Rice Student's National Efforts Earn Scathing Rebuttal from Head of Creationist Museum

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It's easy to see that Zack Kopplin, a 19-year-old student at Rice University, has fast become one of the leading faces of the anti-creationist movement. He's appeared on numerous national interviews, sharing his opposition to publicly funding creationist academies. He has latched onto outspoken evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins's website. He has just been awarded a $10,000 prize as the Troublemaker of the Year.

But there seems no greater signal of Kopplin's efforts and efficacy -- detailed in this week's Press cover story -- than a recent anti-Kopplin post from Ken Ham, the director of Kentucky's Creation Museum.

Though the two have never spoken, Ham deemed it necessary to counter Kopplin's anti-creationist efforts by lobbing both charges and epithets toward the 19-year-old. And it's worth dissecting a bit of Ham's screed to gain a better insight into those Kopplin is fighting against.

Attempting to follow a love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin tack, Ham paints Zack as one of the nation's impressionable, imprinted students:

Students are being brainwashed with evolutionary ideas in almost all public schools and museums, and they are expected to accept it uncritically. We've made this point many times over the years, but a recent news story [on Kopplin] has made the brainwashing even more obvious.

Ham, realizing the Kopplin hasn't merely ingested the evolutionary "religion," but has instead become one its main figures, then takes a hatchet to the scientific methodology creating such a "belief." Rather than, say, pushing a definition as accepted by the scientific and the rational, Ham believes science should exist within any realm he can conjure.

First, Kopplin makes the assumption that science has to be "naturalistic." Now, there's no reason that science must be naturalistic--this is simply an assertion made by Kopplin and atheistic evolutionists! And really, that's the legacy of brainwashing. Atheists use the philosophy of naturalism to explain life without God. In the naturalistic view, the world and human beings are the result of chance processes. In reality, equating science with naturalism is an arbitrary definition applied to the word science by those who reject the supernatural.

Right. Science, arbitrarily tethered to that found within nature, shouldn't be divested from that which is observable and testable. It should be freed from the chains of the natural.

Ham then delineates between "observational" science and something he terms "historical" science -- that is, the notion that we can't possibly know something if we've not seen it with our own, divinely inspired eyeballs.

Of course, secularists mock creationists for separating out historical science and operational science. But they do that because the secularists want the word science to apply to both historical and operational science so that they can brainwash people (like Kopplin) into thinking that to believe in creation is to reject science. [Emphasis in original.]

Ham continues to run through Kopplins "beliefs" in the myriad pieces of evidence and strains of science supporting evolution. He continues to posit that only a Christian miracle could have allowed all that we see around us. And eventually, he finds his way to the voucher schemes that Texas seems set on implementing. After discussing their wondrous impacts on Louisiana, and after noting that Ohio's program allows public school students to visit his Creation Museum, Ham unveils his thesis:

Kopplin may be offended at the very thought of government money from school vouchers going to schools that teach biblical creation, but we find it equally offensive that tax dollars go to fund the teaching of the religion of evolution.

And therein lies the crux of the beliefs facing Kopplin. Ham -- along with swaths of those supporting State Sen. Dan Patrick's purported tax scholarship program, detailed in this week's story -- believe that evolution warrants some form of religiosity. That evolution stands as yet another belief, and that biblical transliteration carries as much factual merit as the work of tens of thousands of scientists over the past century and a half. They believe that Darwin was but a Satanic play-thing. They believe in the literalism of the Flintstones.

And here's Kopplin, setting his shop on Rice's campus, attempting to keep these creationists from muddling Texas's scientific education any more than it's already experienced. Here's a 19-year-old, who could only stand mute in a public setting just a handful of years ago, spearing a movement to keep science -- and only science -- within public science education. Here's a man, two years out of high school, doing more to protect modern education than anyone his age.

As Kopplin said in his Troublemaker acceptance speech, "Too many have denied evidence-based science. Denying and mis-teaching evidence-based science, like evolution and climate science, will confuse our students about the nature of science." Too many -- Ham, especially -- have denied students the opportunity to learn science within their public education. That's why Kopplin has thrown himself headlong into fighting public creationism, wherever it's found.

And if that warrants a diatribe from the head of the nation's premier Creation Museum, so be it. It's a small price to pay to prevent future generations of Texans -- especially those that would attend Sen. Patrick's voucher schools -- from being taught that Adam and Eve let their children frolic with baby velociraptors.

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