Pharyngula

Fear of Barbara Forrest

In the Dover trial, you got the palpable sense that the creationists were terrified of Barbara Forrest’s testimony. I did not know quite how deeply the dread was until today, though: the Texas director os science curriculum, Chris Comer, was pressured into resigning because she forwarded an e-mail announcing a talk by Barbara Forrest. One Lizzette Reynolds, Republican hack and senior advisor to the Texas Education Agency, was freaking horrified.

This is highly inappropriate. I believe this is an offense that calls for termination or, at the very least, reassignment of responsibilities.

Barbara Forrest is a philosopher of science with special expertise in creationism. Inappropriate? She’s exactly the kind of person boards of education ought to consult before going down the road of attempting to legislate religion into the public schools.

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.

Well, that’s honest, at least. I did assume that the Texas Education Agency would support science education. I guess I was wrong. The situation is really bad, though, if learning about science is a subject that gets the Texas Legislature upset.

This is the word from Chris Comer’s boss:

the forwarding of this event announcement by Ms. Comer, as the Director of Science, from her TEA email account constitutes much more than just sharing information. Ms. Comer’s 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. Thus, sending this email compromises the agency’s role in the TEKS revision process by creating the perception that TEA has a biased position on a subject directly related to the science education TEKS.

Whoa. The Texas Education Agency is neutral on the subject of teaching good science? It’s bad if the TEA takes a position on the subject of science education?

Apparently, TEA members are supposed to close their eyes and maximize ignorance before making decisions. I really feel sorry for Texas.

Otherwise, though, someone unleash Barbara Forrest and set her to smiting the creationists. It’s impressive the way they have this knee-jerk terror of her soft-spoken words.

(You can get more commentary on this issue from
TfK
and the
Austringer.)

Comments

  1. #1 B DeBruler
    July 3, 2008

    I love the “Mr. Gumby” backdrop in the quoted sections. It fits well with the intellectual level of the comments in those sections.

    Funny how Monty Python stays so relevant over time.

  2. #2 Steven Dunlap
    July 3, 2008

    How does one maintain neutrality when facts and evidence are biased?

  3. #3 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 4, 2008

    B DeBruler, #124: “Funny how Monty Python stays so relevant over time.”

    And why not? All great art and literature is timeless and eternally relevant. Memes of relevance persist. The rest is schlock.

  4. #4 J-F Letourneau
    March 15, 2009

    O tempus, o mores texaniorum! Vae sapientibus!