In the video above, you can see my creation/evolution hero of the last school year. Zack Kopplin is a Louisiana high school senior (heading to Rice University next fall) who decided to fight the misnamed Louisiana Science Education Act. That bill, passed in 2008, opens the door to creationist materials in science classrooms. It is the only one of these so-called academic freedom laws that has passed a state legislature, though dozens have been proposed.
It passed the Louisiana Senate unanimously a couple years ago, but Zack found a Senator to sponsor his repeal bill, he got 43 Nobel laureates to endorse his effort, he even got the New Orleans city council to pass a resolution supporting his repeal act. And yesterday, he brought a phalanx of fellow students, as well as teachers, scientists, and legislators, to testify in favor of the repeal in the Senate Education committee. A committee, it should be noted, chaired by the original sponsor of the LSEA!
Against Zack’s 43 Nobelists, the creationists brought … a letter signed by 15 pro-creationism scientists, many from the private Baptist Louisiana College. A college whose mission “is to provide liberal arts, professional, and graduate programs characterized by devotion to the preeminence of the Lord Jesus, allegiance to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, dedication to academic excellence for the glory of God, and commitment to change the world for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The creationists also had an envoy from Governor Jindal’s office, urging against the bill’s repeal. Jindal, you may recall, was a biology major at Brown University, where he originally planned to become a doctor, before studying political science on a Rhodes Scholarship. When the creationist bill passed, Jindal’s genetics professor Arthur Landy urged him:
In order for today’s students in Louisiana to succeed in college and beyond, in order for them to take the fullest advantages of all that the 21st century will offer, they need a solid grounding in genetics and evolution. Governor Jindal was a good student in my class when he was thinking about becoming a doctor, and I hope he doesn’t do anything that would hold back the next generation of Louisiana’s doctors.
I guess Jindal’s turned his back on that part of his life, but as long as Louisiana’s turning out smart, dedicated students like Zack Kopplin, I wouldn’t give up hope.