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Texas Science Director Forced To Resign Over ID Statements

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the best-state-to-get-edumacated dept.

United States 984

jeffporcaro writes "Texas' Director of Science Curriculum was 'forced to step down' for favoring evolution over intelligent design (ID). She apparently circulated an e-mail that was critical of ID — although state regulations require her not to have any opinion 'on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral.' 'The agency documents say that officials recommended firing Ms. Comer for repeated acts of misconduct and insubordination. The officials said forwarding the e-mail message conflicted with her job responsibilities and violated a directive that she not communicate with anyone outside the agency regarding a pending science curriculum review.'"

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how, exactly (4, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542491)

does one perform a scientific review of religion? either believe or not, there is no science. that's why they call it faith.

Re:how, exactly (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542511)

No, no. The curriculum review that they are talking about goes something like this: if science and the Scriptures differ, then it must be science that is in error.

Re:how, exactly (0, Troll)

grolschie (610666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542563)

ID is the study of the design. It's science, much like forensics, etc. It's not the study of the designer, which is definitely within the realm of religion, philosophy, art, etc.

Re:how, exactly (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542619)

Thanks for proving the OPs point: ID supporters don't understand what science is, and they don't understand why ID isn't one.

Cliff notes: you can't have a "science" that studies "the design" without first positing that there is a designer. That's where ID becomes a religion, and non-scientific. This should not be a complex subject for anyone who was awake during High School science.

Re:how, exactly (4, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542565)

I think it goes like this "Oh, I can't explain how life began. I think God must have done it".

Biggest cop-out excuse ever.

Evolution is proven as far as I'm concerned, we see how micro-organisms become resistant to anti-biotics. This can't be god stepping in and changing them just so someone's ageing relative dies.

If god is in control of everything then why is it the most religious countries get hit with major earthquakes, flooding and tsunamis?

Re:how, exactly (4, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542837)

"If god is in control of everything then why is it the most religious countries get hit with major earthquakes, flooding and tsunamis?"

Easy.. to test their faith.. see if they're truly worthy. Those that aren't religious are going to hell anyway.

That's the fun thing about most religions - you can easily explain everything away as a whim of a/the god(s). Something good happens? Praise God. Something bad happens? Maybe not praise God, but at least accept that it was 'His' will and he moves in mysterious ways for the greater good and all that.

Assume we take evolution as fact - then after discarding the whole Adam&Eve bit, the religious can easily drop back to "but God -designed- evolution". There's your ID right there.

In the end, even if you can explain every single thing except the "why did the big bang happen?" (assuming the big bang theory is the correct one), then the religious can still say "God made it, and therefore everything, happen".

Re:how, exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542857)

If god is in control of everything then why is it the most religious countries get hit with major earthquakes, flooding and tsunamis?
To test your faith and punish the wicked of course!
If you survive then you need to consider it a warning.. better start praying harder and/or donating more of your money.

Re:how, exactly (4, Funny)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542859)

If god is in control of everything then why is it the most religious countries get hit with major earthquakes, flooding and tsunamis?
Because they are being punished for workshipping the wrong god. Don't you know that if you worship the wrong god you will be punished severly because the one thing god hates most is betrayal. Unfortunately all the information about the one true god was lost 1000s of years ago, so since then everyone who worships a god goes to the severest depths of hell. Your safest option is to be an atheist - the punishment is less severe.

Re:how, exactly (4, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542883)

While I agree with you 100%, be prepared for anti-evolutionists who talk about micro-evolution vs macro-evolution. They rightfully argue that there is a big difference; micro-evolution is a population changing (e.g. a bacteria becoming resistant to a drug), whereas macro evolution is a species branching off from another.

A simple understanding of Darwinism makes it clear that the latter definition of evolution is critical to Darwin's theories. You can't simply point to changes in a specific population from the greater species - you need to show evidence that that population has become a distinct species "evolves" separately.

Re:how, exactly (4, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542895)

If god is in control of everything then why is it the most religious countries get hit with major earthquakes, flooding and tsunamis?

Homer said it best when whe decided NOT to go to church anymore every week:

And what if we picked the wrong religion? Every week, we're just making God madder and madder!

-- Homer, ``Homer the Heretic''

Re:how, exactly (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542911)

Because God is getting pissed for being bothered by every single piece of crap that happens down here.

He obviously worked in tech support before achiving divine status.

Re:how, exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542919)

If god really IS in control of everything, then isent evolution part of his Plan(tm)?

Re:how, exactly (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542663)

No one's talking about testing faith with science. The problem is that certain people -- including, apparently, the Texas Education Agency -- keep trying to test science by the standards of their faith.

Re:how, exactly (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542691)

It is a field of anthropology. One could call it Anthropology of religion [wikipedia.org] but it is difficult to isolate it from other fields of anthropology.

Of course religious types usually don't like their conclusions and tone that don't favor any religion over the other.

Form a hypothesis ... (5, Insightful)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542769)

test it, if it succeeds publish, peer review the results, repeat the experiments, if it fails maybe form another hypothesis

There's a scientific method - you can apply it to religion - if it doesn't work you get to call religion 'bunk'

ID may be a hypothesis - it's allowed to be that - but the people who put it up need to come up with some experiments to prove their hypothesis if they want respect of other scientists and if they want their hypothesis to be taught as 'science' - otherwise it's just an idea that hasn't been proven

The problem of course is that approaching religion like this upsets a lot of religious people - largely I think because this sort of approach has tended to upset apple carts over the centuries - doesn't mean you should stop doing it though

Science curriculum (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542493)

Since ID is not science, it is not an issue she should have remained neutral on, because it has nothing to do with the board.

Re:Science curriculum (4, Insightful)

dabadab (126782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542575)

Since ID is not a science but poses as one, it has a lot to do with the board and it was absolutely right that she did not remain neutral.

Re:Science curriculum (3, Insightful)

Tom90deg (1190691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542687)

One thing that I've always noticed with my dealings and philosophy classes with ID or any sort of argument that attempts to prove the scientific existence of "A creator" is two things. First, it's like arguing with a brick wall. My favorite response to people who hold to ID is this. "I believe that God created the whole universe 5 minutes ago, with everyone already in place, and all their memories in place, so they THINK that they've been here longer. But the truth is that the whole universe started 5 minutes ago." You can't argue with that statement, except for the fact that it's ridiculous, but logicaly, it can't be proven wrong, and, in accordance to a lot of the ID "teachings" that I've seen, if it can't be proven wrong, it's true. Secondly, it's plan and simple bad science. It's science that attempts to explain something that by definition is unexplainable. Take, for example the Force, from Star Wars. What was the almost universal reaction when it turns out that it's not some kinda mystical force, but tiny parasites living in your blood? From what I've seen, people were upset and angry that they explained away all the mysticalisim. To wrap things up, I'm not saying that religion is wrong, that's a debate for another time and place. But there are certan areas that religion should not go. I'm in Med school now, and one thing that keeps me up at night sometimes is what I would do if a small child was brought into the ER and the parents refuse to allow me to treat the kid. As they say, everything in moderation, including moderation.

Re:Science curriculum (4, Insightful)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542753)

The fundamental problem is that IDers and creationists are trying to argue their points a priori while evolutionists are trying to argue a posteriori. The IDers and creationists assume their hypothesis is true (that God created the universe as dictated by the Scriptures) and then carry that to its logical conclusion (usually). The evolutionists respond with an inductive argument by saying that scientific evidence indicates that there is a very high probability that the theory of evolution is correct.

In effect, they are both talking past each others heads. The only way to attack the IDers and creationists is to question their central axiom. Of course, that is unquestionable. They in return can hammer at the scientific evidence and pick at gaps and make misinterpretations as long as they want. As far as a creationist is concerned they are solving a math problem when they already have the answer book--the method that they use to get to the conclusion isn't really that important.

But, say that you do fill in all the gaps and correct their misinterpretations--will you convince them?

Of course not. They will then turn to David Hume's classic argument that there is no reason whatsoever that anybody should trust the results of inductive reasoning (i.e. they will say that evolution can never really be proved).

At this time, both parties will leave exasperated that the other doesn't understand their argument.

The Church of Filet Mignon (3, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542725)

I remember watching a TV documentary years ago about how prisons have to make reasonable accommodations for the religious beliefs of prisoners. Some warden was talking about the bizarre religions and religious practices that the prisoners try to get away with, like the guy who said he belonged to the "Church of Filet Mignon" and needed to eat filet mignon every night for dinner. That was a contrived religion crafted for nonreligious purposes.

Intelligent Design is a contrived scientific theory crafted for nonscientific purposes. It's the scientific equivalent of the Church of Filet Mignon.

But where to draw the line? (2, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542873)

Sure, the Church of Filet Mignon is bogus - nobody's going to argue with that, I'd imagine.

That said, say I believe there are 3 gods, and to honor those gods I must sing melodic song in their praise every morning at sunrise. Not too far-fetched, I hope.. however, I can't identify with any of the major religions out there. So if I were to end up in such a prison, they'd go over the list of 'recognized' religions, say mine's not on it, and tell me to stfu when I do my singing.

Remember the 'Jedi' religion answer on census inquiries in the UK, Australia and other countries? There was fairly massive response from that, with Jedi ranking -above- Buddhism and Hindu in New Zealand in a census poll. As it was a census poll only, that didn't automatically make it a 'recognized' religion - but be darned if any of the reports from the time mention how one might actually do such a thing. I can't even find where one might apply for 'recognized' religion, what the minimum requirements are, or anything of the sort.

But even without having a 'recognized' religion - who is to say my religion is less valid than e.g. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.?

Re:But where to draw the line? (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542909)

But even without having a 'recognized' religion - who is to say my religion is less valid than e.g. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.?
That would be the Christians, Islamics, Judists(?), and Buddists :}

Re:Science curriculum (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542731)

If she stayed neutral on this scam she would not be a scientist. On the other hand, if americans really want a theocrazy,... We up here in the frozen North take your discarded scientists.

Re:Science curriculum (2, Insightful)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542821)

Excellent, that's what I'd just started browsing to post.

Her position needs her to be impartial on scientific matters, and religion is NOT a scientific matter.

Sounds like she did an excellent job, they only didn't fire her because she could have rightly sued for unfair "creative" dismissal.

What the!?!?!?! (2, Interesting)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542505)

How can you remain neutral on such a topic? You either believe one way or the other.

It's nice how they call it "design" implying that there is actually some science behind the whole thing.

Re:What the!?!?!?! (0, Offtopic)

grolschie (610666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542555)

It is my personal opinion that most Origin of Life theories and the belief in Universal Common Descent take more faith to believe in than ID. It is exactly as you say "You either believe one way or the other." Just my $0.02.

Re:What the!?!?!?! (1, Insightful)

jx100 (453615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542567)

Why exactly does it require less faith to believe in an entity that has not been proven to exist versus to believe that the basic rules by which all biological creatures live have not changed?

Re:What the!?!?!?! (5, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542623)

Why exactly does it require less faith...to believe that the basic rules by which all biological creatures live have not changed?


It doesn't require any faith at all, nobody asks for faith that biology or the rules it follows is constant. That's why we run actual experiments and take actual measurements, to see if they are constant or not. For several thousand years biology has proven remarkably consistent, but if you were to come up with evidence tomorrow that showed biology was different at some point in the past, you'd win the Nobel Prize. No faith required.

Re:What the!?!?!?! (1)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542897)

You say "we" but how many of those experiments have you run? How many did you witness? Ok, so you watched a baking soda volcano in science class, I'm positive that you must have had independent verification that your senses are acurate right? What?!?! You don't even know if those are realiable?

you take a lot of things on faith.

Re:What the!?!?!?! (2, Informative)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542581)

Except science could change at any time with new research. Right now, that's the best idea we've got so we go with it. It was reached by the Scientific Method, not at random. When something better comes along, we admit we didn't have it all right the first time and change our ideas. Science also is able to tolerate the concept that, "We just don't fully understand this yet, but we'll keep working on it until we do."--Religion claims to have all the answers you'll ever need and they're perfect and they will never change. The body of knowledge created by the scientific method is constantly changing, theism is a static world view.

So yes, right now we think certain things are true, but with new evidence tomorrow it might be something totally different. You don't hear religious people talking like that.

Re:What the!?!?!?! (4, Insightful)

mha (1305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542643)

Wrong. Established and proven science does NOT change. Newton's laws remained correct long after proven "wrong". The model you use to describe something depends on WHAT you want to show. Newton is sufficient for "every day physics", there's no need to use cannons (theory of relativity, quantum theory) when calculating movements e.g. of an airplane on earth.

Same with everything else incl. evolution. Evolution HAS been proven. Sure, it IS possible (and likely) that other ideas are found in areas where theory of evolution is weak right now, but that won't invalidate already existing experiments and data!

So yes, you always find something new, but if you successfully used a theory to predict something and it reliably works all the time those experiments continue to work even after new stuff is found. It's just that new theories may be better at explaining MORE, but once proven to work - and that means that predictions made using the theory reliably turn out right each time, whoever does the experiment - continue to do so. Even though Newton is "wrong" he's still right, it only depends on if you want to try to explain more stuff with it than originally intended, which is when it fails and relativity and quantum theories may be better suited. When the airplane was invented the arguments of the nay-sayers who said it's impossible were NOT proven wrong. They simply found another way AROUND the issues they had raised. That doesn't invalidate the physics of the scepticts, it merely extends it!

Re:What the!?!?!?! (2, Insightful)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542647)

> the scientific method is constantly changing, theism is a static world view.

That is actually not true. The church admitted few years ago that Sun is the center of our solar system, not Earth as it was bulieved. Also few years ago in my country, women could operate as priests, which had been long forbidden.

So the theism also evolves. Religion is changed when they notice that people won't tolerate or bulieve the old story any more. First the stories in Bible are literal. After sciense proves them wrong, they became metaphoras or just stories that try to teach us some lesson, or they are simply interpreted differently.

Re:What the!?!?!?! (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542625)

Evolution is not an "origin of life" theory. Evolution describes a stochastic process of change, specialization, and, eventually, speciation. These processes are directly observable in numerous systems, but the concept has its origins (no pun intended) in biology. The goals of intelligent design are similar to evolution in that ID seeks to provide "force" behind biological adaptation but goes further (or perhaps recedes a bit) in that it removes the stochastic component of evolution and replaces it with supernatural powers. An unfortunate byproduct of ID is that it paves the way for creationism. Objectively, however, creationism and evolution are not necessarily at odds as they describe distinct processes.

Re:What the!?!?!?! (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542845)

Objectively, however, creationism and evolution are not necessarily at odds as they describe distinct processes.

The Pope has recently acknowledged this very fact. I do not recall the exact arguments they used but basically God created the whole shebang and the "free will" part that the bible says we have let the rest happen.

Re:What the!?!?!?! (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542615)

How can you be neutral on any subject you have a belief on all you can do is fake neutrality

Probably Justified (2, Interesting)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542507)

Most rational people would not want creationists at a government agency endorsing their position. So it makes sense to squelch any formal debate, even if it means offering up a sacrificial lamb, so to speak.

Re:Probably Justified (3, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542601)

Most rational people wouldn't elect someone to public office who openly claims to psychically commune with an imaginary friend when he needs guidance on making a decision.

But by my definition, a majority of US citizens aren't rational people!

Re:Probably Justified (2, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542645)

....Duh. I have never seen any evidence which indicates that the majority of Americans are rational at any level.
9/11 is a perfect example.

Its in your bloody constitiution that ID is illegal in schools.
Yet there is a review to see if they should ignore it or not.

If you feel your a rational person then my advice is to get the hell out of there asap.
Australia is a nice place. :)

Re:Probably Justified (2, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542715)

Yes, 9/11 was an absolute tragedy, but the greater trouble is how it has been used by the right wing in this country as the center piece of their fear mongering campaign to try and get voters to rally around the Republican "protectors". This religious nonsense is a side effect of them being in power, they get to push their "faith based" legislation through all the levels of government. It is an insult to our democracy.

I actually do plan on leaving the US and relocating permanently to New Zealand as soon as it is feasible for me to do so. I can pretty much do my job from anywhere there is an internet connection, and I heard the kiwis just got that working recently.

Re:Probably Justified (1)

Ugly American (885937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542823)

Its in your bloody constitiution that ID is illegal in schools.

Ah, but this time they won't be trying to "teach ID." If the latest change in direction from the Discovery Institute is any indication, the creationists in TEA will be pushing for "critical analysis" of evolution (where "critical analysis" means "adding long-discredited creationist arguments against evolution to the curriculum as if they constituted legitimate 'weaknesses' of evolutionary theory.") It's a BS tactic and any judge with a brain should be able to see right through it, but with the current composition of the Supreme Court, that means they have a non-zero chance of succeeding.

Re:Probably Justified (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542869)

Most rational people wouldn't elect someone to public office who openly claims to psychically commune with an imaginary friend when he needs guidance on making a decision.

But by my definition, a majority of US citizens aren't rational people!
Some would argue that it isn't a majority...

Re:Probably Justified (3, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542659)

Most rational people would not want creationists at a government agency endorsing their position. So it makes sense to squelch any formal debate, even if it means offering up a sacrificial lamb, so to speak.

That assumes a false equivalence between religion and science. Those rational people should recognize that pushing a particular religious belief into policy is a violation of church-state separation in a way that simply promulgating a scientific curriculum never was. The fact that some religion has a doctrinal problem with a scientific finding is neither here nor there as far as science and education policy is concerned. A faith that cannot survive a collision with the truth is not worth many regrets. But when we start withholding information from students because of someone's goofy interpretation of his religion's mythology, then we have a problem. And "teaching the controversy" like Texas does, with a neutral presentation of both the truth and crap without saying which is which, is withholding information from students.

The email in question: (5, Informative)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542913)

To: Glenn Branch
From: Glenn Branch
Subject: Barbara Forrest in Austin 11/2
Cc:
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: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/austin/events/barbara_forrest_inside_creationisms_trojan_horse_lecture/ [centerforinquiry.net]

Sincerely,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509

A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (5, Funny)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542513)

How is that possible? Next we'll be hearing that someone has been fired for favouring gravitational theory over the possibility that apples fall to the ground merely because they love the ground, want to be near it, cherish it, and make friends with it...

What a stupid bunch of primitives...l

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542583)

How is that possible? Next we'll be hearing that someone has been fired for favouring gravitational theory over the possibility that apples fall to the ground merely because they love the ground, want to be near it, cherish it, and make friends with it...
How Aristotelian (well, not quite but close).

I think many Christians would welcome a return to Aristotelian thinking: there is no evolution, Big Bang, ancient geology, heliocentric cosmology, or any other annoying fact that interfere with a clear understanding of the Lord's Word (at least according to the Christian interpretation of his works). And with Aristotelian natural philosophy, there would be no need to perform experiments since they don't actually describe the natural world and only give false knowledge. It would be like a return to the Middle Ages--the Good Times.

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542635)

I dont know about you but when you teach kid that the scientific process is wrong(by getting rid of evolution) you will only make understanding it harder for them so less and less people will enjoy a science career. When that happens the death rate on WoW will be higher than the birth rate then we will have a major problem on our hands No Noobs to kill in raids.

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542585)

Interestingly, that's how the 4 classic elements worked. They head towards where they belong. The fire element heads towards the sun, the air element joins the air in the atmosphere, the water element flows towards streams and rivers and eventually to the sea and the earth element heads towards earth.

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542673)

Interestingly, that's how the 4 classic elements worked. They head towards where they belong. The fire element heads towards the sun, the air element joins the air in the atmosphere, the water element flows towards streams and rivers and eventually to the sea and the earth element heads towards earth.
It depends on the philosopher. If you are citing Aristotle's view (the most common view) then you would say that earth and water have gravity and air and fire have levity. There are 3 concentric spherical shells surrounding a sphere in the sublunar world. The innermost sphere is earth, followed by a concentric spherical shell of water. Earth sinks in water since it has more gravity than water. Outside of water is the spherical shell of air and outside of that is the spherical shell of fire. Fire will rise in air because it has more levity. Outside of this (past the Moon) exists the perfect cosmos which contains the Sun, the planets and stars and is made of the fifth element: ether or quintessence. The sublunar region (the imperfect world) allows objects to move either up or down by natural motion. Outside the sublunar region the ether moves (with more spherical shells) in perfect circles (the most perfect type of motion). Every object or element has some potential--where it strives to be. Earth strives to sink down into the Earth sphere and fire strives to go outwards to the fire concentric spherical shell. Seeds strive to become trees and puppies strive to become dogs. It is important to separate this natural motion or action of various things to violent motion, which is motion forced by humans. This violent motion doesn't describe the world and gives false knowledge, thus it is useless to try to perform an experiment to understand how the world works. The best you can do is observe natural motion.

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542593)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't gravity a law? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_universal_gravitation [wikipedia.org]

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542719)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't gravity a law? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_universal_gravitation [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]


If you read the page you linked to, you'll see that Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation is the equation Newton came up with. Gravity itself is still a theory (theories).

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542679)

This is all an attempt to get Hogwarts moved to Texas. No-one there could have anything against a school dedicated to pure and applied magic.

I imagine the only objection they could have against a school dedicated to Satan would be the human sacrifices in the Summoning lessons, or would that be ok because of the rules pertaining to freedom of expression of religion?

That particular sword cuts more than one way.

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542733)

Deeesgusting! The nerve of those apples, when the ground is already happily married to a pear! Where have our physics traditions gone? Deeesgusting!

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542813)

favouring gravitational theory over the possibility that apples fall to the ground merely because they love the ground, want to be near it, cherish it, and make friends with it...

Don't give them ideas.

Re:A scientific opinion on a religious myth? (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542861)

so, now all we really need is a unified field theory that reconciles gravity and love as being one and the same... calling dr. Hawking...

Chris Comer is his name.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542523)

and he is now my personal hero. When people make a sacrifice for what they believe in, that's real courage.

Re:Chris Comer is /her/ name.... (1)

ispeters (621097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542617)

Chris Comer is, according to TFA, a woman, not a man.

Ian

Re:Chris Comer is his name.... (1)

counterfriction (934292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542631)

One might find, after reading the full summary, that Chris Comer is actually a she.

Intelligent Design is an important theory... (5, Funny)

Jace Harker (814866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542525)

...just as important as the Theory of Intelligent Falling [theonion.com] .

Re:Intelligent Design is an important theory... (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542677)

He makes very good points, such as:
"there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise"

And he also have very good evidence to backup his ideas:
"Let's take a look at the evidence," said ECFR senior fellow Gregory Lunsden."In Matthew 15:14, Jesus says, 'And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' He says nothing about some gravity making them fall--just that they will fall. Then, in Job 5:7, we read, 'But mankind is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards.' If gravity is pulling everything down, why do the sparks fly upwards with great surety?

Re:Intelligent Design is an important theory... (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542865)

Do they? When I do something really wrong they fly everywhere.

So how do Americans get to fire officials? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542527)

What can Americans do to get officials like that fired? Where does their job come under review, and how can they be sacked & sent to the dumpster?

texas... the wave of the future (0)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542529)

'The agency documents say that officials recommended firing Ms. Comer for repeated acts of misconduct and insubordination.

They neglect to mention that the reason she was fired was because she refused to certify "Ow My Balls" as a required reference in Anatomy classes.

Beginning of End (5, Insightful)

louzer (1006689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542539)

I think this is another huge signpost that even in our modern era, ultra-powerful empires fall prey to their own delusional spin and slowly disintegrate into a drooling heap of superstition. This is the dying of the US as a superpower..

Re:Beginning of End (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542627)

Fuck that. I took a foreign language in college (two if you count LISP) and I'll bail on this government before it bails on me... wait... drat... guess its already time to leave since I was one of the ones who went to college...
America has a real problem nowadays with not liking smart people and it will kill our country.

Re:Beginning of End (2, Insightful)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542783)

You don't have to be smart to believe in science. However, you have to be really stupid to believe in ID.

So, I guess, Texas is full of stupid people, and Chuck Norris!

Opinions are irrelevant? (2, Insightful)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542591)

She was fired for having an opinion. Amazing. Correct me if I am wrong, but does it not require an opinion on a matter to better a system, to move forward so that we do not stagnate?

I mean, someone at some point had to assert an opinion to put (un)intelligent design at the top of the chain. Was that person fired?

This whole country is going right down the shitter because of policies like this. I also believe that draconian enforcement of this ilk is what causes people to be even louder and more obnoxious about their perspectives. This is a one-upmanship power struggle.

What was Leia's comment to Tarkin?

Re:Opinions are irrelevant? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542621)

What was Leia's comment to Tarkin?
...I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board?

Oh, wait, no, the other one.

There's compelling proof against evolution (5, Funny)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542653)

It's called "The Texas Education Agency."


Timmy! I told you to stop petting that dinosaur!

Re:There's compelling proof against evolution (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542829)

but just as compelling proof against intelligent.

I believe its time to rethink these theories. Maybe we can discuss this over a nice hot plate of pasta.

Stupid Lady (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542655)



Stupid lady. How life began is already documented fully in the Bible. See, there was Adam. From Adam (his rib) became Eve. From there, Cain then Abel. Then Cain got it on with his mother (he was the first motherfucker!) and begat ... read the book! See the movie! Become like one of us! not one of THEM !!

Intolerance (-1, Troll)

mckeefarley (588878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542669)

Wow. Some great comments already. It goes to show that geeks can be as intolerant as anybody else. Let's change this story a little:

"Texas' Director of Science Curriculum was 'forced to step down' for favoring inelligent design (ID) over evolution. She apparently circulated an e-mail that was critical of evolution -- although state regulations require her not to have any opinion 'on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral.'

I can hear the cheers already. Some people really need to accept that it's okay for others to beleive in ID, and let them. Should this employee have been sharing opinions on the subject with co-workers? Probably not.

If you want my opinion, and for a shameless plug, I wrote about this subject just yesterday:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=21951148&blogID=333457920 [myspace.com]

Re:Intolerance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542699)

yes its fine to BELIEVE god created everything your more than welcome to any delusion you want.

DON'T CALL IT SCIENCE.

ID belongs in the church, Darwin belongs in the class room.

I'm not pisses because stupid people believe stupid shit, I'm pissed because these same stupid people want to teach that stupid shit to our children as the way the world really works.

Re:Intolerance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542701)

It's ok for people to believe what ever they want, but this was about the teaching of science and ID has no place in it.

Re:Intolerance (4, Informative)

BinaryOpty (736955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542721)

A major difference in scenarios is that if a science director was parading ID around (a most unscientific theory) people would expect them to be fired based on the fact they are in a job they are not qualified for. Firing someone for doing their job and supporting what is theory by science over what is purely faith based is why people are up in arms about this.

If you wanted to rail on slashdot posters about this story you could have nit picked and pointed out she was fired for not following policy and that said firing is not really about her favoring evolution over ID, at least at the outermost level.

Re:Intolerance (1)

mckeefarley (588878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542785)

Let's be clear. What I'm "railing" on is the elitist position that posters take over people beleiving in ID/creationism. "God does not play dice." But you know, all creationists are idiots.

Re:Intolerance (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542729)

They can believe anything they want to believe. However concocting some bullshit scam to teach religion in science classes in public schools is unacceptable and unconstitutional.

FYI (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542777)

"Texas' Director of Science Curriculum was 'forced to step down' for favoring inelligent design (ID) over evolution. She apparently circulated an e-mail that was critical of evolution -- although state regulations require her not to have any opinion 'on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral.'

I can hear the cheers already. Some people really need to accept that it's okay for others to beleive in ID, and let them. Should this employee have been sharing opinions on the subject with co-workers? Probably not.


From the Austin-American Statesman: [statesman.com]

Comer was put on 30 days paid administrative leave shortly after she forwarded an e-mail in late October announcing a presentation being given by Barbara Forrest, author of "Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse," a book that says creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools. Forrest was also a key witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case concerning the introduction of intelligent design in a Pennsylvania school district. Comer sent the e-mail to several individuals and a few online communities, saying, "FYI."
Forwarding an email to several coworkers with "FYI" hardly fits your hysterical description.

Re:Intolerance (4, Insightful)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542779)

Intolerance?

Any person not believing in the basic scientific principles which are the underpinnings of evolution is simply NOT QUALIFIED to hold any position which is in charge of establishing the curriculum to teach said principles.

In your example, the person in question most certainly should be fired as they are not qualified to hold the position -- just as you would fire a salesman for disparaging the product he's been hired to sell. If you believe science is a bunch of hooey, you shouldn't be in charge of how children are taught science. That's just common sense.

In the REAL situation, however,someone is being fired who is perfectly fired -- even suited -- to the job in question.

In short, your comparison is stupid.

No it is NOT okay for you to believe in ID (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542789)

There is the truth and there is fairy tales, shiver for the darkness in the cellar all you want, but keep your pathetic childhood fantasies to yourselve and out of real life.

ID is idiotic, even as an insane theory it contradicts itself, lies and just plain does NOT make sense.

Believing in ID is like believing in fortune telling, tarot cards and all that mumbo jumbo. Believe in Santa Claus all you want but I do not want you in a position of leadership of any kind if you do.

Does anyone really want say a president who believes for a second that Santa Claus exists and you could therefor fix your national debt by being nice all year? Offcourse not, yet we have had leaders who consulted "the stars" for their decisions, or worse listened to "god". Fine, meditate all you want, but the moment you claim to hear actual voices, it is time for the men in the white coats.

Evolution is a theory, but ID is bunk, a fairy tale for those who can't accept that we are so much walking meat. Believe in god all you want, some fine people (and lot more crazies) but stop trying to fit science into it. It don't work, pure common sense makes it impossible.

Would you also fire this person if she dared to question wether Santa Claus was real. Ssssh, better not tell anyone that the easter bunny don't really exist. Keep your demented ideas out of my real world.

Tolerate your kind? Sure, like I tolerate the crazy who walks through the city muttering at everyone. You are free to life, just don't try to influence a single aspect of my life because you are insane.

And if this sounds trollish or like flamebait, try to picture just how serious this is. The above poster SERIOUSLY believes that the earth is a few thousand years old, that dinosaurs and man lived happily together, that dinosaurs weren't meat eaters. Do you REALLY want someone that delusional in a position of authority?

Change GOD and Jesus Christ and all that with say Greys and Area 51. While it may make for some intresting stories, do you REALLY want someone who truly believes in that to run your life?

I am NOT talking about someone who thinks their might be alien life, just the same as I am not talking about those who believe in a god, I am talking about people who absolutly believe the most insane theories regardless of evidence or common sense. Would you really want a future leader who reads tarot cards or thinks horoscopes should guide national policy?

Remember that story about the single crossing of the bering strait a while back? That deals with a far longer timespan then ID allows, do you really want to defend a person who was going "LALALALA" with his fingers in his ears to ignore that story?

He asks for tolerance, ask yourselve what you are being tolerant too. It is one thing to do "yes small child, there really is Santa Claus" and quite another to say "Yes Mr President, there really is a Santa Claus".

Re:Intolerance (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542793)

Director of Science Curriculum believing in Evolution over ID = Good
Director of Science Curriculum believing in ID over Evolution = Bad

Just as churches would get pissed if people started demanding that Evolution was taught in sermons, it has no place there.

Re:Intolerance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542825)

That's because "beliefs" and "faith" aren't science. The whole point of science is to explain the world around us by making observations and gathering evidence. Unless you have some observable evidence that an invisible, all powerful spirit made the universe, it doesn't exist as far as science is concerned.

By all means, believe in "intelligent design" if you want to. But it's not science, and saying it is makes you look like an idiot.

scrary (1)

grrrgrrr (945173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542689)

The first thing that must change in the US is the taxation and funding of churches. What I find scary is that there is this extremely right wing close to fascist political movement that is having a lot of influence on people that go to very well funded churches often for all kind of reasons but surely not political. Does the leadership of that movement really care about ID or is it just a probe to see how far the influence of their propaganda goes?

USA, please! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542693)

The rest of the civilized world is laughing/wondering what the hell you are doing. Please stop this now.

Re:USA, please! (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542757)

nah leave them be, since theres no evolution we americans dont have to worry about other cultures/countries "evolving"/getting ahead of us in many areas! right?

summary wrong, as usual (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542713)

She apparently circulated an e-mail that was critical of ID

Not according to TFA.

The move came shortly after she forwarded an e-mail message announcing a presentation by Barbara Forrest, an author of Creationisms Trojan Horse. The book argues that creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools. Ms. Comer sent the message to several people and a few online communities.
Now one might certainly deduce that she wasn't enamoured with ID, but she did not "apparently" criticise ID. She announced a talk by someone who probably does, though. Which is not the same thing as stating it was her opinion.

How anyone can argue with a straight face that ID is anything but "Creationism in a new suit" is beyond me. Every single ID proponent was, and I'm sure still is, a Creationist. Their literature has been shown to be creationist tracts with a search-and-replace applied.

It's good ole Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542723)

and all the people commenting on this thread will be shot.

Mr. Lincoln (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542747)

we can't seem to find you anywhere..

"Intelligent Design" (ID) has no credibility or place in any society anyway.

Keep in mind that "Intelligent Design" has already been exposed and refuted as religion in a new disguise, carefully crafted by lawyers.

Need proof? Remember the case in Dover, Pennsylvania?
No? Refresh your memory then, citizen:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/program.html [pbs.org]

(Don't care about production values? Read the transcripts.)

Please explain (5, Insightful)

Cannelloni (969195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542751)

Can somebody please explain what the heck is going on? I do NOT mean to offend any Americans, far from it (and if I offend someone, I offer my sincere apologies), but something lite this could only happen in the US, or some other country where religious fundamentalism is prevalent . It would be nice if the human species could mature enough to finally cast away superstition and belief and embrace empirical proof and verifiable knowledge. We are not little children. We are grown-ups who have functional and rational brains. And we are naturally tolerant. At least most of us. "Intelligent Design" is a belief, or a rejection of the legitimacy of logical thought, not a science, and not verifiable in any way. In my opinion it should therefore NOT be sponsored by any government body or public institution or policy.

Re:Please explain (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542901)

It would be nice if the human species could mature enough to finally cast away superstition and belief and embrace empirical proof and verifiable knowledge. We are not little children. We are grown-ups who have functional and rational brains.

Part of the problem is that the society expects so little from those who make it up...but what happens is the same thing which happens when your pet hears thunder & dives/hides under the bed to escape that which they can not understand. The problem is that those who believe in ID have never been taught how to reason or function without being told there is a "boogey man" who will send you to a place separate from him/her for eternity. Much easier to explain the "boogey man" than to discover why thunder happens. Issues like this is too complex for simple creatures who can't understand the difference between their "boogey man" & whatever God/Creator may have made the universe.

Yay... (1)

CharlesSaint007 (989002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542755)

Dover!

I AM NEUTRAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542759)

but what would Jesus have done?

Evolution seems to have been reversed... (1)

DrFruit (1178261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542761)

I remember how shocked I was as a kid to learn about the way great minds like Galileo Galilei were once prosecuted for showing signs of intelligence and not accepting stupidity sold as the word of god. And how relieved I was about the progress humankind had made since. Little did I know that I would live to see the day when talking chimps rule the world, or at least the USA, and anyone demonstrating signs of intelligence is suspect again.

Almost 2008 (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542767)

It also said she had complained that "there was no real leadership at the agency."

Apparently not, if they're still debating ID. And how can an agency that supposedly oversees a science curriculum remain neutral about this absurd and obvious political\cultural attack on science?

If the leaders of The Texas Education Agency understand the nature of science in the least, they would be able to dismiss ID with a cursory review. The people of Texas should demand a whole slew of resignations from these embedded political hacks protecting ID under the guise of bureaucracy. Of course they won't do that.

tactical mistakes (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542791)

Presupposing she wants to keep her job, Comer sounds like she made at least two tactical mistakes - using the "company's ink" on "company time". The article appears to make clear that she was in a highly politicized environment. She should have used her own computer (or own wireless), preferably at home. This sounds like a poisoned work environment, where the little local powers that be were watching for any pretext to attack where she had been given some kind of warning before. It will be interesting to see if she really plans to fight dismissal and whether it is to be restored to her job or, "incidentally", just be paid off and move on. These things get pretty ugly.

Texas idiocy (no wonder Bush is from there...) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542797)

"must remain neutral!!???" Such typical bureaucratic American idiocy...

ID is nowhere nearly acceptable as evolution. It's like saying that astrology has to be on a par with astronomy...Seems Texas is indeed heading back to the Middle and/or Dark Ages. Will she be confined to her house, under house arrest for her scientific belief that the Earth is not the center of the universe, because RELIGION says it can't be so? Just let me know when the witch-burnings begin...

Bumbling, incompetent, scientifically illiterate bureaucrats, who unfortunately, have been given power by other bumbling, incompetent, scientifically illiterate, intolerant, ID bible thumpers.

And you wonder why watching the U.S. fall is like watching the Roman Empire fall? This is an EXCELLENT example of why areas such as Asia are eventually going to give you your well deserved lumps.

USA is going the wrong way ? (2, Interesting)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542799)

Don't take it bad, but it seems that the USA has peaked as a "nice" country. Nowadays obscurantism looks like it 's gaining. In this case it's in the name of "freedom of speech", but it looks like that freedom is less and less respected too. Now, I've never been to there and that's all from an very external point of view. I'd really like someone shows me I'm wrong, as USA are still the most powerful on earth (the rounded species).

9am creationist (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542803)

Interviewer: So as a 9am creationist, you believe that the world was created this morning, just after breakfast?
me: Basically yes, expect that I believe the world will be created tomorrow morning, 9am.

Religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21542835)

We need to be cured of it.

Might be a good time to drag this out again... (5, Funny)

fletch44 (1070720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542867)

Subject: NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF INDEPENDENCE

To the citizens of the United States of America,

In the light of your failure to distinguish between the scientific method and imaginary invisible friends in the sky, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The rt. hon. Gordon Brown, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium". Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.

Look up "vocabulary". Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up "interspersed".

2. There is no such thing as "US English". We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football". There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game.

The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football.

Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2011.

7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde. The 98.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys. "Merde" is French for "sh*t".

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. December 1st will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive Day".

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

10. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Religeon and Science should be seperate. (5, Interesting)

Deb-fanboy (959444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21542889)

This is a curious state of affairs IMHO.

I myself was educated by an order of Catholic Brothers"(a bit like monks) in Scotland. There were an impressive list of eccentrics, as one would expect, and some eccentric beliefs to match (anyone for a procession of angels?). These were people who had sacrificed a lot for their beliefs, you know vows of poverty and chastity and obedience.

However when it came to Science they were bang on. The closest they ever came to ID was Brother Francis (The Biology Teacher) when if pressed on evolution would say that he would like to think that perhaps there was room for a little Divine nudge, but that this was not in the curriculum, and not in the Science of Biology and would never be included in the classroom. In fact I remember in the morning religious knowledge period the Biblical creationist theorem being taken apart, and really discarded.

It is of course a great irony that Charles Darwin himself was a theology student, but he arrived at the theory of evolution via Scientific method. Religion and Science are not incompatible, they just dont deal with the same areas.

To sum up, the creationists are an embarrassment to both religion and Science and should get some education.

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