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Tue Jan 15, 2013, 07:05 PM

How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists

http://io9.com/5976112/how-19+year+old-activist-zack-kopplin-is-making-life-hell-for-louisianas-creationists



For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he's making a difference.

Kopplin, who is studying history at Rice University, had good reason to be upset after the passing of the LSEA — an insidious piece of legislation that allows teachers to bring in their own supplemental materials when discussing politically controversial topics like evolution or climate change. Soon after the act was passed, some of his teachers began to not just supplement existing texts, but to rid the classroom of established science books altogether. It was during the process to adopt a new life science textbook in 2010 that creationists barraged Louisiana's State Board of Education with complaints about the evidence-based science texts. Suddenly, it appeared that they were going to be successful in throwing out science textbooks.

A pivotal moment
"This was a pivotal moment for me," Kopplin told io9. "I had always been a shy kid and had never spoken out before — I found myself speaking at a meeting of an advisory committee to the State Board of Education and urging them to adopt good science textbooks — and we won." The LSEA still stood, but at least the science books could stay.

No one was more surprised of his becoming a science advocate than Kopplin himself. In fact, after writing his English paper in 2008 — when he was just 16-years-old — he assumed that someone else would publicly take on the law. But no one did.


Long article, worth reading. Makes my hope for humanity go a bit up.

11 replies, 994 views

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists (Original post)
2ndAmForComputers Jan 2013 OP
DryRain Jan 2013 #1
niyad Jan 2013 #2
Kalidurga Jan 2013 #3
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #4
skepticscott Jan 2013 #7
muntrv Jan 2013 #5
cbayer Jan 2013 #6
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #8
Jim__ Jan 2013 #9
cbayer Jan 2013 #11
pinto Jan 2013 #10

Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 07:09 PM

1. I have read more about this guy and seen him elsewhere.

 

I hope we hear more from him in the years to come. Sounds like a brave leader in the fight for rationality in our world, so much needed these days.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 07:10 PM

2. k and r--thank you for bringing this young man to our attention.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 07:36 PM

3. Zack Kopplin 2032

I hope this makes him think of having a career in politics if it doesn't scar him too much.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 08:23 PM

4. What I find most disheartening is that he will get little to no support from religious moderates.

In fact, that law was passed with the help of religious moderates. The blame can be laid at their feet.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:07 AM

7. Yes, one wonders where the great wave of support is

from those on the religious left. Not to mention the great wave of outrage from those here who are constantly posting "look what religious people are doing and atheists aren't!"

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 08:41 PM

5. Why? Is Zach using big words?

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:32 PM

6. Great kid. More power to him.

He was blamed for Hurricane Katrina, lol!

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 10:15 AM

8. read the comments under the article?

 

some are priceless crazy. some are awesome.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 10:59 AM

9. Congratulations to Zack for having the courage to fight this battle.

I would be interested to hear any lessons he's learned about how to attack the problem. In one of the videos, (state) senator Walsworth asks if they've had ecoli evolve into humans in an experiment. Obviously, Zack is not going to reach people like Walsworth. I'd really like to hear if he has come up with any ideas about how to get past the Walsworths of the world without getting bogged down in head-butting contests.

I wonder if there are enough concerned people in Louisiana for Zack to win this politically. My guess is that he may be able to win in some cities, probably not in the more rural areas.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:59 PM

11. Louisiana is a mixed bag politically (and that's a massive understatement).

In general they like straight talking people that they feel are on their side and are often less agenda driven than some other parts of the south.

I think he could really go places.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 11:07 AM

10. Kudos.

Clear and effective.

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