Oregon teacher fired after veering from evolution textbook.

A news story today from Oregon (story here) is headlined “Oregon teacher fired after veering from evolution textbook.”

The story says, in part:

During his eight days as a part-time biology teacher at Sisters High School, Kris Helphinstine included Biblical references in material he provided to students and gave a PowerPoint presentation that made links between evolution, Nazi Germany and Planned Parenthood.

That was enough for the Sisters School Board, which fired the teacher Monday night for deviating from the curriculum on the theory of evolution. …

Helphinstine, 27, said in a phone interview with The Bulletin newspaper of Bend that he included the supplemental material **to teach students about bias in sources, and his only agenda was to teach critical thinking.

“Critical thinking is vital to scientific inquiry,” said Helphinstine, who has a master’s degree in science from Oregon State. “My whole purpose was to give accurate information and to get them thinking.”**

Well good for him - his plan worked: the students, parents and school Board clearly saw his bias, and they used their critical thinking skills to conclude that his teaching was completely inappropriate.

“I think his performance was not just a little bit over the line,” board member Jeff Smith said. “It was a severe contradiction of what we trust teachers to do in our classrooms.”

This is the kind of critical thinking we need more of: thinking which sees the “critical thinking” ploy of the creationists as the dishonest ruse that it is. Science is based on critical thinking, and it is a travesty that the creationists have co-opted this term to support their radical skepticism about the findings of mainstream science.