Young Texas Activist Condemns Charter Schools for Teaching Evolution’s Weaknesses

KopplinHOUSTON – A young evolutionist activist is demanding that Texas lawmakers defund charter schools which teach weaknesses in evolutionary theory and mention biblical creation.

Zack Kopplin is a 20-year-old political activist who believes evolution should be the only scientific theory taught in government-funded schools. Originally a Louisiana resident, Kopplin supported a failed effort to repeal Louisiana’s longstanding “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act,” which allows school teachers to mention both the creation and evolutionary models in the classroom.

In an opinion piece published on Slate on Thursday, Kopplin, who now lives in Houston, reports that the Responsive Education Solutions (RES) charter system teaches students weaknesses in evolutionary theory. RES is one of the largest charter school programs in Texas, with additional campuses located in Arkansas and Indiana.

Kopplin argues in his Slate article that RES and other charter school systems should not teach scientific alternatives to evolution. Doing so, according to Kopplin, “undermines Texas schoolchildren’s future in any possible career in science.”

“Evolution is not a scientific controversy,” Kopplin claims, “and there are no competing scientific theories. All of the evidence supports evolution, and the overwhelming majority of scientists accept the evidence for it.”

Rosalinda Gonzalez, vice president of academic affairs for RES, told Kopplin that their charter schools’ curriculum “teaches evolution,” while at the same time “noting, but not exploring, the existence of competing theories.”

However, Kopplin insists that this is unlawful, asserting the teaching of biblical creation in government-funded schools is “on a fundamental level … unconstitutional.”

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One of the textbook statements that Kopplin protests contends that “[a] lack of transitional fossils … [is a] problem for evolutionists who hold a view of uninterrupted evolution over long periods of time.”

“It is clearly past time for Texas to tighten the rules surrounding charters and enforce accountability to prevent any other religious programs from subverting the public education system,” Kopplin writes. “This is a moment of truth for the charter movement and for Texas politicians. Will they support removing from charter programs these schools that break the law?”

Several commenters agreed with Kopplin’s assessment of the RES charter school curriculum.

“You know what?” one commenter weighed in, “I usually try to be diplomatic and respectful about this subject, but I’ve had it. It is 2014. We should not be having this [expletive] conversation anymore.”

But despite criticism from evolutionists, many scientists maintain that empirical evidence does not line up with the theory of evolution. A recent article published by Ken Ham and Roger Patterson of Answers in Genesis suggests that secularists desire their religious beliefs to be the only worldview taught in schools.

“The public schools, by and large, now teach that everything a student learns about science, history, etc., has nothing to do with God. It can all be explained without any supernatural reference,” Ham and Patterson wrote. “This is a religious view—an anti-Christian view with which students are being indoctrinated. Humanists know that naturalistic evolution is foundational to their religion—their worldview that everything can be explained without God. That is why they are so emotional when it comes to the topic of creation/evolution.”

“At the same time,” they added, “it is not right that the tenets of secular humanism can be taught at the exclusion of Christian ideas. This type of exclusivity does not promote the critical thinking skills of students demanded by most science education standards. Teachers should be allowed, at the very least, the academic freedom to present various models of the history of life on earth and teach the strengths and weaknesses of those models.”

Photo: Twitter

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  • Joseph Long

    Seriously though, why are we having this debate in 2014? Ken Ham is not a legitimate scientist, so his take on the subject is less than relevant. Anyone who professes the earth to be 6k-10k years old is obviously not in tune with reality. I mean, even Pat Robertson (of all people) concedes that dinosaurs didn’t exist at the same time as humans. Pat’s view of creation, albeit deeply flawed, makes more sense than Ken’s! Why not quote him Garrett?

    There is no real evidence to support the majority of the claims made in the Bible. Places? Sure, most of them probably existed. Specific events and miracles? We have NOTHING except for second / third hand accounts that were compiled into a book by the Catholic Church. How does this book (obviously created by people) supersede scientific evidence that we can actually test?

    Why is everyone so afraid to question religion? It’s just another theory that should be able to stand on it’s own merits. If religion cannot stand up to scrutiny then what good is it?

  • Euro-Christian

    I don’t know what the problem is in America. Over here in Europe probably 98% of Christians can live happily with the biblical story of the Creation – it says what God is, what HE wants us to do, what the shortcomings of men (and women) are, what sin is (later in Paradise Lost) etc etc – and that is wonderful. And then there is science (evolution). It teaches us how God’s creation came into being and how it developed (well, evolved, really). I am Finnish and consider myself a staunch Lutheran. God created the Big Bang :), and knew all along what was going to happen; when man walked the earth, HE was wise enough to generate meaning, when man was not up to more complex scientific ideas. And the metaphysical meaning was more important first. Only when man had evolved a bit, did HE let him discover what evolution is. Don’t you think evolution is wonderful in its scientific logic, irrefutable evidence, and yet in its teachableness even to students of science? The theory of evolution reflects the greatness of God. So this is another way of looking at it. Our Christianity is not the worse for it.

  • John the Baptist

    I value the opinions of others and find opinions a healthy mantra for accomplishing great things. However when it comes to the highly debatable subject of evolution, it also is an opinion. In science it is called a hypothesis. It’s a theory based on unmerited claims. In fact, the idea came to Darwin while in Kabul. It was only his opinion.

    Now, I don’t criticize anyone for their opinions. But, now let’s deal with hard facts.

    Many don’t believe in God. However, that is your opinion. I can tell you that counseling with people who have had crack cocaine problems that many experience episodes of demonic attacks and spiritual warfare. One woman fell on the floor and her spine started twisting in an ‘s’ pattern and she began to snake across the floor. But, if they don’t believe in God, why are they experiencing such things?

    • John the Baptist

      Also, did you know that most of the most prestigious universities archeologist’s whose work is sponsored by private corporations use the the Holy Bible in it’s original Hebrew and Greek text as their aid in studying ancient history. It’s been described to me as ‘dangerously accurate’. They have found NO errors.

    • C.P. Steinmetz

      John, you might try getting your science information from scientists instead of religionists. That way, you wouldn’t make such embarrassing statements about science. First, evolution is not ‘highly debatable’. It is ‘debatable’ only by such religious organizations as the Discovery Institute, ICR, and AIG. Your confusion on ‘opinion’ and ‘hypothesis’ doesn’t help your cause. And, if you looked at any science literature, you would see that evolution is not ‘based on unmerited claims.’

      If you believe I am wrong, then please provide evidence from a respectable scientific publication.

      And, ‘most of the most prestigious universities archeologist’s whose work is sponsored by private corporations use the the Holy Bible.’ This is an egregious overreach. Ancient history in China, and Egypt doesn’t seem to be studied using the Bible. Even in the mid-east, at such places as Çatalhöyük and Shanidar Cave didn’t involve any ‘Bible’. In fact, they pre-dated the Bible.

      I would be curious to know which “prestigious universities archeologist” described to you as ‘dangerously accurate’.

      Also, “They have found NO errors” is simply untrue. I give you just one example of wrongness:
      Look under ‘Historicity’.

    • RobH

      > “In fact, the idea [of Evolution] came to Darwin while in Kabul.”
      Darwin never visited Afghanistan. Even if he had formulated the theory while in Kabul, why would that be relevant?

      > “I can tell you that counseling with people who have had crack cocaine problems … One woman fell on the floor and her spine started twisting in an ‘s’ pattern and she began to snake across the floor. But, if they don’t believe in God, why are they experiencing such things?”
      A woman who has a crack cocaine problem behaved very strangely. You seem to attribute this to demons and/or God. I would suggest that the crack cocaine – which is known to do strange things to a person’s brain – might have had a large part to play.

  • mike

    If “many scientists maintain that empirical evidence does not line up with the theory of evolution”, why couldn’t you find even one?

    Ken Ham is not a scientist and AIG is not a scientific organization. Neither would know empirical evidence if it slapped them on the head.

    As for critical thinking, how about applying it to biblical creationism? That is the last thing creationists actually want. Their so-called ‘theory’ fails every test, every time.

  • Lynn Jemison

    Zack Kopplin is absolutely correct. The establishment clause of the first amendment to our constitution prohibits the teaching of religion in public schools. Creationism is a religious belief. Creationism is not science, and it doesn’t belong in a science classroom.

  • James Johns

    look at it this way, if evolution has such outstanding evidence and creation has no evidence then why does it bother you if it is discussed?

    you think students are stupid and can’t see where the real evidence is and what has been proven and not proven?

    If you know you have a solid truly scientific and proven theory then you wouldn’t be afraid of other ideas that didn’t have a firm foundation.

    I believe in creation and I for one have no problem with someone talking to me about evolution or my children about evolution as long as they use solid proof and facts, and leave out the lies.

    evolutionists who firmly believe in evolution should have no problem with creation being taught as an alternative view unless they have no firm ground to stand on

  • Lynn Jemison

    James, suppose your child signed up for a math class, but instead of math, the teacher read from the Bible or the Koran or the I Ching “as an alternative” to math? Religion isn’t science. Religion isn’t an alternative to science. You can’t mix and match religion and science, or substitute one for the other, or go half-and-half. When religion and science are confused with one another, both are harmed. A student who learns the I Ching instead of algebra is not equipped for the job market. A student who doesn’t understand the genetic basis of physiology and evolution is not equipped to understand modern agriculture or modern medicine. A person who doesn’t understand evolution can’t explain all those domesticated fruits, vegetables, and grains in the grocery store. If you want absolute proof of evolution, look around a grocery store – it’s like entering an museum dedicated to displaying just how quickly and easily species can change. Or you could read a high school science book with an open mind.

  • Larry Arnold

    I agree that we should only teach science in science class; and therefore REMOVE EVOLUTION! It is NOT science. It is religious dogma passing itself off as scientific fact.

    There is no evidence proving evolution as fact – NONE! Just because they shout if from the housetops, loud enough, long enough, and to enough people doesn’t make it true. Want to make science class about science – remove evolution…!

    • Lynn Jemison

      You do not understand my comments regarding the differences between religion with science. Maybe you should look up the definitions of “science”, “religion”, and “evolution”. Spoiler alert: evolution is a change in gene frequency in a population — an observable fact.

      • Larry

        Oh my, Lynn, where on earth did you get that idea that evolution is a change in gene frequency in a population? That is NOT how evolution has been promulgated.

        It has been sold as an explanation for the origin of life challenging the biblical explanation that God created life. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it appears you want to redefine evolution to no longer mean all life originated from a single organism by chance millions and millions of years ago. If that is still the position of evolution, please prove it using the scientific method. It hasn’t been proven thus far.

        Yes, I’m quite familiar with the definitions of science, religion, and evolution. Thanks for inquiring.

        • Lynn Jemison

          Please check your high school biology textbook for the definition of evolution. Since about 1937, when scientists began to put together Darwin’s idea of natural selection with Mendel’s discoveries of the laws of heredity, DeVries discovery of mutations, with cytological evidence such as chromosome mapping of fruit fly chromosomes, among other evidence, evolution has been introduced to students as a change in gene frequency in a population. Your textbook may say that it’s a change in allelic frequency in a population, which is the same thing.
          Evolution has been promulgated as a great many false and crazy ideas by people who don’t try to understand the subject.

          • Larry

            Right. That’s how evolution has always been presented. Rubbish.

            My daughter’s 8th grade textbook begins, “…since the world began millions and millions of years ago, life has evolved to all of the variety we see today in nature.” The book leads the students to believe that the earth is millions and millions of years old and it indoctrinates them into believing that life evolved; neither of which are proven true.

            It should begin by saying “one theory is that life evolved…” – that would at least be honest; but evolutionists are not interested in being honest, they just want evolution to be the only theory taught, as if it were fact – it’s not!

            It is currently legal in every state in the union to teach creation along side of evolution. School districts may require that teachers use the approved curriculum, which omits creation, but they cannot prohibit a teacher from teaching creation to students who ask. To do so will invite law suits.

            If evolution is fact, what are they afraid of? They shouldn’t be afraid of alternate theories being introduced so students can be “educated” and let them think for themselves. What’s the problem?

  • Mel klein

    This is what happens when you confuse religion with science, when you treat the Bible as a science book.

  • Ruth Ann

    Perhaps we can’t convince evolutionists that their beliefs are wrong. But I know one that can and will and his name is Jesus. We are nearing the time when Jesus will return and every eye will see him and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Sad to say it will be to late for many because of their denial of Jesus and the salvation He bought. If you only knew what is at stake you would look at Christianity with a different eye. Do you really want to know what the truth is or do you just want to prove you are right. If you want to know the truth ask Jesus to show you the truth!! Seriously ask Him.

  • Mel Klein

    If you confuse science with religion, and use the Bible as a science text book, you will:
    Teach children that the earth is flat.
    Teach children that disease is a judgement from God, not the result of germs and other earthly causes.
    Teach children that our sun is a star, and that there are other solar systems, other galaxies and other planets.
    Teach children that al of the earth, and all material things, are a hoax designed to test their faith; that the works of God that you revere so much are one seamless work of trickery.
    Must a devout Christian also be ignorant of the material world?

  • Sir Tainly

    Well, the kid is probably quite bright, opinionated, thinks that he knows it all….like quite a few twenty year olds I have known &/or been a long, long time ago. 😀

    Personally, I actually think that any system that attempts to teach “constructive skepticism” as a part of a science curriculum is doing it’s job correctly since “constructive skepticism” is such a foundational scientific principle. Now as to whether or not these schools are doing a good job of it is an entirely different issue. 😉 Heck, there are a few churches that I’ve seen whose overall spirit would be much better off if they had a few well intentioned and decent constructive critics.

    I don’t feel this kid is a threat, if I had the chance I’d try to like him on a personal level even if it’s likely that we’d also find each other to be annoying, I’d try to keep it “constructively annoying”. I hope that this kid doesn’t take too much heat for having his pictured plastered on the news service, it’s such a pain to have to resist hatred and accusation when it is running amok among Christians that I’d otherwise respect.

  • Loyd Allen

    When the secular pope told the Christian Galileo that he must adhere to the notion that the earth was flat. The Christian Galileo knew that the earth was round. The Christian Galileo knew that the secular pope was wrong, but followed the dictates of his government by being confined. However, the Christian Galileo left his writings and his proclamations to mankind, and I’ll bet you all know the Christian Galileo’s name, but how many of you can remember the secular Pope’s name ?