21-year-old Zack Kopplin is free of Bobby Jindal's hypocrisy
has a fun piece on 21-year-old Zack Kopplin. He's a senior at Rice University. Mr. Kopplin is also one of the more visible and vocal opponents of anti-science sentiments in Louisiana legislature. This has brought him into direct opposition with desperately ambitious hypocrite Governor Bobby Jindal.
The image of Jindal as an anti-science hypocrite is largely the product of one man—Zack Kopplin, a 21-year-old history major at Rice University. Kopplin has spent much of the last five years campaigning against Jindal's approach to the teaching of evolution, which Kopplin considers a back-door invitation to teach creationism. He's testified before the state legislature and has made appearances on Hardball, NPR, and Real Time With Bill Maher (alongside Bernie Sanders).
The great poetry of this all is that Zack Kopplin is the son of one of Bobby Jindal's earliest friends in government—Andy Kopplin.
The two, young men at the time, were protegés to Republican Governor Murphy Foster. According to Zack, the Jindals and Kopplins dinnered together quite a bit—young coupled-up friends. This is how young Zack knew Governor Jindal up until the late 2000s:
The turning point for Kopplin came in 2008, when the state legislature passed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which purported to "help students understand, analyze, critique and review scientific theories." But the subtext seemed clear. The bill, which Jindal signed into law, opened a potential backdoor to the teaching of intelligent design by allowing teachers to introduce supplementary materials that hadn't been approved by the state department of education. The law was written by a social conservative organization called the Louisiana Family Forum, in consultation with the Discovery Institute, a pro-intelligent-design think tank. The Democratic state senator who introduced the bill explained at the time that its supporters believed that "scientific data related to creationism should be discussed when dealing with Darwin's theory." Kopplin decided to devote his senior year of high school in Baton Rouge to fighting the new law. He started a petition and got 75 Nobel laureates to sign it. Even Jindal's college genetics teacher was on board.
When Jindal supported the legislature's insane decision to pass the law, Zack Kopplin was blown away. It seemed pretty dubious that a Rhodes Scholar with a background in science would support something so anti-science, so dumb.
But Kopplin, who attended the same magnet school in Baton Rouge as Jindal's two kids currently do, suspects the governor's support for the law is purely political. "I mean, who knows? I could be totally wrong and maybe Jindal believes this with his whole heart," Kopplin says. "Which is more why I go back to what his kids are learning. I had their seventh-grade biology teacher at [University Laboratory School] where I went for middle school, and I know she doesn't just teach evolution—she's absolutely obsessive about it. If Jindal actually was a creationist, I think he'd have a much bigger problem with his kids being taught what evolution is."
The young Kopplin is very diplomatic in discussing Governor Jindal. He is judicious with his language. He shows a great amount of maturity in pointing out how full of sugar-honey-ice-tea Governor Bobby Jindal is. The Mother Jones
piece is worth the read and below the fold you can find a nice interview Zack Kopplin did with Bill Moyers.