Freshwater: Hearing documents released

| 26 Comments

In response to several FOIA Public Records Requests, the closing briefs and replies in the administrative hearing on the termination of John Freshwater’s employment as a middle school science teacher in the Mount Vernon City Schools have been released by the referee. We will have all the documents available on the NCSE site sometime in the next few days (NCSE is temporarily short the person who maintains that database). Meanwhile, for your reading pleasure a Freshwater supporter has posted just one of the documents, Freshwater’s summary brief. It runs 180 pages. It’s disjointed, rambling, and on one reading looks like an attempt to fling all the crap Hamilton can find or make up at a wall in the hope that some will stick. There are (at least) two different conspiracy theories embedded in it along with vicious allegations of incompetence, malice, and lying on the part of any number of witnesses. And there is more than enough purple prose to frame the wall of crap twice over.

After all the docs are available online–including the Board’s summary brief, the two sides’ replies to the opposing summary briefs, and an amicus brief from the Dennises–I’ll try to summarize them. That will be a chore, lemme tell you!

26 Comments

You read all 180 pages? You are a greater person than I…

It’s disjointed, rambling, and on one reading looks like an attempt to fling all the crap Hamilton can find or make up at a wall in the hope that some will stick. There are (at least) two different conspiracy theories embedded in it along with vicious allegations of incompetence, malice, and lying on the part of any number of witnesses. And there is more than enough purple prose to frame the wall of crap twice over.

Don’t hold back. Tell us what you *really* think about it ;)

Sounds pretty much like the ICR suit to get accreditation for their “science” degree program. The court had considerable difficulty wading through all the religiostic and incoherent verbiage trying to figure out exactly what the problem was.

Maybe this is why sermons have long had the reputation as a chance to catch up on some sleep.

JLT said: Don’t hold back. Tell us what you *really* think about it ;)

“Let HE who has never ranted on PT … be the first to cast a stone.”

I used to visit Sam Stickle’s website and at least presumed his impartiality at first, but the most recent post with the Kafka video really has me convinced he’s gone completely off the rails. As much as I’d like to go there at a minimum to download the document, I don’t want to give him the traffic. I’d rather wait and download it from the NCSE.

mrg said:

“Let HE who has never ranted on PT … be the first to cast a stone.”

Cool!!! It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good stoning!

stevaroni said: Cool!!! It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good stoning!

“You have been found guilty by the elders of the town of uttering the name of our Lord, and so, as a blasphemer …”

“OOOOOH!”

“… you are to be stoned to death.”

“AAAAAH!”

.….…. “Are there any … WOMEN here today?!”

“OH NO! NO! NO! NOT AT ALL!”

Let him who has never ranted on PT … be the first to cast a stone.

As Shakespeare might have said, stone him for his bad grammar.

I was just thinking, “This would be a good time for some Freshwater.”

And here it is.

Thanks Richard. Amazing that you could get through the whole thing. I started reading it and quickly gave up. You have much more patience than I will ever have. Thanks again!

Random crap … conspiracy theories … purple prose …

Waitaminnut!

Did R. Kelly Hamilton graduate from the same mail-order law “school” as Orly Taitz?

CMB said:

Thanks Richard. Amazing that you could get through the whole thing. I started reading it and quickly gave up. You have much more patience than I will ever have. Thanks again!

Once through at as high a reading speed as I could manage given the turgid prose. I dread having to re-read it to write about it.

I’m sorry, but I could only get through about a quarter of Freshwater’s summary before, giving it the benefit of a doubt, before I concluded that it is not purple prose at all.

No, it’s a lighter shade that I would call moron prose.

I would say it was written by Sarah Palin, but that would be giving idiot credit where idiot credit is not due.

Steve said:

Random crap … conspiracy theories … purple prose …

Waitaminnut!

Did R. Kelly Hamilton graduate from the same mail-order law “school” as Orly Taitz?

Were he and Casey Luskin possibly room mates?

RBH said: Once through at as high a reading speed as I could manage given the turgid prose. I dread having to re-read it to write about it.

Within the first seventeen pages, Mr Hamilton’s shoddy research and reasoning does not just undermine his client’s own case, but arguably violates Oh. R. Prof. Conduct 3.1 and 3.3 by putting forth frivolous positions and misrepresenting authority to a tribunal (and even though this isn’t a court, under Oh. R. Prof. Conduct 1.0(o) it qualifies as a tribunal).

None of this is to say that the evidence is not sufficient under the c&c standard; Hamilton’s own brief implicitly demonstrates that it is by improperly shifting not just the standard of proof, but the standard of credibility… and then failing to refute the weight of the evidence.

In short, Hamilton’s “summary” makes the district’s case for it… especially for anyone who goes back and actually reads and Shepardizes the two main cases he relies on in his c&c argument. It will also make the state bar’s case for it, but I don’t expect anything to happen on that basis; any discipline meted out will be on the basis of the discovery games, because bar authorities simply won’t discipline lawyers for “improper advocacy” any more (except, on occasion, when there’s something else going on too).

Page 67 of the Summary Brief mentions a “Wimhurst machine” (page 72 of the PDF file) - it’s actually a “Wimshurst machine” - but that’s a common mistake, so I don’t read much into that.

But the document continues to discuss a “Tesla Coil” - which the Electro-Technic Products BD-10A High Frequency Generator is not. It generates a high voltage at a high frequency, and is a variation of the tesla coil.

The device “has an output of between 20,000 to 45,000 volts, at a frequency of approximately 500 kHz. When properly adjusted, when the electrode is held within ¼ to 1 in. (6 to 25 mm) from a metal object (or human skin - editorial comment), a spark will jump to the metal. Current output of the spark is about 1 mA.” - from the device’s operating instructions (I have a copy, and I sent a copy to Richard last February).

The opening lines of the brief:

Everything in this case is about purpose, context1 and intent with an ultimate goal of answering the question set forth in the opening statement2 –

“What makes sense?” versus “What does not make sense?”

Holy shit, he’s going for the Chewbacca Defense!

Paul Burnett said:

Page 67 of the Summary Brief mentions a “Wimhurst machine” (page 72 of the PDF file) - it’s actually a “Wimshurst machine” - but that’s a common mistake, so I don’t read much into that.

But the document continues to discuss a “Tesla Coil” - which the Electro-Technic Products BD-10A High Frequency Generator is not. It generates a high voltage at a high frequency, and is a variation of the tesla coil.

The device “has an output of between 20,000 to 45,000 volts, at a frequency of approximately 500 kHz. When properly adjusted, when the electrode is held within ¼ to 1 in. (6 to 25 mm) from a metal object (or human skin - editorial comment), a spark will jump to the metal. Current output of the spark is about 1 mA.” - from the device’s operating instructions (I have a copy, and I sent a copy to Richard last February).

http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/demo[…]chapter4.htm

With a Tesla coil, it is possible to touch the very high voltage secondary without being electrocuted because of the skin effect. The high frequency currents flow on the surface of the skin rather than through the body where damage to the heart could occur. Furthermore, the muscles of the body are less sensitive to high frequencies than they are to dc or low-frequency ac. Even so, it is probably best not to allow anyone with a weak heart to come into contact with the high voltage. In fact, with large Tesla coils, the use of volunteers is not recommended. In some Tesla coil designs the primary has 60 Hz voltages present, and these could be lethal. A more serious danger is the possibility of burns to the skin, especially if the discharge strikes the skin directly. For this reason, the discharge should only be drawn to the body through a metal object which makes a large area of contact with the skin. If the discharge strikes an unsuspecting person, the result would surely be startling, and the recoil could cause injury.

Paul Burnett said:

Page 67 of the Summary Brief mentions a “Wimhurst machine” (page 72 of the PDF file) - it’s actually a “Wimshurst machine” - but that’s a common mistake, so I don’t read much into that.

But the document continues to discuss a “Tesla Coil” - which the Electro-Technic Products BD-10A High Frequency Generator is not. It generates a high voltage at a high frequency, and is a variation of the tesla coil.

The device “has an output of between 20,000 to 45,000 volts, at a frequency of approximately 500 kHz. When properly adjusted, when the electrode is held within ¼ to 1 in. (6 to 25 mm) from a metal object (or human skin - editorial comment), a spark will jump to the metal. Current output of the spark is about 1 mA.” - from the device’s operating instructions (I have a copy, and I sent a copy to Richard last February).

I should have noted that this is a Wimshurst machine. Here’s the section on Wimshurst machines:

http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/demo[…]chapter4.htm

Most commercially available Wimshurst generators are designed so that a non-lethal amount of electrical energy is stored in the Leyden jars. However, a discharge to the body is surely painful, and might startle one into an accident. If significant additional capacitance is connected to the output of the Wimshurst generator, the hazard can increase substantially. The spark can also cause burns and ignite flammable or volatile materials nearby.

Rich Blinne said:

Paul Burnett said:

Page 67 of the Summary Brief mentions a “Wimhurst machine” (page 72 of the PDF file) - it’s actually a “Wimshurst machine” - but that’s a common mistake, so I don’t read much into that.

But the document continues to discuss a “Tesla Coil” - which the Electro-Technic Products BD-10A High Frequency Generator is not. It generates a high voltage at a high frequency, and is a variation of the tesla coil.

The device “has an output of between 20,000 to 45,000 volts, at a frequency of approximately 500 kHz. When properly adjusted, when the electrode is held within ¼ to 1 in. (6 to 25 mm) from a metal object (or human skin - editorial comment), a spark will jump to the metal. Current output of the spark is about 1 mA.” - from the device’s operating instructions (I have a copy, and I sent a copy to Richard last February).

I should have noted that this is a Wimshurst machine. Here’s the section on Wimshurst machines:

http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/demo[…]chapter4.htm

Most commercially available Wimshurst generators are designed so that a non-lethal amount of electrical energy is stored in the Leyden jars. However, a discharge to the body is surely painful, and might startle one into an accident. If significant additional capacitance is connected to the output of the Wimshurst generator, the hazard can increase substantially. The spark can also cause burns and ignite flammable or volatile materials nearby.

One last thing. The web page I cited was written by Julien Clinton Sprott, Emeritus Professor of Physics from the University of Wisconsin. http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/sprott.htm I don’t know if the plaintiffs are looking for expert witnesses but this might be a good choice.

Right, so the socially active churches in the area made Freshwater endanger his students unnecessarily. That’s his defense. They made him put the bible on his desk and they refused to let him remove it when he was ordered to do so by the administrators. They forced him to preach creationists falsehoods in place of presenting the science of evolution in science class. And they did all of this because they did not want him to be able to teach anymore. Got it.

One last thing. The web page I cited was written by Julien Clinton Sprott, Emeritus Professor of Physics from the University of Wisconsin. http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/sprott.htm I don’t know if the plaintiffs are looking for expert witnesses but this might be a good choice.

Here’s the blurb from Physics Demonstrations. This book is from which my quote came. http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/3606.htm

Julien Clinton Sprott is professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and his many publications include Introduction to Modern Electronics and Images of a Complex World: The Art and Poetry of Chaos. He is winner of several awards for his work in public science education, including a lifetime achievement award from the Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers.

DaveL said:

The opening lines of the brief:

(snip) “What makes sense?” versus “What does not make sense?”

Holy shit, he’s going for the Chewbacca Defense!

O MY GOD you’re right!

See also:

Idiot defense

Twinkie defense

King Kong defense

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt

Big Lie, a propaganda tactic whereby an absurd statement is made with such conviction that the listener accepts it to be true, because it is counter-intuitive for a normal person to make such an audacious statement without fear of being caught

Non sequitur, a form of logical fallacy

Reductio ad absurdum, disproof by an absurd conclusion

Ignoratio elenchi aka Red herring, another form of logical fallacy

Enthymeme for an analysis of Cochran’s logic

Price of eggs, an expression which is used to denote something which is unrelated to the current topic of discussion

Reverse psychology

Paul Burnett said:

The device “has an output of between 20,000 to 45,000 volts, … Current output of the spark is about 1 mA.”

1 milliamp? That’s a lot of power at 20Kv.

At those voltages that’s 20 to 45 watts. Even if that’s a peak value and the RMS value is a fraction of that, that’s still a large amount of energy being delivered through a very small point on the skin.

No wonder it leaves a burn.

stevaroni said:

Paul Burnett said:

The device “has an output of between 20,000 to 45,000 volts, … Current output of the spark is about 1 mA.”

1 milliamp? That’s a lot of power at 20Kv.

At those voltages that’s 20 to 45 watts. Even if that’s a peak value and the RMS value is a fraction of that, that’s still a large amount of energy being delivered through a very small point on the skin.

No wonder it leaves a burn.

Also from the product instructions. http://www.electrotechnicproduct.co[…]ructions.pdf

! SAFETY PRECAUTIONS.It is used in industrial applications for pinhole leak detection, and to ionize a gas inside a lamp, neon sign, vial or similar device to determine whether a good vacuum is being held inside the device. It is also used as a lamp starter, principally in printing industry. [sic]

Only factory approved electrodes should be used. No other electrodes should be used with this device.

Never touch or come in contact with the high voltage output of this device, nor with any device it is energizing.

Since its output is 500 kHz, it radiates its energy for a short distance. It may interfere with sensitive electronic devices near by. If a user is wearing a pace maker or similar device, their physician should be contacted prior to using this device. The same should be said for women who are pregnant.

Also, a small amount of ozone gas is generated as a by-product. Use in a well-ventilated area. [Emphasis mine]

I see Hamilton has clarified his arguments.

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I see Hamilton has clarified his arguments!

Paul Burnett said:

Page 67 of the Summary Brief mentions a “Wimhurst machine” (page 72 of the PDF file) - it’s actually a “Wimshurst machine” - but that’s a common mistake, so I don’t read much into that.

But the document continues to discuss a “Tesla Coil” - which the Electro-Technic Products BD-10A High Frequency Generator is not. It generates a high voltage at a high frequency, and is a variation of the tesla coil.

The device “has an output of between 20,000 to 45,000 volts, at a frequency of approximately 500 kHz. When properly adjusted, when the electrode is held within ¼ to 1 in. (6 to 25 mm) from a metal object (or human skin - editorial comment), a spark will jump to the metal. Current output of the spark is about 1 mA.” - from the device’s operating instructions (I have a copy, and I sent a copy to Richard last February).

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