Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Free Prize with Every Letter to the Editor

Hi all, DC here making a guest entry to the blog. My letter to the Statesman about my experience at the State Board of Education (or perhaps it is actually the State Board of Dis-Education) meeting was published today. It said:
I attended my first SBOE meeting recently, mainly to speak against the creationists' attempts to corrupt our science curriculum. As a bonus, I got to hear the board vote to take the steps necessary to treat athletics hours like academic hours so they can count for up to four of the state's required graduation credits. I must admit it is a creative end-around on the Legislature, which has tried valiantly to raise the bar in Texas education. The inmates have taken control of the asylum. David Chapman mailto:davidc@austin.rr.com.rr.com
Well, guess what happens when you put your email address in the paper? People write to you. I got one good letter and a smattering of fruitcakes...enjoy. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- From: John King [johncon2007@yahoo.com] Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2008 8:38 AM To: davidc@austin.rr.com Subject: Letter to editor A noted astronomer, Fred Hoyle, remarked: "Would you not say to yourself, 'Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be miniscule?' Of course you would." In a similar vein, Albert Einstein wrote: "Something deeply hidden had to be behind things." You want to forbid a teacher from repeating such statements in a public-school classroom. Which is to say, you're not defending science but rather advocating censorship. Cordially, John King From: David Chapman [davidc@austin.rr.com] To: 'John King' Cc: 'David Chapman' Subject: RE: Letter to editor John, Thank you for your thoughtful response. As a huge fan of Einstein (a large photo of him is the only decoration in my office) I find it fitting that you cite his philosophy. And as a Christian I agree that the most basic identity of our God is "Creator". The record is very clear that the path of Einstein's scientific work was directed, or some would say misdirected, by his theology. Specifically, he refused to pursue Quantum Physics in the later years of his life because he considered the apparent randomness at the base of Quantum Physics incompatible with the character of God. Isn't it interesting that it was Einstein's inability to accept the possibility of God being larger than was circumscribed by his own perception of God that, in the end, blocked Einstein from making any significant contributions to science in the last 30 or 40 years of his life? That is going the long way to say that I do hold that for better or worse every human endeavor is underpinned by some sort of philosophy, point of view, assumption, belief...and biased by the limitations of our ability to perceive or even to imagine. I have no problem with that concept being taught in literature, philosophy or even religion classes…and have no problem with exposing students to the diverse range of beliefs people have held over the span of human history and across the world’s cultures. However those beliefs are not science and are no substitute for science or the scientific method. There is nothing in the first draft of the Science TEKS revision that suggests science is any substitute for religion or philosophy. However it is highly inappropriate to corrupt our science education by attempting to substitute religion for science or to suggest that the two are alternative, equivalent competitors to the same objective. When I was in 9th grade Biology class a fellow student asked our teacher about Creationism. She suggested that we imagine a chocolate cake sitting on her desk and her husband standing at the front of the room with her. She suggested if we asked how the cake came to be there he would say "My wife, who I love very much, made it." On the other hand she would describe an elaborate process involving a list of ingredients and her oven...but went on to point out that both of them would be 100% correct despite having given radically different answers...because he addressed Who made the cake and his love for her while she described How she made it. There is nothing in the first draft of the Science TEKS that would prevent any Texas science educator from making a similar response to Texas students. There is no censorship involved. In fact it is imperative that Texas students learn the difference between what is and what is not science and scientific method. Our science educators are responsible for teaching our students about How...and more importantly, about how we discover How. Our literature, philosophy and religion teachers address our search for knowing Who. Our churches, for the most part, are communities who profess to know Who. I want to keep it that way. Thanks again for your thoughtful response. It was worlds different from the rest that came in. (see below) - DC --------------------------------------------------------------- From: ron goodwine [rongoodwine@gmail.com] Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2008 7:55 AM To: davidc@austin.rr.com Subject: letter to the editor Well, it appears that you have intimate knowledge of the other inmates. Did you help in the take-over, or were you just blindly and mindlessly led by the other inmates? Best guess from here is that your favorite drink is obama kool-aid. Because of email-borne viruses, I never open email from unknown sources. Or from idiots, so don't try. RG ----------------------------------------------------------------- From: horn fans [jjandbevo@yahoo.com] Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2008 7:58 AM To: davidc@austin.rr.com Subject: Statesman letter This is your lucky day. Each week The Stateman gives an award for Drivel of the Week. Congratulations. First place goes to you. Gotta be proud to be a published celebrity. Going to frame it? Show it to others in the welfare lines? Your libbocrap buddies are going to be soooo proud of you. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: jim_karp@fastmail.fm Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2008 7:51 AM To: davidc@austin.rr.com Subject: statesman "The inmates have taken control of the asylum". Well, maybe, but one thing is for sure. The Statesman will still publish letters from lunatics. Gotta be thankful for that, Davieboy. And don't bother to reply. Wouldn't open/read anything you send jim_karp@fastmail.fm --------------------------------------------------------------------

2 comments:

Ben said...

Well said. And I love the response that teacher gave. I'm glad there are people like the two of you in this world we live in. Thank you.

-Ben

Gay said...

DC,
Thoughtful post - It's interesting that aside from Ben the others responded by name calling and snide remarks but no intelligent comments. My Mom was right when she said, "If you have nothing to add to a conversation that makes sense - say nothing at all. Or you will be the one that sounds foolish."