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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Florida education official abuses position to oppose Darwinism









WHAT? NOT NEUTRAL? WHO? ME?













An ousted Darwinist education official in Texas has an anti-Darwinist counterpart in Florida. A news article said,

The debate over evolution, creation and Florida's science standards has grown increasingly heated as a decision nears, and a state Department of Education manager who has waded into it now finds herself in hot water.

Selena "Charlie" Carraway, program manager for the department's Office of Instructional Materials, recently used her personal e-mail on personal time to send a missive urging fellow Christians to fight the proposal to include evolution as a "key idea" in the science curriculum.

But she invoked her position as a way to, in her words, "give this e-mail credibility." And that, it turns out, is a no-no.

"It is inappropriate for any department employee to use their public position to advocate their personal positions," department spokesman Tom Butler said Friday. "Ms. Carraway has been counseled."

That means human resources personnel met with Carraway and warned her not to do this again, but she remains on the job.

That's quite a different result than the one that befell the Texas Education Agency's director of science for a similar situation.

Last month, Christine Comer was forced to resign from her job in Texas after forwarding an e-mail announcement of a speech by an author who favored teaching evolution. In several articles, Comer blamed evolution politics for her fate in Texas, which also is reviewing its science standards.

Observers familiar with both situations said it looked like Carraway, more than Comer, had done something deserving of reprimand. They praised the Florida Education Department for acting with restraint.

"They behaved with much more proportionality," said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the pro-evolution National Center for Science Education. "Indeed, Ms. Carraway should not use her public position to promote her religious position. ... Now she has a second chance, and hopefully she'll behave more responsibly."

Joe Wolf, president of the pro-evolution Florida Citizens for Science, agreed.

"I think she's allowing her religious beliefs to interfere with her public duty," Wolf said. "I wish she hadn't done it. But I think it's an internal matter."

Scott and Wolf both observed that such restraint can be difficult in this charged atmosphere.

Carraway did not respond to several requests for an interview. Butler said he confirmed that the e-mail in question, which has been widely distributed across Florida, came from her.

Here's how she introduced herself:

"My name is Charlie Carraway, and I'm a member of Sopchoppy Southern Baptist Church, Sopchoppy, Florida, but I also work for the Florida Department of Education as the Director of the Office of Instructional Materials," Carraway wrote. "That means I oversee the adoption process of books and materials in the state, and I work in close proximity to the folks in the Office of Mathematics and Science, who have been in charge of the revision of the science standards. I say all of this, obviously, to give this e-mail credibility."

Carraway detailed the proposed standards, which have won accolades from scientists, and provided ways to contact the State Board of Education.

"Once these become adopted standards and benchmarks, FCAT assessment will be based on them," she wrote. "Districts will not have a choice in teaching evolution as a theory, but will be expected to teach it as stated in these standards, big ideas, and benchmarks. ... Whose agenda is this and will the Christians in Florida care enough to do something about it?"

She ended by urging recipients to lobby against the standards, ending, "The least we can do is make sure evolution is presented to our children and grandchildren as a theory as it has been in the past. Hopefully, though, we can do better than that." Carraway was not part of the committee that recommended the science standards.

Carraway's statement "The least we can do is make sure evolution is presented to our children and grandchildren as a theory as it has been in the past" is alarming. It implies that the proposed new science standards are attempting to present evolution as more than just a theory.

And Comer is certainly not innocent. The Forrest lecture that Comer announced was not about science but was a false ad hominem attack on all critics of Darwinism, vilifying them as allegedly being part of a fundy conspiracy to take over the USA. Forrest is a bigot who is trying to shut down discussion of the scientific issues. Forrest cannot stand discussion of the scientific issues because if Intelligent Design or other criticisms of Darwinism have scientific merit, then her conspiracy theory is irrelevant. What Comer did was like a government AIDS agency sending out an "FYI" announcement of a Fred Phelps demonstration. A "Darwin-to-Hitler" lecture might be more neutral, as it would not necessarily be an attempt to shut down discussion of the scientific issues. And I have seen no claim that Comer was even-handed about the "FYI" public-event announcements that she sent out. Finally, Comer violated the Texas Education Agency policy of neutrality on upcoming science standard reviews. Right or wrong, that was the policy.

IMO it would have been better if Comer had also received just a slap on the wrist. Ousting her has backfired, as she has become a martyr in the minds of a lot of Darwinists.
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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to add that by letting Carraway off with a slap on the wrist, the education department gives the appearance that it holds double standards over political and religious beliefs, which amounts to accusations of discrimination and other wonderful lawsuit material. At the very least, any action on education policy will be closely watched by activists and lawyers alike.

Carraway still comes off as a massive proselytizing fundie since she explicitly requested that her recipients take political action while appealing to their Christian beliefs, which she has also explicitly stated to share. Comer's email contained only the announcement of Forrest's presentation with "FYI". No calls to action, mention of her position, nor appeals to the political/religious beliefs were ever mentioned. Only the email header gave her away. Hell, if Comers was a fundie, her email could also have been interpreted as a call to arms to her fundie recipients to take action/protest due to Forrest's presentation being perceived as an attack on their religious beliefs.

When you first posted about Comers, I told you that this action was going to backfire. I was right...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 9:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

Larry's biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to practice the arbitrary censorship that he alleged was practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums although he has always failed to show where that had happened. He admits that censorship is practiced on his blog -- there is deletion of comments. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks will be Larry's constant contributions. His non-response to a particular comment should be interpreted as inability to answer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said,
>>>>>> You forgot to add that by letting Carraway off with a slap on the wrist, the education department gives the appearance that it holds double standards over political and religious beliefs <<<<<<

Where's the double standard? How has the Florida dept. of education shown that it treats employees differently depending on their expressed political and religious beliefs?

>>>>> Comer's email contained only the announcement of Forrest's presentation with "FYI". No calls to action, mention of her position, nor appeals to the political/religious beliefs were ever mentioned. <<<<<

No appeals to political/religious beliefs were necessary. Forrest's lecture was not about science, it was a political lecture, and a bigoted political lecture at that. Forrest's lecture was the Darwinist equivalent of a Fred Phelps demonstration at a gay wedding. Comer was playing with fire. When you play with fire, you should expect to get burned.

>>>>>> When you first posted about Comers, I told you that this action was going to backfire. <<<<<<

How have my posts about Comer backfired?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 2:58:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

The news article is hardly unbiased. The only "Observers familiar with both situations" that it manages to quote are a pair of avid believers in Darwinism, who fight all other views.

And it should have mentioned that Eugenie Scott is a lobbyist and paid propagandist for Darwinism-as-dogma in the public schools.

So why not quote an anti-Darwinist "observer" also; or at least one who might be relatively neutral and objective?

The article also presents the debate as between "evolution" and "creation," which is highly misleading. One can doubt or reject the Darwinist version of evolution without believing in any sort of creationism; or even in "intelligent design," which is not the same as "creationism."

Many reporters were taught to believe in the Darwinist version of evolution, in the past. So they seem to ignorantly assume that the contemporary controversy must be "creationists" fighting against "science!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 3:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>>>
How have my posts about Comer backfired?
<<<<<<

pffft not referring to your post, I meant the act of Comers being pressured to resign. -1 reading comprehension

>>>>>>
Where's the double standard? How has the Florida dept. of education shown that it treats employees differently depending on their expressed political and religious beliefs?
<<<<<<

Now you're the naive one. Here we have two education officials, both of which I'm sure, had their own personal agendas in doing what they did to breach policy. Carraway went the whole 9 yards with the christo-churchy spiels and blatant call to action against teaching evolution on behalf of Christianity, while Comer's FYI notice left it up to the reader to

a) Form an opinion on the contents of Forrest's presentation

b) Take action based on the reader's own beliefs

In the end, Carraway gets a slap on the wrist and Comers gets pressured into resigning. Now it just happens that both the Texas Education Association and Florida Board of Education are largely controlled by fundie elements.

Now I'm not saying that a double standard is definitely in place, but the implications are there. Just like your insistence that Forrest's presentation must be a blatant attack on creationism/intelligent design based on a book that she wrote and her testimony at the Dover trial. Again, you can't really say for sure but say so anyways as a reactionary measure.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 5:10:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>In the end, Carraway gets a slap on the wrist and Comers gets pressured into resigning. Now it just happens that both the Texas Education Association and Florida Board of Education are largely controlled by fundie elements.

Now I'm not saying that a double standard is definitely in place, but the implications are there. <<<<<

No, Florida does not control what Texas does and vice-versa, and there is no central ZOG organization controlling both states. You are crazy.

>>>>> Just like your insistence that Forrest's presentation must be a blatant attack on creationism/intelligent design <<<<<<

Well, it is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 1:48:00 AM  

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