Richard B. Hoppe posted Entry 1127 on June 7, 2005 12:44 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1125

Bryan Leonard is a recently visible figure in the intelligent design creationism movement.  Leonard is a high school biology teacher at Hilliard Davidson High School in a suburb of Columbus.  As an appointee to the Ohio State BOE’s model curriculum-writing committee, he was the author of the IDC-oriented “Critical Analysis” model lesson plan adopted by the Ohio State Board of Education last year, and he recently testified at the Kansas Creationist Kangaroo Court hearings.  The credential that endears him to the IDC movement is that he is a doctoral candidate in science education at the Ohio State University, and his dissertation research is on the academic merits of an ID-based “critical analysis” approach to teaching evolution in public schools.

Leonard was scheduled to defend his dissertation yesterday, June 6, but we learned late last week that his defense has been postponed.

More below the fold.

Here are the facts as we know them and some reasonable inferences from those facts.

The Graduate School of the Ohio State University generally requires that a thesis defense be publicly announced.  There’s some question whether the announcement of Leonard’s defense actually occurred.  In any event, several members of the OSU faculty learned of Leonard’s impending defense and of the composition of the committee that was to conduct the examination.

The entity that actually grants the degree Leonard is seeking is the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education.  Within that, the Science Education Ph.D. program  requires that

Upon completion of the [candidacy] examination, the student may reorganize the committee to reflect the expertise needed for the dissertation.  The dissertation committee must have at least three members: two from the science education program area and one from outside the science education program area.  (Italics added)

Leonard’s final dissertation committee did not meet those requirements.  It was composed of his advisor, Paul Post from the technology education program area of the section for Math, Science and Technology; Glen R. Needham of the Department of Entomology in the College of Biological Sciences; and Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition in the College of Human Ecology.  For the final defense an Assistant Professor from the department of French & Italian in the College of Humanities was also assigned to the committee to monitor the procedure.  Thus, there were no members from the science education program area on Leonard’s final dissertation committee.

What is more noteworthy is that there are no members of Leonard’s dissertation committee who are specialists in science education or in evolutionary biology, even though Leonard’s dissertation is specifically directed at methods of teaching evolutionary biology in public school science classes.  The two senior tenured members of the committee, DiSilvestro and Needham, in fact share a single salient qualification: they have both publicly associated themselves with the intelligent design creationist movement in Ohio and elsewhere.

DiSilvestro is an original signer of the Discovery Institute’s A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism statement and testified for the Intelligent Design Network at the recent Kansas Kangaroo Court hearings, as did Leonard.  According to his departmental profile, DiSilvestro’s professional interests are “Nutritional biochemistry and clinical nutrition of antioxidant nutrients and phytochemicals, especially in regard to inflammatory aspects of disease and exercise recovery; mineral and phytochemical effects on weight loss.”  According to a transcript of a recording supplied by an attendee, DiSilvestro told the Kansas Kangaroo Court that he doesn’t use evolutionary theory in his own research.

Needham has testified in support of IDC proposals before the Ohio State Board of Education.  There is a department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology in the College of Biological Sciences, but Needham is not a member of that department.  His research on ticks is only marginally related to evolution and he does not teach evolution.  (See here from one of his colleagues in Entomology.)

DiSilvestro was contact person for the Ohio Intelligent Design Movement’s 52 Ohio Scientists Call for Academic Freedom on Darwin’s Theory petition, and Needham was a signer.

Leonard’s Ph.D. advisor, Paul E. Post, is primarily associated with technology education at the Ohio State University and has no visible credentials in science or science education.  Post replaced Leonard’s first advisor, Paul Vellom, who was a science education specialist, when Vellom left OSU.  It’s not clear why Leonard’s current Ph.D. advisor is not in his area of concentration.

As far as we are aware, DiSilvestro and Needham are the only two faculty members of the Ohio State University who have spoken publicly in support of Leonard’s approach to teaching evolution using intelligent design creationist-based materials.  (Judging from the model lesson plan Leonard wrote for the Ohio State Board of Education, his materials are primarily drawn from Wells’s Icons of Evolution.)  The committee deck was clearly stacked, and a “design inference” regarding the composition of Leonard’s committee seems warranted.  As Michael Behe tells us

The strong appearance of design allows a disarmingly simple argument: if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck, then, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, we have warrant to conclude it’s a duck. Design should not be overlooked simply because it’s so obvious.

When several members of the faculty of the Ohio State University brought these and other anomalies to the attention of appropriate administrators in the Graduate School, the novice Graduate School Representative on Leonard’s Committee, the assistant professor of French & Italian, asked to be relieved, and was immediately replaced by Dr. Joan Herbers, Dean of the College of Biological Sciences and an evolutionary biologist.  Shortly thereafter, Leonard’s dissertation defense was postponed, apparently at the request of Leonard’s advisor in consultation with the Math, Science and Technology Education section head.

So what we have is a graduate student, by all reports an earnest young man, who has been led down the garden path, seemingly guided by a couple of tenured ID Creationist faculty members whose anti-evolution agenda apparently overrode any commitment to the integrity of the academic process, the value of graduate education and research, or the well-being of the student.  The phrase “cynical manipulation” comes to mind.  Regardless of whether Leonard was a willing participant in the exercise, the tenured faculty members involved have a direct responsibility — to education, to science, to their colleagues and university, and to Leonard himself — to ensure that the integrity of the degree-granting process at the Ohio State University is maintained.

By participating in a loaded committee for his dissertation defense, Leonard’s mentors demonstrated as clearly as possible that they have no confidence in Leonard or in the academic worthiness of his dissertation.  Had it been otherwise, there’d have been no need to load up his committee with ID Creationists who have no professional qualifications in the subject of Leonard’s thesis research.  That behavior is of a piece with the IDC strategy of the last couple of years: fix the jury and you don’t have to worry about the merits of your position.  Sternberg publishing Meyer, Sermonti publishing Wells, the Kansas Creationist Kangaroo Court, and now the Leonard affair, all demonstrate the same pattern of behavior: game the system so the fix is in, and science (and education) be damned. 

This is emphatically not a case of academic freedom.  It is rather another example of academic carpetbagging by the DI and its associated IDC zealots.  Academic freedom entails academic responsibility, and it is not apparent that Leonard’s mentors fulfilled their responsibility, either to Leonard personally or to the academic world as a whole. 

So Leonard’s dissertation defense is being held in abeyance while the Ohio State University ascertains whether the processes that are intended to ensure the academic integrity of OSU degrees are being adhered to.  The dissertation may be a perfectly acceptable piece of work, but the apparent attempt to subvert the degree-granting process at the Ohio State University makes that moot.  One more time: the issue is the integrity of that process and the responsibilities of faculty members, not the specific student or his work.  One hopes that in the end, Leonard gets an appropriately constituted committee, one that not only satisfies OSU’s requirements but also has the expertise to help Leonard correct any errors introduced by the old committee and that can knowledgeably evaluate his dissertation so his degree is not tainted and he has contributed something of value to science education.

RBH

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Comment #34092

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 7, 2005 1:00 PM (e)

Leonard’s final dissertation committee did not meet those requirements.  It was composed of his advisor, Paul Post from the technology education program area of the section for Math, Science and Technology; Glen R. Needham of the Department of Entomology in the College of Biological Sciences; and Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition in the College of Human Ecology.  For the final defense an Assistant Professor from the department of French & Italian in the College of Humanities was also assigned to the committee to monitor the procedure.  Thus, there were no members from the science education program area on Leonard’s final dissertation committee.

Amazing. A dissertation committee containing a specialist in technology education, a specialist in insects, a nutritionist, and a professor of Romance Languages. Coming to this cold, it would be completely impossible to guess what field his dissertation was even supposed to be in!

Comment #34095

Posted by SteveF on June 7, 2005 1:10 PM (e)

Wow! Thanks for this post RBH.

Comment #34096

Posted by Hiero5ant on June 7, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

What’s so damn sad is that the Crowther talking points have already been written. No matter what the outcome at OSU, it’s “Jackbooted Darwinianist bureaucrats stifle free thought – could your child be next?!?!?”

Hopefully his dissertation will be released to the public; when/if it ever is, allow me to make a prediction. It will not contain a scientific theory of ID, but will somehow manage to go on for pages and pages about how to teach the theory of ID.

Prove me wrong, Mr. Leonard.

Comment #34097

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 7, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

So what we have is a graduate student, by all reports an earnest young man, who has been led down the garden path, seemingly guided by a couple of tenured ID Creationist faculty members whose anti-evolution agenda apparently overrode any commitment to the integrity of the academic process, the value of graduate education and research, or the well-being of the student.  The phrase “cynical manipulation” comes to mind.  Regardless of whether Leonard was a willing participant in the exercise, the tenured faculty members involved have a direct responsibility — to education, to science, to their colleagues and university, and to Leonard himself — to ensure that the integrity of the degree-granting process at the Ohio State University is maintained.

I can’t believe for a second that Leonard was not a fully aware, willing, and enthusiastic participant in the fast one they were trying to pull here.

Leonard’s PhD and dissertation might be in a lot of trouble here – real universities don’t like having their standards trashed and their normal processes subverted so that outsiders can make political capital.

Comment #34098

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 7, 2005 1:28 PM (e)

Can someone tell me if it is common for science dissertations to be defended with members of humanities departments in America. That somewhat confuses me they would even consider that to begin with.

Comment #34100

Posted by RBH on June 7, 2005 1:32 PM (e)

Joseph O’Donnell asked

Can someone tell me if it is common for science dissertations to be defended with members of humanities departments in America. That somewhat confuses me they would even consider that to begin with.

At the Ohio State University, the Graduate School Representative, which is what the French & Italian professor was appointed to the committee to be, is there to monitor procedures and ensure that the process conforms to the requirements of the degree-granting entity.

Comment #34101

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on June 7, 2005 1:37 PM (e)

So, Dr. Joan Herbers won’t have a say on the subject matter, but merely on procedures?

Comment #34103

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 7, 2005 1:38 PM (e)

At the Ohio State University, the Graduate School Representative, which is what the French & Italian professor was appointed to the committee to be, is there to monitor procedures and ensure that the process conforms to the requirements of the degree-granting entity.

Looks like the system worked here…

Comment #34104

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 7, 2005 1:38 PM (e)

Ahhh ok, now that makes sense to me and I can now see why things have been ‘postponed’. I see that with an evolutionary scientist there, they weren’t going to get away with whatever they were doing as easily. Now it makes sense.

Comment #34105

Posted by Flint on June 7, 2005 1:54 PM (e)

In Russell’s wonderful words (to “Do You Believe In Magic”):

Just go and witness. It may seem like fraud
But lying’s a virtue when you’re lying for God

So what we have is a graduate student, by all reports an earnest young man, who has been led down the garden path, seemingly guided by a couple of tenured ID Creationist faculty members whose anti-evolution agenda apparently overrode any commitment to the integrity of the academic process, the value of graduate education and research, or the well-being of the student. The phrase “cynical manipulation” comes to mind.

I consider you a bit cynicism-impaired. Leonard’s eyes seem fully open to me: This was a joint effort to cheat the university and the academic process, on the part of everyone involved. Far from working against “the well-being of the student”, it would have made his career forevermore, placed him at the forefront of the ID movement (even if as a figurehead), created a vehicle for establishing “scientifically verified, establishment-supported” creationism in school curricula across the country, showered Leonard with material riches, backed him with very significant and enthusiastic voting blocs, and so on ad nauseum. You think he didn’t realize this? This was the Big Kahuna, and would have made the suckering of the Smithsonian insignificant by comparison.

Sure it’s dishonest, but creationism is otherwise impossible. And considering the guaranteed spectacular career success about to be showered on Leanord of they could pull this off, hell, I might be tempted to cheat the system myself. After all, I’d be doing it for God!

Comment #34108

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 7, 2005 2:05 PM (e)

I think it should be made clear that, whether or not “stacking” occurred (which honestly seems very likely at this point), and whether or not Leonard was aware and in agreement with what was going on, he is very much the victim here.

A graduate student has the right to a thesis committee that will provide expert critical feed-back and guidance on his/her thesis work of the same kind and academic/scientific rigor that the student is likely to encounter in their independent future career. Whether the student wants it or not, it is the duty of faculty members on the committee to provide such guidance and criticism, or recuse themselves. Rubber-stamping a thesis, or even worse leading it in directions that fulfill exceedingly minoritary philosophical preferences of committee members (as opposed to the mentor’s and student’s, who are free to pursue whatever idea they wish) is primarily a disservice to the student, in addition to being a stain on the academic process and the Institution involved. I hope this is not what happened.

Comment #34109

Posted by Dave on June 7, 2005 2:07 PM (e)

Oh come on Flint, do you really think his reward will be any less as a martyr to the cause? Win-win.

Comment #34111

Posted by Russell on June 7, 2005 2:11 PM (e)

hiero5ant wrote:

Hopefully his dissertation will be released to the public; when/if it ever is, allow me to make a prediction. It will not contain a scientific theory of ID, but will somehow manage to go on for pages and pages about how to teach the theory of ID.

I think the public always has access to PhD dissertations.

But let me alert you to a bit of linguistic legerdemain. Leonard says he’s never taught ID in the classroom. He’s taught “scientific information supporting as well as scientific information challenging evolution”.

(Now, ask yourself this: how would “teaching ID” be any different from teaching bogus challenges to evolution?)

Comment #34115

Posted by Dave on June 7, 2005 2:21 PM (e)

Anyone who wants an idea of Leonard’s work:
http://www.evolutionnews.org/index.php?p=339&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Just try not to read it on a full stomach.

Comment #34120

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 7, 2005 2:43 PM (e)

I think it should be made clear that, whether or not “stacking” occurred (which honestly seems very likely at this point), and whether or not Leonard was aware and in agreement with what was going on, he is very much the victim here. 

A graduate student has the right to a thesis committee that will provide expert critical feed-back and guidance on his/her thesis work of the same kind and academic/scientific rigor that the student is likely to encounter in their independent future career…

But it doesn’t sound like Leonard wanted that at all. This whole thing looks very well thought out, on the part of both Leonard and the creationists he found to stack his committee with. I’d bet he knew a real, legitimately done dissertation on ID wasn’t likely, so he chose to do this end run around the system. He probably also figured if he’d got caught, he’d be ID’s martyr. I don’t have any definition of ‘victim’ in my head that fits what Leonard’s done here.

Besides, he might have the option of reforming, promising OU that he’ll work with real evolutionary biologists from now on, and doing a real, scientifically sound thesis. Think he’ll take that option? :-)

How long til David Horowitz picks up on this one, I wonder?

Comment #34123

Posted by Flint on June 7, 2005 2:59 PM (e)

I admit I’m not currently familiar with any ID proponents whose position rests primarily on their martyrdom. I’ve seen some complaints that they don’t bother to do any research because atheistic peers refuse to publish any so why bother, but there is no specific “professional victim” involved.

So I’m fairly certain that Leonard’s value (to the cause as well as in dollars) is much higher as a PhD from Ohio State University, whose thesis is “How To Sneak ID Into The Classroom.”

On the evidence presented, once again, this was a joint effort on the part of all of the creationists involved, to sneak an anti-science thesis through a somnolent overview process under the banner of “science education.”

Andrea Bottaro has missed an essential point here: The goal is NOT education at all. The goal is the Glory of God, currently blocked at least partially by hidebound Darwinist atheistic academics of the evolutionary religion. Leonard does not consider himself rewarded by a real education and a genuine degree, but rather by the number of 9th graders he can protect from being brainwashed. And, of course, the guaranteed fame and fortune his bogus degree would be worth.

Comment #34124

Posted by Tyler Simons on June 7, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

This was a great post. I’m trying to go at the ID community from another angle – Intelligent Design is not only bad science, its crappy theology. The argument from design has been a joke ever since Hume was writing almost 300 years ago. Cardinal Newman was attacking any kind of ‘evidentialism’ - rational, empirical arguments for the existence of God - almost two hundred years ago. The blindness to the rich history of Christian theology of the contemporary evangelical movement is not only silly, it will be their downfall, if I have anything to say about it. I wrote about this in a recent post on my blog, but antispam measures seem to prevent me from posting a direct link.

Comment #34127

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on June 7, 2005 3:23 PM (e)

Joe writes “Can someone tell me if it is common for science dissertations to be defended with members of humanities departments in America. That somewhat confuses me they would even consider that to begin with.”

Its not unusual to have somebody well out of the field of study on the committee. This is done to make sure that no dept. is rubber stamping dissertations. On the other what is not common is to have committee comprised of people entirely outside what your Ph.D.

Course, when OSU craps on this guy as they should wait for ID’s amen corner in the OS legislature to suggest cutting OSU’s funding..

Comment #34128

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 7, 2005 3:26 PM (e)

Arden wrote:
But it doesn’t sound like Leonard wanted that at all. This whole thing looks very well thought out, on the part of both Leonard and the creationists he found to stack his committee with. I’d bet he knew a real, legitimately done dissertation on ID wasn’t likely, so he chose to do this end run around the system. He probably also figured if he’d got caught, he’d be ID’s martyr. I don’t have any definition of ‘victim’ in my head that fits what Leonard’s done here.

Flint wrote:
Andrea Bottaro has missed an essential point here: The goal is NOT education at all. The goal is the Glory of God, currently blocked at least partially by hidebound Darwinist atheistic academics of the evolutionary religion. Leonard does not consider himself rewarded by a real education and a genuine degree, but rather by the number of 9th graders he can protect from being brainwashed. And, of course, the guaranteed fame and fortune his bogus degree would be worth.

It does not matter what Leonard wants, assuming we can tell. A student enrolled in a self-respecting program has the right to a rigorous education, whether they like it or not (and if they don’t, they can drop out). They have the right to be failed if they don’t know the matter of an exam, they have the right to be asked to re-write their thesis as many times as it takes for that document to reach decent academic standards, they have the right not to graduate until they are ready to.

If things are as they seem, Leonard may well choose not graduate at all, end up on theID/creationist lecture circuit and book-writing business, be totally satisfied and make more money out of it that he would have ever made with his PhD, but he still will have been cheated out of a good education by those who did not provide proper oversight to his thesis work.

Comment #34129

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on June 7, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

Tyler Simmons wrote:

I wrote about this in a recent post on my blog, but antispam measures seem to prevent me from posting a direct link.

Let me guess, are there hyphens in the URL? Try http://www.tinyurl.com

Comment #34130

Posted by RBH on June 7, 2005 3:28 PM (e)

Tyler,

Try tinyurl.com to fix the URL.

RBH

Comment #34132

Posted by frank schmidt on June 7, 2005 3:40 PM (e)

I followed the link and read Leonard’s “lesson plan.” Same old, same old.

What is most telling is how it is so radically out of date. There’s lots about the specious distinction between “microevolution” and “macroevolution,” coupled with the untruth that there are no observed instances of speciation, and a bald-faced misrepresentation of the endosymbiotic theory for the origin of eukaryotes.

Why don’t creationists read the literature?

Comment #34133

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 7, 2005 3:46 PM (e)

Of course, I should add that, in his role as teacher, with his “lesson plan” Leonard is cheating his students out of a good education. But that’s another story.

Comment #34134

Posted by RudigerVT on June 7, 2005 3:50 PM (e)

re, the actual dissertation. Until it has been accepted by the committee, and processed by the department and graduate school, and sent to a bindery, and sent to the library and processed; then and only then will it end up on the library shelf. Most libraries do not allow dissertations to circulate, so you couldn’t take it from the building or request it through interlibrary loan (as it’d be very difficult to replace). Some libraries may let you pay them to photocopy it for you.

Pre-defense, he’d have to want it out there for people to be reading for it to be available. I wouldn’t count on it.

LPR

Comment #34135

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 7, 2005 3:51 PM (e)

Why don’t creationists read the literature?

Who needs it when you have the “truth”?

Comment #34137

Posted by Arden Chatfield on June 7, 2005 4:11 PM (e)

re, the actual dissertation. Until it has been accepted by the committee, and processed by the department and graduate school, and sent to a bindery, and sent to the library and processed; then and only then will it end up on the library shelf. Most libraries do not allow dissertations to circulate, so you couldn’t take it from the building or request it through interlibrary loan (as it’d be very difficult to replace). Some libraries may let you pay them to photocopy it for you.

It’s not just the ‘library shelf’ that’s important here – University Microfilms International (they may have changed their name recently) has on file all the dissertations filed in America for quite some time. Far as I know, all American universities send UMI their dissertations. Then people write UMI and place an order for a copy of the dissertation. It’s a good system.

HOWEVER, there is a loophole in that when you file your PhD, you can always stipulate that you only want UMI to sell your thesis to authorized people, or to yourself only, or to no one at all. That might well happen here, if Leonard manages to come out of all this with a Doctorate.

Comment #34139

Posted by Henry J on June 7, 2005 4:45 PM (e)

Re “Why don’t creationists read the literature?”

Maybe it’s a bit like reading the instruction manual for a new appliance?

Henry

Comment #34145

Posted by Flint on June 7, 2005 5:05 PM (e)

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

If things are as they seem, Leonard may well choose not graduate at all, end up on theID/creationist lecture circuit and book-writing business, be totally satisfied and make more money out of it that he would have ever made with his PhD, but he still will have been cheated out of a good education by those who did not provide proper oversight to his thesis work.

After some puzzling, I think I understand what this statement intends. Presumably OSU is capable of providing a quality education to anyone who seeks one. Leonard may not have the slightest interest in a good education, but as faculty and advisors representing OSU, DiSilvestro and Needham (at the very least) should not have permitted this. Their duty as representatives of OSU is, above all, to ensure that nobody is granted a degree in the name of OSU that is less than representative of what OSU stands for.

Personally, I see the school as the victim, and Leonard as one of the con artists trying to pull the swindle. Maybe we could wander off into speculation as to whether Leonard (and DiSilvestro and Needham) would consider a “good education” one that would disallow Leonard’s dissertation. RBH has already pointed out that by violating numerous explicit rules as required to stack the deck, those involved have tacitly conceded that Leonard’s work can’t meet normal standards. But once again, education is neither the short-term nor the long-term goal here, whether or not Leonard “deserves” one. The goal is ultimately exactly the opposite – to corrupt the public education curriculum in the name of fundamentalist doctrine. If education is being explicitly regarded as “the enemy” (and it is, by the very nature of the dissertation), Leonard is only “cheated” from the perspective of someone who does not share his convictions.

Comment #34151

Posted by DrJohn on June 7, 2005 5:23 PM (e)

Arden Chatfield wrote:

Far as I know, all American universities send UMI their dissertations.

Nope. It is entirely up to the university. Some still do not. I am also thinking the author can stop it. (From memory of the form I filled out regarding mine.)

Look for the name Proquest if memory serves me well. A dissertation on paper is a bit less than $40.

Comment #34153

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 7, 2005 5:36 PM (e)

Bryan Leonard is a recently visible figure in the intelligent design creationism movement.

Can he give us a scientific theory of intelligent design adn tell us how to test it using the scientific method?

Why not?

Can he explain why anyone should pay any more attention to his religious opinions than they should to mine, my nexy door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, my veterinarian’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

Why not?

Comment #34154

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 7, 2005 5:39 PM (e)

According to a transcript of a recording supplied by an attendee, DiSilvestro told the Kansas Kangaroo Court that he doesn’t use evolutionary theory in his own research.

I bet he doesn’t use germ theory or heliocentric theory, either.

Comment #34170

Posted by JohnK on June 7, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee, FCD wrote:

So, evo-biologist Dr. Joan Herbers [newly appointed Graduate School Representative to monitor procedures and ensure that the process conforms to the degree-granting requirements] won’t have a say on the thesis subject matter, but merely on procedures?

Seconded. Can anyone familiar with OSU thesis protocol address this?

Comment #34175

Posted by Russell on June 7, 2005 7:17 PM (e)

Readers who want to know more about where diSilvestro is coming from will want to check out his much cited (by IDers, anyway) defense of Behe’s “Black Box”

Comment #34178

Posted by Thrifty Gene on June 7, 2005 7:44 PM (e)

Any PT contributors at/near OSU? Any one attending the thesis defense? They are usually open. Fed X Professor Steve Steve.

Comment #34180

Posted by RBH on June 7, 2005 7:51 PM (e)

Aureola asked

So, evo-biologist Dr. Joan Herbers [newly appointed Graduate School Representative to monitor procedures and ensure that the process conforms to the degree-granting requirements] won’t have a say on the thesis subject matter, but merely on procedures?

This from an anonymous OSU faculty source: The Graduate Faculty Representative does vote on the issue of whether or not the candidate passes the exam. In general, a candidate passes even with one negative vote. But if that negative vote is from the Graduate Faculty Representative, then the candidate does not pass. Neither does the candidate fail. The exam can be rescheduled after the problems identified by the Graduate Faculty Representative are addressed.

RBH

Comment #34191

Posted by Scott Simmons on June 7, 2005 9:21 PM (e)

Still, that leaves open the concern. If the GFR feels that all proper procedures have been followed, can he (ethically) block the committee from accepting the thesis?

Comment #34197

Posted by RBH on June 7, 2005 9:42 PM (e)

I don’t know the full scope of the GSR’s responsibilities and powers. But that committee composition can’t stand. It’s in blatant contravention of the requirements of the program in which Leonard is supposedly earning his degree. The new committee will have to revisit the Institutional Review Board materials, the dissertation proposal, and the dissertation itself before even scheduling a defense. It’s possible that questions could be raised about just what Leonard was teaching by way of “challenges” to macroevolution. If he used the Wells material as he included them in the original Ohio SBOE model lesson plan, he was teaching some plain falsehoods. There were false statements of fact, at least one fake reference, and blatantly Christian creationist web sites included in the original of that lesson plan. If I were a member of that committee, I’d sure want to know if he had the IRB’s permission to teach trash science to high school kids as an experimental condition.

RBH

Comment #34201

Posted by Albion on June 7, 2005 10:07 PM (e)

I admit I’m not currently familiar with any ID proponents whose position rests primarily on their martyrdom.

Roger DeHart might count as one. He’s trotted out by the DI all the time as a martyr to the cause of truth in education because he was reassigned after being found to be adding creationist material to his high-school lessons. Rod LeVake and Kevin Haley are also martyrs for the cause of “teaching the controversy.”

Comment #34208

Posted by RBH on June 7, 2005 10:39 PM (e)

OK, here’s more on the Graduate School Rep, from the grad school handbook:

V.8.10.2.2 Graduate Faculty Representative. The Graduate School appoints a Graduate Faculty Representative to each Final Oral Examination (ref. II.6.10.5). This person is neither a member of the student’s graduate program nor of the Dissertation Committee. The Graduate Faculty Representative’s role is to attend and participate in the Final Oral Examination as a full voting member and to submit to the Graduate School a report on the rigor and fairness of the examination, as well as the student’s performance. (p. 116)

So the GSR is a full participant in substance as well as process.

RBH

Comment #34210

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on June 7, 2005 10:41 PM (e)

Wow, there were only three members on his committee? That seems low to me; but then again, I have six.

Comment #34212

Posted by RBH on June 7, 2005 10:53 PM (e)

Three seems low to me, too. I had five, and two of them were ball-busters. I had the same committee for prelim and final orals. At the prelim, my advisor started it off by saying, “Well, we’ll let Ray ask the first question, then we’ll revive RBH and the rest of us can ask some.”

RBH

Comment #34213

Posted by steve on June 7, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

Three is typical in the NCSU physics dept.

Comment #34214

Posted by John Wilkins on June 7, 2005 11:10 PM (e)

Amazing. A dissertation committee containing a specialist in technology education, a specialist in insects, a nutritionist, and a professor of Romance Languages. Coming to this cold, it would be completely impossible to guess what field his dissertation was even supposed to be in!

It’s obvious: Italian-speaking tool-wielding beetle cookery teachers…

Comment #34217

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 7, 2005 11:30 PM (e)

For some reason, as I read the article, I kept hearing a voice whispering “Lysenko. Lysenko. Lysenko.”

I need a more beer, obviously.

Comment #34229

Posted by djmullen on June 8, 2005 1:59 AM (e)

Posted by Dave on June 7, 2005 02:21 PM (e) (s)

Anyone who wants an idea of Leonard’s work:
http://www.evolutionnews.org/index.php?p=339&more=1&c=1&tb=1 …

Just try not to read it on a full stomach.

I notice the line, “No Comments/Trackbacks/Pingbacks for this post yet…” at the bottom of that article. Can someone who knows how send them the URL for this posting?

Flint: I admit I’m not currently familiar with any ID proponents whose position rests primarily on their martyrdom.

Besides the others listed in a previous comment, there’s Dean Kenyon who was caught teaching creationist junk in a college biology class.

And of course, there’s William Dembski and the Polanyi Institute at Baylor University. The Polanyi Institute was actually passed by an outside board of investigators and Dembski was home free as its director until he ruined everthing by writing an infamous email to the entire faculty of Baylor University. The memo celebrated the committee’s “unqualified affirmation” of Intelligent Design which was hardly the case. He also called the committe report evolution’s “Waterloo”. When president Sloan of Baylor University requested that Dembski withdraw those remarks, Dembski sent a second memo to the entire faculty that accused the administration of “intellectual McCarthyism” and Sloan himself of “the utmost of bad faith.” Not surprisingly, Sloan then sacked Dembski from his position in the Polyanyi Institute, but Dembski nevertheless claims to be a martyr.

Comment #34234

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 8, 2005 4:28 AM (e)

When president Sloan of Baylor University requested that Dembski withdraw those remarks, Dembski sent a second memo to the entire faculty that accused the administration of “intellectual McCarthyism” and Sloan himself of “the utmost of bad faith.” Not surprisingly, Sloan then sacked Dembski from his position in the Polyanyi Institute, but Dembski nevertheless claims to be a martyr.

Self-martyrdom! What are the odds of such an event taking place?

Must be some sort of design, but I would hesitate to call it “intelligent.”

Comment #34258

Posted by Sherman Dorn on June 8, 2005 7:53 AM (e)

Andrea has the money quote as far as I’m concerned for doctoral education. Wow. This is definitely something that gets passed on to our graduate dean (and my associate dean for academic affairs here in the … college of education).

Comment #34260

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2005 8:39 AM (e)

I appreciate the list of martyrs provided here. I had never heard of any of them except Dembski, and I was aware that his position wasn’t renewed because he had misrepresented what his superiors had said, and when caught out, had accused THEM of bad faith! But this is why I specified that the ID proponent’s position rest primarily on martyrdom. Dembski doesn’t get debated at great length here because of his loss of position at Baylor, but because of his explanatory filter and his notions of CSI.

Here’s one editorial on DeHart. Here’s a brief bit on Rod LeVake. All I can find on Kevin Haley is an interior designer by that name. Some Dean Kenyon material is also interesting. Thanks everyone for these names. How much mileage does the DI actually get out of them?

Comment #34264

Posted by Albion on June 8, 2005 9:02 AM (e)

Well, I think they sometimes show up at school board meetings and so on as Exhibit A when the ID people are banging on about how the legitimate science of ID is being stifled and silenced by the philosophical naturalists who have taken over the scientific enterprise.

Comment #34266

Posted by Albion on June 8, 2005 9:07 AM (e)

I think Dean Kenyon is better known these days as one of the co-authors of “Of Pandas and People.” But since school boards around the country aren’t falling over themselves to use his book as their standard biology text, I suppose that counts toward his martyr status.

Comment #34271

Posted by Michael Buratovich on June 8, 2005 9:42 AM (e)

Dear Folks,

As someone who went through the dissertation exam process and sweated buckets all the way through it (Professor Marsh, this one’s for you), it is scary and rigorous, but it should be. You should have to stare down the barrel of experts in your field and hold the down the fort in the process. For goodness sakes, it’s a Ph.D. your are asking them to grant, not a driver’s training certificate!

I have never been a student or postdoc at OSU, although I know people who have and commonly, candidates have at least some say as to the composition of their dissertation committee. Leonard should have worked to ensure that the fields of study relevant to his disseration were appropriately represented on his committee. It sounds to me as though he didn’t, but that is difficult to determine from the information in hand. Clearly, his committee is packed with people with whom he is friendly. People sometimes have friends on their committees, but they still have to have expertise in a field of study that is relelvant to the dissertation topic. Furthermore, their status as your friend cannot obviously bias their decisions regarding the quality of your dissertation. These aspects were not met in Leonard’s former committee and the delay is both appropriate and even necessary. Hopefully, the quality of his dissertation will carry the day, but with Leonard using material from Jonathan Wells as a primary source, it seems as though his scientific judgment is questionable. This situation is regrettable, but not altogether surprising.

MB

Comment #34279

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2005 10:29 AM (e)

Michael Buratovich:

What RBH is talking about here is absolutely standard, SOP Creationist technique. Stack the deck, abuse the process, misrepresent the facts, whatever it takes to support the Creationist position. Leonard indeed worked to “ensure that the fields of study relevent to his dissertation was appropriately represented on his committee.” His dissertation was an effort to get his brand of religion into public school science classes, and his committee was composed of those equally committed to this same goal. And that goal is certainly far more immediate in their minds than the goal of maintaining the integrity of OSU.

The statement that “his scientific judgment is questionable” completely misses the point. This is not about scientific judgment, this is about getting OSU’s highest and most prestigious stamp of approval on a Creationist document and the individual who “wrote” it. Now, if anyone had been fool enough to produce a Creationist screed as a Ph.D. dissertation and NOT stack the committee with known Creationists, THAT would have been an astonishing violation of Creationist technique as demonstrated on every possible occasion. Creationists aren’t stupid, they know their positions cannot stand the light of serious examination.

Comment #34284

Posted by DrJohn on June 8, 2005 10:55 AM (e)

Has anyone sent a note to the Ohio press?

Or would that help Leonard immensely?

Comment #34289

Posted by RBH on June 8, 2005 11:12 AM (e)

DrJohn asked

Has anyone sent a note to the Ohio press?

Or would that help Leonard immensely?

Ohio and national press has very recently been made aware of it, and phone calls and emails from the press are coming in.

Once again, the issue is not Leonard himself; it’s the apparent subversion of the degree-granting process at the Ohio State University. That is the issue that is front and center.

RBH

Comment #34299

Posted by TonyB on June 8, 2005 12:49 PM (e)

I had three people on my UC Davis dissertation committee, which was a subset of my orals committee. It struck me as strange that Leonard’s committees had so little in common with each other. People have already pointed out the weirdest thing, which is the thoroughly nonrepresentative composition of the dissertation committee. Since I was doing work in math education, the professors on my committee were from math, math ed, and a specialist in qualitative ed research (I was interviewing college-age algebra students about their math travails). Perhaps I should have recruited my committee from our school of veterinary medicine. It is, after all, a very good vet school!

Comment #34301

Posted by steve on June 8, 2005 1:00 PM (e)

This was not a science degree nor graduate work in a biology department, but an education degree in a school of education. Very very different, though the creationists will try to blur that line too.

-Steve

Comment #34302

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 8, 2005 1:01 PM (e)

Flint wrote:
Now, if anyone had been fool enough to produce a Creationist screed as a Ph.D. dissertation and NOT stack the committee with known Creationists, THAT would have been an astonishing violation of Creationist technique as demonstrated on every possible occasion.

Well, to be fair, I think Paul Nelson got his PhD in Phylosophy from U Chicago with a thesis arguing against the theory of Common Descent, in front of a committee that included evolutionists. Then of course there’s Kurt Wise’s Harvard PhD with Gould, although I am not sure whether his thesis was openly Creationist (probably not).

Anyway, these may well be the exceptions, but I don’t think it is utterly impossible to get a Creationist thesis through a PhD committee - one just has to avoid demonstrably false arguments and claims (this may be very hard for a Creationist to do in the sciences, but less so in the humanities and education).

Comment #34304

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2005 1:15 PM (e)

Andrea Bottaro:

I’m curious now. Is it normal (or even possible) to get a thesis approved that only argues against a current theory, without providing any alternative? I think I’d be more sympathetic to a theory of evolution that didn’t imply common descent but was still based on all known evidence, than a theory that attempted to show that current understandings aren’t good enough. My observation has been that nobody rejects any theory on the grounds that the evidence is too weak, but rather that the evidence points instead to the position being justified. So my question is: Was Nelson’s thesis specifically anti-common descent, or was it pro-something different?

I find it difficult to imagine getting a creationist thesis past an evolutionary biologist, since I have yet to meet a creationist thesis NOT based on “demonstrably false arguments and claims.” Just tacking “Oh yes, by the way, there may be one or more gods” onto current evolutionary understandings wouldn’t seem to bear the weight a thesis is supposed to carry.

Comment #34313

Posted by Ron Zeno on June 8, 2005 2:26 PM (e)

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

A graduate student has the right to a thesis committee that will provide expert critical feed-back and guidance on his/her thesis work of the same kind and academic/scientific rigor that the student is likely to encounter in their independent future career.

The irony here is that the dissertation committee was set up to do exactly that, provide the same kind of rigor that creationists apply to their own work: little or none.

Comment #34321

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 8, 2005 3:38 PM (e)

The irony here is that the dissertation committee was set up to do exactly that, provide the same kind of rigor that creationists apply to their own work: little or none.

LOL, I didn’t think of that: professional Creationism as an alternative, non-academically-demanding career path. Now it all makes sense.

Comment #34323

Posted by RBH on June 8, 2005 4:05 PM (e)

Andrea wrote

LOL, I didn’t think of that: professional Creationism as an alternative, non-academically-demanding career path. Now it all makes sense.

Yeah, I thought of that as I was writing the piece, but it seemed a little snarky for the main post. :)

RBH

Comment #34337

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2005 6:35 PM (e)

Here is Dawkins writing about Kurt Wise. I really can’t blame Dawkins for being appalled. Wise admits upfront that the evidence is overwhelmingly contrary to Wise’s preferred scriptural interpretation, but dammit, Wise’s interpretation is better than God’s interpretation, and therefore the evidence must unfortunately all be rejected. Dawkins writes:

Depending upon how many Kurt Wises are out there, it could mean that we are completely wasting our time arguing the case and presenting the evidence for evolution. We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference.

Can you imagine believing that and at the same time accepting a salary, month after month, to teach science? Even at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee? I’m not sure that I could live with myself. And I think I would curse my God for leading me to such a pass.

Amen!

Comment #34349

Posted by Albion on June 8, 2005 8:02 PM (e)

Here’s one editorial on DeHart. Here’s a brief bit on Rod LeVake. All I can find on Kevin Haley is an interior designer by that name. Some Dean Kenyon material is also interesting. Thanks everyone for these names. How much mileage does the DI actually get out of them?

Here’s some stuff on Kevin Haley, along with the other two teachers”

http://www.restoringamerica.org/archive/evolution/evolution_fairy_tale.html

I think he’s a YEC rather than an IDist, though.

Comment #34354

Posted by Flint on June 8, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

A link to the WeirdNutDaily? Well, blow me down. Thanks.

Comment #34355

Posted by DrJohn on June 8, 2005 8:58 PM (e)

TonyB wrote:

I had three people on my UC Davis dissertation committee, which was a subset of my orals committee. It struck me as strange that Leonard’s committees had so little in common with each other.

So did mine. (Not surprising - Hey Aggie! {Or were you into sports - Hey Mustang!})

I didn’t see how they related well to the subject.

As to the continuing comentary on Leonard’s victimhood, he should have been told that it couldn’t be done due to the strictures of the sciences, and possibly law. However I think he went there with open eyes wanting to scam a PhD for political/ministry work later in his life. Happily, his attempt failed.

I base this on his other efforts.

I wonder if he’d pass a rigorous biology exam?

Comment #34407

Posted by RBH on June 9, 2005 7:51 AM (e)

The story is in this morning’s Columbus Dispatch. (Unfortunately, no bugmenot logins are available.) It’s a reasonably fair representation, though the IDC connections within the committee were not mentioned. I sent this letter to the Dispatch this morning:

In “Evolution debate re-emerges” (June 9, 2005), Jody Sjogren of the Intelligent Design movement is quoted as claiming scientists are trying to shut down debate and that “… people trying to hamper academic freedom are going to find themselves swimming upstream against public preference.”

This is not an issue of academic freedom; it’s about academic responsibility.

The final dissertation defense for a Ph.D. candidate is like a certification. It is a final test to ensure that the candidate has mastered the knowledge and skills to be called “Doctor” and present himself as an expert. The validity of the certification depends on how well the candidate is examined by his committee.

Leonard’s committee had no one with expertise in the area of his degree (science education) or his actual dissertation topic (biological evolution). It was as though a neurosurgeon were to be certified by a committee consisting of a dermatologist, an ob/gyn, and an athletic trainer, none of whom accept the germ theory of disease.

The subversion of the degree-granting process is a serious blow to the integrity of OSU’s graduate program. It is an insult to all who actually earned their Ph.D. the old-fashioned way: by knowing their discipline.

Comment #34411

Posted by Flint on June 9, 2005 8:21 AM (e)

Kind of hard to get (what I consider) the essential point made: WHY they are “subverting…the integrity of OSU’s graduate program.”

Kind of clumsy to say:

“It was as though a neurosurgeon whose thesis rejects the germ theory of disease, were to be certified by a committee consisting of a dermatologist, an ob/gyn, and an athletic trainer, all of whom also reject the germ theory, and by some strange coincidence happen to be the only members of OSU’s entire faculty who reject the germ theory.”

Still, I think it’s important to emphasize that this peculiar and improper committee composition was not some random SNAFU resulting from clerical confusion, computer glitch, or Murphy’s Law, but rather a calculated attempt to circumvent careful academic procedures in the interests of an ideology considered more important than OSU’s reputation even by the faculty members committing the violation.

Comment #34413

Posted by RBH on June 9, 2005 8:31 AM (e)

Damn. Wish I’d flown a draft through here before I sent it. I shouldn’t write and send stuff before my second cup of coffee.

Comment #34421

Posted by RBH on June 9, 2005 9:35 AM (e)

I was wrong when I said the report didn’t get the IDC connections to the committee. (That coffee thing again.) She got the committee composition into the story right up front. This is the first paragraph:

A doctoral dissertation, of all things, is the latest lightning rod in the battle over teaching evolution in Ohio. Ohio State University is investigating the makeup of a committee set to review the graduate work of a Hilliard Davidson High School biology teacher. The panel is stacked with creationists and the research might be unethical, some OSU faculty members say. (Emphasis added)

Now, about that coffee …

RBH

Comment #34427

Posted by Russell on June 9, 2005 10:14 AM (e)

RBH wrote:

I was wrong when I said the report didn’t get the IDC connections to the committee.

Whoa. I must really be in an insufficient-coffee haze. Not only did I miss the reference to creationists in the newspaper article, now I can’t find where you said “they didn’t get the IDC connections”.

Comment #34430

Posted by Flint on June 9, 2005 10:48 AM (e)

Russell:

That was in the third sentence in post 34407.

Comment #34431

Posted by Russell on June 9, 2005 10:55 AM (e)

Flint (and RBH). Oh, well. No big deal. I was scouring the text of the letter to the editor for a faux pas. Now, about that coffee.

Comment #34458

Posted by Engineer-Poet on June 9, 2005 1:57 PM (e)

So what can we assume here?

  1. That this guy’s PhD is toast?
  2. That the creationists on the dissertation committee will be under very careful scrutiny henceforth?
  3. That those creationists may lose their right to teach students?
  4. That those creationists may lose their jobs, for putting the reputation of the institution at risk?

Just wondering how far this could go, and what precedents there might be for the various outcomes.

Comment #34475

Posted by Obeza on June 9, 2005 3:26 PM (e)

I just read his critical analysis plan. Unless PhD does stand for Piled high and deep, I don’t think he is qualified for a degree in science education. He clearly doesn’t understand the subject matter. My question is how was he able to get so far in the first place? Didn’t he have to go through a committee and qualifying exams?

Comment #34480

Posted by Russell on June 9, 2005 4:36 PM (e)

Obeza wrote:

My question is how was he able to get so far in the first place? Didn’t he have to go through a committee and qualifying exams?

That’s a good question. Maybe the answer will come out of the investigation that, one hopes, is being actively pursued right now.

But another question - perhaps of more direct concern to Ohio citizens - is: how did this guy get chosen by the state board of education to write the lesson plan “Critical Analysis of Evolution” for the entire state? I hope that question gets exhumed in the follow-up to this affair.

Comment #34481

Posted by Russell on June 9, 2005 4:41 PM (e)

Obeza: by the way - I’m curious which version of the lesson plan did you read? The one that was purged of the more outrageous creationist references and adopted by the state board of education - or the original one, which was presumably the subject of the dissertation research?

Comment #34488

Posted by Tricia from Ohio on June 9, 2005 5:39 PM (e)

This @$$hole teaches in MY school system and the school board blew me off.I’m working on other lines now. I would be willing to attend his doctoral, if only to prove a CASHIER knows more science than that bum. I am a VERY ANGRY MOTHER. My oldest wants to be an evolutionary marine biologist. I hope one of you will vouch for him when he’s laughed out of college.

Comment #34543

Posted by Dave on June 9, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

Tricia from Ohio:

Did you learn of Leonard’s activities from this morning’s Dispatch? Do you think there are other families in the Hilliard district that are surprised by the news? Its past time to start organizing a protest. At the Kansas hearings where Leonard was showcased he had this to say in answer to a question of how the school and the families of Hilliard have reacted to his teaching creationism:

“Yes, the parents are aware - the administrators are aware and are very
supportive. All the responses that I have received from the parents have been just overwhelmingly supportive. I receive calls, emails, parents pull me aside in the hallways when they came through the school, they’re
just, I mean, very very ecstatic in the way in which I teach.”

He’s repeated this on several occasions; he has received no complaints. We’d love to know how true this is, and encourage you to complain loudly. BTW, who did you vote for in the Franklin County race for Ohio school board rep? Hilliard overwhelmingly voted for the leader of the creationist majority on the BOE, Michael Cochran. This guy is in large part responsible for giving Leonard the opportunity to write the creationism lesson plan in the Ohio curriculum, and giving him the official cover to use it in your school. You folks need to wake up. This has been going on there for at least 6 years.

Comment #34586

Posted by Tricia from Ohio on June 10, 2005 6:22 AM (e)

while we do have greater than our share of fundies, most of the people who live here are reasonable. I voted AGAINST michael cochran, for Adam Miller. I have been fighting this from day one. Unfortunately, the way the elections here in Ohio occurred, it was rigged against any reasonable human being voting. Fortunately, I am stubborn. I only waited in line for two hours. My cousin wound up waiting for 6.
The ONLY reason I let my husband drag me out here from the inner city was the supposedly better education our children receive.I don’t know which is worse, violent schools, or brainwashing ones. I’m seriously considering home schooling.

Comment #34595

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 10, 2005 7:16 AM (e)

Tricia:
I understand your frustration, but I doubt home-schooling is a solution. I am quite confident the majority of teachers in Ohio will refuse to teach pseudoscience. Just monitor what your kids are being taught, and be prepared to provide them with the correct information. There are many excellent resources online and in print to debunk the crap in the Leonard-inspired curriculum.

That you know of, has there been in the past any complaint from parents against Leonard’s teaching of pseudoscience? Do you know any parents of kids who were taught by Leonard, and what do they think of it?

Comment #34597

Posted by A on June 10, 2005 7:38 AM (e)

A few comments here.

I was a grad student at OSU (mistakenly followed my advisor elsehwere to finish my Ph.D.) and the grad school takes care of business. A prof or two might try to work the system against a student but there is, at least when I was a student, an Ombudsperson that sets things straight - she was one of the few people in my 17 years of academia, as a student and a staff member, that had a backbone and made decisions that people didn’t like b/c they were the right decisions (a rarity from my experience).

As for the dissertation committee not having members in the research field - mine didn’t. My advisor, the one I followed, failed to get tenure and was booted because he impregnated one of his 20 y/o Med students - it was a mess in the lab after that. I was the orphan of the Dept and finished my research in a lab that only had cell cultures in common with my research. My outside Chair ended up being the expert in the field and we had to fly him in from a few thousand miles away. So I must state - not having experts in ones research field is not an isolated one time dissertation incident such as described above. The difference b/w this OSU dissertation and my own being 1) I passed b/c my research was good (the outside chair loved it) and 2) I still had enough committee members from dept to make up the prescribed ratios needed for a defense (this appears to be an issue here).

I wonder why this Dept was even used as a home base for the dissertation. Last I remember, and it was years ago, OSU had inter-disciplinary offerings. One of my options when my advisor decided to move was to stay and enter the Biophysics (one of the inter- programs) program and work with a a different one of my committee members as my advisor. I imagine that this is one route this dissertation might take???? (although it might be too late at this point since it is defense time).

One last note - someone mentioned the possibility of a bill to cut funding to OSU if ID supporting legislators got pissed off. Darwin would become the patron saint of the ID movement before that happened. If there is one sacred cow in Ohio, it is OSU.

Cheers all

Comment #34601

Posted by Tricia from Ohio on June 10, 2005 8:18 AM (e)

Having only just found out about this, I haven’t had a chance to talk to anyone yet. I have a feeling the district will try to sweep it under the rug. They are giving me the run-around.

Comment #34603

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 10, 2005 8:53 AM (e)

Tricia:
thanks - I doubt you’ll hear anything from the district. Other parents may be a better source of information. If you learn of any local issues related to the “critical analysis” curriculum, please let us know. Thanks.

Comment #34621

Posted by timfc on June 10, 2005 10:27 AM (e)

Can someone who does this professionally visit www.insidehighered.com?

There’s a bunch of folks who are happily claiming all kinds of wierd crap and need some taking down.

Comment #34624

Posted by Tim Kenyon on June 10, 2005 10:54 AM (e)

Obeza wrote:

I just read his critical analysis plan.  Unless PhD does stand for Piled high and deep, I don’t think he is qualified for a degree in science education.  He clearly doesn’t understand the subject matter.  My question is how was he able to get so far in the first place?  Didn’t he have to go through a committee and qualifying exams?

The key term is “education”. Unfortunately, many graduate programs of the Educational X or X Education variety are substantially less focused on the mainstream research and methodological canons of discipline X than the corresponding progams in X itself would be.

If you were hoping to run something dodgy through the system, to get a degree that included a specific reference to some discipline without having demonstrated a mastery of it, there’s little doubt that the Education stream is the way to go.

This is of course consistent with recognizing the existence of much expertise and serious scholarship in Education programs, I should say.

Comment #34627

Posted by Jane on June 10, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

I think there is a little misunderstanding expressed above about the role of the Graduate Representative at Ohio State. I was a faculty member there for 12 years and served in that role many times. From
http://www.gradsch.osu.edu/About/Services/Graduation/Exams
/Final_Oral.html:
“A graduate student’s final oral examination committee is composed of his or her dissertation committee plus the Graduate Faculty Representative appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. In addition to being a full voting member of the Final Oral Examination Committee, the Graduate Faculty Representative reports to the Graduate School a judgment of the quality of the examination, of the dissertation or document, and of the student’s performance.”
Note that the Grad Rep is a full voting member and is expected to report not just on the process but on the quality of the dissertation. I was very surprised that a language prof would be appointed as the Grad Rep; I was very surprised that an assistant prof would be appointed as the Grad Rep. While the Grad Rep is from outside the home department, the person is in a related field.
I left OSU 7 years ago, so maybe accepted practice has changed.

Comment #34668

Posted by CK on June 10, 2005 3:56 PM (e)

In terms of the exam committee, many schools have 3-4 members, and depending on the “culture” at that particular school, the actual exam may or may not be a foregone conclusion. I can say that at Harvard in some departments, the committee is 1 one holdover from the thesis committee, two new members, and an outside member (from outside the institution). The particular committees that I have heard or experienced, tend to not be “ball-busters” as it were. However, if this individual at OSU were to pass then it would be an absolute travesty (all personal bias aside as I graduated BS from Michigan).

Comment #34676

Posted by RBH on June 10, 2005 5:09 PM (e)

While the silence from the various ID boards and blogs has been deafening, Robert DiSilvestro, one of the original members of Leonard’s committee, did respond by email to Inside Higher Ed:

Robert DiSilvestro, the nutrition professor, said in an e-mail message that he wanted to hold off on discussing the matter until he received more information from Ohio State. “Unlike the people who started the controversy, I don’t want to go public until we interact with the university,” he said.

As usual, DiSilvestro doesn’t know what he’s talking about. As it happens, I held off posting my essay for 24 hours until I was assured that the appropriate Ohio State administrators had been notified and thus wouldn’t be taken by surprise.

RBH

Comment #34690

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 10, 2005 6:48 PM (e)

Tricia, do I understand correctly that your son did NOT have Mr. Leonard as his instructor?

If your son did have Mr. Leonard, there seems to be a breach of protocol in informing parents.

Comment #34695

Posted by observer on June 10, 2005 8:38 PM (e)

OMG - I just realized that I know DiSilvestro from my time as a grad student at OSU. I published with one of his research collaborators in the Human Nutrition Dept (that prof has since left). Don’t let DiSilvestro’s misguided ideas tarnish that Dept - most of the folks were good people and by that I mean real scientists.

Comment #34716

Posted by LDR on June 11, 2005 7:20 AM (e)

Tricia from Ohio wrote: “This @$$hole teaches in MY school system and the school board blew me off. I’m working on other lines now. I would be willing to attend his doctoral, if only to prove a CASHIER knows more science than that bum…”

Tricia, why have you chosen to attack this mans character and intellect? Better yet, why have you reduced yourself to name calling? Perhaps the school board blew you off because they view YOU in the light that you are trying to portray him in…

Comment #34717

Posted by FlyGuy on June 11, 2005 7:21 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #34718

Posted by SEF on June 11, 2005 8:16 AM (e)

The wiki oracle says: Hillard Davidson High School. I don’t know where the US keeps its school ownership data though.

Comment #34719

Posted by LDR on June 11, 2005 8:21 AM (e)

Hmmm, could all of this fuss really be about the movement to use science to discredit the theory of evolution?

Has Mr. Leonard been brought under fire because he dares to seek a degree that will give him the credentials to fight the theory of evolution from a scientific perspective?

It’s easy for you evolutionist to discredit religion… How do you plan to discredit science?

Comment #34721

Posted by SEF on June 11, 2005 8:37 AM (e)

Religion is rather notable for discrediting itself. Evolution wasn’t required for that. :-D

Meanwhile, the theory of evolution is science - and, moreover, a particularly useful component of science. It isn’t any discredit to it.

Comment #34723

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 11, 2005 8:41 AM (e)

Hmmm, could all of this fuss really be about the movement to use science to discredit the theory of evolution?

You mean ID has some science to present? Great, glad to hear it.

Can I see it, please?

Comment #34725

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 11, 2005 8:43 AM (e)

you evolutionist

What’s an “evolutionist”? Is it anything like a “gravityist” or a “moleculist”?

Comment #34726

Posted by Russell on June 11, 2005 9:05 AM (e)

I wonder what type of high school Mr. Leonard is currently employed because this is relevant to the data he collected about his “teach the controvery” method. If he teaches at a Christian school, then the majority of students would be more receptive to intelligent design and any evidence that would refute evolutionary biology.

Does anybody know what type of school Mr. Leonard is employed?

I don’t know if there’s an audibility glitch in the transcript, or what. But Hilliard Davidson is THE public high school available to the kids that live in that district. There’s nothing “private” about it.

Comment #34728

Posted by Russell on June 11, 2005 9:32 AM (e)

RE: “privatized” Hilliard-Davidson:

I just reviewed an independently transcribed record of that testimony. It reads:

Q. Is that a public high school?

A. Yes, it is.

I think the official scribe somehow heard “public high” as “privatized”

Comment #34729

Posted by qetzal on June 11, 2005 9:37 AM (e)

LDR wrote:

Hmmm, could all of this fuss really be about the movement to use science to discredit the theory of evolution?

You’re very close, LDR - it’s really about the movement to misuse science to discredit the theory of evolution.

Mr. Leonard is under fire because, according to available information, he is seeking a degree through means that are ethically and scholastically fraudulent. And he apparently hopes to that degree to legitimize his teaching of non-science as science.

As for how ‘evolutionists’ plan to discredit science, what science? I assume you mean ‘Intelligent Design’? See, that’s the problem: there is no ID science. If ID ever offered any real, scientifically testable hypothesis, two things would happen.

First, The Right Good ‘Rev Dr’ Flank would probably fall down dead from the shock! :^)

Second, scientists would do what they do with any scientific hypothesis. They’d use it to make predictions, then they’d perform tests to see if those predictions were correct. This would be repeated many times. Eventually, IF the ID predictions were repeatedly proved correct, ID would become a true scientific theory, and we’d teach it in science class.

If ID proponents really did want to “use science,” that’s what they’d do.

In reality, the vast majority of ID proponents have no apparent interest in doing that. Instead, they just want to misuse science in an effort to do exactly what you said - they want to discredit evolution because they feel it threatens their religious beliefs.

Comment #34734

Posted by LDR on June 11, 2005 10:25 AM (e)

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote: What’s an “evolutionist”? Is it anything like a “gravityist” or a “moleculist”?

The American Heritage® Dictionary defines an evolutionist as follows:

Main Entry: evo·lu·tion·ist
Pronunciation: -sh(&-)n&st
Function: noun
: a student of or adherent to a theory of evolution

Comment #34737

Posted by Tricia from Ohio on June 11, 2005 10:28 AM (e)

Actually, there are TWO high schools here in Hilliard, Darby and Davidson. My Kids will go to Darby. Mr. Leonard teaches at Davidson. The only response I’ve gotten is “it’s legal to teach the controversy”. ummm, WHAT controversy?

Comment #34743

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 11, 2005 10:46 AM (e)

Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote: What’s an “evolutionist”? Is it anything like a “gravityist” or a “moleculist”?

The American Heritage® Dictionary defines an evolutionist as follows:

Main Entry: evo·lu·tion·ist
Pronunciation: -sh(&-)n&st
Function: noun
: a student of or adherent to a theory of evolution

Thanks. Notice that it doesn’t mention anything about “religion” or “atheism” in there, does it…. …. .

But, as I also asked, is “evolutionist” anything like a “gravityist” or “moleculeist”?

Comment #34744

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 11, 2005 10:49 AM (e)

You mean ID has some science to present? Great, glad to hear it.

Can I see it, please?

Well? What seems to be the problem?

Comment #34745

Posted by Russell on June 11, 2005 10:51 AM (e)

Has Mr. Leonard been brought under fire because he dares to seek a degree that will give him the credentials to fight the theory of evolution from a scientific perspective?

It’s easy for you evolutionist to discredit religion … How do you plan to discredit science?

I think a little re-focusing is in order here.

First of all, Mr. Leonard has not been “brought under fire” at all. The university is investigating its own people and procedures, because it appears that they did not function as they’re supposed to.

Second, while the dissertation is supposed to be all about “critical analysis of evolution”, why is it arranged - it appears by improperly - that the dissertation itself would avoid a critical analysis?

And finally, what “science”, specifically, is being “discredited” here, LDR? Are you familiar with the content of Leonard’s course?

Comment #34757

Posted by Russell on June 11, 2005 12:25 PM (e)

In terms of “informed consent” on the part of the high school students (and their parents):

I wonder if the form they signed looked more like this:

Students will be exposed to scientific information both supporting and challenging macroevolution

or like this:

Students will be exposed to a course modeled on a book written by a Moonie minister, which has been deplored by every reputable scientist that has reviewed it.

I wonder if the wording of that consent form would influence the percentage of students/parents signing on?

Hmmmm… maybe I can get a doctorate in education exploring that question.

Comment #34760

Posted by Winston Smith on June 11, 2005 12:59 PM (e)

Wow, I was involved in a vaguely similar situation last academic year. A former students of mine, a creationist, talked me into being on his undergrad Honors thesis committee in adult education. He said he was going to do some surveys to determine whether learning about evolution made students more likely to be atheists and suchlike. “O.k.,” sez me, “I guess that’s worth asking.” A month before the thesis is due, I discover that it is going to contain a chapter arguing (a) for creationism and (b) for the claim that rejecting theism leads to moral nihilism.

Took myself off the committee, of course. Someone, somewhere might be able to argue interestingly for these (false) claims, but I knew that this student couldn’t, and didn’t want to be involved in the ensuing academic train wreck.

Comment #34784

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on June 11, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

LDR wrote “Tricia, why have you chosen to attack this mans character and intellect? “

Why not? I’m not saying I’d do it the way Tricia is doing it. But the revelations springing forth from OSU do cast aspersions on Lenoards character and intellect.

Sorry, but his “character and intellect” are open to criticism.

Comment #34785

Posted by Henry J on June 11, 2005 8:03 PM (e)

Re “is “evolutionist” anything like a “gravityist” or “moleculeist”?”

Well, it doesn’t have the “weight” of gravityism, or the bonding of “moleculeism”, so I’d guess not.

Henry

Comment #34786

Posted by qetzal on June 11, 2005 8:15 PM (e)

Henry J,

LOL! Yes, but an evolutionist has the potential to develop into so much more!

Comment #34814

Posted by Engineer-Poet on June 12, 2005 12:57 AM (e)

You mean, rejecting evolution stunts your personal growth?

It appears to thwart one’s reasoning abilities, judging from the species-ous arguments put forth in opposition.

Comment #34907

Posted by Eric Rasmusen on June 12, 2005 5:52 PM (e)

Most of the commenters don’t seem to understand how dissertation committees are set up. They are chosen by the student, with the consent of the members, not by the university. It is entirely legitimate for a student to pick a committee that agrees with his approach, and three is common (standard, at my university; at MIT, where I got my PHD, it was 2). The one outside member *is* chosen by somebody other than the student, and is meant to control quality. I am puzzled that a French prof would be chosen for an education degree, but it was not the student who chose her.

True, in this case the rules were violated, because the student had to choose two Science Education members, and had either zero or one (it’s hard to tell). Education schools are noted for the low quality of their dissertations, thoug. This student had one *more* science member than required (i.e., he had one one from entomology), and one from Nutrition, which might be a real scientist. So while he violated the rules, it was in the direction of more rigor, not less.

Comment #34912

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 12, 2005 7:08 PM (e)

Education schools are noted for the low quality of their dissertations, thoug.

Those who can, do.

Those who can’t, teach.

Those who can’t teach, go to work for the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture.

Comment #34915

Posted by Russell on June 12, 2005 7:31 PM (e)

True, in this case the rules were violated, because the student had to choose two Science Education members, and had either zero or one (it’s hard to tell)….This student had one *more* science member than required (i.e., he had one one from entomology), and one from Nutrition, which might be a real scientist. So while he violated the rules, it was in the direction of more rigor, not less.

Are we assuming that “rigor” is reflected in the “science”/”education” ratio? That’s an unwarranted assumption. The two scientists were chosen, not because they have any expertise in education, and certainly not because they have any expertise in evolution - teaching of which is the supposed focus of the dissertation. They were chosen because they are both outspoken creationists.

Comment #34931

Posted by RBH on June 12, 2005 9:08 PM (e)

I’ll also note that at least half a dozen other posters in this thread have Ph.D.s too, and several to my knowledge are faculty members at Ph.D. granting institutions. Practices vary from institution to institution. For example, I had 5 members on my committee, chosen in consultation with my advisor to represent the range of subdisciplines my area of emphasis spanned (cog psych, neuro, CS, and psycholinguistics). I recognize that ‘breadth’ requirements have eroded away, and I think that’s not a ‘good thing’ (thank you, Marsha Stewart).

RBH

Comment #34935

Posted by csa on June 12, 2005 9:59 PM (e)

Earlier, from R.D.L.Flank:
“Those who can, do.

Those who can’t, teach.

Those who can’t teach, go to work for the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture.”

Thanks for providing encouragement to those of us who are teaching in the trenches, fighting this battle on the front lines. I’d come to expect more from PT than this.

Comment #34938

Posted by steve on June 12, 2005 10:27 PM (e)

don’t stress about it, Lenny’s kind of a jerk. He generally goes in the right direction, so it’s not so bad.

Comment #34980

Posted by Tricia from Ohio on June 13, 2005 9:16 AM (e)

Just got off the phone with the assistant superintendent in charge of the curriculum, she had no clue. She is doing further investigations, because they told her they WEREN’T teaching ID, when the biodesign class is all about it. She was not happy.

Comment #34982

Posted by Darkling on June 13, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

Those who can, do.

Those who can’t, teach.

Those who can’t teach, go to work for the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture.

I think this is a little off target as well.
To teach effectively you need to understand the material. If the students start asking questions and you don’t know what you’re talking about it becomes obvious quite rapidly.

Teaching well is hard work.

Comment #34987

Posted by Mike on June 13, 2005 11:00 AM (e)

Posted by Tricia from Ohio Comment #34980:

“Just got off the phone with the assistant superintendent in charge of the curriculum, she had no clue. She is doing further investigations, because they told her they WEREN’T teaching ID, when the biodesign class is all about it. She was not happy.”

Careful here. The people at the Ohio Department of Education concerned with pandering to fundamentalist constituents will swear that the “Critical Analysis of Evolution” lesson plan doesn’t teach ID, when it clearly takes it’s points directly from Well’s “Darwin’s Black Box”. All but the final, sanitized, version of the lesson contained references to creationist materials. What would be helpful is if you could learn exactly what is taught. The majority of the material in Leonard’s course will be good science, even if it is called “Biodesign”. I suspect that one or two days though are spent with the “Critical Analysis of Evolution” lesson plan, either Leonard’s own version, or the one approved by the OBOE. If you can get details of that it could be extremely helpful.

Comment #34990

Posted by frank schmidt on June 13, 2005 11:29 AM (e)

Mike:The majority of the material in Leonard’s course will be good science, even if it is called “Biodesign”.

Is this true? Can a house divided (between science and creationism) stand? If evolution is the central theme of Biology, can one teach in this way? I think TriciafromOhio is onto something important here and applaud her taking the initiative.

Comment #34995

Posted by Mike on June 13, 2005 11:51 AM (e)

Tricia is being extremely helpful. I’m sure other concerned families in Hilliard will join her in time. IMO, the overriding problem with teaching creationism as science isn’t conflict with the first amendment. That’s just one convenient way of stopping it in the courts. The real problem is that it totally destroys the public’s understanding of what science is, even if only presented for a few minutes in a class that otherwise uses good material. The primary goal of educating the general public in science isn’t the memorization of factoids. What we need is a voting public that knows the process of science: how science is conducted, what peer is, and why consensus opinion in the scientific community matters. Gone are the days when science could be left to the educated elite. The public now has to be able to evaluate science reports they hear on the news, differentiate between science and psuedo-science, and weigh ethical concerns based on current scientific knowledge. Creationism teaches that one person’s “theory” is as good as the next one, and any ridiculous claim is enough to bring doubt to a theory. We can’t afford it.

Comment #34997

Posted by Russell on June 13, 2005 11:58 AM (e)

coupla things:

Darkling said: “Teaching well is hard work.”

I guess Lenny was being flip, and should maybe be sent to his room with no supper to think about his words. But good teaching well is what Panda’s Thumb is all about, all kidding aside. When I become emperor of the world, teachers will be the highest paid professionals there are, and it will be a very competitive choice of careers.

TriciaFromOhio said: “Just got off the phone with the assistant superintendent in charge of the curriculum, she had no clue. She is doing further investigations, because they told her they WEREN’T teaching ID, when the biodesign class is all about it. She was not happy.”

Well, I’d largely echo what Mike wrote. But just to refresh everyone’s memory. It’s an easy concession to make, to say you’re not teaching ID, because as we have seen abundantly demonstrated here at PT, there is no theory of ID to teach! It pretty much consists of bogus arguments against evolution with the alternative (Goddidit!) hovering in the background, either explicitly (when rallying the christian soldiers) or implicitly (when trying to sneak it into public schools). The “critical analysis of evolution” plan Leonard co-wrote looked like it was cribbed directly from ID celebrity Jonathan Wells’ “Icons of Evolution”. Does that book promote ID? Or just raise bogus objections to evolution? Is there a difference?

The “critical analysis” plan as originally submitted to the BoE was riddled with patently religious web links, and other references - including to Wells’ book - that were purged last year before the final version was approved. But if Leonard has been teaching this for years, I’m guessing the lesson plan would have been more objectionable than the one made public by the BoE.

Comment #35017

Posted by Mike on June 13, 2005 1:21 PM (e)

Re: “We’re not teaching ID” doublespeak

Case in point: http://tinyurl.com/7t52p
The latest from those people with no shame at the Discovery Institute.

Comment #35066

Posted by Wayne Francis on June 13, 2005 6:52 PM (e)

test before double posting

Comment #35078

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 13, 2005 8:01 PM (e)

Earlier, from R.D.L.Flank:
“Those who can, do.

Those who can’t, teach.

Those who can’t teach, go to work for the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture.”

Thanks for providing encouragement to those of us who are teaching in the trenches, fighting this battle on the front lines. I’d come to expect more from PT than this.

Dude, I’m kidding.

Relax and have a homebrew.

Geez.

Comment #35079

Posted by Darkling on June 13, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

Russel wrote:

I guess Lenny was being flip, and should maybe be sent to his room with no supper to think about his words.

I don’t know that I would go that far, while he is perhaps abrassive he is very good at hounding people in an attempt to get answers. :)
Besides to use a phrase from a favoured website “he has balls that clanketh.”

Although I agree teachers are under appreciated just about anywhere they are.

[patriotic urge]
Waves black flag with a silver fern emblazoned on it
[/patriotic urge]

In terms of teaching, while I’m not a high school teacher (well actually I’m currently a postdoc in a strange land so I’m not doing any teaching at the moment, pity). I found myself running a two day workshop on population viability analysis last year. Fun and games.

I guess it’s not a perfect analogy, but I took it as a matter of professional pride to provide the best information that I could. Which, I guess is the important difference between me and some of the Id’st. I didn’t want to teach them my way of doing the analyses, I wanted to prepare them so that they could sit down and carry out their own anlalyses. Of course I have my own opinions about how to do things. Everybody does. the trick is I can recognise my opinions for what they are. Opinions.

Nevertheless when I’m teaching people I try to offer a variety of ways to analyse/interpret the data. Of course I use scientific methedology or methedologial naturalism. Saying “god did it” doesn’t really satisfy me that much. It’s essentially a cop out. For example My imagintion/intelligence is limited so [insert particular reality here] happens because god wills it so!!!!!

Maybe I just lack the arrogance gene allele to think that my opinions are the end all (and be all and yes I do havce some fairly strong opinions). Still, at the end of the day when I’m teaching I want the students to be able to think for themselves and apply the principles in their own studies. I don’t want to indoctrinate them, because at that point you’re doing a disservice to the students. Something that I believe the ID’st don’t grasp. Looking at Dembski’s blog you can see dissenting comments dissapear rapidly.

While I think (personal oppinion of course) that Nietzsche was nuts. There’s a great line from Thus spoke Zarathustra.

“One requites a teacher badly if one remains merely a student”

I nuess it’s that professional pride thing. I don’t want to indoctrinate people. I want them to think for themselves.
Hopefully this is true of academia in general :)

I remember during the first year of my MSc that one of the Professors commented that he reserved the A+ grades for those students who could convincing argue against his position. Not for those who just agree with what he taught. I wonder if this is where the real intelectual corruption inherrnat ion the IDargumetn occurs.

Comment #35080

Posted by Wayne Francis on June 13, 2005 8:12 PM (e)

hmm got the error but the post really didn’t get to the server…so here it is.

Comment # 34912

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

Comment #34912
Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on June 12, 2005 07:08 PM (e) (s)
Education schools are noted for the low quality of their dissertations, thoug.
Those who can, do.
Those who can’t, teach.
Those who can’t teach, go to work for the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture.

I look at it as just a common statement, that isn’t true, that Lenny tried to put a funny spin on.

You have a whole range of people that teach from those that are just there for an easy ride to those that engage and lift the students to a new level. For those that really believe the statement above look at it this way. Good teachers can be looked at like a head of a huge team. Good teachers get exposed to move ideas then most professional. They have tons of students hopefully excited about their field. Asking new questions and putting a fresh perspective on things.

I learned more in 2 1/2 years of teaching then I did in the previous 10 years of professional work. I tried to be as prepared for my student’s questions as I could and if I couldn’t answer their question then and there I always got back to them after researching the question.

Now before we get any one like S.T.C. saying that students bring a fresh look to ID let us remind him and his friends that they have brought nothing to the table to study and teach about ID when it comes to actual science.

My hat goes off to the many teachers out there at all levels that engage their students with the facts and help them learn. I feel sorry for the students of teachers like JAD who can’t even get the facts straight in their own area of study then us quotes from great scientists without understanding the context of the quote to try to bolster their position.

Hats off to teachers like Professor Myers and hats off to the students of JAD who, despite his obvious short comings, made it past his near useless teachings.

Here we see 2 ends of the scale. Thankfully the scales are tipped to Myers end.

Comment #35081

Posted by Darkling on June 13, 2005 8:23 PM (e)

A more complete quote from Thus spoke Zarathustra

One repays a teacher badly if one always remains only a pupil. And why, then, should you not pluck at my laurels?