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Oklahoma, Vatican Take Opposite Tacks On Evolution 1161

Posted by kdawson
from the little-communicating-across-the-divide dept.
nizcolas writes "Notable evolutionary biologist, author, and speaker Richard Dawkins was recently invited to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma as part of the school's celebration of Charles Darwin. However, Oklahoma lawmakers are working to silence Dawkins with the passage of House Bill 1015 (RTF), which reads in part: '... the University of Oklahoma ... has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book "The God Delusion," and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma ...'" Pending legal action, Dawkins is set to speak tonight at 7 pm. (Luckily, we no longer live in the era of Bertrand Russell's court-ordered dismissal on moral grounds from the College of the City of New York.) And reader thms sends word of the Vatican's Darwin conference (program): "The conference, marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of "The Origin of Species," has been criticized by advocates of Creationism or Intelligent Design for not inviting them. The Muslim creationist Harun Yahya, most famous for his Atlas of Creation, also complained about not being invited."
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Oklahoma, Vatican Take Opposite Tacks On Evolution

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  • Oklahoma? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:08PM (#27093851) Homepage Journal

    Celebrating cultural diversity? You've got to be fucking kidding me.

    • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jamie (78724) * Works for Slashdot <jamie@slashdot.org> on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:13PM (#27093943) Journal

      No kidding. The resolution begins:

      WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry...

      By paragraph THREE it is condemning Dawkins for, and I am not making this up:

      views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma

      • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:22PM (#27094133) Homepage Journal
        If the majority of the citizens of Oklahoma believed in a vast government conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials as a result of watching one too many episodes of The X-Files, would be it okay for them to pass legislation to squash the free speech rights of someone proving that no such conspiracy exists? C'mon, this is just completely ridiculous.
        • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:33PM (#27094297)
          would be it okay for them to pass legislation to squash the free speech rights of someone ...

          You know, if you actually read the bill under discussion, you'd notice that it doesn't squash anything, much less anyone's "free speech rights". All it says is that the legislature opposes his appearance. They didn't ban him, and they don't order anything to be done about it. Oh, yes, they will "order" that their opposition message be sent to the University leaders.

          • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:38PM (#27094415) Homepage Journal

            A government taking a stance against free speech does effect someones right to free speech, and in this case it also violates freedom of Religion in the constitution.

          • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:48PM (#27094599) Homepage Journal

            I did. Whether they are simply advocating the squashing of Dawkins' freedom of speech or are actually squashing, if the University tells Dawkins' to pack it in, the end result is the same.

            Let's also not forget that First Amendment also includes the freedom to practice a religion of one's choosing. This also includes the right to practice no religion at all. IOW, Dawkins' has a Constitutional right to be an atheist and to speak about his own beliefs (or non-beliefs) as an atheist.

            I'm not an atheist myself, but I will defend the rights of atheists to believe (or not believe) what they choose.

            • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:25PM (#27095287) Homepage Journal

              I think it has to do with Dawkin's bashing of religion and religious people in his TV programs and books by using fallacies [guardian.co.uk] which some people call it as "Hate Speech".

              If it was some other Atheist who doesn't have a track record of bashing religion and religious people, I think they would not object to him or her speaking about Evolution.

              I feel that people should be able to have free speech and choose their own religion or choose not to choose a religion if they want.

              Not all Christians are opposed to Evolution proof of that is here. [thankgodforevolution.com] What I think the majority in Oklahoma are objecting to is Dawking's bashing of religion and religious people which has made him a bigot over the years.

              • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:35PM (#27095481) Homepage Journal

                Name one of Dawkin's "fallacies". Go ahead.

                • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:49PM (#27095783)

                  Name one of Dawkin's "fallacies". Go ahead.

                  That science, which is the systematic and empirical study of the natural world, can prove the non-existence of a supernatural entity. ("Supernatural" being, by definition, outside of the purview of science.)

                  Dawkins is an impressive scientist, but when he ventures into theology, he reminds me of a Feynman quote: "I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy."

                  • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Interesting)

                    by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:02PM (#27096049) Homepage Journal

                    That's not a fallacy at all. Science can most certainly investigate questions about the existence of supernatural entities.

                    Just as soon as you claim that this supernatural entity does stuff for you, affects the universe, changes reality, prevents a dude from dying in a plane crash, or any number of other things that religious people attribute to gods, then those things can be investigated and experimented with.

                    If you want to claim that your god doesn't touch any part of the world that science can investigate, then that makes you a Deist. And that's a useless sort of god to invent.

                    So, go ahead and try again to find a Dawkins fallacy.

                    • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:4, Informative)

                      by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:09PM (#27096197) Homepage Journal

                      It is a fallacy because it is inductive logic, which is not always true.

                      Dawkins also uses "Strawmen" to describe religous people and religion, and does personal attacks on them as well. Not worthy of a great scientist.

                      Immanuel Kant proved that you cannot prove God exists or does not exist by Science long ago. Anything else is pure logical fallacies like inductive logic, which Dawkins uses as well as circular references and wishful thinking.

                    • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

                      by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Friday March 06, 2009 @05:05PM (#27097263)

                      It is a fallacy because it is inductive logic, which is not always true.
                      ...

                      Immanuel Kant proved that you cannot prove God exists or does not exist by Science long ago. Anything else is pure logical fallacies like inductive logic, which Dawkins uses as well as circular references and wishful thinking.

                      Well, go ahead and explain how Kant's proof is still valid today (and will still be valid tomorrow). I bet you'll say something like "well, clearly logic isn't changing" but I dare you to use anything other than induction to prove such a statement. Humans inherently use induction when they assume that the universe, logic, or anything maintains its form over time. Specifically, you believe that because the proof has always been valid in the past (P(i), i<N, for the current time N), and a valid proof now is a valid proof in the near future (P(N) -> P(N+epsilon)), inductively the same proof will always be valid (P(t) for all times t).

                    • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:4, Informative)

                      by hkmwbz (531650) on Friday March 06, 2009 @09:05PM (#27100691) Journal

                      I suppose they could, but the answers they find are going to be inconclusive.

                      Which is why he says "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God". But like all other fundies, you didn't even bother to read his books before spewing out nonsense.

                  • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by leathered (780018) on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:08PM (#27096171)

                    Quotes please.

                    Dawkins freely admits you can't disprove the existance of a God or any other supnernatural being, no more than you can disprove the existance of pink unicorns, FSM or Santa Claus.

                    • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Informative)

                      by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Friday March 06, 2009 @05:16PM (#27097505)

                      He's a scientist using science to claim a "delusion" in God. It's reasonable to assume he's using the scientific term. If he's claiming you can't disprove God, then where is the evidence to the contrary he is implying by the very title of his book?

                      Definition of "God" error, basically. The definition that Dawkins presents evidence against is a God that actively changes things in the world today and directly created the world 7000 years ago via special creation. Dawkins cannot present evidence against a deistic god that wound up the universe and let it go, and he does not attempt to argue against such a god (which is not much of a god, really).

                      If anything, Dawkins' book can be read as "The (personal, loving, etc.) God Delusion", because he is challenging the concept many people have of a friendly omnipotent guy (or trio of guys) in the sky who loves us but damns some of us to hell after testing everyone with pain and suffering in our earthly life, gave us rational minds that should be able to decide what is actually true and false and what makes sense and what doesn't make sense, yet requires blind faith (yes, a belief that pain and suffering in life can be justified by the afterlife requires, literally, blind faith; faith whose ultimate results cannot be seen during earthly life) in order to obtain infinite bliss.

                    • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

                      by Draconix (653959) on Friday March 06, 2009 @06:20PM (#27098653)

                      "God" is nebulous, and inherently impossible to disprove. So is anything else anyone could make up that is untestable! That was kind of the whole point of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

                      It's perfectly fair for Dawkins to use the term "delusion", because theists have made an outlandish claim with no evidence to back it up. You can't assert something, provide no evidence for it, then claim you're right until someone proves you wrong. That's literally the logic of an insane person. The sane person observes a phenomenon, comes up with a testable hypothesis, and tests it, and doesn't claim their hypothesis is true unless it holds up to repeated and rigorous testing, and even then, there's no 100% "proven."

                  • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Informative)

                    by FrankDrebin (238464) on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:40PM (#27096763) Homepage

                    Wow, you seem like a person who has never even read or heard Dawkins or his colleagues, ever. Dawkins of course says you cannot *prove* the non-existence of God. He then points out the same is true for sasquatch, FSM, Xenu, Apollo, Zeus, Thor, unicorns, fairies, elves, leprechauns...

                    The funny thing is that we have about the same level of evidence for sasquatch as God.

                  • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Friday March 06, 2009 @05:51PM (#27098143)

                    That science, which is the systematic and empirical study of the natural world, can prove the non-existence of a supernatural entity.

                    Clearly you've never watched anything that Dawkins has done, or read anything that he's written.

                    Dawkins explicitly admits that he can't disprove the existence of God. He's said so many, many times.

                    He also admits that he can't disprove the existence of a teapot in orbit around the sun. [wikipedia.org]

                    You have the same problem that many theists have - you seem believe that your theology is above criticism. Dawkins may not be able to prove the non-existence of your God(s), but he can certainly criticize your religion in the context of the actions it promotes.

                    I'm sure you're one of the reasonable theists who would never try to repress science, harm public health, or oppress the rights of a minority. But the fact is that there are people who want to do those things in the name of their religion. And many of those people are in the highest levels of the US and other governments.

                    That's what Dawkins is criticizing. If you want to argue that Dawkins is wrong, that's valid. But Dawkins' arguments don't hinge on the belief that science can disprove religion.

              • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by slimjim8094 (941042) <[slashdot3] [at] [justconnected.net]> on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:09PM (#27096193)

                Full disclosure: I'm an athiest

                What the hell do you think religious people have been doing? They've gone a hell of a lot further than 'bashing atheism and nonreligious people'.

                I'm not a huge fan of Dawkins, but to be fair, there's a lot less of 'evangelical' atheists (and I'd bet a smaller percentage) than evangelical Christians/Muslims/etc.

              • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by blueforce (192332) <{clannagael} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:28PM (#27096545) Homepage Journal

                Suppose you believed that Snow White and the Seven Dwarves are real. Is me calling you an idiot fair or bigotry?

              • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Informative)

                by Hatta (162192) on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:55PM (#27097083) Journal

                I think it has to do with Dawkin's bashing of religion and religious people in his TV programs and books by using fallacies which some people call it as "Hate Speech".

                I read that article, and I have to say the irony is pretty thick when a theist accuses an atheist of being intellectually lazy. However, I missed the part where Dawkins bashed anyone. In fact, the entire article was someone bashing Dawkins. If you have examples of Dawkins bashing people (not ideas) I'd be interested to read them.

          • Re:Oklahoma? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Frigga's Ring (1044024) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:57PM (#27094777)
            You are correct: the state legislature is not banning the speaker. However, what happens if the university rescinds its invitation to the speaker for fear of losing any state funding? You don't have to state, "we forbid you for doing something we don't like" in order to get that message across.
      • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:56PM (#27094757)

        This is hilarious. The far-right nutjobs are trying to appropriate the rhetoric of the far-left nutjobs and failing miserably. Lame. But funny. It should go right into the Onion.

  • Dumb Summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by Liselle (684663) <slashdot.liselle@net> on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:11PM (#27093893) Journal

    Summary is stupid. The reading of this resolution just looks like it "condemns" Dawkins, it's not going to "silence" him or boot him out of the state or any other such nonsense.

    • Re:Dumb Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by jonnythan (79727) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:14PM (#27093947) Homepage

      "NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

      THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.
      THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives encourages the University of Oklahoma to engage in an open, dignified, and fair discussion of the Darwinian theory of evolution and all other scientific theories which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma."

      The OK House is clearly encouraging the University not to allow him to speak. Quite strongly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrLang21 (900992)
        Strongly encouraging does not equate to legislating. I highly doubt that the Oklahoma State government would hold back funding from the university next year if they went ignored.
        • Re:Dumb Summary (Score:4, Informative)

          by moosesocks (264553) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:50PM (#27094645) Homepage

          We had something vaguely similar happen over in Virginia last year. The college president refused to censor a controversial event, and also refused to allow religious icons to be displayed in public rooms that weren't being used for religious services.

          The budget didn't get cut*, though a few administrators lost their jobs shortly afterward for "undisclosed reasons."

          (*Actually, the budget did get cut, and by a substantial amount. However, this was because the state's currently broke)

          Hasn't sopped them from floating ass-backward legislation again. There's a bill currently before the senate to cap out-of-state enrollment at 20%, which would either drive most of the state's universities into insolvency, or raise tuition to absurd ($60k+) levels.

          Fun times all around! I can't wait to graduate, and move the hell away from here.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Not to mention that it probably won't stop there.

        If they can intimidate and/or legislate pro-evolution and/or anti-religion out of the state then you can expect OK to plunge into the dark ages and other states will try and follow suit.
      • Re:Dumb Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mjeffers (61490) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:41PM (#27094451) Homepage

        Include the next 2 paragraphs though and you can see what this actually has them doing.

        NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

        THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

        THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives encourages the University of Oklahoma to engage in an open, dignified, and fair discussion of the Darwinian theory of evolution and all other scientific theories which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

        THAT a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the University of Oklahoma, the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Oklahoma, and the Chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

        (bolding is mine)
        They're sending a strongly worded letter. That's it. This is a complete non-story and the sort of symbolic political crap that pols do so they can send out fund raising letters to the fundies saying how they fought the darwinists without actually having to do anything. If they're preventing him from speaking that's an issue but there's nothing here that at all suggests that.

    • Re:Dumb Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:14PM (#27093957) Journal

      Still stupid. Not like they don't have real problems they could be trying to solve, rather than trying to condemn a guy for saying mean things about their imaginary friend.

      When you're more conservative than the Vatican, there is a problem.

    • Re:Dumb Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by skeeto (1138903) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:16PM (#27094005)

      Yes, the bill is simply to send a nasty letter to the university president, nothing more. There is no "legal action".

    • Re:Dumb Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:20PM (#27094085) Homepage
      The full resolution asked for Dawkins invitation be rescinded. Moreover, Note that they are unhappy because Dawkins views are "offensive". Furthermore, this is the watered down resolution. The original draft included language attacking the the university's "one-sided indoctrination of an unproven and unpopular theory" among other fun statements. See http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2009/03/the_first_draft_of_ok_legislat.php [scienceblogs.com] To me the most disturbing thing is the repeated emphasis in both the original draft and the passed version on the lack of popular support for evolution. These people really don't understand how either science or government should work.
  • OU Student Here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by knapper_tech (813569) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:11PM (#27093897)
    OMFG! This is after we had to put up with giant anti-abortion posters on campus during the presidential election week that just happened to have horrid pictures of late-term abortions that are already illegal everywhere as far as I know anyway. WTF. It's been a given for a long time that I'm leaving after graduating, but OK continues to find ways to make me worry less about what I leave behind.
    • Re:OU Student Here (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Butterforge (1443045) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:08PM (#27094985)

      anti-abortion posters on campus

      The word is "anti-choice." No one is really "pro abortion," except maybe a few inconsequential lunatics. What anti-abortionists are fighting against is the right to choose, not the right to have recreational abortions - I don't think those exist. So those of us who believe in a woman's right to have control of the insides of her body call it an anti-choice stance. Anyway, Oklahoma sounds like a terrible place for the progressive and diverse. I hope Dawkins gets to speak there. The QA session would be great to see.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by limekiller4 (451497)

      knapper_tech writes:
      "This is after we had to put up with giant anti-abortion posters on campus during the presidential election week that just happened to have horrid pictures of late-term abortions that are already illegal everywhere as far as I know anyway. WTF."

      A fetus is a child, not a choice, or so the anti-abortion folks tell me.

      If so, the people who put up the fliers were plastering your university with pre-term necrophilia pornography.

      Nice.

  • Wow. Just wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:13PM (#27093945) Homepage Journal
    Has anyone in the Oklahoma heard of the First Amendment? Cultural diversity? WTF does cultural diversity have to to do with science, anyway? Free speech was intended to protect offensive speech. This should apply especially when said offensive speech is based on solid scientific evidence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Has anyone in the Oklahoma heard of the First Amendment? Cultural diversity? WTF does cultural diversity have to to do with science, anyway?.

      That's a nice buzzword to make people who oppose their actions appear intolerant and narrow minded. Ignorance is now part of that vast cultural diversity that we must all respect.

      Of course, the legislature ignores that Catholic teachings allow for the coexistence of evolution and creation; after all we can not fathom how God accomplishes his goals. One is faith, the other science and neither need be exclusive.

      Of course, many of those same legislators might not consider Catholics Christian (and no, that's

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jbeaupre (752124)

      Unfortunately or fortunately depending on the circumstances, the 1st amendment doesn't say there can't be consequences for speaking freely. Just that laws can't be passed preventing free speech. Relative merit, such as it being solid scientific evidence has no bearing on whether the speech is permitted (no "especially" clause). But it does have a bearing on consequences.

      In this instance, the legislature is stating that they are going to be pissed. The implication is that the university may not get the s

  • by russotto (537200) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:15PM (#27093987) Journal

    Evolution or no evolution, I think Dawkins is unlikely to speak at the Vatican any time soon. His being an atheist and an advocate for atheism is the main reason. They'd sooner invite Lucifer; at least he believes in God.

  • Vatican. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@NosPAm.praecantator.com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:29PM (#27094241) Homepage

    Not surprised by the latter one. Catholic teaching has leaned hard towards "Science is 'what' and 'how.' God is 'why.'" for a long time now.

  • by n1hilist (997601) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:29PM (#27094247)

    I admire his works and his point of view, but I find a lot of the time he can be callously disrespectful and religiously athiest. I'm an athiest myself but I find his pushy nature to be a bit much soemtimes.

    I feel the way he handles some questions and situations doesn't help his cause.

    • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:42PM (#27094485)

      I find a lot of the time he can be callously disrespectful and religiously atheist.

      Having seen him many times, the only offense he may have committed is *not* entertaining the rediculous notion that a god exists without any proof.

      It is very hard for people to accept atheists simply because we DON'T believe. That is not being religious at all.

      I don't have to be tolerant of the belief in Zeus. I can see flat out, it is bunk. There is no god Zeus, and no one will be offended.

      If I say, there is no god and I will not entertain any such nonsense, people are irrational. They will say I am intolerant. I submet it is they who are intolerant as they don't have any credible evidence to even support their nonsense. I'm just calling it as I see it, and they are expecting special treatment for their own neurosis.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by n1hilist (997601)

        Even though I find the existence of any god completely bunk, I can understand why people believe in . Perhaps I'm too diplomatic, I just feel when debating something, one should strive to win the argument by facts and logic in a calm, rational manner than with force.

        And yes, I know what I just said opens up a lot of retorts about religious people not having/using logic/real proof to prove anything. :)

        I think a good summary of my feelings is the old forum-ettiquette of "don't attack the poster, attack his p

  • Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nukeade (583009) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <11tnepres>> on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:35PM (#27094341) Homepage

    On the plus side, the resolution isn't forbidding that Dawkins speak. Unfortunately, it is a thinly veiled threat to the president of the university that funding or job could be on the line if he lets Dawkins speak.

    "Whereas the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded university..."

    I read that the US has lost 650,000 jobs in the last month. Maybe enough bad debt, cold and hunger will finally get people to realize that real science can be a vehicle to productive jobs and accept that their 6000 year old Earth hypothesis doesn't hold water.

    ~Ben

  • by headkase (533448) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:48PM (#27094591)
    Ok, assuming that his Flying Spaghettiness Herself didn't just create the Universe 30 seconds ago with our memories of anything beyond that being created as well... Either that or we are "memories" in the FSM and She has been too lazy to create the Universe yet. Yeah, or something like that. But anyway!, Consider Evolution: all it says is things that change over time tend to change like "this" whether you're talking about a particular species or a mountain-range. Think of the moment our Universe first condensed from pure energy. This was "Eden", a purity of representation - just hydrogen which went on to fuel the first stars and the fusion reactions within them later on created the "crusty" stuff in the Universe: all the other elements. Everything you can see except hydrogen was once in a star. Evolution is a selection process, according to the laws of our Universe's constants some things will be more reproductive than others and the same constants allow for lower energy-states to create higher-ones with there always being a little net energy that slipped through the molecules radiating off everything. The Evolution of our Universe has taken thirteen billion years to produce us. Big number. Um, no, think of how many billions of years are ahead for our Universe (not necessarily including us). There is a lot more Evolution left to go. Consider the far future: say another twenty billion years. If you or I were to be transplanted through time to that distance we would probably be eaten by the first grasshopper to come along. Things will get more efficient. It has to to make up for the overall increase in Entropy. Now consider that if our Universe will have an end wouldn't that final state define a "calculation" it was performing? And if you want to get metaphysical then you could say that maybe God was there waiting for our Universe to tell Him what it was. The End of time is "Judgment Day" and its predators-against-prey to decide the final representation of our Universe.
  • Dean Wormer (Score:3, Funny)

    by Sfing_ter (99478) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:54PM (#27094723) Homepage Journal

    So is Senator Bluto sending this to Dean Wormer?

    Hey, we umm... don't like those things he ummm... says... yeah... and ummm now you know ummm... that we don't... you know ummm like it... umm what he says...

  • by couchand (917882) on Friday March 06, 2009 @02:58PM (#27094783)
    A quick search of the Oklahoma state legislature status page (http://www.okhouse.gov/Legislation/Leg_Status.aspx) shows that HR1015 was introduced March 3 and nothing has happened since. In truth it has not been passed.
  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:03PM (#27094889) Homepage
    The core issue is very simple to express. In the 19th century, a trend in english-speaking Christianity appeared that asserted that the Bible was factual and should be interpreted literally. That very simple single assertion on which Christian fundamentalism is based is the root cause of this and many other issues grouped together in the U.S. by the term "Culture Wars."

    It is conceptually simple to understand, particularly for people who are not of an analytical bent. It does not require deep thought or incisive intelligence, it is by and large unambiguous, it results in absolute truths that can be used as rules and maxims, and concentrates all authority on the literal meaning of the scripture. This allows true believers to dismiss anything else out of hand, because the literal interpretation is held to be the literal word of God. That is the great appeal. Simple people need not worry about analysis, interpretation, consistency or anything else. Unfortunately, it is an illusion.

    In practice there is as much ambiguity as before, absolute truths are difficult to pin down, consensus is difficult, and physical reality contradicts practically all attempts to assert literal truth of biblical claims. On top of this is the curious trait of religious fundamentalists in general to cling to their arbitrary beliefs even more strongly in the face of contradiction, as if, rather counterintuitively, that in itself confirmed their beliefs.

  • What this is about (Score:5, Informative)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:18PM (#27095165)
    The real issue here is that, for the first time since possibly statehood, the Republicans have just taken over the Oklahoma state legislature. Since this is pretty much their first time ever to be relevant, they are really anxious to make their mark, and do it now. The fat kids who always had their faces pressed up against the glass at the legislative candy store suddenly have the keys, and they are going hog-wild. To give you further examples, in the last couple of weeks we Okies have also seen bills to: o Outlaw the wearing of Muslim head coverings on driver's licences o Weaken worker's comp o Prevent teacher's unions from engaging in political activity o Make it harder to persue "pain and suffering" claims in court. My personal favorite was the School Prayer bill we barely managed to get killed in committee. It would have allowed for student-led school prayer at mandatory attendence events, but stipulated that the prayer leaders had to be "school leaders". Their definition of school leaders included, I shit you not, head Cheerleaders and the captain of the football team. We were wondering aloud what would happen if a school just happened to have a Wiccan captain of the football team...
  • No Problem (Score:5, Funny)

    by dbcad7 (771464) on Friday March 06, 2009 @05:16PM (#27097507)
    He can just take it down the road to Oral Roberts University.. I am sure they are more open to this kind of thing.
  • by Tom (822) on Friday March 06, 2009 @05:43PM (#27097991) Homepage Journal

    his 2006 book "The God Delusion," and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking

    No, you fucktards, your attitude is the intolerant one. Mr. Dawkins makes claims, cites the supporting evidence, and draws conclusions, and then arrives at an opinion that he can solidly argue. And - from what I've seen of him - he does not mind listening to those who have a different opinion, and doesn't deny them forum.

    Oh yes, he also doesn't belong to a group of people with a thousand year history of silencing and killing its opponent. Like you.

    If the penalty for stupidity were death, Oklahoma would have to hold new elections.

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