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Oklahoma Legislator Introduces Bill to Ban Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is scheduled to speak today at the University of Oklahoma as part of that institution's celebration of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. State Rep. Todd Thomsen, a former Sooners kicker, thinks that Dawkins should be banned from his alma mater. So he has introduced a bill in the Oklahoma legislature that declares:

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma has planned a year-long celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s theory of evolution, called the “Darwin 2009 Project”, which includes a series of lectures, public speakers, and a course on the history of evolution; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma, as a part of the Darwin 2009 Project, has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book “The God Delusion”, and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma; and

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.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

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.

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives encourages the University of Oklahoma to engage in an open, dignified, and fair discussion of the Darwinian theory of evolution and all other scientific theories which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the University of Oklahoma, the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Oklahoma, and the Chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

And the most delicious irony is that intelligent design creationists introduced another bill in January entitled the "Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act." 

Via scienceblogs.

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  • ||

    ugh

  • ||

    Unless I missed something that sounds like a condemnation rather than a ban.

  • ||

    Yo, fuck Oklahoma!

    (Jerry Cantrell excluded.)

  • ||

    What 1st Amendment? Oh! Free speech only if you agree with me! Silly me. Sorry.

  • ||

    WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry



    And by "all ideas" and "independent thinking", we mean "only a literal interpretation of the King James Bible".

  • Warty||

    THAT the State of Oklahoma resolves to provide priceless free publicity for Richard Dawkins.

  • ||

    So let me get this straight...

    Richard Dawkins should be banned because he does not present an opinion that is within the spirit of cultural diversity

    AND

    Richard Dawkins presents an opinion that is not consistent with the views of most Oklahomans...

  • ||

    SIV,

    Yeah, it's bullshit bloviating nonsense sponsored by a redneck legislator appealing to his scientifically illiterate constituents. He's saying that Oklahoma citizens are agin' that from a monkey stuff that ain't in the good book.

    Jesus H. McChrist, fundies, even the Vatican has signed off on evolution by natural selection.

  • ||

    Is this Stupid Friday? First we have the ban Barbie, now ban Dawkins.

    Besides, we all know that evolution is squirrels having butt sex with fish and giving birth to monkeys.

  • ||

    The God Delusion will convert nobody, but I enjoyed the book. There is some interesting speculation in it about the evolutionary reasons for humanity's overwhelming belief in a god or gods.

  • ||

    SIV's right, though. Nothing about banning or disinviting him in the resolution.

  • ||

    THAT the State of Oklahoma resolves to provide priceless free publicity for Richard Dawkins.

    That, I think, is the sweetest part.

  • ||

    The God Delusion will convert nobody, but I enjoyed the book. There is some interesting speculation in it about the evolutionary reasons for humanity's overwhelming belief in a god or gods.

    Then you should also check out
    this book.

  • Warty||

    I thought God is not Great was more fun than The God Delusion. Hitchens does a better job of being scornful than Dawkins, in my opinion.

  • ||

    I thought God is not Great was more fun than The God Delusion. Hitchens does a better job of being scornful than Dawkins, in my opinion.

    Agreed, but both were just preaching to the choir. And I didn't think either was tremendously insightful.

  • ||

    I think that may be a facially unconstitutional bill. I'd sue.

  • ||

    """WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry; and""""

    He speaks,
    Case closed.

    Just another idiot trying to spin freedom into anti-freedom.

  • ||

    I have this great idea...from now on, let's all VOTE on our scientific theories and laws. Me, I don't like gravity, so I say we get rid of it. Also, there's this "time" thing, if we voted to get rid of time we'd all live forever! And ponies, we all need ponies.

  • ||

    "...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."

    Some of the views Dawkins presents in "The God Delusion" ARE offensive. His references to bringing up children with religion as "child abuse" are offensive. Since there is no doubt that someone referring to specifically Jewish or Islamic parents as child abusers be soundly condemned, this bill does not seem ridiculous to me.

    BTW, I am an atheist and I consider Dawkin's books "The Selfish Gene" and "The Extended Phenotype" two of the great intellectual achievements of the 20th century.

  • ||

    Oklahoma Legislator Introduces Bill to Ban Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins

    As others have said, Thomsen's not banning anything, but notwithstanding he's still a fudgeknocker.

  • ||

    For fuck's sake.

  • Vines & Cattle||

    I want to say right now, I am an Oklahoman, not a Sooner. A distinction that makes means more and more these days.

  • Rimfax||

    Looks to me like he just wants to pass a resolution saying that he "strongly opposes the invitation to speak". It may be stupid, but I really don't see anything unconstitutional or illegal or unethical about it. Hell, I'm inclined to admire the douchebag's restraint.

  • ||

    The God Delusion will convert nobody



    Actually it has! See Converts' Corner.

    Now, has it converted a lot of people? That's another matter.

  • LarryA||

    Oklahoma Legislator Introduces Bill to Ban Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins

    Oklahoma Legislator Introduces Bill to Ban Evolutionary Biologist and Anti-Religious Author Richard Dawkins

    And by "all ideas" and "independent thinking", we mean "only a literal interpretation of the King James Bible".

    Maybe. OTOH "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."

    For Dawkins, and several here, "And by 'all ideas' and 'independent thinking,' we mean 'only a literal interpretation of The Origin of the Species.'"

    Pot-kettle-

  • ||

    Some of the views Dawkins presents in "The God Delusion" ARE offensive. His references to bringing up children with religion as "child abuse" are offensive.



    So what?

    Did you even read The God Delusion? Do you know WHY he thinks it's child abuse?

    If not, here's why.

    Teaching children that if you don't follow a certain set of rules then you'll burn forever in hell = child abuse.

    Teaching your children that your friends or family members that don't share your particular religious views will burn forever in hell = child abuse.

    Teaching your children the Golden Rule = NOT child abuse.

    Teaching your children Jesus was good = NOT child abuse.

  • ||

    I want to say right now, I am an Oklahoman, not a Sooner.

    Proud to be an Okie from Muskogee? Or "Go Pokes"?

  • ||

    For Dawkins, and several here, "And by 'all ideas' and 'independent thinking,' we mean 'only a literal interpretation of The Origin of the Species.'"

    Pot-kettle-



    What a load of bullshit. Origin of the Species is not a Bible. No scientist believes Darwin was infallible or that Origin of the Species is error free. Nevertheless Darwin got things by and large right. How do we know? Because we can verify it ourselves through independent means using observation and empirical evidence.

    If you really think this is the same as taking the Bible literally then you, sir, are an idiot.

  • ||

    We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
    We don't take our trips on LSD
    We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
    We like livin' right, and bein' free.

    I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
    A place where even squares can have a ball
    We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
    And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all

    We don't make a party out of lovin';
    We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo;
    We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy,
    Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

    And I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
    A place where even squares can have a ball.
    We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
    And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all.

    Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
    Beads and Roman sandals won't be seen.
    Football's still the roughest thing on campus,
    And the kids here still respect the college dean.

    We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
    In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.

  • ||

    Anybody keeping track of how many comments have the phrase (or a variation of the phrase): "I'm an atheist but...?"

    This phrase pops up almost every time Dawkins is mentioned. Its actually quite funny.

  • ||

    Maybe we should also get these out of the way:

    "Dawkins is as much a fundamentalist and dogmatic as his opponents."

    "You need faith to be an atheist."

    "Science makes faith claims, just like religion."

    "Stalin was an atheist."

    Well, that felt good.

  • ed||

    I believe in the Constitution, but...

    etc. etc. etc.

  • ||

    Well, ed. You know it's not a suicide pact.

  • LarryA||

    If you really think this is the same as taking the Bible literally then you, sir, are an idiot.

    See?

  • ||

    You gotta love the great way these folks have adopted the victimization language of the far left...Intolerance yada yada diversity yada yada...

    Oklahoma makes Georgia look like a modern paradise...

  • ||

    I suspect the motive of this resolution is provide the some ammunition for Christian conservatives in their next election campaign. Anyone who votes against the resolution will be accused of being an anti-Jesus zealot, atheist, or devil worshiper.

  • ||

    See?



    Oh, no!! I called you an idiot! I'm just as bad as those fundamentalists!!!

    Give me a break.

    Do you really think believing that evolution is true based on mountains of evidence is the same as believing the Bible is the literal truth based on NO evidence?

    Just because two sides of an argument are equally loud doesn't mean the truth is somewhere in the middle. And it doesn't mean both sides are equal.

    Unless you are some sort of pomo relativist that doesn't believe in objective truth or something, then please try to defend your pot-kettle statement. Are both sides equally bad? Are both sides equally wrong? Go ahead. Give it a shot.

  • ||

    Oh God I hate being an Oklahoman. Dawkins is one of my heroes and now I wonder if he'll ever come to my state again.

    (Our newly Republican-majority state legislature has been fiddling with this kind of crap ever since they got into power, despite all of the crises facing the country and our state. Wacko theocrats, ugh.)

  • ||

    Yeah Soda, I'm really sick of the idea that we're supposed to "respect" creationism simply because it is a religiously inspired belief system.

    That facts are the facts. We can't help it that they show one side to be delusional and the other to be reasonable. Nobody claims to have all the answers, but moving toward empirical evidence and theoretical consistency is a good thing, whether you like the direction it takes you in or not.

    Let's get over trying to call each other out for being rude, and focus on the substance of the discussion.

  • ||

    SIV | March 6, 2009, 12:42pm | #

    Unless I missed something that sounds like a condemnation rather than a ban.



    True. But even a condemnation from the legislature is not appropriate. The state should just be silent on the debate. I believe in biological evoltion. I disagree with Dawkin's views, but I'll defend his right to say them without government interference. He propels his career by talking loudly about evolution, but his personal theories have a habbit record of getting disproven over the decades.

  • ||

    This bill will do nothing to keep Bob Stoops from losing big football games.


    45-35

  • ||

    Typical sooner dumbshit - Go Pokes!!

  • ||

    Tony - I feel you. At least it's cheap to live here but god it's a pain in the ass finding good weed.

  • ||

    So did the bill pass? Although Dawkins is speaking here in four hours regardless.

  • ||

    @Oz: I'm in NC and I have the same problem here. I need to move my ass out to Cali or something.

  • ||

    lol - pretty much. If they legalize it out there I'm gone. I'll just give up the fight, and find a nice coushy gov. job with a defined pension.

  • ||

    They're both right.

    During the Civil War, a group of Confederate soldiers was discussing Darwin's Theory, and one of them pointed to Robert E. Lee's tent and said,

    "I can believe that the rest of us are descended from apes but Marse Robert was created by God."

  • Vines & Cattle||

    Tbone- Proud to be an Okie from Muskogee? Or "Go Pokes"?

    Go Pokes!

  • ||

    Maybe the people of Oklahoma need to insist on a more structured workdays for their legislators. Idle hands (and minds) are the devil's workshop. The student body of the University of Oklahoma can make up their own minds about Dawkins without the help of an idle state senator. That is one of the purposes of a college education. To develop your own mind. I thought our state officials were embarrassing.

  • ||

    Did you even read The God Delusion? Do you know WHY he thinks it's child abuse?

    Yes and yes.

    On page 317 of my copy, Dawkins states that he once said, while discussing sexual abuses by priests, "...as horrible as the sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place." Yes, I understand his point that discussing hell is scary to some kids.

    Kids will find some things terrifying, whether it is other kids telling ghost stories when they go camping, or watching horror movies, it seems to be part of our make-up. But this is not in the same ballpark as physical or sexual abuse.

    Comparing sexual or physical abuse to bringing kids up with religion is offensive. Period.

    Anybody keeping track of how many comments have the phrase (or a variation of the phrase): "I'm an atheist but...?"

    This phrase pops up almost every time Dawkins is mentioned. Its actually quite funny.


    Soda, I am glad you were amused. I would have thought my praise for The Extended Phenotype would have been a strong clue to my being on the level. Have you read it? The book is aimed at professionals, but Dawkins is such a good writer that a non-biologist like myself can understand it.

    Believe it or not, it is possible to not believe in God but respect people who do. I do not understand religious belief enough to get riled up about it. Some people seem to need religion, I'm fine with that. I don't happen to one of those people.

    I confess that my hurriedly written comments may have been a bit joeish, I have heard and enjoyed Dawkins speak (on biology) numerous times in the past and would not want Dawkins banned, but I also do not have a problem with a legislator condemning some of the things he has said.

  • ||

    I suspect the motive of this resolution is provide the some ammunition for Christian conservatives...

    Please stop using the oxymoron phrase "christian conservative".
    True conservationism is a concept based on logic backed by solid real world evidence. These republican theists are squarely from the left in as they base their thinking on wishful thinking rather than reality.

    Look at the striking simularity to the policies of Bush and ultra left Obama. Massive government intervention, massive budget deficits, meddling in other nations, continued war, both druggies. Their are few conservatives in the republican party and even fewer amongst democrats.

  • ||

    What a fraud, to use the word ban here. Prohibit, forbid, bar, is this what the bill would do? I see no reason to respect Ronald Bailey.

  • ||

    Almost seems like they're running out of ideas

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