Freshwater: Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court

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John Freshwater, former middle school science teacher in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, asking the Court to review the decision of the Ohio Supreme Court that affirmed his termination. The appeal cites two grounds:

1. Whether firing a public school teacher for checking out and possessing school library books as a form of passive protest violates the First Amendment. 2. Whether firing a public school teacher for teaching the scientific strengths and weaknesses of biological evolution violates the First Amendment.

The application for cert is available from the Mount Vernon News site here.

More below the fold.

Two things in Freshwater’s application for cert immediately stand out to me. First, Freshwater has previously denied (at least implicitly) that checking out the two books–a version of the Bible and a book titled “Jesus of Nazareth”–was a protest. Testimony in the hearing established that Freshwater checked the two books out of the library after he had been instructed by Principal White to remove religious materials from his classroom. And according to the independent investigator’s report, when asked if the purpose of adding the books to his classroom was to “make a statement,” Freshwater was quoted as replying “Yes.” But he earlier claimed that perhaps he had checked the books out before he received those instructions, and that the due date in them was later because he could have renewed them over the phone. So at best his testimony concerning the two books is equivocal. But now he concedes that it was a protest. See here for his evasive testimony on that topic.

Second, he now claims that he was teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. Over the years he has offered several different stories concerning what he taught. First, in the administrative hearing he testified that he never taught intelligent design or creationism. Then later he testified that he may have used creationist materials, but it was only to illustrate bias and lack of objectivity and how bias can lead to bad science. Finally, in a radio interview with David Barton’s Wallbuilders radio program, he said that he taught “robust evolution,” meaning that

I showed what was the evidence for evolution, I showed evidence that was opposed to evolution. I showed all sides.
RG: And let the kids decide?
JF: Yes. Let the kids decide. I stayed neutral on it, and let the kids make a decision on it.

And there’s some great evidence for, and there’s some great evidence that goes against it. And I think the kids need to see all evidence rather than indoctrinating them only on one side or the other.

And what was the “great evidence that goes against it”? Kent Hovind videos and handouts from sites like allaboutgod.com.

Consider just the last two stories Freshwater told about creationism. First he says that he used creationist materials to illustrate bias and how it can lead to bad science. But then in the Barton interview, he says he taught the evidence against evolution, which was from creationist sources according to several lines of evidence. This is typical: Two mutually inconsistent stories to account for constitutionally forbidden behavior in a public school classroom. Students in his classroom told the independent investigators that Freshwater told them “…how it [evolution] can or can’t be true and got both sides of the story” and “Mr. Freshwater showed us both sides of the issue.” That doesn’t sound like he was illustrating bad science to me. See here for more on his multiple stories.

I’ll just mention one further point from the application for cert that strikes me. The application says

Freshwater had used handouts which pointed out that certain aspects of evolution have not yet been fully explained. For instance, one handout discussed Darwin’s theories in light of the lack of “transitional forms” in the fossil record (App. 128a).

But page 128a says nothing about transitional forms. It refers to Freshwater’s use of the “Woodpecker” and “Giraffe” handouts, which were lifted verbatim from a site called “All about Science,” which is associated with, and linked to, All About God. See here and here for more on those handouts.

What Freshwater taught with respect to science was summed up in testimony by a former student:

Millstone asked James what he concluded from Freshwater’s teaching. James replied with an anecdote. He said his sister had found a rock and was going to take it to a teacher to see if she could find out how old it is. James said he told his sister to not bother, “Science can’t be trusted. Science can’t teach us anything.”

In the end, the application for cert depends most heavily on the insubordination issue, and on the ‘two books’ claims. It attempts to make the case that

…public school teachers should not be fired for passive, inconspicuous possession of library books, regardless of the teacher’s motivation in possessing them.

The Board’s response to Freshwater’s request for cert is due May 29, 2014, though extensions can be requested. So it could be mid- or late summer before that comes through.

58 Comments

Surely there must be a technical term for this sort of argument:

“Is it illegal walk in a public place?”

When the action is more specifically described as “jaywalking”.

Do you know who are his legal counsels in this appeal? Wasn’t it the Rutherford Inst. before? If so, are they picking up the tab?

Good loser.

Well, no, good at keeping the losing going.

Whether firing a public school teacher for teaching the scientific strengths and weaknesses of biological evolution violates the First Amendment.

I’d like to hear of any strengths of evolution that he taught, like organisms deriving characters solely from genetic contributors, whether vertically or laterally, and a fossil record basically as it must be if evolution were a fact.

And what scientific weaknesses are there? No, unanswered questions aren’t weaknesses, they’re opportunities for more science, which ID (or stupid whining) could never accomplish.

He blithers creationist nonsense even in his appeals. It’s impossible to see how he could ever win at SCOTUS. Somehow I think he’s gotten to the point where he can’t imagine doing anything but bleating creationist slogans in courts.

Glen DAvidson

______________________________

STATEMENT OF JOHN FRESHWATER

April 16, 2008

READ ALOUD BY JOHN FRESHWATER ON THE MOUNT VERNON PUBLIC SQUARE,

AND DELIVERED IN WRITING TO MOUNT VERNON CITY SCHOOL BOARD OF EDUCATION

Today, in compliance with a directive from my superiors in the Mount Vernon City Schools, I have removed the 10 Commandments from the “collage” on my classroom windows. Although I am convinced that the Decalogue has tremendous historical significance in our culture[,] I understand that the courts have ruled that their placement in a public school is not permitted. The US Supreme Court ruled in the 1980 Case Stone V Graham that:

“If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause.”

Clearly, the courts do not want children to read the 10 commandments.

In addition, my superiors have ordered me to remove the Bible from the desk of my classroom. Because the Bible is personal, private property and the source of personal inner-strength in my own life the removal of it from my desk would be nothing short of infringement on my own deeply held, personal religious beliefs granted by God and guaranteed under the “free-exercise clause” of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; (emph. mine) or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

My question today is if Congress can make no law prohibiting the “free exercise” of my faith, from where does the Mt. Vernon City Schools obtain the power to restrict it?

Until the Mount Vernon City Schools can demonstrate to me how I can remove the Bible from my desk without sacrificing my own God-given right to free exercise of my faith, I cannot in good conscience comply with their directive.

I do not forfeit my right to free expression of my faith when I walk into the school and because I strongly object to the “Christian censorship” being promoted in our schools, I respectfully reject the request to remove the Bible.

Link (scroll down to page 155a-Appendix L)

______________________________

So, like, when did he ever remove his bible? Or replace that one with the school library copy? Does it matter?

The Rutherford Institute is picking up the tab. The same Rutherford Institute attorney who argued his case at the Ohio Supreme Court, Rita Dunaway, filed the application for cert with the U.S. Supreme Court.

DavidK said:

Do you know who are his legal counsels in this appeal? Wasn’t it the Rutherford Inst. before? If so, are they picking up the tab?

Its like watching all the old stories of people who had to fight for the truth and so defend the freedom of their right to speak truth. its all censorship in spirit and in fact. Using words in law to twist out historic control on speech/ideas in subjects dealt with by the public. If a school teacher can teach or bring up as a option conclusions about what is true in a subject then either truth is not the objective OR the gov’t etc is officially saying ITS not true, whatever is being censored. If the gov’t is saying whats true or not on academic/even religious subjects then its NOT SO the gov’t cant dicatate on these subjects. Thats the simple equation here. Just keep the court cases coming and soon the wall of censorship will fall.

Robert Byers said:

Its like watching all the old stories of people who had to fight for the truth and so defend the freedom of their right to speak truth.

But religion is NOT true, Robert Byers. There are no gods. You can’t show us a god. You can’t say how to detect a god. All you can do is to insist that gods are real - and you can’t even say why you believe that.

RB, what does the non-word “speech/ideas” mean? Or even less literate, “academic/even”?

And do you know about apostrophes? They’re NOT optional, or just there because they’re cute. The presence or absence of one COMPLETELY CHANGES THE MEANING of a word. If you leave them out where they’re required, the reader has to guess what you mean.

A slip here and there can be excused. Anyone can slip up like that. But to just plain never use them for contractions or possessives is an INSULT TO THE READER. You did that 7 times in less than 6 lines! Then you stuck a couple into “gov’t”, which is NOT an abbreviation of “government”.

At least TRY, man.

Robert Byers said:

If the gov’t is saying whats true or not on academic/even religious subjects then its NOT SO the gov’t cant dicatate on these subjects.

I also share the wish that the government never will “dicatate on these subjects”. It sure sounds evil, whatever the hell it is.

Robert Byers said:

Just keep the court cases coming and soon the wall of censorship will fall.

Yep. That strategy is working wonders so far.…..

Robert Byers said:

Its like watching all the old stories of people who had to fight for the truth and so defend the freedom of their right to speak truth.

Those people at least had POSITIVE EVIDENCE that what they were saying actually was true.

Initiating standard creationut canard :

its all censorship in spirit and in fact. Using words in law to twist out historic control on speech/ideas in subjects dealt with by the public.

Nope. Sane and rational folk teach ACTUAL, VERIFIED SCIENCE in science class, and leave religion to the churches and home WHERE IT SHOULD BE.

Your silly interpretations of ancient superhero tales are NOT science.

No amount of whining about ‘censorship’ or ‘persecution’ is ever going to change that.

If a school teacher can teach or bring up as a option conclusions about what is true in a subject then either truth is not the objective OR the gov’t etc is officially saying ITS not true, whatever is being censored.

So, if people have examined evidence gathered and tested over decades and concluded that X is true, it is WRONG of them to say ‘X is true’ ?

By your ‘logic’, teachers stating “you can drown in deep water” is somehow censoring ‘alternative views’ ?! That the statement is NOT objective ?!

And if an idea has been SHOWN to be wrong or false, it is not censorship to keep it out; merely good sense. Creationism has been known to be wrong for over a century, and ID can’t even be phrased clearly enough to test.

IF you had something other than blubbering about the unknowable whim of unknowable beings that somehow did something sometime in the past (you know, actual EVIDENCE that Magical Sky Pixies actually exist, AND said Magical Sky Pixies actually DID what you assert they did), THEN your ideas would have EARNED the right to be in science classes.

But after 3000+ years of constant whining, no positive evidence for Magical Skymanism has ever been presented (they like to ‘think’ they have presented evidence, but all we ever get is ignorance-based whinings. “If ** I ** can’t see how this could have happened naturally, then the ONLY possible explanation is Magical Sky Pixies !!111!!!!!”)

Or claiming that evidence showing you are wrong doesn’t count because you ‘know’ Da Truth - if reality does not conform to your ‘interpretation’ of ancient morality tales, then reality MUST be wrong (for you cannot be).

Geological evidence shows there was no worldwide flood a few thousand years ago ? Just call everyone who doubts you a liar or a gullible fool, then claim that the last few centuries of geological research are wrong because you SAY they are (‘they be wrong because they conflict with the bible !!1!!111!11!!’)

Good thing people who value truth and prefer to have their ideas about how the real world works be valid TEST THEIR IDEAS AGAINST THE REAL WORLD instead of trying to make them fit one peculiar interpretation of Bronze age superhero stories. Most people know they can be wrong - that is WHY ideas should be tested.

Evolution has been constantly tested for over 150 years, and passed every time.

Creationism failed long ago, and ID can’t even get to the starting line.

If the gov’t is saying whats true or not on academic/even religious subjects then its NOT SO the gov’t cant dicatate on these subjects. Thats the simple equation here.

Sane and rational folk say ‘X is true’ BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE SHOWS.

That reality does not conform to your ridiculous ‘interpretation’ of ancient morality tales does not mean it is wrong - you would have to SHOW that everyone else is wrong with evidence.

Just keep the court cases coming and soon the wall of censorship will fall.

Too bad for you that, IN REALITY, there is no censorship.

Just the FACT that your silly ‘alternatives to evolution’ have been examined and shown to be baseless drivel. They have not EARNED the right to be presented as valid science - that requires EVIDENCE and testable models.

ID and creationism have NO supporting evidence (other than ignorance, muddle-headed rhetoric and howling arrogance), and no testable models. Thus, they are not science, and do not belong in science classes.

Which is why people have to sneak or force them in - the ideas are too vapid and evidence free to stand on their own.

PA Poland said: Too bad for you that, IN REALITY, there is no censorship.

If there is “censorship”, then the closest thing to censors are those who try to keep the public uninformed about what ID and other varieties of creationism have to offer. Who is it that does not tell what, where, when, why, how? Why do not hear about how creationism and omphalism - if not omphalism, then what? Why do we not hear about that material and other constraints that make “design” needed - indeed, make “design” possible?

There are many forums, many media, which they have unfettered access to, where no one other than they themselves can stop them speaking out, telling us what they have to say. And they spend all of their resources on talking about evolution.

One would hope that he isn’t using his own money for this type of legal assistance. I’d think that he would have moved on and gotten a job at some private religious school. I don’t know what the liability of the school would be, or what they would have to do to insure that he didn’t mark crosses into his students with electronic equipment, but you’d think that they could have something he could sign that would allow a private school to hire him in good conscience. His greatest problem would likely be if he didn’t have the same religious views of his employers. If he is an old earth creationist I don’t see him backing down and apologizing for his possible older age of the earth comments like Dembski had to do.

Robert Byers said:

Its like watching all the old stories of people who had to fight for the truth and so defend the freedom of their right to speak truth. its all censorship in spirit and in fact. Using words in law to twist out historic control on speech/ideas in subjects dealt with by the public. If a school teacher can teach or bring up as a option conclusions about what is true in a subject then either truth is not the objective OR the gov’t etc is officially saying ITS not true, whatever is being censored. If the gov’t is saying whats true or not on academic/even religious subjects then its NOT SO the gov’t cant dicatate on these subjects. Thats the simple equation here. Just keep the court cases coming and soon the wall of censorship will fall.

You’re just amazing Bobby! So far, since I’ve been keeping tack, you’ve shown that you know more about Egypt than Egyptologists, more about Biology than Biologists, and now more about Constitutional Law than Federal Judges. How do you have time for all this learning?

But why, after so many people were kind enough to supply you with the evidence for evolution you requested in the last thread, did you just disappear? Surely you’re going to address what we told you in detail now, and actually show how biological science is wrong, or else admit it’s [see how easy it is to put those icky apostrophes in the right place–you can do it] right if you can’t do that?

Imagine how much more entertaining it would have been for Freshwater to have been able to argue valiantly for the Constitutionality of burning Catholic crosses on the arms of his public school students after coercing their ‘permission’. But no, the fighting spirit of this iconoclastic teacher has been vanquished, his exciting educational reforms reduced to a plaintive mewling about library book protests. Our modern Prometheus, his liver forever tormented by the legalistic machinations of the Darwinists.

The Supreme Court.… The mind boggles a little. I think that there are relatively minor cases that they handle where less than the full number of justices hear a case. Surely this will one of those cases. It would suck of it were heard by a majority of the more conservative justices, and they found in favor of Freshwater. I would not put it past some of those characters to do that, given recent rulings.

It only takes four justices to grant cert, so there is absolutely a possibility that the case will be heard. If it gets that far who knows what will happen? There are certainly some on the Court who would be happy to see ID taught in schools.

Rather interesting that Canadian Booby knows more about US Constitutional law then US federal judges. Not.

Helena Constantine said:

Robert Byers said:

Its like watching all the old stories of people who had to fight for the truth and so defend the freedom of their right to speak truth. its all censorship in spirit and in fact. Using words in law to twist out historic control on speech/ideas in subjects dealt with by the public. If a school teacher can teach or bring up as a option conclusions about what is true in a subject then either truth is not the objective OR the gov’t etc is officially saying ITS not true, whatever is being censored. If the gov’t is saying whats true or not on academic/even religious subjects then its NOT SO the gov’t cant dicatate on these subjects. Thats the simple equation here. Just keep the court cases coming and soon the wall of censorship will fall.

You’re just amazing Bobby! So far, since I’ve been keeping tack, you’ve shown that you know more about Egypt than Egyptologists, more about Biology than Biologists, and now more about Constitutional Law than Federal Judges. How do you have time for all this learning?

But why, after so many people were kind enough to supply you with the evidence for evolution you requested in the last thread, did you just disappear? Surely you’re going to address what we told you in detail now, and actually show how biological science is wrong, or else admit it’s [see how easy it is to put those icky apostrophes in the right place–you can do it] right if you can’t do that?

Is the Supreme Court limited to the lack of) evidence presented in the lower courts, or can they actually look at the big picture, including child abuse?

KlausH said:

Is the Supreme Court limited to the lack of) evidence presented in the lower courts, or can they actually look at the big picture, including child abuse?

IANAL, so the real legal minds here would have a better say. But if I understand correctly, the SCOTUS does not have the authority to review part or all of a decision from a state supreme court unless what applied to a state constitution also applies to the US Constitution.

So apparently what was applied to the Constitution of the state of Ohio with the Freshwater case may also be a US Constitutional matter. At least that is the hope of Freshwater/Rutherford Institute.

So it will indeed be interesting if the SCOTUS accepts or turns down Freshwater. If accepted, a key question could be if more recent court rulings like Kitzmiller in 2005 (which of course was devastating against ID-type creationism) will have some influence on how even the more conservative members of SCOTUS will decide Freshwater.

I have completely lost track of the convoluted arguments made during this train wreck:

-At his administrative hearing, Freshwater argued that he did not teach ID/creationism. But the school board proved that he did after being told to stop (along with other infractions); therefore, they fired him for insubordination.

-In front of the Ohio Supreme Court he changed his story and argued that he did teach ID/creationism, but he had a First Amendment right to do so along with a First Amendment right to do some of the other things that got him fired.

-In front of the Supreme Court, he plans to stick with the First Amendment argument.

Did I get it right?

In the big scheme of things, hearing this case in front of the US Supreme Court may be the best news ever. An ID case is going to eventually make it to the US Supreme Court and I think the pro-science side could not have asked for a better case to argue in front of the Court. Freshwater’s arguments are extremely weak. His attorney did a terrific job with the Ohio Court, but the school board attorney did an equally poor. I think the combination of the two has given them a skewed outlook on their chances of success. As in the Kitzmiller case, the pro-science side will pull out all the stops to make every argument possible supporting their side (along with super-sharp attorneys) and the ID side (ex, Discovery Institute) will run and hide leaving their super-sharp attorneys to fend for themselves. Ironically, with a US Supreme Court defeat, Freshwater may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to science education in this country.

I predict the US Supreme Court will not take this case. Freshwater’s arguments are too weak. Of course I made the same prediction about the Ohio Supreme Court.

Regarding the Byers troll and what he sees as “censorship” of other views, Byers might ask himself this - even if his authoritarian mindset may be unable to comprehend the questions.

There are multiple science organizations for Christians/theists. Organizations that require relevant science degrees to become voting members. Such as the American Scientific Affiliation, the Affiliation of Christian Geologists, and the Affiliation of Christian Biologists. The membership of these three organizations are largely made up of those that accept mainstream science (including evolution) and thus have only a tiny minority of members that are YECs (young earth [young life] and/or world flood). Yet all Christians, including YECs, are allowed to join ASA, ACG and ACB .

There are also YEC groups like Creation Research Society, Institute for Creation Research, Answers In Genesis, etc (to be sure, a science degree is required to be a CRS member). But unlike the inclusiveness of ASA, ACG and ACB, groups like CRS and AIG ban Christians that are non-YECs. In other words, they censor those Christians that reject a world flood, censor those that reject a young earth, censor those that accept evolution.

So Byers, why is it that groups like CRS and AIG forbid any Christian members with opposing views from joining, but groups like ASA don’t?

Byers, why do groups like ASA allow YEC to join but yet there are so few YECs in these groups?? ASA has been around since the 1940s, which seems like more than enough time for YECs to earn influence within ASA. Both ACG and ACB have been around for roughly 25 years.

- - - - - - -

Oh Byers, don’t forget, you still have not answered so many other questions (click here and here).

TomS said:

Surely there must be a technical term for this sort of argument:

“Is it illegal walk in a public place?”

When the action is more specifically described as “jaywalking”.

I think this sums up the entire argument concisely. Omit everything that can’t be misrepresented, painting as false a picture as the law can be stretched to allow, and hope that either (a) the court doesn’t do ANY homework on the facts or the background; or (b) enough Justices favor creationism so as to sweep the truth under the rug.

DavidK said:

Do you know who are his legal counsels in this appeal? Wasn’t it the Rutherford Inst. before? If so, are they picking up the tab?

Speaking of Rutherford, here’s a piece which actually makes them look good (by comparison with the Alliance Decrying Freedom, that is).

What’s really sad is how they’ve manipulated what he’s been fired for. I know in my heart he burned jesus crosses in his student’s arms with a BD-10A High Frequency Generator, I don’t think the kid made that up at all. Freshwater and his backers are nothing more than liars for jesus and it’s time we all saw through their stories.

Pierce R. Butler said:

DavidK said:

Do you know who are his legal counsels in this appeal? Wasn’t it the Rutherford Inst. before? If so, are they picking up the tab?

Speaking of Rutherford, here’s a piece which actually makes them look good (by comparison with the Alliance Decrying Freedom, that is).

Yes, thank you Pierce. I had read that piece and wanted to reference it, but I couldn’t find it. Now I remember it was on the AU site. Maybe Rutherford is trying to get more exposure.

Is it possible that the grounds for appeal to the US Supreme Court cannot dispute matters of fact found by the lower court? Thus, if the Ohio Supreme Court had held, as a matter of fact, that Freshwater had indeed checked the books out as a method of registering a protest and hence in practice subverting the instructions he had received, Freshwater would not be allowed to appeal on the grounds that it wasn’t such a protest, and could only proceed on the grounds that making such a protest was not grounds for dismissal.

IANAL, obviously. Very obviously.

burllamb said:

Imagine how much more entertaining it would have been for Freshwater to have been able to argue valiantly for the Constitutionality of burning Catholic crosses on the arms of his public school students after coercing their ‘permission’. But no, the fighting spirit of this iconoclastic teacher has been vanquished, his exciting educational reforms reduced to a plaintive mewling about library book protests. Our modern Prometheus, his liver forever tormented by the legalistic machinations of the Darwinists.

Actually Freshwater said during the hearing that he was unsure if Catholics were Christians. I guess he skipped his religion and history classes about the Protestant Reformation.

Mark Sturtevant said:

The Supreme Court.… The mind boggles a little. I think that there are relatively minor cases that they handle where less than the full number of justices hear a case. Surely this will one of those cases. It would suck of it were heard by a majority of the more conservative justices, and they found in favor of Freshwater. I would not put it past some of those characters to do that, given recent rulings.

I’m very concerned by this, too, but having said that I think this would go 5-4 or maybe 6-3 against Freshwater if it were ever heard at that level.

I don’t need to know a damn thing about constitutional law to figure this out.

Of course teaching sectarian science denial, at taxpayer expense, as “science”, violates the first amendment, and of course being directly ordered to stop violating the first amendment, and continuing to violate it, while employed as a public school teacher, is grounds for dismissal. You don’t have to be Clarence Darrow to figure that out.

But of course Scalia, Thomas, and Alito would vote in favor of Freshwater, because he and they just say and do anything to push a post-modern right wing agenda. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to figure that out.

Roberts is no better but might go the other way if he thought it would help his “legacy” and not inconvenience the billionaires he worships. Roberts has a record of breaking ranks when there is ambiguity and neither side can be viewed as purely “liberal” or “conservative”. Hence, he broke ranks over the ACA. Scalia and his puppets obeyed the most simple directive, “always attack Obama”, but crafty Roberts saw that the plan was originally from a right wing think tank and, whatever its merits, obsessively preserves the useless profit-taking middle men of the US health care system, so he found in favor of it. This could arguably be the only instance of one of Barrack Obama’s constant efforts at “bipartisanship” ever actually working.

The Rutherford Institute isn’t mainstream Fox/Limbaugh/Republican right wing. It’s an eccentric organization, and the arguments used by Freshwater might be used by a teacher with views that right wingers don’t like tomorrow. So although Freshwater is clearly part of the post-modern right wing religious authoritarian arm of the Fox/Limbaugh movement, Roberts could conceivably find against him.

If Roberts went for Freshwater that would make the vacillating Kennedy the swing vote, but Kennedy has never come close to doing anything as crazy as finding for Freshwater would be, so he’s probably safe here. Hence it would likely be 5-4, or 6-3 if Roberts decided that his nihilistic, plutocratic schemes are best served by going against Freshwater.

I’m cautiously optimistic that they will just refuse to hear it. The Ohio Supreme Court, who eventually did have to find against Freshwater, is more Republican dominated. The sensible thing to do with this pile of dung is to just leave it on the lawn of the Ohio courts. All non-right wing justices would likely agree with that, and Roberts may well, too, so hopefully this is what happens.

This analysis is not based on constitutional scholarship, but I defend it.

Pierce R. Butler said:

DavidK said:

Do you know who are his legal counsels in this appeal? Wasn’t it the Rutherford Inst. before? If so, are they picking up the tab?

Speaking of Rutherford, here’s a piece which actually makes them look good (by comparison with the Alliance Decrying Freedom, that is).

Two points about these guys -

1) Those who PUBLICLY express such views are very beneficial to the rest of us. Such views are commonplace among right wing authoritarians but mainly expressed in snickering private sessions, and in dog whistle comments, because they know that such views are intensely unpopular among all the rest of the population. It’s tiresome to have to explain what coded comments mean all the time. A massive benefit of using dog whistle is that it allows the “swing voter” proportion of the population to be in denial about how far the right wing really wants to go. It’s refreshing when they express themselves more bluntly.

2) Helena Constantine would know more about this, but my understanding is that this type of Dominionist attitude didn’t work very well historically. The parts of the world that were Christian on the fourth and fifth century are largely Muslim today, and that parts of the world that are culturally Christian today were largely polytheist in the fourth and firth century. Of course there are many exceptions, mainly in southeastern Europe, but overall during that period, the middle east and what is now Turkey was the bastion of Christianity, and what we now think of as “the western world” was mainly polytheist. I’ve heard that the resentment raised by constant harsh policies to enforce narrow dogmatic points facilitated early Islamic conquests because populations were ambivalent about Byzantine rule. That may or may not be the case but is interesting.

Why they are talking about the “third” century I have no idea; Christianity did not dominate Roman government during that century.

In northern and western Europe, the early church was a bit more flexible, even though vehemently anti-pagan. Later, when the church became more powerful and more obsessed with Domionist type policies, huge resistance arose, leading to schism (literally two popes), numerous “heretical” sects, and eventually the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth century and the decline of religious influence on government of subsequent centuries.

Dominionist policies don’t seem to be very good at maintaining permanent religious control of regional governments.

harold said:

Dominionist policies don’t seem to be very good at maintaining permanent religious control of regional governments.

Dominionism specifically doesn’t have a huge track record of success, and the ADF has about as good an understanding of Western Civ as they do of American Civics. But theocracies of several stripes and steps along the Fundamentalism scale have been plentiful and successful for much of Western and Near/Middle Eastern history.

I’m hopeful that what we’re seeing with the mostly-failure of the ADF and their ilk, and the instability of theocratic regimes in many places around the world, represents a global progression away from the viability of the model.

Reply to Robert can be found at the wall.

Everybody. THIS IS so about censorship. why run from the label?? Is it uncomfortable to be in bed with all of history’s censorship power elites?? first things first. Its not about whether creationism is science or not. The gov’t /courts are saying creationism is BANNED as a option for conclusions touching on certain subjects in origin matters. I reason, on behalf of YEC/ID and good guys everywhere, that this must mean A) truth is not the objective of these school subjects or B) its settled these banned conclusions are not true. If B then the state is saying officially creationism is not true. Therefore its saying it can make such a judgement and its saying it can rule religious conclusions are not true. Its clear from the great white north that the censoship means the gov’t/courts has mandated truth or whats not tru on these scientific/religious ideas. This is surely illegal and surely not in the spirit and deeds of the historic American nation and society. Creationists got the best case here and just need better lawyers and cases to introduce this to the public and forec the courts to overthrow the present censorship. A great moral and legal development awaits the good guys. I can’t see where my LOGIC is wrong here.

By the way. the very Puritan Protestant yankee and Anglican Protestant southerners would laught to scorn at how any clown Judges could tease out of the constitution a censorship of christian doctrine or any doctrine when talking about the origins of everything. In schools no less. WHERE DID YOU READ THAT!! They would say and then demand a duel!

Dear Robert,

Should we have government paid teachers teaching that Astrology is science? Should we have public school teachers teaching your children the fact that Vishnu created the world and all that is in it? Several times?

Robert Byers said:

I reason, on behalf of YEC/ID and good guys everywhere, that this must mean A) truth is not the objective of these school subjects or B) its settled these banned conclusions are not true.

That’s correct, Robert Byers. It is clear that what you want to teach is not true.

So basically, Freshwater has not asked the court to rule on the issue of teaching creationism. Gee, I wonder why not? There is absolutely nothing for him to win here. There is absolutely no reason for the court to accept the case. There is nothing left to win or lose. Freshwater is just being a sore loser now. It must be obvious even to him that his god is pissed at him for lying so much. TIme to face the music and pay for his multitude of crimes.

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

I reason, on behalf of YEC/ID and good guys everywhere, that this must mean A) truth is not the objective of these school subjects or B) its settled these banned conclusions are not true.

That’s correct, Robert Byers. It is clear that what you want to teach is not true.

Well, Robert Byers?

It is not true that the earth is fewer than ten thousand years old.

It is not true that there was a single breeding pair of human beings, not ever in the history of humankind.

It is not true that there was a world-wide flood.

Those assertions are false, Robert Byers. THAT is why they must not be taught as fact. Not censorship.

Byers demonstrates his rhetorical skills, not to mention his mastery of punctuation:

…the very Puritan Protestant yankee and Anglican Protestant southerners would laught to scorn at how any clown Judges could tease out of the constitution a censorship of christian doctrine or any doctrine when talking about the origins of everything. In schools no less. WHERE DID YOU READ THAT!!

I read it right here:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

The first amendment to the US Constitution, part thereof.

Byers continues:

They would say and then demand a duel!

I wouldn’t recommend Byers try that. Or maybe I would, because then maybe Byers would get a chance to laugh at a clown judge over a little matter of threatening violence. He could laugh all the way to the jailhouse, where he would join the disproportionately high percentage of his fellow fundamentalists - who are there not for their devotion to their faith, but because of their regrettably higher crime rate than the general population.

Robert Byers said:

The gov’t /courts are saying creationism is BANNED as a option for conclusions touching on certain subjects in origin matters.

No.

This is not true.

The government is saying that Creationism has to play by the same rules as every other -ism.

As soon as you have some factual evidence on your side, it passes the aptly named “Lemon Test” and you can teach it in any and all schools far and wide o’er all the land as a fact.

Because, if you do have some evidence, then it becomes a fact, and is no longer subject to that pesky “only exists as a religious dogma” issue.

The court filings aren’t the point. the money is the point. their goal is to win by costing school systems so much money to fire people for teaching creationism that they run out of funds to teach anything else. these people hate public schools to begin with. they love the irony of abusing teacher’s unions, since they hate those, too. They hate science. none of this is any skin off their nose. if they bankrupt enough school districts that should give them a heckler’s veto on evolution. Those schools are no loss. Mom should stay home and homeschool the kids anyway. “There is no such thing as society - only individuals. And their families” - Margaret Thatcher.

Rebert, I am in full agreement with you! We demand an end to all discrimination of religions and religious thought! Young Earth creationism should be taught in school. Scientology should be taugh in school! Intellignet Design should be taught in school. The sinister, ungodly, un-scientific theories of physics, astronomy, geology, biology and many more should be banned. We must put a stop to the teaching of anti-biblcal heresies! How can God allow such ungodly injustice to continue?

I shudder at the tought of how the world would look like without Christian and Muslim fundamentalism. We don’t want peace, we want the religions to be institituted as the great gift to mankind as they really are, the only way to complete happiness and satisfaction of the human race.

No more war, guns, WMD, NRA, crime, child abuse, car accidents, you name it…

This guy has to be the biggest fool ever to walk the face of the earth. There is no First Amendment issue here, none whatsoever. Everyone already has the right to sign out and possess books for a school library. Everyone already has the right to teach science in a science classroom. Even if the court finds in favor of Freshwater it won’t change anything. It will still be illegal to teach creationism as science in public schools. He hasn’t even asked the court to rule on that issue. He can’t. If he does, then he admits that he did just that. That will mean that he will have to admit to lying when he denied that he did that. No matter what happens he will still be fired and it will still be illegal to teach creationism.

I think that the best thing that could happen is for the court to refuse the case. If they take the case they should rule against him to send a message to others who would break the law. If they find in favor of Freshwater, the school board should declare bankruptcy and refuse to hire him back because they are now out of money. If they are forced to hire him back, they should place a government official in his class to make sure he never teaches creationism again. No matter what he will not win. Not ever. Not in this country.

tomh said:

It only takes four justices to grant cert, so there is absolutely a possibility that the case will be heard. If it gets that far who knows what will happen? There are certainly some on the Court who would be happy to see ID taught in schools.

Its possible, but they get so many requests that they only grant cert for about 1% of the cases submitted to them. Even if the conservative justices wanted to revisit how the law currently deals with creationism (and its not clear to me anyone but Scalia wants to), I think it’s highly unlikely they would use this case to do it.

Tangentially related, but SCOTUS just today also upheld the right of the Greece, NY, town board to hold sectarian prayers at the start of meetings. Frakking Kennedy. Evidently, his opinion is that it would entangle government too much with religion to put limits on the sectarian-ness of a prayer, but somehow he missed the point that the prayer itself is entangling.

Don’t know whether this is an indication of how they might rule on creationism if it came to them, but I think its a pretty good indicator that if any of the various ‘student-lead prayer in school’ types of cases come in front of them, Kennedy will side with the conservatives to allow it.

What you say is perhaps most true of Egypt where various sectarian factions had been in a barely contained civil war and the whole province in revolt from the Empire (under the leadership of the Patriarch of Alexandria) for about two centuries by the time the Moslems got there. In other places in the East conversion happened city-by-city when a gang of monks (Libanius describes them as destructive as a heard of Elephants) would show up and destroy/desecrate the temples, which were conveniently rebuilt as churches dedicated to saints that had many of the same attributes as the former gods (if I wasn’t so lazy I have an article I could finish on the conversion of Temples of Dionysos to Churches of the the Epiphany, since the early church believed Jesus performed the Cana miracle on his the anniversy of the visit of the Magi–also the same day–Jan. 6–Dionysus would miraculously make the public water fountains at his temples run with wine). The Western Empire was converted somewhat earlier and somewhat more peacefully. What Augustine experienced was typical. The mother would convert, and then raise the children Christian (Augustine’s attempt at youthful rebellion against his upbringing is the unusual part). Throughout the middle ages the cooperation between religious and political authorities worked rather well with only the rare religiously motivated revolt (The Cathars, the Veiled Prophet). For people in a traditional society the idea of becoming something different form one’s community was terrifying. I would say the Dominionists we’re plagued with now are something else, and something quite post-modern. They want to use the power of the state to force a narrow sectarian belief on a population in which almost no one wants it or even understands what it is. They are more like the Bolsheviks. Fortunately they are so far about as dangerous as a herd of fleas. The rich who actually run things (as you bring out in your earlier post of the Supreme Court) will never put them in power because they are so crazy they wouldn’t obey orders (as Chomsky would put it).

harold said:

Pierce R. Butler said:

DavidK said:

Do you know who are his legal counsels in this appeal? Wasn’t it the Rutherford Inst. before? If so, are they picking up the tab?

Speaking of Rutherford, here’s a piece which actually makes them look good (by comparison with the Alliance Decrying Freedom, that is).

Two points about these guys -

1) Those who PUBLICLY express such views are very beneficial to the rest of us. Such views are commonplace among right wing authoritarians but mainly expressed in snickering private sessions, and in dog whistle comments, because they know that such views are intensely unpopular among all the rest of the population. It’s tiresome to have to explain what coded comments mean all the time. A massive benefit of using dog whistle is that it allows the “swing voter” proportion of the population to be in denial about how far the right wing really wants to go. It’s refreshing when they express themselves more bluntly.

2) Helena Constantine would know more about this, but my understanding is that this type of Dominionist attitude didn’t work very well historically. The parts of the world that were Christian on the fourth and fifth century are largely Muslim today, and that parts of the world that are culturally Christian today were largely polytheist in the fourth and firth century. Of course there are many exceptions, mainly in southeastern Europe, but overall during that period, the middle east and what is now Turkey was the bastion of Christianity, and what we now think of as “the western world” was mainly polytheist. I’ve heard that the resentment raised by constant harsh policies to enforce narrow dogmatic points facilitated early Islamic conquests because populations were ambivalent about Byzantine rule. That may or may not be the case but is interesting.

Why they are talking about the “third” century I have no idea; Christianity did not dominate Roman government during that century.

In northern and western Europe, the early church was a bit more flexible, even though vehemently anti-pagan. Later, when the church became more powerful and more obsessed with Domionist type policies, huge resistance arose, leading to schism (literally two popes), numerous “heretical” sects, and eventually the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth century and the decline of religious influence on government of subsequent centuries.

Dominionist policies don’t seem to be very good at maintaining permanent religious control of regional governments.

Fortunately they are so far about as dangerous as a herd of fleas. The rich who actually run things (as you bring out in your earlier post of the Supreme Court) will never put them in power because they are so crazy they wouldn’t obey orders.

Umm, doesn’t that pretty much describe the ‘Tea Party’?

Rolf said:

Rebert, I am in full agreement with you! We demand an end to all discrimination of religions and religious thought! Young Earth creationism should be taught in school. Scientology should be taugh in school! Intellignet Design should be taught in school. The sinister, ungodly, un-scientific theories of physics, astronomy, geology, biology and many more should be banned. We must put a stop to the teaching of anti-biblcal heresies! How can God allow such ungodly injustice to continue?

I shudder at the tought of how the world would look like without Christian and Muslim fundamentalism. We don’t want peace, we want the religions to be institituted as the great gift to mankind as they really are, the only way to complete happiness and satisfaction of the human race.

No more war, guns, WMD, NRA, crime, child abuse, car accidents, you name it…

Excellent. People can be persuaded out of error. However its about truth. Since this is in question then its about the people deciding. There are enough for creationism and evolutionism. The others have no support and would be opposed by vast majorities. First things first. A correction to the state censorship on origin matters. Time has come today. Freedom of speech movement volunteers start agitating.

Robert Byers said:

People can be persuaded out of error. However its about truth.

But your religious beliefs are NOT true, Robert Byers.

You are mistaken in your faith. You are wrong in your beliefs. Your convictions are false.

That is why your beliefs cannot be taught as fact. They are NOT facts. They are only empty stories.

Inspired by this latest comment thread, I’ve just spent a few moments looking through the core science textbooks that we use with Key Stage 3 students, which are ages 11 - 14, or years 7, 8 and 9 of secondary school. Worryingly, there is no mention of evolution in any of them. Exploring Science 7, which is for the youngest students, talks a lot about adaptations and classifications, but they don’t even do fossils until year 8. The first actual description of evolution I can find in the textbooks is the following:

‘Scientists study fossils of animals found in rocks of different ages. The deepest rocks in the in the Earth contain the oldest fossils. The fossils found in higher layers of rock are of animals that died more recently. By comparing older and newer fossils, scientists can see how animals have changed over time. This change is called evolution’.

I don’t know what others think, but this seems pretty woeful to me - especially when you consider that this is the last time some of our students will ever have to think about the topic before their formal education ends. It goes on, after a box about fossils and the fossil record, which includes a diagram of horse evolution that I am ill-equipped to comment on, with the following:

‘Not everyone has the same view of the fossil record. It is often used to show how animals and plants evolved. However, other scientists have used the gaps in the fossil record to argue against the theory of evolution. Many complex organisms in the fossil record appear and disappear. Unlike the horse, they show no gradual change. Creationists interpret this to mean that organisms were created and did not evolve’.

Plus a link:

www.pilgrimtours.com/creation/paleontology.htm

… and a few questions, then two more pages on adaptation and a bit about Darwin and Lamarck. And that’s it!

I should point out that as far as I know, teachers are not required to just teach from these textbooks, in fact in good schools they are expected to create their own lesson plans and resources, but for cover staff (like myself) they are a pretty piss-poor reference.

The sad thing is I know for a fact they are doing a lot of work on origins, and science/religion, in their RE and (GCSE) Philosophy and Ethics courses. The definitions given of evolution in those textbooks are usually just flat out wrong, though I don’t have one to hand to quote. Byers would probably say this was fine (if he could understand the year 7 content, that is) but I worry that the only students in the school who believe they can define ‘evolution’ are the ones least likely to have studied what it really is.

Final point: this is just one UK school, and should not be taken as representative without more data. Next time I’m covering a science lesson I might ask the students what they understand ‘evolution’ to mean. I might ask some of the other staff, too.

Apologies for the double post. Long time lurker but new to the Comments game.

Byers has exceeded his permitted ‘one comment’ limit. Any further comments go to the BW.

DanHolme said: I don’t know what others think, but this seems pretty woeful to me

Seems pretty woeful to me too, but as I am unfamiliar with British textbooks, I don’t know whether your example is the norm for evolution coverage or an outlier.

especially when you consider that this is the last time some of our students will ever have to think about the topic before their formal education ends.

Here we yanks may be slightly better off. Most major colleges and universities in the US want kids to have 3 years of high-school (grades 10-12) science. Because of the way our system works, that generally means that any kid considering higher education will be very strongly pushed (by parents, teachers, and themselves) to meet those expectations. While it is certainly possible to go through the system over here skipping biology (I did that myself - long story), it is generally unlikely. Most college-bound high schoolers are going to take the ‘science triple classic’ of biology, physics, and chemistry, because they want prospective colleges to see those courses on their transcript.*

This is also, incidentally, why creationism and ID proponents focus on sticking their stuff in mainstream biology courses instead of just creating elective courses. If it’s an elective, no student is going to feel pressured to take it. The audience is going to be believers. But many students feel pressure to take biology, so fundies get a larger, more theologically diverse, and more captive audience by going the ‘put it in biology’ route. IOW, their decision to push for it in biology rather than just create their own courses for it is all about proselytization.

*However, if a kid doesn’t want to go to college, or is a fundie who plans on going to a place like Bob Jones University, those expectations mean nothing and I would not expect such a kid to come out of high school having taken a mainstream biology course.

Thanks eric, that’s a very interesting insight into your educational system.

I think what worries me in the UK is that we have such a crowded curriculum that there’s not time to go into the sort of depth that the subject requires – a quick chat with year 10 students reveals that they remember doing 2 lessons on Darwin’s finches, but not much more than that. It’s not that I have any great fears of ID taking a foothold in this or other schools – we have a Rev as chair of our board of governors, a Christian union, and 2 school pastors, and all of them support the curriculum that we teach.

But I am concerned about apathy around the subject amongst the young scientists, who have hardly any exposure to evolutionary theory; whilst some of our brightest Ethics students at GCSE get the impression that there is a real debate about the science (some classes use choice cuts from ‘Darwin’s Black Box’ in certain modules).

DanHolme said: I think what worries me in the UK is that we have such a crowded curriculum that there’s not time to go into the sort of depth that the subject requires – a quick chat with year 10 students reveals that they remember doing 2 lessons on Darwin’s finches, but not much more than that.

In the US, we have no standard curriculum. Each state comes up with its own, so for us coverage of evolution will vary by State. It also varies by teacher, of course. I suspect that in many states and in many US classrooms, our coverage of the subject is as sketchy as yours. And in some cases, lack of information is the minor problem - we are also worried about misinformation, a la Freshwater.

There has been a recent push by a plurality of states (I think about 20 of them) and the feds to come up with a standardized curriculum, called “common core.” It is entirely voluntary at this point but I think many states are considering adopting it. AIUI, in that curriculum, the concept of evolution is not so much a separate high school unit but a general theme that is covered throughout science classes, beginning at grade 1 and going all the way (though not every single year) through grade 12. As you might expect from this, creationists hate the common core, because it greatly expands in both amount and importance how evolution is presented.

One place there has been some inroads into Creation teaching in the UK has been, not too surprisingly, in faith schools, and there have been quite a few more of these since the Coalition government really got stuck in with its ‘free schools’ project. Still, overall, these are pretty far outside the mainstream for most students, and a few controversial free schools here in the Midlands have set the project back a bit.

I suppose a less pessimistic view is that, whilst students might not be looking at evolution by that name, there’s plenty of teaching about genetics, variation, and environmental adaptation, through Key stages 3, 4 and 5. They also cover ecosystems and geology in their Geography lessons, and this is in some depth, so they tend to have an understanding of the world as a naturally occurring, miracle free system.

Incidentally, apologies for the several hour gaps between posts. This is due to being on the other side of the planet, and only being able to post when on a break at work (no computer at home). I’ve just finished cataloguing a new batch of philosophy and ethics books - C S Lewis and Bertrand Russell in the same batch. Ironically I got a paper cut off ‘The Problem of Pain’. I’m sure FL would interpret that as a wake-up call.

Booby, the unholy bible claims the pi equals 3. Therefore, the hypothesis that pi = 3 should also be taught in math classes.

Robert Byers said:

Everybody. THIS IS so about censorship. why run from the label?? Is it uncomfortable to be in bed with all of history’s censorship power elites?? first things first. Its not about whether creationism is science or not. The gov’t /courts are saying creationism is BANNED as a option for conclusions touching on certain subjects in origin matters. I reason, on behalf of YEC/ID and good guys everywhere, that this must mean A) truth is not the objective of these school subjects or B) its settled these banned conclusions are not true. If B then the state is saying officially creationism is not true. Therefore its saying it can make such a judgement and its saying it can rule religious conclusions are not true. Its clear from the great white north that the censoship means the gov’t/courts has mandated truth or whats not tru on these scientific/religious ideas. This is surely illegal and surely not in the spirit and deeds of the historic American nation and society. Creationists got the best case here and just need better lawyers and cases to introduce this to the public and forec the courts to overthrow the present censorship. A great moral and legal development awaits the good guys. I can’t see where my LOGIC is wrong here.

By the way. the very Puritan Protestant yankee and Anglican Protestant southerners would laught to scorn at how any clown Judges could tease out of the constitution a censorship of christian doctrine or any doctrine when talking about the origins of everything. In schools no less. WHERE DID YOU READ THAT!! They would say and then demand a duel!

let me see if I have this straight: the current version of Freshwater’s claim is that it is a violation of the 1st amendment (freedom of expression clause)for the State (school/his employer) to punish him for his protest/religious display and/or to punish him for the content of what he teaches? I wonder if he actually believes that? (Is he really that obtuse?)

{not part of his claim} at the same time the 1st amendment also compels the school to keep religion out of the classroom (where not appropriate) that means that the constitution compels government agencies/agent including schools/teachers to censor (official) expression that would be an endorsement of sectarian religion. (IANAL but that seems correct)

so the crux of Freshwater’s argument is that somehow a public school teacher, during school hours, on school grounds, somehow is not an agent of the government and therefore not subject to the limitations put on the government by the constitution (promoting religion in an official capacity)?

and not directly related above, what is the statute of limitations on child abuse? can the DA still go after Freshwater for the branding?

eric said:

DanHolme said: I think what worries me in the UK is that we have such a crowded curriculum that there’s not time to go into the sort of depth that the subject requires – a quick chat with year 10 students reveals that they remember doing 2 lessons on Darwin’s finches, but not much more than that.

In the US, we have no standard curriculum. Each state comes up with its own, so for us coverage of evolution will vary by State. It also varies by teacher, of course. I suspect that in many states and in many US classrooms, our coverage of the subject is as sketchy as yours. And in some cases, lack of information is the minor problem - we are also worried about misinformation, a la Freshwater.

There has been a recent push by a plurality of states (I think about 20 of them) and the feds to come up with a standardized curriculum, called “common core.” It is entirely voluntary at this point but I think many states are considering adopting it. AIUI, in that curriculum, the concept of evolution is not so much a separate high school unit but a general theme that is covered throughout science classes, beginning at grade 1 and going all the way (though not every single year) through grade 12. As you might expect from this, creationists hate the common core, because it greatly expands in both amount and importance how evolution is presented.

Common core is crap, because it rewrites history to favor the current administration and totally destroys the instruction of basic math.

KlausH said:

eric said:

DanHolme said: I think what worries me in the UK is that we have such a crowded curriculum that there’s not time to go into the sort of depth that the subject requires – a quick chat with year 10 students reveals that they remember doing 2 lessons on Darwin’s finches, but not much more than that.

In the US, we have no standard curriculum. Each state comes up with its own, so for us coverage of evolution will vary by State. It also varies by teacher, of course. I suspect that in many states and in many US classrooms, our coverage of the subject is as sketchy as yours. And in some cases, lack of information is the minor problem - we are also worried about misinformation, a la Freshwater.

There has been a recent push by a plurality of states (I think about 20 of them) and the feds to come up with a standardized curriculum, called “common core.” It is entirely voluntary at this point but I think many states are considering adopting it. AIUI, in that curriculum, the concept of evolution is not so much a separate high school unit but a general theme that is covered throughout science classes, beginning at grade 1 and going all the way (though not every single year) through grade 12. As you might expect from this, creationists hate the common core, because it greatly expands in both amount and importance how evolution is presented.

Common core is crap, because it rewrites history to favor the current administration and totally destroys the instruction of basic math.

Oh, to clarify, I am also strongly opposed to states trying to sneak religion into science classes.

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