faith should they choose.
Creationists don’t seem to care that their own bible tells 2 different stories of creation in chapter 1 versus chapter 2 of Genesis. Not only that, in the original Hebrew the identity of the creator is different from one chapter to the other as well. So creationism is a failure on its own terms.
I’m a scientist AND creationist. Based on the intelligent design argument! The brilliant discoveries of the field of astrophysics and their coherency and widespread manifestation in the universe from microscopic to astronomical argue far more persuasively to me of intelligent designer than happenstance. Of course perhaps most other scientists disagree with me, but could there be a wee bit of the need to remain PC in their fields at the risk of their careers to agree the above view? Of course there is! Yes, of course, like most scientists I far prefer conclusion to belief so my view is uninfluenced by religion or philosophy. It’s just an opinion, as deserving of respect (the opinion, not me) as any other. It’s great for both views as it encourages debate, educates, and encourages personal investigation. Please, don’t waste time dissing MDs as non-scientists. I did REAL scientific investigation before and after med school, got my name on patents. Will more date resolve the debate? Not a chance unless we reliably record a ‘burning bush’-human interaction. Lets all have fun!
Keep up the good work. I am more than willing to help you with this in anyway I can as I am also very passionate about this subject and what it means for our children’s future. Whether it is organizing meetings up here in New England, financial support or lobbying support please let me know.
i study biology and evolution
i have a very strong evidence for design in nature
a) we know that a self replicate robot that made from dna need a designer
b) the cat is a self replicate robot
a+b= the cat need a designer
?plus: if a self replicate car cant evolve into an airplan, how the flagellum can evolve from ttss
about the similarity argument: a 2 cars of honda can look very similar to each other. but this is because they made by the same designer- honda company
Zack, hadn’t heard of you until you were a guest of Bill Maher, and as a 54 yo who has watched science degenerate into an ideological shouting match for decades, I commend you for standing up for your principles and speaking your mind. Can’t help but see how these poorly construct arguments for “designed” creation has crept into the comments here. A Honda car, REALLY? Best of luck sir, my favorite position you took last Friday was the simple statement “but, you’re not a scientist”. Simple, true, and bound to be ignored.
I am a 20 year old Australian university student. I first knew of you from Bill Maher’s television program, it was refreshing to watch a younger and more relatable panelist with similar views on science education to my own. I would like to commend you on your bravery and ambition; you have my complete support.
The role of eduction is paramount to our potential, and separating church from state strongly supports this fundamental societal cornerstone. Thank you voicing your concerns, it is intelligent and rational people such as yourself that will build the future of our world.
Wishing you swift success!
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