Freshwater: The Board’s rebuttal case

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The Board’s rebuttal is an opportunity for its attorney to call witnesses to address claims made in the defense’s presentation of its case. David Millstone, the Board’s attorney, called eight witnesses for the rebuttal, four expert witnesses, three lay witnesses, and Superintendent Short. The expert witnesses addressed various claims the defense made regarding both technical matters (e.g., the match of handwriting on documents, the authenticity of emails, the meaning of “bias” in the academic content standards, and the ancestry of “critical analysis of evolution” in intelligent design creationism) while the lay witnesses addressed various fact claims (e.g., whether Freshwater himself contacted FCA speakers, and the display of religious items in Freshwater’s classroom). Superintendent Short will testify on the next (and last!) date, June 22.

More below the fold

Brad Ritchey Direct Examination

The first rebuttal witness called was Brad Ritchey, who was assistant principal at the middle school in 2007-2008. Ritchey took pictures of Freshwater’s classroom that were entered as exhibits in the hearing and was a participant in (some of?) the meetings Principal White had with Freshwater in the aftermath of the complaint the Dennis family made to Superintendent Short in December 2007.

Ritchey testified that he was in a meeting with Freshwater and White in which Freshwater was asked if he participated in prayer in a Fellowship of Christian Atheletes meeting. He said Freshwater said that he had; that he may have raised his arms, and he demonstrated that action to White and Ritchey. Ritchey raised his own arms demonstrating Freshwater’s behavior, and they were pretty high above his shoulders. Recall that Freshwater has previously claimed that at the time of the prayer incident he was being treated for shoulder problems and couldn’t raise his arms. Asked, Ritchey said Freshwater displayed no apparent pain in his demonstration. Ritchey testified that Freshwater did not tell them he said only “Amen” and did not tell them that he joined the prayer only to close it because the meeting was running late.

Ritchey testified that in the meeting with Freshwater about the Tesla coil incident Principal White did not instruct Freshwater to destroy the Tesla coil.

Millstone asked if bulletin boards in classrooms are for the display of student club materials. Ritchey replied “Not typically.” Recall that there was a “Cross Club” poster on Freshwater’s bulletin board.

Turning to the pictures Ritchey took, he identified pictures of the Bush/Powell poster that has a Bibe verse on it, the 10 Commandements poster, the Bible on Freshwater’s desk, and the “motivational” posters on cabinet doors containing Bible verses. Ritchey testified that he did not recall seeing any of the latter with non-Biblical sayings on them. Asked if they all had Bible verses on them, Ritchey said “Several of them did.”

Ritchey Cross Examination

In cross, R. Kelly Hamilton, Freshwater’s attorney, asked Ritchey if he took notes on the meetings with Freshwater. He didn’t recall doing so. Hamilton asked if Ritchey had given notes to White or Short. He said that if he had taken notes he would have.

Turning to the FCA business, Hamilton asked if Ritchey had spoken with Pastor Zirkle or any of the teachers or students at that FCA meeting. He had not. Asked, Ritchey testified that he had not spoken with Zach Dennis.

Hamilton asked if White had taken notes in the meeting with Freshwater about the FCA incident. Ritchey didn’t know.

After the meeting with Freshwater, Ritchey testified, he attended one or two FCA meetings and saw nothing amiss.

Hamilton asked if there was a Korean club at the middle school. He replied that there had been, that it was led by a Korean teacher temporarily in the Mt. Vernon district on some sort of teacher exchange program. He testified that announcements of Korean club doings were made in the school. He didn’t know whether Korean club posters were displayed in the school.

Turning to the pictures, Ritchey testified that he was alone when he took the pictures. Hamilton pressed Ritchey on why he didn’t remove the religious items when he saw them if he thought they were inappropriate. Ritchey said he thought there was some school policy on removing teachers’ personal items. Hamilton asked if it was unlawful to have religious items in the classroom. Ritchey said he guessed so with regard to federal law.

Hamilton asked how many pictures Ritchey took. He responded seven or eight. Hamilton asked if there were areas of Freshwater’s classroom that Ritchey did not photograph, and there were. Asked, Ritchey testified that the pictures were deleted from the camera by his wife (it was his personal digital camera) but that they should be available on the school’s email system.

Hamilton asked if Ritchey could have done a better job of photographing the classroom. He replied “I could have taken more pictures, but I wasn’t asked to document everything in the classroom.”

Hamilton asked whether in the meeting with Freshwater they had discussed how Freshwater used the Tesla coil. Ritchey said they did. Asked, he said he couldn’t remember specifics.

Hamilton turned to a January 22, 2008, letter to Freshwater from Ritchey and White that followed up on their meeting, He asked Ritchey if they had the authority to write the letter, and Ritchey said they did. Hamilton asked if the letter “finalized” the Tesla coil issue for Freshwater. Ritchey replied that “direction” was established with that letter.

Ritchie Redirect

Millstone asked if Ritchey saw any “motivational” posters in Freshwater’s classroom that did not have Bible verses on them. Ritchey replied that he did not.

Ritchie Recross

Hamilton showed Ritchey a poster similar to those in the classroom with a saying from Confucius and Ritchey agreed it could have been in the classroom. (Note: The layout of the Confucius poster Hamilton has used as an example several times in the hearing is slightly different in detail from those shown in Ritchey’s photographs, though attention has not been drawn to that in the hearing.)

Harold F. Rodin Direct Examination

Rodin is a certified Questioned Documents Examiner from Xenia, Ohio. He has been in that profession for over 30 years. (Side note of no particular relevance: Rodin’s B.S. is from Cedarville College, a fundamentalist Christian college from which Freshwater’s son also recently earned his degree.)

Millstone had asked Rodin to compare two documents, the “Tall Buildings” article with handwritten notes referring to the Tower of Babel that was found in Freshwater’s classroom, which he denied writing, and a textbook from Freshwater’s room that Freshwater had previously identified as containing his own handwritten notes. (I was disappointed that Millstone didn’t also ask for comparison with Freshwater’s lesson plan that I used in my DIY analysis post linked just above.)

The purpose of the analysis Rodin performed was to compare the notes on the article with those in the textbook to ascertain whether the latter, a known sample, were written by the same person as the notes on the article, the unknown sample. Using a large poster, Rodin identified a number of close matches between the letter forms on the two, including the form of “T”, “D”, “G”, “R”, and “K”. Notice that except for the “G”, those are the same matches I identified with the lesson plan in the DIY post linked above. I also identified the form of the “P” as a close match.

Recall that Freshwater denied writing the notes on the “Tall Buildings” article. From an earlier post:

Millstone asked Freshwater if that was his handwriting on this exhibit. Freshwater invoked the ‘forgery’ possibility, said it was not his handwriting and he did not recognize the notes. While he was answering, R. Kelly Hamilton, his attorney, silently mouthed “forgery” to Millstone, and showed the exhibit to Freshwater’s wife, who laughed derisively.

We then had some histrionics from Hamilton about forgery that I didn’t get notes on. Hamilton asked for a recess so he could “… caution my client to be … um … cautious” about documents. The request was denied.

Rodin concluded that based on his professional expertise, it was his opinion that the handwriting on the two documents, the textbook and the article, were by the same person.

Rodin Cross Examination

Hamilton asked if Rodin was working from originals of the documents. He was working from copies. Hamilton asked if it was better to work from originals. Rodin replied that modern copier technology enables working from copies that are faithful representations of originals (my phrasing).

Hamilton asked if movement of an original on a copy machine could cause distortion of materials, and Rodin said “It can.”

Hamilton asked if the handwriting on the top of the “Tall Buildings” article could have been distorted by copying, and Rodin replied that was a hypothetical question. He said “I don’t see any distortion in this.”

Note that judging from my scan, the text of the headline on that article, just below the handwritten notes, is not at all distorted and the typed text on the lesson plan is similarly undistorted. It follows that there was no distortion of the handwriting caused by copier issues.

This sequence of questions nicely illustrates the frailty of the straws at which Hamilton grasps.

John Liptak Direct Examination

Liptak is a computer forensic analyst with Jurrinov, a company in Cleveland that specializes in electronic data discovery and litigation support.

He testified that Millstone had asked him to assess emails whose authenticity was in question. Recall that Hamilton has intimated that several emails to Freshwater on various aspects of the case may have been tampered with.

Liptak testified that he came to the school and obtained a copy of the school’s email backup file. That file contained all the school’s emails prior to the time the backup was created. He took that file back to Cleveland for analysis. He examined all mailboxes, and extracted those for Freshwater, Principal White, and librarian Charlotte Baker. Asked about four specific emails that have been introduced into evidence, he affirmed the authenticity of all four.

Then Millstone asked what would happen to a laptop if it was submerged. Recall that Hamilton avoided producing billing information for the federal court, pleading that his laptop had been damaged by water and he therefore threw it away. Liptak answered that the electronics would undoubtedly be damaged. Asked if data on the hard drive would be eliminated, Liptak replied, “Not necessarily. There are methods to recover information from such drives.”

There was an amusing bit of non-verbal behavior during this last questioning. As Millstone asked Liptak about water damage to laptops, Hamilton swiveled his chair more than 90 degrees to the left, facing away from the witness and staring at the wall behind the referee. He put his forearm on the table and looked straight at the front of the room, his posture rigid and unmoving. It was a hoot for those who saw it.

Liptak Cross Examination [Editorial note: For some reason I did not clearly demarcate the end of Direct and the beginning of Cross in my notes for this witness. I believe from the content of the questions that it was here, but I’m not sure.]

Asked, Liptak testified that the backup he analyzed was for data prior to November 11, 2009. He did not know how far back in time it went; he was not asked to ascertain that.

Referring to the emails, Liptak agreed that he couldn’t tell from the electronic files who operated the computer when they were produced. He said, “I do not know the person who is sitting at the keyboard.”

Asked if they had been read, he didn’t recall if the “read” flags were set.

With reference to the Bible verse sig at the bottom of Charlotte Baker’s email, Liptak testified that he couldn’t tell if it was automatically applied to every email from her or was specifically typed on the email to Freshwater.

He repeated that he saw no evidence of tampering with any of the emails he analyzed.

Marcia Orsborn Direct Examination

Orsborn is a 6th grade math teacher in the middle school. She testified that over time she noticed that in Fellowship of Christian Athletes announcements there were never any Roman Catholic clergy mentioned as speakers. She confronted Freshwater about it in the school, asking him why he never had a Catholic priest in FCA. She said he replied that he would have to check his Bible because he wasn’t sure Catholics were Christians. She said she made a “loser” sign at him (the fingerspelling form for “L” moved briskly out from one’s forehead).

Thereafter, she said, she heckled Freshwater good-naturedly about getting a Catholic clergyman for FCA, and he finally told her that she could contact a priest and get potential dates. She testified that she contacted the office of Father Mark Hammond at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic church in Mt. Vernon. She spoke with a secretary and left a message for Hammond. She did not speak with Hammond himself.

Millstone asked if Orsborn got a sense about who was making decisions concerning FCA speakers. She replied that she assumed it was Freshwater but didn’t know.

Millstone asked if Orsborn had attended FCA meetings. She had done so once, when Dennis Bates (of “Anabolic Outlaw” fame) spoke. She also testified she had Zachary Dennis in class.

Orsborn Cross Examination

Hamilton asked if she goes to Hammond’s church. She replied she did occasionally. Asked, she said she saw the Dennis family there occasionally.

Hamilton referred to Hammond’s deposition for the federal suit dated February 17, 2009, in which he said that he talked about the Catholic faith at FCA, that Catholics believe many of the same things that other Christians believe. Hamilton asked Orsborn what differences there are between Catholic beliefs and those of other Christians. She didn’t know.

Hamilton referred to Board Exhibit 21, an FCA speaker request from which says that Ben Neilson and Jordan Freshwater contacted Hammond. She testified she doesn’t know what happened after she contacted Hammond’s office.

Hamilton asked if Orsborn knows about Care Net, (Care Net is a Christian pregnancy services organization of which Freshwater’s wife is director. It is listed as a “ministry” of Freshwater’s church). Orsbon responded that she knows about it. Asked, she was not aware of a Care Net dinner at which Freshwater and Hammond spoke.

She testified that she got calls from two parents about there not having been Catholic speakers at FCA. One complained that it was because Freshwater didn’t like Catholics; that complaint, she said, was from Dr. Allan Bazzoli, a local physician. (Bazzoli had an incendiary letter to the editor criticizing Freshwater in a recent Mt. Vernon News.) She testified that Bazzoli did not encourage her to contact Freshwater.

Hamilton asked if her heckling of Freshwater about it was good natured, and she agreed. He asked if she had the sense that Freshwater was teasing about his having to consult the Bible about whether Catholics are Christians, and she said “No.” (Note: The syntax of the question was such that it is not clear to me that Orsborn answered “No” thinking Hamilton asked whether Freshwater was kidding or was not kidding.)

Hamilton asked if Orsborn just assumed that Freshwater was the decision maker for FCA, and she agreed.

Hamilton asked if Orsborn was aware that one of Freshwater’s daughters dated a Catholic boy for a time, and even attended Catholic services with him. She was not. (Irrelevant autobiographical note: In the small midwestern town where I lived during my high school years there was no cross-dating that I recall: Us good Protestant boys didn’t date Catholic girls, much as we would have liked to. We could, however, date Missouri Synod Lutheran girls. Those were the only two “foreign” churches in town from my church’s perspective.)

Hamilton asked if she was aware that Freshwater for a time provided transportation to church for an elderly Catholic man. She was not.

Asked, Orsborn testified that she has not really talked with the Dennis family about their allegations against Freshwater. She testified that she said to Zach in school, “How are you doing? Hang in there.”

Hamilton asked whether Bazzoli’s recent letter to the editor showed he didn’t like Freshwater. She replied that she doesn’t know if Bazzoli dislikes Freshwater, but that he has opinions regarding the allegations against Freshwater.

She testified that Freshwater didn’t talk to her about his church background.

She said that after she made the “loser” sign to Freshwater she didn’t talk to him again about his expressed need to check the Bible about Catholics.

Patricia Princehouse Direct Examination

See here for Princehouse’s qualifications and prior testimony in this hearing. Disclosure: I’ve known Patricia for seven years and worked closely with her during the Ohio State Board of Education wars as a member of Ohio Citizens for Science. I am also good friends with her companion dog, a beautiful Pyrenean shepherd (jpg) named Shimmer. Shimmer is a sweetie.

Princehouse was called in rebuttal to address several points that arose during the hearing subsequent to her earlier testimony. Hamilton objected to her testifying, citing some case law regarding recalling a prior expert witness in rebuttal to testify on the same or similar matters that the expert had previously testified on in the same proceeding. The referee permitted her to testify but took the objection under advisement pending Hamilton providing the citations to case law.

Millstone provided Princehouse with Freshwater’s lesson plan containing the terms “irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity.” (Recall that Freshwater claimed he didn’t recall what they meant when questioned about the lesson plan.) Princehouse testified that those two terms come from the intelligent design creationism literature and are terms of art in that area. They do not occur as terms in the scientific literature, and are core concepts pushed by the Discovery Institute, the main proponent of intelligent design creationism.

With respect to “irreducible complexity,” Princehouse pointed out that Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, had complained that “irreducible complexity” was identical to his “organized complexity,” and that intelligent design “theorists” have adopted young earth creationist concepts without crediting the sources in YEC writings. She testified that intelligent design is merely traditional creationism relabeled.

She testified that the use of “irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity” are inappropriate in 8th grade science class, and that their only function is to distract students from real science.

Millstone referred Princehouse to Freshwater’s 2003 proposal to alter the school’s science curriculum to include “critical analysis of evolution.” Millstone noted that Freshwater claimed that it was “not intended to teach religion, intelligent design, or creationism.” Princehouse replied that the policy, whose source is the Intelligent Design Network, is intended to substitute a religious understanding for scientific understanding. She noted that the so-called “Santorum amendment” that Freshwater had offered in support of his proposal had been explicitly excluded from the No Child Left Behind Act.

Millstone asked Princehouse what science is. She replied that the demarcation was somewhat fuzzy, but that science since at least the time of Newton has some essential characteristics, including

- employs methodological materialism/naturalism
- prefers reductionism in the sense of Occam’s Razor/parsimony
- addresses ‘how’ rather than ‘why’
- is testable
- is correctable
- is extendable–one theory interlaces with other theories

She testified that Freshwater’s ‘objective origins’ proposal to teach ‘origins science’ “objectively and without religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption” was to abandon science: abandoning methodological naturalism as a rule of thumb in science is tantamount to abandoning science: “Methodological naturalism is the ‘scientific method.’”

Millstone noted that Freshwater has testified that he wanted to export the 10th grade state standard to “critically analyze evolution” down to the 8th grade. Princehouse walked through the history of development of that standard, starting with State BOE member Deborah Owens Fink’s 2000 proposal to adopt a “two models” (evolution and intelligent design) approach in the state standards.

Millstone asked Princehouse whether based on her review of materials and her professional expertise she had an opinion on the 2003 proposal, whether it was in fact “not designed to teach intelligent design or creationism,” as Freshwater has claimed. She said, “It is implausible to suggest the proposer did not know it was to teach intelligent design creationism. … This is certainly a proposal to teach intelligent design creationism.”

Millstone asked if creationists think to teach only evolution in schools is “biased.” She replied that it was common for creationists to claim that “both sides should be taught, and to teach just one side is biased.”

That ended Princehouse’s direct examination. We then broke away from her to hear Father Mark Hammond testify. I’ll summarize his testimony at the end of this post in order not to break up Princehouse’s and Steve Rissing’s testimony.

Princehouse Cross Examination

Hamilton first reiterated his objection to Princehouse testifying, and the referee again permitted her to do so.

Hamilton then pointed out, gratuitously poisoning the well, that Princehouse has received a Playboy Foundation Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment award. Hamilton did not bother to read the citation:

Patricia Princehouse, Ph.D. (Education): The leader of Ohio Citizens for Science who, seeing a profound and rising challenge to the separation of church and state in American schools, organized a successful coalition to preserve science education in Ohio’s public schools.

Her acceptance speech is here. Apropos of the current proceedings, I particularly like this part:

If we allow certain special-interest religious groups to co-opt the public school science classroom, to use it as a vehicle for converting children to religious views their parents don’t hold, if we allow them to spout outright lies about the nature and content of science, what do we really have left? If you can lie about science and get away with it, you can lie about anything.

Hamilton asked what her real reason was to testify at the hearing. She replied it was to rebut some documents and testimony that occurred after her original testimony.

He asked if irreducible complexity and specified complexity were terms used in intelligent design or creationism, and she replied that they are.

Princehouse agreed that the lesson plan in which those terms appear contained a column with letters and numbers identifying specified benchmarks and indicators from the academic content standards.

Hamilton noted that Princehouse used a lot of powerpoint slides in her testimony. She said that when she uses specific quotations in her testimony she likes to have a slide so we have the exact words.

Hamilton asked if Princehouse has more experience in this area than an 8th grade teacher, and she agreed that she does. Hamilton asked if with respect to the stuff she talked about, Freshwater would “have an understanding of that stuff.” She replied that anyone who made the proposal would have some understanding of it.

Hamilton asked if context would be important in understanding Freshwater’s proposal. She replied yes. He asked if she had talked with anyone about how the lesson plan was instructed, and she replied no.

Hamilton asked if Princehouse had reviewed other documents, in particular the letter from Adkins and Cunningham to Superintendent Maley concerning Freshwater’s handouts. She had not. Hamilton asked if Adkins and Cunningham had reviewed Freshwater’s lesson plan would they have noticed the mention of “IC” and “SC.” She replied they might. Hamilton asked if they did not mention them would that indicate that they didn’t see a problem with them. She responded that it might or might not be familiar to them.

Hamilton asked if a principal reviewed the lesson plan should he see that IC and SC were problematic. She replied thatitf depends on the political context–whether intelligent design was salient locally.

Hamilton asked if there was any evidence that Freshwater used any of the information in Princehouse’s slides in his class. She pointed to the terms “IC” and “SC.”

Hamilton asked if IC and SC could be used to talk about scientific ways of knowing as it relates to bias. She replied no, not by her understanding of the standards. (Recall that Princehouse was heavily involved in the Ohio State Board of Education conflict over biological science standards in 2002-2006.) Hamilton asked if a teacher could use IC and SC as an example of erroneous scientific method. She replied, “No, I really don’t think so.”

Hamilton asked when the Dover decision came out. December 20, 2005. Noting that the lesson plan was dated four months later, he asked if a student could have read a newspaper account if it and asked a question in class so Freshwater added it to a lesson plan to address that question. Princehouse replied that it could happen, but that introducing it in lesson plan is unlikely. Hamilton asked if it could be in the lesson plan because a student brought it up earlier. She replied that it would be an irresponsible use of classroom time.

Hamilton asked if tests are the best measurement of what’s learned in classes. She replied, “No, not at all.” Hamilton asked if she is aware that Ohio uses the Ohio Graduation Test and the Ohio Achievement Test (now Ohio Achievement Assessment). She is. (Hamilton was here trying to get in yet another reference to the scores of Freshwater’s classes relative to other science classes. His frustration at her answer to the “best measurement” question was clear.)

Hamilton asked if science teachers are allowed to talk about current events. Princehouse replied that they are under contract to teach specified material and that there is some leeway, but that it should be germane to the content that needs to be taught.

Hamilton asked if the Dover case is most important case to what she talked about in her testimony. She replied it’s the most important recent case. He asked if it has been talked about in academic circles. She replied that some of her colleagues know about it, some don’t.

Hamilton asked if a teacher could use IC and SC plus a ‘short cycle evaluation’ (what I understand to essentially mean “quiz”) to teach scientific ways of knowing. I did not catch her answer–Patricia sometime speaks fast and soft and it’s hard to hear her.

Hamilton referred to the science curriculum committee’s list of reasons to reject Freshwater’s 2003 proposal and asked how the proposal could both be against the law (one reason) and already dealt with by the school’s controversial issues policy. She replied that science teachers arent’ always aware of legal issues.

Citing Sherri Perry’s email and testimony supporting Freshwater’s proposal, Hamilton asked if people in the community could have a different opinion of the proposal than Princehouse. She replied yes.

Hamilton returned to what science is. Princehouse walked through her charactistics again. Hamilton asked if “debate” goes on. Princehouse replied that there’s a distinction between “debate” and “discussion,” and in science it’s discussion with peers and colleagues. There was a confusing sequence of questions associated with “debate” in science vs. in an 8th grade classroom.

Hamilton asked how the issue of human origins is “testable, correctable, and extendable.” Princehouse replied that it was but it would take a day or two of lecture to answer that. All were relieved when Hamilton didn’t pursue that line of questioning.

Hamilton asked if Princehouse knew whether Freshwater used Bryan Leonard’s model lesson plan in class. (Leonard wrote the creationist model lesson plan to exemplify the “critical analysis of evolution” benchmark in the state standards. Original and version adopted, both pdfs.) I didn’t hear her answer.

Hamilton asked if possession of intelligent design books indicates support for it. She replied it does not. Does she have some? Yes. Why? “I’ve taken an interest in creationist attacks on evolution.” Could Freshwater have done that? Yes. Could reading those books help sharpen one’s understanding of what’s good science? Possibly. Did some Ohio scientists support the State Board of Education’s adoption of ‘critical analysis’? Yes.

That ended Princehouse’s testimony–there was no redirect.

Steve Rissing Direct Examination

Rissing is Professor of Biology in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University in Columbus. He was recruited from Arizona State University in 1999 to run OSU’s introductory biology program. His research is on the evolution of altruism in social insects. Disclosure: I’ve know Steve for seven years and worked closely with him during the Ohio State Board of Education wars as a member of Ohio Citizens for Science. He does not have a beautiful companion dog accompanying him (a remark for which I’ll pay sooner or later).

Rissing was heavily involved in the development process that produced the academic content standards. He was a member of the advisor committee that established goals and guidelines for the actual writing of the standards. The standards themselves were written mainly by committees composed of practitioners–teachers in the field.

Millstone had Rissing outline the structure and process of developing the standards and then focused on the “bias” standard that Freshwater has frequently invoked as justification for a variety of things–the suspect giraffe and woodpecker handouts, the use of “IC” and “SC”, the extra credit assignment to see “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”, and so on. Rissing emphasized that “bias” in the context of the science standards was a methodological concept, that it refers to ways of avoiding the effects of preconceptions on research. The 7th grade benchmark for “bias” explicitly mentions those ways, and the standards are cumulative–“bias” in the 8th grade standards is not independent of the operational definition in the 7th grade standards. (That wasn’t as succinct in Rissing’s testimony as I’ve written it here, but this summarizes his testimony across a number of questions and answers.)

With reference to Freshwater’s interpretation in the several instances, Rissing repeatedly said “That’s not what we [the advisory committee] intended.” Asked directly if the giraffe and woodpecker handouts were appropriate to use under the ‘bias” benchmark, Rissing replied, “No, not at all.”

Asked about the source of the handouts, Rissing said that they are found only on a “Manual of God’s Creation” web site, and that site referenced a 1982 creationist pamphlet. (I’ve emailed Steve asking for the URL for that site and will add it in a comment when I get it.)

Shown a quiz Freshwater used in conjunction with the handouts, Rissing testified that it didn’t in any sense test “bias.” The quiz is also bad pedagogy in Rissing’s view, testing only for memorization of terms. Later in his testimony Rissing said that if Freshwater was actually using the handouts to teach bias he would have tested for that in the quiz, and he didn’t.

Millstone asked if referring students to Answers in Genesis was somehow teaching about “bias” in science. Rissing replied that sending someone to AIG and invoking “bias” as a justification is wrong on many levels. It “puts a teacher in a position where he is misrepresenting the science.” Rissing pointed out that the State Department of Education makes exercises illustrating the benchmarks available to teachers, and “this is not one of them.”

Rissing said that it’s unacceptable to use AIG and similar material and then say, “See, I’m showing you bias. It’s unthinkable to do this to 8th graders.”

Shown the lesson plan containing references to IC and SC, Rissing testified that it isnot supportive of the bias indicator, and that “It’s not biology. It’s been shown repeatedly to be not biology.”

Asked if sending students to see “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” os justified by reference to the bias indicator, Rissing replied “That would make no sense to me.”

Millstone referred to testimony that Freshwater had a creationism/evolution debate in his class, and asked Rissing about the use of debates as pedagogical tools. Rissing replied that it is not a tool he uses (recall that he teaches a university intro course for non-majors), and that he knows of no teachers who do. He said it is a bad representation of what science is about. Science is discussion, not “debate.” “I’ve never done science that way, and I certainly never taught science that way.”

Rissing Cross Examination

Hamilton noted that in his direct testimony Rissing several times used the phrase “sensitive to” these issues. Was that because of his association with Ohio Citizens for Science. No.

Hamilton asked how Rissing knows me (RBH). Rissing said that we worked together on the state standards in 2002-3. Hamilton asked if Rissing is familiar with my posts on Panda’s Thumb. Rissing said he is aware of them, but that he has avoided reading them as long as there was the prospect of his testifying in this hearing (again, my gloss of a less clear answer).

Hamilton asked if Rissing was aware that Princehouse got the Playboy First Amendment award. Yes. Did he nominate Princehouse for it? No. Hamilton asked if Rissing protested against the opening of the AIG creationist museum. No. He asked if Rissing talked with Princehouse about their Freshwater testimony. Yes, three or four times.

Hamilton asked if he knew who Bryan Leonard is. Yes. Did Rissing evaluate Leonard’s dissertation? No.

Hamilton asked if Rissing tried to get some of the standards changed. Yes. Did he write an alternative lesson plan? Yes. Was it rejected? Rissing replied that he never heard, that the SBOE had asked him to prepare an alternative lesson plan and he did. He was informed that there was a “rolling” consideration of things like that, and he never heard what happened. (That lesson plan is here. Compare it with the creationist lesson plan written by Leonard, linked above.)

Hamilton asked what “bias” means. Rissing replied that in science it refers to the effects of prior preconceptions on observations. He gave an example from his own research on social insects involving the preconception that ant colonies have a single queen, when he found that the species he studied typically had multiple queens in a colony. Rissing pointed out that materials to help teachers teach the academic content standards were available on the DOE’s resource web site.

Hamilton moved to Rissing’s experience with 8th graders. Asked how much time he’d spent in an 8th grade classroom, he replied approximately 20 hours. Asked how much training he had given to certificated teachers, we wandered into a morass of Q&A on intro bio, workshops, seminars, etc., where it wasn’t clear how many attendees were certificated teachers. Hamilton asked if Freshwater took a class from Rissing. “Not that I am aware of.”

There were some questions on Rissing’s published research on pedagogical techniques on which my notes are too confusing to interpret. Basically, Rissing has recently published a bit on it.

Hamilton asked how teachers are supposed to answer questions from students. “As best they can using their background and experience.

Hamilton asked why Rissing and Princehouse got a Friend of Darwin award from the National Center for Science Education. Rissing replied it was an acknowledgement of their efforts to keep science in Ohio classrooms.

Hamilton returned to a slide Rissing had shown in his direct testimony which was a table showing pre-scientific conceptions of the causes of various diseases (miasma, demons, God’s wrath, etc.) and modern conceptions (viruses and bacteria). Hamilton asked why Rissing showed non-scientific concepts in a science class. Rissing answered that it was actually developed by his biology 102 students. Hamilton asked why he would have a table with “God” and “demons” on it in a science class. Rissing responded that they were proper in a discussion of the history of conceptions of the causes of disease, along with discussion of the impact of technology (e.g., microscopes) on science.

Returning to the giraffe and woodpecker handouts, Hamilton asked whether it was appropriate to use that material in handouts if a student brought it in to Freshwater. No. Could an 8th grade science teacher “compare and contrast” information a student gave to him? Yes. Could he emphasize the difference between science and non-science? Yes.

(Hamilton is still working hard to make the case that Freshwater used creationist materials only to show that it’s bad science. As I noted some time ago, sooner or later his constituency will catch on and either abandon him or rationalize it as a necessary lie. My bet is on the latter.)

Hamilton asked about the best way to measure if students acquired the content of a class. Rissing replied that teachers are responsible for formative and summative assessments. Asked if examinations like the Ohio Achievement Test are good ways, Rissing replied that he was not familiar enough with the test to say.

Hamilton asked if Rissing’s understanding of “bias” is affected by the understanding of it in field research. I did not hear Rissing’s answer.

Hamilton asked if there is a significant difference between 8th graders and college students. Yes, Rissing replied, the latter are older. Asked if there is a difference their concrete and abstract thinking, Rissing replied that’s implicit in saying the latter are older.

Back to the giraffe and woodpecker handout source: Was the pamphlet Rissing identified found in Freshwater’s classroom? Doesn’t know. Do the handouts look like they were created by a public school teacher? No.

Has Rissing come across students who are biased against science? Yes. In 8th grade or college? Both. How does one overcome it? Again, I didn’t get Rissing’s answer in my notes. As I recall, it was a general ‘do your best to teach the science’ answer.

Hamilton asked how many hours Rissing had put into his duties regarding the academic content standards. He estimated 120 or so directly, with many more hours associated with his efforts to align the standards and introductory college-level biology courses. (Steve has a grand vision of an integrated K-12 and college science curriculum, with the elements at each level integrated with prior levels, and he’s been working for years to create it.)

Hamilton asked if Rissing knows that there were a number of special needs students in Freshwater’s classroom. No. Does Rissing agree that special needs students require a different style of teaching? Rissing replied that speaking as a professor, a reader of the pedagogical literature, and the parent of a special needs child, No.

Rissing agreed that it was OK to use current events in an 8th grade classroom. Hamilton asked of the Dover trial was a “hot button” topic. Rissing replied it was at the Department of Education and the State Board of Education.

Hamilton asked if a teacher correctly instructed the academic content standards would Rissing expect students to score above average on the OAT. Rissing replied not necessarily. Would he expect them to score “proficient.” Rissing replied that’s the cutoff imposed b the Department of Education.

Hamilton asked about the notion of the “learning cycle.” Rissing answered in terms of “guided discovery” as a teaching approach.

Finally, Hamilton returned to context, asking whether by looking at the documents, if they provide context about how they were used. Rissing replied no.

Rissing Redirect

Millstone asked if a student prepared the woodpecker and giraffe handouts and gave them to Freshwater, would that affect Rissing’s opinion regarding the appropriateness of Freshwater using them in class. Rissing replied it would not, that it would be inappropriate on several grounds, including the lack of consistency with the “bias” benchmark. It’s inappropriate to take such materials from a student, distribute them to the class, and announce “Now I’m going to tell you about bias.” FERPA–the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act–got into the answer somehow, too, but I’m damned if I can figure out how from my notes.

Millstone asked if one has to know “context” in order to tell whether referring a student to AIG was appropriate with respect to the bias benchmark. Not in a public school, Rissing replied. Essentially no reference to AIG is appropriate in a grade 8 science class.

Rissing Recross

Hamilton asked if it was appropriate for a public school teacher to allow a student to go to the AIG site if the student asked to. Rissing replied that he had trouble understanding how that could be appropriate.

Hamilton asked of “bias” is based one’s prior experience and viewpoint. Rissing agreed it is. Hamilton asked if one’s bias affects the kinds of questions one asks, and Rissing agreed that it does.

Referring to Rissing’s repeated “That’s not what we intended” with respect to bias, Hamilton asked where in the standards it said what was intended. Rissing said the standards are cumulative, so … he was interrupted: Does Rissing agree that there are no words in the academic standards that state this. He agreed there were not. Does “bias” appear in the glossary associated with the standards? No.

Rissing Re-redirect

Responding to Millstone’s question, Rissing said that the benchmarks and indicators are cumulative, interlocked, and interacting. (That gets the 7th grade benchmark on bias back into play.)

That ended Rissing’s testimony. I now return to Father Mark Hammond, priest of the local Catholic church, who testified in the middle of Patricia Princehouse’s testimony.

Hammond Direct Examination

Hammond testified that he spoke at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the spring of 2008, probably in April. Asked if he recalled who invited him to speak, he replied “Mr. Freshwater.” He said he had talked with Freshwater twice, once by phone once at a Care Net dinner. He said Freshwater invited him to speak one one or the other of those occasions. Whichever it was, he agreed to speak at FCA.

Millstone asked if Hammond was ever contacted by Jordan Freshwater. No. By Ben Neilson? No. By any student? No.

Millstone asked if he knew Freshwater before Freshwater called him. No. He has not spoken at FCA since April 2008.

Hammond Cross

Hamilton asked if Hammond knows Don Matolyak (Freshwater’s pastor). No. Was it possible that Matolyak introduced Hammond to Freshwater at the Care Net dinner? It’s possible.

Hamilton asked if Hammond kept written notes on his contacts with Freshwater. No. On when he spoke with Freshwater at the Care Net dinner? No. On the phone call? No.

Hamilton asked if it’s possible that a student spoke to him about speaking at FCA. No. Did Hammond speak with Marcia Orsborn about FCA? No.

Hamilton noted that Orsborn testified that she called the church and spoke to a lady. Hammond replied it had to have been one of two ladies who answer the phone. Asked if it was possible that a student called and talked to one of the ladies, Hammond replied it was possible but “I doubt it happened.”

Hamilton asked if Freshwater referred to his conversation with Marcia Orsborn. Not that he recalls.

Hamilton asked if the two office ladies at the church have access to Hammond’s calendar. No.

Hamilton then went through some statements Hammond made in a deposition on February 17, 2009, Hammond said that he basically talked about the Catholic faith and some its differences and similarities with other Christian denominations–e.g. the crucifix rather than an empty cross–in his appearance at FCA. He said he emphasized similarities–belief in the Resurrection, for example.

In the deposition he said he didn’t recall that students contacted him. He didn’t recall specifically how Freshwater introduced himself to Hammond. He said Freshwater did not tell him what to talk about at FCA. He said that Freshwater was present at the first of the three FCA sessions he spoke at that day. (Recall that the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade FCA groups met separately at different times during the lunch period.) He did not recall whether Freshwater prayed at that meeting.

Hammond Redirect

Millstone asked if someone wanted to make an appointment with Hammond, would that person have to talk directly to Hammond. Yes.

That ended Hammond’s testimony. There is one rebuttal witness yet to hear, Superintendent Steve Short, who will testify on June 22 on what we all fervently hope will be the last day of the hearing. If it is, then by my count we will fall short of the Dover trial’s 40 day length by one day, though I don’t guarantee my count.

60 Comments

Hamilton is still working hard to make the case that Freshwater used creationist materials only to show that it’s bad science. As I noted some time ago, sooner or later his constituency will catch on and either abandon him or rationalize it as a necessary lie. My bet is on the latter.

That cynicism continues to amaze me. It almost seems to rule out the possibility of either Freshwater or Hamilton actually believing the creationist material. It’s inconceivable that any “literal” (or indeed reasonable) reading of the Bible could ever come to the conclusion that it is acceptable to deny one’s beliefs when convenient.

The implication is that, consciously or unconsciously, the motivation for denying mainstream science, misusing classroom time, and creating a divisive, sectarian atmosphere (in an area in which, it is clear, there are at a minimum many Catholic students in public school), is something other than sincere fundamentalist belief.

Sincere fundamentalist belief to the extent of deliberately disrespecting and violating the rights of others, and thus being unable to live within US law, would be bad enough.

But we seem to be dealing with the type of person who would, albeit perhaps in superficial self-delusion, feign fundamentalist beliefs in order to harass others, and then deny them later when convenient.

While it’s fun to watch Freshwater lie, it will be even better when he’s finally fired. However, take note of my prediction… he will become a regular on the right wing media. Once fired he will play his persecution complex to the hilt and nothing he says will go unchallenged in that forum. He’ll get nothing but nods and “amens” from his fellow “faith-heads.”

Richard,

Thanks for your continued commentary on this matter. I find it fascinating as I did the Dover trial.

To me, this merely represents the manner in which creationists consciously obfuscate not only valid science, but their real intentions concerning their own rhetoric.

Thanks again.

RBH said:

Hamilton asked how Rissing knows me (RBH).

So you are now a named co-conspirator, eh?

Perhaps when this is all over (and the statute of limitations expires) you can publish the “Protocols of the Mount Vernon Secular Agitators” so we will finally have the complete story of what went on there. :-)

Hamilton is still working hard to make the case that Freshwater used creationist materials only to show that it’s bad science. As I noted some time ago, sooner or later his constituency will catch on and either abandon him or rationalize it as a necessary lie. My bet is on the latter.

But, within the inherently corrupt legal system, it’s the lawyer’s job to obfuscate thusly - to try and create reasonable doubt (about almost anything!) even where none exists. In this case he’s trying to raise doubt about motivation (while ignoring the fact that it would still be against the law regardless and also trying to sneak it past being against the curriculum too).

The key thing would be Freshwater himself having to take a stand on what he intended by IC/SC and the other silly and/or religious materials he actually introduced, rather than having Hamilton make insinuations on his behalf. Eg genuinely failing to understand what he was supposed to be teaching under the heading of “bias” already indicates his incompetence to teach science.

The parishioners only really have to forgive Freshwater for the times he himself denies his faith (with or without cocks crowing), not for anything some hired snake might say. Lies of omission (eg not objecting to Hamilton’s insinuations) being subtly different from lies of commission (when bearing his own false witness - against enemies rather than faith brothers).

Not that I expect they have much difficulty forgiving either.

SEF -

But, within the inherently corrupt legal system, it’s the lawyer’s job to obfuscate thusly - to try and create reasonable doubt (about almost anything!)

That is absolutely true, and a deeply religious defense attorney would be unethical to do anything other than mount the strongest defense possible for a client accused of, say, first degree murder. That might certainly include arguing that the victim actually died accidentally, arguing against motives assigned to his client, etc.

But I see differences here.

An ethical lawyer would never act against his client’s own expressed wishes; for example if a truly guilty client wished to come clean for ethical reasons, a lawyer would be bound to accept that. This is not even a criminal trial. Freshwater can clearly see what Hamilton is doing and it is clear that he approves of the “Christian preaching? My client? Heck, no, he was just using the Ten Commandments as a handy convenient security shield! It’s the same thing to him as if it were a saying by Confuscious!” defense.

Also, an ethical attorney might make statements denying his client’s guilt in appropriate venues (depending on the stage of the trial), but would obviously never boast that his client was guilty in one venue, while arguing the opposite in court. Yet is my understanding that both Freshwater and Hamilton have made the rounds of the community claiming that Freshwater is something related to a Christian martyr. That contradicts the in-court claim that Freshwater is a misunderstood mere user of random Christian objects for profane secular purposes, when he can’t happen to put his hands on some Confuscian stuff first. Clearly, if Freshwater just happens to use crucifixes as door stops when he can’t find a statue of Confuscious fast enough, then he’s not a persecuted Christian. And if he’s being fired for preaching, then he’s arguably a “persecuted Christian” by some standards, but violated the rules and the law and deserves to be fired.

This sequence of questions nicely illustrates the frailty of the straws at which Hamilton grasps.

frankly, even that is an understatement!

he’s reaching for imaginary straws at this point.

Steve Rissing sent me the URL that has the source material for the giraffe and woodpecker handouts, apparently chapters from a creationist book, The Evolution of a Creationist. It’s hosted on a site called Present Truth. The giraffe source material is here and the woodpecker source material is here. It’s noteworthy that the latter material is also quoted on a flat earth forum. :)

It appears that the whole book is on that site.

And shades of Don McLeroy of the Texas Board of evolution, I infer from a passing comment in one of the chapters in the book that the author, Dr. Jobe Martin, is a dentist, too! Here is Creationwiki’s bio of him.

Hm. I see there’s a chapter on the water vapor canopy “theory” too. Kerri Mahan testified that Freshwater taught that in his 8th grade science class.

harold said:

SEF -

But, within the inherently corrupt legal system, it’s the lawyer’s job to obfuscate thusly - to try and create reasonable doubt (about almost anything!)

That is absolutely true, and a deeply religious defense attorney would be unethical to do anything other than mount the strongest defense possible for a client accused of, say, first degree murder. That might certainly include arguing that the victim actually died accidentally, arguing against motives assigned to his client, etc.

But I see differences here.

An ethical lawyer would never act against his client’s own expressed wishes; for example if a truly guilty client wished to come clean for ethical reasons, a lawyer would be bound to accept that. This is not even a criminal trial. Freshwater can clearly see what Hamilton is doing and it is clear that he approves of the “Christian preaching? My client? Heck, no, he was just using the Ten Commandments as a handy convenient security shield! It’s the same thing to him as if it were a saying by Confuscious!” defense.

Also, an ethical attorney might make statements denying his client’s guilt in appropriate venues (depending on the stage of the trial), but would obviously never boast that his client was guilty in one venue, while arguing the opposite in court. Yet is my understanding that both Freshwater and Hamilton have made the rounds of the community claiming that Freshwater is something related to a Christian martyr. That contradicts the in-court claim that Freshwater is a misunderstood mere user of random Christian objects for profane secular purposes, when he can’t happen to put his hands on some Confuscian stuff first. Clearly, if Freshwater just happens to use crucifixes as door stops when he can’t find a statue of Confuscious fast enough, then he’s not a persecuted Christian. And if he’s being fired for preaching, then he’s arguably a “persecuted Christian” by some standards, but violated the rules and the law and deserves to be fired.

Exactly the M.O. of one Phillip Johnson of wedge document/dishonesty instutite renown.

That cynicism continues to amaze me. It almost seems to rule out the possibility of either Freshwater or Hamilton actually believing the creationist material. It’s inconceivable that any “literal” (or indeed reasonable) reading of the Bible could ever come to the conclusion that it is acceptable to deny one’s beliefs when convenient.

My observation, without exception, is that there is no conceivable lie, misrepresentation, distortion, half-truth, or other mendacity that isn’t Officially Approved by the Creationist God, if the intent is to trick people into believing the One True Faith.

I think the degree of dishonesty is directly proportional to the degree of sincere fundamentalism.

harold said:

… but would obviously never boast that his client was guilty in one venue, while arguing the opposite in court.

Yet witnesses to that alleged confession of guilty intent aren’t being dragged into court. Is that because it’s just hearsay and the religious ones involved could be relied upon to lie about it anyway if they were brought into court.

harold said:

Yet is my understanding that both Freshwater and Hamilton have made the rounds of the community claiming that Freshwater is something related to a Christian martyr. That contradicts the in-court claim …

Not quite. They routinely prevaricate and equivocate about the meaning of terms such as martyr and what qualifies as being persecuted. Eg failing to get unmerited preferential treatment counts to them as being persecuted. Having the fact that they’re persecuting someone else pointed out also magically counts as them being persecuted. Getting prosecuted at all while being a Christian counts as being a martyr, even if they’re not claiming to have made any actual stand on behalf of Christianity to lead to this prosecution. They set extremely low standards for themselves.

RBH said:

Hm. I see there’s a chapter on the water vapor canopy “theory” too. Kerri Mahan testified that Freshwater taught that in his 8th grade science class.

Boy, what nonsense we see here:

THE GREAT DINOSAUR MYSTERY

Evolution has a problem called The Great Dinosaur Mystery. Where did the great dinosaurs come from; how did they grow so big; and, if it is “survival of the fittest”, why did these powerful creatures become extinct?

A creationist would answer, “no problem”. God created the giant reptiles and may have referred to one or two of them which existed in Job’s day (see Job 40:15 - 41:34). Reptiles do not have a built-in growth inhibiting factor like other animals and man. The dinosaurs would have continued growing as long as they lived. The older they got, the bigger they grew. Reptiles function best, as cold-blooded animals, in warm temperature climates. God created large reptiles which kept growing in an efficient high pressure atmosphere with plenty of warmth and unlimited supplies of lush vegetation to eat and nothing to eat them. The Bible says,

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat.…” (Genesis 1:30)

This indicates that all animals ate plants, not flesh, before the Flood. Plants themselves are a testimony to God’s creative genius. They start as a seed and take dirt, water, air and sunshine and are converted into roses, rubber and rhubarb! And these incredible factories not only do not pollute the environment, but they silently clean the air and replenish it with life-supporting oxygen. Oh, the wonders of the God of all creation! It was only after the flood that God gave permission to eat flesh “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things” (Genesis 9:3). Nothing ate the dinosaurs before the Flood, and they had bounteous vegetation as food. They, therefore, could grow to great size during a long lifetime of hundreds of years. Even Tyrannosaurus rex ate plants, not other dinosaurs, before the flood. The textbook pictures of this great dinosaur eating another reptile are not based on scientific method and are not supported with factual information. The three to five inch long teeth of the Tyrannosaurus rex have roots which are too short to support a meat-tearing, bone-crunching diet. Tyrannosaurus most probably was a vegetarian (at least before the flood of Noah, Genesis 1:29, 30) and used his long sharp teeth to strip leaves from plants. After the flood, these reptiles could never grow so huge. The lighter atmosphere (the weighty canopy came down as rain water at the flood), cooler average temperature and predators would prevent long life and excessive size.

Are we babies, that we should be expected to beleive such crap? There is nothing “evil” about predation, eating meat, or death. We make such value judgements ourselves and then blame God for our own prejudices and desire for a “perfect” world that could never really exist!

“‘Hamilton asked if tests are the best measurement of what happens in classes. She replied, ‘No, not at all’”

Wonderful! I assume here we see a right-wing evangelical nut-job have his ‘black and white’, ‘Larn them three’Rs’ world turned upside down. Newsflash Hamilton, Freshwater and their ilk, there is more to learning than answers a)b)c)or d) you dunkoffs.

Question: As Freshwater heard his teaching material being trashed by people whom know what they are talking about, was he squirming? Looking embarassed? In any way reacting?

robert van bakel said:

there is more to learning than answers a)b)c)or d) you dunkoffs.

Indeed, teaching to the test is one of the indicators of a very poor educational environment. It’s the sort of thing being seen more in UK schools as shallow school management tries to game the system of league tables on grades - at the expense of actual children (and eventually society).

The children “learn” to memorise (for a limited time only) and then regurgitate on demand a bunch of disconnected magic answers - with little understanding of why those are supposed to be the right ones and no ability to extrapolate from their “knowledge”. It’s the every subject analogy to nothing in biology making sense without evolution.

Hamilton asked how many hours Rissing had put into his duties regarding the academic content standards. He estimated 120 or so directly, with many more hours associated with his efforts to align the standards and introductory college-level biology courses. (Steve has a grand vision of an integrated K-12 and college science curriculum, with the elements at each level integrated with prior levels, and he’s been working for years to create it.)

And a crying shame that he should have to waste time fending off the anti-science crowd in such stupid proceedings as these. It is not just the amount of work it takes to do science, but the monumental amount of work and tireless effort that goes into making it useful and inspiring to students that people like Freshwater spit upon.

SEF said: Indeed, teaching to the test is one of the indicators of a very poor educational environment. It’s the sort of thing being seen more in UK schools

Here’s what I don’t get. Both the UK and Australia have had strong exit exams/Uni entrance exams built into their secondary education system for many decades. And their secondary education system is, in general, better than the U.S. system (personal experience speaking - I’ve been in both).

I’m not disagreeing with you SEF, but I’m asking - what’s happened? Why, after many decades of succesfully integrating strong national tests into a secondary system, are these commonwealth countries getting worse? Is gaming the system truly a new phenomena? Or is it just more prevalent? (Being an American, what I’m really interested in knowing is how testing can be used to make our own secondary system stronger rather than weaker. It seems to be able to do both but in the last few years it appears to have done more harm than good.)

The children “learn” to memorise (for a limited time only) and then regurgitate on demand a bunch of disconnected magic answers - with little understanding of why those are supposed to be the right ones and no ability to extrapolate from their “knowledge”.

I’m reminded of the world’s best Scrabble players (yeah, I’m a nerd). They don’t bother to learn vocabulary, just word lists. Some don’t even speak English. A very extreme example of disconnected learning just to pass a test. :)

I went to high school in the 1960’s. I can’t recall any teacher teaching specifically for exam questions. Sure, we were shown some typical questions, and given some pointers on exam technique, but there was no best-guessing what questions would be asked, no model answers, no parrot memorising. I can’t say what the situation is now.

I know of no better way to establish the specifics of a student’s knowledge and skills than by observing a demonstration under controlled and objective conditions. “Test” seems to me to be the most appropriate verb for this process.

“What’s happened” (and hopefully this slightly off-topic digression will be allowed) is a lot of years of a bad Labour government, and a somewhat shallow Tory one before that, dishonestly pandering to PC-ism to gain votes.

So first (mid 80s) there was a downgrading of both quality and quantity of maths and science (including overall time spent on science) on the switch from ‘O’-level to GCSE exams (typically taken by children aged 16). There was apparently already secretly a shortage of good, relevantly qualified science teachers but they covered that information up by dumming down the courses and exams instead (that was during the Tory regime).

Then the politicians (Labour by now) wanted to pretend standards were being preserved - despite the clear testimony from the staff teaching in colleges and universities (who hadn’t budged and were thus in a position to make a true comparison) that the new intakes were requiring more and more remedial training. So they faked some national results by again rigging tests - whereas the independent international testing showed that the UK was falling behind.

The next step was to pretend parents could have control over the trashy quality of education by choosing a school (in practice this doesn’t really pan out, but enough voters were fooled anyway). To give them information on which to make their pick (which they were then often not going to get in reality!) the government created school comparison league tables on selected (NB very much a moving goal-post!) exam results, including some extra performance tests (a little like the US SATS?).

As is typical of most easy-to-administer-and-mark tests (and there were also very grave issues with the quality of the external marking and with internal cheating), these were of the shallow what-can-you-rote-memorise sort rather than what level of understanding have you achieved. Hence the widespread gaming of the system (among mediocre schools who wanted to appear better without having to go to the trouble of actually being better) by concentrating class time on just the bits that were known to be tested.

Meanwhile, the best schools for selecting on academic ability of intake and giving children a chance to shine (the grammar schools) were being closed down because the parents of relatively thick kids didn’t like being exposed to that truth and the newly rich politicians who’d already climbed that ladder themselves were happy to burn it behind them to prevent others from following and competing on equal terms with the privileged private/public schools and tuition they could now afford for their own spawn.

The next step for the government was to dum down the level of education above the high schools so that the failure of GCSE teaching wouldn’t be so obvious. That cover-up involved multiple revamps of the A-level (mostly taken by 18-year-olds) subject courses and exams. The best quality universities started whinging even more about the dross they were being sent and a newly created universities (which had previously been polytechnics or whatever) proliferated to take more of the dross because the Labour government also wanted to pretend more teens were fit for advanced education. Many of these were teaching waste-of-space or even fake courses, eg homeopathy.

Bringing it back to Freshwater: it looks as though he was given a simplistic test scheme which he could game by playing the short-term rote memorisation card with his classes, while pandering to his own religious prejudices. But their lack of genuine comprehension of the subject then shows up in their complete inability to later remember (or build on) what they were supposed to have learned (see witness testimony).

robert van bakel said: As Freshwater heard his teaching material being trashed by people whom know what they are talking about, was he squirming? Looking embarassed? In any way reacting?

As Texas dentist and member of the Texas Board of Education Don McLeroy has famously said, “Somebody has to stand up to the experts!” I would imagine Freshwater and Hamilton had sneers on their faces, because they know more than any so-called “expert.”

Phil Johnson, godfather of intelligent design creationism, has said that the Common Man knows more than the experts - anybody have that Johnson quote handy?

eric said: I’m reminded of the world’s best Scrabble players (yeah, I’m a nerd). They don’t bother to learn vocabulary, just word lists. Some don’t even speak English. A very extreme example of disconnected learning just to pass a test. :)

This is similar to the religionists who can quote the entire Bible (or Koran) - they apparently think that means they know something useful.

I do know, from a stint as a tutor in one of the Universities here, that the standard of literacy among undergrads has taken a steep nosedive. Yes, I know that this sounds like an old man’s sour grapes, but I was being required to give passing grades to students for assignments containing actually unintelligible sentences, among many grammatical and orthographic errors.

All together now:

“Back when fortran was not even onetran

And the abacus - only a toy!

And we did our computing in primooooordial darkness,

When I.… was a boy.”

Eric -

Here’s what I don’t get. Both the UK and Australia have had strong exit exams/Uni entrance exams built into their secondary education system for many decades. And their secondary education system is, in general, better than the U.S. system (personal experience speaking - I’ve been in both).

These are two rather separate issues (quality of schools and reliance on single exams for promotion to the next level).

The US public school system is impacted by the fact that local property taxes are usually the major source of funding for public schools. There is a strong tendency for the quality of education to reflect the affluence and average education level in the local community.

I firmly believe that a US student who works hard to learn the curriculum presented in any public high school has an excellent chance for success. Nevertheless, there are stark differences. Affluent suburban schools, especially in affluent states, often have enriched programs*, plentiful and effective help for struggling students, a curriculum that includes art and music, and a range of extracurricular activities, including diverse sports. *As it happens, I’m not a big fan of separating the “gifted” kids out of their age group and/or the general curriculum for a variety of reasons, but putting that aside, it’s considered good to have such programs.

Schools in poorer or rural areas can be quite a contrast. Resources for enriched programs and anything beyond meeting the most basic curriculum requirement may be lacking. Although I certainly have nothing against a good strong football and/or basketball program, in poorer schools, those may dominate given the lack of anything else, and represent “the only ticket out of town”. “Special Ed” is likely to be overcrowded and underfunded, as kids are often coming from families with little sophistication in how the education system works to begin with, into what may be an unstimulating, discouraging, and even threatening environment.

Oddly, although to a less extreme degree on the downside, Canadian schools are similar in this way. I went to high school in Canada, and my brother lives in a large Canadian city, and reports that this is the way it is.

I have mixed feelings about tests and standardized tests. On one hand, I was a very mediocre high school student for a variety of reasons (and that may be generous). I got a very high score on the standardized test that was used when and where I was in high school, however. It didn’t have the make-or-break importance of US SAT’s, but it sure helped. I think that “rescue” function - identifying students with potential they may not be living up to for one reason or another - is a valuable one. So is the keeping of general statistics.

However, screwing over a good student who has a single bad exam is something that seems crazy to me. Realistically, there’s only one honest way to do well on a test with a sufficient number of questions - recognize the correct answers to enough of the questions. There are many ways to do poorly - illness, adolescent defiance, etc, which may be massively complicated if the student and his or her support system don’t recognize the importance of the test, or take a fatalistic attitude toward it. One of the few unequivocal positive aspects of the US/Canadian system, from my perspective, is that you get some chances to overcome early circumstances. You don’t have to go straight from high school into a six year medical school, or else forget about it.

While it’s fun to watch Freshwater lie, it will be even better when he’s finally fired. However, take note of my prediction… he will become a regular on the right wing media. Once fired he will play his persecution complex to the hilt and nothing he says will go unchallenged in that forum. He’ll get nothing but nods and “amens” from his fellow “faith-heads.”

He can team up with that other martyr, Richard Sternberg, and they can take their show on the road.

RBH said:

…and the woodpecker source material is here.

Being something of an amateur ornothologist with a special interest in woodpeckers, this just makes my head explode. Do these people never take the time to actually look at nature? I admit I go out of my way to analyze and note the differences and distinctions between the various digging methods exhibited across the various woodpecker and sapsucker species (I’m particularly fond of the Acorn Woodpecker’s unbelievable efficiency along with the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker’s precision), but even paying just mild attention to a few other species reveals a broad range of birds that dig in trees for bugs. Crows, Bluejays, Nuthatches…heck I’ve even seen Chickdees and Titmouses tap into old limbs. And almost all cavity dwellers and nesters have some capability to expand their shelter - even House Wrens, Carolina Wrens, and Tree Swallows can fleck out and scrape away wood. To be sure, woodpeckers have some really unique and specialized tools for knocking into wood (and making great sounds on gutters, windows, and chimney caps for that matter), but they would not have shattered beaks or broken necks without such. They just would not have been nearly as effective.

Paul Burnett said:

This is similar to the religionists who can quote the entire Bible (or Koran) - they apparently think that means they know something useful.

I’ll constrict your analogy even more: It’s like most religionists (at least American evangelical fundamentalists) who have memorized a handful of Bible verses–or can quickly look up one in the Bible–as answers to all of life’s problems, or anything that might challenge their faith. But having never read the whole Bible, they have no sense at all of the scope and connectedness (or disconnectedness) of the whole thing. Especially those ugly contradictions and approval of immoralities like chattel slavery and genocide.

SEF: Nice education history summary! I went through the Scottish system during the 80’s & 90’s. In high school, we actually had two parts to our Standard Grade exams (taken at age 16): (1) Knowledge and Understanding (memorising and repeating); and (2) Reasoning and Application (here’s a tool: demonstrate that you can use it correctly and successfully). I always did better in the R&A parts - too lazy to try to memorise stuff!

I’ve since taught at Uni’s in both Scotland and Finland (which consistently ranks very highly in international education comparisons) and observed a worrying tendency for students in both countries to expect to be spoonfed information. Pedagogical courses teach us* that we need to teach to a wider range of student interests, including those that just aren’t interested. High schools apparently no longer train students to think for themselves.

Freshwater appears to suffer from the same syndrome.

*yeah, but… Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

All, thanks for the responses (esp. SEF). Trying to summarize what you’re saying: the tests may originally have been good indicators of understanding, but they’ve been downgraded in quality in part for political reasons, and maybe in part due to students not being prepared to take them ‘as written.’ The former is common in the U.S. too. As to the the latter - this strikes me as a vicious circle (for both the US and other systems). Students spend effort x to get barely prepared for test X. So you reduce the test to W…now students only spend effort w to prepare for it…so you chance the test to V…and so on. This may be a case where the best response to a worrisome reduction in test scores is…no change to the test.

Anyway thanks to RBH for an excellent post and letting me take it OT. I’ll shut up now :)

Richard, thanks again for your tireless efforts. I’m actually starting to get interested in this case beyond my fascination with the DI’s silence. One part that really caught my eye:

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

(Hamilton is still working hard to make the case that Freshwater used creationist materials only to show that it’s bad science. As I noted some time ago, sooner or later his constituency will catch on and either abandon him or rationalize it as a necessary lie. My bet is on the latter.)

When I first read it I thought you meant that the constituency will start to think that using creationist materials itself is a “necessary lie.” But I guess you meant that they might start to think that Hamilton’s contention that it was “only to show that it’s bad science” is the “necessary lie.”

harold Wrote:

It almost seems to rule out the possibility of either Freshwater or Hamilton actually believing the creationist material.

Freshwater is so far gone that he might really think that creationist material – internal contradictions and all – is “good science.” But I strongly suspect that most anti-evolution activists, especially of the ID variety, privately reject most or all creationist claims, but are convinced that the students must reject evolution to behave properly.

We can’t read minds, of course, so we’ll never know for sure. But we can get some clues as to who are the honest believers and who are just “telling fairy tales to keep the peace” by asking plenty of questions about their theory. Does Hamilton really buy Freshwater’s young-earth “theory”? Or does he find Behe’s old-Earth-old-life-common-descent model more convincing? Or does he think all anti-evolution pseudoscience is bogus, and is just doing what defense attorneys are supposed to do?

One of the rare occasions where a collection of anti-evolution activists were put on the spot and asked about their “theory” was the 2005 Kansas Kangaroo Court. There it was shown that most anti-evolution activists did not buy the whole YEC nonsense, and that some even conceded common descent. But all were desperate to downplay their fatal contradictions and get back to misrepresenting evolution.

Frank J said:

Richard, thanks again for your tireless efforts. I’m actually starting to get interested in this case beyond my fascination with the DI’s silence.

That silence interests me, too. Perhaps they learned the hazards of publicly siding with YECs in the Kitzmiller case.

When I first read it I thought you meant that the constituency will start to think that using creationist materials itself is a “necessary lie.” But I guess you meant that they might start to think that Hamilton’s contention that it was “only to show that it’s bad science” is the “necessary lie.”

Yes, that last was my intended meaning.

Just Bob said:

… I’ll constrict your analogy even more: It’s like most religionists (at least American evangelical fundamentalists) who have memorized a handful of Bible verses–or can quickly look up one in the Bible–as answers to all of life’s problems, or anything that might challenge their faith. But having never read the whole Bible, they have no sense at all of the scope and connectedness (or disconnectedness) of the whole thing. Especially those ugly contradictions and approval of immoralities like chattel slavery and genocide.

It’s been my experience, living in Southern VA., that a fundamental requirement for being an evangelical fundamentalist is exactly the ability to memorize a variety of bible passages, but to absolutely NEVER read the whole bible, cover to cover. It’s pretty obvious to those who have read the bible, cover to cover, why that is.

Frank J -

But I strongly suspect that most anti-evolution activists, especially of the ID variety, privately reject most or all creationist claims, but are convinced that the students must reject evolution to behave properly.

As usual, I agree. The underlying issue seems to be authorianism/need for control of others. Again, we can’t read minds, but this model seems to predict and explain behavior.

Flint said:

That cynicism continues to amaze me. It almost seems to rule out the possibility of either Freshwater or Hamilton actually believing the creationist material. It’s inconceivable that any “literal” (or indeed reasonable) reading of the Bible could ever come to the conclusion that it is acceptable to deny one’s beliefs when convenient.

My observation, without exception, is that there is no conceivable lie, misrepresentation, distortion, half-truth, or other mendacity that isn’t Officially Approved by the Creationist God, if the intent is to trick people into believing the One True Faith.

I think the degree of dishonesty is directly proportional to the degree of sincere fundamentalism.

Quite so, Flint. I do find it ironic however - these are people who supposed believe in Christianity so fervently, it becomes the foundation of all other behavior and beliefs of their lives, yet only a few will willingly and honestly stand up for it. Fundamentalist Christianity seems to be the religion of Peters.

Eoraptor013 said:

It’s been my experience, living in Southern VA., that a fundamental requirement for being an evangelical fundamentalist is exactly the ability to memorize a variety of bible passages, but to absolutely NEVER read the whole bible, cover to cover. It’s pretty obvious to those who have read the bible, cover to cover, why that is.

As I (the atheist) have. Cover-to-cover. Twice. And listened to the whole thing on tape twice. Having done that, it’s hard to believe that anyone who has, and has at least high school comprehension skills, and takes it LITERALLY–to mean just what it says–can take it seriously, as some sort of guide for life. Or–just as bad–everyone can: racists, socialists, Nazis, communists, liberals, and members of the ladies’ auxiliary. Whatever bigotry, ideals, or life choices you want to justify, there are Bible verses for it.

BTW, I didn’t read it out of any religious motivation, but as a humanities teacher, I recognize it as crucial to understanding Western literature, culture, and history. I always kept a copy or several on my shelves at school.

harold said:

That cynicism continues to amaze me. It almost seems to rule out the possibility of either Freshwater or Hamilton actually believing the creationist material. It’s inconceivable that any “literal” (or indeed reasonable) reading of the Bible could ever come to the conclusion that it is acceptable to deny one’s beliefs when convenient.

The implication is that, consciously or unconsciously, the motivation for denying mainstream science, misusing classroom time, and creating a divisive, sectarian atmosphere (in an area in which, it is clear, there are at a minimum many Catholic students in public school), is something other than sincere fundamentalist belief.

Sincere fundamentalist belief to the extent of deliberately disrespecting and violating the rights of others, and thus being unable to live within US law, would be bad enough.

But we seem to be dealing with the type of person who would, albeit perhaps in superficial self-delusion, feign fundamentalist beliefs in order to harass others, and then deny them later when convenient.

I honestly think Freshwater believes … but his refusal to take responsibility for his actions tells me that his belief is more a matter of convenience for him.

SOmething similar happened during the Dover trial. The two Board members who, repeatedly and in front of witnesses, professed their faith lied under oath that they had no non-secular motivations. Lying for Jesus seems to be OK, as long as you are lying for the cause. Ted http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com

Karen S. said:

He can team up with that other martyr, Richard Sternberg, and they can take their show on the road.

I think the Discovery Institute has collected quite a few ‘martyrs’ including Sternberg and Gonzales. Funny how they haven’t gotten Nathanial Abrahams (Fired from Woods Hole) into the fold yet. They sure are supporting David Coppedge (demoted at JPL) even though they seem to state the ID is not religious with every third comment.

Ted Herrlich said:

SOmething similar happened during the Dover trial. The two Board members who, repeatedly and in front of witnesses, professed their faith lied under oath that they had no non-secular motivations. Lying for Jesus seems to be OK, as long as you are lying for the cause. Ted http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com

See Freshwater: A Bonsell in the offing?. :)

Do these people never take the time to actually look at nature?

no. In fact, they put their hands on their eyes to block out just about ALL of reality, not just nature.

Otherwise, reality would make their mental house of cards come tumbling down.

Cant have that now, can we.

Ted Herrlich said: I honestly think Freshwater believes …

SOmething similar happened during the Dover trial. The two Board members who, repeatedly and in front of witnesses, professed their faith lied under oath that they had no non-secular motivations. Lying for Jesus seems to be OK, as long as you are lying for the cause.

Buckingham and Bonsell. Buckingham moved during the trial, but AFAIK Bonsell is still there…attending the same church, who presumably accept him.

My guess is Freshwater will get the same treatment from his religious community that Bonsell did - which is to say they won’t care what he said in court.

I’m sure some of the congregants will insist the court record is wrong and Freshwater never said those things. Some will just ignore the matter. And some will probably understand exactly what ‘taught it as a bad example’ implies, understand that that characterization was a lie to save his job, and not care. With some groups, if you’re in the group they’re going to support you (practically) no matter what you do. This sort of thinking is also why (IMO) Kent Hovind still has a following.

Just Bob said: I always kept a (Bible) copy or several on my shelves at school.

Ah, but did you ever keep one on your desk? If not, why not?

Apparently teaching, learning, and science are important topics at Panda’s; good-oh! The lies of Freshwater and his sidekick (perhaps that should be reversed) point to a psyche that is fundamentally flawed. Putting the responsibility for your actions, the manipulation of young minds, the willful misrepresentation of facts and past events,the near continuous denial of real science, and lying to fellow christians, before education, seems par for the course. Baring all of this in mind one should ask the question:

“Would I not be better off, a more rounded individual, and a more clear thinker without god, or his bible?” Answer; “Yes!”

robert van bakel said:

“Would I not be better off, a more rounded individual, and a more clear thinker without god, or his bible?” Answer; “Yes!”

Actually, this is a bit unfair.

The Bible is far from an evil book, though some have used it as an excuse for all sorts of barbarous behavior.

But there’s also a lot of good in there, particularly in the New Testament, which goes on at great length that the primal responsibility we have to our fellow human beings is to treat them - all of them - like… well, human beings.

No matter what you might think of Jesus the icon, you have to hand it to Jesus the man - Lil’ J’ could stay on-message. In a time of unimaginable casual cruelty treating the meek like they were actually worth something was a huge leap.

For every idiot like Freshwater, there’s half a dozen who actually read the book and take it seriously and it moves them to actually act like Christians.

So your quote should actually be “Would I not be better off, a more rounded individual, and a more clear thinker if I didn’t take god, or his bible as actual literal fact?” Answer; “Yes!”

stevaroni said:

Lil’ J’ could stay on-message.

Not so much, no.

stevaroni said:

In a time of unimaginable casual cruelty treating the meek like they were actually worth something was a huge leap.

Again, not really. That attitude part of the Jesus story was a rip-off of Greek etc philosophy which was already around beforehand - being espoused by people who have more historical existence than the Jesus character. (The mythology parts of the Jesus story being rip-offs of other contemporary religions.)

stevaroni said:

robert van bakel said:

“Would I not be better off, a more rounded individual, and a more clear thinker without god, or his bible?” Answer; “Yes!”

Actually, this is a bit unfair.

The Bible is far from an evil book, though some have used it as an excuse for all sorts of barbarous behavior.

But there’s also a lot of good in there, particularly in the New Testament, which goes on at great length that the primal responsibility we have to our fellow human beings is to treat them - all of them - like… well, human beings.

Don’t forget that Hell is an invention of the New Testament.

RBH said:

Don’t forget that Hell is an invention of the New Testament.

And a damned good one too!

How else are you going to get children to obey? (and serfs, and servants, and slaves?;-)

Paul Burnett said:

Just Bob said: I always kept a (Bible) copy or several on my shelves at school.

Ah, but did you ever keep one on your desk? If not, why not?

Occasionally, if I happened to have used it recently, or was intending to look up something. But never as some sort of “statement.” Well, maybe a time or two to remind my fundamentalist kids that I knew more about the Bible than they did.

RBH said:

Don’t forget that Hell is an invention of the New Testament.

More likely it made its way into inter-testamental Judaism from Zoroastrianism.

David Fickett-Wilbar said:

RBH said:

Don’t forget that Hell is an invention of the New Testament.

More likely it made its way into inter-testamental Judaism from Zoroastrianism.

That’s for Biblical scholars; for the folks in the pews, it first appears in the New Testament.

RBH said:

David Fickett-Wilbar said:

RBH said:

Don’t forget that Hell is an invention of the New Testament.

More likely it made its way into inter-testamental Judaism from Zoroastrianism.

That’s for Biblical scholars; for the folks in the pews, it first appears in the New Testament.

All too true, which is a pity. Even non-Christians often seem to think that the bible goes from OT to NT, not noticing that there’s at least a 300 year gap between the two. This goes along with a belief that there was such a thing as “Judaism” before the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, when there were a variety of competing cults. This regardless of the fact that the NT even talks about some of them.

It’s all a big shame. Inter-testamental Judaism is fascinating in its own right, and vital to understanding the origins of Christianity. Just one more hobby of mine that is under-appreciated. Woe is me.

Better you than me, Richard. By this point, I’d be coughing and calling out “HERE!” every time the Freshwater side made a point :)

Put me down, too, for wishing there had never been a Torah, talmud, Gospels, epistles, Quran or hadith. Sorry. I get absolutely zero of my values from any Abrahamic source, and I regard any number of pagan or heathen value systems as being, if flawed and of their time and place, vastly superior.

Marion Delgado said:

Put me down, too, for wishing there had never been a Torah, talmud, Gospels, epistles, Quran or hadith. Sorry. I get absolutely zero of my values from any Abrahamic source, and I regard any number of pagan or heathen value systems as being, if flawed and of their time and place, vastly superior.

And, as a Pagan, I thank you. I think that an ethical system based on virtues to aspire to is very preferable to one based on “thou shalt not.”

David, would the Pirkei Avot be a good place to start checking out intertestamental Judaism? It seems to be mirrored in the Gospels quite a bit.

Marion Delgado said:

David, would the Pirkei Avot be a good place to start checking out intertestamental Judaism? It seems to be mirrored in the Gospels quite a bit.

Hard to say. It’s part of the Mishnah, which wasn’t compiled until the early third century CE, but claims to include much earlier material. I don’t know if it’s been determined which parts are earlier than the others. It might be a good read for its own sake, though.

Just one more hobby of mine that is under-appreciated. Woe is me.

aww, now see David?

Marion has shown that you never know when someone will appreciate your work!

From an infrequent poster but diligent and voracious follower:

I love you guys.

Seriously, any group that bounces around from science pedagogy to intertestamental Judaism is pretty awesome in my book.

On a related note - where on the Internet do pro-Freshwater people hang out? Or are his supporters so limited that they can all hang out in the same church basement dunking laptops and going through trash bags?

I think you should find some if you search for relevant terms. I recall doing so some months back when looking for Freshwater coverage (before working out that RBH’s here on PT was probably the best!). Though I also recall RBH(?) saying that community support for him had dropped off considerably.

I don’t know if there’s a link limit here or not …

“I Support John Freshwater” on FaceBook

C [Creation] Facts (a bit empty of discussion)

a blog

a religious something-or-other

SEF said: Though I also recall RBH(?) saying that community support for him had dropped off considerably.

That seems to be true. The prevailing mood among a large portion of the community is something like “Can’t we get this over with???”

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on June 13, 2010 12:41 AM.

Freshwater: The defense rests was the previous entry in this blog.

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