Freshwater: The termination resolution

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This is the full text of the termination resolution adopted by the Mt. Vernon City Schools Board of Education on January 10, 2011. Turns out the mover didn’t read the whole thing.

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RESOLUTION TO TERMINATE ANY AND ALL EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS OF JOHN FRESHWATER WITH THE BOARD OF EDUCATION EFFECTIVE 11:59 P.M. ON JANUARY 10, 2011

WHEREAS, John Freshwater (“Mr. Freshwater”) is currently employed by the Board as an eighth grade science teacher as Mount Vernon Middle School; WHEREAS, as a result of his position with the Board, Mr. Freshwater is a member of the bargaining unit represented by the Mount Vernon Education Association (“MVEA”) and is governed by the terms and conditions of employment set forth in the collective bargaining agreement between MVEA and the Board (the “Agreement”);

WHEREAS, the Board has promulgated reasonable policies, rules and standards for the management and control of its workforce and for the safe and efficient governance of its employees, in compliance with State and Federal law;

WHEREAS, the Board not only expects, but requires, its employees to adhere to the reasonable policies, rules and standards promulgated by the Board, as well as State and Federal law;

WHEREAS, Mr. Freshwater is an employee and charged with and compensated for not only his performance while at work but also for his knowledge of and adherence to the aforementioned Board policies, rules and standards, as well as State and Federal law;

WHEREAS, Ohio Revised Code §3319.16 sets forth that a teacher employed by the Board of Education may be terminated for “good and just cause;”

WHEREAS, under the Agreement and the statutory law of Ohio, Mr. Freshwater is subject to R.C. §3319.16 and may be terminated for “good and just cause;”

WHEREAS, under Section 3319.16, Mr. Freshwater was provided notice, signed by the Treasurer, of the Board’s intention to consider the termination of his teaching contract(s);

WHEREAS, Mr. Freshwater filed a written statement with the Treasurer on June 30, 2008, requesting a public hearing before the Board;

WHEREAS, the Board requested that a Referee preside over the hearing, as appointed by the State of Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction, pursuant to Section 3319.16 of the Revised Code;

WHEREAS, a Referee conducted a public hearing, commencing October 2, 2008 and extending through June 22, 2010, with testimony and evidence offered by Mr. Freshwater and the Board;

WHEREAS, the Referee issued a Report on Friday, January 7, 2011, recommending “the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District … terminate John Freshwater’s contract(s) for “good and just cause;”

WHEREAS the Board adopts the Referee’s Report, finding the following conduct as “good and just cause” under Revised Code Section 3319.16 for the termination of Mr. Freshwater’s teaching contract(s):

§ Mr. Freshwater injected his personal religious beliefs into his plan and pattern of instructing his students. In doing so, he exceeded the bounds of all the pertinent Bylaws/Policies of the Mount Vernon City School District;

§ In 2003, Mr. Freshwater unsuccessfully petitioned the Board to allow him “to critically examine the evidence both for and against evolution.” Despite the Board’s rejection of this proposal, Mr. Freshwater undertook the instruction of his eighth grade science students, as if the suggested policy had been implemented;

§ On more than one occasion, Mr. Freshwater was reminded by his superiors that he must abide by the Bylaws & Policies, as they related to religion in the curriculum;

§ Mr. Freshwater’s “evidence” against evolution was based, in large part, upon the Christian religious principals of Creationism and Intelligent Design;

§ Mr. Freshwater’s use of “against evolution” materials ran afoul of the District’s Bylaws/Policies;

§ Mr. Freshwater used unauthorized handouts to challenge evolution, based in large part upon the Christian religious principals of Creationism and Intelligent Design;

§ Mr. Freshwater used motion pictures (Expelled; No Intelligence Allowed) and videos (the Watchmaker) to challenge evolution, which were based in large part upon the Christian religious principals of Creationism and Intelligent Design;

§ Mr. Freshwater taught his students to use the code word “here” when teaching students to question printed materials from science textbooks, which were approved and provided by the Board;

§ Mr. Freshwater taught his eighth grade students that homosexuality is a sin, so anyone who chooses to be a homosexual is a sinner. Mr. Freshwater also taught his students that science and scientists can be wrong when they declare that there is a genetic predisposition to homosexuality;

§ Mr. Freshwater not only injected his subjective, biased, Christian religion based, non-scientific opinion into the instruction of eighth grade science students but also gave those students reason to doubt the accuracy and or veracity of scientists, science textbooks, and/or science in general;

· Mr. Freshwater acted in defiance of direct instructions and orders of the administrators (Insubordination);

§ Mr. Freshwater was directed to remove or discontinue the display of all religious articles in his classroom, including all posters of a religious nature, and whereas, Mr. Freshwater has failed to comply with that directive and, further, has brought additional religious articles into his classroom, in a direct act of insubordination;

WHEREAS, the Referee’s Report has determined that the multiple incidents described above, in total, represent a sufficient bases/grounds for termination; the Board further determines that each individual action independently constitutes “good and just cause” for the termination of Mr. Freshwater’s teaching contract(s), whether considered individually or jointly;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board terminates any and all employment contracts of Mr. Freshwater with the Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education. The Treasurer shall furnish Mr. Freshwater with written notice, denoting the Board’s termination of his employment contract “for other good and just cause,” in accordance with Ohio Revised Code §3319.16 and the collective bargaining agreement.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Mr. Freshwater’s termination shall take effect at 11:59 p.m. on January 10, 2011.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that it is hereby found and determined that all formal actions of the Board of Education concerning and relating to the adoption of this Resolution were adopted in an open meeting of the Board, and that all deliberations of the Board and any of its committees that resulted in such formal action were open to the public when required by law, in full compliance with the law.

UPON ROLL CALL AND THE PASSAGE OF THE FOREGOING RESOLUTION, the vote was as follows:

Mrs. Paula Barone: Yea

Mrs. Jody Goetzman: Yea

Mrs. Sharon Slane-Fair: Yea

Mr. Steve Thompson: Nay

Dr. Margie Bennett: Yea

The foregoing is a true and correct excerpt from the minutes of a meeting of the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District conducted on January 10, 2011.

90 Comments

I find it disappointing that the Board chose to specifically chastise Freshwater because he “taught his students that science and scientists can be wrong”. In principle, that’s what we should be teaching our kids: the “critical thinking” skills that would let them question scientists and science in general. Obviously, Freshwater was teaching this “skill” incorrectly (substituting religious dogma for actual thinking skills), but I don’t see the fact that he taught that science can be wrong as a “problem”.

My concern is that the wording will simply be a gold mine for the martyr circuit: “See, we told you that people get fired for questioning evilution. Now we have it in black and white.” I think the Board would have much better served the cause by limiting their whereas’es to the facts that Freshwater injected his religious doctrine in place of actual science.

I wonder if Mr. Thompson might have somehow managed to get this wording added to the resolution? If you can’t beat the process, undermine its legitimacy.

Sigh…

Scott F said: I find it disappointing that the Board chose to specifically chastise Freshwater because he “taught his students that science and scientists can be wrong”. In principle, that’s what we should be teaching our kids: the “critical thinking” skills that would let them question scientists and science in general. Obviously, Freshwater was teaching this “skill” incorrectly (substituting religious dogma for actual thinking skills), but I don’t see the fact that he taught that science can be wrong as a “problem”.

This particular item was based in part on the testimony of a former student, who when asked by his siser about dating a rock, based on his experience with Freshwater answered that “Science can’t be trusted. Science can’t teach us anything.”

Sure, the wording might be a gold mine for creationists, but one lives with that in perpetuity in this game.

I’m impressed that the Board chose to include Freshwater’s use of class time to preach about the sins of homosexuality in the laundry list of things he did wrong. I know we as a community have a long way to go with regard to GLBT rights, but this was a nice surprise.

RBH said:

This particular item was based in part on the testimony of a former student, who when asked by his siser about dating a rock, based on his experience with Freshwater answered that “Science can’t be trusted. Science can’t teach us anything.”

Sure, the wording might be a gold mine for creationists, but one lives with that in perpetuity in this game.

Ah, I remember that now. The phrase, “Science can’t teach us anything,” would have certainly been a more damning statement than, “Science can be wrong.” Whether Freshwater explicitly taught that lesson or not, if that’s the message that came across to students, then that is in fact what the students learned.

Again, sigh…

I always found it odd that discussion of the sin of homosexuality was somehow relevant to the discussion of “(critically examining) the evidence both for and against evolution.”

“Mr. Freshwater also taught his students that science and scientists can be wrong when they declare that there is a genetic predisposition to homosexuality;”

I think we all realize that it is virtually impossible to say something that cannot be quote mined.

Any guesses as to whether the Dishonesty Institute puts Freshwater on their martyr’s list of the “Expelled,” or hides, tail between legs, as they did after Dover?

Krubozumo Nyankoye said:

I think we all realize that it is virtually impossible to … be quote mined.

All too easy …

Though I appreciate the decision and its justification I wonder if I have missed something: Didn’t he burn crosses in the skin of children which IMO would have been enough to fire him irrespective of his inappropriate preaching in classes.

I’m wondering about that, too, sparc.

The first ground the Administration advanced for terminating Freshwater was the inappropriate use of the Tesla coil. Prior to this case, the Administration had already dealt with that matter – they told Freshwater to stop it, and Freshwater apparently complied. Thus, the referee did not consider this to be grounds for terminating Freshwater, and so the school board did not include this in its resolution to terminate Freshwater.

While it might well have been appropriate to terminate Freshwater for the Tesla coil “experiments”, that ship had already sailed when the administration told Freshwater to stop rather than moving to terminate him. IANAL, but that’s my understanding of the situation.

sparc said:

Though I appreciate the decision and its justification I wonder if I have missed something: Didn’t he burn crosses in the skin of children which IMO would have been enough to fire him irrespective of his inappropriate preaching in classes.

Freshwater stopped doing that when he was told to stop. These acts were therefore never considered part of the administrative hearings, but (IIRC) were dealt with separately in the Doe vs Freshwater Federal cases.

The Founding Mothers said:

sparc said:

Though I appreciate the decision and its justification I wonder if I have missed something: Didn’t he burn crosses in the skin of children which IMO would have been enough to fire him irrespective of his inappropriate preaching in classes.

Freshwater stopped doing that when he was told to stop. These acts were therefore never considered part of the administrative hearings, but (IIRC) were dealt with separately in the Doe vs Freshwater Federal cases.

Freshwater stopped doing that when he was told to stop. Wow, how good and appropriate of him! If it was MY son the one who received the burning, I would have gone and waited Mr. Freshwater in the parking lot with a propane torch. Why didn’t that action count as an assault? Why an episode (even a single one) of assault is not enough to fire someone on the spot, regardless of his religious views?

A science teacher who tells the class that “Science can’t teach us anything” should be out on their ear faster than a flat-earther geography teacher.

Terenzio the Troll said: Freshwater stopped doing that when he was told to stop. Wow, how good and appropriate of him! If it was MY son the one who received the burning, I would have gone and waited Mr. Freshwater in the parking lot with a propane torch. Why didn’t that action count as an assault?

Because its not a propane torch. The risk of serious harm and the extent of any injury was low enough that the board chose not to try and fire him for it. Like you I disagree with that, but I understand their logic.

As FM said, the Dennis’ brought a civil suit against the Board and Freshwater for this action. And they got a settlement. So evidently the outcome was acceptable to them, else they’d be in court right now.

Why an episode (even a single one) of assault is not enough to fire someone on the spot, regardless of his religious views?

AFAIK no criminal charges were filed, so its not legally assault. The BOE would have had to go after him for something more squishy - something like reckless or irresponsible behavior, or behavior inappropriate in a classroom.

As I said, I tend to agree with you on this behavior being unacceptable, however I do not think it is as cut and dried as you think it is, and I won’t second-guess either the Dennis’ decision to settle or the BOE’s decision to let it go.

eric said:

AFAIK no criminal charges were filed, so its not legally assault. The BOE would have had to go after him for something more squishy - something like reckless or irresponsible behavior, or behavior inappropriate in a classroom.

What should have happened and didn’t was the administration reporting the incident to Children’s Services. Teachers and administrators are “mandatory reporters”–if they suspect child abuse they are legally required to report it. Why that didn’t happen in this case is not at all clear, but I suspect (with some basis) that it was regarded as a classroom demonstration gone awry rather than willful abuse.

eric said:

Because its not a propane torch. The risk of serious harm and the extent of any injury was low enough that the board chose not to try and fire him for it. Like you I disagree with that, but I understand their logic.

True enough, but as I understand it, Freshwater created a coercive environment by pressuring the boy to have the cross burned onto his arm. Teachers have no business doing anything like this, especially when a religious symbol is being used. And didn’t he lie by calling it an X?

Matt G said: True enough, but as I understand it, Freshwater created a coercive environment by pressuring the boy to have the cross burned onto his arm.

RBH seemed to imply in some earlier coverage that the burnees were volunteers.

eric said:

Matt G said: True enough, but as I understand it, Freshwater created a coercive environment by pressuring the boy to have the cross burned onto his arm.

RBH seemed to imply in some earlier coverage that the burnees were volunteers.

They were volunteers, and it was a classroom demonstration that had been done many times by Freshwater. I don’t recall whether other teachers also did that particular exercise.

Its certainly refreshing to see local school board members actually defending science rather than trying to figure out how to inject their personal religious beliefs into classroom instruction.

Thanks Richard for your continuing fine efforts in bringing us the full story. Also, thanks to the BOE (4 out of 5 of them anyway) for doing the right thing and firing John Freshwater. Unfortunately we can’t let our guard down for, as Richard has mentioned previously, there are others in our public school system who share Freshwater’s agenda although they might not be as open about it as he was.

RBH said:

eric said:

Matt G said: True enough, but as I understand it, Freshwater created a coercive environment by pressuring the boy to have the cross burned onto his arm.

RBH seemed to imply in some earlier coverage that the burnees were volunteers.

They were volunteers, and it was a classroom demonstration that had been done many times by Freshwater. I don’t recall whether other teachers also did that particular exercise.

K-12 teachers in the State of Ohio can lose licenses for all sorts of things. That is one of the reasons the OEA advises high school teachers not to even have facebook pages.

IMO, the District screwed up big time in not seeking termination for that specific offense.

That said, in retrospect my understanding of his other behavior was not clear. After reading the referee’s report and the termination motion, the long history now makes more sense to me.

Still, the District had a responsibility to take corrective action long ago. I still think the guy’s lawyer did a poor job.

Christian religious principals of Creationism and Intelligent Design;

1) “principals”? I presume they’re not talking about the school supervisors.

2) If I were writing this, I wouldn’t have specified Christian, but would have said something like “his personal” religious principles.

But, aside from those quibbles, it is pleasing to see that ID is recognized as being religious.

TomS said: Christian religious principals of Creationism and Intelligent Design;

1) “principals”? I presume they’re not talking about the school supervisors.

That’s a wonderful quote (if the typo is fixed), but I bet the Dishonesty Institute is already crafting a response claiming that intelligent design creationism is science, not religion.

Paul Burnett said: … but I bet the Dishonesty Institute is already crafting a response claiming that intelligent design creationism is science, not religion.

Curse you, I had to go over to EN&V and check. In reference to your conjecture the answer is “not yet”, but the nonstop whining there continues at high RPM. Even if by some unusual coincidence they said something I agreed with, it would still sound like a dental drill.

RBH seemed to imply in some earlier coverage that the burnees were volunteers.

Doesn’t matter. Suicide bombers are usually young volunteers. Children are very impressionable and adults need to be aware of this fact and not exploit it.

So, the public hearing commenced October 2, 2008 and extended through June 22, 2010. Freshwater was formally dismissed effective January 10, 2011. Has he been on paid leave all this time, will he collect any money from the school, or not?

DavidK said:

So, the public hearing commenced October 2, 2008 and extended through June 22, 2010. Freshwater was formally dismissed effective January 10, 2011. Has he been on paid leave all this time, will he collect any money from the school, or not?

Not. He was suspended without pay in June 2008, though the District paid for his health insurance until the termination resolution was passed on Jan 10, 2011.

Nobody can volunteer for anything without full, informed consent. Prior to zapping any student with any electronic device, there should have been a full disclosure to the child’s legal guardians about the risks of potential harm to a student if he/she participates in a “scientific” demonstration, and the consent would need to come from the guardian. May we please now dismiss, forever, any notion that the cross-burning was anything other than reckless, at best (or abuse, at worst), and that it should have been reported to the police as suspected child abuse?

Nobody can volunteer for anything without full, informed consent. Prior to zapping any student with any electronic device, there should have been a full disclosure to the child’s legal guardians about the risks of potential harm to a student if he/she participates in a “scientific” demonstration, and the consent would need to come from the guardian. May we please now dismiss, forever, any notion that the cross-burning was anything other than reckless, at best (or abuse, at worst), and that it should have been reported to the police as suspected child abuse?

Not even parents should be able to grant permission to burn their own children.

50% of the US population have IQs less than 100.

I see what you did there.

;)

MaryM said:

Hey RBH!

Commentors on KnoxPages.com (Knox County, Ohio) are saying that Freshwater released an audio statement regarding his termination on radio WMVO yesterday.

[SNIP]

I haven’t been able find a recording of the statement on WMVO’s website.

AFAIK WMVO doesn’t archive its audio.

raven Wrote:

We can live with 20-30% of the population as YECs.

It’s actually probably less than that already. ~40% give the common answer “humans created in their present form in the last 10K years.” But that includes OECs and people thinking “souls, not cells,” who would be theistic evolutionists if they gave it more than 5 minutes’ thought. And most of the rest would likely be Omphalos creationists if they knew of the option. Only a small % insists that the evidence favors a young earth. And that probably includes many who know it ain’t so but are on a mission to save the world.

The big problem to me is that as much as 75% of the public thinks that it’s fair to “teach the controversy” in science class. And that % will not likely decrease, and could even increase if we continue to let the scammers get away with “don’t ask, don’t tell what the designer did when.”

Of the 20-30% that are hopeless evolution deniers (not all YE varieties), I “can live with them” too. They’re really not a factor, because nothing we or the scammers say will change their minds. It’s the other ~50%, ~1/2 of whom accept evolution (or what they think is evolution) that I’m concerned about. So far we are not competing well with the misleading sound bites of the scammers, and their unwitting accomplices in the media.

~40% give the common answer “humans created in their present form in the last 10K years.”

Let’s say you disagree with this. So when would you say that humans were “created in their present form?” There would seem to be certain assumptions buried in this statement…

Flint said:

~40% give the common answer “humans created in their present form in the last 10K years.”

Let’s say you disagree with this. So when would you say that humans were “created in their present form?” There would seem to be certain assumptions buried in this statement…

That’s the point. There are lots of ways to interpret that statement, and each carries a different set of assumptions. Some TEs think that a recent insertion of souls (knowledge of good and evil, etc.) indicates the “present form,” and answer accordingly. And many of those TEs, and OECs who choose that answer, see the “10K” as just a “long time ago” and would probably answer the same if it were “1 million.”

TEs who know a little science and math will choose the “God used evolution” answer. IOW that the “present form” was created gradually, and was “complete” much longer than 10K years ago.

BTW, most people who take the poll have heard many times to “choose the closest answer to yours even if it’s not an exact match,” and do just that. Which makes it quite interesting when I often ask evolution-deniers on these boards to take a best guess at the age of life (not Earth), and whether humans share common ancestors with other species. A slight majority refuse to answer even when I ask 2-3 times. Unlike most people who take those polls, they are painfully aware of the hopeless confusion, disagreement and cover-up among proponents of several mutually-contradictory anti-evolution positions.

Freshwater should not be terminated because he questions so-called scientists who “declare” a genetic predisposition for homosexuality. What Freshwater meant was that engaging in homosexual acts is a sin. He has a right to air that belief, even in school. By the way, is the school board supposed to be politically correct in the subject of homosexuality? Of course, Freshwater should be terminated for espousing Biblical creationism and teaching that evolution is false, but not because he is politically incorrect about sex.

Here is proof that firing a teacher will not alone help the issue in Mt. Vernon Ohio. In a blog on AIG a professor admits that in Sunday school she teaches that what her students learn in science class, in school, is wrong. Do people really wonder why kids are confused????

“Scientists and Science Should Not Be Questioned According to a Local School Board ShareThisPublished on January 18, 2011 in Education and Science. For several years the Mount Vernon (Ohio) local school board has been dealing with a case involving an eighth grade science teacher, Mr. John Freshwater. Mr. Freshwater has been accused of many things, but most of the accusations focus on his Christianity and desire to teach students alternatives to evolution such as Intelligent Design. When I was a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, I can remember the case starting, and I spoke on behalf of Mr. Freshwater at a school board meeting. Since that time the case has grown to epic proportions, and although I have not been directly involved, I have kept current on the litigation (see here, here, here and here for more information).

The case finally came to a sad close last week with the Mount Vernon school board firing Mr. Freshwater. I read with interest the resolutions put forth by the school board for firing Mr. Freshwater. One resolution stated the following:

Mr. Freshwater taught his eighth grade students that homosexuality is a sin, so anyone who chooses to be a homosexual is a sinner. Mr. Freshwater also taught his students that science and scientists can be wrong when they declare that there is a genetic predisposition to homosexuality;

While I agree that homosexuality is a sin according to Scripture (Romans 1:24–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; Revelation 21:8), I want to focus on the second half of this resolution. Basically, it states that students should not be taught that science and scientists can be wrong regarding the “genetics” of homosexuality. I know for a fact that the school board cannot present evidence from the primary scientific literature showing a definitive link between genetics and homosexuality because I have researched the topic myself and know that such evidence is lacking. No definitive conclusions have ever been made linking particular genes or alterations of genes to homosexuality. Either the school board did not do the appropriate research or they desire to be politically correct more than scientifically correct.

Another resolution stated this:

Mr. Freshwater not only injected his subjective, biased, Christian religion based, non-scientific opinion into the instruction of eighth grade science students but also gave those students reason to doubt the accuracy and or veracity of scientists, science textbooks, and/or science in general;

But many science teachers all over the U.S. inject their subjective, biased, humanist-religion-based, non-scientific opinion into the classroom all the time—and instead of being fired, they keep their jobs and even get promoted! According to the school board’s resolution, students shouldn’t doubt the accuracy and veracity of scientists, science textbooks, and science. Do we really want our children to walk away from their science classrooms thinking that it is wrong to question the scientific establishment and just accept whatever the scientific experts say? Absolutely not!

Good observational/operational science is based on the principles of questioning and attempting to falsify scientific findings. Where would we be today in our understanding and treatment of disease if we had just accepted from the scientists of the past that disease was caused by bad air or “vapors”? We needed scientists like Louis Pasteur to question and falsify these ideas. Pasteur used the technology of his day to understand that some diseases are caused by bacteria and developed ways to prevent diseases through vaccination.

Good historical science is based on correct knowledge of the past. The Bible provides this knowledge as it is the history book of the universe; any ideas about the past apart from the Bible are simply based on the opinion of man who was not there.

It should not surprise us that the math and science scores of students in the U.S. are miserably low if this is what the public school system is teaching in regard to science. Parents, no matter what choice you make in regards to the education of your children—home, Christian, or public school—you have a responsibility to teach them the truth about science beginning with God’s Word. I also encourage Sunday school teachers and youth pastors to make sure that you are teaching the truth on these issues in the church. Be sure to check out some of our great resources.

I teach Sunday school for first through third grade, and over the next few weeks we’ll be discussing dinosaurs, radiometric dating methods, natural selection, and mutations. I teach them that what they learn in public school in regard to historical science concerning these ideas is not the truth. I teach them how to defend their faith and give answers from a young age starting with the Bible. One of the second-grade girls in my class told me that one of her classmates said he didn’t believe in God and that she didn’t know what to say in response. Hopefully, our lessons together will equip her with the answers.

I encourage you to pray for Mr. Freshwater and others like him who truly are missionaries in our public school system.”

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/b[…]-questioned/

That “professor” is Georgia Purdom, formerly of the biology department at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University but now a full-time employee of Ken Ham. She publicly supported Freshwater’s 2003 effort to stuff Intelligent Design Network’s “Objective Origins Policy” into the Mt. Vernon public schools’ science curriculum.

That said, the termination resolution was badly worded in several places.

RBH said:

That said, the termination resolution was badly worded in several places.

Too bad, considering they had over two years to write it. Unless of course they could’t read the writing on the wall.

B. A. Rainey said:

Freshwater should not be terminated because he questions so-called scientists who “declare” a genetic predisposition for homosexuality. What Freshwater meant was that engaging in homosexual acts is a sin. He has a right to air that belief, even in school…

Uh..No.

He can not, before his class, declare that something to be sin based on his religion. Sorry.

For instance, murder is wrong, and can be taught as wrong based on rights deprived, tradition and so on – but NOT “because the Bible says it’s wrong”.

Freshwater’s basis for calling homosexuality a “sin” was his religious beliefs. Thus his statements were out of line.

Do any of you realize that we’re taking it too far the other direction. We’re asked to blindly accept science when in fact science, on many occasions, has been as wrong as we all claim religion is. Science is becoming its own sort of religion.

Also as a high school science teacher, I have heard kids say “science doesn’t teach us anything” more than once. What a kid thinks a teacher is teaching/saying and what a teacher is actually teaching/saying are sometimes two different things.

Don’t get me wrong, he should have been fired for a number of things, but let’s be careful not to take this too far the other way or out of context.

JDHalfrack said:

Do any of you realize that we’re taking it too far the other direction. We’re asked to blindly accept science when in fact science, on many occasions, has been as wrong as we all claim religion is. Science is becoming its own sort of religion.

Straight out of DI talking points…Sounds logical, but competent teachers don’t ask them to blindly accept science, but also don’t confuse them with thoroughly disproven “arguments”.

Scientists have been wrong – but “science” gets corrected by actual adherence to the scientific method. Not wild speculation.

Your terminology of “science” being wrong leads me to believe you have little any actual knowledge of scientific endeavor. I sure hope you aren’t a teacher, or at least teach PE or something…

Also as a high school science teacher…

Damn

JDHalfrack said:

Do any of you realize that we’re taking it too far the other direction. We’re asked to blindly accept science when in fact science, on many occasions, has been as wrong as we all claim religion is. Science is becoming its own sort of religion.

No one is ever asked to blindly accept anything in science. But it works both ways. You cannot blindly ignore all of the findings of science either.

A good teacher will present the scientific method, where the evidence is more important than the conclusions. Freshwater never gave his students a chance to find out how science really works, he was too busy denigrating it. That is how he cheated his students. That is why he should have been fired.

No one claimed that science was always right or that religion was always wrong. Even if that were true, it still wouldn’t be correct to blindly substitute one for the other, especially when you you are paid to teach one and not the other.

No competent teacher - none - asks students to take current scientific theories blindly, nor to treat them akin to holy writ. I take it that you do not teach high school science?

JDHalfrack said:

Do any of you realize that we’re taking it too far the other direction. We’re asked to blindly accept science when in fact science, on many occasions, has been as wrong as we all claim religion is. Science is becoming its own sort of religion.

Also as a high school science teacher, I have heard kids say “science doesn’t teach us anything” more than once. What a kid thinks a teacher is teaching/saying and what a teacher is actually teaching/saying are sometimes two different things.

Don’t get me wrong, he should have been fired for a number of things, but let’s be careful not to take this too far the other way or out of context.

Malchus said:

No competent teacher - none - asks students to take current scientific theories blindly, nor to treat them akin to holy writ. I take it that you do not teach high school science?

So, we’ve got one new poster claiming its perfectly okay for public school science teachers to discuss their position on sin in class. We’ve got a second admitting she teaches kids in sunday school that mainstream science is all wrong.

And then along comes a third who says he’s with us, but tells us the real problem is that its us scientists who are going too far. Uh huh.

I’m inclined to agree with you Malchus; my guess is they all decided to come over and post together.

raven said: 50% of the US population have IQs less than 100.

Actually if you are basing your evidence upon IQs you do realize that it means that we have been collectively getting smarter. The baseline of IQ tests have changed.

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

eric said:

Malchus said:

No competent teacher - none - asks students to take current scientific theories blindly, nor to treat them akin to holy writ. I take it that you do not teach high school science?

So, we’ve got one new poster claiming its perfectly okay for public school science teachers to discuss their position on sin in class. We’ve got a second admitting she teaches kids in sunday school that mainstream science is all wrong.

And then along comes a third who says he’s with us, but tells us the real problem is that its us scientists who are going too far. Uh huh.

I’m inclined to agree with you Malchus; my guess is they all decided to come over and post together.

This reminds me of a passage in Tim Berra’s Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, Stanford University Press 1990,

“Several scientist colleagues who read this book in one of its sixteen drafts admonished me to tone down the bluntness of my statements on creationism, fearing that I might alienate otherwise receptive readers. But it seems to me that scientists have, for too long, treaded too lightly on the creationists, and have thereby fostered the impression that the creationists are a legitimate scientific voice. It is time for candor and clarity.” Preface, pg ix

John Vanko said:

This reminds me of a passage in Tim Berra’s Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, Stanford University Press 1990,

“Several scientist colleagues who read this book in one of its sixteen drafts admonished me to tone down the bluntness of my statements on creationism, fearing that I might alienate otherwise receptive readers. But it seems to me that scientists have, for too long, treaded too lightly on the creationists, and have thereby fostered the impression that the creationists are a legitimate scientific voice. It is time for candor and clarity.” Preface, pg ix

Throughout the 1970s and early 80s the creationists were practically running amok. They had almost unrestricted access to national and local newspapers, campuses around the country (they were taunting high profile scientists to debate them), and the news media in general gave them pretty much a free pass. The challenges to them were too local and uncoordinated; and even these tended to be discouraged by one’s colleagues.

It wasn’t until the National Center for Science Education was finally formed that much of the scientific debunking became more coordinated and public. Up until that time, most of us were getting our reports of creationist activities from Science and going it alone in our local communities.

I am a sixty year old man and I am still working out the fear and prejudice that I was fully indoctrinated into starting with my dedication to God by my adoptive parents at 5 days of life. We lived next door. to my uber Pentecostal grandparents whom I dearly loved and wanted to please. We attended church faithfully not two services a week but three plus Sunday school. At nine or ten I became a royal ranger a scouting type organization that we were introduced to by my Grandparents Assembly of God church. The work books and awards were all geared to indoctrinate one in a very literalist view of scripture. Heaven and hell were very real to us and reasoned speech was to be suspect, It wasn’t real preaching and teaching unless it was shouted at you. From the first grade until third grade I attended a Lutheran Grade school but my parents decided the tuition was to much of an expense when my grades were plummeting . That was a shock attending public school but it was for the better. I didn’t have so much home work and I could get in a little street baseball with the neighborhood kids. I rebelled in my teen years and early adult hood After all it was the 60’s. Then I found myself with children to raise and mortgage to pay and realized that I was drawn back to my roots with its simple answers and comfortable, reassuring support and comradery. Then came the Internet and after trying to converse with people on boards and things. And especially with younger collage folk that were savvy to the rules of debate I discovered that the philosophies and doctrines I had believed all my life to be the most righteous and benevolent world view, to be fallible errant, corrupt and utterly indefensible. Unfortunate for my children they ran to the same place they watched their Dad run in time of trouble. Two of them are solidly indoctrinated and cannot reason. For myself I still enjoy scripture study but approach it as any literature and I have reached the point that I can approach it skeptically and not feel guilty. As to the professor being banned I believe it to be perfectly correct and necessary. The fundamentalist evangelical are convinced that to squander an opportunity to use an influential position to further the work of the kingdom of God would be tantamount to denying Christ before men. A charge that carries the stiff punitive measure of Jesus denying the offender before the Father (God) and without Jesus as your vouguesafe you are before a wrathful God with all your naked sin! It sounds like Mr. Freshwater had many more things to think through beside his indoctrination and droning for Jesus. He shows a major lack of judgment and a propensity to scientific lab equipment inappropriately from both a safety and influential overstepping and undercutting of the parents rightful authority. Everything possible must be done to keep peer approved science fact in the classroom and religious conjecture and dogma out!

This whole Freshwater matter is disgusting. To think that in this day and age the primitive superstition of Bronze Age goat-herders can guide people’s professional and more importantly moral decisions is horrible. I think we can lay this on-going situation squarely at the door of ‘Noble Lie’ elites and pure opportunists who see more to gain out of keeping the common man stupid than raising him up.

However I also think that previous posters have made too much over the so-called ‘burning’. If this matter were divourced from its religious context I doubt there would be any uproar. I recall many demonstrations from my youth involving alcohol, rockets, acids, etc there were far more potentially harmful than this. The old example of holding a dollar bill or some other object covered in pure alcohol comes to mind. I think that some of this is the incredible level of insurance-based stifling mollycoddling that goes on with kids today. Talking with my nephews, just about everything that was fun or interesting that I did as a kid in the 70s would be illegal or an insurance risk these days. That includes all the home chemistry, rocketry, and cherry-bomb type kits of the day that inspired me to learn more as I matured. Are kids today so much softer than I was? Life is a risk and it is harmful to raise an entire generation of wimps who can’t do anything without a dozen protective safeguards and parental consent and liability forms. State regulation and the insurance industry is robbing an entire generation of their rightful heritage as youth.

State regulation and the insurance industry is robbing an entire generation of their rightful heritage as youth.

I would argue that these things are effects and not causes. The causes are subtle and run much deeper.

Insurance rates rise when courts and juries award large settlements to litigants. Regulation generally exists to protect the regulated, who constitute the only really important constituency to regulatory agencies. Litigation is pursued largely because huge sums ARE awarded.

Much of this is closely related to the “deep pockets” school of equality - that anytime anyone is injured, SOMEONE must be found to pay for it, because being injured shouldn’t happen. There is a national sense that everyone should be protected not only from their own carelessness, but from the realization that it often IS their own carelessness.

I think the current direction is toward minimizing risk, but that we haven’t yet developed any clear line between avoiding unnecessary risk, and eliminating ALL risk. I think when asked, people can understand the relationship between risk and reward, and that nothing can be gained if nothing is ventured for fear of loss. Perhaps this is inevitable in a nation of wealthy and comfortable people - we have a great deal more to lose than to gain, and all directions from the summit lead down. So we circle our wagons and struggle not to gain, already did that, but rather to avoid losing.

(And I agree that physically, the arm-burning was no big deal. As an initiation into a religious cult, it was powerful.)

This particular item was based in part on the testimony of a former student, who when asked by his siser about dating a rock, based on his experience with Freshwater answered that “Science can’t be trusted. Science can’t teach us anything.”

Everyone attacked Sen. Rick Santorum for saying that gay marriage and evolution would lead to man-on-dog marriage and other End Times stuff. Here, we find a student’s sister, probably underage, asking her brother if it’s okay to date a mineral! And this is as a consequence of “science” and “evolution.” When you have girls romancing inanimate objects, isn’t it time to say the secularization has gone far enough, no more?

Marion Delgado said:

Everyone attacked Sen. Rick Santorum for saying that gay marriage and evolution would lead to man-on-dog marriage and other End Times stuff. Here, we find a student’s sister, probably underage, asking her brother if it’s okay to date a mineral! And this is as a consequence of “science” and “evolution.” When you have girls romancing inanimate objects, isn’t it time to say the secularization has gone far enough, no more?

[Groan]

RBH said:

Scott F said: I find it disappointing that the Board chose to specifically chastise Freshwater because he “taught his students that science and scientists can be wrong”.

The full text of that statement includes the important part of his statement: “when they declare that there is a genetic predisposition to homosexuality”. In other words, he’s selectively targeting specific ideas to cast unreasonable doubt upon. If he had taught that scientists may be wrong in a generic case, then he would have a point. But by declaring that it’s only on specific issues, he’s flat out wrong.

Whatever happened to the First Amendment? Let alone science? Teaching Creation is 100% science! More so than just teaching evolution as unadulterated fact! If you only teach evolution you’re not teaching the best part of science, thinking! By teaching the other view, which mind you agrees with all scientific laws known to man (Which something from nothing is the ultimate against.), you’re teaching them how to think for themselves, and that is a very important skill that’s lacking these days. Not to mention, by saying you can’t disagree with scientists or science is the opposite of what science is for, you can’t have science without disagreements. These idiots who fired him need to get their act together…

Jon Voisey said:

RBH said:

Scott F said: I find it disappointing that the Board chose to specifically chastise Freshwater because he “taught his students that science and scientists can be wrong”.

The full text of that statement includes the important part of his statement: “when they declare that there is a genetic predisposition to homosexuality”. In other words, he’s selectively targeting specific ideas to cast unreasonable doubt upon. If he had taught that scientists may be wrong in a generic case, then he would have a point. But by declaring that it’s only on specific issues, he’s flat out wrong.

Ever heard of examples? Darwinists never understand them. He might’ve been teaching the genetics of homosexuality as one such case, an EXAMPLE.

Ben said:

Whatever happened to the First Amendment? Let alone science? Teaching Creation is 100% science! More so than just teaching evolution as unadulterated fact! If you only teach evolution you’re not teaching the best part of science, thinking! By teaching the other view, which mind you agrees with all scientific laws known to man (Which something from nothing is the ultimate against.), you’re teaching them how to think for themselves, and that is a very important skill that’s lacking these days. Not to mention, by saying you can’t disagree with scientists or science is the opposite of what science is for, you can’t have science without disagreements. These idiots who fired him need to get their act together…

Creationism is not science, it’s lying in the service of an imaginary sociopath. You and your cult are full of shit, and you know it.

Oh, and thanks for admitting that creationists openly support child abuse. We all knew it long ago, but the fact that you’re defending filth like freshwater proves you’re not only frauds, you’re monsters.

Ben said:

Whatever happened to the First Amendment? Let alone science? Teaching Creation is 100% science! More so than just teaching evolution as unadulterated fact! If you only teach evolution you’re not teaching the best part of science, thinking! By teaching the other view, which mind you agrees with all scientific laws known to man (Which something from nothing is the ultimate against.), you’re teaching them how to think for themselves, and that is a very important skill that’s lacking these days. Not to mention, by saying you can’t disagree with scientists or science is the opposite of what science is for, you can’t have science without disagreements. These idiots who fired him need to get their act together…

The United States Supreme Court, as well as every lower court that has been involved, has decided that the Constitution says exactly the opposite of what you claim. Deal with it.

No one is teaching evolution as “unadulterated fact”. That’s what creationist do, not scientists. Every real science teacher should already be teaching critical thinking, so your whining is misplaced.

Teaching evolution is teaching the best part of science, since it is the most validated, most predictive and most explanatory theory in the history of science. Deal with it.

If by “the other view” you mean creationism, then no, it doesn’t agree with all natural laws, it requires supernatural intervention, so no, it isn’t science. That’s just a lie.

Evolution doesn’t mean “something from nothing”, nor does it break any natural laws. That’s just creationist lies again.

Of course you can’t have science without disagreements. But when the evidence is collected and there is a scientific consensus, high school science teachers can’t just ignore all of the evidence in order to preach to their class in place of science. That’s illegal.

The people who fired Freshwater fired him because of insubordination and because he broke the law. He got what he deserved. If your god disagrees, he had his chance to do something about it.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 11, 2011 5:34 PM.

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