Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here is My Letter to the Los Angeles Times About Their Misreporting on That New Tennessee Law

People need to earn money but not at the expense of one’s profession. Each profession has its own methods and practices that must be followed. In the newspaper business it is understood that reporting must be accurate. And when mistakes occur, then corrections are made. No serious newspaper allows inaccurate or biased reporting to go uncorrected. It just doesn’t happen. Therefore the Los Angeles Times needs to issue a correction to its erroneous reporting on Tennessee’s new Academic Freedom measure. Here is my letter to the Times apprising them of this situation:


April 12, 2012

David Zucchino
Los Angeles Times

Dear Mr. Zucchino:

In your article entitle "Creationism discussions are now OK in Tennessee schools" from April 11, 2012, you wrote:

"The measure will allow classroom debates over evolution, permitting discussions of creationism alongside evolutionary teachings about the origins of life. … The state’s teachers are not allowed to raise alternatives to evolution but, under the new law, would be required to permit discussion of creationism and other beliefs if they are raised in class."

This is unfortunately a severe mischaracterization of the new law. In fact, the law is careful to rule out just this sort of thing. The law says nothing about permitting discussions of creationism or any other religious theory, or for that matter anything not within the existing curriculum. You can see the actual Amendment here:

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Amend/SA0901.pdf

The language is quite clear. It repeatedly states that the new law does not introduce new material into the existing curriculum, and is instead restricted to "scientific subjects required to be taught under the curriculum framework developed by the state board of education."

Furthermore, it goes even farther in avoiding any confusion with creationism as it states: "This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine."

In addition to your erroneous description of the law, your article was also heavily slanted toward the opposition, even including Barry Lynn, a well known partisan on this issue. Unfortunately all of this simply feeds an on-going cultural myth that really needs clarification rather than reinforcement.

Will you be issuing a correction to the story?

Sincerely yours,

Cornelius Hunter

16 comments:

  1. Hunter, you are casting your pearls to swines. Filthy, gutless swines. LOL.

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  2. Cornelius Hunter

    People need to earn money but not at the expense of one’s profession. Each profession has its own methods and practices that must be followed.


    That's pretty rich coming from a guy with an advanced science degree who earns money by posting the most ridiculous anti-science garbage every week.

    I learned long ago to turn off my Irony meter before ever reading any Creationist claptrap.

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    1. Your opinion is worth diddly squat, bonobo face. Go find yourself a clue and a backbone and stop kissing Dawkins' posterior.

      But then again, maybe you should continue doing exactly what you've been doing.

      ahahaha... AHAHAHA... ahahaha...

      Delete
    2. Yet, you come back again and again... like a moth to a flame.

      ahahaha... AHAHAHA... ahahaha...

      Delete
    3. I get on your nerves, don't I, Paul?

      ahahaha... AHAHAHA... ahahaha...

      Delete
  3. As a yEC the gain here is indeed to lead the impression of aggressive creationism moving its way into public schools.
    Thats the agenda anyways.
    Surely there is a spirit in this law that pumps up criticism of evolutionism etc.
    Creationism is not religious but about conclusions of nature. Some religious association does not change its nature.

    The media indeed is presenting this as a attack from creationism as this is their usual practice. They are dishonest more then they are dumb.
    Yet this YEC welcomes this error impression.
    The more talk the more sooner the present censorship will be destroyed.
    anyways its great to see the bad guys lose one.

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    1. Robert ByersApr 12, 2012 03:01 PM

      As a yEC the gain here is indeed to lead the impression of aggressive creationism moving its way into public schools.
      Thats the agenda anyways.
      Surely there is a spirit in this law that pumps up criticism of evolutionism etc.
      Creationism is not religious but about conclusions of nature. Some religious association does not change its nature.

      The media indeed is presenting this as a attack from creationism as this is their usual practice. They are dishonest more then they are dumb.
      Yet this YEC welcomes this error impression.
      The more talk the more sooner the present censorship will be destroyed.
      anyways its great to see the bad guys lose one.


      Translation: Robert Byers, a YEC, knows that the TN law actually *is* about promoting creationism, and therefore he's all for it.

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  4. Isn't this all a touch disingenuous?

    If there is no change to the curriculum and how it is taught in the schools then what grievance or failing does this law seek to redress?

    If this law prescribes no change to the current science curriculum or the way it is taught, the inference must be that they are both considered to be satisfactory. That being the case, the only threats against which they might need any protection must come from outside science, from those with ulterior religious and/or political motives, from those who want to bend science to conform to their political ideology or religious beliefs.

    So, in effect, the argument is that this measure is designed to protect the teaching of good science, as defined in the science curriculum, from any attempt to intrude religion or politics into the classroom?

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  5. Mr Spedding.
    the reason the law is here because they were censoring criticisms of this or that in science class.
    Creationism, Global warming ism criticisms of received truth were being oppressed.
    This law puts into words the old idea of freedom to seek out and teach the truth.
    A very big change and the bad guys fought this as they knew its a danger and will breed more danger to their dominant religion.

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  6. While it's true that people need to earn money and often times hype a story to fit one's needs, however this is about indoctrination of evolution as a cult not as a science.

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  7. <Robert Byers Apr 13, 2012 05:56 PM

    Mr Spedding.
    the reason the law is here because they were censoring criticisms of this or that in science class.


    A national survey of High school biology teachers in 2011 found that only about 28% taught about the theory of evolution as recommended by the National Research Council.

    In contrast, Berkman and Plutzer found that about 13 percent of biology teachers "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light." Many of these teachers typically rejected the possibility that scientific methods can shed light on the origin of the species, and considered both evolution and creationism as belief systems that cannot be fully proven or discredited.

    A full 60% of the teachers tried to avoid controversy by suggesting that it wasn't necessary to 'believe' in evolution, they just had to know enough about it to pass an exam. While it is understandable that the teachers want to avoid confrontations with parents and students, especially when they know they can't expect any support from the school administrators and local education authorities, this approach is a serious problem in itself:

    Berkman and Plutzer conclude that "the cautious 60 percent fail to explain the nature of scientific inquiry, undermine the authority of established experts, and legitimize creationist arguments." As a result, "they may play a far more important role in hindering scientific literacy in the United States than the smaller number of explicit creationists."

    The conclusion is inescapable. Far from criticisms being suppressed, it is legitimate science that is being gutted of anything tha might offend the sensibilities of the overwhelming majority of believers. In terms of intimidating teachers into not mentioning anything that is religiously offensive, it is the evangelicals who are to Christianity what the Taliban are to Islam.

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    1. 'it is legitimate science that is being gutted'

      Please tell us your precise definition of 'legitimate science'.

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    2. Ian:

      A national survey of High school biology teachers in 2011 found that only about 28% taught about the theory of evolution as recommended by the National Research Council.

      In contrast, Berkman and Plutzer found that about 13 percent of biology teachers "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light." Many of these teachers typically rejected the possibility that scientific methods can shed light on the origin of the species, and considered both evolution and creationism as belief systems that cannot be fully proven or discredited.

      A full 60% of the teachers tried to avoid controversy by suggesting that it wasn't necessary to 'believe' in evolution, they just had to know enough about it to pass an exam. While it is understandable that the teachers want to avoid confrontations with parents and students, especially when they know they can't expect any support from the school administrators and local education authorities, this approach is a serious problem in itself:

      Berkman and Plutzer conclude that "the cautious 60 percent fail to explain the nature of scientific inquiry, undermine the authority of established experts, and legitimize creationist arguments." As a result, "they may play a far more important role in hindering scientific literacy in the United States than the smaller number of explicit creationists."

      The conclusion is inescapable. Far from criticisms being suppressed, it is legitimate science that is being gutted of anything tha might offend the sensibilities of the overwhelming majority of believers. In terms of intimidating teachers into not mentioning anything that is religiously offensive, it is the evangelicals who are to Christianity what the Taliban are to Islam.


      Perfect. Great example to go along with the more prevalent evolutionary dogma. Either way you go, you're "gutting science."

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  8. CH,

    "In the newspaper business it is understood that reporting must be accurate. And when mistakes occur, then corrections are made. No serious newspaper allows inaccurate or biased reporting to go uncorrected. It just doesn’t happen."

    This is hilarious. Do you really believe this, because it is the exact opposite of reality? I am sure this reporter and his editor knew exactly what was written. Let us know if your letter is printed. In my experience censorship is usually the way these people deal with the truth they don't like.

    What you don't understand is that the press is the primary force in the acceptance of evolution, such as it is. The vast majority of the press elite have a secular world view and use evolution as a very effective propaganda tool. It is not the wacky professors who have maybe thirty students a class to brainwash, but th press leaders who can brainwash millions of readers. Perhaps you watch the new Doctor Who series. There was an insightful comment in one of their shows where the doctor says something to the effect: 'he who has control of the flow of information in a democracy has absolute control." The press elite have this control and have no compunction against using it even though they are extrememly incompetent in running our society.

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  9. Mr Spedding.
    In these hugh numbers still evolutionism is taught as true and creationism is banned.
    To say Darwin and his ideas are not taught in science class is surely not so.
    during a high school season most kids will hear about Darwin.
    They won't hear in equal time whatsoever about criticisms of evolution.
    anyways the point is that these issues of origins should be taught and both sides taught so kids can draw their own conclusions and even more interest in these subjects might get more kids involved for professions.
    Freedom and truth is always to the benefit of a civilization.

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