Friday, November 30, 2007

Texas Education Ebbs Towards Creationism

Chris Comer, the director of science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency, has resigned due to pressure over an email she wrote. The email promoted a talk to be given by Southeastern Louisiana University philosophy of science professor Barbera Forrest, whom some of you may remember from the Dover intelligent design trial. Barbera was the key to demonstrating the evolution of creationism, so to speak, by finding the missing link: the cdesign proponentsists.

This email, it seems, violated a policy of the TEA, namely remaining neutral between evolution and creationism. Excuse me? The director of science education must remain neutral between science and not science? Sending an email announcing a talk by a supporter of good science education sounds like something well within the purview of a director of science in an educational agency. The content of the email itself must have been far more offensive than we know, right?

...Fortunately we can test that. Via Pharyngula we have the content of the very email right here.

To: Glenn Branch
From: Glenn Branch
Subject: Barbara Forrest in Austin 11/2
Bcc: [redacted]

Dear Austin-area friends of NCSE,

I thought that you might like to know that Barbara Forrest will be speaking on "Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse" in Austin on November 2, 2007. Her talk, sponsored by the Center for Inquiry Austin, begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Monarch Event Center, Suite 3100, 6406 North IH-35 in Austin. The cost is $6; free to friends of the Center.

In her talk, Forrest will provide a detailed report on her expert testimony in the Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board trial as well as an overview of the history of the "intelligent design" movement. Forrest is a Professor of Philosophy in the Department of History and Political Science at Southeastern Louisiana University; she is also a member of NCSE's board of directors.

For further details, visit:

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
Wow. Powerful stuff. I can see why that's a firing offense.

For further reading, see a comprehensive article by the Texas Citizens for Science, the first article on the subject I read from Pharyngula, and also Steve Novella wrote a bit about this.

I'll be sure to keep my eye on this case; I have a feeling that it's far from over.

On a slightly related note, here's a fun poll.