Freshwater: (Lightly) annotated index to Freshwater-related Thumb posts

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Below is a lightly annotated index to 74 77 posts on the Freshwater affair in the Mt. Vernon School District, most by me along with a few from PvM in the period before the hearing started. I think I got them all; if I missed any please let me know in the comments.

There are four main sections in the chronological index, the sections corresponding to posts before the administrative hearing began and the three parts of the hearing–the Board’s Case in Chief, Freshwater’s Defense, and the Board’s Rebuttal.

The list is below the fold. For those keeping score, my posts in the list run to just over 136,000 140,000 total words.

Before the hearing

Teaching Intelligent Design and burning crosses. June 19, 2008. PvM’s post on the release of the independent investigators’ report.

Freshwater Termination Resolution. June 20, 2008. Summarizes the main points in the Board of Education’s resolution to consider termination of Freshwater’s contract.

Freshwater supporter claims “teach the controversy” as defense. June 22, 2008. Describes David Daubenmire’s invocation of the Disco ‘Tute’s “teach the controversy” mantra to defend Freshwater on Geraldo at Large.

Freshwater the story continues. July 11, 2008. PvM’s post on the establishment of the Freshwater support site “Bibleonthedesk”, now defunct, and Freshwater and Hamilton being interviewed on Fox News (video ‘temporarily unavailable’).

Freshwater: Presenting Both Sides of the story. July 12, 2008. PvM’s post on a radio interview on a Christian station given by Freshwater on April 28, 2008.

Freshwater: I have never branded or burned a person. Aug 5, 2008. PvM’s post on Freshwater’s appearance at the Mt. Vernon Board of Education meeting on August 4, 2008, with links to news stories at the end of the post.

Board of Education’s Case in Chief

Freshwater Hearing: Day 1 + Day 2 Summary. Oct 4, 2008. And so we began many moons ago, with testimony from Superintendent Steve Short for two days.

Freshwater Hearing: 3rd Day. Oct 28, 2008. Three witnesses testified today, Zachary Dennis, the boy who was (allegedly) burned with a Tesla coil, his mother Jenifer Dennis, and Freshwater.

Interview with mother in the Freshwater cross-burning affair. Oct 27, 2008. Summary and link to Columbus Dispatch interview with Jenifer Dennis.

Freshwater Day 4: “Science can’t be trusted”. Oct 30, 2008. Direct and cross examination of Middle School Principal Bill White, and testimony from former Freshwater student (2004-2005) James Hoeffgen. This post outlines the defense themes that were already apparent in Hamilton’s questioning of Board witnesses. It also has James Hoeffgen’s memorable line about what he learned from Freshwater: “Science can’t be trusted. Science can’t teach us anything.”

Freshwater Hearing Day 5: Only from Freshwater’s students. Nov 2, 2008. Day 5 saw the completion of cross examination of Bill White, Principal of the middle school in 2007-2008, and the testimony of Kathy Kasler, the high school Principal; David Levy, M.D., an expert witness; and Bonnie Schutte, a high school science teacher.

Freshwater Day 6: Another student, another cross. Nov 2, 2008. Testifying were Paul Souhrada, an editor of the Columbus Dispatch and the parent of a student in Freshwater’s class; Souhrada’s son Simon; Richard Cunningham, chairman of the high school science department; Katie Beach, a middle school intervention specialist; Kerri Mahan, a middle school special education teacher; and Katherine Button, a former student in Freshwater’s 8th grade science class. Noteworthy for Simon Souhrada’s testimony that he heard Freshwater say that “Catholics aren’t Christians.” (Marcia Orsborn testified to the same effect in June 2010 in the Board’s Rebuttal Case.)

Freshwater Day 7: The Investigator. Jan 6, 2009. Two witnesses this day, Dennis Turner, a pastor at a local church who spoke several times at FCA, and Thomas Herlevi, the principal investigator employed by the Board to investigate the Freshwater matter. Turner testified that his main contact with the middle school FCA was via Freshwater, not students. Herlevi walked through the process of the investigation in direct examination, and was questioned concerning that process in Hamilton’s cross examination.

Freshwater Day 8: Investigator cross, and another former student. Jan 8, 2009. Most of this post is about the completion of the cross examination of Thomas Herlevi, the principal investigator with HR OnCall who conducted the independent investigation for the Board. There was also fairly brief testimony from Joseph Barone, a former student in Freshwater’s class, who said that Freshwater told his 2001 class that “I don’t believe in evolution,” and that he was ridiculed by other members of the class, including Freshwater’s son, when he defended a theistic evolution position (Joseph is Catholic).

Freshwater Day 9: An Expert Witness and Two Teachers. Jan 11, 2009. Testimony from Joseph E. Faber, a biology professor and former Ohio Department of Education science consultant; William Oxenford, long-time middle school science teacher and one-time Academic Achievement Coach for middle school science; and Charles Adkins, middle school science teacher and former ODE employee.

Freshwater Day 10: The History of Creationism. Jan 12, 2009. A full day of testimony from Patricia Princehouse of Case Western Reserve University. She covered the various handouts Freshwater used, identifying their creationist content, and the materials he used in support of his 2003 curriculum proposal. She lectured on the history of creationism and its new labeling, intelligent design. In his cross examination Hamilton foreshadowed a theme that would become more prominent later, that Princehouse didn’t know how Freshwater used the creationist materials. Later Hamilton and Freshwater would argue that Freshwater used them to illustrate bias, consistent with the state’s Academic Content Standards.

I note that I wrote this remark 18 months ago on Jan 12, 2009:

We’re scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week, and it is certain the hearing won’t conclude Friday unless Freshwater throws in the towel, which is a very low probability event. Hence we’ll be going on past Friday of this week.

Little did I know how far past that Friday we’d go!

Freshwater’s Defense Case

Freshwater Day 11: Board’s case ends; Freshwater’s begins. Jan 15, 2009. Freshwater began presenting witnesses, with testimony from Jordan Freshwater (his daughter), Dino D’Ettorre, a 6th grade science teacher in the Middle School; and Barbara Spitzer, a special education teacher in the Middle School who was a member of Freshwater’s 8th grade team. Jordan’s testimony concerned FCA, the showing of the Watchmaker, and contact with FCA speakers. D’Ettorre, a 6th grade science teacher, testified about using the Tesla coil in a manner similar to Freshwater, about his unawareness of religious items in the middle school, and about his giving a “salvation message” to students in the school. Spitzer’s testimony was mostly irrelevant.

Freshwater Day 12: The Monitor. Jan 15, 2009. Testimony from Deb Strouse, the administration monitor assigned to Freshwater’s classroom during the period of spring 2008 after the allegations came to light and the investigation started. She saw little that was problematic, though there were a few red flags in her testimony.

Freshwater Day 13: A Parade of Teachers and Staff. Jan 17, 2009. Testimony from mostly middle school teachers unless otherwise noted, including Tammy Henry, Brian Cook, James Marth (elementary school teacher), John Frye (high school head teacher), Brian Gastin (high school English teacher), Steven Farmer, Don Newcomer, Sara Malone, and Scott Dapprich, and from guidance counselor Dave Carter and computer technician Ken Wiles. The bulk of the testimony was to the effect that Freshwater didn’t do anything problematic that they saw.

Freshwater Day 14: “He taught both sides” and questioning the text. Feb 27, 2009. Testimony from students Corbin Heck, Nathan Thomas, and Riley Swanson. Testimony revolved around the Tesla coil incident, the content of Freshwater’s teaching, and the use of “here” as a signal.

Freshwater Day 15: A Teacher Secretly Tapes Administrators. Mar 25, 2009. Testimony from Jeff Maley, former superintendent, and Lori Miller, middle school math teacher. Maley testified about prior complaints concerning Freshwater’s inclusion of creationist materials in science class and gave lengthy testimony concerning the 2003 proposal and subsequent problems he had with Freshwater. Lori Miller told how she secretly taped meetings with Principal White and other administrators. She also described how she evangelized students in the school, claiming “I honestly didn’t think that was wrong.”.

Freshwater Day 16: Whose arm?. Mar 26, 2009. Describes Mark and Ben Neilson’s testimony denying that published photos represented the mark on Zachary Dennis’s arm.

Freshwater Hearing: Whose arm? Some Contradictions. Mar 28, 2009. Describes the contradictions between Ben Neilson’s testimony in the hearing with the account he gave to the independent investigators as represented in their raw interview notes.

Freshwater Hearing Days 16 and 17. April 1, 2009. Covers the cross examination of Lori Miller, middle school teacher who also had religious items in her room; a long spell of testimony from Linda Weston, former Director of Teaching and Learning; and questioning of Jeff Cline, local resident and coreligionist of Freshwater who was a speaker at FCA, and who was one of the principal organizers, along with David Daubenmire, of the media event on the public square on April 16, 2008, at which Freshwater read a statement of defiance.

Freshwater Day 18: A pastor and two teachers. April 10, 2010. Describes the testimony of Pastor Stephen Zirkle, a central figure in the FCA “healing ceremony” allegation, and that of two teachers, both coreligionists of Freshwater. Andrew Thompson described his (amateurish) analysis of test scores, and described his time as a student and an intervention specialist in Freshwater’s classroom, and testified about religious items in his own classroom. Wesley Elifritz also spent considerable time in Freshwater’s classroom as a health teacher, and testified about his experiences there and the religious items he had in his own classroom.

Brief Freshwater Update. April 19, 2009. Now-dead link to Mansfield NewsJournal editorial on the Freshwater affair.

Mt. Vernon, OH, school levy results. May 6, 2009. Describes the passage of a renewal school levy by the Mt. Vernon City Schools in spite of Freshwater’s supporters’ threats to defeat it.

Freshwater hearing: a witness contradicted by a photo. May 7, 2009. A brief post describing how Zachary Dennis showed the mole on his arm that matches the published photos of the burn mark on an arm, thus impeaching Ben Neilson’s testimony that “That’s not Zach’s arm!”

Brief Freshwater update note. May 21, 2009. Short post pointing to news stories on days of the hearing I didn’t get written up for PT.

Freshwater brings suit against Board of Education. June 10, 2009. Covers the filing of Freshwater v. Mount Vernon Board of Education et al..

Freshwater Hearing Delay. June 17, 2009. Hearing delayed because two Board of Education members, Ian Watson and Jody Goetzman, declined to testify.

Freshwater update – Updated!. July 11, 2009. Some detail on the Court of Common Pleas declining to compel members of the Board of Education to testify in the hearing, and some additions to Freshwater’s suit against the world.

Freshwater: A last minute postponement. July 24, 2009. Freshwater exercises his right to suspend the hearing during times when school is not in session. Also reports the Court of Common Pleas declining to issue subpoenas to Board members, and Freshwater’s intention to file a request for a write of mandamus from the Ohio Supreme Court to compel that testimony

(UPDATED) Freshwater Mandamus request filed. Aug 6, 2009. Covers Freshwater’s filing for a writ of mandamus to compel testimony from members of the Board of Education.

One Freshwater Suit settled (see update at the end of the post). Aug 27, 2009. Reports on the settlement between the Doe (Dennis) family and the District.

Freshwater: Losing your case? Sue your opponent’s attorney. Sept2, 2009. Update on maneuvers related to Freshwater’s inclusion of David Millstone, Board attorney, as a defendant in Freshwater’s federal suit against the world.

The perfect phrase. Sept 13, 2009. Describes my discovery of the perfect phrase to describe people like Freshwater and Hamilton: “they become their own jailers.”

Freshwater update (Re-updated 21 Sept). Sept 19 and 21, 2009. Covers some of the legal maneuvering associated with the application for a writ of mandamus; the inclusion of David Millstone, the Board’s attorney, as a defendant in Freshwater’s federal suit; and Hamilton’s radio interview describing his calling from God to defend the Bible in a 1st amendment case and including his analysis of names of the various people in the case.

Ohio Supreme Court denies Freshwater mandamus motion. Sept 30, 2009. Post on the Ohio Supreme Court denying a request to compel members of the Board of Education to testify.

(Very) brief Freshwater update. October 29, 2009. A placeholder with no substantive content.

Freshwater: Oct 28, 2009, hearing notes. November 1, 2009. Direct and cross examination of David Daubenmire. John Fair, a former teacher and coach, also testified, denying remarks attributed to him by Daubenmire, and Tim Keib began his testimony. This post is sketchy because I had to leave, and it contains links to news stories on the day’s testimony.

Freshwater: October 29, 2009. Nov 2, 2009. Continuation of testimony of former middle school assistant principal Tim Keib and his evaluations of Freshwater. There was also testimony from Darcy Miller, parent of a student in Freshwater’s class and active FCA speaker. She thought it a tragedy that when parents gained control of the religious programming their children were exposed to in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes attendance dropped considerably. There was testimony from Robert Bender, a Salvation Army functionary who spoke at FCA, and from Kerri Mahan, who had testified in the Board’s case in chief. She testified about the showing of the Watchmaker video, among other things. In cross she conceded that she had told Millstone that Freshwater taught hydrosphere theory, that tracks showed that dinosaurs and humans had lived at the same time, that Mt. St. Helen’s eruption could have produced coal rapidly, and that T. rex’s teeth showed it couldn’t have been a carnivore. Whew! Finally, former principal Jeff Kuntz testified about his evaluations of Freshwater over the years.

Mt. Vernon School Board election (with results!) November 2, 2009. Reports the results of the election of two new members of the Mt. Vernon Board of Education and the loss by two incumbents.

Freshwater: Oct 30, 2009. November 5, 2009. There was testimony from student Taylor Strack, who partly contradicted Zach Dennis’s testimony about the Tesla coil incident. There was also testimony from Finn Laursen, Executive Director of Christian Educators Association International, who testified on the proper conduct of investigations of alleged teacher misbehavior. Lori Miller, a middle school math teacher, testified about her meetings with administrators about religious items, and the advice she got from Laursen to call “Liberty Center,” apparently meaning “Liberty Counsel,” the legal aid arm of Liberty University.

Freshwater: A Bonsell in the offing? Nov 18, 2009. Develops an analogy between the performance of Alan Bonsell, former head of the Dover Area School District Board of Education, and Freshwater, by looking at the similarities between Bonsell’s self-contradictions in sworn testimony in Kitzmiller and Freshwater’s self-contradictions in the several legal venues now active.

Freshwater: Dec 3 & 4 sessions. December 5, 2009. Summarizes testimony of Elle Button, middle school science teacher, and William White, middle school principal.

Freshwater: Dec 8, 10, & 11, 2009. December 12, 2009. Covers Freshwater’s direct testimony in his defense under questioning by R. Kelly Hamilton. The main part of the three days consisted in re-enactments of the Tesla coil incident.

Lays out the four main defense themes that I could glean from the testimony. It also covers the testimony of James Stockdale, who testified that Freshwater told students that homosexuality could not have a genetic cause, because ‘the Bible says homosexuality is a sin,’ and “people who choose that lifestyle are sinners.”

Freshwater: 2009 (but not the hearing) drags to an end. January 1, 2010. Covers testimony of former coach Rick Warren, who suggested an email introduced into evidence had been altered, and two days of Freshwater’s cross examination by David Millstone, the Board’s attorney. Covers such topics as Freshwater’s knowledge (or lack thereof) of his rights under the master contract; his failure to supply a promised copy of a tape of an interview with Principal White; a long series of questions on the 15 affidavits Freshwater claims he and Hamilton prepared in May 2008 as his “comprehensive response” to allegations; and a long sequence dealing with Freshwater’s 2003 proposal to inject ID creationism into the school science curriculum. This post ran to 8,000 words and I won’t summarize it further here.

Freshwater: yet another student and yet another cross. January 13, 2010. Covers a deposition by an unidentified student taken in preparation for the federal Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education case in which the student describes Freshwater burning a cross on the student’s arm in the 2007-2008 school year. The student confirmed that Freshwater also put a cross mark on “Student No. 1,” who from context I infer is Zachary Dennis. The student also swore that Freshwater showed the Watchmaker video in science class.

Freshwater: A School Board Member’s Ethics Problem. January 15, 2010. Describes a new Board member’s private machinations toward a settlement of the issue when he himself has a serious conflict of interest due to being a fundraiser for Freshwater..

Freshwater: DIY handwriting analysis. January 16, 2010. Provides scans so readers can evaluate for themselves whether the handwriting about the Tower of Babel on the “Tall Buildings” handout matches the writing on one of Freshwater’s lesson plans. M analysis in that post almost perfectly matches that of the expert questioned documents examiner who testified later in the hearing.

Freshwater: Dumpster diving for docs?. February 7, 2010. First post on the rumors of the mysterious anonymous source and the black bag in the parking lot.

Freshwater: The police report. February 8, 2010. Describes the found property’ police report filed concerning the black bag.

Freshwater: A podcast. February 18, 2010. Link to a podcast on the Freshwater matter in which I was interviewed.

Freshwater: The paranoia grows. February 22, 2010. Covers the rumor that R. Kelly Hamilton is in contact, directly or indirectly, with the anonymous source of the black bag, and that the source might testify if the hearing is closed to the public. Nothing came of that.

Freshwater: One board member recuses herself, another should. February 24, 2010. Covers the recusal of Paula Barone from participating in discussions or votes concerning the Freshwater matter, and lays out the case for Steve Thompson to do the same. Thompson is in a notably worse conflict of interest situation than Barone.

Freshwater: Only a partial recusal. February 28, 2010. Clarifies Thompson’s recusal coverage to note it does not include recusing himself from Board deliberation and voting on the administrative hearing referee’s recommendation. Has the full text of Thompson’s recusal letter.

Freshwater: Catching up. April 7, 2010. Coverage of the summary judgment in the federal court.

R. Kelly Hamilton, meet George Orwell. April 14, 2010. More on the federal court rulings on motions for summary judgment and the Dennis family’s motion to compel Freshwater and Hamilton to provide materials requested in discovery. A lengthy analysis of Hamilton’s spinning and misrepresentations.

Two Freshwater attorneys request to withdraw. April 27, 2010. Covers the request to withdraw of Robert H. Stoffers and Jason R. Deschler as attorneys retained by the school’s insurance company for Freshwater’s defense in Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education.

Freshwater April 29 & 30: Exploiting kids. May 2, 2010. Describes Hamilton’s setting up 10 students (including several special needs students) by using over-dramatized re-enactments and hypothetical questions, leading them to claim that Zachary Dennis lied about the Tesla coil incident. Also covers more of Freshwater’s redirect examination, including mostly testimony about whether the district was forthcoming about materials requested in discovery. Also covered testimony by Sherri Perry, who supported Freshwater’s 2003 curriculum proposal; Lori Hubbell, who testified that the special needs student she cared for could not give reliable testimony concerning an incident in which Freshwater allegedly zapped him on the rear with the Tesla coil; and Ruth Frady, who testified about the “healing prayer” incident in which Freshwater was alleged to have participated in, and perhaps even led, prayer at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting.

Mt. Vernon School Levy Passes. May 5, 2010. Describes the passage of a school levy in spite of Hamilton’s public remarks opposing it. Also notes David Daubenmire’s loss in the Republican primary for Congressional representative.

Freshwater: Playing fast and loose with the truth. May 7, 2010. Account of a radio interview Freshwater gave to local conservative talk radio in which he accuses Zachary Dennis of lying. Describes the three different versions of the Tesla coil incident Freshwater has given under oath. Accuses a newspaper of being biased and an editor of slanting coverage against him. Gives Freshwater’s story of why the two insurance company lawyers defending him asked to withdraw from representation: “I ended up firing them …”.

Freshwater: Strong Words for Hamilton from Federal Judge. May 11, 2010. Hamilton pisses off a federal judge and gets publicly slapped down for it.

Freshwater gag order issued. May 30, 2010. Covers the issuance of a gag order in Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education, a gag order stimulated by Freshwater’s giving the Board of Education confidential emails concerning settlement talks in the case.

Freshwater: Hearing and Federal Court news. June 3, 2010. Describes the federal court’s imposition of sanctions consisting of attorney fees and costs associated with Hamilton’s and Freshwater’s failure to comply with an earlier motion to compel, and Hamilton’s bad luck, duly noted by the court, in the loss of his laptop, his two flat tires preventing him from attending the hearing on the motion for sanctions, and the loss of his homework to a hungry dog. This post also covered testimony from three defense witnesses: Michael Molnar, a principal in Beechwood, Ohio, who testified about how he would run an investigation; Patrick Johnson, a Tea Bagger. pediatrician, and former radio host who thinks scientists have never observed order emerging from disorder (he’s never seen a snowflake); and the first stage of testimony from Ian Watson, former member and President of the Board of Education when Freshwater was suspended and the resolution to consider termination was adopted.

Freshwater: A Teaser. June 4, 2010. A brief post on the introduction of an affidavit during Freshwater’s testimony on which questioning was suspended due to the federal court’s gag order covering the Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education, et al., suit in which Freshwater is a defendant.

Freshwater: Board members, and the black bag. June 6, 2010. This day saw the conclusion of testimony from Ian Watson, former member and President of the Board of Education, and a continuation of redirect examination of Freshwater. In direct examination by Hamilton, Watson testified about what a religious “display” is and whether the person’s intentions are determinative, what Watson knew about Freshwater’s 2003 curriculum proposal, why Freshwater was suspended without pay, and Watson’s personal and work calendars. There was no cross examination. Freshwater testified about the sequence of events surrounding the discovery of the black bag of documents in a parking lot, and there was a detailed walk-through of dozens of pages of documents from the black bag. The telephone number from which the anonymous call telling about the black bag was revealed. Freshwater also testified that he thought there had been tampering with the contents of his classroom that were stored in boxes at the district central offices, and that he thought someone was ‘setting [me] up.” Freshwater also testified about his conversations (in person and on the telephone) with former Board member Steve Hughes, and his transcript of the conversations was introduced into evidence.

Freshwater: Freshwater’s testimony ends. June 10, 2010. Covers the last portion of Freshwater’s testimony in recross examination. Testimony included questions about the timing of Freshwater checking out a Bible and “Jesus of Nazareth” book from the middle school library; some on the preparation and billing for the 15 affidavits Freshwater says were prepared in May 2008; Freshwater’s retrieval of his personal belongings from his room and central office in August 2008; the numbering of boxes in which material from Freshwater’s classroom was stored; and the timing of events on April 16, 2008, when Freshwater made his public statement (written by David Daubenmire) to the media on the town square. There was also redirect examination by R. Kelly Hamilton on many of those same issues. Redirect also included testimony about the tape teacher Lori Miller made of her meeting with administrators regarding religious materials in her classroom.

Freshwater: The defense rests. June 11, 2010. Covers the testimony of local attorney and former Board of Education member Steve Hughes, whose gossipy conversations about the case with Freshwater after Hughes left the Board were surreptitiously recorded by Freshwater.

Board of Education’s Rebuttal Case

Freshwater: The Board’s rebuttal case. June 13, 2010. Testimony rebutting specific defense claims. Witnesses included


– former Assistant Principal Brad Ritchey, who took photographs of Freshwater’s religious items and was in some of the administration meetings with Freshwater;

– Harold F. Rodin, an expert witness who identified handwriting on the “Tall Buildings” handout referring to the Tower of Babel as identical to a comparison sample identified as Freshwater’s;

– John Liptak, a computer forensic analyst who authenticated several emails and testified that data from the hard disks of water-damaged computers can often be recovered;

– Marcia Orsborn, middle school teacher, who testified that Freshwater said he had to consult his Bible to ascertain whether Catholics are Christians;

– Patricia Princehouse, science historian and evolutionary expert from Case Western Reserve University, who testified about the intelligent design creationist lineage of “irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity”, terms written on a Freshwater lesson plan introduced into evidence;

– Steve Rissing, evolutionary biologist from the Ohio State University and a participant in the development of the state Academic Science Standards, who testified to the meaning of “bias” as it’s used in the Standards.

– Fr, Mark Hammond, priest at a local Catholic church, who testified that Freshwater asked him to speak at FCA and that no student contacted him about it.

Freshwater: Movement toward a settlement?. June 18, 2010. Notes gag order in Freshwater v. [the world], and notes an interesting view of Freshwater from his attorney, R. Kelly Hamilton.

Freshwater: Hearing testimony ends!. June 23, 2010. Covers the final rebuttal testimony of Superintendent Steve Short.

Freshwater: Verrrry Interesting. June 25, 2010. Post on the questions about Freshwater’s 15 affidavits, purported to be part of his “comprehensive response” to the allegations prepared in May, 2008. In particular, addresses the question of when they were actually prepared and what happened to R. Kelly Hamilton’s billing records for that period.

July 6, 2010. Freshwater: Tightening the vise. Describes a memorandum submitted to the federal court in Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education, et al which documents Freshwater’s and Hamilton’s misrepresentations in the federal court and the administrative hearing concerning Freshwater’s preparation of 15 affidavits and Hamilton’s claimed loss of billing records in a Flood.

Freshwater: Will a quick settlement be reached?. July 7, 2010. Speculates on the possibility of the insurance company reaching a quick settlement in Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education et al because of the pressure induced by the disclosure of Freshwater’s and Hamilton’s shenanigans regarding the affidavits and billing records.

Freshwater: Unresponsive responses. July 14, 2010. Analyzes the responses of Hamilton and Freshwater to the allegations in the memorandum in opposition described above in “Tightening the vise.”

Freshwater: One civil suit settled (?: See updates). July 26, 2010. Prematurely reports a settlement with Freshwater in Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education, et al., with corrections to that report.

Freshwater: Oral arguments on sanctions reconsideration. July 30, 2010. An account of a hearing in federal court on Hamilton’s and Freshwater’s motion to reconsider the sanctions imposed on them for not turning over materials in discovery, including the billing records mentioned above. Documents the growing tendency of Hamilton to throw Freshwater under a bus.

38 Comments

I know you keep saying you don’t want to write a book, but I think that many words already counts as a book. All you need to do now is print it and bind it. :P

Seriously, thank you so much for writing all this up. I know I’ve learned a lot from these posts, and I’ve had a lot of fun. It’s nice to have it all indexed now so I can catch any details I might have missed.

Eventually, it will be revealed that John was branding kids lightly on the wrist with a cross so they wouldn’t be able to take the Mark. His persecuters will be revealed as Illuminists. Mt. Vernon will probably have to be exorcized.

Marion Delgado said:

Eventually, it will be revealed that John was branding kids lightly on the wrist with a cross so they wouldn’t be able to take the Mark. His persecuters will be revealed as Illuminists. Mt. Vernon will probably have to be exorcized.

Given what one sees at the local WalMart, it certainly could use some exercising! :)

Charley Horse said:

Inside Ohio Walmart: http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/?sta[…]1&cat=54

Couldn’t resist!

I looked at those pictures inside the Walmart and it brought back sudden memories a trip I took to Ohio in the 90s. I’ve been over most of the USA, but … trying to be tactful here … in memory those pictures were close to representative, not exceptional.

I can find nice places in my trips. In the course of my trip to Ohio it was somewhat more difficult than it was in other places I’ve visited.

Ryan Cunningham said:

I know you keep saying you don’t want to write a book, but I think that many words already counts as a book. All you need to do now is print it and bind it. :P

But how many people would pay money to buy it? After the first year or so, I began to wonder why Panda’s Thumb kept following what I thought was “old news” and I stopped paying attention. Then just this month I realized what an obsessed @$$ Freshwater was being and how flawed the hearing process must be to keep dealing with him for so long. The system is broken and needs REFORM!

That represents quite a bit of work. And all to track the progress of ninnies who are being gulled by would-be power brokers. One wonders what kind of religious freedom we would have if we actually did allow the church to co-opt the state.

Dale Husband said:

But how many people would pay money to buy it?

I never said anything about the commercial success of said book. But it would certainly qualify as a book!

(And yea, the system so clearly needs reform. If the sheer volume of links above isn’t sufficient evidence of that fact, all the self indulgent inanity carefully documented within each link certainly should be.)

AS I’ve said a couple of times, Lauri Lebo has already written it. She captured the same sort of phenomena in the same sort of community, and she is a better writer to boot. I’ll get at least one publishable article out of it, but no book, guys. Sorry.

Yeah, and these people’s votes count the same as yours and mine.…..now that’s some scary thinking!

RBH:

AS I’ve said a couple of times, Lauri Lebo has already written it. She captured the same sort of phenomena in the same sort of community, and she is a better writer to boot. I’ll get at least one publishable article out of it, but no book, guys. Sorry.

1. It’s similar but not the same. Doesn’t count. Besides there were 3 or 4 books written on Dover, all good. The only one I haven’t read yet is Lauri Lebo’s.

2. You’ve already all but written it with these voluminous you are there posts. Wouldn’t take much to splice them together. And clearly you are a good writer. Shop an outline and some posts to publishers and see what the interest level is. Find a coauthor if it is a time constraint, maybe LL.

3. This sort of thing needs to be documented and disseminated for the good of our society. This is your brain on weird religion and it doesn’t work very well.

4. Well, whatever. You life, your time, your call.

Back when the Dover trial was going on, I thought Lauri Lebo’s writing/coverage in the York Daily Record wasn’t anywhere near as good as Mike Argento’s. So I wouldn’t expect her book to be the epitome of coverage of the issue either.

Thanks RBH, no book, but maybe an article? Where? I suspect it will be bloody huge.

OT, over at UD (where I can write replies but they are never posted), Denise O’Leary is having another brain fart about the Dover decision, 5 years on. Bob Byers has written a superbly reasoned constitutional argument for the unconstitutionality of the decision. A chap/chapess named Petrushka is upset the decision wasn’t appealed given the weak merits of the plaintiffs case:)

SEF said: Back when the Dover trial was going on, I thought Lauri Lebo’s writing/coverage in the York Daily Record wasn’t anywhere near as good as Mike Argento’s. So I wouldn’t expect her book to be the epitome of coverage of the issue either.

Well, but you don’t have to go on expectations at all. You could actually pick it up and read it, then judge it, rather than doing the second step first.

Devil, Monkey Girl, and 40 Days each covered the trial in a somewhat different way. Lauri’s book focuses more on the (impact on the) town and people. 40 days is better if you just want courtroom coverage. And IIRC, Monkey Girl has some really interesting coverage of the junior law staff that the others don’t have. I wouldn’t recommend you read all three unless you’re a glutton for the subject, but there’s absolutely nothing inferior about Lebo’s book. Which I’d recommend depends more on what you want to learn about than any difference in quality.

RBH, look forward to your article.

eric said:

You could actually pick it up and read it

No, I couldn’t. I’m in a UK village. There aren’t going to be any copies of an obscure US book easily available to peruse around here. Sometimes Amazon doesn’t even have particular US books in its UK catalogue, were I willing to make the guess and potentially waste the money anyway - and I’m generally somewhat more selective in my purchases than that.

Anyhow, why should Lauri Lebo’s writing have magically improved, just because it’s in book form? That would be like expecting Mary Midgley to suddenly be some good despite many previous examples to the contrary (and none in her favour at all that I’ve seen!). From your summation, Lauri Lebo’s primary interests also diverge from mine.

If “a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience”, then it looks very much like desperate foolishness on the umpteenth try.

SEF said: No, I couldn’t. I’m in a UK village. There aren’t going to be any copies of an obscure US book easily available to peruse around here. Sometimes Amazon doesn’t even have particular US books in its UK catalogue

Here’s the link to the book’s Amazon/UK entry. Also available in Kindle. Took me about 15 seconds to find it.

But that’s still not for picking up and reading (and hence judging whether it’s worth ordering and buying)! You also still haven’t addressed why anyone should expect an author, who was previously known from numerous examples to be “bad”, to suddenly magically become “good” instead. Your opinion of her being largely irrelevant to my buying choices, since you don’t have positive form on finding good matches.

SEF said: You also still haven’t addressed why anyone should expect an author, who was previously known from numerous examples to be “bad”, to suddenly magically become “good” instead. Your opinion of her being largely irrelevant to my buying choices, since you don’t have positive form on finding good matches.

You’re correct in that, if you’re going to start off by saying a reader’s opinion of a book is irrelevant, my having read the book and compared it to several other books written on the some subject isn’t going to do much to convince you. That’s a form of argument called ‘poisoning the well.’

I was only trying to say that you might try reading a book before rendering an opinion on its quality. But if it’s just my opinion you don’t trust, here’s a PT review of it, and here’s PZ Myers calling it excellent.

I’m correct in all of it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve read several competing books if: (a) you don’t have form for having a reliable opinion; (b) you are up against my own (reliable by definition) opinion of the author-in-question’s output; and (c) I’m not required to buy any of those other books either, so their comparative value isn’t an issue. It would be even more damning for the worth of your opinion (to me), though, if I had already read the other books and appraised them in the opposite order from your valuation. What I was talking about was the quality of her writing - something which I’ve already seen!

Are you now trying to cite PT and PZ as authorities?! You also got the poisoning-the-well fallacy wrong.

Firstly, in matters of taste the only truly relevant opinion is one’s own; with a secondary opinion only having partial merit in the absence of a primary opinion and according to whether the external party has form for having matching taste. If pineapple was disgusting the last N times it’s probably still disgusting the next time.

Secondly, I’m not telling everyone/anyone else not to buy her book. I’m certainly not advising against it on the basis of some unrelated piece of information about her but the most pertinent one of all - her former writing (taste / flavour)! If someone else didn’t like pineapple the last N times, they also probably won’t like pineapple the next time either.

It’s profoundly foolish to expect a change of taste. It’s not impossible but it is against expectation. What evidence do you have that the writing in her book is substantially different in flavour from her previous examples?

(sigh) Whatever. Reminds me of the sports director at an old radio station who turned every conversation into a contest. SMS, maybe.

Anyway, thanks for this, RBH.

DistendedPendulusFrenulum | June 28, 2010 4:53 PM | Reply | Edit That represents quite a bit of work. And all to track the progress of ninnies who are being gulled by would-be power brokers. One wonders what kind of religious freedom we would have if we actually did allow the church to co-opt the state.

Thanks to history, we already know.

SEF replied to comment from eric | June 29, 2010 8:02 AM | Reply | Edit eric said:

You could actually pick it up and read it

No, I couldn’t. I’m in a UK village. There aren’t going to be any copies of an obscure US book easily available to peruse around here. Sometimes Amazon doesn’t even have particular US books in its UK catalogue,

You know Amazon.com will ship to the UK, right? The shipping might be expensive, but you’re not limited to amazon.co.uk.

I have occasionally paid exorbitant shipping costs to get something from abroad which wasn’t available here (although there have also been examples where US companies will not ship to the UK!) but I have to be pretty certain it’s going to be a worthwhile thing rather than something I probably won’t like (or which could easily be in any way wrong and in need of being returned!).

SEF said: (b) you are up against my own (reliable by definition) opinion

With that, I give up…almost; one last comment.

What evidence do you have that the writing in her book is substantially different in flavour from her previous examples?

That’s the third time you’ve essentially claimed that you see no reason to expect the quality of a book to be different from the quality of daily reporting on a court case (by the same person). Really? You can’t think of any reasons? None spring to mind? There’s a couple of really obvious ones, SEF.

I’ve asked you for your evidence that her writing differs. So far you’ve presented none. I find that telling. All you have is insinuations that it might somehow be worth reading despite the existing evidence against her. (There’s also a notable lack of either an admission or a refutation from you that her daily reporting was inferior - which would have been an additional way of judging whether your opinion was worth having.)

PS In case it isn’t obvious: there’s little point in inventing possible explanations / hypotheses for X occurring (in this case for writing sample N suddenly being significantly better than writing samples 1 to N-1) when there isn’t any evidence that X did occur at all. That’s about as useful as imagining detailed ways in which Jesus might have risen from the dead when there’s no credible evidence that he lived, died or rose!

PS2 Were some such evidence to materialise, then we could explore why those same explanations (for bad daily reporting vs ability to write under other situations) didn’t similarly afflict and ruin Mike Argento’s coverage in precisely the same meejah outlet.

SEF said:

PS In case it isn’t obvious: there’s little point in inventing possible explanations / hypotheses for X occurring (in this case for writing sample N suddenly being significantly better than writing samples 1 to N-1) when there isn’t any evidence that X did occur at all.

Ah, the old “pigs with wings” gambit. Or as Lewis Carroll had it: “If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs … if we had some eggs.”

Folks, is this thread sinking into decrepitude already?

RBH:

Folks, is this thread sinking into decrepitude already?

??? Might have something to do with mind altering substances.

FWIW, I get a lot of books from the local library. They have 2 of the 3 Dover books, for example. They also have an interlibrary loan program for free that can obtain virtually all common books.

The trend among UK libraries seems to be to get rid of many books and bookshelves, leave some of the space vacant and put limited access computers in the rest. Various other libraries were disposed of altogether. This started a couple of decades or so ago. My home almost looks more like a library than the local library does.

There is (or was) an interlibrary loan program here too but, last time I tried it around here, it was very limited and unreliable (in actually obtaining books!) and had had a charge imposed (which used not to exist). Some bookshops have gone too. It’s simpler to buy books online (and borrow from fellow bibliophile friends).

I regard these trends as bad things for UK education, along with much of the rest of the stuff recent governments have done to ruin it.

Incidentally, to me “Dover books” doesn’t mean books about a US trial but art books produced by a particular publisher (and more available from museum shops than libraries).

In the unlikely event that any of Freshwater’s hapless class inmates had wanted to acquire a decent education for themselves (ie independently), would it have been readily available for free from nearby libraries?

SEF said:

In the unlikely event that any of Freshwater’s hapless class inmates had wanted to acquire a decent education for themselves (ie independently), would it have been readily available for free from nearby libraries?

Mount Vernon (and Knox County) have a decent library system and anyone who wanted to find out the truth about evolution etc. would have free resources available to them. The problem is that we are talking about 13 and 14 year old kids here. Freshwater has an engaging personality and because he was an authority figure, few kids challenged him when he made his statements about “scientists don’t really know how old the earth is” etc. My kid was a student of his and when this whole “Bible on the desk “ thing evolved (pun intended) into Freshwater’s teaching of anti-science, I remember asking her what kind of things he said about the age of the earth etc. She mentioned that Freshwater said that carbon dating was not very accurate among other things. I then started buying books about carbon dating, creationism and intelligent design etc. in an attempt to undo the damage he did to her concept of what science really is. I am still toying with the idea of suing the hell out of Freshwater.

CMB said:

I am still toying with the idea of suing the hell out of Freshwater.

Dang, if I had had a kid in his class, I would join you in a heartbeat. But since I didn’t, I can’t. But you go, girl–or boy!

[CMB’s kid] mentioned that Freshwater said that carbon dating was not very accurate among other things.

Carbon dating? Relative to the age of the earth? No fission track? No uranium-lead? Well, of course carbon dating won’t give accurate measurements of the age of the earth. It’s only useful back to about 40,000 years. Did Freshwater know that, or was he mindlessly repeating some talking point dreamed up by the Institute for Creation Research? Either way, his picture belongs up in the post office as someone you do *not* want around your children.

hoary puccoon said:

[CMB’s kid] mentioned that Freshwater said that carbon dating was not very accurate among other things.

Carbon dating? Relative to the age of the earth? No fission track? No uranium-lead? Well, of course carbon dating won’t give accurate measurements of the age of the earth. It’s only useful back to about 40,000 years. Did Freshwater know that, or was he mindlessly repeating some talking point dreamed up by the Institute for Creation Research? Either way, his picture belongs up in the post office as someone you do *not* want around your children.

If I recall the conversation correctly (it was a bit over 2 years ago), my daughter said that Freshwater said scientists don’t really know how old the earth is or how old fossils are because the means to test the ages of ancient things are not very accurate. She mentioned specifically (or I asked specifically-can’t say for sure) about carbon dating. I don’t know that Freshwater specifically linked carbon dating to measuring the age of the earth. It seems that he held the whole range of dating methods to be inaccurate. Sorry for the confusion.

CMB– My bad, if I misunderestimated Freshwater. IF I did. I have repeatedly seen creationist literature that cites forty-year-old problems with carbon-14 dating (most long since corrected) as supposed proof that scientists can’t really estimate the age of the earth.

IIRC, the age of the earth–around 4 and a half billion years–was determined in the mid-1950’s by a man named Clair Patterson, using uranium-lead dating. You’d think if there was a problem with that date it would have shown up in the last half century or so.

hoary puccoon said:

CMB– My bad, if I misunderestimated Freshwater. IF I did. I have repeatedly seen creationist literature that cites forty-year-old problems with carbon-14 dating (most long since corrected) as supposed proof that scientists can’t really estimate the age of the earth.

IIRC, the age of the earth–around 4 and a half billion years–was determined in the mid-1950’s by a man named Clair Patterson, using uranium-lead dating. You’d think if there was a problem with that date it would have shown up in the last half century or so.

H.P. : I don’t recall exactly what my daughter said specifically about Freshwater’s take on carbon dating but to say that NONE of the methods that science uses to date things are accurate is quite striking. Especially from someone who is supposed to teach science. Freshwater may not have been speaking directly to carbon dating (or maybe he was) but in any event, he does seem to be in lock step with the creationist/intelligent design movement, even if he denies ever teaching it. I doubt if you underestimated him.

When calling a measurement inaccurate, it would help if the accuser would say whether he’s talking about order of magnitude, the first significant digit, or the second. When talking about the age of the Earth, the second (or later) significant digit is, well, insignificant.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on June 27, 2010 10:26 PM.

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