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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Louisiana fights back against creationist legislators

By Phil Plait

In late 2008, the Louisiana government passed a bill into law that allowed teachers to teach creationism in the classroom. Then the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education followed up by adopting a policy that allowed "outside supplemental material" to be used by teachers, in a thinly veiled but quite clear attempt to allow creationist works in the classroom.

zackkopplin.jpgThis attack on education by the religious right had some fallout. Because of all this, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, a scientific society with over 2000 members, chose to boycott Louisiana for their annual conference. I think that was the right move, since it sends a signal that teaching antiscience in the classroom means groups that support science will take their business -- and their money -- elsewhere.

It also lit a fire under a young man named Zack Kopplin, a high school student and fighter for reality, who started a campaign to get the law repealed. I'm very pleased to write that Zack -- who began all this as a high school student, I remind you, and is now a freshman at Rice -- got 75 Nobel Laureates to sign on and endorse his effort. 75. He also has an impressive list of other supporters as well.

His website,, has lots more info on what he's trying to do. If you live in Louisiana, and feel as I do about this, send Zack some love and support.

And when it comes time for elections, remember who wanted to educate the children of Louisiana, and who wanted to push kids through school thoroughly unprepared for 21st century life.

[Note: There was a typo in a picture I had put at the bottom of this post. Fixing it would mean redoing the whole thing, so instead I just took the image out of the post. My apologies.]


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