Friday, August 09, 2013

Science Standards Advance, Cothran Whines

The Kentucky Board of Education yesterday cleared the way for the Next-Generation Science Standards to move forward in the regulatory process without change. At its meeting, the board approved the Statement of Consideration for 704 KAR 3:303, which calls for the new science standards to be included in the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. The Statement of Consideration included nearly 4,100 public comments received on the regulation. 

Commenters in favor of adoption argued that the Next Generation Science Standards would be beneficial for Kentucky children; that Kentucky students deserve the most up-to-date science education, and that an up-to-date science education includes learning about climate change; that the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards will help prepare Kentucky students for the challenges and opportunities they will face later in the 21st Century; that the Kentucky Core Academic Standards for Science reflect the state of modern, mainstream science; that university science professors expect incoming students to know the climate change standards contained in the Kentucky Core Academic Standards for Science and that students learning under those standards would be well-prepared for careers in fields that require knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and more.

Opponents of the standards objected to the continued inclusion of evolution in the science standards and stated that the teaching of evolution will lead to a variety of negative social consequences, including the negation of religious belief, the marginalization of students with religious beliefs, the promotion of socialism and resulting genocide and murder, drug abuse, suicide, hopelessness, the limitation of personal freedom, and the belief that might makes right; expressed concerns that humans are classified with primates because primates have four hands, not two; that asking educators to teach evolution would violate the educators’ right to exercise their moral and religious beliefs; that outsiders are imposing the elitist and rich man’s religion of evolution on the families of public school students, taking away the right to worship God; that if evolution is in the standards, and taught, they will remove their children from the public schools and homeschool their children; and more.  

After review, the state board of education voted to move the regulation forward with no changes.

So, over at utiliter loqui, chief family man Martin Cothran of the Kentucky Family Foundation Family went off again. 

Cothran had concluded in a Herald-Leader op-ed that there was “an inordinate emphasis on climate science in the standards” and that “It is hard to avoid the impression that Kentucky's science standards…are trying to be some kind of global-warming manifesto.” 

Really? Kentucky’s science standards are a published statement of political motives? 

Cothran drew his stunning conclusions from “a simple word search.” Readers were invited to believe that Cothran could divine the motives of these science-types and why certain words showed up so much when compared to others. 

I responded to Cothran’s argument. I objected to his drawing such definitive conclusions on the scant evidence produced by a simple word search methodology. But Cothran carried on the debate by defending his method, claiming that I was wrong to have questioned - what he had now switched to calling - a “text analysis.” 

The only problem is that Cothran had not done a “text analysis.” He did a word count.

If he had done a text analysis - which is much more involved research technique and produces much higher quality information, I would have likely had nothing to say about it.

After objecting to my posting a claim made by another author, Cothran finally conceded that his method was not sufficient for the conclusions he drew, writing,

“I fully admit it's not "definitive." I admit the possibility that I could be wrong.”

He added, 

“I guess my point is that I was not trying to establish the why, only the what. Why there is such a stress on climate topics probably has to do with the fact that that's a fashionable issue right now. And I think it's a legitimate retroductive inference from the particular what to that particular why. But that is not something that can be determined by a word count and I don't think I said that it was.”

Perhaps if he had not gotten carried away by delusions of a manifesto I could agree.

In any case, that should have been the end of it.

But…No.

When the Board of education passed the standards yesterday, Martin went off again.

He fussed at Daniel Phelps, President of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, and Joseph Straley, the Provost's Distinguished Service Professor in physics and astronomy at the University of Kentucky. And in some kind of denial, he forgot everything that had been written, and took another swipe at me.

Then there is Richard Day, who responded by questioning my method of determining the emphasis in the standards, which employed the revolutionary technique of a) actually reading the document and b) counting the actual number of words having to do with certain issues. Day questioned this technique. I'm sure he had an alternative one consonant with the level of intellectual rigor that predominates in departments of education these days, possibly crystal healing or biofeedback or polarity therapy or perhaps some equally scientific fixture of the pop psychology that seems to predominate in his profession.

But he never offered an alternative method, so it's hard to tell.

In fact, I had suggested the alternative method of conducting a text analysis - the same method that he fraudulently told his reader he had done. If he had done a text analysis, then perhaps, his conclusions might have carried some weight. But Cothran is not one to let facts get in the way of claims.

As it happened, Cothran drew wildly inappropriate conclusions about some non-existent manifesto from a simple word count method; he published them in the newspaper; I suggested that a full text analysis would have been better; he later admitted that his word count method was not definitive, and that his conclusions could be all wrong; and now he is defending his inadequate method all over again.

Now that I think of it, I would also suggest that Cothran engage in a head soaking methodology.
 
Well, we thank Martin for sharing. But unfortunately his submission did not meet the standard.

Still, he deserve something for his effort – so that his self esteem isn’t damaged.  How about a nice participation ribbon? 

Meanwhile, this from the National Center for Science Education:

Deniers rebuffed in Kentucky

The Kentucky Board of Education declined to make any changes to a proposed regulation that would enact the Next Generation Science Standards as Kentucky's state science standards, despite the protests of evolution deniers and climate change deniers. In a lengthy document dated August 1, 2013, the Kentucky Department of Education summarized the thoughts of all who submitted comments on the regulation, and provided detailed replies. On the topics of evolution and climate change in particular, the department wrote (PDF, p. 139):
The agency also received statements of support related to the inclusion of particular science topics such as climate change and evolution, stating that meaningful scientific debate on the validity of evolution and climate science has ceased. Proponents of the continued inclusion of evolution pointed to the overwhelming acceptance of evolution in the biological science community. Proponents of the inclusion of climate change education contend that Kentucky students deserve the most up to date science education, which includes climate change. [The department agreed with these comments: see, e.g., pp. 104 and 105 on evolution, and pp. 115 on climate change.]
Over one hundred substantially identical emails were received stating an opposition to the continued inclusion of evolution in the proposed standards, characterizing evolution as a theory and not a fact. These commenters asked that intelligent design be added to the standards. Other commenters questioned the scientific validity of evolution. The agency also received several comments specific to the inclusion of climate change in the proposed standards, including concerns that climate change science was overemphasized to the neglect of other science concepts or that climate change is not a settled issue in the scientific community.
The three important antievolution goals — banning the teaching of evolution; balancing the teaching of evolution with creationism, whether in the form of "creation science" or "intelligent design"; and belittling evolution as controversial — were in evidence. So were all three of the pillars of creationism — arguing that evolution is scientifically controversial; arguing that teaching evolution is linked with negative social consequences; arguing that it is only fair to teach "all sides" of the supposed controversy. The same themes were also reflected in the comments about climate change.

The Kentucky Board of Education approved the department's report on August 8, 2013, so, as WPFL in Louisville, Kentucky, reports (August 8, 2013), "The regulation now heads to Kentucky’s Administrative Regulation Review Committee. If approved in the Kentucky General Assembly, the new standards would go into effect during the 2014-2015 school year." Kentucky would join Rhode Island, Kansas, Maryland, and Vermont as the first five states to adopt the NGSS — unless the legislature, which includes vocal critics of evolution and climate change, refuses its approval.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Richard, I know you are a practicing Christian and so am I.

Why is it that Christians like Martin Cothran try to impose their will on others? Why do they feel "compelled" to fight a battle against secularism in a public school system? Why do they refuse to accept the constititional premise of separation of church and state? And why are they so threatened by science?

Richard Day said...

Well first, I don't know what Martin believes or feels compelled to do. He did brag to H-L that he got a lot of hate mail for his conservative writings in his college newspaper (UC Santa Barbara) and that he enjoyed his introduction to the world of controversy. While I suspect his motivations to be more political than religious - maybe not. In any case, he can speak for himself.

More generally, I think the church/state conflict is most keen for fundamentalist (as distinct from evangelical) Christians who may believe the Bible to be holy writ and therefore superior to the constitution. For them, I don't think it's so much about separation of church and state as it is theocratic governance. If that is one's position, then any science that gets in the way of Biblical interpretation becomes problematic.

KY Teacher said...

I read his blog posting where he asserted that KDE avoided his question. I don't think they did.

From the Statement of Consideration:

Some comments specifically objected to a perceived overemphasis on climate science, based on the number of standards addressing climate change as opposed to other areas of science. The agency suspects that these comments were based upon a simple word search of the science standards, rather than a count of actual performance expectations (standards). Words such as “global”, “warming”, and “climate” may appear in the standards in isolated uses that are not related to the concept of climate change. The agency has also determined that there may be a misperception that every standard addressing weather or climate is related to climate change. The study of weather, and the factors influencing weather, has been included in science standards for many years, predating the present study of climate change. The agency has determined that comments asserting a heavy weighting toward climate science, to the exclusion of other disciplines, are not supported by a careful examination of the standards themselves. (Emphasis added)

Richard Day said...

Bullseye.

Martin Cothran said...

I will have more to say on this at my own blog, but I'm trying to figure out which part of the argument that I offered on the science standards was religious. Maybe you, Richard, or Mr. Anonymous (I'm wondering why he feels compelled to hide his identity) could explain, possibly through text analysis of what I said, the my argument was religious.

Also, even if it was, how it would violate the separation of church and state for someone who is religious to offer comment on an issue? Have we really gotten to the point that people of a religious persuasion are to be barred from participating in the policy process?

And while you're at it, maybe you all could explain why people from one perspective (religious) should be seen as "imposing their will on others," while people of another persuasion (secular) are not seen as doing that. It seems like a strange double standard.

In fact, did anyone notice that it was the people who disagreed with me who brought religion into the discussion?

Martin Cothran said...

Just posting again to get the e-mail follow-up

Richard Day said...

Martin,

Another piece on your blog disparaging me?

I've already been invited to speculate on your faith earlier today, and passed. I'll pass again.

While I strongly suspect that your beliefs motivate much of what you do (for whom is that not true?) I don't recall that any part of your op-ed argument was specifically religious.

The fact that your commentary targeted the same two parts of the NGSS (a passing reference to evolution and global warming) that other folks (who testified for specifically religious reasons) had also targeted, may have thrown off a reader or two.

If I conducted a text analysis, it would be the first time that happened since this issue came up.

I'd say, all citizens, religious or otherwise, should be encouraged to participate in our governmental processes.

I'd also say, folks on both sides of the argument have been accused of saying all kinds of things - some even worse than imposing will. If I support tough academic standards for our public school kids, does that really make me a fascist? I don't think it's a double standard at all. Perhaps you are only looking at the issue from one point of view.

A bunch of folks who agree with you brought religion into the issue - as well as a bunch who don't. I'd bet some number of the folks who brought religion into the discussion received the Family Foundation's church bulletin insert, encouraging folks to take action - and they showed up. Aren't you still directing policy for the Family Foundation?

Please tell my readers why you targeted church groups if you didn't want to bring religion into the discussion.

And if that was a wrong thing to do, feel free to use this space to separate yourself from all those who brought religion into the discussion.

Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Cothran,


Are you denying that your organization is Christian in its outlook? Isn't it fair to say you are the Christian Family Foundation?

If you are not a Christian organization, why do you object to gay marriage?

I have always been told you base your defense of the "endangered family" on Christian precepts. If I am wrong, please correct me.

Martin Cothran said...

Are you asking for my motivation for taking the positions I do--or my justification for taking them?

Martin Cothran said...

In terms of the general outlook of most, if not all the people involved, yes.

Is there a problem with that?

In terms of gay marriage, there are a lot of objections to it, religious and otherwise. Many of them are simply sociological. There's also the threat it poses to religious freedom, a concern which is not itself religious.

But I'm wondering why this is a concern since the arguments for policy positions are based strictly on non-religious arguments.

Is there a problem dealing with those arguments on their own merits? Why is it relevant to question people's motivations?

Richard Day said...

Martin,

I meant motivation. Why do a thing? I may feel justified by my beliefs (religious and otherwise) to do any number of things, but am only motivated to act on some of them.

Anonymous asked about compulsion - which is a different thing.

It seems we agree that in public policy all citizens get to play. Is there a problem with that? No. Aside from the fact that the democratic process is messy - No.

But we don't agree that "the arguments for policy positions are based on strictly on non-religious arguments."

Yours may be. But the testimony on NGSS produced lots of religious arguments, and there was no referee blowing a whistle and calling fouls. Their arguments may have ultimately been rejected by the Board, but they made their religious arguments and the Board heard them. So did the media. In some other case, religious arguments may carry the day and change public policy.

As you may know, Frank Simon's group is pushing for school prayer - a wholly religious public policy argument.

It is appropriate to question people's motivations because it provides a clearer picture of where the person is coming from. Sometimes folks hide their true intentions. Our juries question the motivations of witnesses and defendants every day. It's how humans seek some measure of truth. So too, in public policy. I suppose every "slippery slope" argument questions someone's motivations.

Shifting gears - your gay marriage example contains an assertion that I simply do not understand. It relates to "the threat [gay marriage] poses to religious freedom."

Would you care to explain the threat? In what way does someone else's marriage deny me the right to worship as I choose?

When Ellen and Portia married, my wife and I didn't spend one second questioning whether we could carry on together. We didn't even have to go into marriage counseling. We continued to worship according to our beliefs (which aren't exactly the same either).

So, I don't get it.

Richard

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Cothran,

I am pleased you have stated that many of those in the Family Foundation are Christians. There is absolutely no problem with that, but it is helpful to understand that many of those who attend a public school would like to be free of such intellectual chains.

As for you outlook on gay marriage which certainly says a good deal about your approach to the treatment of gay Americans in general, I can accept that, while I don't agree with it. I don't feel, however, you make a compelling argument against gay marriage, but I have not been to your website in a few weeks. Perhaps it is articulated there.

On the same subject, I genuinely was surprised the Family Foundation did not fight Fayette County Schools when they added sexual orientation to their non-discrimination clause. While I am pleased Fayette County took this important step towards inclusion, I thought for sure this would be an issue that would disturbe you and your conservative base.

My major concern with the Family Foundation is that its objections to evolution seem to be motivated by its strict Christian interpretation of the creation of the world. In a religion class, I see no reason to discuss evolution, but I simply see no reason for Christain children not to be conversant with the theory. Your objections to the teaching of climate change baffle me, however, as these are not rooted in scripture.

By the way, although I believe if you had your way our Kentucky school textbooks would come from the Bob Jones University Press or the Heritage Foundation, I'm pleased you participate in the conversations on this discussion board.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine asked why Mr. Cothran referred to a poster as "Mr Anonymous." She further asked, "How does Cothran know the gender of a poster?"

I argued that in Mr. Cothran's world no blogger could possibly be a female because females are expected to have and tend children, obey their husbands, cook the meals, clean the house, and possibly home school her children if evolution is taught in the public schools.

A woman could not be expected to have a voice in education policy.

Martin Cothran said...

2nd Anonymous,

I refuse to believe that either you or the first Anonymous is a woman. I find it is almost always men who question people's motives, jump to conclusions--and do it without having the integrity to identify themselves--than women.

I have a much higher view of women than that.

Anonymous said...

Who was that Eve person? Didn't she jump to some conclusion or did something related to integrity? I even think she and her man tried to hide their identities and deeds from the creator at one point. Secular or religious we are each capable of great acts and truths as well as transgressions and deceptions - gender has nothing to do it or LBGT/straight.

Anonymous said...

Dear Richard,

I am shocked that Martin Cothran, the leader of a major conservative thinktank and a college graduate, would generalize about men and women in this way.

Once again, it his right to do so, but it is no less shocking.

Richard Day said...

Martin,

I suspect we agree on anonymity in public policy debates. We don't like it. But in some cases we understand it...and it may even be necessary for some.

I believe I recently fussed at "Thomas" who writes at Vital Remnants for the same thing. But it's hard for me to be certain that Thomas was really Thomas.

But this?

"I find it is almost always men who question people's motives, jump to conclusions--and do it without having the integrity to identify themselves--than women."

Do you really want to waste time defending this point?

If the set of commenters are anonymous - how could you form any valid opinions about who they are? ...what gender? ...tendencies? ...frequency?

Y'all can argue about whatever you want, but it seems to me that arguing over trivial issues without foundation only serves to weaken folk's opinions about the quality of one's judgment on other, more important issues.

Wouldn't it be more helpful if you explored, for me and perhaps others, how gay marriage poses a threat to religious freedom?

Richard

Anonymous said...

And On Monday he rested....

Anonymous said...

And on Tuesday he rested...

Martin Cothran said...

Richard,

I don't remember you fussing at Thomas, but I'll take your word for it. But for anonymity? Really?

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows he's my son. That's his name: Thomas.

Now in my family what we do is give the children the father's last name. I realize that may be considered scandalous now in the rarefied world of Higher Silliness, but that's how we do it.

In any case, it's not a particularly sophisticated inference to the conclusion that it his full name is Thomas Cothran.

Am I missing something here?

Martin Cothran said...

Richard,

So far as I know, I haven't spent a split second defending the tongue-in-cheek point I made in regard to the anonymous person who is criticizing me on your blog but doesn't have the integrity to say what his (that's the old-fashioned, generic "his") name is.

I haven't even seen his response until a few minutes ago because I have been out of town. So now I am sitting here spending time defending myself against you who say I have been defending a point which I haven't yet even tried to defend because you are spending time accusing me of defending it.

So why did you spend time doing that?

Maybe we both have too much time on our hands.

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

I see, after having been out of pocket for a few days, that it is Wednesday and you are still hiding your identity.

Very bad form, publicly criticizing another person without having the integrity to say who you are. But don't worry, you're safe here. It's apparently okay with Richard.

But at the risk of being criticized myself by Richard for spending time responding to you (and doing it in full disclosure of my identity), let me say that I was very curious what your response would be to my remark. In fact, it was written to see what your response would be.

I put the bait out and you bit.

As I anticipated, you seem to be of the view that any distinctions between men and women (I actually complemented women in the post) are somehow inappropriate. Are you one of those people pushing for unisex bathrooms in schools?

And are you really shocked that someone from a "conservative think tank" would make distinctions between men and women? Have you bothered to read anything published by "conservative think tanks"? Ever noticed how they make distinctions between men and women?

In fact, have you ever noticed how just about everybody makes distinctions between men and women (even college graduates)?

I think you need to get out more.

Richard Day said...

Martin,

No, I was...

I did not know Thomas was your son....being an occasional reader.

Richard

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Cothran,

I do hope you will explain your position on gay marriage and the threat it poses to religious freedom.

I think many of us would find it enlightening.

Martin Cothran said...

Richard,

No problem.

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

What does that have to do with the science standards?

Thomas said...

Richard,

I don't remember you "fussing" at me for remaining anonymous. It would have been odd if you had: the front page of Vital Remnants lists me as a contributor, gives my full name, and links to a video of an appearance on television and information about where I work.

Anonymous said...

I am still amazed that Cothran is so opposed to the science standards.

Cothran is affiliated with private schools and his objections appear to be based on his "interepretation" of Scripture. That he is a taxpayer and has a right to question is not disputed, but he offers absolutely no compelling evidence that standards are incorrect or flawed or that the recent adavances in gay rights poses a threat to our democracy.

I'm a teacher in the public schools, Richard, and will not write my name for fear of being attacked by his minions. As an atheist in a very Christian state, I am frankly very frightened by the activities of Martin Cothran, but his audience seems lack the political power to create a theocracy.

Martin Cothran said...

Attacked by my "minions"? Are you serious? Do you really think that is a convincing excuse for not identifying yourself while publicly criticizing another person?

Also, on what basis do you say that my objections "appear to be based on [my] 'interpretation' of Scripture."?

Anonymous said...

I will publicly criticize you when I retire, Mr. Cothran. Many of us in the school district are afraid to voice our opinions as educators. I have ten years to go....

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

I thought you were scared of being attacked by my minions? Now you're saying you're scared of being attacked by the school district's minions?

There are an awful lot of minions out there, aren't there?

And what about all those scriptural arguments I was making? I'm still wondering when I did that.

Anonymous said...

"Although much of the debate has been over controversial issues such as whether the standards place too much emphasis on evolution and global warming, there is a more basic problem.

One of the primary goals of science education is the knowledge and understanding of nature. So one would expect to see, in national science standards, some focus on the things nature is actually made up of. Unfortunately, these new national standards almost entirely ignore the very things of which nature consists.

The Next Generation Science Standards attempt to teach science without nature.

While the standards mention the terms “climate,” “weather” and “global warming” more than 130 times — and “evolution” 24 times — the terms “mammal,” “bird,” “reptile” and “amphibian” are completely absent."


Richard,
Can it be clearer in the context of what Cothran said in his article that the issue is NOT one of global warming or climate change. Rather it is one of fundamental absence of anything substantive at all? From what I read of the article, I see no opposition to evolution or climate change, but an opposition to ignoring the basics like plants, trees, and animals. Just a thought.

Richard Day said...

October 7, 2013 at 1:32 PM: Well, first, Martin will go with whatever argument gets him some movement. If he thought he could get traction with other arguments he would pose them.

Second, sure, it could be a lot clearer, but then, I am not limiting myself to the context of this one specific piece. There is no fundamental absence of substance.

I suspect (but do not know) that the Family Foundation's recent interest in climate change issues is related to donations from pro-coal interests in the state.

A better example...He complained about the introduction of religion into the NGSS discussion while encouraging others to do just that. If Martin had not roused up church folks to go testify, he would not be suspected of being disingenuous. That act was specifically anti-evolution. But above, he accurately states that he made no scriptural arguments. He sent flyers to others in hopes they would do that.

One would not necessarily know that from reading any single article.

Finally, SB 1 required a slimmed down curriculum, so I expected a lot of specific things to be left out. I assume teachers will routinely bring into the study of the various scientific processes specific examples from their own locations. But I'm not the best person to speak to the specifics of how this will be done.

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

I'm not sure quite what Richard means when he says that I will "go with whatever argument gets [me] movement." Is he saying that I try to use the best arguments for my position? If so, I'm fail to understand what the problem with that is. Is he implying that I use arguments that I don't believe in myself? If so, he's questioning my motives.

When you start questioning people's motives, it usually means you don't have much in the way of arguments. You owe it to your opponent in an argument to refute his best arguments, not his worst motives.

The problem with Richard and some of his readers is that they can't seem to answer the main argument I presented, which is that the standards are weak on content knowledge (which they are). Instead, they launch off into speculation about my being a closet creationist (which I'm not) and go off into spinning conspiracy theories about me wanting to foist my religion on everyone.

Richard and his followers don't have a shred of evidence for this, so they have to manufacture things.

For example: that The Family Foundation of Kentucky's "new interest" in the climate change issue (the only comment in regard to which I can even remember being the two or three paragraphs in that one op ed) is due to "donations from pro-coal interests."

This is absolutely false. In fact, it's pretty close to a smear. But that was conspiracy theorists do: they charge their opponents with things that they don't have a shred of proof for that make them feel comfortable in their own ignorance. Charges like this are not only reckless, they are ethically questionable and they don't belong in a civilized exchange of beliefs.

And besides, how does this charge square with my publicly-stated opposition to mountain-top removal?

One thing you can say for Richard, he can pack a lot of falsehoods into one pretty brief comment. He claims that I "roused up church folks to go testify." I presume he means at the recent Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee meeting in which the science standards were rejected.

In fact, although The Family Foundation urged people to call legislators (because of the content issue), no one in that organization, including myself, ever asked anyone to go to the meeting to testify. In fact, when the chairman asked for the seventeen people who had signed up to testify against the regulation to decide among themselves which one would speak for them, Richard Innes of the Bluegrass Institute and I went to the table and told the chairman that we had no idea who the other 15 people even were, so it was hard for us to "decide." It was then he allowed both of us to speak briefly--in a smaller space of time than the advocates got to give their case.

But even if it were true we were "rousing up church folks" to testify at the meeting, how would that act be "specifically anti-evolution"?

I think the real answer is for Richard and his friends to get out more. Maybe actually acquainting himself with religious people would help him realize that they don't go around thinking anti-evolution thoughts all day. It also might diminish the necessity of him having to lay awake nights worrying that someone, somewhere might be thinking creationist thoughts if he realized that not all people who take their religion seriously are creationists.

But the best thing to do is to stop trying to discern people's private thoughts just because they can't answer their public arguments.

Richard Day said...

I suggested that you choose arguments that produce the most movement on an issue, and you take offense? Somebody’s grumpy today.

I commented directly on the main issue regarding science standards – saying that the method you used to make your determinations is OK, but too half-assed to draw conclusions from. KDE reviewers thought so too when they did a more thorough review of the standards.

However, you get full marks for the mountain-top removal comment. My suspicion is decimated, but it’s hardly a smear - unless you find coal producers in Kentucky to be so onerous that mere association with coal defames a person somehow. Still, I stand corrected.

Let me defend myself against your false assertion that I packed “a lot of falsehoods” into my comment that you "roused up church folks."
Here’s what your church bulletin insert said (a copy here: http://theprincipal.blogspot.com/2013/07/mystery-science-theater-2013.html)

“Important Notice from the Family Foundation of Kentucky. Do you want your children and grandchildren to be taught more evolution in the public schools?
We know that evolution is in conflict with many faith based communities…
Mak[e] your position known BEFORE the new standards are implemented…
If you do nothing, evolution instruction will increase…
Go online…
Fill out the petition…
Take extra sheets and tell others…”


If I wanted to rouse up folks, you have provided a pretty good model for doing it.

Now, Martin, the problem with you is that you can't seem to defend your own arguments. Specifically, how is gay marriage a threat to religious freedom?

You brought it up. I didn’t.

You wrote (above at August 10, 2013 at 11:11 PM): “In terms of gay marriage, there are a lot of objections to it, religious and otherwise. Many of them are simply sociological. There's also the threat it poses to religious freedom, a concern which is not itself religious.”

I said I didn’t understand your position and asked you to defend the assertion. You went silent…for two months now.

Still waiting…..

Perhaps the best thing for you to do is to stop trying to discern my private thoughts just because you can’t defend your own public argument.