Yecke in Her Own Words

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There has been controversy over a particular quote of Cheri Pierson Yecke. The Princeton (MN) Union-Eagle reported on October 9th, 2003 that Yecke had said local schools districts could teach “intelligent design”. I copied that quote in a post on my blog on August 30, 2005. A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from ReputationDefenders on Yecke’s behalf asking for removal of the quote on the grounds that it was false.

Several Minnesotans have said that the position noted by the Princeton Union-Eagle was, in fact, accurate. Over on Greg Laden’s blog, “Cat’s Staff” noted that a Minnesota TV station had video of Yecke discussing the science standards. I viewed it, then transcribed the relevant part. As far as I am concerned, the Princeton Union-Eagle is vindicated in this matter; at the time that they reported, Cheri Pierson Yecke was indeed saying that teaching “intelligent design” was a decision that local school districts could undertake. Both the quote from the Princeton Union-Eagle and the subsequent criticism I made of Yecke’s position on the issue are upheld by this source.

The issue really is intelligent design and evolution and the there was language that was put in the conference committee report that accompanied the no child left behind act that said you know students should be exposed to all sides of a controversial issue. […] And it is well understood now that this is a decision that would be made by local school boards and not the state.

Continue reading at the Austringer.

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More on the Cheri Yecke Story from Threads from Henry's Web on July 2, 2007 7:31 AM

Wesley Elsberry has posted some additional information on this story on The Panda’s Thumb, and on his blog in which he states he believes the story is confirmed. . . . As far as I am concerned, the Princeton Union-Eagle is vindicated in this mat... Read More


Just wanted to drop by and say thanks for defending science. Though I am no scientist, I am a huge believer in science and things scientific. This “intelligent design” farce is an all too thinly disguised effort by the wingers to impose their belief in ridiculous superstition on America’s children. Personally, I believe that advocating religion in public school…particularly in science class…should be grounds for immediate revocation of teaching certificates nationwide. I was, myself, brought up in a very religious household and though I had lost all vestiges of faith by the time I was thirteen, I have made it a point throughout my life to never knock anyone’s religion. That is, until they began to try to forcibly impose their superstitions upon me and mine. Now, all bets are off and I will not stop speaking up until every last shred of religious material is removed from public life. Thank you again

Just found out about you all and your site from a thread posted over at Daily Kos. Keep up the great work and thanks for all the effort you have done in presenting facts, truth, and reality against the religionista creationists.

:-) D Kos exposure, being one of the most clicked on blogs on the net, will equal a lot of traffic coming your way. :-)

Two trolls in two hours. How interesting. Sorry, Legion, your posts are not welcome here.

Update: No, Legion, your comments are still not welcome.

I’ve just learned of your site through D Kos as well; and have bookmarked the site. I too wish to say thank you and keep up the good and very needed work.

This was an instance of when the story came to me. Literally.


Who are you calling a troll?

Uhm, I posted support for this site and that you guys were getting a lot of press from a thread over at PROGRESSIVE/ LIBERAL pro science Daily Kos.

Nothing special - just sent over here from DKos to thank you for all of your good work. Some of my most enjoyable reading relates to the science and philosophy of evolution (e.g., Dawkins, Dennett)

jimmyboyo - It looks like Wesley was addressing someone named “Legion” whose trolling comment, I presume, was already removed.

Unless, of course, you are one of those reverse-psychology trolls who deals out effusive praise just to provoke a response. :)

What Mike Z. said. Sorry about the confusion. There was the first comment entered here that had nothing to do with the topic, and the third one entered here was an attack on MargaretPOA by the troll known as “Legion”. Both of those comments were set to “unpublished” status. The first two visible comments here now are not by trolls, and I apologize to you for the confusing comment I made about moderating the two troll comments that are now gone.

Mike Z

You busted me. Drats

I will get you next time and your little dog to. hahahhahahaha (supposed to be cackeling)


Please, people, comment topically here. I’ve just moved two comments to the Bathroom Wall.

thank you for slugging it out with these fascists fools like you do. great job

Wesley wrote…

Please, people, comment topically here. I’ve just moved two comments to the Bathroom Wall.

Hey! I was methodically responding to that off-topic comment.

Because if …

1) she wasn’t a troll, she deserved an answer and…

2) if she was a troll, I didn’t want her question to stand unanswered for all the casual readers who drop in and out. There’s nothing worse than the creo-bots yelling “Why won’t you answer the question!”

You may as well flush my comment, 185295

Your comment is not lost. It joins her set of questions on the Bathroom Wall.

While it is disheartening to watch so many of these “educated” people try to push their primitive personal beliefs on us, (and in light of recent Supreme Court decisions as well), it is very encouraging when I run into a website such as this. Thank you for raising my ‘hope’ levels today.

The fact that Yecke has effectively repudiated her own statement should be sufficient warning to any school district that they are playing with fire if they try to start teaching ID or the “controversy”, or “critical analysis”, or whatever other code word they are currently using for creationist anti-evolutionary arguments these days. It all amounts to the same thing.

The Constitution does not give Congress any such jurisdiction.

Ah but it does. The US constitution mandates separation of church and state and that is the law in the United States. The courts have ruled on that over and over. Have you forgotten Dover vs Kitzmiller?

Going to be a while before you overthrow the US constitution, set up a theocracy, and head on back to the dark ages.

But it is perfectly legal to teach pack of lies creationism to kids. You just can’t use state funds or force wacko belief systems on to kids by sneaking it into science classes.

D: What the commissioner is failing to mention [undecipherable] is that the Santorum amendment that she refers to never passed into law. And Minnesota has to follow federal law, not, uh, amendments that were offered in conference committees at the federal level.

Larry “Anonymous” Fafarman wants to know why Rep. Davnie would make the comment he does about following federal law. It isn’t because there is an explicit power involved; it’s because the federal government can withhold federal funds from schools that do not comply with things such as the “No Child Left Behind” act. Any school that has no use for such federal funding can, of course, tell the federal government to go get stuffed concerning those particular federal programs. That amounts to a vanishingly small percentage of the many thousand local school districts throughout the country.

“I just want to say thank you to Wesley R Elsberry for his fine work in proving what is real to the world.

Elsberry is very educated and knowledgeable in his field. I was quite impressed with his credentials. I encourage everyone to read his biography, and they will understand the level of experience he is working with.

Your mother must be very proud. I know we are.

Copy and past the following link into your browser, to read Wesley R. Elsberry’s insightful biography:

The fact that Yecke has effectively repudiated her own statement […]

The problem is that Yecke hasn’t repudiated her position, just the fact of public notice of her position.

It would appear that the trolls who have tried to hijack this thread don’t take kindly to my insistence on topicality here, and decided to go rewrite my Wikipedia entry to suit their, er, interesting notions of humor.

Given the thread topic of antievolutionists attempting to rewrite reality, it is quite a dose of irony in the morning.

It would appear that the trolls who have tried to hijack this thread don’t take kindly to my insistence on topicality here, and decided to go rewrite my Wikipedia entry to suit their, er, interesting notions of humor.

Complain to wikipedia and they will change it. They are used to cultie wingnuts vandalizing wikipedia. Happens constantly.

The cult version of christianity, the troll one certainly bears no resemblance to what I learned in sunday school.

I know the Wikipedia page will get fixed. In fact, the vandal’s first attempt to mangle the page was reverted three minutes after he entered his edits. The vandal made a total of three edits on the page.

I’ve written to the Verizon abuse reporting address, documented the false defamatory information entered by their Los Angeles area user, and requested their assistance in identifying the libelous vandal. Now I get to see just how well Verizon responds to this sort of situation.

The laudatory remarks by “Trudy Barlow” are called into question by the coincidence of timing of the linking to my Wikipedia page with the vandalism there, and the fact that “Trudy Barlow”’s IP address is also a Verizon IP, as is the one recorded for the vandal at Wikipedia.

For those visiting from DailyKos, note that this is now the sort of behavior you can expect from crossing antievolutionists online. Unable to support their claims via the scientific process, they are reduced to lying, and unable to muster any sort of integrity, they cowardly try to keep their bad behavior anonymous.

Hi Wes,

I hope you won’t object to a tiny off topic diversion for Penny Barkley. Penny here are 2 threads where you can discuss abiogenesis at AtBC perfectly on topic.

Thread 1

Thread 2

Thanks, I now return you to your regularly scheduled disgust at Yecke. ;-)


Have just read the Wikipedia link. Doesn’t all that loving kindness from the religious trolls just make you wanna convert?


It isn’t anything new if one reads history.

Emperor Julian noted the xtianistas lack of inteligence and resorting to violence thousands of years ago. He bemoaned their violent acts of beating pagan priests in the streets and burning down pagan temples. They also lit naptham (spell check)on the temple mount in jerusalem so as to prevent Emperor julian from rebuilding the temple for the jews. He was doing tis to placate the jews who were still quite upset from the disporia when jerusalem was sacked by Rome in 70 ad and to provide a center for jewish thought/ philosophy to counter the galileans. Julian reasoned that since they had been birthed from judaism who better to refute their cult.

Anyway; violence has always been the prefered weapon/tool of the galileans as vs intelectual discourse.


Hopefully I haven’t given you the impression that I resemble that remark.


I was refering to religionists/ creationists

Their tactios are old old old nothing new to what they do. Always remember they also believe lieing is justifiable, good, moral, and righteous for the sake of saving your soul.

Bishop Eusbius (spell check) said as much in the 300’s ad and he even added a forgery to the writings of josephus.

They will gladly and knowingly lie because they think it is for your own good. They will glaldly and gleefuly beat you for the sake of “saving you”.

There have always done so in the past.

The Wikipedia article has been reverted and protected against editing by anonymous or newly registered users. The Wikipedia community is on the ball concerning these matters.

And, “Trudy Barlow”, yes, my parents are proud of me, and thanks to prompt action by Wikipedia to zap the falsehoods of vandals, they can drop by and have a look pretty much whenever. Doesn’t that make your day?

Wesley R. Elsberry -

It’s already been commented on, but since this is a major point that I often refer to -

Whatever motivated the freak who went after your Wikipedia entry was not Christianity. Hateful lying clearly violates both Christianity and the Jewish teachings of the Old Testament.

It’s important to remember that most active creationists are motivated by a cult belief, the but the cult is extreme, inhumane, right wing ideology, not sincere Christianity. This event is further proof.

I always try to remember to challenge any liberal creationists out there to feel free to prove me wrong by speaking up.

Jimmyboyo -

Inaccurate remarks directed against all Christians are not the answer. The argument that, since some fourth century Christians were violent, then all modern Christians must be violent, is clearly inaccurate.

It is certainly true that a vast amount of inhumane violent behavior has been “justified” by “religion” over the years (by no means just by Christianity).

At the same time, much violent behavior has been committed with no attempted moral justification, or justified by officially anti-religious political ideology. And innumerable religious people have condemned and preached against violence, including Christians.

There is no obvious reason to think that attempting the impossible goal of “eliminating religion” would make things any better for the human race.

If you condemn unreasoning violence, more power to you. But why not condemn it directly, in all contexts, rather than arguing against “religion” in the hopes of indirectly getting at it?

Whatever motivated the freak who went after your Wikipedia entry was not Christianity. Hateful lying clearly violates both Christianity and the Jewish teachings of the Old Testament.

Agreed. The prohibition against bearing false witness was a chunk of why I originally got motivated to actively oppose antievolution.

Today’s Miami Herald:

Yecke said she never saw the story. ”They’re such a little paper,” she said. “I didn’t even know about it.”

Yecke also said her decision to hire reputationdefender had nothing to do with her bid for commissioner.

Most of the company’s clients are average Joe’s, and they’re more likely to be hunting for compromising photos instead of misleading quotes.

But Yecke said when she heard about it from her sister, she thought, “This is long overdue.”

”When you’re a public figure, you have to try to manage fact from fiction,” she said.

Gotta love that last bit - ”When you’re a public figure, you have to try to manage fact from fiction.”

I thought maybe the MSM would light up at the news that there’s video of Yecke saying what she has now denied that the Princeton Union-Eagle got right. Thus, when Cheryl linked the Miami Herald article, I thought maybe this would be covered, even though no Miami Herald reporter had contacted me.

Not so. The Miami Herald simply ran a chunk of Ron Matus’s St. Petersburg Times article from before I transcribed the Yecke video.

Count me among the disappointed.

Well, Wesley, Verizon was thorough. I received calls from them today, but I was in my office at the time. I want to let you know it was my computer publicly, before you go and defame me publicly.

But, it wasn’t me that wrote the Trudi Barlow blogs. I am a CPS worker; and the kids I was transporting to a foster home had access to my laptop in my car, while I was being accosted by a drug addict family - while I was making a routine stop trying to save thier kid from them.

I really like you guys and agree with you. I really, really do. I am not a religious person. It makes me sick to hear people say that “God” gave them their children, and purport that they have special rights to their kids when kids are merely biologically representative of their parents in some ways. There are no god-given rights to birth parents! Every parent should earn their right to parent - and having irresponsible sex does not qualify you.

I feel my position in society is a type of evolution process in itself. I have just been proving this to myself - with your help.

Please, understand. I cannot report the children to you or Verizon because they are minors, and they are therefore protected by juvenile law in California. I would lose my job and get arrested if I did that without a court order. But rest assured, there is a silver lining, all three kids have appointments tomorrow to see a doctor, and my guess is that he will prescribe them Ridalin; no, most likely something stronger. So you won’t have to worry about their deviant behavior anymore.

I am sorry, I should have activated the lock code on my computer. I have the utmost respect for you. You give respect to my profession, inadvertently. :)

For the moment, color me skeptical. For Los Angeles, the editing on Wikipedia would have occurred in about a twenty minute window around 6:30 AM last Saturday. Kind of early morning for CPS to be at work, and on a weekend, too. I just called the number for Indio, CA CPS and got a canned message saying that their hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM. It seemed to me that the office was closed today, which also doesn’t match up with Torvik’s note.

The ‘net shows that there is a Christopher Torvik associated with CPS in Indio, California. Of course, any agent of CPS is likely to have a dose of abuse hurled at them, and the ‘net shows that, too. Now, something a bit more interesting is the rant declaring that CPS is corrupt and inflates its importance via false charges of abuse, implemented through its workers. The rant is posted as from a “Chris Torvik”. Is that a forgery? If not, it seems inconsistent with the comment about “respect to the profession” here.

That’s all right. I’ll enlist the aid of the relevant authorities to sort out the true from the false. If it really was untouchable juveniles, I’m sure that they will let me know that through their own channels.

Please, understand. I cannot report the children to you or Verizon because they are minors, and they are therefore protected by juvenile law in California.

I’ve been informed that California has no such law on the books that would prevent the reporting of crimes committed by minors. Somebody’s wrong about this. I guess we will see who.

But, it wasn’t me that wrote the Trudi Barlow blogs. I am a CPS worker; and the kids I was transporting to a foster home had access to my laptop in my car, while I was being accosted by a drug addict family - while I was making a routine stop trying to save thier kid from them.


sounds like you should write for the Enquirer.

Chris’ dissembling here reminds me of the old John Lovitz skits from SNL:

“I was, uh, saving children from drug addicts, while other children were doing naughty things in my name!”

“Yeah, yeah! That’s the ticket!”

… and it’s spelled ‘bureaucracy’, Chris.[…]ims_act.html

There’s a long rant in the comments section by Danielle Scotia that includes Chris Torvik as a target. So who knows.

Chris’s comment 451 here is kind of, um, intriguing:[…]10&gl=us

Um, yes. And this person is a social worker?

Taking the Torvid saga clues, the most parsimonious explanation is:

1. Someone has a grudge against Torvid, the CPS guy. This is not unusual. One reason CPS gets involved is if the parents are psychotic and a danger to the kids. Think Andrea Yates.

2. He is impersonating Torvid and posting rubbish around the net, some of it illegal.

3. The story about the kids and the computer is laughably inept.

A call to the Chris Torvid at CPS might be illuminating. He may well know who is impersonating him and why. As Gibson pointed out, all burning bushes on the net look the same. Nothing is necessarily what it says it is.

I happened across your dilemma here looking for an evolution blog.

I found your dilemma with Torvik here somewhat intriguing, so I researched him on the Internet.

It seems to me that some of the items posted on the Internet have to be from Torvik. They are mundane answers to regular questions. Either that, or there is more than 1 Chris Torvik, which is the most likely answer.

Anyway, this CPS issue seems to be quite a big deal, especially in certain parts of California and certain counties in other states. Perhaps, this man is trying desperately to get the message out there in his inept way. It seems to be a desperate plea for help, in a sense.

I could be way off base here, but there are some twisted and greedy people on the payroll of the “Nanny state”.

Perhaps the issues of the families that have been torn apart should be addressed.

The government has actually admitted that there is a serious flaw in the system that occurred when the powers that CPS now holds transferred from the state powers to county control. The government’s current response to this flaw in the system is basically “We don’t know how to fix it yet.”

What do you suppose the odds are that “Chris Torvik”, “Penny Barkley”, “Trudy Barlow”, “Boris Yelkin”, “Norman”, and “Maurice Miller” should all happen to take an interest in this post and all of them use Los Angeles Verizon IP addresses?

Pretty good, I’d say, if they are all the same person.

What do you suppose the odds are

let me jump ahead and say:

no bet.

Comment #185842 Posted by fnxtr on July 4, 2007 4:35 PM (e) … and it’s spelled ‘bureaucracy’, Chris.

Not to mention ‘Ritalin’

I’ve sent off a request under the Minnesota Public Data Act to the Minnesota Department of Education for the stuff that could be called “advance publicity” prior to the September 30, 2003 commissioner’s meeting. That may take a while to obtain.

And I’ve heard from the real Chris Torvik, too. We’re sorting through possibilities for the impostor.

Impersonating an officer of the court may put this in a different realm from when it was just libel.

Re “What do you suppose the odds are that […]”

Careful, your cynicism is showing! ;)


Impersonating an officer of the court may put this in a different realm from when it was just libel.

Way to go, Wesley! Trolls only exist to annoy people. The principle seems to be, I’m obnoxious, therefore I am. It would be nice to give some of it back.

Hey, isn’t that the same guy who was trying to sell Koran toilet paper to the Arabs??

It’s really him. He’s a wacko!

“Kivrot186”’s entry is the latest one from the same pool of Los Angeles IP addresses. I think the vandal is trying to say that he or she doesn’t think that he or she is in any danger from various acts of libel and impersonation carried out online.

I guess we will find out within the next couple of weeks whether that confident stance was based on a good assessment of the situation or not.

Hey, I live in Los Angeles and have Verizon. Why are you grouping every Los Angelian with Verizon (which is the main phone/internet provider out here) as being your man.

Also, though I like to look at your blog about evolution debates, this little saga that you have become taken with just might be fitting right up your man’s alley.

Maybe that is good; because, if this Torvik guy has to dig up who might want to say bad things about him, then his crimes against families (if there are any) may be heard more loudly. Maybe more will come of this than meets the eye.

Then again, i think you may be way off base here. You seem to be building your own story with mot much evidence to go on.

Since we often have either no commenters using Verizon in LA, or one to two regulars, it seems rather a stretch to suddenly have half a dozen new commenters, all using Verizon in LA, take an interest in this thread.

Don’t worry, I’m sure that Verizon will properly match up IP addresses to the libelous vandal and the impersonator. I’m thinking that’s likely to be one person. And that that will be sufficient evidence.

It would be silly not to seek out the evidence that would resolve the issue. That’s why I’ve made a public data request of the Minnesota department of education, and why I’m working with IT investigators in Riverside County to get to the bottom of this online libel and impersonation case.

I appears that I’ll be doing periodic clean-ups of the vandal’s messes.

To the vandal: I don’t scare that easy. And, even if I were so yellow-bellied as that, it is out of my hands. I’ve already provided law enforcement with what information I have available. Even if I were to renounce any interest in the matter, they are going to pursue it on behalf of Chris Torvik, the officer of the court you’ve been impersonating online.

Still no press conference? If not, Dr. Yecke is missing a rare win-win opportunity to back up her current charge and regain some respect from mainstream science. Now, with an added opportunity to speak out against the vandal(s) she can only help her image.

To the vandal: I don’t scare that easy.

Not sure what you are referring to. Gathered you deleted them. Unless headcase is seriously not house broken you might want to leave them or at least save them. IP addresses, threats, and incoherent ramblings could be annoying. But the cops will call that “evidence”. Nothing wrong with too much evidence. Luck Wesley.

PS If the cops are really determined to get him, they can do it. Since the anti-terrorism legislation, everything on the net is ultimately traceable although sometimes it takes high level expertise.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on June 30, 2007 4:35 AM.

Who’d have ever cared about Johannes Lerle if Dembski hadn’t defended him? was the previous entry in this blog.

Professor Jerry Coyne Addresses Michael Behe’s “response” to Coyne’s review of Behe’s new book. is the next entry in this blog.

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