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« Poor Orphan Condi | Main | Mind Games »

December 18, 2006

Comments

Yeah, I was shocked that in New Jersey so many people took the side of the teacher! What is that guy doing teaching science class anyway? Did you see the line about the poor Muslim girl in his class who the teacher said was going to hell? The teacher should be fired. And kudos to the kid - hopefully he goes on to be an investigative journalist.

Archana:
That crack about the Muslim girl is just beyond the pale. Can you imagine how threatening it is to have a teacher singling out a student in that manner? I agree with you that Paszkiewicz ought to be fired.

I just saw the young man, Matthew LaClair on CNN with Anderson Cooper. He is very well spoken and quite fearless. He repeated all his assertions with firmness. The school district board members were also invited to participate. They declined citing prior engagment. But they sent out a statement pretty much attempting to put a lid on the matter. They won't even require the Preacher Teacher to issue a statement of retraction! It is very clear where the community's sympathies lie. It is disgraceful.

I don't know if you have followed some of our recent discussions here regarding the role of scientists in the field of religion. I happen to be of the opinion that scientists indeed need to speak out - loudly, if necessary. I am not so much concerned whether scientists are capable of a refined theological debate. But they need to protect the future generations from such subversive, harmful indoctrination. If necessary, scientists and other rational folks ought to storm school board meetings and tackle these people in their own territories. In the last twenty plus years, I have watched with horror as the extremists have made inroads into every level of public life. Schools and school boards are their favorite points of entry. If we ignore them because we find them too stupid to engage in a debate, we do so at our own peril and at the risk of losing future generations to this kind of backwardness.

Even though my own children are adults, as a parent familiar with the US public school system and an ex-science teacher, I am perhaps more alarmed than others. For me this is not an academic discussion but a present and clear danger of a slide down a dangerous precipice.

You are correct, Ruchira, that yesterday's NYT story was my introduction to this little drama. Meanwhile, various blogs have been on this since mid-November! The Lippard Blog points to this letter from LaClair's father, a useful chronology of events.

I have been following the conversations here and will certainly do so more regularly. Good thing you're such an involved parent. I personally CAN imagine what it must feel like to be singled out since I was one of only two or three Hindus in a giant public high school in the Bible Belt.

School board meetings are KEY. My poor parents took me to many to protest very stupid policies and practices when I was a teenager.

Here's a letter I wrote to the NY Times almost 2 years ago on the subject of creationism (that actually inspired us to start our blog): http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E2D81E38F937A15752C0A9639C8B63&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fJ%2fJacoby%2c%20Susan

Good work in getting the word out about this stuff. And great blog.

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