Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science: only the first word is accurate

This is pretty bad. It’s a school called the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, and the concept is great — bring smart high school students in to college early, where they can get more advanced instruction from professors. It sounds like the faculty are good and competent, near as I can tell, but I got a message from one of the students attending the school: the administration seems determined to destroy the science and math aspects of the program, and as far as I’m concerned, they’ve already damaged its reputation.

They bring in outside seminar speakers — good idea — but the impression I’m getting is that their speakers are there to contradict the science. They’re bringing in people from Probe Ministries, of all places; it’s a gang of god-walloping creationists who rail against homosexuality and abortion. That is not a good sign.

Then, this year, they give out t-shirts with a cute logo to admitted students. This is another fine idea, except that the implementation is truly cringeworthy. Students get to choose one of two t-shirts, and, well, their choices are both revealingly ignorant.


Here’s choice #1. This is not good; using a perceived human progression to represent evolution is misleading and perpetuates an unfortunate misconception. I know that that image is iconic and remarkably popular, but it isn’t right. Show me a branching tree. Show me multiple species overlapping in time. Show me something about diversity. Just please don’t show me something that implies evolution is about creating humans as an end result.

But all right, the goal of a t-shirt slogan is to be catchy, so if that were the only problem here, I could go along with it. But it’s not. Wait until you get a load of Option B.


Whoa. I had to look again at the title of this place, and it says “Academy of Mathematics and Science,” all right. It’s preceded by “Texas,” though — is that a modifier like “Not”?

That is utterly ridiculous. It gives equal billing to a nonsensical idea with no evidence in its support whatsoever, an idea which is anti-science, and makes me wonder what’s going on there. Are there any UNT readers here? Any faculty? Can you explain what the heck the people administering the TAMS program are thinking, and if this is a conscious attempt to undercut the science program, or whether they’re just plain ignorant? As it is, I couldn’t recommend your institution to anyone, and now I’ve gone and made a blog post that belittles your efforts.


  1. Scott de B. says

    The second T-shirt should say “But how do you explain pygmies + dwarfs?”

  2. Wrought says

    They have to pick one when they sign up!? Surely that’s some kind of segregation/human rights abuse?

  3. says

    I can hardly wait to find out how many students chose A and how many chose B. And will they then engage in a reprise of the Jane Elliott experiment?

  4. says

    I gotta admit, as much as high school sucked, at least I didn’t have to deal with this sort of nonsense. Getting beat up in the hall is nothing compared the concerted efforts of adults to F with your brain. Hopefully, these kids are smart enough to see through it?

  5. Wrought says

    I wonder if they’re planning on using this t-shirt picking information to determine what kind of students they want?

    Should we email them and get them to JUST DARN WELL STOPPIT?

  6. says

    Oh God, they’re telling kids to choose whether or not they are to be designated as coming from the hand of God, or from the apes? If it were a choice, I’d pick divine origin, as the ancient Greeks typically claimed.

    The choice should have been, “I’m a drooling IDiot who prefers Goddidit to science,” or, “I’m an intelligent student who recognizes our relationships to apes and mice”.

    One has to face the facts: “Intelligent Design” is an unintelligent story for cretinous boobs.

    Glen D

  7. phantomreader42 says

    Someone should make a version of that option B shirt clearly depicting the Noodly Appendage of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. See how many of the students (and for that matter, teachers) are smart enough to notice the difference.

  8. phantomreader42 says

    And maybe follow up the FSM version with one featuring stocky, bearded little people and the hammer of Moradin the Soulforger. I sometimes find it amusing to randomly reference the gods of the Dungeons and Dragons pantheon in religious arguments.

    And don’t forget the Great Green Arkleseizure!

  9. Richard Eis says

    Actually, taking the pictures together…Thats not intelligent design, it’s a man being popped on the back of the head by a giant finger before growing and shrinking again.
    There we go Scott de B. God made the dwarfs and pygmies with his magic p-pow finger.

  10. Rick Schauer says

    I’m wondering if they study astrology, too? Or maybe bring in sooth-sayers with Tarot cards?

  11. says

    Who is paying for these shirts?

    If it is tax money, since this appears to be a public institution; I sure hope some thinking Texan raises secular heck for spending public money to promote religion.

    At least it is recognized that the god-finger is the “B” option.

  12. Abby Normal says

    They even screwed up the ID message. ID isn’t supposed to say anything about who or what the designer is. Yet they use the iconic hand of god to represent it. They total misrepresented both evolutionary theory and ID wild speculation. Can’t they get anything right?

  13. eewolf says

    It looks like an attempt to take some of the best and brightest and ruin them. Vile.

  14. Randall says

    I have a friend who went to TAMS; I’m going to send him a link to this page, and with luck he may respond.

  15. says

    Why not something less divisive, like the image of a galaxy with the big arrow saying “You are here”? There are plenty of math images/equations to use too. These designs look like the academy is trying to “teach the controversy.”

  16. says

    I was a student in a program similar to what this purports to be. I started my college career a year early thanks to such a program. The fact that there is a program pulling this kind of crap really riles me. Luring them in with the promise of advanced education and then leaving them with bible-bashing and strawman science. Being from Georgia, I’m surprised this didn’t happen in my Academy program, but I’m glad that it didn’t.

  17. says

    I’d say this in favor, at least, the ID t-shirt is pure creationism.

    None of this “we’re saving Darwinism” or other nonsense from the IDiots, the ID shirt just has God zapping bumbling morons into existence to oppose science and to stupidly worship him.

    They sort of forgot that ID is “compatible with evolution,” something that never made any sense at all, other than the fact that they try to hijack every prediction of evolutionary theory as being “designed”.

    Anyhow, thanks for putting onto your t-shirts the fact that ID is nothing but Goddidit. If it gets to court, your asses belong to us.

    Glen D

  18. Ian Gould says

    The Probe Ministry stuff is disturbing but to be honest the shirts look to me like a genuine effort to get students thinking and talking about a contentious subject.

    As a general rule, far too few high schools do that.

    (I’ll grant that in doing so, both positions have been reduced to virtual parodies of themselves to fit them onto shirts. Who knew it was possible to dumb down ID any further?)

  19. jeh says

    I wonder what the meaning is of the differently-sized humans on the ID T-shirt. Is the largest human (2nd from left) supposed to be the result of the mating of human females with the Nephilim as described in Genesis 6 “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

    I’m sure the next thing is to teach the “controversy” about the Noahic flood.

  20. H. Humbert says

    Maybe if a student chooses option B they are sent directly into remedial Biology. Have to admit, it’s a whole lot more efficient than placement exams.

  21. Abby Normal says

    Wasn’t it the Jesuits who said “get them while they’re young”?

    Or was that Michael Jackson? I get confused some times.

  22. says

    Because thinking too much, well, can hurt,
    I’ll say God made me, out of some dirt;
    You can see I believe–
    Here’s my heart on my sleeve,
    And my brains on the front of my shirt

  23. TeslaPRG says

    What kid in Texas is going to chose a t-shirt that if worn off campus would result in extremely oppressive treatment? The atmosphere in Texas is what gave us Bush! Your average high school student is going to go with the flow and the most popular students will determine which shirt the students will largely chose.

    Any student cosing the Darwin shirt is choosing to be a social outcast in Texas. This does not promote thought or debate. The point of this exercise is to make students who belong to the minority more aware of their minority status.

    I think someone should call the ACLU.


  24. Cardinal Shrew says

    I wish my designer had taken a little more time when he was designing these eyes of mine. I have had to wear glasses since the 3rd grade.

  25. Sastra says

    Maybe I’ve been in the debate too long, but that second Option B shirt immediately looked like satire to me. Set out like that, it’s heavy-handed and smacks of kitsch. Looks like something from the folks at evolvefish.

    I suppose that, given their speakers, there’s not much chance it’s meant to be “ironic?”

  26. DMHayes says

    Not to be confused with Texas Academy of Science (TAS) which produces one of the best state academy of science journals out there.

  27. Drekab says

    Come on guys, we need to help the students out by coming up with ways to improve the shirts and get them in trouble. So far I’ve got writting “WTF!!1” over t-shirt b with a thick black sharpie or just crossing out the words and write “I’m crushing your head” underneath.

  28. chaos_engineer says

    In the evolutionary sequence, the next-to-last hominid is clearly the best-adapted because he’s got a weapon. The other four are unarmed and can’t count on surviving much longer.

    In order to show true progression, the last figure needs to be carrying an atomic bomb or something.

  29. Spaulding says

    At far as I can tell, option B depicts a rousing game of Smash Bros.

    If they’re asking students to choose whether they accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution vs. whether they enjoy video games, then they’ve got a genuine controversy.

    What’s wrong with telling students that there’s an honest debate among scientists regarding whether this is a good time for a Nintendo break?

    And how many “Steves” prefer Xbox?

  30. Mike P says

    Here’s a thought. Let’s get a little outside the box for a minute. What if it’s, like, the t-shirt that’s saying that it is intelligent designed. Then it’s correct, no? The t-shirt was indeed designed! Far out, man…

  31. Testy says

    What’s so wrong about placing importance on the idea that everyone is a beloved creation of almighty God?

  32. Vitis01 says

    From their front page…

    “Vann honnored by Texas A&M”

    apparently all of their critical recognition and analysis skills are deficient.

  33. Needs to control his ADD says

    The god comment above is mine. Just testing a basic hypothesis about the “censorship” on scienceblogs compared to the Uneducated Descent. Needless to say, questions from an educated perspective do not get posted. I’m /sure/ it’s just that creationists respect evidence to much to actually debate using evidence…or…you know…opponents. Enough of my ramblings. Carry on.

  34. Needs to control his ADD AND check his spelling says

    My comment should be “do not get posted on Unintelligent Descent.” I’d know, I tried several times.

  35. JRY says

    I just dug around a pdf of theirs that can be found at http://www.tams.unt.edu/academics/academics.shtml under Biology 1722 ( http://www.tams.unt.edu/academics/biology/Raven8e_chp32.pdf is the specifc file I looked at). They use the word “evolution” several times in that chapter, as well as cover the Cambrian Explosion and its relation to the evolution on the homeobox developmental gene complex (Biology is not my area so I am just copying and pasting here).

    This does not seem to match the attitude portrayed in shirt choice B. I have to wonder if this is some sort of way to filter out the unwanted chaff.

  36. Ty says

    “What’s so wrong about placing importance on the idea that everyone is a beloved creation of almighty God?”

    The fact that it’s fictional? And this is a University of Science?

  37. The Happy Cetacean says

    I read over the TAMS site and also read up on Univ. of North Texas, which is hosting this camp and I would have to reserve my judgment on this. I am not sure if they really are anti-science and math as PZ purports. Even thought they do invite the Probe Ministries person to come and give a discussion about ID, I am not sure how well this reflects on the University hosting this person. I agree the T-shirts and the choices implied by them are stupid, but I don’t think the Univ. of North Texas is like what we stereotypically think all of Texas is like.

    I am sure there have been other perfectly good universities that have hosted crackpots (Bill Dembski, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Roy Varghese, Dinesh D’Souza, etc.) in their public forums. I do agree that exposing malleable minds to stupidity like this is not a good thing, but hopefully they are smart enough to see through the arguments.

    Hopefully we can get the input of students and faculty actually involved in this program to get their take on any biases that may be present in the TAMS program.

  38. says

    Instead of just complaining, how about proposing better shirts?

    how about “I am an evolved human. Creationists are vestigial and will be eliminated by genetic drift of junk memes, but right now they’re getting to be boring repeat sequences that contain no information.”

    probably a too wordy and not pithy enough, but it’s a start…

  39. says

    Come on guys, we need to help the students out by coming up with ways to improve the shirts and get them in trouble. So far I’ve got writting “WTF!!1” over t-shirt b with a thick black sharpie or just crossing out the words and write “I’m crushing your head” underneath.

    Posted by: Drekab

    Actually, just cross out the words “intelligently designed” in option B, and replace them with “lobotomized by the severe head trauma of religion.”

  40. Bruce Almighty says

    So, is the short guy on the ID t-shirt a pygmy or a dwarf?
    Or both? Or neither?
    I need a drink….

  41. JJR says

    “…but I don’t think the Univ. of North Texas is like what we stereotypically think all of Texas is like.”

    Uh, yeah, yeah it is–I can vouch for that.

    I’m a UNT alumnus and deeply ashamed of this. My degree was my Master’s in Library Science, though–nothing to do with TAMS.

    This is patently disgusting and I’m sending this along to another UNT alum friend.

    My ex-wife is a UNT alumna, but also a fundie and IDiot so she would probably cheer this on.

  42. MGrant says

    I took an environmental biology course at UNT last year that was fairly rigorous for a non-science major program (lots of lab work, lots of independent research, lots of work in the field, and my lab TA had a thick accent we all had to experimentally decipher).

    The science department is well-taught and well-staffed, but also serves as a central node for a lot of North Texas Science programs, since the campus is home to a brand new, admittedly awesome and glamorous, natural sciences building. We got lots of local elementary and middle schools to visit and had science fun days that brought an encouraging amount of families to the campus. So I hope the occasional nut that the department let give a speech doesn’t reflect too poorly on the department as a whole, because there are good things going on there. I just get the impression that once again the prevailing political attitude in Texas pressures academia into allowing this sort of thing.

  43. H. Humbert says

    Testy asked:

    What’s so wrong about placing importance on the idea that everyone is a beloved creation of almighty God?

    Well, for one, it’s a religious sentiment, so not really one that’s appropriate for an Academy of Mathematics and Science to be promoting. Not all people believe it to be a true statement, making it a sectarian religious view.

    Two, and more importantly, it’s offered as a choice in opposition to “I evolved.” This sets up the idea that both cannot be true. But since we know it is true that people evolved, it implies that the idea that god created each individual is false. That should be offensive to theists as well.

    So really, the pro-ID T-shirt is a bad idea for everyone. It isn’t a scientific or academic viewpoint, and it makes religious beliefs appear ridiculous and false. Does that answer your question?

  44. KeelyC says

    Looking around their site they look much like the school I went to , The Indiana Academy, except better, because they get college credits and have full college student privileges, where as I worked like a college student for two years but didn’t earn any credits (except for from AP exams) and was effectively a 2nd-class Ball State student. But the Indiana Academy was a kind of liberal safe-haven in a very conservative state, and I don’t think I would give that up for college credits.

    I really hope that overall, the school isn’t that bad, and since the kids are taking real college classes, it probably isn’t in the classroom. And it’s possible to have a fairly good school environment day-to-day even with some idiot administrators and even nut-job religious students (the academy had both, we just laughed at them). But those tee shirts are just plain awful….

  45. Michelle says

    What the heck is wrong with them?

    Obviously the students should drop out of there and attend a REAL academy..

    Oh , and if they pull the “We wanted to make sure we don’t offend theists!” card, well, I’m gonna go right ahead and say I’m offended just because I don’t see any chicks. What, did God just create men? Damnit. I knew I was made by Satan.

  46. DiscoveredJoys says

    I’m reminded of a big billboard I saw today (here in the UK). It read “Some people are gay. Get over it!”. It was produced by Stonewall to tackle homophobic bullying in Britains schools.

    Perhaps the Texas T shirt should say “We share a common ancestor with other apes. Get over it!”

  47. Leon says

    Maybe instead, their T-shirt choices should be “I was born” and “I was flown in by the Stork”. That would more clearly indicate the level of scientific understanding these goons are showing.

  48. Leon says

    Wow, DiscoveredJoys. Raise a pint to the British! That’s the best idea for an anti-crazy-right-wing billboard I’ve ever heard of, and no way would anything like that be put up in this country (US).

  49. Ian says

    Maybe it’s an admission standards thing: choose B, have your application automatically rejected.

    That would be even worse. “Oops, you may be bright, but we see that you were raised by ignorant fundamentalists. Your ignorance is probably not your own fault, and we may be able to do something about it, but we won’t. Have a nice day.”

    I wonder what the meaning is of the differently-sized humans on the ID T-shirt.

    It’s probably just to show diversity. If they were the same size, then the shirt would look like God was churning out a row of completely identical people, which would both be visually boring and make the wearer look like a conformist.

  50. Michael Cook says

    Dr. Ray Bohlin is the guy from Probe Ministries who is scheduled to give a talk on “Science and Intelligent Design.” You can get a taste of his work here. Maybe somebody there can help him decide what kind of creationist he should be…

    Briefly, I am currently undecided or uncommitted to any particular view of the age of the earth. I continue to find the six 24-hour literal day interpretation of Genesis 1 & 2 to be the most convincing, but I find great evidence for long ages for the universe and the earth. Basically I feel that there is not sufficient evidence either biblically or scientifically to decide the issue.

  51. Julie Stahlhut says

    Maybe, in the second image, the deity is smiting one of the miscreants as punishment for deliberately misleading students.

  52. says

    Does anybody else find it hilarious that there is an anti-homosexual group is called “Probe” ministries? Methinks they doth protest too much.

  53. Curt Cameron says

    KeelyC wrote:
    Looking around their site they look much like the school I went to , The Indiana Academy, except better, because they get college credits…

    The TAMS program is apparently for high school kids, targeting those advanced in math and science. I looked through their materials, and besides for a speaker from Probe Ministries and the T-shirt choice, didn’t see anything that indicated that they were anything other than an advanced program to give precocious highschoolers a preview of college. Their material pointed out that TAMS is funded by the state, so they better not be promoting ID. I guess it depends on how the talk from Probe is set up.

    The University of North Texas is a real state school, notable for its excellent music program (especially jazz). I was looking through Probe Ministries’ site and see that the founder of PM went to school at UNT (but back when it was called North Texas State University – they changed their name probably 20 years ago). This guy is also now part of the Discovery Institute.

    So I’m suspicious of that talk and the T-shirt choice, but otherwise it looks like an excellent program. We need more info.

    By the way, 20 years ago I used to listen to the NTSU’s radio station a lot, which has the call letters KNTU. For some reason, when the school’s name changed to UNT, the radio station opted not to change their call letters! I was hoping for that but it never happened.

  54. says

    Let me emphasize: I haven’t found anything that suggests that UNT faculty are a bunch of crazy creationists, and the note I got from a student suggests that it is more a matter of meddling administrators.

  55. Rey Fox says

    #39: Do a search for “ahistorical”, click the “Ahistorical garbage from the producers of Expelled” thread, and you’ll find plenty of uncensored godbot lunacy. No, unlike UD, it takes some doing to get censored here.

  56. Christophe Thill says

    Other suggestion for t-shirts : “I live on a round Earth” (OK, or “spherical”, as the word “mathematics” is in the school’s name) and “I live on a flat Earth”. With a drawing of the corresponding version, with a little man standing on it.

    Or “All life comes from a cell” and “Spontaneous generation”.

    Or “2+2=4” and “2+2=5”.

  57. LB says

    As a science student in Texas, it bothers me that issues like this one are frequent. I’m very satisfied with my undergrad education so far (UT Austin), but I fear that the impression we give the rest of the U.S. is that science education in the state is terrible.

  58. says

    UMM, which is west of the Mississipi, also has a campus radio station with the school’s name in the call letters.

  59. travc says

    I almost went to TAMS… was accepted and planned to attend, but was talked out of it by my Physics teacher (who was fucking awesome). Turned out pretty well since I ended up going to Caltech.

    Anyway, TAMS was very new at the time… and UNT was still North Texas State University (with KNTSU as their radio station instead of KUNT… I kid not). It seems like a decent enough idea, but having good courses for HS students to take in HS and the option of taking a few classes at a good local community college is much better.

    The T-Shirt thing is less depressing than the Probe Ministries… The former appears to be just ‘covering your ass’ behaviour and is idiotic on its surface.

  60. says

    I went to the Maine School of Science and Math which has the same stated goal and it was a great school. I hate to see a similar program screw up like this.

  61. says

    “What’s so wrong about placing importance on the idea that everyone is a beloved creation of almighty God?
    Posted by: Testy”

    Because it is an “untruth”, more commonly called a lie.

    Try it this way:

    What’s so wrong about placing importance on the idea that everyone is a accursed creation made from the corpse of Ymir by Odin, Vili and Vé?


    What’s so wrong about placing importance on the idea that murdering strangers & travelers is the correct way to worship The Great Goddess Kali?

    The evidence is the same for these statements as for yours.

  62. JJR says

    If you want to complain to them:

    here’s Academy’s Address and FAX Number

    USPS Mailing Address:

    PO Box 305309
    University of North Texas Denton, TX 76203-5309

    Physical Address ( UPS, FedEx, etc.):

    TAMS Marquis Hall 114
    1511 W. Mulberry
    Denton, TX 76201
    FAX Number: (940) 369-8796

    assorted individuals’ contact infos found here:

  63. Scaurus says

    PZ, I believe you have this one all wrong. Poor Ray Bohlin… he doesn’t know what kind of a lion’s den he’s walking into.

    (the link: http://www.tams.unt.edu/studentlife/modules/news/article.php?storyid=362 I’d bet that Probe provided the text seen here, as well. That’s pretty standard for such things)

    (caveat to all that follows: I graduated from TAMS a decade ago, so I don’t know what it’s like now. All comments are based on the assumption that it is essentially unchanged)

    As a TAMS alumnus, thinking back on myself and my classmates, I’m guessing this Ray Bohlin fellow is going to get his ass handed to him. I hope some enterprising TAMSter posts the video to YouTube. TAMS is populated with smart kids who don’t put up with BS – remember, we had to survive in our Texas home towns for 15 years before escaping to TAMS. In our courses, we were graded on a separate curve so the regular students could pass. Every year, we had 3 or 4 students make it to the science fair nationals.

    This talk by Ray Bohlin is not part of an academic seminar series – check the time. 8 pm. In Mac Hall (the downstairs rec room). The attendance will likely consist of a handful of students who may be interested in blindly absorbing this man’s lies (yes, a few make it in each year. No filter is perfect.) and a few dozen students who are ready to argue, point out every flaw in his position, and every place where he has lied.

    As for the t-shirts… they’re t-shirts. Sketched by a student one afternoon, thinking, “What’s the best way to get a laugh?”

    My year, we had a person’s head with a lightbulb in it (and it was an ugly shade of purple, to boot!). Did this reflect poorly upon our knowledge of biology? Were we all running around thinking, “I have a lightbulb in my head!” No. It was a t-shirt, probably derived from an illustration on some old pamphlet because no one could be bothered to draw a new one. At least this year someone is trying to be funny.

    And frankly, if I were theistic, I would consider TAMS god’s gift to Texas, as is implied by t-shirt #2 – for kids in small towns, it’s their best opportunity to get a decent education before they turn 18, and certainly their best opportunity to escape the intellectual oppression that typifies small-town Texas (the next best option being to drop out, get a GED, and go to college, which was plan B if I didn’t get in)

    OK, I’ve spent enough time on this. I have telescope proposals to write.

  64. Curt Cameron says

    PZ wrote:
    UMM, which is west of the Mississipi, also has a campus radio station with the school’s name in the call letters.

    I can just hear it:
    “Don’t touch that dial!!! It’s got…”

  65. Dale says

    There’s nothing in the TAMS website that even remotely implies anything about creationism, nor any connection with Probe Ministries. You’re just picking on Texas because you’re a bigoted asshole. But that’s fine with us, you can all go fuck yourselves, we don’t care what you think because we don’t need to care what you think.

  66. says


    From one Texan to another, don’t be a fuckwit. PZ is picking on us because we deserve it, because we should do something about it, and more importantly, because a concerned student sent him an email. Read the post again, have another look at the t-shirts, and the follow the links, damn it.

  67. mona says

    Wait, isn’t it inaccurate to say, “I was naturally selected,” until after you have successfully perpetuated your genes and their copies?

  68. says

    “You’re just picking on Texas because you’re a bigoted asshole. But that’s fine with us, you can all go fuck yourselves.
    Posted by: Dale ”

    As a Texan, I’m sure you are well-qualified to give us all lessons. Both in being bigoted assholes and in fucking oneself.

  69. CrypticLife says

    Oh, you just have to figure out how to add a few extra tentacles to the hand and it’s not so bad.

    Or, if you could scratch off the words and add your own, it could be, “I have a much better hairstyle than any of you baldies”

  70. CrypticLife says

    “You might be more evolved, but I’m standing behind you with a spear!”


  71. TAMSter says

    I’m the student who originally messaged PZ with this stuff.

    A note: overall TAMS is a great program that has allowed me to do much more than I would have been able to at my old high school. The rest of the students are a pretty smart bunch and they’ve done a lot of awesome things in terms of research and science competitions (Siemens, Intel STS).

    It’s just over the past few months, there have been a few unsettling things coming from Admin. Nothing HUGE, just things like I mentioned to PZ about lecturers coming in from Probe Ministries. Yeah, it’s part of a regular series of lecturers, but when the others were doing things like talking about becoming a Neurosurgeon or constructing a 65537-gon, it’s a little jarring to hear about why homosexuality is a choice and how creationism is actually science.

    This has absolutely NOTHING to do with UNT which has a amazing music school and is an all round great place to get an education. Just TAMS Admin losing there way.

    Me and my friends have started a petition against the shirt, which is already nearing a majority of students signed. Any other ideas on how to put pressure on Admin to right things would be greatly appreciated.

  72. MikeM says

    I have a question. In your post, you say a student is reporting to you that the powers-that-be are doing their best to screw up this school. I agree, the t-shirt thing is unwarranted. And bringing in religious group to “teach” at a school like this is a bad idea.

    What else does he say in his email? Just curious. And don’t answer if you think it’ll blow the kid’s cover.


  73. class_of_95 says

    I have to agree w/ Scaurus above. The t-shirt is likely a student design (and sort of typical for TAMSter humor), and the invitation of Bohlin sounds more like a rogue AD of Student Life than any nefarious conspiracy on the part of the academic administration. The location (MAC cafe) and other events in the same series are a dead giveaway.

    Perhaps it’s changed now, but in my time TAMS was startling in its lack of indoctrination compared to my ‘home’ high school. I remember it as a place of free thought, experimentation (scientific, pharmacological, etc.), and the freedom to be ourselves. If that sounds like hyperbole, try high school in a rural town of 1500 people first.

    Although TAMS did lots of things ‘wrong’, both the classes/instructors and my fellow classmates were top notch. The certainly were _not_ undercover IDiots trying to infiltrate the many excellent graduate programs into which they were admitted.

    There are many things about Texas that should freak you out (e.g. Vidor, the Bushes, school boards overrun by fundies), but TAMS is not one of them.

    Bohlin’s walking into a vipers nest. Worry about him (poor misguided soul that he is) instead of the kids.

  74. class_of_95 says

    postscript: I just noticed TAMSter’s reply. If that shirt isn’t a student-initiated design, then it’s definitely not appropriate, and colors the adsl’s choice of speakers.

    If this is really a part of a larger pattern, then I’d be happy to get a few alumni to call and voice their concerns.

  75. TAMSter says


    Worry not, my cover is thoroughly blown.

    Class of 95,

    It’s not a rogue AD (not sure what that abbreviation means). I’ve talked with them and the t-shirt and Mr. Bohlin were unanimously seen as good things that would “broaden our horizons”. I wouldn’t really have a problem with this if this wasn’t part of a series of similarly anti-sciencey things. Mac is the usual venue for any student events in McConnell (were things different when you went?), and like I said, the students are great, it’s just the Student Life Admin being stupid.

    (PS, were you a Macrat? The pharma comment strongly suggests that.:P)

  76. class_of_95 says


    re AD– I was referring to Kevin Roden, who is apparently the Assistant Director of Student Life

    anti-sciencey things: care to give more examples?

    Macrat: Back in my day (when we had to scream ones and zeros over two tin cans and a string to jove.unt.edu), we hung out at the ‘smokers tables’, which probably don’t exist any more. ‘Macrat’ didn’t really mean anything then.

  77. says

    It looks like the girls on the T-shirt page are flashing gang signs.

    I’ve heard math and science gangs are a big problem in Texas.

  78. B8ovin says

    That second tee look like it could be captioned: My thinker was hurt by static electricimaty!

  79. David Marjanović, OM says

    Has nobody noticed how arrogant both T-shirts are? Both proclaim “I personally am the Pinnacle of Creation, and you are not, LOL”…

    Besides, comment 75 is right. :-)

  80. David Marjanović, OM says

    Has nobody noticed how arrogant both T-shirts are? Both proclaim “I personally am the Pinnacle of Creation, and you are not, LOL”…

    Besides, comment 75 is right. :-)

  81. Pierce R. Butler says

    As an occasional graphic designer, I look at drawings with an eye as to what the artist may be intending to portray beyond the first impression.

    The right-hand (“final”) figure from the first t-shirt seems a bit limp-wristed, though the posture may just reflect that the original from which this sketch was adapted might have shown him carrying something.

    The figures in the second t-shirt have a more aggressive body language, and it may not be coincidental that the hand-hip placement leaves them looking like they’d wear extra large codpieces on their flightsuits. Note that all four seem identical except for size and placement – suggesting a cheap hack artist, or at best an artist in a hurry. The different style of the big hand and the “kapow” scream of quick’n’dirty clip art useage.

    Bravo to TAMSter & his/her classmates for resisting sleazy stealth evangelists!

  82. BlockStacker says

    The UNT radio station’s call-sign didn’t change with the school’s name, it’s still KNTU. It’s a great Jazz station, the only place for non-Barry-Manilow Jazz in the DFW market.

    UNT is located in Denton, about an hour north of Dallas, 45 mins. from Ft. Worth. It’s something like the third-largest state school in Texas, behind UT Austin and Texas A&M.

    I suspect the t-shirts were designed to appeal to the strange breed of academically successful children of creationist professionals produced in large numbers around here. These are the same kids that went to the 3,000 dollars-per week baptist summer camp every year.

    The T-shirts and the optional creationist seminars make the parents think this is a program that will look good on their kid’s college resume, but won’t threaten their worldview. The kids, meanwhile, get lured out of their religious bubble and exposed to real science. For the first time in their lives, the kidsget to flex their natural intellect away from their parents and church-groups. Notice that you choose which t-shirt you get BEFORE you show up. It’s your classic bait-and-switch! …Or at least it could be.

  83. Class_of_96 says

    I was surprised to see TAMS featured on the side of ScienceBlog’s most read. As a few previous poster’s have indicated it was a godsend (pun intended) to those of us who grew up in small rural Texas towns. Both in my time, and apparently now, the admin meddled in all things. Some of the meddling, I think was to placate parents. Some of the meddling was to build a well-rounded students who could be leaders in math/science and understand the implications of their actions. However much we hated the lit classes and complained about Hagood’s grading, we learned alot. For what it’s worth attending TAMS shifted me from a career in the humanities to a career as a faculty member at an R1 university. So they are doing something right.

    For TAMster: Since TAMster’s were never known for getting along, I suggest that you design an alternative t-shirt and pitch it to the admin. I’m not sure what it should have on it, but I’d guess that a student originated contest to design next year’s t-shirt would lead to a satisfactory outcome. (Our’s had a person being crushed while trying to hold up blue and green ‘rock’ words Texas Academy of Mathematics and Sciences).

  84. nunyer says


    “Any other ideas on how to put pressure on Admin to right things would be greatly appreciated.”

    Get your parents to call/email the admin who is pushing this crap. Have all of your buddies do likewise.

    How is TAMS funded? If it relies on any corporate donations, let those corporations know ASAP what’s going on in what should be a safe haven from anti-science.

    Enlist the support of the faculty members who’re teaching your classes.

    Alert the local and campus newspapers.

    Get hold of a list of TAMS alums and their contact information; make them aware of the situation. (Your email to PZ was an inspired thought!)

    Make sure you heckle the anti-science speakers . . . politely but relentlessly.

    Make copies of anti-ID literature and hand it out before the presentation. Catchy graphics, sound bites, and pointed questions should be included.

    And good luck!

  85. says

    I went to TAMS in the mid-90s (class of 95, and class of 96, you probably know me).

    I can’t speak for what it’s like today, but it was certainly nothing like what most of the first set of posters have been claiming.

    I got an excellent education in science and mathematics, which had absolutely nothing to do with anti-scientific propaganda. Student groups could do anything they want, and invite anyone they wanted (pretty much). There were actively Christian students, and there were active Muslims, Buddhists, Wicca, Baha’i, atheists, agnostics, and so on. Vigorous and generally respectful discussion between people with different backgrounds and perspectives was one of the best aspects of the Academy.

    I’m a post-doc at Carnegie Mellon University these days, have over 30 reviewed scientific publications, and routinely review for respected conferences and journals in my field. I’m certain that the top-notch education I got at TAMS was a major reason why I’ve been able to make a contribution to science. I’m sure there are many other former students who could say the same thing.

    The anti-Texas ignorance in some of the comments here is truly idiotic. But, then, for any place in the world there is someone with ignorant predjudice against it.

  86. Carlie says

    TAMster – also, you could put positive pressure on the admins. Give them examples of the type of speaker you WOULD like to see, such as people who have careers that involve aspects of math and science, researchers who work on specific areas of math that aren’t usually covered at your level, that sort of thing. If there’s a large enough list of what the students definitely want, there’s no room left for wacko creationists who have nothing to do with it. Have a student-design t-shirt competition. (Keep with the criticism too, just give them something in its place.)

  87. apophenia says

    My husband’s a TAMS alumn… to hear him recall it, sounds like TAMS was a big D&D fest. Which is, you know, the road to Satan and all.

  88. Cassidy says

    I went to the NC version (which was the first school of its type in the country), and while we are not Texas, I’m from a tiny Appalachian town and the place was quite the oasis as a boarding school. If we had seen an ID speaker it would’ve been a great opportunity for us to go ridicule and show how brilliant we were, and t-shirts like that? Ironic for gifted science students and feeding into our already well-developed superiority complexes.

    It’s all a bit ridiculous, but don’t sell the students short.

  89. says

    As a classmate of Dr. Baker, I too must vouch for the quality of scientific education. I happen to be religious — hosting many of those Baha’i meetings he mentioned. I’m also one of the more vocal evolution advocates I know, and I owe much of my basic understanding of that science to my time at TAMS. The place has surely changed in the 10+ years since I left there, but I can’t imagine it has changed all that much. Since this “lecture” was presented outside of the classroom, it gives the students an excellent opportunity to think about what science really means, and to form their own understandings about the differences between real science and wishful thinking. I have to agree that the t-shirts smack of some teenager’s idea of a way of singling out the IDers or otherwise being sarcastic. Then again, some individual may have simply been trying to evoke balance. Although I disagree with the means of doing so, the students have the freedom to choose these things.

  90. mikej_of_96 says

    Hey Ryan! Gosh, you find old roomies in the strangest forums. (I’m hacking code for a swiss bank in NYC now. Much like the building they reside in they are large, white, and old. Sorry I was a shit back in the day, if you ever visit NYC I owe you dinner somewhere.)

    Regards religious idiocy at TAMS, it should be noted that the word on the grapevine is that this is just Probed RAs and other associated hall staff throwing optional/cultural activities (I don’t agree with them, but they’ve got as much right to use the space for a club activity or similar as Model UN or the eco org or the math club or whatever). I guess the Jebus freaks decided they had a perfect quasi-captive audience, never mind that pitting bible-humpers against a group of brilliant misanthropes can be a recipe only for hilarity (the speaker might find a more receptive audience if he were wearing a meat tuxedo and ministering to a shark tank). Knowing Sinclair, the program, and the type of students TAMS attracts I think it does a grave disservice to them all to jump to conclusions about their level of connection to this. (Am I wrong here? My direct info is 12 years old at this point, but hopefully things haven’t changed that much!)

    For any doubters, rest assured that the TAMS I know was and hopefully remains a haven of intellectualism and rigorous education (in the sciences and humanities) in a state where such things are sadly fewer in number than might be hoped for. I noticed above a question as to its funding and operational model; briefly it is funded as a separate line item in the Texas state budget so it is not subject to TEA regulations. Students apply as sophomores in high school and if selected their junior and senior years are spent living in a regular college dorm and taking regular college classes for credit (16+ hrs/term). It is not much different from being a freshman at 16 (or 15 or … 12) except the student to RA ratio is a bit lower, you’ve got a curfew, and the state gives you a mostly free ride; notationally you remain a high school student and receive a diploma upon graduation but the transcript with college credits is the focus. To the guy who thinks regular high school plus community college classes is the same or better I can only say that not in a million years would I trade my TAMS experience, however bumpy in spots, for that. Ever watched that Real Genius movie (80s, val kilmer, etc.)? TAMS is a lot like that, only I don’t think we ever had that much popcorn in one place.

  91. Chelsea Porter (nee Fischer), class of 96 says

    Sure is strange to see the t-shirts listed, but I think I’d have to chalk them up to attempts to do “something new” with the shirts; sure, as a previous poster said, there are plenty of math equations out there to shirtify… problem is, they’ve been done by previous classes. :P As for the guest lecture issue, I’d prefer to see more math and science and less (read: none) quasi-sci-religious, but as long as the students continue to do a bit of their own thinking, it shouldn’t scar them too badly.

    And hi there Ryan, Fuqua, and Mike. ;)

  92. another_tamster says

    Speaking as another current TAMS student, I have to agree that the overwhelming opinion of students regarding the speaker is that he isn’t worth messing with, or that it will be amusing to poke fun at him/argue him down. The student body is (on average) very scientifically minded, and the coursework and opportunities we have typically support us in this. However, the administration is very heavily religious, and TAMS policy requires that an event of some sort be put on by each RA throughout the year. As a result, some of the events offered are highly unscientific (as the event matches the RA’s interests), including the visits from representatives of Probe Ministries. It was slightly better in the case of the anti-homosexuality speaker (Sue Bohlin), who was paired up in a debate format with a biology professor from the university. You can guess who came out ahead in the “Nature v Nurture” discussion that ensued =D

    The class shirts, however, are not an optional part of enrolling at TAMS (a program fee at the start of the semester is collected, which goes to cover, among other things, the official class shirt). This is a gross misrepresentation of the ideals of the academy, and will not be tolerated by the current student body.

  93. jeh says

    It looks like the girls on the T-shirt page are flashing gang signs.

    Do we need a gang sign for the science posse?

  94. the_nth_tamster says

    I agree that the T-shirt designs are very stupid, but it’s not like we have to go to a weekly TAMS hosted church service. Keep in mind, the Probe Ministries event is a campus-wide event – just like any other event that goes on in any of the other dorms. Also, these RA run events aren’t required to be math or science related seeing as how none of the RA’s are TAMS students. We recently had a “philosophy” discussion on Soulja Boy put on by the director of student life (I didn’t hear anyone complaining that TAMS was advocating rap music). The events are just there for the student who chose to go – it’s not a big deal.

    But yeah, the shirt designs should definitely be scrapped. Once again though, it’s not a big deal. It’s just a shirt.

  95. Susan B. says

    I was class of ’93 (I feel old) and TAMS was, despite the drawbacks, the best school I could imagine. Skipping directly to freshman classes from 10th grade, my grades went up! What a waste of time going to school 8:30-3:30 was, and my hometown HS was good!

    I may be in the minority, having gone into liberal arts & *loving* the “Classic Learning Core” classes, but the science classes were awesome, and my classmates were terrific. If you still have to take Lit & History classes, appreciate them. Not only do they give you lots of cultural context, but the ability to argue back against a lot of these religious weirdos as well. Also, if you’re a current student, and they still let you, take as many cool electives as you can, since they’re nearly free.

    Texas deserves to have terrific schools and opportunities like this for the best & brightest, so I hope you current TAMSters are actively resisting any religious propaganda. I’m sure that the 4th class was rather laissez faire compared to later on (even our juniors got treated more strictly than we did), but we were quite subversive. I got in serious trouble for *co-ed* movie watching! We stayed up late sending “e-mail”. It was crazy.

    If the rosebush is still outside MacConnell, stop and smell the roses for me. They smell so amazing. : )

  96. Manni says

    This is _very_interesting.

    As wrong and stupid as the evilution shirt may seem at first glance, when you contrast it with the second one it clearly depicts what we want: progress of some kind. At least the last guy got rid off that weapon.

    But those created folks? No progress at all. They give the impression of wandering around aimlessly looking for an opportunity to wreak havoc.

  97. jayackoryd says

    They use the word “evolution” several times in that chapter, as well as cover the Cambrian Explosion and its relation to the evolution on the homeobox developmental gene complex (Biology is not my area so I am just copying and pasting here).

    I have not looked at a high school biology text in a very long time, so I have no idea whether it is typical. But one would think McGraw-Hill is.

    I too, having popped up the pdf before reading this message noticed the Hox reference, on the next to last page. So my candidate for a new tshirt involves a fruit fly as the first stage of evolution.

    This is a straight rendition of evolutionary development. I don’t think Feynman would have liked it–very heavy on memorizing nomenclature. While this is something that must be done, it’s easier with concepts hung on them on the way.

    Very hard, isn’t it, to get out the idea of directionality? More than once the text talks about a later feature as “an advantage.”

  98. DiscoveredJoys says

    Gang sign for science?

    3 fingers of the right hand extended to the left, other fingers folded into palm – looks like an ‘E’ from the front. 2 fingers of the left hand raised in the victory sign, loos like a ‘V’. Whole thing together ‘EV’.

  99. Lilly de Lure says

    The class shirts, however, are not an optional part of enrolling at TAMS (a program fee at the start of the semester is collected, which goes to cover, among other things, the official class shirt). This is a gross misrepresentation of the ideals of the academy, and will not be tolerated by the current student body.

    If they are using student enrollment fee to pay for these shirts then isn’t this in effect forcing the students to pay for materials that promote religion in order to be allowed to study? If this interpretation is indeed correct, isn’t there an Establishment Clause angle TAMster and others could use to bring the administrators to their senses?

  100. Alien says

    The seminar speakers really serve no outstanding representation of TAMS. Some speakers are pretty worthless while some are actually inspiring. But in the end, does it matter how well the seminar speakers perform or what they lecture about? No.

    The designer shirts are what people call a ‘joke’. If you’re going to get upset or offended by it, I feel sorry for you.

    The two arguments you made are pretty insignificant as I just pointed out, so they really have no impact at all. At the end of the day, TAMS is still one of the best academic programs for students pursuing math and science. Students who perform well can easily get into colleges like Stanford or Harvard.

  101. Sapna_96 says

    I am an atheist who graduated from TAMS in 1996. I now teach at Duke Law School. TAMS is a rigorous math and science program. To graduate, students take a year of college biology (intelligent design is not taught), chemistry, physics, math through Calculus 2, plus several college-level humanities classes. All of us graduate with at least 60 hours of college credit from UNT. Most of us go on to earn advanced degrees.

    I am surprised that this blog would judge such a fantastic school based on a t-shirt and a speaker that some student group brought in. This high school is one of the best in the country.

    (Hi Ryan, Mike, Chelsea, and Stephen!)

  102. Escuerd says

    I was going to apply to TAMS, and can’t remember why I decided not to. Oddly, like travc above, I also ended up going to Caltech. I have to admit that they do seem to be the best “feeder school” we get from Texas.

    I went to a not-so-great rural public school in that state. Just about the only teacher that wasn’t a creationist (though he was a Christian) was, luckily, the biology teacher. Unfortunately, he’s now retired, and according to my younger sister the current teacher there (who is a Baptist minister) throws plenty of ID nonsense into his classes (I told her that while it’s bad for the people who just soak it up uncritically, it’s good for her in that it will teach her to question authority and think on her own).

    Even Caltech has a few creationist students here and there, but I’ve never seen the administration (and certainly not faculty) there pander to them in any way. Then again, it doesn’t come up much as they’re few and far between here.

  103. Whitney Williams says

    Wow, I guess everybody got the memo. I won’t belabor the point of the Academy’s academic strength, as experts in most fields will have already encountered several alumni. In fact, the criticism I hear most often leveled against TAMS is that it is too dryly scientific (certainly untrue in my time there). Personally, I am glad to hear they brought in a speaker skilled in a form of rhetoric that most students would likely dismiss as nonsense. Though it may be nonsense, it is compelling rhetoric, and worthy of study as such. Should we not learn to understand falsehood as well as truth?

    As for the shirt, I would have taken the intelligent design one. I enjoy satire, and I truly feel sorry for people who don’t get it. To the current student who took offense, I submit the following for your consideration. The world exists by fiat. This is your opportunity to learn the nature of power and authority. Do you want to change the world, or do you only want to be angry at those who make it?

  104. angelena says

    OMG, this is so sad. My husband went to TAMS in the 90s and he *loved* it there. It sounded like such a great place for kids who were true science and math “geeks” (like we were) to really flourish. We even considered of moving to Texas so our kids could attend such a great school and have such a unique experience (not many other states have similar college programs for high school students). But after reading this, I’m not so sure I’d want my kids going to a place like this. After seeing those T-shirts (yes, definitely cringe-worthy) and hearing what kind of seminars are being given, it seems like this program is slowly being taken over by the politics of the extreme Christian right, which is VERY unfortunate. Pretty soon it’s not going to be about math and science anymore, is it?

    I’d wish they make more college programs like TAMS in areas which are less susceptible to Bushist politics.

  105. says

    As a student at the University of North Texas, I can safely say that the university not only differs from the vast majority of Texas as far as conservatism is concerned (its most notable programs are visual arts and music, you do the math), but has also proven to be an institution sincerely devoted to higher education. I’m currently taking SOCI 3700, Sociology of Religion, and although our prof has alluded to his religious convictions on multiple occasions, he never presses them on anyone. I’ve openly professed my atheism in class many times and have never received any kind of discrimination on behalf of it. In a class of this nature, you can see how I would be concerned when, on the first day of class, our teacher hinted at his membership in the Church of Christ. He, along with the Muslim man who taught my ANTH 3100 (People and Cultures of the Middle East) class, have remained not only open to and accepting of ALL views presented, but have welcomed conversation groups and one-on-one opportunity to discuss, debate, or just shoot the breeze. About the comments that they are possibly using the T-shirt design as a “weeding-out” tool, all I can say is, follow the link. These are chosen at orientation, which takes place in June. Final application decisions are sent out May 2, 2008. My best friend is applying, and I wouldn’t have recommended it to him had I not believed he would not only receive a more rigorous and challenging curriculum than he is at the high school he attends (from which I graduated in 2007), but that he would be exposed to knowledge and opportunity for thought not offered in public high schools due to the idiot we Texans call our governor. The University of North Texas is a wonderful place and, as I said before, not at all as conservative as the rest of Texas. In fact, students support Obama over the other candidates at a number near 60:1.

  106. DaveL says

    If I went to that school I’d start making my own T-shirts that said ‘I was delivered vaginally.’

    I’ll leave the graphics to your imagination.

  107. Jason A. says

    I went to TAMS in the early 90s (Class of ’93). I never recall seeing a hint of ID or anti-science being promoted. There were various student run groups including diverse beliefs and views (certainly more diverse than the small town in which I grew up), but none of these were promoted by the administration that I recall.

    I could see the second T-shirt as being a joke or satire if it were made by a student. After reading the more recent TAMSters comments, though, I would be very suspicious that some agenda was being pushed by someone. However, if TAMSters are anything like they used to be, I can guarantee there would be a healthy amount of skepticism regarding any suspect, anti-science views and there would likely be a fair amount of ridicule and/or taunting.

    Tuition and books used to be paid by the state with students just being responsible for room and board. Even if this is funded by line-item, it’s still tax-payer funded and the second t-shirt would appear to be a violation of the anti-establishment principle.

    Heya Susan B.!

  108. Richard Sinclair says

    One thing that TAMS students have that the writers here don’t have is a sense of humor. That’s all the t-shirts are…a humorous play on the issue. Nobody is required to buy one of the t-shirts…did you just make that up? What are you, a Democrat? The only “religious” speakers at TAMS appear on a “World Religions Panel” which highlights the many diverse religions characteristic of the TAMS student body. It is amazing how absolutely nothing can become “something” by a bunch of people with an axe to grind. Get off the Internet and get a life, or maybe do some cutting-edge science like the TAMS students.

  109. TAMSfan says

    One thing that TAMS students have that the writers here don’t have is a sense of humor. That’s all the t-shirts are…a humorous play on the issue. Nobody is required to buy one of the t-shirts…did you just make that up? What are you, a Democrat? The only “religious” speakers at TAMS appear on a “World Religions Panel” which highlights the many diverse religions characteristic of the TAMS student body. It is amazing how absolutely nothing can become “something” by a bunch of people with an axe to grind. Get off the Internet and get a life, or maybe do some cutting-edge science like the TAMS students.

  110. Richard Sinclair says

    Egad! Found out by my clumsy blog skills!

    I’m the dean at TAMS, a Medical Physiologist, and certainly not a “Creationist”. The academy’s goal for 20 years has been to “create” young scientists. Really, the t-shirts are a good joke enjoyed by the clever kids at TAMS. We encourage them to learn about and debate the issues of the time so that they will not misinterpret things that they see. Want proof? Visit us any time.

  111. Unsympathetic reader says

    On the plus side, they recognize that Intelligent Design is simply creationism in drag. If what ID professes to be true about its scientific position were put on a T-shirt, there would be a big question mark on the left and an arrow pointing to a human on the right. Above the arrow would be another question mark designating the mechanism. An alternative graphic would just have a big question mark.

  112. Brady Black says

    Hello blog scholars:

    My name is Brady Black and funny enough I designed the t-shirt in question. I never imagined so many people would be so invested in my work. I appreciate all of your critiques and I have taken your thoughts and tried to modify my t-shirt design to more appropriately reflect the thoughts of this scholarly blog.

    Please feel free to view the new shirt here:

    Thanks for your help,

  113. Stevie_C says

    I would really say it’s designed, crapped out is more fitting.

    Funny how much better it would be if you put a picture of Jesus on it…
    Thou shall not question dogma.

    THAT would be funny.

  114. says

    I went to TAMS, and I am profoundly saddened that the administration has taken this terrible turn. When I went there, everyone believed exactly the same thing on all issues: science, religion, music, food, etc. There was none of this ridiculous questioning-the-establishment, free-thinking, diversity-rules, hippie non-sense. We just believed whatever we were told, knowing that there could not possibly be any other viewpoint than the one that we all unilaterally and objectively shared on all points with absolute certainty.

  115. nunyer says

    Richard Sinclair,

    As the dean of TAMS, you should be more aware than most of the political/religious controversy that is ID. Hopefully you recognize that Texas is the “new Florida” or “new Kansas” as many on your state board of education try to figure out how to censor biology textbooks without getting caught.

    Many of the writers here are quite understandably concerned when, by all appearances, the TAMS administration is promoting intelligent design via invited speakers and student-fee-funded t-shirts.

    Perhaps these “teach the controversy!” actions placate some of the many Texas voters on whom your funding depends. Although that’s a good political move, it’s crappy educational strategy and worse science.

    Statements such as “…did you just make that up? What are you, a Democrat?” aren’t becoming to the dean of an erstwhile prestigious institution. In fact, it leads one to wonder whether there might be even more such issues which need investigating.

  116. nunyer says

    Barry Black –

    If you’re truly TAMS-worthy, then you’d recognize that Darwin’s original theory has been questioned thousands of times during the last 150 years. That questioning has led to the even more robust neo-Darwinian synthesis, one which generates testable predictions. ID doesn’t. ID can’t.

    As a TAMS student, you more than most in your state should recognize that questioning is inherent to the process of science. That you have chosen to ignore that questioning and insert your own caricature of evolution is lamentable, and reflects poorly on the TAMS selection committee.

    It may be hard for your adolescent ego to accept, but there are people in this world who are much more knowledgeable about evolution than you are. You have a rare, taxpayer-paid opportunity to learn from some of these people. One hopes you will take advantage of it.

  117. bill lipe says

    The malicious part about the tee-shirt design is that it invites TAMS students to choose up sides–either you are for god (as the giver of the “divine spark” that created humans) or you are against god (and hence in favor of evolution and a view of humans as “just one more kind of animal”). Promoting this kind of us-versus-them dichotomy on day one of the academy is more likely to result in name-calling and popularity contests than it is in learning something about science. In any case, why would the TAMS administration think that a science camp would be a good place to promote debates about whether non-science ideology might somehow be considered a part of science?

  118. Batman says

    I am Batman. I would comment on this issue, but my opinions aren’t becoming to a caped crusader.

  119. humbug says

    So, because it’s a Math and Science academy, students shouldn’t be exposed to things other than math and science? Then why do they take english… or history… or political science…? This is an outrage. With tax payer money they are surrounding these kids with a well balance environment? Everyone knows that the proper way to bring up a kid is to flood them with a single thing, you know, like the Nazis.

  120. JJR says

    Update: the T-shirt logos HAVE BEEN TAKEN DOWN from the website as I am checking it this evening, 3/10/08.
    Maybe they were feeling the heat from upset alumni and concerned folks in the scientific community…we can only hope.

    …please note, they’re also holding this talk, coming up:

    Programming : Intelligent Design Discussion
    Posted by Kevin Roden on 2008/3/6 10:49:17

    Science and Intelligent Design
    Dr. Ray Bohlin will visit TAMS on Tuesday, March 11 to discuss this controversial issue.

    Science vs. Intelligent Design has always a hot topic of debate in today’s society. Which one is true? Is either true? Perhaps it’s time to gain a different perspective.
    Tuesday Think Tank introduces Science AND Intelligent Design presented by Dr. Ray Bohlin.

    Dr. Bohlin is a man of science and faith. He received his B.S. in zoology from the University of Illinois, an M.S. in population genetics from the University of North Texas, and an M.S. and PH.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Bohlin has worked for Probe Ministries, a Christian publication and outreach ministry, for 33 years. He is currently President of Probe Ministries. In this 45 minute lecture, Dr. Bohlin will discuss how Science and Intelligent Design don’t necessarily cancel one another out: sometimes they work together, each giving credibility to the other.

    Come, listen, and discuss this topic with us: 8pm, Tuesday, March 11th in MAC Café.

    …I’m thinking of attending and also smuggling a tape recorder inside to record this talk tomorrow evening.
    Not sure if I will, but might be worth it.

    Also, I noticed elsewhere on the TAMS site some forums where students were debating the war and pro/con on topics like Socialism, Eugene Victor Debs, etc. Nothing wrong with that per se, but what bearing does any of that have on the study of the natural sciences and mathematics, I have to ask? Yes, those discussions are important, but seem to lay outside the scope of what TAMS was set up to do…namely serve as a college-prep/Advanced placement intensive study to give qualified High schoolers a leg up on collegiate level science & math. Those other discussions are the proper venue of their core humanities classes. Yes, in a touchy-feely way, everything is interconnected, yada yada yada, but organization and division of academic labor is ultimately unavoidable if we’re striving for coherence and trying to reduce chaos.

    -JJR, ’04 Alumnus, Univ. of North Texas (MLS)

  121. nunyer says

    As long as TAMS isn’t trying to pretend that ID has any scientific validity, it’s all good.

    One would hope that the TAMS faculty realize these students have the chance to attend the Bohlin presentation, and be ready to fix whatever distortions or misconceptions the students bring back from the lecture.

  122. tams9701 says

    “Also, I noticed elsewhere on the TAMS site some forums where students were debating the war and pro/con on topics like Socialism, Eugene Victor Debs, etc. Nothing wrong with that per se, but what bearing does any of that have on the study of the natural sciences and mathematics, I have to ask? Yes, those discussions are important, but… ”
    -JJR, ’04 Alumnus, Univ. of North Texas (MLS)

    But what?
    Since when should higher education not include a well rounded education with forums for discussion and encouraging critical thinking? Clearly the majority of these posts here are one sided arguements from narrow minded people parading as intellects. However the true intellectuals that actually have and continue to benefit society throughout the ages are not afraid to consider other points of view, weight them, form their own belief and let others follow a similar process. What’s getting all of your scientific shorts in a wad? Are you afraid that the other point of view just might be true? If not, why deny others the choice to express their point of view with a silly shirt or non-mandatory programs?

    And on the subject of Evolution verses ID… which ever side you claim for “your own”… until you invent a time machine, go back to the beginning, observe and measure what happened, your view is a theory – not fact! Since when in an intellectual environment or a democratic society should all theories not be open for discussion?

    The TAMS program and staff are top notch regardless of what you read here. If one joke of a shirt or a non-mandatory program is going to make you think otherwise then guess what? You just bought into propaganda by an immature adolescent jumping the proper course of working through a dispute and blowing a minor thing way out of proportion. The slander against staff is ridiculous! There isn’t a person on staff that doesn’t have the advancement and overall development of every student as a top priority regardless of their economic, ethnic or religious background (or gender for those that think the shirt was slamming woman!). There are no hidden agendas. Just another smear fest by a kid with a chip on their shoulder! I sure hope they are proud of their immature fit they have thrown and that by slandering the program that has given them way more than they evidently realize, they have drug it into the mud. However, it will go on aiding more of the best and the brightest and striving to truly let students engage in higher learning and critical thought.

  123. Patrick says

    I was in TAMS a few years back and I think this article is a bit alarmist. TAMS regularly holds discussions about religion and many other topics in the building so this is really not too much of a surprise. They also had theist/atheist debates as well as topics on various world religions the whole time I was going there. The people who are posting so much trash about Texas and this school are more ignorant than the people they mean to disparage. This school attracts some of the brightest kids in the state and around the country. They give a great education and most students go on to do impressive things afterwards. The staff when I was there was largely composed of people who were very Christian but I don’t recall them ever disrespecting others’ beliefs or disbelief. As for the T-shirt if memory serves each class designs one for the next class so it’s probably just a stab at political humor. My educated guess is that if many students showed up to this Intelligent Design discussion they were probably more interested in trying to debunk it.

  124. tams 001001 says

    Dang, you guys are really upset. Now, I’m a reasonable guy and I really like to find out what all the commotion is about before I start jumping on the bandwagon, you know what I mean? That being said,… what are you freaking out about? I’m really trying hard to see why we need to be so fussy. As someone said earlier in the blog, all of this seems to be pretty normal activity. Would an atheist coming in to talk about evolution be kicked in the crotch?

    To be very honest with you, I’m seriously wondering if this whole thing could easily be flipped to make these accusations and malicious remarks out to be Religious Discrimination. Mind you, I do not practice law, I’m a science guy myself, but for some reason that doesn’t seem too far fetched here.

    Just be careful, your freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you can harass a religious group here, especially for something that they are not doing wrong (and honestly they are not – it sounds like a plain old optional program to me). Sure, not all of us are religious, but dang, some of you guys really hate religious people don’t you?

  125. Johnny says

    “Barry” Black is not a student, he’s the Hall Director. Chill out anyway, he’s a funny dude and (this is based on me knowing him) he meant the t-shirts to just be funny. I believe in evolution and I think they’re hilarious… and they are if you have a sense of humor. Google: Brady Black TAMS , He even looks funny in his picture

  126. says

    I’m the 50-ish mother of a budding scientist (in math). This isn’t rocket science. Just say, “No, thank you,” and then move on to something else. One gift I hope I am able to impart to my extremely brilliant 15-year-old TAMS hopeful is that, as smart as he is, sometimes, imput from even lesser mortals might be helpful.

  127. kimberly says

    ok wow i’m going to TAMS next fall and if i’m forced to chose a stupid shirt i’ll take pics and send them to you via…well this duh! and i’ll refuse if they kick me out oh fncking well! but yeah thanks for just a little in site as to what bs i may deal with! =]

  128. B-Cuz says

    First off let me say that my wife graduated from TAMS and is currently in her 3rd year of Dental School and 80% done with her Ph.D. in Cellular and Structural Biology. There is quite an age gap between us. The reason we fell in love is because she was the only woman I could relate to since graduating from a DODDS high school in the Philippines. I was there with my father who was an Air Force officer. We had little to few rules at my high school. It was an open campus, there was a plethora of AP/Honors classes, cool electives and the student population was extremely diverse; socioeconomically and otherwise.

    What I’m getting at is that the public school system in the States sucks! Most private schools lag far behind the education I got being an AF brat and the same can be said for the majority of stateside schools as compared to TAMS. Texas and most places in the South rate at the very bottom academically. I think the secondary school graduation rate in Texas is near 50%. Pitiful. The DoDDS system (Dept. of Defense Dependents Schools) is usually in the top 2-5% of all schools public and private in the USA. TAMS’ combined HS/University curriculum gives its grads more than 2 years of college credit from UNT upon completion. The year my wife graduated it was #2 in the nation amongst all high schools public and private!

    Just because Ahmadinejad or Billy Graham speaks at an elite school, doesn’t mean that the end of the world is nigh or that there is any reason to stereotype TAMS as a typical redneck bastion of stupidity. I’m sure if it is even a semblance of what it was when my wife and her sister attended it is still better than 99.9 % of all the schools in the States. You really need to give the students and faculty some credit. My wife and her TAMS alumni friends are open minded individuals and their intelligence and humor is refreshing. I find it amusing that Carolinians would ever see themselves other than for what they are- Southerners. It’s surprising to hear any comment from the Peanut Gallery coming from most states in the US and that includes Cali and NY. Their schools and their students help contribute to America’s poor standing globally.

    So back to the original premise. My wife and I met and fell in love when she transferred to another University in order to complete her Baccalaureate Degree. I had been in the states for a decade and had yet to find anyone I could really vibe with. Most of you people regardless of state or school were/are just none too swift. Americans like to cheat their way to the top because they lack a deep and diverse knowledge base.

    It’s not totally your fault, because our system relies on unfairness and collegiality, if you know what I really mean :)! We have become a nation of consumers instead of producers so we need to hire service industry types. You stifle yourselves by imposing unnecessary rules and regs which hampers creativity. What does one’s hair length or style of dress have to do with anything at that age? Why the heck do we need armed guards, closed campuses and monthly shakedowns?

    The truth is our country has a pretty decent pool of talent because of our huge population. When you have 300 million people you’ll have some bright spots. It’s a percentage thing. Japan, Germany, Finland and even England have relatively small populations yet they are beyond us academically.

    The beauty of a program like TAMS is that it brings kids from all over Texas to a controlled yet free collegiate atmosphere. In Texas you have very little choice. At least there is something there to help groom and challenge the best and brightest. There is a diverse student body, no dress code, no morning prayer, no overall appearance rules, no closed campus and the best thing is that you have Graduate Degree holding teachers. It mirrored my experience growing up in a heterogenous (DoDDS) environment which stressed individuality and independent thought. I have nothing but praise for it because without TAMS I would have either married the common dolt of which this country and world is replete, or been single forever.

    Btw you can be a scientist and believe in “God”. They are not mutually exclusive ideas, in fact a scientist who doesn’t believe in something greater than themselves is no different than an “Intelligent Designer” imvho. I understand the purpose of having that lecturer. Smart people know that all things done in moderation have their place.

    In order to be able to compare and contrast you need the point and counterpoint. Informed and intelligent decisions should be individualized and not hammered in. Let smart young adults make up their own minds. God as most religions preach is not the real “God,” this I will agree with. Yet understanding Brane Theory and similar ideas, how could one not believe in the apparent genius in the structure of entropy?

    So speaking of God, thank Him/ Her for TAMS!!!

    You people who are doubters need to take notice and push for similar programs and schools in your area. Don’t try and separate yourself from the norm, because you can’t even begin to imagine what a school like TAMS means and is like. Go visit the students there or talk in length with an alumnus, you’ll automatically detect a difference in their views on life and society!

    Don’t hate- emulate!

    Peace, Unity, 1Love, Pursue Wisdom and Have some Fun!!!

  129. Jonny A. says

    I just found this and this is ridiculous.
    You guys have no idea what TAMS is like and what majority of educated kids are like in Texas.
    Call the ACLU? That’s hilarious.
    Just over a fu’kin T-shirt? It’s people like you that are ruining education. Pointing to some shirt to summarize the entirety of TAMS? Are you kidding me?

    I went to TAMS and I graduated two years ago. My brother will probably attend.

    There are parts of Texas that are completely opposite of what these people have in mind. Think Southlake, Plano, Sugarland. A lot of kids come from these areas, have you ever heard of these cities?

    To the UNT alumnus above, sorry for breaking those curves man. Also, please be kind enough to be the arbiter of our curriculum, so that we can only learn Math and Science despite the state’s requirements and well-supported idea of a well-rounded education.

    Brady Black was our hall-director.

  130. James Chen says

    ITS A SHIRT! Calm down. I attend the Texas Academy of Math and Science, and I can tell you that claiming a T-Shirt is corrupting kids comes from the same view of the public claiming video game violence cause kids to shoot each other. Oh I live in Texas, I must be ignorant and have a Texas accent, despite how I’ve lived in Ohio and Michigan for 13 years of my life. I can honestly say that I probably despise Texas even more than the author of this article, but the Texas Academy of Math and Science is NOTHING like how the author has made it. We do have Christian Ministry workers come in and give lectures, but attendance is absolutely OPTIONAL. So, too, are the lectures given by JEWISH, HINDU, MUSLIM, and ATHEIST speakers. Please people, don’t be so quick to be convinced that a perfectly fine establishment is corrupt based on a T-Shirt Design, and false accusations of attempts on the students faiths for I, myself am ATHEIST. When one stares down the foundation of what this article is built upon, one should notice that they are not just silly, but ignorant.

  131. Anonymous says

    Wow. How many of you people that posted comments know anything about what actually goes on at TAMS. I am starting there in the fall, and everyone here is trying to give a bad impression on something they know nothing about. How smart is that. How about if you want to bash on TAMS that you go research it for a minute, and not just listen to one guys perception of it. The dude that wrote this does not even go to TAMS. Thats like asking a kid how to be an adult. It’s utterly STUPID!!

  132. TAMSter says

    Hello world. You are all so fucking stupid. Do you really have nothing better to do with your lives than diss a school entirely because of it’s “T-shirt” design that you are not paying for AT ALL? I’m pretty sure IF these kids have to pick the shirts (which I’m curious to see your proof of all this information that you seem to be pulling out of your ass), then if anything, they are giving the kids the freedom to choose which shirt they want according to their religion. It seems like if they are giving you a choice as to which shirt you choose, that they are most certainly NOT trying to oppress anything on anyone. And it is also illogical to assume that if a kid chooses the “wrong” shirt that they will automatically be rejected. Why would they even ask them what shirt they wanted if they didn’t accept them first anyway? It’s not a cult; it’s a school. So get over yourselves, and stop trying to make a big deal out of something you aren’t even informed of. If anything it’s immature adults like all of you that are the corrupt ones trying to control the world. Peace.