Friday, November 30, 2007

Now I'm Not Sure I Want to Live Here

I'm currently moving to my new place of residence in El Paso, Texas. It seemed all nice and good until I stumbled across the disturbing news that the director of science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency, Chris Comer, has been forced to resign because she forwarded an email annoucing a speech by Barbara Forrest, who is a philosopher of science and traces ID's connections to creationism.

Why was it so terrible to announce a speech by a reknowned scientist? Because a Baby Jesus lover who is offended by reality is the Chair of the State Board of Education. Dr. Don McLeroy is a well known advocate of Creationism and ID, and in September he put in place a policy where the TEA must remain neutral on evolution and ID. Obviously part of the new effort to quietly diminish evolution since creationists have been unable to force it out overtly.

Now, what was the offending email that cost Comer her job? Here's a copy of it (from The Austringer):


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

For further details, visit:

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools

Eugenie C. Scott’s Evolution vs. Creationism

NCSE’s work is supported by its members. Join today!


Hmm...I don't know if that warrants a firing. Tell me if I'm wrong.

I wonder if Ben Stein's new movie, Expelled, will talk about his. After all, this woman actually lost her job, unlike the Creationist hacks featured in the movie who simply couldn't get their papers published because they didn't have anything scientific in them. But I doubt it. Ben Stein is blinded by religion too, and the fact that supporters of evolution are having it worse wouldn't work to well in Stein's tale of Intelligent Design persecution.

What's worse is the TEA's proposed facilitator. (Sounds almost like a comic book villian, doesn't it...The Facilitator)

The State Board of Education (SBOE) has a proposal before it to hire a "facilitator" or "standards writing consultant" to write the standards document after workgroup members consisting of master teachers and university professors have initially written the initial standards document and after additional university professor experts review that standards document. One wonders why the initial writing and review are necessary when the facilitator will have complete freedom to write whatever he or she wants at the conclusion of the process.

One does wonder. Perhaps it's a way to put something in place that none of those experts would approve of? What's the point of even having all those experts? You might as well fire all of them too and just have a Bible to consult instead. After all, it has all the knowledge one really needs, right?

Anyway, we'll see what happens, but I certainly plan of living far from here before I have any kids.

For more information, read this report on the firing and information on the facilitator, both from the Texas Citizens for Science.


  1. IANAL, but I wonder if she could sue for wrongful dismissal.

  2. I feel your pain. They're starting to pull that stuff in Florida too. Really makes me want to move.

  3. I'm sure she can sue, but it might be hard since she resigned. If she had been fired, he case would be easier.