Joined: May 2002
|Quote (J. G. Cox @ Nov. 11 2008,11:10)|
|The Texas SBOE is holding its first public hearing on curriculum standards on Wednesday, Nov 19th. This session includes the opportunity for public comment.|
If you are in or near Austin, TX, please come and testify. The Texas Freedom Network has all the info you need to do so nicely consolidated, so contact them if you are interested (even if you have no interest in their political stance). You are required to register with the SBOE either Friday or Monday (Nov. 14 and 17) if you want to testify.
Hearings start at 9:00 am. The portion of the hearings relevant to evolution are scheduled for the end, which should be well after lunch. However, some shenanigans are likely, so show up early because it is possible for them to table everything and go right to the public testimony.
That said, I'm planning on testifying, and I wonder what y'all think I should talk about. We only get 3 minutes. I was thinking about hitting the Dover trap idea, and pointing out that since the supposed 'weaknesses' are present only in creationist literature, and have no presence in actual scientific discourse, that lost lawsuits are an inevitability. This would only hurt local school districts and the kids. If I go this route, I'm considering pointing out that past public statements by SBOE board member(s) also leave a religious trail that any lawyer can follow, which makes the inevitable lawsuits even more perilous for local schools. I'm not sure if that would help or hurt, though.
I was also thinking doing the St. Augustine thing, and proclaiming that broadcasting empirical statements that are blatantly false only hurts one's religion by making its proponents seem foolish. I thought that this might be a good rhetorical strategy because the underlying motivations behind all this mess are undeniably religious. However, I'm not sure my heart would be in that argument, since I don't honestly wish for the continued health of religion.
Whadda y'all think?
Since you are short of time, there is a similar argument by Aquinas on science:
"In discussing questions of this kind two rules are to be observed, as Augustine teaches. The first is, to hold to the truth of Scripture without wavering. The second is that since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular explanation only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it if it be proved with certainty to be false, lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers, and obstacles be placed to their believing." - Thomas Aquinas, c.a. 1225 - 1274, Summa Theological (1273).
It is shorter than the usual quote by Augustine (which is also mentioned by Aquinas).
I like to take along a Bible, preferablely a KJV. Just after reading the Aquinas quote, I hold it up by the 3 physical pages that contain Genesis 1 through 11. The entire young earth creationist dogma reduces to their insistance on a "literal" interpretation of these three pages. They insist that the entire rest of the Bible is false if those 3 pages have any meaning other than that peculiar to YEC.
Only the most adamant athiests would agree with such a radical position, as there is no way to resolve the YEC dogma with physical reality.
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."
L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"