Meet Zack Kopplin, the 19-year-old who started winning battles against teaching creationism in Louisiana public schools when he was 14

IO9 profiles Zack Kopplin, a 19-year-old, five-year veteran of the fight against teaching creationism in Louisiana's science classes. Kopplin was a student when the a law came into effect allowing teachers to bring creationist material to class, and he took up the cause, winning a battle that prevented the exclusion of evolution from Louisiana science classes altogether. Kopplin has been vilified by state legislators and creationists, but refuses to give up the fight. If I can raise a kid with this much sense, savvy, passion and ethical commitment, I'll consider my life to have been worthwhile:

He also has his eyes set on vouchers. After an Alternet story came out about a school in the Louisiana voucher program teaching that the Loch Ness Monster was real and disproved evolution, Kopplin looked deeper into the program and found that this wasn't just one school, but at least 19 other schools, too.

School vouchers, he argues, unconstitutionally fund the teaching of creationism because many of the schools in these programs are private fundamentalist religious schools who are teaching creationism.

"These schools have every right to teach whatever they want — no matter how much I disagree with it — as long as they are fully private," he says. "But when they take public money through vouchers, these schools need to be accountable to the public in the same way that public schools are and they must abide by the same rules." Kopplin is hoping for more transparency in these programs so the public can see what is being taught with taxpayers' money.

How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists [George Dvorsky/IO9]


  1. Some people are so desperate to preserve their world view that they’ll accept any nonsense. Loch Ness Monster. Classic!

  2. This kid just went on my ” Magnet Display of Heroes ” on my fridge.
    Every time I open a door, one falls off. (running out of room). S’ok…..

  3. The headline makes it sound like he’s pro-creationism, or something. It also implies he’s a 19 yr old high school student. 

    1. When I was in high school there were plenty of 19-year-olds there. It made getting alcohol a lot easier if you were into that since you could ask a fellow student to buy it for you.

        1. Ontario, Canada.  Today.

          [Edit] To be clear, I graduated high school last millenia, but the alcohol minimum purchase age in Ontario is 19 right now.

  4. Effin awesome, the utmost respect!


    There’s a problem with the fully-private compromise. A school can’t really get fully private because government will always have to validate the diplomas it issues. And I don’t think anyone should be validating diplomas issued by schools teaching you the Loch Ness Monster is real. That’s just never okay, no matter where the cash is coming from.

    I get why she’d argue that way, it makes her look a lot more reasonable but you have to wonder if we should be allowing people to teach this drivel at all.

    I mean we’re pretty much fully stocked on idiots, no need to create (ha!) some more.

  5. Something is wrong when even a 14 yr old can’t believe the bullsh*t being pushed on him.

    I never understood why this one aspect of science bothers fundies so much.  There are plenty of other fairy tales for them to get worked up about.

    1. Because a literal interpretation of the writings of bronze-age nomads that was later assembled into a book by a committee of religious oligarchs can be construed to say that humans are different and special from any other form of life. Gullible people and children are then indoctrinated by its proponents into that interpretation and trained that feelings are always more important than facts.

    2. Because the whole idea of Christianity is that God made you with a purpose.  If evolution works there is no need for either God or purpose.  Also, fundamentalist Christianity is a complete world view whose adherents want it to be the worldview and they view secularism — including all that sciencey garbage — as competition that must be utterly destroyed to make way for a Christian theocracy which many fundies believe would be the only justified sort of government possible.

    3. Because it’s apparently easy to solve (“hey, we are majority, let’s change it!”), but in practice they cannot really win (there will always be some sane person higher up, overruling their crazy with science). This way, it keeps the little people focused and forever militant, ready to pour more and more money in the coffers of this or that “reverend”.

  6. I can’t see a  wunderkind any more without being worried that some malicious federal prosecutor is going to make an example of him. :-(

    1. I don’t understand how someone can attain the level of attorney yet have the absolute lack of knowledge one needs to “possess” to be pro-creationism. I just don’t get how smart people can believe in things like Noah’s ark over Darwinism…

    1. If that’s true, then I want some vouchers for (male) hookers and blow. It’s my money, after all.

    2. A certain percent of tax money is allocated to education and those institutions that are legitimately educating children are already stretched thin budget wise.

      It is not fair to take some of that money and channel it to institutions that are mis-educating children.  They have to meet state/federal guidelines to receive state/federal money, period.  If they are required to teach science, then then need to teach science.  They can’t just slap that label on any BS and call it good.

  7. I had thought Creationism was a heaping load of bulshytt until now but a supposedly scientific controversy being pushed by a non-scientist makes me suspicious. On the other hand, the Creationist side has even more non-scientists…

  8. Good on Zack!   Now will somebody please help him to get a scholarship to a decent law school?  We need heroes like this instead of self-serving swine (a la Carmen Ortiz) interpreting the law.

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