While we're at it, let's also fire the math teachers who can't do algebra
I'm on the Discovery Institute's enemies list now. They have this thing called "the free speech on evolution campaign", and it looks like they've made me their poster boy for intolerance. Here's their general statement of concern:
Across America, the freedom of scientists, teachers, and students to question Darwin is coming under increasing attack by what can only be called Darwinian fundamentalists. These self-appointed defenders of the theory of evolution are waging a malicious campaign to demonize and blacklist anyone who disagrees with them.
Biology professor P.Z. Myers at the University of Minnesota, for example, has called for "the public firing and humiliation of some teachers" because they question Darwin.
Isn't it cute how they lie and distort? I question Darwin; some of my favorite evolutionary biologists make a career of arguing against narrow Darwinian positions. I don't think I want to be fired and humiliated. The source of that quote is a comment I made on the Panda's Thumb, which I do stand behind completely. Here is the full text:
Yeah, I’m afraid the “civilized academic debate” was settled about a century ago. Scientists have been engaging in that ideal, non-militaristic fashion for quite some time, and still are — those discussions go on in the pages of the journals. Unfortunately, while we have been doing everything in the proper civilized way, the forces of ignorance have not; they have lied their way into considerable power.
Here I am, a biologist living in the 21st century in one of the richest countries in the world, and one of the two biology teachers in my kids’ high school is a creationist. Last year, the education commissioner in my state tried to subvert the recommendations for the state science standards by packing a hand-picked ‘minority report’ committee to push for required instruction in intelligent design creationism in our schools. All across the country, we have these lunatics trying to stuff pseudoscientific religious garbage into our schools and museums and zoos.
This is insane.
Please don’t try to tell me that you object to the tone of our complaints. Our only problem is that we aren’t martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many schoolboard members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians.
Yes, I do think that teachers who are incompetent and ignorant should be fired. Not for criticizing Darwin, but for failing to grasp even the basics of the discipline they are supposed to be teaching. I demand that our teachers should meet some minimal standards and should explicitly avoid teaching our kids lies and confusion, the stock in trade of the Discovery Institute. What they call intolerance, I call rigor.
They aren't asking for freedom of speech, they are asking for the right of teachers to lie to our children in school.
(Thanks to Steven Thomas Smith for bringing the DI's tripe to my attention, and he also recommends that the creationists try reading Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District to learn a little about free speech in this kind of situation.)