Centenary to host forum on science, religion in public schools - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Centenary to host forum on science, religion in public schools

According to his bio, Zack Kopplin is a native of Baton Rouge, a sophomore at Rice University, and founder of Repeal Creationism. According to his bio, Zack Kopplin is a native of Baton Rouge, a sophomore at Rice University, and founder of Repeal Creationism.

A nationally recognized political activist and founder of Repeal Creationism, Zack Kopplin, is set to headline a forum at Centenary College on science and religion in public schools.

Kopplin is best known for his effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, a controversial law passed in 2008 promoting the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public school science class.

He will take part in The Forum, Centenary's annual symposium hosted by the Philosophy Department, with a presentation on Wednesday, January 29, at 7 p.m. and convocation, "How I Got Involved in the Politics of Science Education" on Thursday, January 30, at 11:10 a.m. in the Whited Room.

The Forum holds three events that are all free and open to the public. It's hosted by
Centenary"s Philosophy Department. This year's theme is "Science and Religion in Public Schools." Click here for more details on The Forum.

Kopplin launched an ongoing campaign in 2010 when he was still in high school to repeal the Act 473 of 2008 (LSEA), which allows public school teachers to use supplemental materials in the science classroom which are critical of established science on such topics as the theory of evolution and global warming. Opponents of the act have called it an "anti-science" law with the purpose of allowing creationism into public school. Bills to repeal the act have failed to advance. 

"Zack is very accomplished for someone so young," said Dr. Chris Ciocchetti, Associate Professor of Philosophy and coordinator of the event. "However, Zack won't have the last word. We've assembled a diverse panel of community members and students to respond to Zack's ideas…We will get an unusual chance to discuss how our public education system should approach science and religion, especially when they seem to conflict."

The panel will convene Monday, February 3, at 7 p.m. in the Whited Room and feature a group of students and citizens who will discuss Kopplin's commentaries and interact with the audience during a Q&A session. Student panelists include Amanda Price '14, biology major and religious studies minor, and Matt Cravens '14, biology and history major. Rabbi Jana DeBenedetti of the B'nai Zion congregation and Dominic Salinas, Department of Education Director at Centenary, are slated as the citizen representatives.

In addition to Ciocchetti and the Philosophy Department, this year's Forum is a product of the efforts of the Biology Department and the Secular Student Association Group.

Previous years' Forum topics have been "Consumer Responsibility," "Religiosity and Happiness," "Stem Cell Research and Public Policy," and "Should Some Art Be Censored?"

Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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