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The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

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  • The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

    Just came across this article describing how the Texas state Science Curriculum Director was fired for forwarding an email that mentioned a lecture critical of Intelligent Design.

    http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2...science-c.html

    It may very well be time for a renewed push for FSM-ism in Texas schools. I see a shadow on the horizon, and it looks...noodly.

    On a serious note: aren't we in the 21st century? Is this really the state of things in Texas? I know I live in Austin, where hippies abound, winter never visits, people pay for sandwhiches with songs and our unofficial mayor/mascot is a bearded transvestite in his mid-50's, but jesus this state as a whole is still in the 1800's. I shudder to think I might one day have kids in the public schools here.
    Beatnik

  • #2
    Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

    You'd be surprised how many people here in San Diego, one of the biotech hotbeds of the nation, choose ID over the fact that evolution occurs. How sad.



    TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

      San Diego is Evangelical/Born-Again Christianity's western outpost.
      A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

      "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

        Well, we're really only hearing one side of the story here. As many of us know, the person who was fired can basically say anything they want. The business who fired that person can have the bejesus sued out of them for saying anything that compromises that person's confidentiality.

        I *hope* that this person wasn't actually fired for, as these articles claim, forwarding a story critical of ID to some family and friends. That seems a stretch, doesn't it? Why was this person whom the article was careful to associate with Bush (gross! PUKE!) reading others' personal emails? Etc. If one takes the mildly skeptical view that just because the Austin American Statesman makes an assertion in an editorial doesn't make it so, then this story leaves several big questions unanswered.

        In any case Beatnik, you would do very well to avoid putting a child in the Austin public school system. Especially your own child. But now that you're in plastics, it's private schools and trips to Cabo for as far as the eye can see, right?

        Speaking of children, how's the love life? Still lurking around campus with a bag of butterscotch candy and a pair of devil sticks what with to lure the coeds into your sexy web?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

          If you read the original article linked at the bottom of the Wired piece, the complaining lady was forwarded that email from someone else, then fired off a screed to the forwarder's boss demanding her resignation. Total time elapsed between forwarding the email and it coming back to her boss? 2 hours.

          But that's not the real issue. The real issue is contained in this little snippet:

          Originally posted by article
          Agency officials cited the e-mail in a memo recommending her termination. They said forwarding the e-mail not only violated a directive for her not to communicate in writing or otherwise with anyone outside the agency regarding an upcoming science curriculum review, "it directly conflicts with her responsibilities as the Director of Science."

          The memo adds, "Ms. Comer's e-mail implies endorsement of the speaker and implies that TEA endorses the speaker's position on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral."
          In other words, the TEA "must remain neutral" on the position of evolution vs. ID. Which assumes that ID is a valid position, worthy of negating robust scientific theory.

          And this "neutral position" (read: tacit endorsement of the validity of ID) is apparently the official position of the TEA.
          Beatnik

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

            Well I don't know all about that or what tacit endorsements may be going on, but if she violated a directive not to communicate in writing or otherwise with anyone outside the agency regarding an upcoming science curriculum review, then I think she did that and did so at her peril. I see a lot of pissing in the wind about WHY and which friend of Bush (NASTY! GROSS!), and some guessing about which ignorant position justified her termination, but the only facts seem to surround the email that she sent and its violation of a written directive. Am I wrong?

            Keeping one's mouth shut in the weeks leading up to a discussion about ID seems smart, IMO. There's no such thing as good press if you're running a state education department when it comes to that issue, I think. So the last thing you need is one person or the other creating a mess that you then get to clean up. People who create big media problems for their boss often wind up parting company with that boss.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

              Ok, she got fired legitimately. Fine. Who cares.

              But it is illegal to teach ID as science. It has been determined that doing so would violate the constitution. And it was a judge appointed by Bush(Icky! Eww!) who determined this. How can you be "neutral" about something when it is illegale? More importantly why should you? Are they forced to be neutral about pot smoking? I would think the TEA wants to avoid breaking the law.
              Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
              - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
              - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
              - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
              - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
              - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
              - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

                Well I think there are two problems with your post, Gringo: 1) When was it decided that teaching ID as science violates the constitution? Fed. court decisions in Philadelphia don't necessarily apply to other districts. 2) Just because the TEA issues a "keep your mouth shut about ID" directive does not mean that the TEA intends to be neutral about ID. It may just mean that they don't want to fire up the nutty right OR left and have a bunch of THEM to deal with. Unless you've been living under a rock you can predict that statements about ID - from either political persuasion - from a state official WILL be interpreted in the worst possible light by one side or the other and WILL generate lots of press, etc. Staff who can't understand this or who aren't willing to shut their yaps in the weeks leading up to a meeting may get the boot.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

                  I blame Rick Perry (Texas governor).
                  sigpic

                  Formerly of the fabled 3rd Special Forces Detachment

                  "On that day half a century ago, our species was pushed to the crumbling edge of extinction. And as we teetered on that precipice, staring down into the abyss, a hand reached out, pulled us back from the brink, and gave us hope... the hand of a Hero."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

                    Governor Goodhair? For what?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

                      Originally posted by Beatnik View Post
                      On a serious note: aren't we in the 21st century? Is this really the state of things in Texas? I know I live in Austin, where hippies abound, winter never visits, people pay for sandwhiches with songs and our unofficial mayor/mascot is a bearded transvestite in his mid-50's, but jesus this state as a whole is still in the 1800's. I shudder to think I might one day have kids in the public schools here.
                      Dude, this is Texas. It's actually an insult in a conversation to call someone "liberal" on a political issue. But not just that, it's actually a counter-point to an argument. "That's liberal talk" is literally a "valid" rebuttal to anything relating to politics here.

                      Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande View Post
                      But it is illegal to teach ID as science. It has been determined that doing so would violate the constitution. And it was a judge appointed by Bush(Icky! Eww!) who determined this. How can you be "neutral" about something when it is illegale? More importantly why should you? Are they forced to be neutral about pot smoking? I would think the TEA wants to avoid breaking the law.
                      That's pretty dumb, for lack of a better term, if it's true. ID shouldn't be taught as science because it's not science.

                      It's no different than teaching "Angels push the planets in orbit" or "Apollo's chariot is the sun" along side universal laws of gravitation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

                        Originally posted by leejo View Post
                        Well I think there are two problems with your post, Gringo: 1) When was it decided that teaching ID as science violates the constitution? Fed. court decisions in Philadelphia don't necessarily apply to other districts.
                        Are you saying that it is OK, under the law, to teach religion in a public school? I believe that it illegal to do so.

                        The only question is, then, if ID is religion or a science. A federal court found it to be a religion. And that ruling would impact any states decision about education and ID.

                        Originally posted by leejo View Post
                        2) Just because the TEA issues a "keep your mouth shut about ID" directive does not mean that the TEA intends to be neutral about ID. It may just mean that they don't want to fire up the nutty right OR left and have a bunch of THEM to deal with. Unless you've been living under a rock you can predict that statements about ID - from either political persuasion - from a state official WILL be interpreted in the worst possible light by one side or the other and WILL generate lots of press, etc. Staff who can't understand this or who aren't willing to shut their yaps in the weeks leading up to a meeting may get the boot.

                        "directly conflicts with her responsibilities as the Director of Science ... [And] implies endorsement of the speaker and implies that TEA endorses the speaker's position on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral."
                        The TEA said they wanted to be neutral, not quite.

                        And so what if they just came out and said "we can't teach a religion in school." Then admit that ID is a religious view point? Isn't that common knowledge? Or do some people still think ID is a science?
                        Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                        - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                        - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                        - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                        - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                        - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                        - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

                          Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande View Post
                          Are you saying that it is OK, under the law, to teach religion in a public school? I believe that it illegal to do so.
                          Sure you can teach religion in public school. You can't teach A religion in public schools. But there are plenty of "religions of the world" survey courses out there.

                          The only question is, then, if ID is religion or a science. A federal court found it to be a religion. And that ruling would impact any states decision about education and ID.
                          No, federal district court decisions do not affect states outside that district. This would be akin to saying that a federal district court in San Francisco's decision bound a federal district court in Atlanta, which is certainly not the case. They're peers, and may disagree.

                          The TEA said they wanted to be neutral, not quite.
                          No, a person at the TEA said they must remain neutral in a hastily-crafted internal memo. That is not a statement of policy, nor, I think, does it mean that they must remain neutral in their practice so much as it means they must remain neutral in their speech. As I said before, anything anyone says about this issue is sure to be inflammatory, so ixnay on the ablay, gang would be my policy if I were in charge. Make sense?

                          And so what if they just came out and said "we can't teach a religion in school." Then admit that ID is a religious view point? Isn't that common knowledge? Or do some people still think ID is a science?
                          Well, some people certainly do think that ID should be taught in science. I am not one of those people, but I hear they exist. :)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

                            Originally posted by leejo View Post
                            Sure you can teach religion in public school. You can't teach A religion in public schools. But there are plenty of "religions of the world" survey courses out there.



                            No, federal district court decisions do not affect states outside that district. This would be akin to saying that a federal district court in San Francisco's decision bound a federal district court in Atlanta, which is certainly not the case. They're peers, and may disagree.



                            No, a person at the TEA said they must remain neutral in a hastily-crafted internal memo. That is not a statement of policy, nor, I think, does it mean that they must remain neutral in their practice so much as it means they must remain neutral in their speech. As I said before, anything anyone says about this issue is sure to be inflammatory, so ixnay on the ablay, gang would be my policy if I were in charge. Make sense?



                            Well, some people certainly do think that ID should be taught in science. I am not one of those people, but I hear they exist. :)

                            You cannot teach a religion. You can only teach about a religion. A very important difference. So I guess you could teach ID in a science course if you used it as an example of what science isn't.

                            Precedence is a very important thing and a ruling in one court caries much weight in another court. The fact that a federal judge found ID to be a religion would be very important no matter what state it is in.

                            You are right about the TEA thing. It was just a person and we may be reading to much into. But if it where me I would come out at call ID thinly veiled attempt to cross the state/religion line and I would do everything possible to squash all hopes of it every being taught outside Sunday school. Just to pee in certain peoples cheerios. But that is just me.
                            Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                            - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                            - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                            - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                            - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                            - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                            - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The FSM appears on the Texas horizon

                              I don't disagree with much of that but I do think that it makes sense for the Texas state government to give the appearance of being more or less respectful of Christians and not "pee in their cheerios". Between the mostly catholic immigrant population and the fairly conservative citizenry, it doesn't make much sense for a public official to appear to be hostile to Christianity.

                              This is not to say that ID should be taught in any form or fashion in schools, but if I were in charge, I would make sure none of my staff talked about the issue publicly. There are plenty of other people willing to open their yaps on the subject on both sides of the debate without dragging me into it. I would also happily fire anyone who decided their boss's judgment on the matter was not to their liking, as our hero in this story clearly did.

                              That's how I read the matter. Boss says "keep me out of this" and science lady sent an email that dragged boss into it anyway. Adios. You can say Adios still, right?

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