A tale of two students: The “rebel” who knows the Establishment is right vs. the “problem” kid who wants to think critically

Some think them a mirror of contemporary American society.

Recently, the Clergy Letter Project's Michael Zimmerman (getting the clergy to help sell Darwinism to their congregations) was publicizing Louisiana student Zack Kopplin's effort to repeal Louisiana's "discussion allowed" law on controversial issues in science:

Zack hasn't been content to simply complain about an educationally irresponsible law, however. His organizational skills have been nothing short of phenomenal and he's gathered a collection of supporters second to none. His repeal effort has been endorsed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest general science organization in the world with over 10 million members; the National Association of Biology Teachers, the country's main organization for biological educators;


The Clergy Letter Project, an organization of more than 14,000 clergy and scientists recognizing that religion and science need not be in conflict; as well as a host of other scientific groups including the American Institute for Biological Sciences, The American Society for Cell Biology, the Society for the Study of Evolution, The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Additionally, the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously to support the repeal.

Ah yes, these student activists are always up on the barricades, opposing the establishment.

Indeed, Zimmerman thinks Christopher Reeve would be proud of this young man, as an example of "Profiles in (Evolutionary) Courage."

In other news, a lowly Tennessee student, facing a similar issue, taking an opposite position, and not supported by the big science lobbies, said,

I had the opportunity to read Pam Strickland's column, "Legislatures should be lawmakers, not yahoos." I found some areas in it that were "sketchy." I would like to highlight a few points from her column. She addresses the fact that state Rep. Bill Dunn is proposing a House bill that will "prohibit the teaching of two widely recognized scientific theories of evolution and global warming." I have read House Bill 368 and nowhere did I find any mention of prohibiting the teaching of evolution and global warming, instead it proposes that we show all the scientific evidence. It is not logical to have both sides of an argument represented? It is a part of the scientific process to test a hypothesis, but if you only test the one variable, how are our future generations going to know the validity of the other side? This only demotes the very thing most Americans are searching for, knowledge. We will then be arming our citizens with ignorance instead of knowledge, while destroying the way to find knowledge. … – "Tennessee teen schools columnist on evolution and science education" (Evolution News & Views, June 8, 2011)

That kid is only 14, and he has it all figured out: When no one may critique the Establishment, anything they think is fact, anything they say is true, and anything they do is news. Hope that kid has a strong support team.

Denyse O'Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

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