Monday, October 24, 2005


Big Brother

George Neumayr of the American Spectator has a good column about the Dover trial, says Johnathan Witt on the Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog:
"The ACLU has gone from defending teachers to prosecuting them," Witt quotes Neumayr as writing. "In a federal courtroom this week, the ACLU argued that science teachers in the school district of Dover, Pennsylvania, are not free under the Constitution to question evolutionary theory."

Oh, really?

Just last Friday, Dover Superintendent of Schools Dr. Richard Nilsen's told the U.S. District Court in Harrisburg he was surprised when teachers asked that their names be removed as authors of the biology curriculum. Nilsen testified that he was "confused," since "the teachers had written 99 percent of it;" the only difference was the addition of intelligent design.

On October 6, Jennifer Miller, head of Dover's high school biology department told the court she had expressed her concerns to school board members and school faculty many times about the probable negative effects of including intelligent design in the curriculum.

That same day, Bertha Spahr, a chemistry teacher who has taught in the Dover School District for her entire 41-year career read a letter saying that "the draft of a letter from the school board, written without the science department's input, was unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional; that ID is about the origin of life, so by mentioning it the teachers would be violating school policy; and that Ms. Spahr believed that ID is creationism under another name," according to a report by Cheryl Humes, a legal intern for ACLU of Pennsylvania, published on the ACLU of Pennsylvania blog, Speaking Freely.

In fact, it was the refusal of the entire science faculty to read the board's intelligent design statement that compelled administrators to do the board's dirty work.

What we have in Mr. Witt's endorsement of the "good column" by George Neumayr in the American Spectator is deeply disturbing, and more insidious than the usual false statement that the ACLU has gone to court to prevent teachers from questioning evolutionary theory.

What's implied by Witt and Neumayr is more disturbing even than the curbing of free speech, if it were true.

By endorsing Neumayr's big, clumsy lie, Witt takes a dangerous step closer to the abyss of authoritarianism. He stands dangerously close to the edge now. Just one short step away from compelling teachers to make public statements that they don't believe. Ordering them to teach students what they know is a lie. Will Big Brother Witt know it and pull back before he crosses the line to denying teachers their own conscience? Their own thoughts?


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