This (American) National Center for Science Education job ad spins my eyes:
The National Center for Science Education, a non-profit organization that defends the teaching of evolution in the public schools, seeks candidates for the post of Faith Project Director.
Er... a what? This employee will be...
- developing materials pertaining to evolution and religion for print and web;
- representing NCSE to the faith community, in print and in person;
- serving as liaison between NCSE and professional theological societies and religious organizations;
- speaking to the press about issues involving evolution education and challenges to it;
- counseling teachers, administrators, parents, and others facing challenges to evolution education.
All-in-all, this reads like MS hiring a GPL advocate! And here was NCSE — up to this point — carefully rattling on about science & faith being different, unrelated fields.
As an isolated raw tactic, I suppose it makes a great deal of sense; but from a more, uh, “social” perspective it reads more like the Pope taking up Islam or Richard Dawkins going Crusading.
What makes it sound even more crusaderish is this section...
A scientific background, especially in biology or geology, and experience in science education at the high school level are desirable but not necessary.
...which essentially says that science qualifications are optional, so what NCSE is really after here is a speaker or writer as a more-or-less press-agent rather than as a scientist.
That’s going to hammer NCSE’s science-only assertions quite heavily — not that it’s exactly been immune to such damage in recent years — & lead to people questioning NCSE’s key positions.
I suspect that this kind of long-term damage to their position will totally obliterate any shorter-term popularity gains NCSE might see in certain sections through hiring a “friendly” agent for proselytisation.
On the other hand, if the NCSE’s aim is simply to raise confusion then I think they can consider that part to be done. (-:
I guess it serves my spinning head right if I read some organisation names too literally — although the job description does conflict with the NCSE’s previous stances (& some unmistakeable statements from their representatives), regardless of their name.
Oh, well... like so much else in life, I guess we’ll see — sooner or later — how this finally works itself out. It’s far from the craziest thing in the news today...