Update to current Yecke controversy

The following news release was submitted to Florida media.
New Information Points to Dr. Yecke Trying to Revise History

Dr. Cheri Pierson Yecke is apparently trying to revise history and has now been caught in the act. There is a new development in the controversy over a nearly four-year-old quote by Dr. Yecke, K-12 chancellor for Florida’s Department of Education. Research into Dr. Yecke’s claim that she did not advocate a discredited theory that challenges the theory of evolution revealed evidence to the contrary.

The quote in question concerns advocating something called intelligent design, which is a discredited challenge to the scientific theory of biological evolution. Dr. Yecke had hired a company called ReputationDefender to scour the Internet for mentions of Dr. Yecke promoting the inclusion of intelligent design in Minnesota’s public schools in 2003. The company then “destroys” these items, according to the company’s website.

Dr. Wesley Elsberry, a wildlife biologist and member of Florida Citizens for Science, was the target of one of these search and destroy attempts. However, rather than bow to ReputationDefender’s demands – on behalf of Dr. Yecke – to remove or modify his historical information about Dr. Yecke, Dr. Elsberry researched the incident. He discovered proof that Dr. Yecke had in fact said that teaching intelligent design could be done by local school districts. A television station has video of Dr. Yecke herself talking about this very subject during the relevant time frame.

Dr. Elsberry and Florida Citizens for Science is not concerned about Dr. Yecke having possibly changed her position concerning evolution and the various attacks it attracts. We are, however, very concerned about her trying to scrub a truthful historical record of her past views and actions. Why not just state her current position rather than try to forcefully revise history? As Florida undergoes a revision of the Sunshine State Standards in science, we are concerned about history repeating itself.

Here is a list of links outlining this controversy:

Original newspaper story containing information about Dr. Yecke and intelligent design (10/9/03):
http://www.ecm-inc.com/news/princeton/2003/October/9standards.html
Dr. Elsberry’s original Internet posting about this subject (scroll about halfway down the page) and a copy of the e-mail from ReputationDefenders:
http://austringer.net/wp/?p=141
Previous Florida Citizens for Science news release about this issue:
http://www.flascience.org/wp/?p=232
Newspaper story about Dr. Yecke hiring ReputationDefender (6/26/07):
http://www.sptimes.com/2007/06/26/State/Candidate__Story_on_m.shtml
Dr. Elsberry’s followup Internet posting about his research into the issue:
http://austringer.net/wp/?p=626
Video showing Dr. Yecke talking about intelligent design:
http://video1.tpt.org:8080/ramgen/almanac/show/1852.rm?start=8:23 

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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  1. Pingback: Florida Citizens for Science » Blog Archive » Oh no! Yecke in the top three.

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