Wednesday, 19 December 2007

I'm FYIing this FYI

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As a science graduate I'm not a big fan of creationism. I have nothing against religion but I object to creationism being taught as a scientific theory in schools. This is much more of an issue in the US; especially in the mid-west and southern states where, it would appear, nearly everyone is a raving lunatic.

I've been following the story of Chris Comer, who was fired as Director of Science Curriculum for the Texas Education Agency. She forwarded an email to a group of friends and colleagues about a lecture by a leading critic of Intelligent Design. This was seen an endorsement of evolution and she was fired. That's like being fired for endorsing gravity.

An appeal is in progress that is focused on the skewed logic of this sacking. The main objection seems to be that it is wrong to interpret the forwarding of an email as an endorsement of the content. Language log commented in favour of Comer in a post. I would argue that it's wrong to fire a science teacher for condoning the teaching of science but apparently this argument doesn't hold water in Texas.

Anyway, disregarding the politics for a moment, Mr. Verb found issue with a quote from Ms. Comer reported here by the NYT:

I don’t see how I took a position by F.Y.I.-ing on a lecture like I F.Y.I. on global warming or stem-cell research,” Ms. Comer said.
Sorry, did she just verb FYI? Mr. Verb had this to say:
To fyi, or to F.Y.I. as the Times copy editors prefer, just had to be out there … it sounds like perfect bureaucratic talk ... but I don't think I'd ever heard it and I'm pretty sure I'd never seen it in print.
I'm with Mr. Verb (apart from his misuse of ellipses). What the hell is she talking about? Bureaucratic verbing: that's an offence for which she should be fired.

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Blogger Mantolwen said...

Creationists are sacked for endorsing creation (or even for just being a creationist), so I don't see why evolutionists shouldn't have the same rules applied to them.

I could go on about this forever, but I've seen both sides as I used to believe in evolution.

24 December 2007 at 15:27  
Blogger Gez said...

I think the point here is that, regardless of what is believed, forwarding an email shouldn't be seen as an endorsement of the email's content.

Actually the main point is the ridiculous verbing of F.Y.I.

2 January 2008 at 15:53  

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