HOUSTON – 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.”
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.”