Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Craziness in Oklahoma

As a college undergraduate I had the opportunity to see people such as Ralph Nader, George Tenet, Colin Powell, Frank Serpico, and Henry Rollins speak on my campus. Obviously I do not agree with every view point expressed by each of these individuals, but they all offered an amazing educational experience beyond anything I could have received in the classroom. I feel privileged to have heard each of these individuals speak. I would have been enraged if a state politician had tried to prevent the university from allowing any one of these people from speaking.

So a few days ago when I found out a state legislator from Oklahoma introduced a bill denouncing Richard Dawkins and encouraging the University of Oklahoma to prevent him from speaking, I felt some sympathy for all the reasonable, rational, people in the state.

You see, University of Oklahoma managed to get Dawkins to come speak there as part of their Darwin 2009 Project. Richard Dawkins is a world renowned evolutionist and one of the great popularizers of science. Anyone should feel privileged to have the chance to hear him speak. State Representative Thomsen (R-Creationistland) feels other wise, and decided the best way to express his personal opinion would be through an official House resolution (I may have chosen to call and bitch to a friend).

HR1015 was introduced by Thomsen on March 3, 2009. You can click the link if you think you can stomach it, if not here is a highlight:
WHEREAS, the invitation for Richard Dawkins to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma on Friday, March 6, 2009, will only serve to present a biased philosophy on the theory of evolution to the exclusion of all other divergent considerations rather than teaching a scientific concept.


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.

It seems though, this was a compromise from his even more terrifying HR1014, introduced on March 2.

The obvious temptation was to mock and ridicule the entire state of Oklahoma. I chose to refrain, however, knowing Rep. Thomsen does not speak for all the people of Oklahoma. In fact, as I said, I felt some sympathy for all the reasonable people of the state.

Of course Dawkins did speak at the university, and much to his credit addressed the whole matter in the way those people should be dealt with, by holding them up to scorn and ridicule.

Notice all those fine, rational Oklahomans laughing at the creationist nonsense.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation has also donated $5,000 to the Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education. A truly worthy cause.

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