Monday, December 3, 2007

Evolution and Politics/Religion

We briefly discuss the battles between religion and science in my 1101 class, and I often cite the ongoing conflict regarding the teaching of evolution as evidence.

While I don't really want to wade into the "evolution debate" here, the termination of this Texas state science official merits a mention.

HOUSTON, Dec. 2 — After 27 years as a science teacher and 9 years as the Texas Education Agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer said she did not think she had to remain “neutral” about teaching the theory of evolution.

“It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law,” said Ms. Comer, citing the state’s science curriculum. "But now Ms. Comer, 56, of Austin, is out of a job, after forwarding an e-mail message on a talk about evolution and creationism — “a subject on which the agency must remain neutral,” according to a dismissal letter last month that accused her of various instances of “misconduct and insubordination” and of siding against creationism and the doctrine that life is the product of “intelligent design.”

I'm not sure what "remaining neutral" about evolution means, frankly. In Ms. Comer's position as the state's science curriculum director, her "remaining neutral" about evolution would be akin to "remaining neutral" about gravity or light. Or 2+2.

If a state wants to teach intelligent design or creationism as "science" and fire anyone who doesn't agree with such a tact, they are certainly free (and foolish) to do so. With a recent Harris Poll showing that only "42% of Americans believe in evolution" it seems to be what the vocal 58% of the people want.

But hiding behind "neutrality" and using that as some kind of evidence of "insubordination" is silly. And cowardly.

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