Skip to comments.How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists
Posted on 01/16/2013 4:41:13 PM PST by EveningStar
For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest and most feared advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he's making a difference.
(Excerpt) Read more at io9.com ...
However, there is no particular reason to assume that all such groups just happened to evolve to have average intellectual capabilities equally suited to success in the modern world.
Please note that I’m not saying that greater average intellectual capability constitutes “superiority.” But I do think that a belief that every human sub-group has equivalent average capability is an act of faith, and that any questioning of this belief constitutes heresy against that faith and is enthusiastically punished as such.
Also please note that I am discussing AVERAGE characteristics of groups. Which means that it has absolutely nothing to say about the abilities of any individual within any of these groups.
From an evolutionary standpoint, discussion of “more evolved” or “less evolved” is an utterly meaningless concept. All you can discuss is whether a particular organism is better suited to success in a particular environment.
And one must also recognize that the modern high-tech economy is an utterly new environment, that whether specific human groups are better suited genetically on average to succeed in competition in this environment is entirely random, since evolution for such characteristics has not had time to even start. These characteristics were in all likelihood not particularly well-suited to provide evolutionary advantage in previous human environments, and might in many cases have been a disadvantage.
Yet liberals INSIST that all ethnic groups MUST be equally well adapted to succeed in this new economic environment and therefore any differential in success can ONLY be due to evil people intentionally discriminating against them. For those who are painfully aware of their failure in competition, being told that others are entirely responsible obviously creates bitterness and resentment, which unfortunately those who spend a lot of time placing blame on others then mine for political power.
I assume you will agree that “facts, principles, theories, suppositions, presuppositions” are all matters of opinion? That there is no way to “prove” that any of them are true or untrue. By which I mean proof with the certainty of a mathematical axiom.
If you have a way, I’d be really happy to see it.
I am unclear if you are referring to me as an empiricist, or if you are using the term accurately. “Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience.”
Since our interface with the real world is entirely through our senses, it’s difficult to see what other source of knowledge humans can have. With the possible exception of direct inspiration, and in that case I don’t see how one is able to prove that it is indeed inspiration and not delusion or hallucination, even to oneself.
Which does not mean that I believe the only source of truth is the scientific method. Certain critically important areas of existence just cannot be addressed by science. Notably ethics and morality.
I believe that God created all men equal. That equality is because they are all children of God, and has nothing to do with their differential capabilities. But I cannot prove this belief to be true using the scientific method, because science is not capable of answering the question.
So you propose there may be a biological reason why Jewish and Asian populations score one standard deviation higher on IQ tests than those of European descent?
Some part of the argument with some folks seems often to be rooted in the idea that proving evolution somehow dethrones or disproves God as creator. So you have folks arguing with great passion trying, on the one hand, to debunk a myth and on the other hand to defend the God of the Universe.
For me, that God is Creator is not even in question. So all we are really arguing about are the nut-and-bolt-”hows” of creation. I'm happy to let the science guys do what they do and dig up the data, and pose the questions, and investigate the apparent contradictions in their theories. Thats what they do and I'm glad to let them, while I look on in awe and wonder at what God has wrought.
What I observe is that, while there are eternal principles, the manifestation and unfolding of those principles takes on endless variety and the process of creation never stops and I believe never will. Each stage of creation merely sets the stage for the next one. When we talk about evolution, we aren't really discussing “whether” God created the universe but rather we are discussing tools in the toolkit. When you have seen God in action his existence is not in question and is not threatened by any discussion of mechanical or chemical processes.
Creation is central to God's essence I believe (and ours). Creation that is continuous is going to look a lot like evolution.
Well worth repeating....
Still batting zero as to what useful purpose you could put special creationism to.
Youre still throwing out accusations like a drunken cowboy, but batting zero in demonstrating any intellectual honesty respecting the issues at hand. Your inability to even engage in a discussion sans sliding a term over to another term conformable to your propagandist obsessions is illustrative of the mental poverty you share with all the propagandists of your stripe (which is why you cannot answer questions such as the question with which Ive opened this message). You are so frightened of Creationism ... nothing more than a philosophical tenet of Christianity ... that you have to resort to the destruction of all the norms and conventions of communication and meaning to calm your fear. Your humiliation is obvious to everyone who frequents this thread, but in your hubris I imagine you think you can overwhelm everyone with snarky insults and that you see yourself simply the most clever fellow about.
If you dont measure up to deserving the Goebbels Award, perhaps you can at least manage being a finalist for the Alinsky Prize.
If youll check the definitions of Creationism you will find that they cover quite a wide range of philosophical ideas involved in the Judeo-Christian tradition. None of them conform to your desperate propagandist needs. What you cant stand is that they are an acid that dissolves your pretensions.
What makes you gag ... what you cant stand ... is that Creationism is a fundamental tenet of Christianity and is the wellspring of Americas devotion to liberty for all mankind. This has to be an endless nightmare for you.
Sherman: “I assume you will agree that facts, principles, theories, suppositions, presuppositions are all matters of opinion? That there is no way to prove that any of them are true or untrue. By which I mean proof with the certainty of a mathematical axiom.”
Spirited: If as you say, all theories are matters of opinion with “no way to ‘prove’ that any of them are true or untrue” with the “certainty of a mathematical axiom” then Darwinism, materialism, empiricism, and naturalism are nothing more than someone’s opinion, an opinion that originates in the unseen realm of the mind rather than in the senses.
Like your dreams, aspirations, and misplaced belief that physicalism is our only source of knowledge, opinions originate in the spirital dimension (mind) and cannot be sensed.
Empiricism, Darwinism, physicalism and naturalism are absurdities. All are devoid of life, consciousness and soul, hence all are self-refuting theories. They self-anihilate because all are forms of nihilism.
1. the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.
Your humpty dumptyism notwithstanding - creationism as defined above is absolutely useless in terms of any practical application in explaining and predicting the natural world.
Science is of use, creationism (as defined above) is useless.
Crying about it doesn’t help, but I do find it amusing!
Not possible, mom. Propagandists are little children, trapped in a juvenile fantasy world, forever doomed to perpetrating the shameful and embarrassing falsehoods they vainly hope will lead others down the wrong path. They should be treated with a certain cautious tolerance like anyone suffering a mental disorder.
Well jeepers, what can I say to those who reject One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, and still manage to describe themselves as "Christians???" Except to remind people that just because President 0bama calls himself a "Christian" and pops out pieties at the drop of a hat doesn't show or mean he actually is one.
Certainly I have attended threads on the Religion Forum, and have done so for a long while now. Many times I have observed things that just made me cringe. But I remain an observer; I do not participate in such disputes.
And the reason why is, for sheer love of God, I actually try to live up to His Great Commandment: To Love God with my whole heart and soul and mind and strength; and my neighbor as myself.
I take the corollary "love my neighbor as myself" to indicate that it is my job to love my brother and sister in Christ, not to "judge" them. I figure Judgment is God's business, not mine. Given His Great Commandment, it seems to me that what my neighbor holds in his heart and soul is a matter between him and God, the absolutely most private relation there could possibly be, that I must respect.
But then, I am a very simple-minded person, keeping this line in mind:
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.Thank you so much for writing, 1010RD, and for your kind words!
I propose that there may be a hereditary component involved. Or at least I think it would be interesting to do the actual research to find out. Even though I am neither Jewish nor Asian.
I think you're off on your numbers. My understanding is that Ashkenazi Jews score roughly 1/2 to one full SD higher, although Sephardic and other Jews are roughly average.
East Asians, or at least some nationalities in this group, score about 5 IQ points higher on average, not the 15 or so points of the SD.
I don't understand why any of this should be considered controversial. Various human groups vary over a multitude of traits. Why should intelligence be the only one evenly distributed?
What a remarkably penetrating insight!!!
God "hides" in plain sight....
But those who refuse to look will, of course, not see let alone find Him.
But that seems to be the entire point of the "willful blindness" so assiduously cultivated by materialist reductionists of all stripes. They insist on a "causally-closed" universe. God cannot exist, because we don't need Him: The Universe "explains itself" over time, and reveals itself to be an evolutionary development that bottoms out in physics and chemistry. Seek no further for explanation. As with Karl Marx, all questions that may challenge the preferred orthodoxy are "streng verboten."
Thank you so very much, dear marron, brother in Christ, for your wonderfully thought-provoking essay/post.
[ But then, I am a very simple-minded person, keeping this line in mind: On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. ]
Exactly.. the american people have deemed to PUNISH themselves for four more years with BArry Half-White..
I agree with their choice.. they NEED to be PUNISHED..
Punished for far more than 75,000,000+ brutal deaths of their own babies..
But for brutal enslavement of a good bit of the populace..
And.. the wholesale looting of the National Treasury..
There are many more “crimes” to be accounted for than I am willing to number..
Suffice it to say America desperately NEEDS PUNISHMENT..
American voters generally have become political “MASOCHISTS”...
The list of democrat “SADIST” groups are not lacking..
There is a kind of symbiosis in that..
Note: It appears that many of my “neighbors” are a strange lot.. but they know what they want.. and what they want is financial and political PAIN.. SO BE IT!.. They do deserve it..
For me, that God is Creator is not even in question. So all we are really arguing about are the nut-and-bolt-hows of creation. I'm happy to let the science guys do what they do and dig up the data, and pose the questions, and investigate the apparent contradictions in their theories. Thats what they do and I'm glad to let them, while I look on in awe and wonder at what God has wrought.
There are two things that are being missed here. The first is that Kopplin isn't merely a scientific opponent of creationism but a hard left activist who believes in global warming and who puts doubts about global warming in the same category as doubts about creationism. While there are both evolutionists and creationists on this forum, it was my understanding that they both rejected this particular "scientific" claim.
The second thing (and getting to your own post, marron), is the question of why the events related in the first eleven chapters of Genesis are uniquely threatening to science in a way nothing else is. I have never heard of any scientific crusade to battle against belief in the virgin birth, in the resurrection of J*sus, in the miracle of the loaves and fishes, in the sand of Egypt turning to lice, in Balaam's donkey speaking, or in Mary playing basketball with the sun in Fatima, Portugal on October 13, 1917. Each and every one of these claims (logically) is just as much a threat to uniformitarianism as the events of Genesis 1-11, yet for some reason they are not perceived as threatening. Indeed, the most agnostic scientist seems to respect the people who hold these beliefs. What's the problem then with Genesis 1-11? Is it somehow "more" impossible? How could that conceivably be?
I have never heard of a theistic evolutionist claim that the "virgin birth" is a primitive way of explaining a purely natural phenomenon. But the "virgin birth," if it actually happened, shoots just as big a whole in uniformitarianism as anything in the early chapters of Genesis. Suppose a public school (or a private school that accepts public funding, which is Kopplin's target) taught in its history classes that J*sus didn't have an earthly father, that he rose from the dead, that he worked miracles, or that Mary appeared and made the sun "dance" on the date mentioned above. Would the scientists of the world have a conniption and crusade against it? I don't know, because I've never heard of a scientific crusade against anything other than those eleven chapters of Genesis.
Are scientists who stand up to creationism but who refuse to condemn the numerous supernatural events that have allegedly taken place since then any integrity at all? I think not.
As to the often made claim that creation "isn't science" or is "useless," the laws of science are what they are whether they go "all the way back" to the big bang or whether they "miraculously" came into being less than six thousand years ago. Whether fifteen billion or six thousand years old, those laws are still there and still function in exactly the same way (other than the innumerable miracles theistic evolutionists have no problems with). What goes up must come down. Heavy objects will sink in water. Donkeys can't talk (usually). The historical veracity of Genesis 1-11 has absolutely nothing to do with this. If you think that they do, that a world that came into being supernaturally would look and operate like an LSD hallucination rather than a rationally functioning universe, then on what grounds do you defend post-creation miracles, whose acceptance must logically lead to the exact same thing?
Let's all admit it--Genesis 1-11 is no different than any other allegedly supernatural in history except that it is associated with "trailer trash." And that is the only reason it is treated differently than any other religious/supernatural belief.
Along this line another much-vaunted philosophical relic is the presumption of atheisim. At face value, this is the claim that in the absence of evidence for the existence of God, we should presume that God does not eist. Atheism is a sort of default position, and the theist bears a speicial burden of proof with regard to his belief that God exists. So understood, such alleged presumption seems to conflate atheism with agonosticism. The assertion, "God does not exist" is just as much a fact claim as the statement, "God exists." As a result the latter claim requires justification just as much as the proponent of the latter. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
I would only add, regarding yours and others statements as to how do we know, we examine the world to discern the truth of metaphysics in exactly the same way the scientist does. We do not rely on sociological imput, paternal teachings, psychological evaluation...we use philosophical tools and induction to evaluate for truth. Scientific inquiry has its own set of presuppositions. It relies on logic, reason, rational thought, numbers, sets, (all are metaphysical in nature or have a metaphysical nature qualia). These are the same tools we use to in examining for proofs of the existence of God. Plantinga refernces natural law and the basicality of knowlege of God as a starting point, and he makes a very good case for it (don't be too quick to write off that notion, but that is another story entirely).
Excellent expression, that! And ya know what, the human soul/spirit is evolving under God’s guidance, also. What did Paul write? ... ‘We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’
Indeed, dear brother in Christ! You demonstrate that reductionism affects not only the natural sciences, but can affect religion itself. It seems to be an acquired modern habit but one that needs to be resisted, if we are ever to make any sense of the World and our place in it as human beings, not to mention our relation with God.
I'm reading an interesting book right now, Thomas Nagel's Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. [Our dear sister in Christ, Alamo-Girl, may be reading this work now, too.]
Anyhoot, it seems Nagel University Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Law at New York University is on an anti-reductionist tear. I gather that, as a philosopher, he is mainly hanging out on the phenomenological branch of philosophy, the branch that most closely emulates the "scientific method," in that it tries to incorporate a certain affinity with direct observation in its own methods. And he simply finds that such "reductions" of Nature such that we find in the NeoDarwinist conception of biological evolution are "almost certainly false."
The book description:
The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology.In a footnote, he spells out the apparent inadequacy of NeoDarwinist that is to say reductionist orthodoxy to account for certain features of Nature that have been clearly observed::
Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such.
Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. In Mind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic.
In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.
A problem with the most salient current research is that the synthesis of individual components of the genetic material is so heavily controlled and guided by the experimenters that it provides little evidence that the process could have occurred without intelligent guidance. And the crucial question of how these components could have combined into an information-rich coded sequence is left unaddressed.Indeed, within the reductionist realm, such questions are impossible to raise.
Nagel actually has some good words to say about the Intelligent Design theorists. While he, as a self-described atheist, absolutely rejects any idea of God = the Designer, he seems to be very glad that the ID types are around and active, if only to put a burr under the saddle of self-complacent orthodoxy of the reductonist NeoDarwinists. He clearly thinks that pack's days are numbered....
It's an interesting book, so far I am still "in progress." It's short (128 pages), but enormously "dense." A non-specialist can read it provided he is willing to "do work" from his side.
I have no way of predicting how this book turns out in the end. But I do have a quibble about how it started, in the beginning. That is, its foundational idea needs some explaining (JMHO FWIW).
Nagel's foundational, prime methodological idea seems to be that theism (or what AMD calls "creationism") and scientific materialism can be meaningfully, directly compared.
I'm simple-minded; so instantly I have to object: One can directly "compare" apples-to-apples, but not so apples-to-oranges.
But it seems to me the apposition of theism v. scientific, materialist naturalism is not, nor can be, an "apples-to-apples" comparison.
But as a philosopher pursuing dialectical methods, Nagel needs stuff "to compare," in order to come up with the requisite "ThesisAntithesis" format of dialectical reasoning.
But what "direct" comparison can possibly exist between a thesis that declares the Universe is "causally open" (that would be theism), and a thesis that holds the universe is "causally-closed" (i.e., scientific reductionism in principle, NeoDarwinist orthodoxy as example).
Anyhoot, it's a very interesting work by a guy who, although a self-declared atheist, strikes me as both fair-minded and honest....
Thank you so much, dear brother in Christ, for sharing your experience and wisdom!!!
They deny the very thing that brought them into existence.
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