Freshwater: Memo opposing reconsideration

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The Mt. Vernon Board of Education’s attorneys have filed a memo in opposition to John Freshwater’s motion to the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider his case. The memo essentially argues that Freshwater has nothing new in his motion for reconsideration, no new evidence or arguments, but is merely a rehash of his previous claims, and therefore it should be denied. It argues on the same grounds on which the Court made its decision, that the case for Freshwater’s insubordination is sufficient by itself to uphold Freshwater’s termination.

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The memo essentially argues that Freshwater has nothing new in his motion for reconsideration, no new evidence or arguments, but is merely a rehash of his previous claims

Reminds me of a “scientific theory” that he taught, as well.

Repeating ancient tripe seems to be their grand strategy.

Glen Davidson

Sensuous Curmudgeon recommended that we read the Krazy Kansas Kreationist Komplaint starting at page 37, so I did so.

A few points stand out:

1. The creationists say Intelligent Design must be taught [p. 38, 39, 41, 47], even though it was defeated at Dover, but they don’t call it “Intelligent Design”. Instead, they have coined still new phrases to describe ID. This is their “Plan B” as you predicted. For examples, see my Appendix, below.

2. They several times oppose teaching evolution or environmental issues because critical thinking by students is bad and they should not be allowed to make up their own minds [p. 43-4, 47, 51], but in at least one instance, demand teaching the “weakness” of TOE because critical thinking is good and students should be allowed to make up their own minds [p.37].

3. They say evolution is a religious belief of the religion of what they consistently call ‘Religious (“Secular”) Humanism’, which is an oxymoron, as “secular” by definition means not religious. However, as Josh Rosenau of NCSE documents, John Calvert, the litigious head of IDnet, has in the past written in his legal claims, and used as a legal argument, that secular humanism is NOT a religion. Rosenau, helpfully, also tots up previous court decisions where judges explicitly rejected the argument that evolution is a religion.

Calvert of IDnet, 2005:

secular humanism and other broad concepts that generate religious implications have been held to not constitute a ‘religion’ for establishment clause purposes. Furthermore, the courts have ruled that the establishment clause is not violated simply ‘because the material to be taught happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions.’” [John Calvert, in his 2005 “legal opinion” to the Kansas Board of Education]

So secular humanism is a religion when that means you have to give equal time to creationism, and secular humanism is not a religion when that means you have to give equal time to creationism.

4. They demand children be taught that evolutionary theory is not based on logic or evidence, but on assumptions only:

…we believe the Framework and Standards must (1) describe methods of testing historical hypotheses in historical sciences by seeking the best of competing explanations, (2) state the fact that this method is not generally used in the development of unguided evolutionary explanations about the origin of life and its diversity, as MN rules out the competition by assumption rather than by the evidence, and (3) include a showing of the evidence that would be considered but for the use of MN, and (4) describe how that evidence would affect the plausibility of the evolutionary explanations. Unless this kind of objectivity is required, then the effect of the NGSS will… inexorably lead children… to accept the atheistic view of how life is related to the world…” [p.40-1].

And that:

“students must also be informed of the evidence and alternative explanations that are excluded by the assumption [of MN] so that they acquire a genuine appreciation and understanding of its [MN’s] overall effect.” [p.39]

By MN’s “overall effect” they mean that children must be taught that evolution is plausible only by assuming atheism and evolution is not supported by any evidence.

This is what they mean by teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution.

5. Demand a McCarthy-like list of the religious identity of everyone who worked on the standards in any capacity, and they attack the whole National Academy of Science [NAS] and Eugenie Scott in particular as damn atheists:

“The religious beliefs of the Committee are not disclosed. Given the religious nature of the Framework and Standards it would be helpful to children, parents and taxpayers to know more about the religious beliefs of the Framework Committee and those who assisted with its development. …a number of the members of the committee are members of the [National] Academy [of Science]. A study …shows that ninety-three percent of Academy respondents disbelieved (72.2%) or doubted (20.8%) the existence of a “personal god.”4 Thus, nearly 92% of the Academy might be classified as sympathetic to the tenets of Religious (“Secular”) Humanism. Indeed, one of the major contributors to the Framework, Eugenie Scott, who is the CEO of the National Center for Science Education, is a signatory to Manifesto III and has been listed among the top 50 Atheists in the country.” [p. 43]

6. Say that NOT indoctrinating kids into their religion is the same as attacking their religion and promoting atheism:

“A word search of both the Framework and the Standards for the word “religion” results in a “not found” response. …Thus, the Framework and Standards studiously ignore the religious rights of parents, children and taxpayers. Instead, the document explicitly…promotes an atheistic worldview.” [p. 43]

7. They define Methodological Naturalism [MN] as mandating by definition that

“only atheistic or unintelligent cause explanations are permitted. MN requires that all evidence of an intelligent cause be ignored or somehow attributed to a natural cause” [p. 39]

an outright lie, since archaeologists and anthropologists can attribute artifacts to intelligent human creators using conventional (non-ooga booga) methodology.

They repeatedly demand that their false definition of Methodological Naturalism be clearly defined exactly the way they demand it be defined, in the text and in a Glossary (the demand for a Glossary with definitions of words like “Intelligent Design”, written by them, is repeated ad nauseum).

Here are examples of the new, 2013 code words for creationism, used in the Krazy Kansas Kreationist Komplaint:

1. Creationism Code Word #1: “evidence that leads to a logical inference of purposeful design in nature”

“The [Framework and Standards] omit evidence that conflicts with the materialistic assumption of methodological naturalism, including evidence that leads to a logical inference of purposeful design in nature.” [p. 47]

2. Creationism Code Word #2: “Evidence which is inconsistent with the unguided materialistic assumption of MN and which supports the idea that the apparent design of many aspects of the natural world may be real”

Evidence which is inconsistent with the unguided materialistic assumption of MN and which supports the idea that the apparent design of many aspects of the natural world may be real is not included [in the NGSS]. Some of this evidence (none of which appears in the Framework or Standards) is summarized below:…

…This phenomenon [Fine Tuning of laws of physics] suggests that the universe itself and its matter, energy and forces have been “fine-tuned” or “designed” for life.“ [p. 41]

There then follows the usual creashit arguments: mutations are always harmful, bullprob (Hoyle’s fallacy), genetic code is a language, macroevolution is controversial, fine tuning, etc.

3. Creationism Code Word #3: “evidence that would be considered but for the use of MN”; or “evidence and alternative explanations that are excluded by the assumption” of Methodological Naturalism.

“…we believe the Framework and Standards must (1) describe methods of testing historical hypotheses in historical sciences by seeking the best of competing explanations, (2) state the fact that this method is not generally used in the development of unguided evolutionary explanations about the origin of life and its diversity, as MN rules out the competition by assumption rather than by the evidence, and (3) include a showing of the evidence that would be considered but for the use of MN, and (4) describe how that evidence would affect the plausibility of the evolutionary explanations. Unless this kind of objectivity is required, then the effect of the NGSS will… inexorably lead children… to accept the atheistic view of how life is related to the world in which it is lived.” [p.40-41]

and

“Children should be informed that MN [Methodological Naturalism] is being used in the historical and life sciences and that there is a significant body of evidence that conflicts with its materialistic assumption. Many recognized scientists believe it should be abandoned in certain areas of historical science, where it impedes rather than aids open-minded inquiry.

The assumption of materialism (MN) is incompatible with science education that must respect the religious rights of children, parents and taxpayers. The effect of MN is to lead children to accept atheistic explanations of the origin and nature of life, rather than to question them.

Not only must use of this assumption be explained, students must also be informed of the evidence and alternative explanations that are excluded by the assumption [of MN] so that they acquire a genuine appreciation and understanding of its [MN’s] overall effect. The Framework and Standards do none of this. Instead, while using the assumption, they effectively hide its use.” [p.39]

4. Creationism Code Word #4: “competing or alternative viewpoints that lead to differing religious implications and inferences”

“The State may satisfy its First Amendment obligations by excluding religious subject matter from the curriculum. It can also include the [religious] subject matter if it does so objectively and in a neutral manner… This may be accomplished… [through] programs that inform students of the competing or alternative viewpoints that lead to differing religious implications and inferences. Neutrality may also be achieved through an objective consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of explanations that support a particular religious viewpoint… the Framework and Standards address religious questions and then provide Atheistic/materialistic explanations in a manner that is not likely to produce a religiously neutral effect.” [p. 38]

Here they concede that Intelligent Design is a religious belief.

… the Framework and Standards address religious questions and then provide Atheistic/materialistic explanations in a manner that is not likely to produce a religiously neutral effect.” [p. 38]

I presume that by seeking “to produce a religiously neutral effect”, the “neutral effect” they want is one that agrees with a specific literal reading of the Christian Bible.

I especially like the very first part, at page 1:

… the Framework and Standards … will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview (the “Worldview”) in violation of the Establishment, Free Exercise, and Speech Clauses of the First Amendment…

Since “religious” means believing in “religion”, and “religion” is defined as, “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods”, and since “theism” means, “belief in the existence of a god or gods”, it would seem that a “non-theistic religion” is an oxymoron.

Yes, yes. “Buddhism”. But I don’t believe that they believe that qualifies as a “religion”.

Well, Duh. Most Buddhists don’t have a problem with Evolution…

Scott F said:

Since “religious” means believing in “religion”, and “religion” is defined as, “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods”, and since “theism” means, “belief in the existence of a god or gods”, it would seem that a “non-theistic religion” is an oxymoron.

Yes, yes. “Buddhism”. But I don’t believe that they believe that qualifies as a “religion”.

I’ve been to China and Tibet, and the Buddhism in Tibet in particular was highly theistic and superstitious. They have many superstitions, ideas about gods and demons, and magic. I liked the Tibetans, but the monks, however picturesque, make money from superstitions.

diogeneslamp0 said:

Scott F said:

Since “religious” means believing in “religion”, and “religion” is defined as, “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods”, and since “theism” means, “belief in the existence of a god or gods”, it would seem that a “non-theistic religion” is an oxymoron.

Yes, yes. “Buddhism”. But I don’t believe that they believe that qualifies as a “religion”.

I’ve been to China and Tibet, and the Buddhism in Tibet in particular was highly theistic and superstitious. They have many superstitions, ideas about gods and demons, and magic. I liked the Tibetans, but the monks, however picturesque, make money from superstitions.

Tibetan Buddhism is a religion, given as how it merged almost completely with the indigenous Animism of Pre-Buddhism Tibet.

Buddhism is either or or both a religion and a philosophy, depending on who you ask and where you ask.

Buddhism as originally proposed by Siddhārtha Gautama is a philosophy, preferring to focus on meditation and seeking to relieve the suffering of others. Buddhism in Tibet, as I mentioned earlier, mutated into a religion. Chinese/Korean/Japanese Buddhism can be either a religion or a philosophy, as many Buddhist arhats are worshiped as Taoist deities.

Scott F said:

… the Framework and Standards address religious questions and then provide Atheistic/materialistic explanations in a manner that is not likely to produce a religiously neutral effect.” [p. 38]

I presume that by seeking “to produce a religiously neutral effect”, the “neutral effect” they want is one that agrees with a specific literal reading of the Christian Bible.

I especially like the very first part, at page 1:

… the Framework and Standards … will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview (the “Worldview”) in violation of the Establishment, Free Exercise, and Speech Clauses of the First Amendment…

Since “religious” means believing in “religion”, and “religion” is defined as, “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods”, and since “theism” means, “belief in the existence of a god or gods”, it would seem that a “non-theistic religion” is an oxymoron.

Yes, yes. “Buddhism”. But I don’t believe that they believe that qualifies as a “religion”.

Jainism would be a much better example of a “non-theistic religion,” as they don’t venerate any supernatural entities, while having established a complex cosmology about souls and reincarnation.

evidence that leads to a logical inference of purposeful design in nature.

note, it says logical, not rational.

you can indeed have an irrational, but logically consistent statement. Creationism was never rational, but if you twist it like a balloon animal, you can indeed force it to be internally logical.

Buddhism as originally proposed by Siddhārtha Gautama

is exactly as similar to what became of Buddhism as the words of Christ are to Christianity.

most of the thousands of sects of Buddhism have little to do with the Buddha, and rightly can indeed be purely classified as religions.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on December 6, 2013 9:48 AM.

Kansas educators respond to COPE lawsuit was the previous entry in this blog.

NCSE’s second webinar: Lobbying policymakers to defend and improve science education is the next entry in this blog.

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