Freshwater: Presenting Both Sides of the story

| 70 Comments

John Freshwater was interviewed by Bob Burney on the April 28th, 2008 on 880 WRFD. I listened to the interview and was amazed by how Freshwater’s friends help undermine his own case

Bob mentions that one of his son’s is in Freshwater’s class

Bob: And from day 1, John, he has been telling me what a wonderful teacher you are and the fact that you present both sides to issues and which is just wonderful and unfortunately kind of rare in the schools today.

So what do you guess, did Freshwater tell about the two sides of homosexuality? Or was this a topic in which John decided to tell only one side of the story?

From CNN we learn that

The report also cites evidence that Mr. Freshwater told his students that “science is wrong because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin and so anyone who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner.”

Listen to the rest for more foolishness.

70 Comments

Delightful! 3/4 of the kids are bringing Bibles to school. Why, he’s just acting in a Christ-like manner, expressing his constitutional right to express his religion! And on and on. Wow.

This is a beautiful post. Historically, this is what the argument about the Constitution is all about. The Founding Fathers lived with a bunch of fractious denominations who wanted to integrate religion and public life. Ironically, many of the original settlers fled the oppressive regimes who wanted to force them to conform to the state religion, so that they could set up their own communities that could force the locals to conform to THEIR version of Christianity. This grew into official government endorsement of sectarian religion – just like the regimes they fled in the first place. Guys like Jefferson wanted to stop the madness – to allow people to worship in their own way. They saw that the best way to do this was to separate politics and religion. State schools are run by governments. They hold power over children. They give people a phenomenally effective proselytization tool. What better way to convert evil, misguided and hell-bound catholics than to “educate” their children in the public schools. For 150 years, in spite of the intent of the founders of the nation, this crap goes on in local communities. But as the nation grows, and communications improve, and the country becomes more integrated, people begin to object to this crap. People want their kids left alone in the public schools. The “minority” stands up and asks the courts to actually enforce the constitution, and tell these people to leave their kids alone. So the courts do. But God almighty! That means that the local teachers now have to teach stuff not determined by local, religious cultural standards, but rather by secular standards determined independently of religion. Suddenly the table is turned. No longer do they dictate religious indoctrination in the schools – now their children are taught material and information that is not only not religious, but even contradicts their ideologies and doctrines.

This radio show, and this case, gloriously illustrate the entire argument and problem. The local community is, if these guys are right, dominated by protestant Christians. Just like the old days. Tradition dies hard, and so too does human nature. The local teachers are part of that community, and willingly facilitate and participate in upholding the “community standards.” But a minority object. Catholics, Episcopalians, atheists, Buddhists, and so on. 100 years ago, that minority had three options – convert, quietly shut up or even lie so as to avoid community ostracism, or leave. Now they demand their constitutional rights. And the majority scream and kick. They know what is at stake – their ability to control all aspects of their children’s indoctrin— errrr – education. They HATE the minority, because the minority is using their very own laws to force them to back off and shut up. So they lie. They claim that the constitution protects their right to teach sectarian doctrine in public schools. They focus on the teacher’s desk copy of a Bible (who cares?), ignoring the box of Bibles and proselytization material found in the classroom. He teaches “both sides” and is beloved by children taught by their parents to believe that evolution is evil, and looking for confirmation that science doesn’t contradict the doctrine that their parents, ministers and communities have taught them. And the poor sap in the back whose parents dismay at the indoctrination? Why, they are just bad people. Their parents are evil secularist humanist atheist Muslim PC fanatics trying undermine Mom, God, and Apple Pie.

Wow.

So what do you guess, did Freshwater tell about the two sides of homosexuality? Or was this a topic in which John decided to tell only one side of the story?

Just like there is no scientific controversy regarding whether evolution happened, there is also no scientific controversy regarding whether homosexuality is a sin. Freshwater and his ilk have manufactured a “science vs. religion” controversy where none exists.

This so-called controversy is based on research that came out several decades ago showing a genetic basis for homosexuality. However, scientists now recognize that homosexuality has many origins (genetic, hormonal, environmental, etc.). Scientists do argue about the relative contribution of these factors, just like they argue about the relative contribution of the various mechanisms of evolution.

In any case, even if homosexuality is mostly genetic, this wouldn’t bear on whether it is a sin or not. Alcoholism may be genetic as well, but society still expects people to avoid it or get treated for it, and still holds people accountable for crimes committed while under the influence.

this wouldn’t bear on whether it is a sin or not

which of course presumes that the measure of “sin” is even rhetorically useful, let alone practically.

It is really surprising listen to John Freshwater and the interviewer. They seem to mask the real issue by distorting the facts. It just seems wrong some how for someone to bring their religious doctrine to their school or place of work in open view. John Freshwater should be commended for having a religious belief and have a strong conviction.

There are two issues here. Freshwater acted inappropriately in having his Bible in full view. As an educator he is required to take a neutral stance on religious belief. It is his responsibility to show restraint, and show neutrality. Even though the majority of students may be Christian, there will be some students that are not Christians. Additionally, as anyone would know their are Christians who have differing views as to Christianity. We know how someone would be treated if they had the Koran on their desk in full view, so this will not be discussed.

When the interviewer said “…the fact the you present both sides … which is very rare in the schools today.” Seriously undermines Freshwater’s case. This is of course the second and more serious issue. Is it both sides of the case against him? Is it both sides of the American Presidential race?

What Freshwater is responsible for doing is in teaching the current standard theories as they are presented. He should not be making theories up. He should not be presenting opinions a fact in science class. He should understand the subject that is to be taught to the students as part of the course material. If he does not understand some of the material he should go back to school and do refresher courses.

As any parent would know, the popularity of a teacher does not make a good teacher. Having the interviewer tout the popularity of Freshwater as a good quality is questionable. Freshwater’s fitness as being a competent science teacher is undermined by the second issue.

Good teachers inspire students to learn, and have a passion for the subject they are teaching. Freshwater allowed his religious believes contaminate the learning environment for his students. Many of his students who what to study biology have to be untaught the non-sense that Freshwater taught them.

Anthony.

I at first thought that this was just some small mark that he put on some students demonstrating some electrical device, but seeing the the CNN article and picture, again, it looks even worse than the first time that I saw the picture.

Has anything about exactly what Freshwater was supposed to be demonstrating been put forward? It was a high voltage device and from the picture it puts a pencil eraser sized mark on the skin when discharged. It looks like Freshwater had to repeatedly discharge the unit going down the length of the students forearm and then pick it up and make the top cross with multiple discharges. He probably had to discharge the unit over 30 times to make this pattern. What was he demonstrating that 1 or two discharges would not have accomplished? Who approved using the device on students or human subjects?

The report also cites evidence that Mr. Freshwater told his students that “science is wrong because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin and so anyone who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner.”

This is stupid. Science has nothing to say one way or the other about whether being gay or drunk or high or fat or blond is a sin or not.

Science is a way of studying and understanding the objective world.

Sin is a religious concept.

Freshwater clearly knows nothing about science. Or cares. He was misasigned and should have been teaching an elective on lunatic fringe subjects such as pseudoscience, Xian Astrology (Kennedy’s Real Zodiac), the Illuminati, UFOs, and so on. What he was teaching anyway.

This guy was clearly promoting his religion in the classroom in violation of the constitution. He should be fired and his case should serve as an example to others that this sort of thing will no longer be tolerated.

If he wants to sue for wrongful termination, then everything will come out in court. I’m sure the students will be very forthcoming about what actually happened. At the very least, they will realize that they have been duped by a con artist if they are asked to lie on the stand. At least some of them will realize that the hypocrite has sold out his supposed morals for the chance to brainwash them at the taxpayers expense.

As for the branding, either the students sue him for that, or it becomes just another reason to fire him. I would really like to hear him try to explain what scientific principles he was supposedly demonstrating.

If this guy wants to preach in class, he has only two options. Either become a sunday school teacher, or teach at a private school where the students voluntarily choose what brand of nonsense they will be brainwashed with. Teaching religion in a public school science class is illegal and unconstitutional, this guy knew that. Now he has no option but to willingly become a martyr and shut his mouth. If he disagrees, then he should forfeit his right to have his freedom of religion protected by the same consittutiuon he violated. Then he wouldn’t even be able to preach in sunday school.

If anyone thinks that he should be allowed to get away with such illegal behavior, just ask yourself, would you want him to preach his religion in your kid’s science class if he was a Muslim or a Buddist or a Hindu? Would he have been allowed to get away with that for 21 years? Or maybe, God forbid, he should forward an E-mail about a science talk. Now that you can be fired for. That would be much worse that branding students with religious symbols, apparently.

raven said:

This is stupid. Science has nothing to say one way or the other about whether being gay or drunk or high or fat or blond is a sin or not.

Science is a way of studying and understanding the objective world.

Sin is a religious concept.

Actually, I think what this is getting at is: Science says homosexuality is not a free choice. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin, which, ipso facto, means it’s freely chosen. Therefore, science is wrong.

It’s actually coherent, in its way. You just have to read it a couple times and tilt your head and squint to see it.

How ironic that he’s dishonestly whitewashing his actions, yet even the whitewash is illegal.

Of course he can practice his religion at work in the sense of private prayers in the teacher’s lounge or whatever, but he can’t promote it in the classroom, which is what displaying a Bible on his desk amounts to. The obvious proof is that if a teacher prominently displayed the Qu’ran it would be a scandal. The claim of “3/4” of students bringing Bibles to school “in support” is further proof that he created an atmosphere that is intimidating and unwelcoming to those who don’t share his beliefs.

However, what he is actually guilty of is not merely putting a Bible on his desk, but overtly preaching sectarian creationism and homophobia in his lesson plan, and physically branding students with religious symbols

MPW wrote:

“Actually, I think what this is getting at is: Science says homosexuality is not a free choice.”

I think you are probably right about this. However, once again, science claims no such thing. If this is what this guy really thinks, he shouldn’t be teaching science to anyone.

For example, science has shown a heritable component to obesity and religious ways of thinking. If these are not free choice, then obesity and religion are sins also, at least by this reasoning.

Of course, the very concept that if science disagrees with any religious view then science is wrong, is enough to demonstrate that this guy shouldn’t be teaching science. Obviously he defied God’s true calling to be a preacher. But then again, I guess it was a free choice.

MPW said:

Actually, I think what this is getting at is: Science says homosexuality is not a free choice. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin, which, ipso facto, means it’s freely chosen. Therefore, science is wrong.

It’s actually coherent, in its way. You just have to read it a couple times and tilt your head and squint to see it.

There is a certain logic to it, in that the conclusion follows from the premises. However, since science doesn’t say that homosexuality is not a free choice, the rest doesn’t follow. But I think you knew that already.

Dear David,

An excellent post from you, as always:

Dvid Stanton said:

This guy was clearly promoting his religion in the classroom in violation of the constitution. He should be fired and his case should serve as an example to others that this sort of thing will no longer be tolerated.

If he wants to sue for wrongful termination, then everything will come out in court. I’m sure the students will be very forthcoming about what actually happened. At the very least, they will realize that they have been duped by a con artist if they are asked to lie on the stand. At least some of them will realize that the hypocrite has sold out his supposed morals for the chance to brainwash them at the taxpayers expense.

As for the branding, either the students sue him for that, or it becomes just another reason to fire him. I would really like to hear him try to explain what scientific principles he was supposedly demonstrating.

If this guy wants to preach in class, he has only two options. Either become a sunday school teacher, or teach at a private school where the students voluntarily choose what brand of nonsense they will be brainwashed with. Teaching religion in a public school science class is illegal and unconstitutional, this guy knew that. Now he has no option but to willingly become a martyr and shut his mouth. If he disagrees, then he should forfeit his right to have his freedom of religion protected by the same consittutiuon he violated. Then he wouldn’t even be able to preach in sunday school.

If anyone thinks that he should be allowed to get away with such illegal behavior, just ask yourself, would you want him to preach his religion in your kid’s science class if he was a Muslim or a Buddist or a Hindu? Would he have been allowed to get away with that for 21 years? Or maybe, God forbid, he should forward an E-mail about a science talk. Now that you can be fired for. That would be much worse that branding students with religious symbols, apparently.

Had Freshwater taught in a New York City public school, then this wouldn’t have become an issue. He would be fired immediately for three reasons:

1) Performing illegal experiments on his students without obtaining prior parental consent (Not that his “experiments” would have been approved anyway; they would have been denied immediately by his superiors.).

2) Promoting his religious faith in a government-regulated, secular setting, which is contrary to the directives issued by the New York City Department of Education.

3) Demonstrating his utter incompetence to teach science effectively to his students (Though that, in the not-too-distant past wouldn’t be sufficient grounds for having him removed. For example, I know that one of my former high school teachers - now a certain bestselling Irish-American memoirist who will remain nameless - taught biology to students at one of the bad high schools he had taught, even though his academic training was in English, not Biology.).

Am really surprised that in a more “progressive” state like Ohio, parents would tolerate Freshwater’s abysmal conduct towards his students.

Regards,

John

John Kwok Wrote:

Am really surprised that in a more “progressive” state like Ohio, parents would tolerate Freshwater’s abysmal conduct towards his students.

I have traveled by car over many parts of Ohio during the last 20 years. “Progressive” is probably an overstatement. Much of Ohio is a dead zone as far as NPR radio stations are concerned. However, you can always find Rush Limbaugh, lots of religion stations, and country music stations. It is almost impossible to get news from any of the so-called “liberal media” in much of the state. This is after repeatedly scanning both the AM and FM bands as we drive over large distances within the state.

It is only when you get near larger cities such as Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, and a few others that you can get access to a larger range of news outlets.

If this is what most Ohio residents get, it is not surprising that much of Ohio is an uninformed backwater.

One of the books Freshwater had was a Xian Astrology manual by James Kennedy, the Coral Ridge creo. Which brings up the question of whether he was teaching Xian Astrology as part of the astronomy section?

With 21 years of teaching there must be a vast amount of testimony available from the students as to what he taught and also documents such as old teaching plans, student notes, student handouts, and old tests. A thorough investigation might be fascinating in an X files sort of way.

I’d never heard of Xian Astrology before. For good reason, it seems to have been a made up recent invention.

watch.pair.com/zodiac:

Kennedy’s incredibly blasphemous book states that the Zodiac presents the way of salvation, based on the word zoad which, in Sanskrit, means ‘a way’. The word ‘zodiac’, however, is derived from the Greek word zoon which means “animal” from which comes the word zodiakos, meaning “a circle of animals.” For his purposes, Kennedy prefers the esoteric (gnostic), rather than the exoteric (obvious), meaning of the word:

“This is often described as a circle of animals. At a deep level we see the zodiac as the path, or the way, and it is the way of salvation revealed in the heavens. But that is not really what the word zodiac means. Rather, it comes from a primitive root, zoad, which comes from the Hebrew sodi, and in Sanskrit means: ‘A Way,’ ‘A Path,’ ‘A Step.’ At a deeper level we see the zodiac picturing The Path, The Way of salvation revealed beautifully for us in the heavens.” (872:16)

Real Meaning of the Zodiac reveals the author’s working knowledge of astrology—the occult’s false gospel—and ancient mythology, the pagan pantheon of false gods. D. James Kennedy glorifies the ancient pagan gods depicted in the signs of the Zodiac as heroic types and figures of Jesus Christ. His antecedent, E.W. Bullinger, stated in the Witness of the Stars, “These ancient star-pictures reveal this Coming One. They set forth ‘the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow’.”

According to our so-called ‘biblical astrologers’, the various houses of the zodiac—personified by wolves, unicorns, sea-goats, phoenixes and pagan gods such as Hercules, Apollo and Zeus—are said to be types and figures of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. For example, the “sacred fish”, the dolphin, is associated with divine powers in the New Age belief system; nevertheless, advocates of the false gospel in the stars make the astonishing claim that the dolphin represents Christ in His resurrection. Aquarius, the Water-Bearer, was originally Ganymede, the homosexual lover of Zeus, but Kennedy and his antecedents maintain that Aquarius is a type of the Holy Spirit! Capricorn, a half-goat/half-fish representation of the ‘lusty god Pan’ is acclaimed to be a ‘beautiful representation’ of Jesus Christ. The androgynous Gemini twins picture the dual nature of Jesus, say Kennedy et al. And Pegasus, the winged-horse who carries the thunderbolt of Zeus, is Christ as the first horseman of the Apocalypse. And so on and so forth ad nauseum.

Outrage is an appropriate response for the Christian reader who must endure his Lord, Jesus Christ, likened to the beasts and monsters and perverted gods of pagan mythology. The only explanation for such wickedness can be that that Kennedy is promoting another Christ and another gospel—the false gospel of ancient heathen cultures who awaited the return of their false Christ—be he Horus of the Egyptians, the Babylonian Tammuz, Saturn of Rome, Quetzalcoatl, god of the Aztec and Mayan cultures, Viracocha of the Incas, King Arthur of Great Britain, and the myriad of other supreme deities of pagan traditions—ancient gods who are expected to return from their celestial abode to establish a Golden Age of peace and prosperity on earth.

jkc wrote- “This so-called controversy is based on research that came out several decades ago showing a genetic basis for homosexuality. However, scientists now recognize that homosexuality has many origins (genetic, hormonal, environmental, etc.). Scientists do argue about the relative contribution of these factors, just like they argue about the relative contribution of the various mechanisms of evolution.”

Just like to point out that the origin(s) of hetero or bisexuality is (are) equally mysterious at this point. As is the origin(s) of transgenderism.

It’s worth mentioning, because we only usually search for the origins of something we don’t like, and wish to eradicate.

Raven -

Many thanks for your comment, and you’re probably right in all respects.

I will probably take your advice.

However, the pragmatic part of my post - essentially, the point that if PT allows uncritical links to right wing sources, with no comments allowed, something embarrassing and inappropriate is sure to be linked - still causes me concern. LGF is already really pushing the envelope quite vigorously. A fair proportion of the US scientific community is of Muslim heritage, as are large numbers of law-abiding US citizens who aren’t involved in trying to violate anyone’s rights. LGF is usually thought of as being out there with Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, which is not to say that every single idea expressed there is wrong or offensive, but some of it probably is

Paul Burnett -

I forgot to mention this - hell, I support “property rights” myself. Who doesn’t, other than outright communists? You seem to be using it as a euphemism, though.

Part I of II

David Wrote: “If he wants to sue for wrongful termination, then everything will come out in court. I’m sure the students will be very forthcoming about what actually happened. At the very least, they will realize that they have been duped by a con artist if they are asked to lie on the stand. At least some of them will realize that the hypocrite has sold out his supposed morals for the chance to brainwash them at the taxpayers expense”.

Yes, I find this aspect of a potential lawsuit to be the most disturbing, the fact that if it goes to court, at some point, if Freshwater wants to win, he will have to basically call some (if not all) of his school administrators, other district school teachers, and some of his students, in essence, liars.

Or am I wrong? Will it become all a procedural matter? In other words, will he take the angle that he actually did what he did, but the school board handled his reprimanding incorrectly, in other words, did not follow proper procedure for terminating an employee? (Like, not having everything in writing, or something?).

IANAL (I was reading blogs for 3 weeks before I figured out what that meant - yes, I can be thick), so I can’t say really one way or other if he has any chance of winning such a case. But if he is appealing the school board’s decision, it seems that that means he wants to keep his job there.

So, let’s assume he does win, and is back in the classroom this Fall.

Surely the school administration will be very clear, explicit, and have everything in writing and signed by him, that if he does X, Y or Z in his class that that will be considered insubordination, and he will be removed from his position as teacher at that school.

I would expect also that his activities would be closely monitored, and that students would be routinely asked what he was saying in class. Heck, I’d install a video camera on the guy (anyone know the Constitutionality of that?).

If Mr. Freshwater could effectively teach the required curriculum under those conditions, I would see no reason why he should not be retained. It would be a shame to loose someone with so much teaching experience.

However, I think that last statement was wildly optimistic, perhaps naively so. It does not seem to me he is capable of fulfilling his duties properly, and in fact would not choose to try to do so.

So, why did he take a public $chool job in the first place?

Oh, just answered my own question.

Rick R -

You forced me to break my vow and make an on topic comment.

Just like to point out that the origin(s) of hetero or bisexuality is (are) equally mysterious at this point. As is the origin(s) of transgenderism.

You are going to get a lot of replies pointing out how much we DO know about these issues, but I’d like to make a simpler point.

“Choice” of sexual orientation is clearly largely involuntary.

That is unquestionable. Obviously, I didn’t “choose” to be straight. I hit puberty and ended up that way, for whatever reason.

Freshwater’s science-denying remark implied that orientation is a conscious choice for a significant proportion of gay people. That’s nonsense.

Of course both it is possible that environmental influences play some role in orientation, but it is not possible that gay people are, to any extent, consciously choosing their involuntary sexual responses.

Sexual responses can be voluntarily suppressed, with difficulty, but that’s a very different matter from choosing which responses one is prone to in the first place.

John,

Thanks for the kind words. However, what I should have said was that, by this reasoning, it could not be considered a sin to not have any religious ideology. Now that is clearly contradicted by the Bible, so there are only two alternatives. Either the Bible is obviously wrong, (in which case you really shouldn’t discuss it in science class), or science is wrong. In that case you need to either throw out the scientific method as unreliable, (and once again shouldn’t be teaching science), or you need to demonstrate how science was wrong. I don’t see this guy discussing estimates of heritability for any of these traits, so I guess we can conclude that he just shouldn’t be teaching science, period.

Also, this guy claims that he teaches evolution. Someone really needs to ask him what it is exactly that he teaches. Ask him the age of the earth for example and the age of life on earth. Let’s see how good his understanding of evolution really is. If he doesn’t understand it, than once again, he shouldn’t be teaching it. Ask him to explain why science is wrong about homosexuality. Ask him the definition of heritabilty. If he doesn’t understand it, he shouldn’t be allowed to teach it.

Andy,

You make some very good points. However, I should point out two things.

First, apparently this guy already broke the law, (willingly and with proselytizing a forethought), so he really needs to be fired. Even if he could be persuaded to clean up his act now, the damage has been done for 21 years already.

Second, I have yet to meet a creationist who really understands evolution, let alone is qualified to teach it. If this guy claims to teach evolution, let’s see if he understands it. If not, he should be fired for incompetence as well.

Part II of II

I understand from my readings here and various other places that this issue has already become very contentious in the community, that a sort of “you’re either for him or against him” kind of attitude is turning up. That’s got to be doubly hard on the students. Plus he (or perhaps more accurately, people on his behalf) are asking the community for money to pay his lawyer bills! Surely the good people there have more important things to spend their money on.

IMO, if he really cared about his community and his students, he would not even bother trying to get his job back. Surely the more honorable and honest thing would be to just make some sort of public statement that his faith and his beliefs about the origins of life on this planet are too important for him to ever deny, and that he does not feel that he can honestly teach what he is being asked to teach at Mt. Vernon Middle School.

I think that’s every bit as strong a stand about his faith and would be a great example for his students. Doing that would not make him a martyr (imo, although I suppose that would depend on how exactly he handled it after the fact), and the parents of the students could use him as an example of how sometimes what you believe in is more important than money. A great learning lesson for all.

And yes, I did just hear you all saying something about flying pigs :)

Harold, Thanks for the reply. As a gay man myself, I can certainly confirm your observations. I just find it worth pointing out that much ado is made about the origins of homosexuality. This ado is largely, if not exclusively political, rather than scientific. I’m sure that scientists looking for answers to the puzzles of human sexuality are looking at all aspects, not just the “ones god has a problem with”.

Pointing out that “heterosexuality has an origin too” is worthwhile, especially to people who liken homosexuality to a disease state or a moral defect.

Please remember the topic of this thread.

Freshwater said it’s not a cross that was an X

he lied, that’s how you can tell he’s a fundie christian, lying is part of their religion

David kindly replied to me: “You make some very good points. However, I should point out two things.

First, apparently this guy already broke the law, (willingly and with proselytizing a forethought), so he really needs to be fired. Even if he could be persuaded to clean up his act now, the damage has been done for 21 years already.

Second, I have yet to meet a creationist who really understands evolution, let alone is qualified to teach it. If this guy claims to teach evolution, let’s see if he understands it. If not, he should be fired for incompetence as well.”

Oh, I don’t actually disagree with you at all. I’m just saying that, when lawyers get involved, the craziest, wackiest, most seemingly unreasonably things can happen. Like this guy being allowed to resume teaching this Fall.

I hope there isn’t, but I’m wondering if his lawyer(s?) know of some point of law that we mere mortals don’t that would in fact make his firing illegal, not because he’s not guilty of what he’s done (I believe he is, and has been, clearly in the wrong), but because of some sort of improper procedural point on the part of the school board as regards to the firing, which would result in some judge coming to the conclusion that he was in fact “wrongly terminated”. Yeah, seems crazy to me too.

So I further wonder what kind of defense Mr. Freshwater has in mind. I would prefer it to be something along the lines of my hypothetical argument above because it would not involve students, and would not put him in a position of having to say, under oath, that he did not do the things (it seems to me) he clearly did, and were wrong, and deserved to be fired for, a long time ago.

I fear that if he goes the route that most people appear to be supposing he’s going to regarding his firing, he’s only got, as I see it, two choices, neither of them good, IMO.

1) The “First Amendment Rights” Defense: He does not deny what he has done, but claims it is his Constitutional right to have done it. This is bad because it’s weak - if the Bible on the desk had been the only issue, perhaps not, but this one does not address his apparent violation of the Establishment Clause.

or 2) The “But I Taught Evolution, I Didn’t Teach Religion/Creationism, and All I Did was ‘Teach the Controversy‘” Defense: With this one he either has to lie under oath, or effectively call the witnesses for the defense liars. This is bad because it pits community member against community member, student against student. Also, it too is weak because, if you read the HR report carefully, you’ll find that the allowance for teachers to bring into the classroom evidence for Intelligent Design is not ‘permitted’ until the 10th grade level of science and he teaches 8th grade science.

As I said, MNL (that’s “Me Not Lawyer”), but even so, I don’t see myself how either 1 or 2 could possibly hold up in court. That’s why I wonder what else his lawyer has up his sleeve.

The problem with singling out homosexuality as a ‘sin’ is that it ignores that we are all sinners and that everyone is continuously involved in sinful behavior of one sort or the other.

Singling out homosexual behavior as somehow different, seems somewhat foolish to me.

Hey hey hey, not all Christians are foolish enough to make lying part of their religion. It is after all a sin, although I wonder if lying for Christ is not considered to be a sin by some.

As to the branding of the cross versus an X, several students have stated that the default shape was clearly understood to be a cross. Perhaps the cross evolved over time from the default ‘X’ since the whole ‘experiment’ started some 20 years earlier by other teachers, if I understand the history correctly.

richCares said:

Freshwater said it’s not a cross that was an X

he lied, that’s how you can tell he’s a fundie christian, lying is part of their religion

Harold, feel free to continue at AtBC or the bathroom thread. This is a final warning. PT has a variety of contributors from all walks of life, if you do not like Sandefur then ignore his postings or consider the use of free blog sites such as blogger to set up a ‘why I hate Sandefur’ blog. This whining is just getting old and is unnecessarily distracting. You have been heard and I am with you that Sandefur’s links are not always linking to the best sites but then again, different people get their information from different sites. I sometimes link to UcD or other ill informed sites, which does not mean that I agree with said content or with the site itself. Most newsites would quickly drop off my radar screen if I were to ignore them based on their biases.

Nuff said

Nuff said

Nuff said indeed.

My comments today were relevant and civil, unlike the above.

I won’t be back. I request that you leave this post visible so that others can see what I have decided.

If you like, you can block my account, while leaving up this one last post.

Flint -

Just FYI, I addressed a reply to you. It did not, of course, express personal “hatred” of Timothy Sandefur, which I do not feel, nor, of course, did it contain whining.

Apparently it touched a nerve.

PvM said:

The problem with singling out homosexuality as a ‘sin’ is that it ignores that we are all sinners and that everyone is continuously involved in sinful behavior of one sort or the other.

Wow, is this true? I never knew that we were all continuously involved in sinful behavior. I just have to wonder what the evidence for this looks like. Maybe a list would be helpful.

Oh. Gas Chromatograph. In my business GC means Gift Certificate, and I thought “Wha…?”

Flint said:

Robin:

I don’t get it - why are people getting so bent around the axel about posting off-topic comments on an off-topic board?

Nobody has the slightest problem with posting off-topic on a board set up for that purpose. What is bothering people is not being permitted to post on-topic posts on an on-topic board. Why is that so hard to understand?

If Lord High Sandefur doesn’t wish his political opinions to be sullied by us unwashed peons, he should prohibit comments on a board set up to prohibit comments. PvM is censoring the victims of Sandefur’s abuse.

Flint, I have posted a response to you here:

http://pandasthumb.org/bw/

Robin:

I would love to read it, but your link is to a thread whose last post was 3 days ago. Can you provide a better clue for me to do a search?

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Robin said:

the bible indicates that there’s nothing wrong with polygamy, concubines and slavery and our society finds those things inappropriate.

Not quite. I often find it practical to distinguish between inappropriate, moral, behavior, and what Mike called “anti-social” or undesirable behavior. And as regards polygamy we have an example where such a distinction can be useful.

There are groups, at least in this country, that now regards themselves as “polyamorous”. I.e. they will have several partners, often across gender lines. (For whatever gender roles you care to define.) This isn’t IMO anti-social, as they don’t harm others. But it isn’t moral according to a majority definition.

I’m not sure if these social groups would want to be able to marry, but as in everything else there will be individuals that wish so. So at some point there will likely be an attempt of marriage reform, as homosexual marriage was.

And as for homosexuality, the majority will then have to accept the change. (We still have to wait for the churches to catch up, of course. Meanwhile they have let go of defining what “marriage” means.)

This is probably for the best. When I traveled in South America persons of both genders expressed the attitude that lovers was a necessity besides the spouse. (Well, most often males; but also more or less cynical women.)

Perhaps it is practical with such role differentiation, but it sure sounds like a source of a lot of grievances as well. Open polyamorous couples sounds like a neat idea in this perspective.

I don’t suggest that dogma should be heeded in a changeable society - that is indeed stupid. Instead I wonder what Freshwater would have done with the subject?

[But it was probably outside of his common experience. As I understand it, the moral role models, saints, of say televangelists cult leaders most often tries to cheat with either gender, not several. As they would, I guess, based on social statistics.]

A nice illustration of the issue of “undesirable” social behavior, but you don’t address the issue of slavery. I realize that slavery as described in the bible is different from the slavery practiced in the US during the 19th century, but seeing as both forms are looked upon as morally wrong and not merely socially undesirable, I don’t see where the distinction helps much in this case. The fact is, the biblical allowance of slavery makes the argument against homosexuality seem rather selective.

The fact is, most Christians recognize that the bible contains a cultural perspective from a time that no longer exists and that much of what was applied then has little value in our modern world. The problem arises only when the bible is looked upon as a literal and (divinely) legally binding document that one must follow to the letter. As such, stories such as Adam & Eve and Noah’s Flood become historical accounts on which one’s entire acceptance of all other information must be based. Similarly, Paul’s admonishes of sex (in all forms) becomes a directive from God concerning what is right and wrong regardless of reality. I merely wonder why a double standard is applied wherein Paul’s statements concerning homosexuality are take as absolute, but the allowance of slavery is ignored.

Flint said:

Robin:

I would love to read it, but your link is to a thread whose last post was 3 days ago. Can you provide a better clue for me to do a search?

D’oh! Well I feel sheepish…I forgot to hit the submit button.

Check now.

Robin:

I replied to your post at BW. Maybe making references to a discussion PvM and Sandefur require to be off-topic, and running us around to different forms to do what belongs here, will pass muster?

Flint said:

Robin:

I replied to your post at BW. Maybe making references to a discussion PvM and Sandefur require to be off-topic, and running us around to different forms to do what belongs here, will pass muster?

Maybe. :)

In any event, I responded back. Maybe others will see the discussion and comment too.

Flint said:

If Lord High Sandefur doesn’t wish his political opinions to be sullied by us unwashed peons, he should prohibit comments on a board set up to prohibit comments. PvM is censoring the victims of Sandefur’s abuse.

Nonsense. I am keeping this thread clean of a non related discussion between Sandefur and others. I am not providing a free for all podium for grievances, for that After the Bar closes, or the BW is more appropriate. I do not buy the ‘victim censorship’ nonsense.

Robin said:

A nice illustration of the issue of “undesirable” social behavior, but you don’t address the issue of slavery.

You are quite right, that would be a necessary test.

Off hand I would say that slavery is anti-social, at least in a working democracy (or compared to one). (õ_ó)

Robin said:

but seeing as both forms are looked upon as morally wrong and not merely socially undesirable, I don’t see where the distinction helps much in this case

No it wouldn’t, the undesirable dominates the inappropriate.

Robin said:

The fact is, most Christians recognize that the bible contains a cultural perspective from a time that no longer exists and that much of what was applied then has little value in our modern world

Agreed.

I haven’t seen this posted (apologies if I missed it), but for those who would like to see the “Freshwater Report”, here are a couple of links:

http://www.dispatch.com/wwwexportco[…]eshwater.pdf

http://cache.search.yahoo-ht2.akadn[…]amp;.intl=us

dpr

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on July 12, 2008 11:45 PM.

The Rise of Muslim Creationism was the previous entry in this blog.

Tom McIver’s Library of Creationist Materials Available is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter