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Creationist Lunacy in Texas

Posted by libhom Sunday, December 02, 2007

From Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

Americans United Blasts Ouster Of Texas Educator For Supporting Sound Science

Church-State Watchdog Group Calls On Officials To Rehire Staffer Forced Out For Noting Lecture Criticizing ‘Intelligent Design’

Officials with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) should rehire a science curriculum expert who was forced to resign after she notified people about a lecture critical of “intelligent design” (ID), says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Chris Comer, director of science curriculum, was pushed out after she circulated an e-mail mentioning that a leading scholarly critic of ID, the latest variant of creationism, would be speaking in Texas. Comer sent a notice about the talk as an “FYI.”

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, blasted officials at TEA and called on them to promptly reinstate Comer.

“It’s a sad day when a science expert can lose her job merely for recommending that people hear a speaker defend sound science,” Lynn said. “Officials in Texas seem intent on elevating fundamentalist dogma over academic excellence and common sense.”

Lizzette Reynolds, a former staff member at the U.S. Department of Education now working for TEA as a senior adviser, played a key role in Comer’s ouster. She responded to Comer’s e-mail about the ID lecture by urging Comer’s bosses to fire her.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Reynolds’ message said, “This is highly inappropriate. I believe this is an offense that calls for termination or, at the very least, reassignment of responsibilities. This is something that the State Board, the Governor’s Office and members of the Legislature would be extremely upset to see because it assumes this is a subject that the agency supports.”

Lynn noted that the lecture on ID was to be given by Barbara Forrest, who serves on the Americans United Board of Trustees. She is an acknowledged expert on intelligent design. Coauthor of the book Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, Forrest served as an expert witness in a federal lawsuit in Dover, Pa., that struck down the teaching of ID.

“By noting Forrest’s talk, Comer was simply doing her job: alerting people to a resource they might find useful,” Lynn said. “I am appalled at this action by TEA and urge officials to immediately correct this gross injustice.”

AU isn't the only organization concerned about this. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education quoted in the Austin-American Statesman.

This just underscores the politicization of science education in Texas. In most states, the department of education takes a leadership role in fostering sound science education. Apparently TEA employees are supposed to be kept in the closet and only let out to do the bidding of the board.

The British journal Nature is concerned and a bit perplexed.
Attitudes to education differ round the world, but things are looking pretty odd in Texas right now. The director of the state’s science curriculum is claiming she was forced out for forwarding an email. Its content was not a risqué joke or a sleazy photo: it was a note about a forthcoming lecture by a philosopher who has been heavily involved in debates over creationism.

They also see the tie-in between creationist influence and the quality of education.
In other news, a new international ranking of the science ability of 15 year olds has been conducted by the OECD. The US is below average, a little under Latvia. Finland tops the chart. Those with spare time might find it interesting to compare this chart of the new OECD ranking, with this chart of belief in evolution.

3 comments

  1. RickB Says:
  2. It ate my comment!
    Anyway, new look!
    And let Mexico have that land back or let the FSM rule the place.

     
  3. good grief , this country gets dumber by the day, one can only hope, that the laws of physics apply - something sure as hell has got to give. This trend continuing is Not an option. Gawd i dispise "stupid" and the willfully ignorant those who will not learn out sheer obstinance.

     
  4. Dusty Says:
  5. Considering the region this isn't really a surprize.

    Sick bastids.

     

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