Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 1927 on January 20, 2006 10:35 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1922

An article by Catherine Candisky in the Columbus Dispatch documents that various anti-science elements of the Ohio Board of Education think that “teaching the controversy” is just something that they do to other people. Persons of other viewpoints need not try to confuse them with the facts.

Newly released tapes obtained by The Dispatch from the Department of Education show:

• Elected board member Michael Cochran of Blacklick “cross-examined” a string of witnesses, including a graduate student, who criticized the 10 thgrade biology plan.

• Elected board member Deborah Owens Fink of Richfield questioned the character of a witness by producing an e-mail he wrote to a colleague that ridicules a supporter of intelligent design.

• One person declined to testify, citing attacks on previous witnesses.

• Cochran and appointed board member Richard E. Baker of Hollansburg showed their apparent lack of interest by reading a newspaper during the testimony.

The display prompted one board member to urge his colleagues to behave.

“I’m not convinced in my mind that cross-examining witnesses that make presentations before the board is in the best policy of boardmanship. I think it might be better to listen to the testimony and let it pass,” said board member Eric C. Okerson, an appointed member from Cincinnati.

And this passage has a mind-boggling argument within it. I advise you to turn off any operating irony meters you might have.

Switched off? Good.

Yesterday, Cochran and Fink said they may have gone too far in some of their remarks to witnesses but stopped short of apologizing.

“When people come before the board, I think board members have every right to ask questions,” said Fink, whose term expires this year. “It was an anomaly, but I don’t think that one side is to blame and the other side is not.”

She and Cochran said they have tired of the issue.

“We have debated this issue ad nauseum,” said Cochran, whose term expires in December 2008. “The same people come forward and say the same thing and it comes to a point where you can’t listen anymore.

“I think it boiled over because it was the end of a long day and it was the same subject matter we’ve heard over and over.”

The board is hearing scientists say the same things over and over because the antievolution content approved by the board is the same old stuff that has been pushed by creationist antievolutionists for decades. Those arguments have changed hardly at all, and the responses don’t need to be any more novel, either.

The “critical analysis” lesson plan, for example, has “challenging answers” for “aspects” of evolutionary biology. For “Aspect 1: Homology”, the challenging answer disputes homology as an outcome of common descent, saying that, “Some scientists think similarities in anatomical and genetic structure reflect similar functional needs in different animals, not common ancestry.” This is a well-known antievolutionist bleat. It appears in Henry Morris’s 1974 book, Scientific Creationism (see CI141.1).

“Aspect 2: The Fossil Record” has several recognizable antievolution standbys.

Transitional fossils are rare in the fossil record.

This, again, goes back to Morris in 1974 (see CC200).

A growing number of scientists now question that Archaeopteryx and other transitional fossils really are transitional forms.

This one is due to Jonathan Wells in 2000, among others (see CC214.1).

The fossil record as a whole shows that major evolutionary changes took place suddenly over brief periods of time
followed by longer periods of “stasis” during which no significant change in form or transitional organisms appeared (Punctuated Equilibria). The “Cambrian explosion” of animal phyla is the best known, but not the only example, of the sudden appearance of new biological forms in the fossil record.

This, again, goes back to Morris in 1974 (see CC300).

For “Aspect 3: Antibiotic Resistance”, the “critical analysis” lesson plan says,

The increase in the number of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains demonstrates the power of natural selection to produce small but limited changes in populations and species. It does not demonstrate the ability of natural selection to produce new forms of life. Although new strains of Staphylococcus aureus have evolved, the speciation of bacteria (prokaryotes) has not been observed, and neither has the evolution of bacteria into more complex eukaryotes. Thus, the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance demonstrates microevolution.

Compare that with this concluding paragraph from an Impact article from the Institute for Creation Research:

Antibiotic resistance in bacteria can also be achieved when mutations in a ribosome or protein change the site where an antibiotic binds. For example, four of the antibiotics mentioned earlier, tetracycline, streptomycin, kanamycin, and spectinomycin, bind to a specific region of a ribosome and interfere with protein synthesis. Mutations may prevent an antibiotic from binding to the ribosome (kanamycin)[12] or allow the ribosome to function even while the antibiotic is bound (streptomycin and spectinomycin).[5] Although it appears these mutations are beneficial and provide an advantage to the bacterium possessing them, they all come with a cost. Ribosomal mutations, while providing antibiotic resistance for the organism, slow the process of protein synthesis, slow growth rates, and reduce the ability of the affected bacterium to compete in an environment devoid of a specific antibiotic.[13,14] Furthermore, a mutation that confers resistance to one antibiotic may make the bacterium more susceptible to other antibiotics.[15] These deleterious effects are what would be expected from a creationist model for mutations. The mutation may confer a benefit in a particular environment, but the overall fitness of the population of one kind of bacterium is decreased as a result of a reduced function of one of the components in its biological pathway. The accumulation of mutations doesn’t lead to a new kind of bacterium—it leads to extinction.

(Impact #378)

For “Aspect 4: Peppered Moths”, the “critical analysis” lesson plan says,

English peppered moths show that environmental changes can produce microevolutionary changes within a population. They do not show that natural selection can produce major new features or forms of life, or a new species for that matter—i.e., macroevolutionary changes. From the beginning of the industrial revolution, English peppered moths came in both light and dark varieties. After the pollution decreased, dark and light varieties still existed. All that changed during this time was the relative proportion of the two traits within the population. No new features and no new species emerged. In addition, recent scientific articles have questioned the factual basis of the study performed during the 1950s. Scientists have learned that peppered moths do not actually rest on tree trunks. This has raised questions about whether color changes in the moth population were actually caused by differences in exposure to predatory birds.

Like we haven’t seen this before (see CB601.1, CB910.2, and CB601.3).

For “Aspect 5: Endosymbiosis”, the “critical analysis” lesson plan says,

Laboratory tests have not yet demonstrated that small bacteria (prokaryotic cells) can change into separate organelles, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts within larger bacterial cells. When smaller bacterial cells (prokaryotes) are absorbed by larger bacterial cells, they are usually destroyed by digestion. Although some bacterial cells (prokaryotes) can occasionally live in eukaryotes, scientists have not observed these cells changing into organelles such as mitochondria or chloroplasts.

Now, the endosymbiotic hypothesis itself is not terribly old, so antievolutionist responses are a bit more recent. However, they exist. Consider Answers in Genesis’s response from 2000 and another from 2002, which together make the same points as the “critical analysis” lesson plan. Coincidence?

It took me about an hour to put this post together. It’s a slapdash thing. Now, just imagine the fun that will be had in any court case that sets about to test whether the “critical analysis” lesson plan violates the First Amendment establishment clause, when plenty of time will be available to research all the history of its “challenging” arguments through the antievolutionary literature, and no effort will be spared in examining the claims of experts trying to defend it.

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Comment #74040

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on January 20, 2006 10:46 AM (e)

Speaking of making idiotic lesson plans that are a page straight out of old antievolution arguments, what ever happened to old Leonard and his attempt to have a stacked PhD defence?

Comment #74046

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on January 20, 2006 11:01 AM (e)

Why these IDiots keep recycling the same old and tired arguments?
Duh!!!! because there are no real arguments against evilution, just the same old creationism crap.

Comment #74047

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 20, 2006 11:01 AM (e)

As far as I know, Ohio State University is still investigating the situation concerning Leonard, the composition of his committee, and the issue of his use of human subjects in his research (his public high school students).

Comment #74049

Posted by Russell on January 20, 2006 11:07 AM (e)

By the way, I believe that Ms. Candisky’s article is the first time that any newspaper has reported that BoE member Cochran is rector of an “Anglican” church.

In fact, it’s a super-conservative splinter sect split off from the Episcopal Church over ordination of women, or some such modernistic affront to traditional values, which fact might be beyond the scope of Ms. Candisky’s article. But heretofore, I don’t think the voters had any clue he was “Rev.” Cochran at all.

(Just as a sort of exercise in even-handedness, how do you suppose folks would feel about a BoE member being an officer of a radical atheist organization?)

Comment #74050

Posted by Russell on January 20, 2006 11:09 AM (e)

As far as I know, Ohio State University is still investigating

After more than six months, I’m beginning to wonder whether this is a fastidiously thorough investigation, or an exercise in foot-dragging.

Comment #74055

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on January 20, 2006 11:24 AM (e)

Graduate schools in reputable colleges and universities have a rigid method to go about the configuration of a graduate student committee and the administration of examinations, at least in my personal experience.
I obtained my doctoral degree from the College of William and Mary not so long ago. The rules for the committee configuration are pretty well established and I believe are not very different from most graduate schools around the country. In my case the committee was composed of five faculty members, 1 dissertation adviser, 2 faculty members from the student department, 1 faculty member from the student’s school but from a different department and 1 external committee member from outside the College but in your field of study. The Graduate School will assign a representative that will watch over the procedures. This graduate school representative can question the student during the dissertation examination.
The integrity and reputation of the process is one of the guarantees that your degree is valid and valuable in addition to represent the integrity of the granting institution. I sincerely hope that OSU exercises its authority to insure that they don’t grant degrees under rather obscure conditions and can rescue in part the honor and prestige of the Buckeye State.

Comment #74059

Posted by Flint on January 20, 2006 11:29 AM (e)

After more than six months, I’m beginning to wonder whether this is a fastidiously thorough investigation, or an exercise in foot-dragging.

I would speculate that (1) The university administration has made it clear that the committee Leonard tried to hoodwink them with, isn’t going to fly. He’s going to have to find *qualified* people; and (2) There aren’t any qualified people of the necessary religious orientation. And so we’re on hold.

Comment #74063

Posted by Rich on January 20, 2006 11:40 AM (e)

Cochran is a pastor of Christ Church Anglican. He says:

[“You voluntarily came up and put your credibility on the line,” Cochran countered. “Your public voice seems to be much different from your private voice. I just find it difficult to believe anyone who has a public voice and then has such a different private voice.” ]

Clearly Cochrans private voice is to spread the good word and promote Jesus. So based on his own reasoning, ‘I just find it difficult to believe anyone who has a public voice and then has such a different private voice’. Hypocritical dullard.

Comment #74065

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on January 20, 2006 11:46 AM (e)

IIRC, Leonard wrote the anti-evolution lesson plan. If this goes to court, lawyers on both sides will probably put his record under a microscope.

Comment #74066

Posted by Cassandra on January 20, 2006 11:47 AM (e)

I read this article this morning and I was infuriated. Absolutely sickening. I’m disgusted and embarrassed that Mr. Cochran is a rep for my county.

Comment #74068

Posted by Russell on January 20, 2006 11:54 AM (e)

An extended quote from Ms. Candisky’s article, preceding the exchange Rich’s comment refers to:

On behalf of the Ohio State University Senate, Jeffrey McKee told the board that the panel of students, professors and administrators opposed a portion of the science guidelines.
Then Fink read the e-mail — she did not disclose how she got it — in which McKee ridiculed a faculty member who is a proponent of intelligent design.
“Does that sound familiar to you?” Fink asked.
“Yes indeed it does. I wrote it,” McKee responded.
“My point is that Dr. McKee has a very unprofessional way in dealing with colleagues who do not agree with him,” Fink said.
“Private e-mails are none of your business, but in dealing in public, I have always maintained the highest academic and professional standards and I always will. What I say as a joke to my colleagues when relieving stress is not the business of this board,” McKee said.

As in the Mirecki case, I’m baffled as to why no one seems too concerned with public officials obtaining, broadcasting, and acting upon private e-mails. Perhaps it seems like a drop in the bucket compared with warrantless wiretaps. In this case, believe the e-mails came to Owens-Fink via Leonard’s lawyer, who requested all the e-mail communications of the professors who challenged the creationist dissertation process.

Should we not be raising holy hell over this???

Comment #74071

Posted by Russell on January 20, 2006 12:11 PM (e)

There was another piece in the Columbus Dispatch, on the same page as Ms. Candisky’s article: a commentary by one Ann Fisher, also dealing with this disgraceful Board of Ed. meeting. In it she mentions:

…the next witness… demanded that the board endorse “only lesson plans that teach science and not pseudo-science.”
Cochran responded immaturely, verbally jabbing the kid with irrelevant references to, of all things, the board’s ratings by the Fordham Foundation and Education Weekly. He sounded like a grade grubber.

Hmmm. I think it will be incumbent upon Rev. Cochran to revisit his remarks when this weeks news percolates through the press: that the Fordham group downgraded Ohio to an “F”, specifically because of the Rev’s pet project.

Comment #74079

Posted by Rich on January 20, 2006 12:58 PM (e)

Associated Press:

http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/13672110.htm

Comment #74081

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on January 20, 2006 12:59 PM (e)

I’m baffled as to why no one seems too concerned with public officials obtaining, broadcasting, and acting upon private e-mails.

McKee is a professor at a public university, and as such his emails, even certain personal communications, can be obtained under Ohio’s open records law. The Discovery Institute probably obtained it and passed it along to Fink.

Comment #74083

Posted by RBH on January 20, 2006 1:07 PM (e)

Reed wrote

McKee is a professor at a public university, and as such his emails, even certain personal communications, can be obtained under Ohio’s open records law. The Discovery Institute probably obtained it and passed it along to Fink.

McKee’s emails were included in a response to a Public Recorts Request made by a lawyer for Bryan Leonard, the Ohio State grad student whose dissertation committee was packed with creationists. We are still looking at the route it may have taken to Owens-Fink and to the Disco Institute. I hope to have a more complete Thumb post on that general topic by Monday.

RBH

Comment #74085

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 20, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

Russell said…
As in the Mirecki case, I’m baffled as to why no one seems too concerned with public officials obtaining, broadcasting, and acting upon private e-mails.

Russell, rule #1 when it comes to email is you never put anything in one you would not want the whole world to read. That is common knowledge and common sense.

Anyone who gets an email has the ability to copy and paste or just hit the “Forward” button. Once you hit the “send” button, your email is longer private.

In my mind Mirecki is the poster boy for adolescent stupidity. He had a course planned, the university’s support and he knifed himself. His “pissing off the fundies” comment would have been perfect for he and his buddies sitting around drinking beer, but saying that in an email or a listserv, was just plain dumb.

Oh, and yeah I think digging stuff like that up (emails intended to be private) is cheap and base, but what do you expect from people whose governing goal is to replace natural science with “theistic understandings”? We keep naively thinking these intelligent design cultist wing nuts play by the same rules we play by and it bites us in the ass every time.

Anyhow, I hope I don’t sound like I am scolding you, that is not my intent. If anything I would want to be scolding Mirecki who had it right there in his hand but crushed it to death (all by himself).

Again, the first rule of email I was taught was never put anything in one that you would not want to be on the front page of the New York Times. That lesson has always served me well.

Comment #74086

Posted by Corkscrew on January 20, 2006 1:19 PM (e)

Would you say you’re a Christian, Mr Cochran?
Are you aware that one of the duties of a Christian is to advocate for Christianity?
Are you aware that such advocacy is illegal in school classes?
Isn’t there, therefore, something of a difference between your private and public faces? If not, how do you justify breaching either your Christian or civil responsibilities?
Isn’t there, therefore, a great deal of hypocrisy in your statement?

Damn, wonderful comebacks are so easy to think of when you’re not on the spot.

Comment #74091

Posted by Keanus on January 20, 2006 1:28 PM (e)

Mr. Christopher’s advice applies as well to comments on PT. I’m sure that the DI and their acolytes across the country monitor PT for comments and “dirt” they can use at an appropriate time. Quote mining is in their blood. Integrity is not. And they’ve never heard of a mea culpa. After all, god in on their side so they can’t make mistakes.

Comment #74093

Posted by geogeek on January 20, 2006 1:35 PM (e)

We may all hope that someday they go the way of the mammoth….

This Week in SCIENCE, Volume 311, Issue 5759, Mammoth DNA Sequences

The sequencing of ancient DNA is hoped to lend insight into evolutionary
studies of a variety of species, including mammals. Poinar et al. (p. 392,
published online 12 December 2005) used a roughly 28,000-year-old bone from a woolly mammoth that had been preserved in the Siberian permafrost to
directly sequence ancient DNA without prior repair or amplification bias. A total of 137,000 reads (13 megabases) of mammoth DNA were generated, with
only traces of human DNA contamination. Genomic comparisons were used to
establish the rate of sequence divergence between extinct species and
modern elephants. Examination of microbial and plant sequences isolated
from the same source may also give clues about the mammoth’s environment.

p.s. Where’s the human DNA from? Lab contamination?

Comment #74101

Posted by Corkscrew on January 20, 2006 2:05 PM (e)

I think that was “contamination of DNA by humans” not “contamination with human DNA”

Comment #74107

Posted by Russell on January 20, 2006 2:16 PM (e)

Of course, you’re right, Mr. Christopher. I’m not suggesting otherwise. Mirecki may be guilty of “indiscretion”, or something similarly deserving of a tut-tut from Miss Manners. But for a public official, like Owens-Fink, to pull this kind of stunt at a public meeting… I just think that goes beyond reprehensible.

The stuff she read (you can read the DI’s take on it here) was, naturally, stripped of context. I don’t think, in its original context, it was an example of “adolescent stupidity”; but if zealots given a little power, like Owens-Fink, feel they can, with impunity, comb through someone’s communications for damning excerpts to broadcast, I’m not sure I know anyone who could not be made to look “adolescently stupid”.

By all means, let’s be prudent, but let’s not dismiss this kind of abuse by “blaming the victim”.

Comment #74158

Posted by Aagcobb on January 20, 2006 4:09 PM (e)

Character assassination is standard operating procedure for these people. Look at how they routinely lie about the service of men who fought in Vietnam, despite the fact that the GOP is led by draft dodgers.

Comment #74163

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 20, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

Russell, we are on the same page. The IDists in Ohio are nothing but foul, dishonest, sneaky bastards and using that email to discredit him was more evidence of their foul ways. There is no excuse for them making that private email public. Period.

I hope this is a warning for others who work in this field. The Disco and their army of brain washed automatons will use anything they can and stoop to any level to attack the person who dares to question intelligent design creationism.

Comment #74169

Posted by Coragyps on January 20, 2006 4:45 PM (e)

The human DNA is no doubt from handling:
“To further assess the possibility of contamination in our DNA sample, we explicitly considered what would be expected if contaminating human DNA sequences were present. If some of our reads were human DNA, then these reads should align with nearly 100% identity to human, and at most, 5% of these could be expected to align at 90% identity or higher to any nonprimate mammalian genome (only about 5 to 6% of the genome appears to be under negative selection (23), and our 90% threshold is far above the neutral level). If our data contained human reads, we could be essentially certain that a large fraction of them would align to human at or above 97% identity over at least 80% of their length and not align to either elephant or dog. Only 14 reads satisfy these criteria.”

That 14 is out of 302,000, so they apparently handled it pretty carefully.

Comment #74175

Posted by Keith on January 20, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

Now, how many of you here who haven’t gone to previous board meetings are going to show up next month? I’m hoping a lot, since I was the only student from OSU there (keeping in mind ODU has well over 50,000 students) and apart from one woman (who may have been a parent) the general public has been silent. It’s hard to believe that parents were not out in droves to protest the current science lesson plan, but they weren’t there so a woman from the Eagle Forum spoke on their behalf. For those who haven’t gone, the next meeting will most likely decide for sure whether or not a costly lawsuit is brought with a heaping amount of embarassment to the state of Ohio. Get those snappy comebacks ready!

Comment #74184

Posted by Julie on January 20, 2006 5:58 PM (e)

Critical analysis?

I haven’t seen that many canards outside a duck pond.

Comment #74185

Posted by Rusty Catheter on January 20, 2006 6:02 PM (e)

Dumb question for legal eagles:

Do school boards etc. have a duty of care in setting standards and curricula?. Are they actually supposed (explicitly or implicitly) to make a fair effort to get it right in the interests of usefully educating children?. Would they be required or otherwise expected to set aside any personal opinion no matter how vehemently they hold it if such opinion conflicts with transparently carrying out any such duty of care? What are the penalties (if any) for blatantly ignoring a clear duty of care (if such even exists) in the interests of a vehemently held yet still personal opinion/view/belief?

Az.
.

Comment #74191

Posted by Cassandra on January 20, 2006 6:42 PM (e)

Keith, I’ll be there. I didn’t know about this past meeting until the day before and with 2 boys three and under, I just couldn’t swing it. Maybe I should have brought them and just let them run around and bite the board member’s ankles. :-)

But yes, I’ll be there, and hopefully I will be there every month from now on.

Comment #74209

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 20, 2006 7:42 PM (e)

In fact, it’s a super-conservative splinter sect split off from the Episcopal Church over ordination of women, or some such modernistic affront to traditional values, which fact might be beyond the scope of Ms. Candisky’s article.

Oddly enough, one of the primary funders of those efforts to split the Episcopalian Church over ordination of women (and gays), was Howard Ahmanson.

Ahmanson, by coincidence, is not only a member of Discovery Institute’s Board of Directors, but also put up the $1.5 million in seed money to form the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, and still provides around one-third of the Center’s yearly budget. For 20 years, Ahmanson sat on the Board of Directors of the Chalcedon Foundation, a major thinktank for the Christian Reconstructionist movement.

For those who don’t know what “Christian Reconstructionism” is, do a Google search.

Don’t eat anything first.

Comment #74227

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on January 20, 2006 9:12 PM (e)

Ohio, schmohio - there’s a public health & safety emergency in Oklahoma:

from the Fla Citizens for Science site at http://www.flcfs.org/wp/?p=88 -
… House Bill 2526: Equal Time for ID

In any public school instruction concerning the theories of the origin of man and the earth which includes the theory commonly known as evolution, a board of education of a school district may include, as a portion of such instruction, the theory of intelligent design.

If you’re drinking anything right now, you might want to swallow and set down your cup before you read this next quote:

It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.

Brandon with FCS cites Red State Rabble, but I didn’t see anything further on the RSR home page.

Comment #74232

Posted by Brandon Haught on January 20, 2006 9:45 PM (e)

Actually, NCSE had that Oklahoma tidbit. I neglected to credit them in my post. I’ll correct that oversight in a minute.

Comment #74242

Posted by argy stokes on January 20, 2006 10:41 PM (e)

In any public school instruction concerning the theories of the origin of man and the earth which includes the theory commonly known as evolution, a board of education of a school district may include, as a portion of such instruction, the theory of intelligent design.

Hmm, seeing as there is no theory of intelligent design, I wonder what would be taught…

Comment #74244

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 20, 2006 10:46 PM (e)

On the other hand…

Does anybody know what’s up with the Cobb appeal?

I haven’t seen word one on this in weeks.

has it gone to decision already?

any expected release date if so?

Comment #74254

Posted by Jeff McKee on January 21, 2006 12:02 AM (e)

McKee got what was coming to him from Cochran & Owens-Fink. He dared to publish the following letter in the Columbus Dispatch, nearly two years ago:

Politics, not learning, shaped standards
Friday, February 20, 2004

Can scientists comprehend a simple lesson plan? According to State Board of Education member Deborah Owens-Fink, “Some of these scientists are so paranoid, they don’t understand it.”

The truth is that scientists understand it all too well: The proposed lesson plan on evolution is a thinly disguised attempt to promote creationism in Ohio’s science classrooms. But the lesson is one of politics, not science. One need not be a scientist to connect the dots, as board members should know.

Did she really think that we would not notice the highly misleading statements on the fossil record of evolution, fraudulent claims about today’s evolution of bacteria and direct references to creationist literature?

The proposed lesson plan must be replaced by an honest and serious portrayal of contemporary biology.

Owens-Fink’s cavalier attitude is characteristic of certain board members who would rather play political games than ensure a quality science education for Ohio’s young scholars. Along with board member Michael Cochran, the other main perpetrator of this fraud, Owens-Fink is pushing a desperation agenda instead of fostering understanding.

The “standards committee” of the State Board of Education needs a new chairperson with higher standards. Owens-Fink and Cochran should resign.

JEFFREY K. McKEE
Professor
Ohio State University

Looks like a pretty big bulls-eye to me (and the origin of the “honest” science education mantra, I might add.)

It took them a Public Records Request and a public blindside with a private e-mail to make their point against McKee, which was …? Sorry, they have no point to make. Their side is bereft of ideas, so shoot the messenger.

The messenger is undaunted. And the message hasn’t changed for two years. Teach honest science.

Comment #74256

Posted by Don on January 21, 2006 12:27 AM (e)

RBH wrote:

Reed wrote:

Reed wrote:

“McKee is a professor at a public university, and as such his emails, even certain personal communications, can be obtained under Ohio’s open records law. The Discovery Institute probably obtained it and passed it along to Fink.”

McKee’s emails were included in a response to a Public Recorts Request made by a lawyer for Bryan Leonard, the Ohio State grad student whose dissertation committee was packed with creationists.

So….. Does this mean that all of Bryan Leonards’ emails between him and all of the professors he engaged to be on his committee should also be available via an open records law request?? Along with all the emails between those professors??

Very interesting, no?

Comment #74257

Posted by steve s on January 21, 2006 12:36 AM (e)

If so, can we get Cochran’s & Owens-Fink’s emails? Methinks after reading those, Casey Luskin would be making some more frantic phone calls.

Comment #74290

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 6:42 AM (e)

I am reluctant to post here because the originator of this thread has shown a tendency to delete on-topic posts that he happens to disagree with.

A major impropriety that everyone seems to be ignoring is that the board voted before hearing the public comments. Public comments are supposed to be heard before a vote – even on an “emergency” matter (for some strange reason, the motion on whether to remove the lesson plans was considered to be an emergency matter) – so that they have a chance to influence the vote. Taking a vote before hearing public comments is illegal under the Brown Act of Caifornia. See Sec. 54954.3 (a) in http://www.vanguardnews.com/brownact.htm

Comment #74303

Posted by Bob O'H on January 21, 2006 7:08 AM (e)

Larry Fafarman wrote:

Taking a vote before hearing public comments is illegal under the Brown Act of Caifornia.

I weas not aware that California had annexed Ohio for itself.

Bob

Comment #74307

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 7:21 AM (e)

Larry Fafarman wrote:

I am reluctant to post here because the originator of this thread has shown a tendency to delete on-topic posts that he happens to disagree with.

Hmmm. This assertion is both off-topic and false. Further discussion will be routed to the Bathroom Wall, which is not the same thing as “deleting”.

As Bob O’H points out, Larry’s more-topical concern is simply erroneous.

Comment #74311

Posted by raj on January 21, 2006 7:31 AM (e)

Going back a quotation from the post

“I’m not convinced in my mind that cross-examining witnesses that make presentations before the board is in the best policy of boardmanship. I think it might be better to listen to the testimony and let it pass,” said board member Eric C. Okerson, an appointed member from Cincinnati.

Apparently this person is unaware of one fact that is known by every trial lawyer: the truth comes out largely during cross-examination. The truth ususally does not come out on direct examination.

Comment #74312

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 7:43 AM (e)

Comment #74303 posted by Bob O’H on January 21, 2006 07:08 AM

Larry Fafarman wrote:
“Taking a vote before hearing public comments is illegal under the Brown Act of Caifornia.”

I was not aware that California had annexed Ohio for itself.

Obviously, I was just suggesting that the Brown Act could be model legislation for other states. And I gave a common-sense reason why public comments should be heard before a vote rather than after.

Comment #74313

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 7:48 AM (e)

If I see a digression toward discussion of meta-issues, off it will go to the Bathroom Wall.

Comment #74342

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Larry Fafarman wrote:

And I gave a common-sense reason why public comments should be heard before a vote rather than after.

What Larry has failed to establish is that the public commentary period was intended for the topic of the vote. It is, though, a critical premise to Larry’s commentary. And, in fact, there is evidence that it is, like many things Larry claims, false.

Several OCS members were present and spoke at the public participation session at the end of the meeting. Because the motion was not an agenda item, there was no opportunity for them to speak before the vote.

(Ohio Citizens for Science)

These are the folks who would be most put upon by an improper order of proceedings, and yet they are satisfied that the relevant rules of procedure were followed.

Common sense says… know what the facts are before making grand accusations.

I consider this the end to topicality for the “impropriety” issue. Further comments taking it up should be on the Bathroom Wall. You can put them there, or I will.

Comment #74408

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 1:46 PM (e)

I hate repeating myself, but…

does anybody have any information on what’s happening with the Cobb appeal?

the last mentions of it contained some rather ominous sounding statements, but that was several weeks ago now.

thanks

Comment #74414

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 21, 2006 1:58 PM (e)

STJ,
I did a search. This was the most recent article I found. A month and ten days old now, so probably not what you wanted.
But you never know.

http://www.ajc.com/search/content/auto/epaper/editions/sunday/metro_34b9dd908291b1611061.html

Comment #74416

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 2:01 PM (e)

thanks, but you were correct in your premise.

It has in fact been several weeks since the latest news on this issue anywhere.

I can’t figure it, given the interest in the Dover trial.

Comment #74426

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on January 21, 2006 2:21 PM (e)

SE & STJ -

here’s the most recent Cobb item from my off-topic archive:

http://www.law.com/jsp/printerfriendly.jsp?c=LawArticle&t=PrinterFriendlyArticle&cid=1136384632075>http://www.law.com/jsp/printerfriendly.jsp?c=LawArticle&t=PrinterFriendlyArticle&cid=1136384632075

11th Circuit: Lawyer Did Not Mislead During Evolution Case Argument

Greg Land
Fulton County Daily Report
01-05-2006

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday cleared an Atlanta attorney of accusations that he misled the court during oral arguments over stickers in Cobb County, Ga., science books that question the validity of the theory of evolution.

The unusual interim ruling from the court stemmed from a panel’s Dec. 15, 2005, interrogation of Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore partner Jeffrey O. Bramlett, who represents people who sued the Cobb school board claiming the stickers were an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

At the end of the argument, Judge Edward E. Carnes recalled Bramlett to the podium and demanded that he file an explanation for what Carnes suggested was a deliberate effort to mislead the court about the timeline during which the school board decided to put the stickers in books.

Bramlett filed a 127-page response a week after the argument, and on Tuesday school board lawyer Ernest Linwood Gunn IV filed his version of the facts.

While noting that that the supplemental filings do not “definitively” resolve the disputed issue, the judges’ ruling said the court “does not find that counsel misled it or attempted to do so. We issue this order to remove any implication that either counsel did.”

After the order was issued, Bramlett said, “I appreciate the court going to the trouble of issuing a separate order addressing it.

“As a lawyer who goes to a great deal of trouble to maintain a reputation of integrity, this is very welcome,” he added.

The court’s order did not clear up the questions of fact at issue before the judges, Carnes and Judges Frank M. Hull and William H. Pryor Jr., who in Wednesday’s order called the facts “puzzling.”

At issue is a 2,300-name petition purportedly filed with the school board in March 2002. That was when the school board was considering the purchase of new science textbooks and would, for the first time, require the teaching of evolution in Cobb County high schools.

During a 2004 trial in U.S. District Court, Cobb citizen Marjorie Rogers, a self-described “six-day biblical creationist” who objects to the teaching of evolution, testified that she had collected the signatures after reviewing the textbooks during a comment period.

She told the court that she had wanted to “clearly identify presumptions and theories and distinguish them from fact,” according to briefs filed by Bramlett.

Former Cobb School Superintendent Joseph Redden also testified during trial that he remembered such a petition being presented, but did not recall its specifics.

The trial record also included an affidavit from a Cobb parent who – in the midst of circulating a petition against the stickers – contacted the school system for a copy of the purported Rogers petition. The parent said she was told by Director of Communication Jay Dillon III that “if [the petition] exists, it is no longer in this building.”

The sequence of events is important because U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper’s Jan. 13, 2005, decision ordering the stickers removed was partly based on assertions that religiously motivated citizens pressured school board members into inserting the stickers, which warned students that evolution “is a theory, not a fact.” Selman v. Cobb County School District, 390 F. Supp 2d 1286. (The 11th Circuit case is No. 05-10341-1.)

In his appellate brief, Gunn noted that no such petition had ever been admitted into evidence, a point Carnes seized upon at oral argument. If there was no pre-sticker Rogers petition, Carnes said, Cooper’s ruling and Bramlett’s arguments relying on the petition were “just wrong.”

In his post-argument response, Bramlett offered detailed testimony of opposing witnesses, as well as reports published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shortly after the textbooks were adopted – all of which referred to the March pre-sticker petition.

The appeals court then demanded Gunn, of Marietta’s Brock, Clay & Calhoun, respond.

Gunn’s submission doesn’t directly deny the existence of the March 2002 petition, but he continued to point out that no such document was ever admitted into evidence….

LATE-GAME CONFUSION

That such an issue as basic as evidence and its very existence should become central to an appeal is “very unusual,” said Laurie Webb Daniel, head of the appellate division for Atlanta’s Holland & Knight…..

Comment #74429

Posted by Peter Henderson on January 21, 2006 2:26 PM (e)

Interestingly I was listening to YECer John McKay on one of the Christian TV channels here in the UK recently and most of the claims that Wesley has in his article were all mentioned. I was thinking to myself that before anyone debates YECers or argues with them they should learn Marc Isaak’s index to creationist claims of by heart as they do seem to keep coming up time after time.

When Mckay was asked about bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics his reply was that certain bacteria have always had a built in resistance. All that has happened is that the ones that did not have any resistance had been killed off leaving the resistant bacteria behind. No evolution has been observed.

But I thought that the current alarm about the current outbreak of avian flue was that the virus could mutate and change and eventually pass from human to human ? Indeed a recent news bulletin on the BBC stated that it had already mutated, but not enough to pass from human to human. Surely this is evolution taking place before our very eyes ?

The thing that always puzzles me is that these so called creation scientists, like Mckay,Morris,Ham, or Lisle for instance all earned their qualifications by learning about evolutionary science. Certainly the creationist science that they want taught as science would not be recognised as science at all by the wider scientific community !

Comment #74445

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 3:48 PM (e)

01-05-2006

like i said…

several weeks with no news.

thanks for the rehash. i appreciate the responses, but I’m really talking about if anybody knows what the current status of the case is.

has it gone to decision?

are arguments closed or ongoing?

are they just taking an extended coffee break?

Bueller? Bueller?

Comment #74447

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 3:58 PM (e)

I’m going to assume from the nature of the latest available commentary that the case has gone to decision, and that no date has yet been announced.

still, seems very odd to me that this is even a question.

Comment #74468

Posted by Rich on January 21, 2006 5:07 PM (e)

Owens Fink’s Freudian slip gives us the new theory: INVOLUTION.

From :

http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=4347447

and

http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/13594838.htm

‘Critics of the plans are the same people who opposed the state’s science standards and then these lesson plans, and they haven’t brought any new information to the discussion, said Deborah Owens Fink, an elected board member representing northeastern Ohio including Akron. “Nothing has INVOLVED in this debate,” Owens Fink said. “Our science standards are some of the best in the nation and I am very proud of them.”’

A little tip for the lying for Jesus brigade: If you’re going to design lesson plans to critique a scientific concept, YOU MIGHT WANT TO BE ABLE TO USE IT IN A SENTENCE FIRST.

Should any of you bloggers wish to use this, I’d be delighted. Feel free to involve it into something better.

Rich

Comment #74517

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on January 21, 2006 7:17 PM (e)

STJ -

Sorry, for me “several” means more than two…

Comment #74543

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 8:41 PM (e)

lol, well not to get technical, but 16 days is more than two weeks, ergo that puts it into the several category :p

As i said, i thank you for your efforts, but i think you know what i mean. All of us are still waiting to hear whether this case is still open or not, and when a decision is expected.

I can’t find any news to that effect, anywhere, and it’s not like i haven’t been looking.

the results of that appeal could have wide ranging implications, as I’m sure you are aware, and it just seems odd to me that there is apparently no recent news about it.

As i mentioned, I guess i could conclude from this that the case has gone to final deliberations, and no date for a final decision has been announced.

I was kinda hoping somebody had heard something definite, but i guess all of us are in the same boat on this one.

Comment #74557

Posted by Don Baccus on January 21, 2006 9:06 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

As i said, i thank you for your efforts, but i think you know what i mean. All of us are still waiting to hear whether this case is still open or not, and when a decision is expected.

The Circuit Courts of Appeals operate similarly to the Supremes. Lawyers for the two sides get one shot to argue the case, and the Justices are free to query them as much as they want. This part of the process takes hours, not weeks, unlike a trial (because the witnesses have already been examined, crossed, etc - this is an appeal, not a trial).

So if you mean by “open or not” will there be more court sessions, no.

When will they return a decision? When they want to :) There won’t be any news regarding the Court and this case before one is returned, just as is true with the Supremes. The Court will be silent on the issue until the trumpets are blown, the masses assembled, and the decision read …

Well, actually not true, the Court already issued a statement regarding the beating up of the ACLU lawyer during the session over the petitions. However if you read that statement the Court explains why it’s taking the very UNUSUAL step of doing so. Silence until the decision is announced is the norm.

Comment #74562

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 9:23 PM (e)

This part of the process takes hours, not weeks, unlike a trial (because the witnesses have already been examined, crossed, etc - this is an appeal, not a trial).

ah, OK, I guess it makes more sense as to why there is no news.

so, is it totally unheard of that appeals courts announce expected dates for a decision?

I guess i figured based on the attention Kitzmiller got, they might have wanted to give a ballpark for this one.

Comment #74574

Posted by Don Baccus on January 21, 2006 9:55 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

is it totally unheard of that appeals courts announce expected dates for a decision?

AFAIK yeah, it is … the 9th circuit FAQ for attorneys gives “3 months to a year” as the typical time for a decision to be reached after oral arguments.

Circuit courts can expedite and when they do, they announce it, along with the schedule (deadlines for filing briefs, oral arguments, etc). AFAIK the sticker case isn’t being expedited.

LaLaLarry can, from personal experience, tell you how long it takes the Supreme Court to ignore nuisance appeals if you find that interesting :)

Comment #74625

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 22, 2006 2:40 AM (e)

LaLaLarry can, from personal experience, tell you how long it takes the Supreme Court to ignore nuisance appeals if you find that interesting :)

hmm. I would put that in my “interesting as getting my teeth pulled” pile.

strike that. getting my teeth pulled would actually be MORE interesting.

thanks Don.