The state’s director of science curriculum has resigned after being accused of creating the appearance of bias against teaching intelligent design. (Source: Austin-American Statesman
A number of other bloggers have commented on this already (Pharyngula here and here, Wesley Elsberry, and The Panda’s Thumb), and you can review the story there. I’m generally a “late adopter” on these issues. I tend to wait for the rest of the story. But in this case it’s going to require a lot of convincing for me to believe that Chris Comer was not fired because of her support for teaching evolution.
My major problem with this case is this: Opposing the teaching of ID in public schools is the right thing for a science curriculum director to do. One of the most dangerous things coming out of this controversy between ID and evolution is a confusion between treating things appropriately and treating them equally, whether they are equal or not. We would not expect our science curriculum staff to be neutral about the teaching of astrology, geocentrism, flat earth, or any of a number of other non-scientific ideas in science class.
How do we know that those things are not valid science? Well, real working scientists have checked them out and found them to be invalid. There are still people out there who believe each one, but we don’t have to “teach the controversy” about them, because scientifically there is no controversy. The same is true of ID. Scientifically there is no controversy. A few guys with graduate degrees, largely outside of the appropriate fields do not create a scientific controversy. To have that, you require science being done on both sides, and you don’t. On one side we have PR and politics. On the other we have science. For a science curriculum director to remain neutral would, in my view, require a lack of integrity.
One indicator of trouble on this topic is the number of times one has to remind boards of education and other officials of the rulings of the courts on this issue. Why is it that such large numbers of people can only be persuaded to learn and teach (or allow the teaching of) well-established science because the courts say so? Here in Florida a school board is considering the teaching of ID. One major argument against it is, of course, the cost of a major lawsuit. But there is one argument that should rule the day, but doesn’t: We’re talking about science class. Let’s teach science.
Being neutral about ignorance is not an option.