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Dec 03 2007

The New York Times pitches in on the Comer firing

The Old Grey Lady has its article up on the retaliatory firing resignation of Chris Comer from the TEA, and some passages really reveal the boo-scary Orwellian atmosphere that seems to be permeating the agency under its neocon creationist leadership.

Ms. Comer said that barely an hour after forwarding the e-mail message about Dr. Forrest’s talk, she was called in and informed that Lizzette Reynolds, deputy commissioner for statewide policy and programs, had seen a copy and complained, calling it “an offense that calls for termination. ” Ms. Comer said she had no idea how Ms. Reynolds, a former federal education official who served as an adviser to George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas, had seen the message so quickly, and remembered thinking, “What is this, the thought police or what?”


Update: Now there’s an editorial. And it’s nicely uncompromising and, hopefully, deeply embarrassing to Texas.

It was especially disturbing that the agency accused Ms. Comer — by forwarding the e-mail message — of taking a position on “a subject on which the agency must remain neutral.” Surely the agency should not remain neutral on the central struggle between science and religion in the public schools. It should take a stand in favor of evolution as a central theory in modern biology. Texas’s own education standards require the teaching of evolution.

Those standards are scheduled to be reviewed next year. Ms. Comer’s dismissal and comments in favor of intelligent design by the chairman of the state board of education do not augur well for that review. We can only hope that adherents of a sound science education can save Texas from a retreat into the darker ages.

We’ll do all we can, of course. But we’re going up against fanatics who have a religious ideology to protect, and they’re deeply fearful of evolution because they’ve been indoctrinated into believing that if it’s true, they won’t get to live forever playing harps in Heaven’s Fairyland Food Court. When facts go up against psychologically crippling existential terror, it’s always a hard-fought battle.

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