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 A layman's look at the OK bill to destroy schools
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2008 :  22:59:56  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's called Oklahoma's "Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act." Actually, as I see it, it would effectively destroy public education in Oklahoma.

You can fetch the bill (in .RTF format) here.

We've talked about this before, but I wanted to dissect the bill itself in a little detail.

I hope someone here with legal or legislative experience will look at this bill and comment. Also, other layman's opinions are welcome. These kinds of things are difficult for a common person to figure out, and I believe that in this case this bill, oddly identical to one that's already passed in Texas, and to others being introduced across the US, is intended to be difficult to figure out. (It smells as though someone like the Discovery Institute's attorneys wrote this thing. If someone knows for sure, please comment.)

Here's my quick, layman's analysis.

At the end of Page 14, the bill declares a state of emergency to exist:
It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.
This seems to be simply a legal fiction used to put the bill, if passed as law, into force at once.

Most of the 14-page bill simply outlines rules that would probably change nothing, dealing with how students may hold voluntary, "meet at the flagpole" religious meetings, and may introduce religious themes in speeches. Many pages are given over to such established religious freedoms that were affirmed by courts long ago (often with the help of the ACLU).

Then there is this, on Page 4:
Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Homework and classroom assignments shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school district. Students shall not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of their work.
Now, that doesn't look so bad, at first glance. After all, there is that "Homework and classroom assignments shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance..." phrase, which makes it sound as though nothing is really changing.

But the sentence continues with this phrase: "... and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school district." "Other legitimate pedagogical concerns"? Other than "substance" and "relevance"? "As identified by the school district"? So these "other concerns" could be anything the local yokel school district politicians dream up. Could they be, I don't know, Biblical, even specifically Christian, in nature? And these concerns could have equality with substance and relevance?

The other part of the bill where the same kind of language is used is on Pages 12 and 13:
Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of the submission by the student. Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school. Students shall not be penalized or rewarded on account of religious content. If the assignment given by a teacher involves writing a poem, the work of a student who submits a poem in the form of a prayer (for example, a psalm) should be judged on the basis of academic standards, including literary quality, and not penalized or rewarded on account of its religious content.
This is much the same as Page 4.

My conclusion is that a student writing a biology paper on evolution could submit an exposition of the book of Genesis, and say nothing at all about evolution. A teacher cannot deduct "points" for such purely religious content. Also, [i]if the school district has a policy that says such Biblical "research" falls under the aegis of their "other legitimate pedagogical concerns," then the biology teacher must give "points" for the work based upon its "quality" as a scholarly religious apology.

Likewise, an English assignment about Shakespeare's Macbeth could receive a passing or better grade, even if the whole paper only deals with Exodus -- so long as it meets the school district's "other legitimate pedagogical concerns" test.

I'm admittedly way over my head with subjects like this. Any other opinions? Bueller?


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.

Edited by - HalfMooner on 03/18/2008 23:17:12

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  00:27:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The thing is already a law in TX.

Have to see how it plays out in court. A law that forces teachers to give credit for "god did it", bundled up with language that makes it seem like the law is protecting religion from discrimination...

All I can say is this: Any state that votes in a law like this fucking deserves it. Let that shit stay on the books and see the effects.

Some info on the TX version.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
Edited by - Dude on 03/19/2008 00:30:01
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the_ignored
SFN Addict

2558 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  00:46:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send the_ignored a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I remember that ERV and PZ Myers both criticized that.

At least ERV brought an alterntive theory.

Think that would be allowed under the bill?



>From: enuffenuff@fastmail.fm
(excerpt follows):
> I'm looking to teach these two bastards a lesson they'll never forget.
> Personal visit by mates of mine. No violence, just a wee little chat.
>
> **** has also committed more crimes than you can count with his
> incitement of hatred against a religion. That law came in about 2007
> much to ****'s ignorance. That is fact and his writing will become well
> know as well as him becoming a publicly known icon of hatred.
>
> Good luck with that fuckwit. And Reynold, fucking run, and don't stop.
> Disappear would be best as it was you who dared to attack me on my
> illness knowing nothing of the cause. You disgust me and you are top of
> the list boy. Again, no violence. Just regular reminders of who's there
> and visits to see you are behaving. Nothing scary in reality. But I'd
> still disappear if I was you.

What brought that on? this. Original posting here.

Another example of this guy's lunacy here.
Edited by - the_ignored on 03/19/2008 17:01:44
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  04:02:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Tripe such as this is exactly why religion must be kept separate from secular education as well as governance, as anyone who has read any history of the topic should know. Historically, religions have always sought, and usually achieved, power. They do it simply by suppressing the intellect, substituting myth & legend for logic & reality, and it's own version of morality however warped that might be, and this is but yet another try at it.

It's funny, in a way; they expound mightily about 'religious freedom' but would gladly exchange those freedoms for intellectual slavery as long as everyone else was a slave as well. Or dead, either way would be satisfactory.

"As ye sow, so shall ye reap." Truer words were never spoken.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  07:21:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If a student writes a paper on evolution and includes language that 'evolution is just a theory' and/or footnotes stating they don't believe in evolution because it conflicts with their favorite myths, but the student actually does the paper as assigned, should they be punished? I'm guessing on the surface this is what the local authorities are trying to achieve, to take away a teacher's ability to mark off points for completely irrelevant opinion in a research paper. They probably believe they are eliminating persecution based on religous preference. However, what will likely happen is the whole turn in a summary of genesis instead of the paper on evolution and teacher being persecuted for failing the student. This will go to court, the law will be overturned, and so on. I hope. But the 'chilling effect' on the teachers will create plenty of harm along the way.

-Chaloobi

Edited by - chaloobi on 03/19/2008 07:22:36
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  09:02:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Half wrote:
My conclusion is that a student writing a biology paper on evolution could submit an exposition of the book of Genesis, and say nothing at all about evolution. A teacher cannot deduct "points" for such purely religious content.
How do you come to that conclusion? I don't get credit for writing a biology paper if I turn in a blank sheet of paper. If a student wrote an exposition of the book of Genesis and said nothing about evolution in a paper assigned to be about an biological evolutionary topic, that student could be failed without any religious discrimination. The teacher must simply point out that the student didn't do the assignment. The law says:
Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.
If some of the "legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school" are supporting Creationism over evolution, the problem is then with the school's pedagogy, not with this particular law, and the teachers are already chilled.

It sounds like the law would protect even atheists from expressing themselves:
Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions.
So if a student did a painting mocking the divinity of Jesus Christ, that would be protected; he or she would be expressing their beliefs about religion. `

I tend to think that the schools that are truly ruined by church-state comingling are the ones in small, homogenous communities who just ignore the laws and socially pressure anyone different into silence.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 03/19/2008 09:02:43
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  09:07:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The more I read about this and the Texas bill, the more it looks to me like they made a bill that had reasonably secular wording but then count on it to be followed in a way which clearly violates church-state separation. Ah, law; it ain't science!

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  14:54:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dude wrote:
Any state that votes in a law like this fucking deserves it. Let that shit stay on the books and see the effects.
I'm inclined to let them stew in their own juices, too, but who are "them"? Do the kids deserve this? And does our society's future?

Marf opined:
How do you come to that conclusion? I don't get credit for writing a biology paper if I turn in a blank sheet of paper. If a student wrote an exposition of the book of Genesis and said nothing about evolution in a paper assigned to be about an biological evolutionary topic, that student could be failed without any religious discrimination. The teacher must simply point out that the student didn't do the assignment.
Maybe, an honest and fair school district could still give a good secular education under the law. By ignoring it.

But, with a wink and a nod, that "other legitimate pedagogical concerns" part invites school districts to require credit for irrelevant religious expression, while already disallowing any "discredit" for the same. The law basically says, "Here's your loophole: Run with it!" Many school districts will do exactly that, I think, and will end up wasting millions in court.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  15:02:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
half said:
but who are "them"? Do the kids deserve this? And does our society's future?

Yep. The consequences will be well deserved if the people of those states let a law like this one stand. Might their children be damaged? They already would be irrevocably stupidified because their parents stupidity.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2008 :  19:41:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

Half wrote:
My conclusion is that a student writing a biology paper on evolution could submit an exposition of the book of Genesis, and say nothing at all about evolution. A teacher cannot deduct "points" for such purely religious content.
How do you come to that conclusion? I don't get credit for writing a biology paper if I turn in a blank sheet of paper. If a student wrote an exposition of the book of Genesis and said nothing about evolution in a paper assigned to be about an biological evolutionary topic, that student could be failed without any religious discrimination. The teacher must simply point out that the student didn't do the assignment. The law says:
Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.
If some of the "legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school" are supporting Creationism over evolution, the problem is then with the school's pedagogy, not with this particular law, and the teachers are already chilled.

It sounds like the law would protect even atheists from expressing themselves:
Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions.
So if a student did a painting mocking the divinity of Jesus Christ, that would be protected; he or she would be expressing their beliefs about religion. `

I tend to think that the schools that are truly ruined by church-state comingling are the ones in small, homogenous communities who just ignore the laws and socially pressure anyone different into silence.


And it'll just take one "Piss Christ" to set them off again.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2008 :  02:47:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote


And it'll just take one "Piss Christ" to set them off again.

Oh yeah, that would do it! So might a book report or an essay on anything by Dawkins.

I note that it reads, "religion" rather than "Christianity." So what if, say, a group of Muslim students held a prayer meeting at the flagpole to fire one off at Mecca -- I don't know many Muslims OK has, but what if? Or perhaps, heh, an impromptu Santeria ceremony with a sacrificial bucket of Kentucky Fried?

The Law of Unintended Consequences predicts that this could open up a whole, new dimension in educational serendipity.

I have always thought that there is a rather haunting beauty to Piss Christ. Others don't seem to see it....






"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2008 :  02:59:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by filthy
I have always thought that there is a rather haunting beauty to Piss Christ.
I agree. I think it has to do with how The Light refracts through the foggy liquid, which has just the right level of transparency. It truly is a work of art.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2008 :  10:27:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
filthy wrote:
I have always thought that there is a rather haunting beauty to Piss Christ. Others don't seem to see it....
That is exactly how it is seen by the art world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ
Sister Wendy Beckett, an art critic and Catholic nun, voiced her approval of Piss Christ. She explained in a television interview with Bill Moyers that she regarded the work as a statement on "what we have done to Christ" - that is, the way contemporary society has come to regard Christ and the values he represents.


The artist himself (Andres Serrano) says he intended to make a beautiful image with complex meaning. Lots of people don't buy this, but artists tend to be rather out-of-the-mainstream, introspective people, so we don't always have a good gauge for knowing what is going to shock people and cause a tons of controversy. I gotta admit that I've used erect penises and obscenities in my work before, but often end up censoring myself because I'm afraid that the nuances of what I'm getting at don't have a chance of coming across to a broader audience. From an interview with Serrano http://www.photoinsider.com/pages/serrano/seranno.html
“The one thing that controversy has done for me is that it has made me feel empowered in the sense that I had done work that had not intended to be provocative, but having gone through what I went through, I was able to come out of it alive and continue to do my work. I have always felt the need to look inward for what I need to do as an artist and to put everything else in the background.”


There are many shades of subtle and contradictory meaning contained within "Piss Christ", which is appreciated by people who have a more deep and sophisticated interest in fine art. But for most it is viewed as merely a sensational and blasphemous work of art made by a hateful artist. Maybe this is all the more reason why public schools should have laws like this - if they are truly carried out in a secular manner!, which protect students' rights to express their thoughts and opinions on controversial topics, so long as it is relevant to the assignment. This would apply much more so with art, philosophy, and poetry than in a biology class.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2008 :  12:39:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
marf said:
Maybe this is all the more reason why public schools should have laws like this

You are truly deranged. This law is obviously meant to place religion squarely into public school classrooms.

You are smoking way to much pot if you think it will ever be used for any other purpose.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2008 :  14:20:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some further thoughts I've had, somewhat contradicting my previous statements:

I now believe biology teachers would not be allowed to "discriminate" between 1) a paper by a student who simply cites Genesis and 2) a paper by a student who cites scientific sources.

Giving greater credit for using scientific sources would be "discrimination" under this law. Genesis is indeed "relevant" to any scientific discussion of the origins of life and humanity, because it makes claims that directly contradict scientific knowledge. Such a Bible-based paper can't be tossed out due to irrelevancy. It would be wrong, but not irrelevant. And it can't even be condemned as wrong, because that would be "religious discrimination."

So, IMO, any (technically) well-written paper about evolution that is based solely upon the Bible would have to be graded well. There really is no need for some special theocratic policy of the school board. The bill destroys education all by itself.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 03/20/2008 14:26:26
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2008 :  14:33:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

Maybe this is all the more reason why public schools should have laws like this - if they are truly carried out in a secular manner!, which protect students' rights to express their thoughts and opinions on controversial topics, so long as it is relevant to the assignment. This would apply much more so with art, philosophy, and poetry than in a biology class.
That's what the First Amendment is for. Right now, any teacher that rewards or penalizes a poem (for example) based on its religious content or lack thereof is violating someone's civil rights. Adding another law that says the same thing should be discouraged as a redundant waste.

Probably the worst part of OK HB 2211 is that it specifies no penalties for violators of the rights it delineates. Had it done so, it might be seen as simply providing another route (besides a lawsuit) for action on the violation of one's First Amendment rights. But no, it's just a narrowly focused copy.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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