The 19-year-old activist who was named “Troublemaker of the Year” by … told Bill Moyers on Friday that teaching children humanity’s origins will help the species survive.
Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) infamous speech calling evolution and other scientific theories “lies from the pits of hell,” education advocate Zack Kopplin told Moyers, exemplified attitudes that need to be changed.
“While he may think they’re lies from the pit of hell, they’re not,” Kopplin said. “They’re good, established science. And if our students don’t learn it, they’re going to be at a disadvantage to the rest of the world, to China, to Britain to France. And we’re not going to do what we need to really make the advances to keep our way of life and ensure the survival of the human race, if we don’t teach our students science.”
The Louisiana native and current Rice University student was named the first “Troublemaker of the Year” by a private foundation on Feb. 15 in honor of his campaign to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, which became state law in 2008.
Kopplin’s activism has earned him the support of not only politicians around Louisiana, but the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 78 Nobel Laureate scientists and 74,000 supporters who have signed his petition to repeal the law, which mandates that scientific facts like evolution and climate change be taught as “controversial theories” in public schools, which he said was a way to sneak creationist theories into school curriculums.
Moyers pointed out that a Gallup poll released in June 2012 reported that 46 percent of Americans still believed in creationism, with another 32 percent of respondents saying they believe a divine hand was behind evolution, and only 15 percent believed evolution took place without the intervention of God.
“You realize that you’re bucking public opinion,” Moyers said.
Kopplin replied that he considered the poll results simplistic, since the theory that God allowed evolution to happen is not actually what is commonly referred to as “intelligent design.”
“Intelligent design specifically rejects evolution, especially on a large scale,” he told Moyers, whereas the second belief, called theistic theory, falls in line with the Catholic Church doctrine during the tenure of Pope John Paul II, and stipulated, “there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of faith. And they just [said,] ‘We think God started evolution. And it’s run the way scientists say it’s run.’”
Watch Kopplin discuss his ongoing campaign against the Louisiana Science Education Act, as published by Moyers & Company Friday, below.