Eustis (FL) City Council Meeting
4 May 2017
Joseph Richardson (324 words - 2:10)

Mayor and Commissioners,

I'm honored and grateful to be here to address you today on behalf of the Central Florida Freethought Community and freethinkers here in Eustis.

This day, in many quarters, Reason is being celebrated. Today is the National Day of Reason which seeks, among other things to "promote the development and application of reason", a worthy goal that is radically inclusive.

It is through reason that, more than 2200 years ago, with nothing more than shadows and a little geometry, Eratosthenes was able to show that the Earth was indeed a sphere and calculate its circumference to within 1%. It is through reason that 300 years ago we began the Enlightenment and struggled our way out of the darkness and superstition of the Middle Ages. Through reason, Einstein made predictions about the cosmos that we are still confirming 100 years later. Through reason, we know that we are intimately connected, not only to every other human, but also to every living thing.

Despite the advances of reason, we are all wrong about something. It is a continuous, life-long effort to be "less wrong" and to use new information and reason to achieve that goal. You have the opportunity to do that again tonight. You will receive new information and make decisions about that information. I urge you to exercise empathy to understand how your constituents feel, to use compassion to consider how your decisions will affect them, and to apply reason in the evaluation all of these things.

I'm particularly glad to see that you're proclaiming Public Service Recognition Week tonight. Public service is often empathy, compassion and reason in action. 

So on this, the National Day of Reason, I encourage you to be conscious of your own empathy, compassion and especially reason, be humble in your self-assessment, be judicious in the exercise of your sacred duty as commissioners, and strive always to be "less wrong" through the uninhibited use of reason.