Having lost at every level so far, creationist former science teacher John Freshwater has now filed a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, which they will almost certainly deny. Richard Hoppe reports that the writ contains some serious inconsistencies with his previous claims in earlier phases of the case. The writ contains two questions they want the court to consider:
1. Whether firing a public school teacher for checking out and possessing school library books as a form of passive protest violates the First Amendment. 2. Whether firing a public school teacher for teaching the scientific strengths and weaknesses of biological evolution violates the First Amendment.
I find it fascinating how they’ve been pretending that it was all about having a Bible on his desk, completely ignoring all of the other reasons why he was fired. Like, ya know, burning a fucking cross in a kid’s arm with a Tesla coil and admitting to having done the same thing to many other kids over the years. And having posters up in his room with Bible verses. And showing videos and handing out material from young earth creationists. And holding prayer sessions with students. And so on, and so on.
Here are some of the inconsistencies:
Two things in Freshwater’s application for cert immediately stand out to me. First, Freshwater has previously denied (at least implicitly) that checking out the two books–a version of the Bible and a book titled “Jesus of Nazareth”–was a protest. Testimony in the hearing established that Freshwater checked the two books out of the library after he had been instructed by Principal White to remove religious materials from his classroom. And according to the independent investigator’s report, when asked if the purpose of adding the books to his classroom was to “make a statement,” Freshwater was quoted as replying “Yes.” But he earlier claimed that perhaps he had checked the books out before he received those instructions, and that the due date in them was later because he could have renewed them over the phone. So at best his testimony concerning the two books is equivocal. But now he concedes that it was a protest. See here for his evasive testimony on that topic.
Second, he now claims that he was teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. Over the years he has offered several different stories concerning what he taught. First, in the administrative hearing he testified that he never taught intelligent design or creationism. Then later he testified that he may have used creationist materials, but it was only to illustrate bias and lack of objectivity and how bias can lead to bad science. Finally, in a radio interview with David Barton’s Wallbuilders radio program, he said that he taught “robust evolution,” meaning that
I showed what was the evidence for evolution, I showed evidence that was opposed to evolution. I showed all sides.
RG: And let the kids decide?
JF: Yes. Let the kids decide. I stayed neutral on it, and let the kids make a decision on it.
And there’s some great evidence for, and there’s some great evidence that goes against it. And I think the kids need to see all evidence rather than indoctrinating them only on one side or the other.
And what was the “great evidence that goes against it”? Kent Hovind videos and handouts from sites like allaboutgod.com.
Consider just the last two stories Freshwater told about creationism. First he says that he used creationist materials to illustrate bias and how it can lead to bad science. But then in the Barton interview, he says he taught the evidence against evolution, which was from creationist sources according to several lines of evidence. This is typical: Two mutually inconsistent stories to account for constitutionally forbidden behavior in a public school classroom. Students in his classroom told the independent investigators that Freshwater told them “…how it [evolution] can or can’t be true and got both sides of the story” and “Mr. Freshwater showed us both sides of the issue.” That doesn’t sound like he was illustrating bad science to me. See here for more on his multiple stories.
It’s interesting how they’re equivocating. The young earth creationist nonsense he was teaching with handouts and videos is exactly the material that the Supreme Court said could not be taught in public school science classrooms in 1987, but they’re labeling that material as teaching the “strengths and weaknesses of evolution,” a catchphrase invented to get around that ruling.