Texas dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century
Posted: 31 March 2009 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Evolution and the Texas Board of Education
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/opinion/31tue3.html?th&emc=th

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Posted: 31 March 2009 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Even in places like Texas people are starting to understand modern science. Albeit slowly.

Evolution should be taught as modern science understands it. Key. And modern science will tell anybody who will seriously listen that every fact is not known. In any science. However unknown or unexplained facts do not rule out entire theories or even laws.

The human cell is a great example. Much is still not understood and explained about this wonder of nature. However it by no means indicates that it did not evolve. All indications from science say that the probabilities are extremely high that it had to evolve.

Even people in Texas are beginning to understand this and more importantly accept it.

As Darwin mentioned however, it is ‘one long argument.’ Very long indeed. I wonder if Darwin would have thought that it would be this long.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Posted: 31 March 2009 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Unfortunately, I live in Texas and I’m painfully aware of the attempts to undermine science. Admitted atheists are uncommon and despised here. We discussed it here.

One can only hope that teachers in Texas will use common sense and teach evolution as scientists understand it.

I wouldn’t count on it. The majority of the teachers in Texas are religious. The few who are not superstitious, do not typically want angry parents and school board members picketing their homes or threatening their careers. At the very least, they don’t want to be socially isolated. I am not excusing any science teacher for not teaching science as it is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. I’m merely pointing out the reality that teachers face in Texas. They are often either part of the problem, or complicit to it.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 31 March 2009 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Beam

Do you notice any significant difference of religiosity in the large cities of Texas v the rural areas?

It is quite different according to the demographics in other regions. Even here in Southern California.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Posted: 31 March 2009 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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McCreason - 31 March 2009 12:24 PM

Beam

Do you notice any significant difference of religiosity in the large cities of Texas v the rural areas?

It is quite different according to the demographics in other regions. Even here in Southern California.

It all seems crazy to me. Generally, imho, people in urban areas are somewhat less likely to be socially isolated for not following the accepted religious norms for a community. Nevertheless, I suspect that most people in Northern Dallas suburbs are still religious. L&R could answer that better than me. Nearly everyone in Lubbock is religious.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 31 March 2009 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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You just don’t seem to find too many American country folks or small town people that are atheists. They just don’t seem to spend their time thinking about such things. Red state, blue state America, seems to also mean rural/urban America.

I live in a small town (by California standards anyway) in the Southern Sierra foothills and I can say that I do not personally know a single nonbeliever. I don’t talk to that many people but…I know it is a very religious and conservative district though. More churches than I can count for a town of 30,000.

Maybe thats indeed why I don’t talk to many people and I spend my time here.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Posted: 31 March 2009 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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McCreason - 31 March 2009 02:55 PM

Maybe thats indeed why I don’t talk to many people and I spend my time here.

I understand.  It is like you vaguely understand their language; but it hurts your ears to listen.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 31 March 2009 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Yes it hurts my ears to have to listen and I try very hard to not let them see me cringe. From the fish on the bumpers of cars, to the crosses around the necks of local residents to all the passing comments about answered prayers and god blessess….I definitely do not speak their language.

I am a bit of an enigma to my co-workers as well. They are aware of my disbelief, but they rarely say anthing to me about it. Over the years A couple have inquired in shocking disbelief of my disbelief. They are seriously befuddled on how I cannot take things on faith. I just don’t even want to discuss it with them. I reference them things to read that state my position more professionally and eloquently than I ever could. But it falls on deaf ears of course.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Posted: 31 March 2009 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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McCreason - 31 March 2009 12:24 PM

Do you notice any significant difference of religiosity in the large cities of Texas v the rural areas?

I’ve mentioned this before, but Austin is quite a bit different from the rest of Texas - even the other metro areas like Dallas, Houston or San Antonio that I’m reasonably familiar with. Politically, election maps are always fun to watch because we’re a little island of blue in a sea of red.

Religiously, we’ve got our share of wingnuts - but being an open atheist doesn’t make you an outcast. The spectrum is pretty broad, with a lot of people I know holding religion loosely if at all. Maybe the presence of a large and diverse university population has something to do with this. Admittedly, I run with a crowd from the artsy side of the tracks (which generally tends to the secular) - but I really don’t notice religious prejudices here.

Of course, as I’ve also mentioned before, drive an hour in any direction and you’re in beer, guns and tits for Jesus land. And they keep up on the latest in lynching techniques.

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He who is not a misanthrope at forty can never have loved mankind  -Chamfort

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Posted: 31 March 2009 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Austin is indeed an oasis in the wastelands. Their motto is “keep Austin weird.” The rest of the state thinks Travis County is suffering from bike-aholism and evil musician infiltration.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 31 March 2009 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Beam - 31 March 2009 06:43 PM

Austin is indeed an oasis in the wastelands. Their motto is “keep Austin weird.” The rest of the state thinks Travis County is suffering from bike-aholism and evil musician infiltration.

I plead guilty to owning a ballcap with the above mentioned motto and to falling firmly into the “evil musician” camp.

I don’t use my bike much, tho’.

Actually the “Keep Austin Weird” thing is less about an attitude than it is an exhortation to patronize local businesses. There are great debates in city council and many letters to the editor whenever a Wal-Mart or some other chain store goes up.

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He who is not a misanthrope at forty can never have loved mankind  -Chamfort

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Posted: 01 April 2009 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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McCreason - 31 March 2009 02:55 PM

You just don’t seem to find too many American country folks or small town people that are atheists.

(Andrew):  Things just must be different in small town New England.  I can’t throw a rock in any direction without hitting a non-believer.  It’s not celebrated…no attention is drawn to it…it’s unremarkable.  Nobody cares.  Things are very “live-and-let-live” in rural Maine (at least).  It may be different in Portland or Bangor, I can’t say.  I don’t spend any time in the big cities.

McCreason - 31 March 2009 02:55 PM

They just don’t seem to spend their time thinking about such things.

(Andrew):  That’s been my experience up here.  If you mention that so-and-so is an atheist, you’re met with a shoulder shrug more often than not.  And then the conversation turns to the weather…or the fishing.

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Posted: 01 April 2009 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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mpbrockman - 31 March 2009 07:08 PM

Actually the “Keep Austin Weird” thing is less about an attitude than it is an exhortation to patronize local businesses. There are great debates in city council and many letters to the editor whenever a Wal-Mart or some other chain store goes up.

I didn’t know that. I’m really disillusioned now. I’m no fan of Wally World; but, it’s like learning that your sports hero juiced. My fantasy picture of Austin includes listening to great music on 6th street, links at “old muni,” chowing at Chuy’s, and enjoying the bluebonnets. It never included local business interests.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 01 April 2009 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Beam - 01 April 2009 08:32 AM

chowing at Chuy’s..

My sig’s favorite. Let us know if you head over this way - there’s one about 5 minutes from here.

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He who is not a misanthrope at forty can never have loved mankind  -Chamfort

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