Sunday, June 13, 2010

When do Rationalizations become a lie?

Like many in Ohio I have been following the Freshwater case in Mount Vernon. Some background -- a couple of years ago an 8th grade biology teacher, John Freshwater, was suspended for allegedly doing a number of things. Basically he used a Telsa coil to brand students with a cross, taught his narrow christian religion as science, and lied about it -- among other things. You can read so much more about it over on Panda's Thumb -- it's well covered as only someone as dedicated

I was reading about some of the testimony at this particular post and something really caught my eye.

"Hamilton is still working hard to make the case that Freshwater used creationist materials only to show that it’s bad science. As I noted some time ago, sooner or later his constituency will catch on and either abandon him or rationalize it as a necessary lie. My bet is on the latter."
How many times has this happened, how openly Christians who take a stand that they know is against the law and are perfectly willing to lie about it! Remember the Dover PA trial? Before the trial things were said -- and documented in print and video -- and during the trial they LIED about it! Read the transcripts and Judge Jones' comments yourself. It's not very subtle. They have to know that they missed a perjury charge for some unfathomable reason. Freshwater seems to be heading in the same direction. He lied to investigators and appears to have lied about everything during his testimony. It's a disgrace!

The worst part of too often Christians will accept his lies as a necessary evil in order to push their religious view point. Why? What makes it OK to lie on one hand and then claim it's a sin on the other? Freshwater has lost any credibility with non-fundamentalist Christians because of his lies, he should also not have any with his normal supporters -- but they won't abandon him. They'll put up with it and 'forgive him'. It's pretty sad! This isn't a goof, a slip of the tongue. These are deliberate lies -- and even lies after putting hands on a Bible and agreeing to testify with the truth.

I do not agree with Freshwater, but I would have a great deal more respect for him if he stood up for his beliefs, admitted his transgressions, and accepted his punishment. But he won't! His beliefs aren't nearly as strong as they are purported. They are strong enough to compromise his teaching, but not strong enough to accept responsibility!

He sure did lose some other Christians, for example Marcia Osborne said, in her testimony,
"She said he replied that he would have to check his Bible because he wasn’t sure Catholics were Christians. She said she made a “loser” sign at him (the finger-spelling form for “L” moved briskly out from one’s forehead). "
In my opinion, to be brief -- which is unusual for me -- but it's an early day tomorrow for me. But in my humble opinion anyone who deliberately lies for their religion have already lost. You cannot lie and expect any sympathy from me! You have already lost Pascal's Wager as well. If there is a God they will get to pay for their lies in a way that they can only imagine. And if there isn't a God -- they wasted their entire life! What a way to spend the rest of your life! A loser for sure!


  1. IMO we can better proceed by having the activist Creationists, and their sympathizers, openly express their religious concerns. After all, from their perspective, teaching evolution is often equivalent to teaching atheism. While that equivalence is false, we should address the concern: alleged government sponsorship of atheism, within the larger context of government sponsorship of religion in general within the public school system.

    Too often, Creationists think that their concerns have some scientific basis. In practice, we rapidly learn that such Creationists really aren't that interested in science; they just think they are. Just try having a substantive discussion with a Creationist on any research paper within the scientific literature; you won't get such discussion, because IMO they're just not interested. The only "interest" in science within this context stems from the alleged scientific problems with evolution, which simply don't exist as Creationists claim they do.

    All of this takes time. Often, you'll find that the Creationist won't bother to self-examine here. And from there, the Creationists' lies are easily explained: no self-examination means no possibility that one might be wrong, either intellectually or morally, or (often) both.

  2. I've also been following this sorry affair. If Freshwater weren't so self righteous I'd almost feel sorry for him. Of course, he had numerous opportunities to do the right thing. Looks to me like his lawyer is taking him for a ride.