What Does It Mean to Be a "Friend of Darwin"? - Evolution News & Views

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What Does It Mean to Be a "Friend of Darwin"?

Zack Kopplin is a hero among Darwin activists for his attempt, when still a high school student in Baton Rouge, to combat teachers' freedom to inform students in public schools that a legitimate scientific argument is going on over Darwinian evolution. He tried and failed to get Louisiana's successful academic freedom law, the Louisiana Science Education Act, repealed.

For the effort he received a 2012 "Friend of Darwin" award from the National Center for Science Education. In this honor he joined other worthies including Lawrence Krauss, Carl Zimmer, and Michael Zimmerman.

What does it mean, in the community of Darwin lobbyists and activists, to be a "Friend of Darwin"? Well, Mr. Kopplin is now a college student, studying history at Rice University. He sat down for an interview with Bill Moyers, on Moyers & Company ("Fighting Creeping Creationism"), and demonstrated one thing about himself: he is absolutely dogged about driving home the Darwin Lobby message that equates all skepticism on Darwinian theory with, yes, creationism. Moyers is totally uncritical about this and joins in as well.

In a 15-minute interview, the two invoke the word "creationist" or "creationism" 24 times. If this were the basis of a drinking game, participants would be passed out long before the end of the conversation where Moyers sums up by comparing Kopplin to "a long line of dissenters and freethinkers" including Jefferson, Paine and Roger Williams.

Yet, for goodness' sake, the Louisiana law expressly forbids teaching religious ideas in public school classrooms. That would rule out, obviously, Biblical creationism a/k/a "creation science." The Louisiana law itself says that it "shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion."

It would not forbid learning about mainstream scholarly criticism of Darwinian theory. For example, a teacher would be safe to discuss with students the critique in (atheist) philosopher Thomas Nagel's book Mind & Cosmos, centering on problems for Darwinist materialism stemming from the existence of consciousness.

Kopplin also goes on about Louisiana's school voucher law, but as Josh Youngkin pointed out here recently, that's got nothing to do with the academic freedom law.

Nor does either have anything to do with intelligent design. Nevertheless Kopplin is kind enough not to leave us out of his account of "creeping creationism."

Nationally, there's this group called the Discovery Institute. They're a creationist think tank that's been pushing these types of laws all around the country for years and years.
Then this:
BILL MOYERS: What's your understanding now of creationism? What essentially does it hold?

ZACK KOPPLIN: Essentially it's a denial of evolution, mainly based off a literal interpretation of Genesis.

And:
Intelligent design creationism is still creationism dressed up to look like it's scientific, but it's really not.
There you have it: Creationism = Biblical literalism = intelligent design = Darwinism skepticism. Academic freedom legislation = sneaking the book of Genesis into public school science class. Look, I've heard this nonsense repeated many times but the boldness of the deception, and how dopey media people are about simply accepting it, still sometimes takes my breath away.

So this should give you an idea of what it means to be a Friend of Darwin. In the case of Zack Kopplin, it means grossly misleading the public about science and education.