A Baton Rouge native who last year led the fight the repeal the creationist-friendly Louisiana Science Education Act — an effort he is again spearheading in this year’s legislative session — is one of two recipients of this year’s Friend of Darwin award from the National Center for Science Education.

Zach Kopplin, now a freshman at Rice University, shares this year’s distinction with Judy Scotchmoor, assistant director for education and public programs at the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Kopplin was a senior at Baton Rouge Magnet High last year when his attempt to repeal the LSEA died in committee. State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, is once again sponsoring the legislation that would repeal the 2008 act. Seventy-five Nobel laureates in the sciences have endorsed Kopplin’s effort.

According to the NCSE, the “Friend of Darwin award is presented annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools have been truly outstanding.” Recent recipients include Tammy Kitzmiller — plus six fellow plaintiffs — the namesake for “Kitzmiller, et al v. Dover Area School District,” the watershed 2004 federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania that tied Intelligent Design to creationism and prohibited instruction of the topic in public school science classrooms.

Read more about the LSEA here:  http://www.theind.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10018:lsea-repeal-bill-filed&catid=84:indreporter&Itemid=93

For more on the Kopplin’s national accolade, go here: http://ncse.com/news/2012/03/friend-darwin-awards-2012-007242

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