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Greater Houston Skeptic Society Message Board › Texas Board of Education

Texas Board of Education

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A former member
Post #: 3
As I'm sure many of you have heard by now, Don McElroy and the Texas Board of Education has appointed several pro-ID "scientists" to review the curriculum. (If you haven't already heard, here's PZ's article on it):

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/10/prepare_for_an_ugly_battle_in.php­

And here's a petition you can sign:

https://secure2.convio.net/txfree/site/SSurvey?SURVEY_ID=1240&ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS­
A former member
Post #: 3
Damnit damnit damnit. I hate always being right...I really do.
Naomi
user 7881900
Spring, TX
Post #: 13
I hereby announce my intention to be part of any lawsuit, class action or otherwise, that will fight this nonsense.

Glad my sons graduated years ago.

N
Mike O.
user 7892622
Tomball, TX
Post #: 5
This is insanely important. Go to this website and get the comment form (for High School Courses) and follow the instructions: http://www.tea.state....­

You can see the proposal itself also, in the form it should be in before it gets mangled. For what it's worth, this is the comment I submitted (it should probably be shorter, but I felt the need to be very clear):

Some parties have suggested including non-scientific explanations of life's diversity into the teaching of evolution theory. It is well known that these non-scientific principles are being proffered in light of what are perceived as moral issues. We would do society a disservice if we allow morality to be a measure of the value of the scientific method; after all, the purpose of teaching science is not to make everyone a scientist, or even to make them believe any particular scientific conclusion. Rather, it is to understand how science arrives at the conclusions it does. If any scientific theory has weaknesses, those weaknesses will be exposed by proper scientific methodology, learned by being taught said methodology, not by simple refutation of unpopular conclusions.
The debate over the teaching of evolution is often characterized as a battle between "believers" and "non-believers." This is a misunderstanding of the real issues. Evolution theory makes no claim of any kind regarding religion or morality as understood in religion, though individuals often state personal beliefs about religion when speaking of their support of the theory. We must not confuse scientific conclusions with subjective moral judgments made by individuals. It is important to remember that the founding fathers who wisely decreed separation of church and state were not atheists; they were however of different faiths. Allowing one religious group to get a toe-hold in public schools would simply shift the focus to a battle between different faiths. This is why religious instruction is forbidden by law in mandatory public education. It protects individual religious viewpoints and ensures that individuals are free to interpret issues, scientific or otherwise, in light of the teaching they receive in their homes and churches.
Scientific facts are debatable, but personal beliefs are not. As a parent I may sometimes feel the need to tell my child that I don't agree with something he learned in school; but I think we can all agree that one of those things should not be the religious leanings of others. To do so would be to flirt with intolerance, which is contradictory to a healthy society and has no place in our public schools, and I resent the notion that I may be forced to do so. This is not a way to sow the seeds of trust in our children.


I think this highlights some aspects of the debate which I don't hear commonly discussed while preserving respect for both sides. I'd really like to hear what the rest of you think of my approach.
Naomi
user 7881900
Spring, TX
Post #: 15
More information, via a blogpost by Houston Skeptic member Sam, on his regular Skepchick blog:

http://skepchick.org/...­
Mike O.
user 7892622
Tomball, TX
Post #: 6
Please, to anyone planning on speaking at the hearing--quality over quantity. They're not going to listen to yet another person standing up and telling them that they're wrong. Why do you thin McElroy is trying to limit the amount of time for testimony? It doesn't matter that they're wrong. THEY ARE IN CHARGE. Think of it as if you had to make an argument to your boss. They have to know what's in it for them. They have to understand that separation of church and state protects them as well. It's the only approach that might get one more vote for sanity.
Lyle S.
lets_roll
Houston, TX
Post #: 256
good comment Mike. basics of psychological motivation is 'what's in it for me?' of course we know by now that some do not consider living in harmony, peace and shared environmental prosperity and health benefits themselves enough when they are not conscious enough or longer term in their analysis to see it's worth. For some it is only a winner take all sorta proposition which destroys the society eventually for all. So perhaps there is nothing to tell these people. but in talking to them while really speaking to a bigger audience might be more effective. so the question is what to say persuasively and how does the scope of the interaction widen? I think there is some evolution on how we can communicate with others. we seem to have a very good role model in the president-elect. It is a good feeling to have hope that we are driving towards a progressively more healthy dialog in amerika :)
Mike O.
user 7892622
Tomball, TX
Post #: 7
So perhaps there is nothing to tell these people. but in talking to them while really speaking to a bigger audience might be more effective. so the question is what to say persuasively

I have a very good idea of what to say, and in fact I have already written a rough draft. Unfortunately the chances of me going to Austin in January are kind of iffy at this point.
Lyle S.
lets_roll
Houston, TX
Post #: 257
well see then there's the problem Mike. You will be the one not there! :) I liked your commentary above and think you could deliver a measured presentation effectively ... so you oughta consider a sick day perhaps to go.

I saw Kansas vs. Darwin at the Riveroaks 3 recently...bought the video/dvd if anyone would enjoy seeing it btw. After the showing there was great discussion upon this very exact issue. You may have been there! The producer/director I think summed it up much as you do here in the non-militant approach and less confrontational way of finding some common ground interests of protecting our liberties. But then again that docuflick showed very clearly that the authorities were only concerned with winning the day rather than learning.

The only aspect of your commentary above I would consider eliminating is the last paragragh:
As a parent I may sometimes feel the need to tell my child that I don't agree with something he learned in school; but I think we can all agree that one of those things should not be the religious leanings of others. To do so would be to flirt with intolerance, which is contradictory to a healthy society and has no place in our public schools, and I resent the notion that I may be forced to do so. This is not a way to sow the seeds of trust in our children.

..reason being it kinda of muddies the waters. Some of these antagonists do believe in telling anyone and everyone they explicitly do not agree with the religious learnings of others....that is a big problem of why we are in this mess, because they have taken charge.
Naomi
user 7881900
Spring, TX
Post #: 16
I need to watch that video.

I have a copy of "Flock of Dodos" which is NOT a tie-in to the recent book of the same name (titles can't be copyrighted). The producer takes a non-confrontational approach to the evolution-ID debate.

I read a review of the book this past weekend, in Skeptic magazine. The tone of the book is reported to be closer to Penn & Teller's Bullshit! series - funny and sarcastic.
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