07 December 2007

Texas Education Agency and Chris Comer, Part 9

Today (Friday, 7 December), Chris Comer is scheduled to appear on Science Friday on America's National Public Radio (NPR). It's slated for 1:00 pm Central Standard Time. If this is as usual for the show, they will have a "Listen again" feature on the Internet for those outside the county.

Meanwhile, I've been looking in blogs for anyone who is willing to defend the Texas Education Agency on this.

About the only one I can find is an argument that certain people have double standards, drawing parallels between Comer and one Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer who supported intelligent design, and was recently denied tenure. As these are unrelated cases, each case has to be looked at upon its own merits. I'm not getting into the Gonzalez case, as others are doing that. Much is getting written on Panda's Thumb.

Even Uncommon Descent, arguably the most famous intelligent design blog, is strangely quiet, asking if Texas can or should remain neutral. It posts several questions, mentions the Gonzalez situation, and posts two news stories from the Austin American-Statesman.

I also found this piece, which affirms that many Christians also smell something rotten in the TEA's actions. And even a post that starts "I'm a creationist," admits:
How can the Texas Education Agency justify her firing her for endorsing a view which is taught at every Texas public school? ... I’m still confused as to why Comer was let go.
Finally, a more personal perspective is taken by someone who is familiar with one of the key players involved, Lizette Reynolds, and is boggled. "But she seemed so smart..."

More newspaper editorials today. In keeping with my quest for alternative views, the University of Texas at Austin Daily Texas is more forgiving than most to intelligent design:
Darwin's theory of evolution may be just that - a theory, and as much of one as intelligent design - but scientifically, a theory is a call for questioning and synthesis, and a path toward tangible fact.
But that's as far as they'll go, still not supporting TEA's actions:
There are facts and there are suppositions, and as the TEA has proven, the former does not belong in the realm of political politesse. But the latter does not belong in our schools.
One in the International Herald-Tribune:
Surely the agency should not remain neutral on the central struggle between science and religion in the public schools. It should take a stand in favor of evolution as a central theory in modern biology.
Another in the Dallas Morning News:
Professional educators need assurance that no one aims to impose a religious agenda on students and require the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in science classes.

If Ms. Comer was incompetent, it's certainly not reflected by her 27-year career as a teacher and nine years of service as director of science. The impression we get is that her bosses were gunning for her, and the forwarded e-mail was the most expedient excuse they could find.

This action could not have sent a worse message to our state's educators, when we should be doing everything possible to encourage people to choose teaching as a career, not frightening or bullying them into leaving.
Incidentally, since all of this was set off by a presentation by Barbara Forrest, the website for Creationism's Trojan Horse, the book she co-authored has lots of resources and may be of interest.

No comments: