04 December 2007

Oh, evolve already!

Can this still be going on? In Texas, the state science curriculum director has resigned under pressure “after being accused of creating the appearance of bias against teaching intelligent design.” In late October, Ms. Chris Comer forwarded an email about an upcoming lecture by Professor Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and a co-author of Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse, a book that argues creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools. Professor Forrest was also an expert witness in the landmark 2005 case that ruled against the teaching of intelligent design in the Dover, PA schools.

The Texas Education Agency cited Ms. Comer’s forwarded email in a memo that recommended her termination, saying that the forwarding of the email “implies endorsement of the speaker and implies that TEA endorses the speaker's position on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral."

For the sake of further background info, the person who first objected to Ms. Comer’s email forwarding was Lizzette Reynolds, the Deputy Commissioner for statewide policy and programs at TEA, a former employee at the U.S. Department of Education and a former deputy legislative director for then Governor George W. Bush.

My concern is not so much whether Ms. Comer was, in fact, guilty of “repeated acts of misconduct and insubordination”, as TEA officials claimed. My concern is more about why the TEA or any other American educational agency feels the need to “remain neutral” about the teaching of the theory of evolution and the exclusion of the theory of intelligent design.

I have neither the time nor the patience to repeat arguments about why intelligent design is lousy science (if one can even call it “science” to start with), or why attacking evolution as “just a theory” displays a complete and total disregard for the whole of the scientific method itself. I’m mostly just appalled that this debate is still going on in our nation. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I can’t, not when several of the current Republican candidates for President were willing to go on the record as not believing the theory of evolution. Just remember that saying, “If you don’t believe in evolution, you’re obviously not participating in it.”

If you feel the need to let the State of Texas hear from you, you can fill out their email response form, or call their headquarters at 512.463.9734.

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