Freshwater: Dec 8, 10, & 11, 2009

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Added in edit: This is a very condensed summary (three days of testimony in a bit over 2,000 words). If you have questions about specific issues or topics please ask them in the comments and I’ll respond as I can.

This last week saw us creep nearer to the conclusion of Freshwater’s case to keep his job as a middle school science teacher. He was the main witness for the greater part of three days on direct examination by R. Kelly Hamilton, his attorney. In late December when the hearing resumes he will be cross-examined by David Millstone, the Board of Education’s attorney. Unless Hamilton has other witnesses to call (not a negligible possibility), we should get to the Board’s rebuttal case (if one occurs) in January. There’s no telling how long that may take nor how long Freshwater’s rejoinder (if any) to the rebuttal might take.

Freshwater’s testimony this week had four main components:

1. Denial: He denied many of the allegations, attributing the contradicting testimony from other witnesses to misperceptions, misunderstandings, or flat lying.

2. Appropriate Use: He claimed whatever ID and/or creationist material he might have used was to illustrate bias and lack of objectivity in the interpretation of good science and was consistent with the Academic Content Standards.

3. Confusing Directives: He claimed that he received confusing instructions from the administration concerning religious materials in his classroom, and to the best of his understanding complied with administrator’s directives.

4. Incomplete Report: He claimed that the HR OnCall investigators’ report was incomplete and misleading, did not fully investigate the allegations, did not comply with the terms of the master contract between the Board and the bargaining unit, and did not keep a promised appointment for a second interview for which Freshwater had prepared a comprehensive report.

More below the fold.

In this account I’ll first describe the testimony of a late Board witness, James Stockdale, who was unavailable when the Board put on its case in the Fall of 2008. Then I’ll move on to Freshwater’s reenactment of the day this all started, December 6, 2007, when Zachary was allegedly burned with the Tesla coil. Then I’ll summarize Freshwater’s testimony in a pretty condensed fashion under the four headings listed above. There was a lot of redundancy. For example, we spent a good deal of time on the question of whether one can come to a conclusion about a person’s beliefs from the books or posters in their office or room, or whether one should ask the person what the books or posters signified.

Summaries of the three days are also in the Mt. Vernon News here and here, and in the Columbus Dispatch here and here.

James Stockdale testimony

James Stockdale was a witness for the Board’s case in chief but was unavailable last year, so he was called on Dec 8, 2009. At the time of the incident on which he testified he was a substitute intervention specialist, subbing for Kerri Mahan. The notebook with my notes on Stockdale’s testimony doesn’t seem to be around, so I’ll quote Pam Schehl’s account in the Mt. Vernon News:

To start Tuesday’s session, Stockdale was called by David Millstone, lawyer for the Mount Vernon Board of Education. He related what he observed and heard one day in Freshwater’s class as a substitute for an intervention specialist. The class was just beginning a unit on the origins of the earth, and Freshwater, Stockdale said, referenced a Time Magazine article that talked about a genetic link with homosexuality.

Stockdale said Freshwater told the students that was an example of how scientists and information in textbooks can be incorrect. Stockdale went on to say he was “in a state of disbelief” as Freshwater told the class the article is wrong because “the Bible” says homosexuality is a sin and anyone who chooses that lifestyle is a sinner. Stockdale said he felt that statement was giving the students license to continue homophobic attitudes and remarks to other students.

Hamilton asked whether Freshwater was using that article to illustrate scientific bias and Stockdale said he did not recall Freshwater ever using the term bias.

The reenactment

On Dec 8 the hearing room was re-arranged to resemble Freshwater’s classroom, with tape on the floor marking several students’ chairs – Zachary Dennis’s, Taylor Strack’s, and Justin Newlin’s. Recall that Taylor Strack testified that she saw students, including Zachary, place their arm on the overhead projector for the demonstration:

David Millstone, the Board’s attorney, had her clarify that procedure. She testified that Freshwater asked if anyone in the class wanted to try it (being zapped). A student would approach him at the front of the room and put an arm on the overhead projector and Freshwater would apply the arc to the arm. She testified that if the student asked Freshwater to stop, he would stop. That is consistent with Zachary Dennis’ description of what happened. Overall, it’s not clear in her testimony whether Freshwater put his hand on a student’s hand on the overhead or not. She implied both that he did and didn’t during her testimony.

There were two main points made in the course of the reenactment. First, the way Freshwater set up the room layout, the overhead projector was behind him, pushed against his lab table at the front of the room, and he was standing roughly between the projector and the students being zapped. Hence in that arrangement the students wouldn’t have been able to put their arms on the projector; it played no role in the process. So we have two students testifying that the overhead projector was in play, and Freshwater claiming that it was not.

A further wrinkle in the reenactment was an effort to depict the room as fairly dark, the light having been left off from a previous demonstration of lighting ionized gases in clear glass tubes for the students to identify. The tubes were first lit one at a time, and students wrote down the specific gas displaying a particular color. Then the 8 tubes were laid in a row, end to end on the floor in random order, and Freshwater touched the Tesla coil to one at the end of the row, lighting all of them. Students were to refer to their previous answers about gases and colors to identify each of the 8 in order on the floor, writing their answers on their answer sheet.

Taylor Strack’s seat was in the back row of a double horseshoe arrangement of desks, and while it was not directly stated, Hamilton was clearly trying to make the argument that because the room was darkened from the previous demonstrations and her seat was some distance – ~20 feet – from where the zapping occurred, she could not have had a clear view and thus reported it inaccurately. However, the room was bright enough for students at their desks to read their previous color answers and write new ones, so it doesn’t seem to have been all that dark in there. Moreover, after at least 10 minutes in that dim light for the two earlier demonstrations their eyes would have been well adapted to the light level.

Moving on to the four headings above:

Denial

Freshwater denied a wide array of allegations from previous testimony and the investigators’ report. He dened teaching creationism or intelligent design, denied teaching thermodynamics, denied disparaging Catholics, denied referring to the Bible in class in connection with homosexuality, denied that he directed students to AIG’s site, denied praying with students, denied marking crosses on students with the Tesla coil, denied contacting speakers for FCA, denied saying in class that homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, denied ever endangering or harming students, denied that he has taught beyond what is appropriate to teach in his class, and denied that he ever made a direct challenge to evolution in his classes.

He claimed that his 2003 proposal to the district to adopt the Intelligent Design Network’s “Objective Origins Policy” was not an effort to introduce ID into the classrooms, but was an effort to teach more evolution and to perform critical analysis of evolution, moving the 10th grade biology standard down to the 8th grade. Hamilton tried to portray that proposal as not being exclusively intelligent design by pointing to a couple of other sources Freshwater cited, including www.sciohio.org. Unfortunately for Hamilton, that’s the site of what billed itself at that time (2003) as the Ohio affiliate of the Intelligent Design Network. Predictably, Freshwater also mentioned the so-called Santorum amendment.

There is, of course, contradictory sworn testimony on almost all of those points from one or more witnesses. Of most interest is that there is contradictory testimony on at least one of those from Freshwater himself. In his direct examination by David Millstone on October 28, 2008 (summarized here), Freshwater said this, according to the hearing transcript:

[“Q” is David Millstone; “A” is Freshwater]


Q. Zach also testified that you indicated this would leave a mark like a tattoo of a cross for a short period of time.
A. I do not remember saying that.
Q. You’re seen the pictures?
A. Yes.
Q. And do you find that those are accurate depictions of Zach’s arm?
A. Are they? Yes.
Q. At various times this has been described as an X or a cross. Quote frankly, I don’t care which one it is at the moment. But did you ever describe that you put an X on students?
A. I do not remember saying anything about a cross.
Q. That wasn’t my question. My question is, Did you ever say that you put an X on him?
A. Yes.
Q. Is an X a mark?
A. Yes
Q. And is it your position that you put an X on Zach and not a cross?
A. Yes.

So a bit over a year ago Freshwater agreed under oath that the pictures were accurate depictions of Zachary’s arm and that he had put a mark that he characterized as an “X” on Zachary’s arm. Now under oath he denies his previous sworn testimony. (This is the same issue on which he invoked his 5th Amendment right against self incrimination during his deposition for the Dennis family’s federal suit.)

Freshwater attributed the contradictory testimony to misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and in a few cases, to lying on the part of witnesses. He was careful not to specifically accuse any particular person of lying that I heard; he made it as a general statement.

Appropriate Use

In his testimony over the three days Freshwater attributed his use of creationist and ID materials to a legitimate effort to teach to a particular Academic Content Standard (p. 216) (LARGE pdf!):

Grade Eight
Ethical Practices
2. Explain why it is important to examine data objectively and not let bias affect observations.

Freshwater depended almost wholly on that standard to justify the use of the woodpecker handout, the giraffe handout, Wells’ Survival of the Fakest as a handout, and segments of Kent Hovind’s Lies in the textbooks (Youtube video), among others, in class. Freshwater said he used them to illustrate how bias can lead to bad science and bad application of the scientific method. He said that the extra credit assignment to watch Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed fell under the same class, an illustration of bias in using science, and was therefore appropriate.

Both Hamilton and Freshwater seemed to be operating on a notion of “bias” as being an attitude or prejudice toward or against some position that can be countered by presenting an opposing position or view. However, the same Academic Content Standards on which Freshwater was depending treat bias and its cure differently. On the same page of the Standards, page 216, there is a parallel standard for 7th grade science where “bias” is defined in terms of reproducibility of results and replication of research:

Grade Seven
Ethical Practices
1. Show that the reproducibility of results is essential to reduce bias in scientific investigations.
2. Describe how repetition of an experiment may reduce bias.

This is how one ordinarily understands “bias” in science, dating back at least to Robert Rosenthal’s work on unconscious experimenter bias and expectancy effects in behavioral research. While Rosenthal’s research focused on the behavioral sciences, similar artifacts can plague data gathering and analysis in other sciences; and replication, particularly independent replication, is a safeguard against that. We’ve known that for a long time, even well before Rosenthal’s work. That’s what is captured in the 7th grade standard and what is absent from any of Hamilton and Freshwater’s uses of the term in attempting to justify Freshwater’s use of creationist materials in class.

I doubt that many of Freshwater’s supporters would agree that his creationist materials are examples of bad science; indeed, one of them had a letter in a recent Mt. Vernon News (not online but reproduced here) where a number of the good old creationist canards are repeated. it looks to me like he’s throwing his supporters’ beliefs (and his own, as far as that goes) under the bus in order to defend himself. How many times did the cock crow?

Oh, and Freshwater testified that he had students return the handouts at the end of class because he was conscious of the necessity to conserve paper.

Confusing Directives

The insubordination charge in the termination resolution depends in large part on a sequence of events in April, 2008, when Freshwater says he was first told in was OK to have his Bible on his desk, then was told he couldn’t have it on his desk, then was told it was OK. My notes on this are confusing – the testimony skipped from document to document, and since they are ordinarily referred to by exhibit number at times I had no idea what was being referred to. But the testimony netted out that Freshwater said he complied with administrative directives as he understood them, and that they changed several times over the course of a couple of weeks in April 2008. He also testified that sometimes the directives to him, e.g., instructions to him to remove his personal Bible from sight, conflicted with directives to other teachers, e.g.,, instructions to Lori Miller telling her she could keep her personal Bible on her desk but had to remove other devotional material.

In addition, the insubordination charge depends on another statement attributed to Freshwater in the report. The report says that when Freshwater was asked by the investigator if putting two additional religious books–another Bible and a book called “Jesus of Nazareth,” both checked out of the middle school llbrary–on his lab table was “to make a statement,” he reportedly replied “Yes.” In his testimony Freshwater said that account was incomplete, and reading from a transcript of his recording of the interview, added comments about the books having been bought with government money. (I have a faint memory that at one point Hamilton suggested in a question to someone that having the two Bibles might have been for purposes of comparison and evaluation, but I’ll be damned if I can remember where/when I heard that. After a while it all runs together.)

Incomplete Report

Freshwater testified that the HR OnCall investigation was incomplete and biased against him. Specifically, he said that he had just one interview with the investigators. He said they told him there would be a second interview, and in preparation for that he prepared a comprehensive statement and witness list, consistent with the language in the master contract, to present to the investigators at the second interview. He testified that the second interview was never held and that he received no information about the progress of the investigation until it was announced to be complete and a report submitted. We therefore went through a series of affidavits based on his comprehensive statement, all prepared by Freshwater to individually address the various allegations in the termination resolution adopted by the Board of Education. Among other examples of purported incompleteness, he testified that the investigators did not even interview the pastor at the center of the healing ceremony allegation, and did not interview witnesses Freshwater suggested in his interview.

As I noted, we walked through a long series of affidavits addressing each of the allegations based on his comprehensive statement. They mainly fell into the categories noted here.

And for some reason that I never got clear we spent a goodly amount of time on Mary Schweitzer’s research on the (possible) identification of soft tissue remnants in T. rex fossils. Freshwater used a Smithsonian article on it as a handout in class. He described the research as “very interesting.”

At the end of Freshwater’s testimony Hamilton asked what he would tell the referee. He replied, “Vindicate me from this mess.”

Cross examination in late December.

48 Comments

Did Freshwater mention that he had destroyed the “Tesla coil” in this latest testimony?

Paul Burnett said:

Did Freshwater mention that he had destroyed the “Tesla coil” in this latest testimony?

Ah. Yes, he did. He described how he smashed it in a trash can in his room. He said he did so on instructions from Principal Bill White. White has denied giving that instruction.

Freshwater hung on to the debris, and later gave it to his attorney, Kelly Hamilton. Hamilton showed photographs of the debris in the hearing.

Not that I believe his new story, but: did he ever say that those Creationist/ID sources were biased, and he was using them as an example of what NOT to do?

Hmm. I would say fishy. I agree that Intelligent Design should not be taught in schools. But this story rises to a whole new level of ID people obfuscating the real issues at hand!

Cheers, NS

P.S. My comments haven’t been appearing here lately. Is that because they are deleted? Am I violating rules? If so, which ones? I am happy to no longer violate rules.

Ah … the old “I didn’t do it; but if I did, it wasn’t wrong; but if it was, I was just doing what I was told; but if I wasn’t, the guy who ratted on me is a liar” defense.

Wheels said:

Not that I believe his new story, but: did he ever say that those Creationist/ID sources were biased, and he was using them as an example of what NOT to do?

Yup, that’s the “Appropriate Use” argument above.

Noted Scholar said:

P.S. My comments haven’t been appearing here lately. Is that because they are deleted? Am I violating rules? If so, which ones? I am happy to no longer violate rules.

I’ve seen no notifications of comments from you awaiting approval on my posts.

Was the Watchmaker video mentioned?

mary said:

Was the Watchmaker video mentioned?

Yes. Freshwater testified that it was sent to him by Kerri Mahan, and he and Mahan and his daughter Jordan watched it before school one day. He said his daughter subsequently showed it at an FCA meeting.

Recall that in her two appearances in the hearing Mahan equivocated about where she saw the video. She first testified that she saw it in Freshwater’s class. Later she testified that she couldn’t remember if she saw it in class or at FCA, but that it was in Freshwater’s classroom. However, the only FCA meetings in that classroom were leadership meetings with on the order of half a dozen students, yet Mahan said that she was sitting in her normal place in the back of the room and there was a full complement of students when she saw it in Freshwater’s classroom. It follows that it was shown in science class, not FCA.

As long as we’re on Mahan, I’ll add a reference to some more contradictory testimony of things that he denied over the three days of last week. In her testimony in October 2009 she had this to say:

In cross examination David Millstone walked Mahan back through the topics he had covered when he interviewed her prior to her earlier testimony. She agreed that she had said that Freshwater taught hydrosphere theory; that some tracks showed that humans and dinosaurs lived together; that Tyrannosaurus rex’s teeth showed that it could not have been a carnivore; that Mt. St. Helen’s could have produced coal rapidly; and that Freshwater had said that “there are things I would like to say but can’t unless you [students] bring it up.”

Since Freshwater is now contradicting his previous testimony with a transcript and record available, in a real court case, this would be a felony, perjury.

This is sheer desperation. It looks like he will lose and he knows very well he will lose. They are just playing out the clock right now.

He needs to get a job at a xian school where he can babble on about Mr. St. Helens coal, the ancient Jews riding around on dinosaurs, and so on. Square pegs in square holes.

It is also obvious that some xian fundies in Mt. Vernon would be happy to turn the public schools into culture war battlegrounds for the next century. There may be more to come and sooner or later the general public is going to get sick of it. Most parents would be appalled that the public schools are trying to indoctrinate their kids in a fundie sectarian religion and just want the schools to be schools.

RBH said:

Wheels said:

Not that I believe his new story, but: did he ever say that those Creationist/ID sources were biased, and he was using them as an example of what NOT to do?

Yup, that’s the “Appropriate Use” argument above.

That’s such a radical about-face that I just want to be extra sure I’ve got it right: Did he actually repudiate those sources in his testimony as inaccurate and biased, or did he just imply that he used them as examples of bad science? Did he say that the video and the articles and worksheets were examples of biased science because they were biased? I mean, that’s what you’re saying and that’s what Narciso is saying, but Freshwater has a tendency to be sneaky and underhanded from everything I’ve read. If he only claimed to have used them to point out bias he could have lead his students to believe that they legitimately highlighted bias within mainstream science of not accepting Creationist accounts, and Expelled as an example of biased Darwinists persecuting good IDists. And unless he specifically said that these materials were “bad science” he could be leading the referee to believe he used them other than how he did.

Wheels said:

That’s such a radical about-face that I just want to be extra sure I’ve got it right: Did he actually repudiate those sources in his testimony as inaccurate and biased, or did he just imply that he used them as examples of bad science?

[SNIP]

He explicitly claimed he used them as examples of bad science and bad application of the scientific method, consistent with the ‘bais’ academic standard. He directly repudiated them as worthwhile science.

RBH said: He explicitly claimed he used them as examples of bad science and bad application of the scientific method, consistent with the ‘bais’ academic standard. He directly repudiated them as worthwhile science.

So all that “Here!” stuff was just a way of reminding the students of such bad science, right?

RBH said:

Wheels said:

That’s such a radical about-face that I just want to be extra sure I’ve got it right: Did he actually repudiate those sources in his testimony as inaccurate and biased, or did he just imply that he used them as examples of bad science?

[SNIP]

He explicitly claimed he used them as examples of bad science and bad application of the scientific method, consistent with the ‘bais’ academic standard. He directly repudiated them as worthwhile science.

Let me get this straight … a few years ago Freshwater petitioned to have IDcreationism taught in the district. Is he now saying that same stuff is bad science/not science?

If he actually used those handouts as examples of bad science, it would make sense that he’d have given questions referring back to these handouts on tests or quizzes to assess the students’ understanding of bad/pseudoscience. It would make sense that he’d have a lesson plan or notes denoting such. Or that he’d have a relevant homework assignment for those students, maybe a worksheet, that he should be able dig out to show the court.

With so many handouts used, he obviously thought that educating students about bias was very important. Hence, he should be able to come up with some dated samples of student work relating to those handouts.

RBH said: He directly repudiated them as worthwhile science.

But will he do so three times before the cock crows in the morning?

Cheryl Shepherd-Adams said:

RBH said: He directly repudiated them as worthwhile science.

But will he do so three times before the cock crows in the morning?

Exactly. Well played, CSA. “The Lord hates a coward.”

RBH said:

Wheels said:

That’s such a radical about-face that I just want to be extra sure I’ve got it right: Did he actually repudiate those sources in his testimony as inaccurate and biased, or did he just imply that he used them as examples of bad science?

[SNIP]

He explicitly claimed he used them as examples of bad science and bad application of the scientific method, consistent with the ‘bais’ academic standard. He directly repudiated them as worthwhile science.

Wow. He’s trying to revise history right before our eyes.

Cheryl Shepherd-Adams said:

Let me get this straight … a few years ago Freshwater petitioned to have IDcreationism taught in the district. Is he now saying that same stuff is bad science/not science?

His current claim is that in his 2003 proposal he (a) wanted to teach “more evolution” and (b) “critically analyze evolution.”

If he actually used those handouts as examples of bad science, it would make sense that he’d have given questions referring back to these handouts on tests or quizzes to assess the students’ understanding of bad/pseudoscience. It would make sense that he’d have a lesson plan or notes denoting such. Or that he’d have a relevant homework assignment for those students, maybe a worksheet, that he should be able dig out to show the court.

With so many handouts used, he obviously thought that educating students about bias was very important. Hence, he should be able to come up with some dated samples of student work relating to those handouts.

No such lesson plans or worksheets or quizzes have been introduced at the hearing.

It’s worth noting that one of his weekly lesson plan sheets that has been introduced into evidence has on one day the two terms “irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity,” with no elaboration. I don’t recall the standard associated with them (the lesson plans encourage identifying the particular standard being addressed by daily lesson plans), but I’m going to find out.

Wheels said: Wow. He’s trying to revise history right before our eyes.

No - he’s demonstrating spontaneous generation of new traits caused by an organism’s environmental stresses - he’s been a closet Darwinist all the time!

raven said:

He needs to get a job at a xian school where he can babble on about Mr. St. Helens coal, the ancient Jews riding around on dinosaurs, and so on. Square pegs in square holes.

This may be possible in some xian schools, but not in the Catholic High School where I taught biology for the past 13 years. My biology classes had an evolution slant from day one.

We had an 8th grade teacher in a feeder school, telling students that evolution is a fraud and having some influence on a few students coming into my classes. The interesting thing was most students made fun of his anti-evolution stance. This teacher was temporarily removed from teaching science with the admonition to keep his creationist beliefs to himself. He is now back with no further problems.

Cheryl Shepherd-Adams said:

RBH said: He directly repudiated them as worthwhile science.

But will he do so three times before the cock crows in the morning?

Somehow, I don’t think his cock is going to be crowing any time soon.

He denied teaching creationism or intelligent design, denied teaching thermodynamics, denied disparaging Catholics, denied referring to the Bible in class in connection with homosexuality…….

Did the cock crow three times after his testimony?

The below was posted in one of the Mount Vernon News forums yesterday. http://www.mountvernonnews.com/blog[…]#comment-164 QUOTE: “I’m sorry to inform you. But I had Mr.Freshwater for 8th grade science in the 80’s. For one, if you had forgotten your school work, he would make you swear on the Bible that what ever occured that made you forget it. Actually occured.

Secondly, some students that were deemed by him to be unacceptable in the way they dressed, would be asked by him to come forth to his desk where he would say a prayer under his breath while applying a crucifix to their foreheads.

Lastly, and to my dismay. He would refuse to teach/discuss anything about Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution. Again making quote of what the Bible says of mans forthcomimg. And if a student argued, he asked for you to come forth to his desk, and would say a prayer while placing the crucifix on your forehead.

My asumption. The man is completely mad. And I will never be convinced other wise.

Good day.” END QUOTE ————————————————————

I’d take that comment with a large portion of salt. For example, I very much doubt that Freshwater applied “a crucifix to their foreheads.” He is a fundamentalist Protestant – Assemblies of God – and wouldn’t use a crucifix that way.

RBH said:

I’d take that comment with a large portion of salt. For example, I very much doubt that Freshwater applied “a crucifix to their foreheads.” He is a fundamentalist Protestant – Assemblies of God – and wouldn’t use a crucifix that way.

Right. Assemblies of God use Tesla coils exclusively to burn the cross into arms, not foreheads. The guy must be lying. Can Freshwater sue for definition of character? In any event, that guy should definitely sue his eighth grade English teacher.

RBH:

He is a fundamentalist Protestant – Assemblies of God – and wouldn’t use a crucifix that way.

???? Dredging through my knowledge of sectarian hatreds, IIRC, a crucifix is a cross with a jesus figure nailed onto it and this is a Catholic symbol.

The Protestants just use a plain two sticks cross.

In times pasts, this difference could get you killed in a hurry depending which symbol you used on which side.

The Assemblies of God are one of the weirder and uglier of the fundie groups. Sarah Palin in a member. They are into spiritual warfare and assume that a large number of demons and evil spirits are active on earth with their human allies; the witches, scientists, and Democrats. They are also big on exorcisms and I’m sure would be happy to exorcize Pandas Thumb.

It is conceivable that Freshwater is that mad. There is no bottom to the madness of fundies, it is infinitely deep. But without corroboration, it is just interesting hearsay. Surely more than 1 person was in his classes every year.

Raven What do you mean in times past, if you wear the “wrong” cross/crucifix in a Belfast or Glasgow pub, you might not be actually killed, but even today you run a risk of being beaten within an inch of your life, the sectarian hatreds still run that deep.

This has to be my favorite quote so far:

Oh, and Freshwater testified that he had students return the handouts at the end of class because he was conscious of the necessity to conserve paper.

Wasn’t there testimony about him *numbering* the copies so that he could be sure he retrieved every last one? Any evidence that he numbered any non-creationist handouts?

This statement is a catch-22 for him in the eyes of true fundies: he’s either a liar or a *rabid* tree-hugger.

raven said:

RBH:

He is a fundamentalist Protestant – Assemblies of God – and wouldn’t use a crucifix that way.

???? Dredging through my knowledge of sectarian hatreds, IIRC, a crucifix is a cross with a jesus figure nailed onto it and this is a Catholic symbol.

That’s what I meant; perhaps I was too subtle. :)

e-dogg said:

Wasn’t there testimony about him *numbering* the copies so that he could be sure he retrieved every last one? Any evidence that he numbered any non-creationist handouts?

I don’t recall the former – does anyone else recall that?

As to the latter, no mention was made of that, though he still has to face cross examination.

Took me a few minutes to dig it up, but here you go:

http://www.mountvernonnews.com/loca[…]ter_upd.php4

2nd to last paragraph:

[Retired middle school science teacher Jeff] George also remembers a time when a school principal specifically told Freshwater to stop distributing religious materials in class. Freshwater then, George said, numbered the religious items, and collected them at the end of the class period to make sure none would leave the classroom.

Zowie! I salute your Google-fu!

I note, however, that the story was run before the hearing started, so it’s not sworn testimony.

raven said:

RBH:

He is a fundamentalist Protestant – Assemblies of God – and wouldn’t use a crucifix that way.

???? Dredging through my knowledge of sectarian hatreds, IIRC, a crucifix is a cross with a jesus figure nailed onto it and this is a Catholic symbol.

The Protestants just use a plain two sticks cross.

In times pasts, this difference could get you killed in a hurry depending which symbol you used on which side.

The Assemblies of God are one of the weirder and uglier of the fundie groups. Sarah Palin in a member. They are into spiritual warfare and assume that a large number of demons and evil spirits are active on earth with their human allies; the witches, scientists, and Democrats. They are also big on exorcisms and I’m sure would be happy to exorcize Pandas Thumb.

It is conceivable that Freshwater is that mad. There is no bottom to the madness of fundies, it is infinitely deep. But without corroboration, it is just interesting hearsay. Surely more than 1 person was in his classes every year.

A layperson might not be able to tell the difference between a cross and a crucifix any more than Cornelius Hunter can tell the difference between a wolf and a thylacine.

It’s also likely that Freshwater is as confused about his religion as he is about his science.

RBH said:

I note, however, that the story was run before the hearing started, so it’s not sworn testimony.

Ah, so it was. Those statements were just part of an interview for the newspaper article. Maybe someone should ask Mr. George to come make those statements under oath. (wink, wink!)

e-dogg said:

Ah, so it was. Those statements were just part of an interview for the newspaper article. Maybe someone should ask Mr. George to come make those statements under oath. (wink, wink!)

I’m making inquiries to try to find out why he has not (yet?) been called to testify by either side and/or whether he will be called.

RBH said: I note, however, that the story was run before the hearing started, so it’s not sworn testimony.

So does that prevent his being asked about numbering creationist tracts when he undergoes cross-examination?

Paul Burnett said: So does that prevent his being asked about numbering creationist tracts when he undergoes cross-examination?

Nope. The issue of taking the handouts back at the end of class was raised in direct examination, so it’s fair game in cross. Besides, with the lax control the referee has been exercising he could be asked about almost anything and it would be permitted.

What happened to the original tesla coil? Why didn’t Hamilton present it as evidence rather than pictures of the destroyed property? Is he trying to somehow make a loose connection to the arm cross being a “doctored” picture? Thanks for your detailed reports of this hearing. It is very much appreciated by me.

SM:

Raven What do you mean in times past, if you wear the “wrong” cross/crucifix in a Belfast or Glasgow pub, you might not be actually killed, but even today you run a risk of being beaten within an inch of your life, the sectarian hatreds still run that deep.

Oh. Thanks for reminding me.

You forgot to tell me which is which. I can imagine in Belfast it is a coin toss whether you end up in the “wrong” pub with the “wrong” type of cross. I’m guessing a crucifix wouldn’t go over too well in Glasgow.

What happens if someone wears a Darwin fish? Even here on the WC, people sometimes steal them from vehicles while remembering to scratch the paint up too.

Ralph said:

What happened to the original tesla coil? Why didn’t Hamilton present it as evidence rather than pictures of the destroyed property? Is he trying to somehow make a loose connection to the arm cross being a “doctored” picture? Thanks for your detailed reports of this hearing. It is very much appreciated by me.

I assume Hamilton still has it. It’s not clear to me why he played with photos rather than introducing the actual artifact.

RBH said: It’s not clear to me why he played with photos rather than introducing the actual artifact (the original tesla coil).

Fear that somebody might want to do DNA analysis on the bits of flesh burned onto the electrode tip? (/snark)

raven said: What happens if someone wears a Darwin fish? Even here on the WC, people sometimes steal them from vehicles while remembering to scratch the paint up too.

Prying a Darwin Fish off a car (and damaging the paint) happened to an acquaintance of mine. She caught one of her neighbors in the act and took the perp to small claims court over it. The judge was going to dismiss it as being too trivial to deal with until the plaintiff raised 1st Amendment issues. That got the judges interest in a hurry.

Apparently his job is more important to him than his Jesus.

They ain’t makin’ martyrs like the used too.

Raven If you go into a pub in Govan (West Glasgow) a strong protestant / Glasgow Rangers area with a Glasgow Celtic shirt or a Crucifix, you’re reception is likely to be hostile (to say the least), similarly if you go into a pub in the East End - Tollcross, that sort of area with a plain cross or a Glasgow Rangers shirt on.….. It’s kind of hard to tell about Darwin fish, as youth’s out on the town have been known to take them for a dare, but they also take Mercedes-Benz, Audi, VW, etc. symbols. The situation in the West / Central area of Scotland seems to be that the Protestants and Catholics are so busy with their sectarian bigotry that athiests are pretty much ignored, although I did hear one joke that went - a Pakistani was trying out for the Rangers team, one of his teammates asked if he was protestant or catholic, he replied “I am a Muslim”, “oh yes” says the teammate, “but are you a Catholic, or a Protestant Muslim ?”.

I suspect Freshwater doesn’t think he’s lying, first of all, more telling people what they want to hear - i.e., everything he says is in the context of what the school board wants. And if it’s misleading, it’s for the greater good. So evolution isn’t right in reality - where God lives. It’s right in the context of teaching science class. I think for Freshwater, it’s a test of whether he can parrot back the official line.

He got to evangelize. He made it tough on future school boards wanting to clamp down on evangelizing.

Not sure what he’d do if genuine martyrdom would advance the evangelical goal.

Looks like they fired Freshwater.. http://www.dispatch.com/live/conten[…]ABAI539.html

Look at the dateline for that article.

franz dibbler said:

Looks like they fired Freshwater.. http://www.dispatch.com/live/conten[…]ABAI539.html

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on December 12, 2009 4:16 PM.

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