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David Paszkiewicz Letter to Editor

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Bryan,

You know, I tried to have a respectful discussion with you, despite seeing almost all of your other discussions degenerate into insults and childishness. To be fair, there have been plenty directed at you as well. I figured if I was respectful, maybe you would be, too. Guess not.

So, let's play one of your favorite little games - 3 strikes!

So you assert. Repeatedly. Perhaps you could quote some of that context to support your assertion? Apparently not. Strike one.

... said the blind umpire.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...ic=2898&st=580#

But here, let me help you. This is a link to the transcript from the Sep. 14 class. Quoted below is the first passage that mentions either God or the Bible (emphasis added).

Who introduced God and the Bible into the discussion? Mr. P. Why? As part of a rant about schools supposedly teaching kids that "smart people don't have faith." There's your context.

What's wrong with introducing God and the Bible into the discussion (role of religion in public life)?

And why did Paszkiewicz invite so much student interaction with his so-called "rant"?

Strike two.

I get a strike because you claim a few comments at the beginning of class constitute the context of the Sept 14 discussion?

That's just ... weird.

It would be disingenuous to try to paint Paszkiewicz's purpose as proselytization when the context so plainly indicates that the facts to which he alludes (supported by an encyclopedic reference, no less) pertain to epistemology in general for purposes of comparison.

First of all, I did not try to paint his purpose as proselytization. In fact, I specifically stated otherwise. Remember that little part where I said I gave him the benefit of the doubt? I know you read it, because you made a point of commenting sarcastically.

Strike three.

I wasn't being sarcastic, and I didn't accuse you of anything (review what I wrote--it could apply to anyone).

And I get a strike? You're hilarious. FTM, I had replied to someone (you?) who wrote: "That's a claim for the truth of his religion, pure and simple." Some are using that as their notion of proselytizing.

Second, his "facts" (to use the term loosely) clearly do not pertain solely to epistemology in general. It's abundantly clear that they pertain just as much, if not more, to his specific claims that the Bible is true.

Strike four.

Could you be specific about where he made "specific claims that the Bible is true"?

You are amply protected from appearing inconsistent by keeping your definition of "religious belief" out of view. If I should venture to charge you with inconsistency, just say that's not what you meant and the matter should be put to rest.  :P

Next you'll be asking me when I stopped beating my wife.

I'm pretty careful about avoiding fallacies.

I'm pretty confident that you can't find an example where I committed the fallacy of the complex question. You're welcome to try. I guess while you're waiting you can suggest via innuendo that I committed a fallacy of the complex question. :ninja:

Two more strikes.

... said the blind umpire.

One for continuing to imply I would be inconsistent without supporting the accusation,

That's an inference of yours, not an implication of mine.

You'd do well to learn the difference.

another for implying I would respond dishonestly to any actual charge. That makes six.

Do you get a strike for ignoring the winking smiley?

Or does the umpire turn a blind eye to those as a matter of policy?

As I said, reasonable people may sometimes disagree on what is or is not a religious belief. If I thought this case were at all equivocal, that would be one thing. But it's not (IMO). Do you disagree?

Of course I disagree.

If you can't even agree that Mr. P was discussing religious beliefs (independent of whether it was OK for him to do so), then you're either dishonest or delusional.

It looked to me as though I was disagreeing with the assertion that the case was not equivocal. Given that you won't define the term, it seems hard for you to argue otherwise.

Strike seven.

What's next - do I have to define "reasonable", "definition", and "term" for you?

I don't see how that would necessarily help divine what you mean when you use the terms together. "Reasonable" might well beg the question if I'm right about the ultimate inconsistency of your position. Does a reasonable person accept a framework that contradicts itself via reduction to absurdity?

If I did try to provide a reasonable definition of a religious belief, you'd just argue over each of the words in that definition as well.

Nonsense. I'd simply recognize that you're trying to continue your dodging ways by employing inept satire.

And you can explain how explicitly defining the key idea in the debate distracts from the subject?

Asked and answered. Some topics are unquestionably religious, unless you choose to define your terms completely at odds with 99+% of English speakers. Other topics are unquestionably not religious. Some topics are arguable.

Should we be satisfied with answers that beg the question?

http://www.drury.edu/ess/Logic/Informal/Be...e_Question.html

If Mr. P was discussing an arguable topic, then the precise definition of "religious" would indeed be key. But he was not. He was discussing God, the Bible, and the supposedly accurate prophesies in the Bible. Those are unquestionably religious topics. Given that fact, the key idea in the debate is not "what is a religious belief." The key idea is, "is it OK for a public school teacher to discuss religious beliefs in class the way Mr. P did." I say "no." You say "define 'religious belief'." You are either disingenuous or suffering from some unfortunate mental defect.

It's a mental defect to object to an answer that fallaciously begs the question, eh?

Either way, strike eight.

God. Bible. Religious. How much greener could it be?

Yours certainly couldn't be a more fallacious argument.

;)

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Guest Guest
Not a bit; why would I be "frightened" by the private religious actions of people I've never met, as long as they don't affect me?

Plenty of Congress people go to church every Sunday, too; as long as they don't try to make it part of their official duties as government officials, I'm fine with it. Because the government is set up to be secular; the private actions of individuals AWAY from their governmental duties are their own concern.

That's kind of, y'know, the whole POINT of Paskiewicz's crime. He brought his preaching into the classroom, where it has no place.

Government officials make decisions based more or less on their life experiences and backgrounds, which may be heavily influenced by religious beliefs. So, like it or not, the government is not nearly as secular as you want us to believe.

And you still haven't shown me anywhere in The Constitution that it says anything about a secular government. That may be a judges, or your, interpretation of The Constitution 200 years after it was written. It doesn't make it correct or as intended by the framers.

As far as this teacher preaching, that's a matter of interpretaion also.

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Bryan,

Strike nine. Your whole side is out, and I'm done trying to have a rational discussion with you. You've been an ass, and you're not worth any more of my time.

You pwned him getzal!

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"Crime"  ???  There were no laws broken. You're off the chart with your liberal diatribes.

2dim, I know you're incapable of understanding the discussions going on here; don't worry, I understand and sympathize with your plight.

But try to keep quiet while the grownups discuss something important, okay?

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Guest 2smart4u
2dim, I know you're incapable of understanding the discussions going on here; don't worry, I understand and sympathize with your plight.

But try to keep quiet while the grownups discuss something important, okay?

Cute reply but try to stay focused. You stated Mr. P committed a "crime". Cite the law that was broken. ( Clue; there weren't any).

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Guest Guest
2dim, I know you're incapable of understanding the discussions going on here; don't worry, I understand and sympathize with your plight.

But try to keep quiet while the grownups discuss something important, okay?

You, sir or ma'am are a pompous ass.

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And you still haven't shown me anywhere in The Constitution that it says anything about a secular government.  That may be a judges, or your, interpretation of The Constitution 200 years after it was written.  It doesn't make it correct or as intended by the framers.

As far as this teacher preaching, that's a matter of interpretaion also.

No, it's not. Read all the letters going around while the founding fathers were creating the Constitution. Their intentions were very clear--even the term "wall of separation" comes up a few times.

Acting like separation of church and state is some myth is just a ploy--no respectable historian believes this nonsense. This is to history what creationism is to science. You can dislike it all you want, but the facts are clear.

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Guest Guest

Dear Bryan,

I wrote:

-Do you sincerely believe that every religious fanatic should be given the right to promote their crazy ideas in public school classes the way Mr. P has done?

In response you wrote:

”Of course not. Only the ones I designate. Kidding. I don't agree that Paszkiewicz proselytized (though at least one of his statements wasn't sufficiently supported to stand as a statement of fact, as I have noted elsewhere).”

You don’t believe that Mr. P. proselytised? I can’t understand how you could sincerely make such a statement.

After having listened to the tapes and having read some of the transcripts, I’m now convinced that you are either deluding yourself or that you are in a state of deep denial, or that you have some kind of weird and scary fundamentalist agenda going on, which would frighten the living daylights out of me if you were teaching at the school which my child attends.

I wrote:

-Suppose for a moment that Mr. P was a Scientologist or a Raelian. Would you and your local community be prepared to accomodate him preaching their crazy doctrines to your young people?

In response you wrote:

“In a manner parallel to what Paszkiewicz did, yes.”

You must be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic! If you truly want to see your American education system go to Hell in a hand basket, that would be a very effective way of achieving it.

I wrote:

-Do you also believe that Mr. P has the 'God given' right to undermine your school's science curriculum the way he has?

In response you wrote:

”I disagree with the premise of your question.”

You disagree that calling into question the findings of the world's astronomers, physicists, geologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, zoologists, botanists, physiologists, anthropologists, meteorologists etc. constitutes an undermining the school’s science curriculum? All I can say in response is - Wow, what planet are you living on?

I wrote:

-Imagine if one of your school's science teachers was in the habit of telling their students that what Mr. P was teaching about American history was all a bunch of crap, and that they shouldn't believe it, and then started spouting some harebrained theory about how your country was 'really' founded, even though what they were saying was contradicted by all the best available evidence. (For example the Mormon version of American history)

How do you think something like that would go down with Parents and the school authorities?

In response you wrote:

“I don't think that pointing out the unsure epistemic foundation of science is parallel to calling a position "crap"

Mr. P. did far more than ‘point out the unsure epistemic foundation of modern science’. He casually dismissed some of the most solidly established concepts in modern science (not to mention modern historical analysis) when speaking to those students.

If that’s not the same thing as him saying that he thinks the vast majority of modern scientists are flat out wrong (full of crap), then I don’t know what is. You have really ‘jumped the shark’ with this one.

You don’t think that Mr. P. has invented his own facts?

-Dinosaurs on Noah’s ark?

-No racial or ideological tensions before 1922 or whenever he said it was?

-The Hebrew god Yahweh dictating the process of creation to Noah and Moses?

-The Bible having hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, thereby proving itself to be a reliable record of prehistory?

-That doubting the divine inspiration of the Bible, or the divinity of Jesus the Nazarene, means that you’ll be condemned to God’s Gulag for all eternity?

I could go on, but what would be the point?

Man, some of you Americans scare me.

To think that your country is currently the world’s predominant superpower, and that stuff like this seems to get a free pass in your local schools is truly frightening to many of us living in other parts of the world.

Our Australian government is currently intimately in league with your government. Your government's policies influence our government's policies. At the moment, that includes sending our soldiers to fight side by side with your soldiers in Iraq, amongst other things.

I view your endorsement of this kind of outrageous rubbish being taught in your public schools as presenting a clear and present danger to the citizens of my country, as well as the general world community.

To see you defending the words and behaviour of Mr. P. the way you have been doing in your posts is very distressing to me and to many others who wish for a harmonious coexistence with people of other cultures.

In my view, actions such as those of Mr. P. are not at all helpful in achieving this goal.

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Guest DingoDave

Sorry guys,

I forgot to sign in again on my last post addressing Bryan. Is there any way of making it compulsory to sign in before posting? That way these threads would have a lot less 'Guest' posts.

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Guest Keith,Marshall,Mo
Dear Bryan,

I wrote:

-Do you sincerely believe that every religious fanatic should be given the right to promote their crazy ideas in public school classes the way Mr. P has done?

In response you wrote:

”Of course not. Only the ones I designate. Kidding. I don't agree that Paszkiewicz proselytized (though at least one of his statements wasn't sufficiently supported to stand as a statement of fact, as I have noted elsewhere).”

You don’t believe that Mr. P. proselytised? I can’t understand how you could sincerely make such a statement. 

After having listened to the tapes and having read some of the transcripts, I’m now convinced that you are either deluding yourself or that you are in a state of deep denial, or that you have some kind of weird and scary fundamentalist agenda going on, which would frighten the living daylights out of me if you were teaching at the school which my child attends.

I wrote:

-Suppose for a moment that Mr. P was a Scientologist or a Raelian. Would you and your local community be prepared to accomodate him preaching their crazy doctrines to your young people?

In response you wrote:

“In a manner parallel to what Paszkiewicz did, yes.”

You must be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic! If you truly want to see your American education system go to Hell in a hand basket, that would be a very effective way of achieving it.

I wrote:

-Do you also believe that Mr. P has the 'God given' right to undermine your school's science curriculum the way he has?

In response you wrote:

”I disagree with the premise of your question.”

You disagree that calling into question the findings of the world's astronomers, physicists, geologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, zoologists, botanists, physiologists, anthropologists, meteorologists etc. constitutes an undermining the school’s science curriculum?  All I can say in response is - Wow, what planet are you living on?

I wrote:

-Imagine if one of your school's science teachers was in the habit of telling their students that what Mr. P was teaching about American history was all a bunch of crap, and that they shouldn't believe it, and then started spouting some harebrained theory about how your country was 'really' founded, even though what they were saying was contradicted by all the best available evidence. (For example the Mormon version of American history)

How do you think something like that would go down with Parents and the school authorities?

In response you wrote:

“I don't think that pointing out the unsure epistemic foundation of science is parallel to calling a position "crap"

Mr. P. did far more than ‘point out the unsure epistemic foundation of modern science’. He casually dismissed some of the most solidly established concepts in modern science (not to mention modern historical analysis) when speaking to those students.

If that’s not the same thing as him saying that he thinks the vast majority of modern scientists are flat out wrong (full of crap), then I don’t know what is. You have really ‘jumped the shark’ with this one.

You don’t think that Mr. P. has invented his own facts?

-Dinosaurs on Noah’s ark?

-No racial or ideological tensions before 1922 or whenever he said it was?

-The Hebrew god Yahweh dictating the process of creation to Noah and Moses?

-The Bible having hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, thereby proving itself to be a reliable record of prehistory?

-That doubting the divine inspiration of the Bible, or the divinity of Jesus the Nazarene, means that you’ll be condemned to God’s Gulag for all eternity?

I could go on, but what would be the point?

Man, some of you Americans scare me.

To think that your country is currently the world’s predominant superpower, and that stuff like this seems to get a free pass in your local schools is truly frightening to many of us living in other parts of the world.

Our Australian government is currently intimately in league with your government. Your government's policies influence our government's policies. At the moment, that includes sending our soldiers to fight side by side with your soldiers in Iraq, amongst other things.

I view your endorsement of this kind of outrageous rubbish being taught in your public schools as presenting a clear and present danger to the citizens of my country, as well as the general world community.

To see you defending the words and behaviour of Mr. P. the way you have been doing in your posts is very distressing to me and to many others who wish for a harmonious coexistence with people of other cultures.

In my view, actions such as those of Mr. P. are not at all helpful in achieving this goal.

Dave,

Unfortunately you are right about some Americans. Trust me it is frightening to a lot of us here as well. Keep in mind that this religios fanticism, in my opinon, is a world wide epidemic. What's the Christian community down under up to these days? Are they becoming holier than thou just like here in the states?

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Sorry guys,

I forgot  to sign in again on my last post addressing Bryan.  Is there any way of making it compulsory to sign in before posting? That way these threads would have a lot less 'Guest' posts.

You can log in and set a cookie to keep you logged in, so that when you come back, you'll already be logged in. That's what I do.

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Guest WilliamK
Calling the poster "Guest" when that's how the poster is identified in his post is ad hominem

Surely you can come up with a better dodge than that. We both know that you did not merely refer to the poster as "Guest", but that you derided the poster (me) for having posted as Guest. For what purpose might that have been other than an attempt to discredit your opponent by means other than addressing his argument?

Did you wish to claim the anonymous post?

I claimed it explicitly in the post immediately following, well before your reply. Easy to miss that though, so no biggie.

And relevant?

Hardly relevant at all. But I notice that hasn't stopped you from going on about it either. I think it fair to say that we both (and some others too) have gone on about it a bit much considering that neither sees any great significance to it.

I'll make one last position statement on it that I suspect you might actually agree with, or if not, at least agree to disagree and lay it to rest anyway.

1) I never considered the case for a Barton link to be strong or important, only plausible.

2) I concede that with the differences between Paszkiewicz's and Barton's quotes, and the similarity that you pointed out between Paszkiewicz's quotes and some found elsewhere, the idea of Barton being Paszkiewicz's direct source is not very plausible after all.

3) I still think that an indirect link is plausible, and even likely.

4) As to relevance, I would say that whether Paszkiewicz got his material from Barton, either directly or indirectly, has no relevance at all to whether his argument is valid. It does, however, have relevance to the accusations of incompetence as a history teacher. As both an academic (who should have some sense about due diligence when researching a paper, especailly one that is likely to have some bearing on his reputation) and as one who has been years in a profession that demands being knowlegeable about history, to have missed the textual and contextual errors in the quotes is very amateurish and embarassing.

You have a funny way of showing it:

I suppose I should have made some clear indication that I had shifted away from the Barton connection, and was instead addressing Paszkiewicz's flawed quotes more directly. Sorry.

Yes, it should. But even if you could fully discredit the claim that Paszkiewicz's source is Barton, (which you haven't, that connection remains plausible even if not satisfactorily proven) it doesn't do much to make Paszkiewicz look any better.

Especially when you consider that Paszkiewicz's version of the Washington claim was the poorer of the two in that Paszkiewicz incorrectly presented as a direct quote something that was pretty clearly paraphrasing in Barton's version.

Isn't that you suggesting the plausibility of the connection parenthetically?

No. That's me pointing out that Paszkiewicz's letter has faults of its own, independent of any such connection.

"ringing endorsement of classroom proseletyzing that both Paszkiewicz and Barton portray it as"

-"Guest" aka WillamK?

"The intent of the founders was to limit the government’s encroachment into matters of conscience and religion, not to exclude any discussion of religion from public life."

-Mr. Paszkiewicz

Novel thought, basing it on what he wrote, eh?

If we take it that Washington was not advocating teaching religion in public schools, (which he didn't say, and I don't think there were any then) then the quote does not advocate any church-state mixing, and so does not support Paszkiewicz's position. But if we misinterpret it to mean that Washington was advocating teaching religion in public schools, then it does. Add to this the alteration of the quote that makes it much easier to interpret that way, and further add that this is the very thing that Paszkiewicz has been accused of and is now trying to defend, and we have a pretty good indication that leading the reader to that false conclusion was the purpose of the quote.

On a side note, the Paszkiewicz quote you cite above caries an implication that is a pretty blatant straw man. No one is trying to "exclude any discussion of religion from public life". Not the LaClairs, not PFAW, not the ACLU, not American Atheists, not the other posters on this board, and not me. And forcing me to pay through taxation to have someone teach THEIR religion to MY kids very much qualifies as "government’s encroachment into matters of conscience and religion".

Ah. So it's not relevant that Washington plainly let on that among the most valuable things their children would learn in American schools was the religion of Jesus Christ?

http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/LFBooks/W..._lf026.head.060

If you revisit the context, Washington made the statement concerning three children the Indians were sending to be educated.

It's not about what's good for the Delaware Indians in general.  It's about what the Indians should expect their children to learn after turning them over to the (early) Congress for education, emphasizing the great utility of the religion of Jesus Christ. 

Yes, it's a fair paraphrase, and you're sounding a bit unhinged in your protestations to the contrary.

Unhinged? Well, maybe a little. Outrageous falsehoods do that to me sometimes.

You quoted it, earlier:  "Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us."

Your argument seems to hang on the idea that "American schools" would be taken as the U.S. public school system prior to the ratification of the Constitution.  It's hard to make sense of that notion.

That such an interpretation is ridiculous is a central component of my argument.

I intended exactly what you proposed. That you defended Paszkiewicz's use of inaccurate quotations.

Quote me where I defended the use of inaccurate quotations.

Ok.

"I don't think I'd jump to the conclusion that the quotation was deliberately altered. There are myriad ways a quotation can be altered, and in the case of speeches for which a written copy remains, the spoken speech may well have been at variance with the written one."

I state categorically that quotations should always be done as accurately as humanly possible.

I'll defend Paszkiewicz's version of the speech to the Indians as a reasonable paraphrase that seems to capture Washington's intent (appreciating the historical context), but far short of excusing him for possibly having misquoted Washington (that isn't yet established), and for probably choosing a poor source for the quotations he used (even if most or all of them are perfectly accurate).

Oh get real. If some credible support for Paszkiewicz's version pops up, we can revisit that question. But everything that has come to light so far points to a misquote.

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Guest Guest
No, it's not. Read all the letters going around while the founding fathers were creating the Constitution. Their intentions were very clear--even the term "wall of separation" comes up a few times.

Acting like separation of church and state is some myth is just a ploy--no respectable historian believes this nonsense. This is to history what creationism is to science. You can dislike it all you want, but the facts are clear.

So post the line from The Constitution concerning religion. Prove that the founding fathers explicitly wanted all religion removed from government. If they were so clear why didn't they detail it in The Constitution?

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So post the line from The Constitution concerning religion.  Prove that the founding fathers explicitly wanted all religion removed from government.  If they were so clear why didn't they detail it in The Constitution?

OY! Are you really that dense? The issue it not to remove all religion from government. The issue is government shall not endorse any religion.

When a jerk like Paskeweicz preaches Christianity in the classroom, that's an endorsement.

Are Christians really that stupid that they don't understand this?

And as to why things aren't totally clear in the Constitution - we have a Supreme Court of the United States whose job it is to draw the fine lines that weren't explicitly written in the constitution.

And these fine lines take arguments from both sides.

You think that's a problem? Why do you have so many Christian denominations? It's all the same Bible, right? Show me where it says that eating a wafer and drinking wine at communion will actually turn into the Body and Blood of Christ. That isn't in your precious Bible either is it?

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So post the line from The Constitution concerning religion.  Prove that the founding fathers explicitly wanted all religion removed from government.  If they were so clear why didn't they detail it in The Constitution?

"Argument one: The phrase 'separation of Church and state' is of recent origin, and the concept was not known or promulgated by the founders.

False. The Founders were well aware of the threats posed by religion/state entanglement; it's what gave the world Kings with "divine right."

The exact phrase was first used in Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists, explaining the decision to seperate state and religion:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for is faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

James Madison, principal author of the constitution:

"The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State." (1819)." --http://altreligion.about.com/library/weekly/aa070202a.htm

Now, please explain to me just how anyone in their right mind could think that there was no intended separation of church and state in the Constitution. Other than having Madison, Jefferson, etc. themselves telling you to your face what a ridiculous notion that is, it pretty much doesn't get any clearer than what you see here.

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Surely you can come up with a better dodge than that. We both know that you did not merely refer to the poster as "Guest", but that you derided the poster (me) for having posted as Guest.

Don't mistake your delusion for a fact.

I've answered some utterly silly posts from persons posting as "Guest" and the three strikes rule for anonymous posters predates our conversations.

"*anonymous guests warrant limited investment of my time where the posts commit serial error"

Jan 1, 2007

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...indpost&p=40577

Get over yourself. You imagined the personal insult where you saw a policy.

For what purpose might that have been other than an attempt to discredit your opponent by means other than addressing his argument?

To put anonymous posters on notice that they are on a shorter leash than those willing to register and identify themselves (as in allowing for reconstruction of a posting history).

I know that sounds crazy ...

Think about what it's like to answer posts from quite a few persons taking the contrary position and perhaps you'll gain an appreciation for the policy.

You also seem to overestimate my confidence in attaching anonymous posts to the name of the true author.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to minutely examine the writing style to see if I can determine the author via literary criticism.

You're being ridiculous. If you were in the habit of signing your posts at the bottom then it might have been a different story.

My policy toward anonymous posts is reasonable, and it's not my fault that you posted anonymously.

I claimed it explicitly in the post immediately following, well before your reply. Easy to miss that though, so no biggie.

Well, good for you in making the attempt. I apologize for missing it--but my statement was in no way intended as a personal insult, regardless.

Hardly relevant at all. But I notice that hasn't stopped you from going on about it either.

I've regularly mentioned that I believe that the supposed Barton connection is irrelevant.

Beyond that, it's of interest merely for showing the willingness of certain of my opponents to draw firm conclusions on weak evidence.

That's an inductive attack on my opponent (circumstantial), of course, but that type of attack is not fallacious. It makes sense to show a favorable bias toward better arguments, and the tendency to provide good or bad arguments is a relevant consideration.

Right now we could have been done with the Barton connection (my one-word treatment could have received a "no" in response and we'd be done with it).

I think it fair to say that we both (and some others too) have gone on about it a bit much considering that neither sees any great significance to it.

Uh--what do you think my point was in asking you pointedly whether or you thought it was relevant?

I'm on record in regularly saying that it's not relevant (genetic fallacy). I just gave you the opportunity to join me on the record. Welcome aboard? :angry:

I'll make one last position statement on it that I suspect you might actually agree with, or if not, at least agree to disagree and lay it to rest anyway.

1) I never considered the case for a Barton link to be strong or important, only plausible.

Even if it's plausible, it's not relevant. The fact is that the evidence produced in favor of the link was poor.

2) I concede that with the differences between Paszkiewicz's and Barton's quotes, and the similarity that you pointed out between Paszkiewicz's quotes and some found elsewhere, the idea  of Barton being Paszkiewicz's direct source is not very plausible after all.

The mystery is why the persons alleging the link in the first place did not consider that type of evidence.

3) I still think that an indirect link is plausible, and even likely.

I think that Barton's influence on the issue is probably greatly overestimated by those on your side (his formal attachment to policymakers notwithstanding), and if it were relevant to the current discussion it might be worth looking into.

4) As to relevance, I would say that whether Paszkiewicz got his material from Barton, either directly or indirectly, has no relevance at all to whether his argument is valid. It does, however, have relevance to the accusations of incompetence as a history teacher. As both an academic (who should have some sense about due diligence when researching a paper, especailly one that is likely to have some bearing on his reputation) and as one who has been years in a profession that demands being knowlegeable about history, to have missed the textual and contextual errors in the quotes is very amateurish and embarassing.

I think you overestimate the ability of the average high school history teacher, though I've conceded early on that Paszkiewicz did himself no favors in the (apparent) choosing of his source. As you note, it doesn't really have much to do with his central argument, however.

I suppose I should have made some clear indication that I had shifted away from the Barton connection, and was instead addressing Paszkiewicz's flawed quotes more directly. Sorry.

For my part, I'll allow that I could have read your position more charitably, since the lingering signs of Barton were offered parenthetically.

You were graceful to offer an apology.

No. That's me pointing out that Paszkiewicz's letter has faults of its own, independent of any such connection.

That answer isn't satisfactory, but no matter. We seem to have reached an overall accord on this issue ("Parenthetically" refers to parenthesis).

If we take it that Washington was not advocating teaching religion in public schools, (which he didn't say, and I don't think there were any then) then the quote does not advocate any church-state mixing, and so does not support Paszkiewicz's position.

Non sequitur. Washington need not advocate church-state mixing in the specific realm of the public school in order for Paszkiewicz's position to receive support.

The Indians were turning their children (judging from the context) over to Congress (pre-Constitution Congress, mind you) for education. Washington indicated that the government (Congress) would see to it that the children received a good education, and he pointedly referred to a particularly important part of their education (learning the religion of Jesus Christ).

What that does, William, is show very clearly that Washington considered it important for children to be educated concerning the Christian religion. That does not square readily with the doctrines of strict separationists, who would bar the schools from the type of teaching advocated here by Washington.

But if we misinterpret it to mean that Washington was advocating teaching religion in public schools, then it does.

The argument doesn't need that step to be effective (an implicit false dilemma fallacy on your part).

Add to this the alteration of the quote that makes it much easier to interpret that way, and further add that this is the very thing that Paszkiewicz has been accused of and is now trying to defend, and we have a pretty good indication that leading the reader to that false conclusion was the purpose of the quote.

That's plausible, but it does not represent a charitable reading of what Paszkiewicz wrote.

The principle of charitable reading is frequently underutilized in public debate, unfortunately (we're inclined against it, generally speaking).

On a side note, the Paszkiewicz quote you cite above caries an implication that is a pretty blatant straw man. No one is trying to "exclude any discussion of religion from public life". Not the LaClairs, not PFAW, not the ACLU, not American Atheists, not the other posters on this board, and not me.

I'll accept your word that it isn't your position, but "public life" very probably refers to the public square, and it is a common position among secularists that the public square should be barren of religion.

Have a look at this definition of "public square" and then read the relatively incoherent ACLU statement linked thereafter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_square

http://www.aclu.org/religion/tencomm/index.html

And forcing me to pay through taxation to have someone teach THEIR religion to MY kids very much qualifies as "government’s encroachment into matters of conscience and religion".

Washington was proposing that employees of the federal government (Congress) would see to it that the children learned ("above all") the religion of Jesus Christ. The reasoning hinted at in Washington's statement, interestingly enough, plays into the justification for restricting religious practice to which Paul LaClair alluded in a separate argument; that is, policy enacted for the public good. Washington appears to indicate that learning the religion of Jesus Christ would constitute a public good for the Delaware Indians--yet the implications of this speech seem to warrant conscious avoidance from those on the secularist side.

Unhinged? Well, maybe a little. Outrageous falsehoods do that to me sometimes.

You seem to have forgotten to address the counterargument (in favor of repeating your conclusion).

That such an interpretation is ridiculous is a central component of my argument.

What part of that "central component" is not fairly summed up as either appeal to ridicule or appeal to incredulity?

Your argument doesn't seem to live up to the promise of your summary.

I intended exactly what you proposed. That you defended Paszkiewicz's use of inaccurate quotations.

Quote me where I defended the use of inaccurate quotations.

Ok.

"I don't think I'd jump to the conclusion that the quotation was deliberately altered.  There are myriad ways a quotation can be altered, and in the case of speeches for which a written copy remains, the spoken speech may well have been at variance with the written one."

You're embarrassing yourself, William.

My statement clearly concerns the tendency of somebody to jump to conclusions concerning the motivations for altering a quotation. My statement according perfectly with my other statement: Quotations should always be rendered as accurately as humanly possible. Where quotations are inaccurate because carelessness, the person doing the quoting is guilty of carelessness. Where the deliberate attempt to mislead is involved, the person doing the quoting is guilty of dishonesty.

I haven't excused Paszkiewicz on either point. My position has been that of the agnostic--I don't know for certain that the Washington quotation is inaccurate (it's probably inaccurate, but there's room for reasonable doubt in my view), and I advise against guessing at Paszkiewicz's motives where the evidence is so scrawny.

On the contrary, I promptly granted that the Jefferson quotation was misleading, but without guessing at the motives involved.

That's not excusing the misuse of the quotation, it's simply showing restraint in drawing conclusions based on scarce evidence.

Oh get real. If some credible support for Paszkiewicz's version pops up, we can revisit that question. But everything that has come to light so far points to a misquote.

That's the kind of reasoning that frequently leads to the conviction of innocent men.

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Dear Bryan,

I wrote:

-Do you sincerely believe that every religious fanatic should be given the right to promote their crazy ideas in public school classes the way Mr. P has done?

In response you wrote:

”Of course not. Only the ones I designate. Kidding. I don't agree that Paszkiewicz proselytized (though at least one of his statements wasn't sufficiently supported to stand as a statement of fact, as I have noted elsewhere).”

You don’t believe that Mr. P. proselytised? I can’t understand how you could sincerely make such a statement. 

After having listened to the tapes and having read some of the transcripts, I’m now convinced that you are either deluding yourself or that you are in a state of deep denial, or that you have some kind of weird and scary fundamentalist agenda going on, which would frighten the living daylights out of me if you were teaching at the school which my child attends.

The soft definition that most of you use for "proselytize" would result in absurdity unless special pleading is permitted (I've described the argument at this message board).

Given that special pleading is a logical fallacy, I am not inclined to let it pass.

I wrote:

-Suppose for a moment that Mr. P was a Scientologist or a Raelian. Would you and your local community be prepared to accomodate him preaching their crazy doctrines to your young people?

In response you wrote:

“In a manner parallel to what Paszkiewicz did, yes.”

You must be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic!

And you're a couple of premisses and a logical inference short of an argument.

If you truly want to see your American education system go to Hell in a hand basket, that would be a very effective way of achieving it.

So, back before the 14th Amendment when states and local governments could mandate the inclusion of religious teaching in the schools the schools were on a course of steady decline?

And the courts' application of the 14th Amendment to mandate local government neutrality on religion was the sole saving grace?

And how do you explain the high achievements of American homeschooled children compared to their public school counterparts?

"Researchers cannot tell whether the same children would perform better or worse academically in a classroom or at home. State testing data do not necessarily reflect all homeschoolers because not all comply with the testing requirement. Other testing efforts rely on volunteers.

Keeping that caveat in mind, where testing data are available, homeschoolers do well. For example, in Alaska, the state's Alyeska Central School has tested its homeschooling children for several decades. As a group they usually score above average in any subject area and at all grade levels. The largest study to date, commissioned by the Home School Legal Defense Association, involved 12,000 students tested through the Bob Jones University testing services. The homeschooled children placed in the 62nd to the 91st percentile of national norms, depending on grade level and subject area (Rudner 1999).

http://eric.uoregon.edu/publications/digests/digest151.html

Could it be that you simply don't have any idea what you're talking about?

I wrote:

-Do you also believe that Mr. P has the 'God given' right to undermine your school's science curriculum the way he has?

In response you wrote:

”I disagree with the premise of your question.”

You disagree that calling into question the findings of the world's astronomers, physicists, geologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, zoologists, botanists, physiologists, anthropologists, meteorologists etc. constitutes an undermining the school’s science curriculum?  All I can say in response is - Wow, what planet are you living on?

One where I reasonably expect you to specify how Paszkiewicz undermined the science curriculum instead of just tossing out the names of a bunch of scientific disciplines for rhetorical effect.

Hopefully I'll find you on the same planet. Otherwise, you're a waste of time.

I wrote:

-Imagine if one of your school's science teachers was in the habit of telling their students that what Mr. P was teaching about American history was all a bunch of crap, and that they shouldn't believe it, and then started spouting some harebrained theory about how your country was 'really' founded, even though what they were saying was contradicted by all the best available evidence. (For example the Mormon version of American history)

How do you think something like that would go down with Parents and the school authorities?

In response you wrote:

“I don't think that pointing out the unsure epistemic foundation of science is parallel to calling a position "crap"

Mr. P. did far more than ‘point out the unsure epistemic foundation of modern science’. He casually dismissed some of the most solidly established concepts in modern science (not to mention modern historical analysis) when speaking to those students.

And, if pressed, you could give at least one example?

If that’s not the same thing as him saying that he thinks the vast majority of modern scientists are flat out wrong (full of crap), then I don’t know what is. You have really ‘jumped the shark’ with this one.

If assertions can substitute for evidence, then you're doing a great job.

You don’t think that Mr. P. has invented his own facts?

Apart from the one statement of his that I am on record questioning, no. You might say I lack the belief that Paszkiewicz invented his own facts.

-Dinosaurs on Noah’s ark?

Was Paszkiewicz's statement about dinosaurs on the ark being taught to the children as a fact, or was it offered as his opinion on the matter?

I think the context of the discussion makes it more likely the latter.

-No racial or ideological tensions before 1922 or whenever he said it was?

I've no idea what you're talking about with that one. Have you ever considered quoting Paszkiewicz?

-The Hebrew god Yahweh dictating the process of creation to Noah and Moses?

That's a fairly standard explanation for observations of the world predating the existence of mankind in the context of the Hebrew scriptures. How is that making up one's own facts?

Or maybe you're making up your own fact by claiming it is so? :angry:

-The Bible having hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, thereby proving itself to be a reliable record of prehistory?

What's non-factual about that as an explanation for religious epistemology, other than the fact that your choice of words ("proving") lends itself to leading the audience into the fallacy of equivocation?

"LaClaire: OK. How do you prove something like Noah's Ark happened, or

that Adam and Eve existed; was there any observation that Adam and Eve

were people, or...

Teacher: I never said that my assumption isn't based on faith.

http://www.dranger.com/classtranscript.html

-That doubting the divine inspiration of the Bible, or the divinity of Jesus the Nazarene, means that you’ll be condemned to God’s Gulag for all eternity?

I could go on, but what would be the point?

Indeed. Without offering some form of evidence you're just wasting time.

That last supposed fact, in fact, seems to be your own creative invention, Dave.

Man, some of you Americans scare me.

To think that your country is currently the world’s predominant superpower, and that stuff like this seems to get a free pass in your local schools is truly frightening to many of us living in other parts of the world.

Our Australian government is currently intimately in league with your government. Your government's policies influence our government's policies. At the moment, that includes sending our soldiers to fight side by side with your soldiers in Iraq, amongst other things.

I view your endorsement of this kind of outrageous rubbish being taught in your public schools as presenting a clear and present danger to the citizens of my country, as well as the general world community.

To see you defending the words and behaviour of Mr. P. the way you have been doing in your posts is very distressing to me and to many others who wish for a harmonious coexistence with people of other cultures.

In my view, actions such as those of Mr. P. are not at all helpful in achieving this goal.

Maybe you should make yourself feel better by making up some more facts, dave.

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Guest DingoDave
Dave,

    Unfortunately you are right about some Americans. Trust me it is frightening to a lot of us here as well. Keep in mind that this religios fanticism, in my opinon, is a world wide epidemic. What's the Christian community down under up to these days? Are they becoming holier than thou just like here in the states?

Dear Kieth,

Fortunately Australia hasn't yet reached the point that America has with regards to religious zealotry, but there are some signs that we are beginnig to follow in your footsteps.

For example, we are beginnig to see the establishment of evangelical mega-churches such as you have over there.

Our politicians have been actively courting the right wing religious vote. A political party called 'Family First', with clear connections to an evangelical church group has even been elected to a seat in our parliament. These are worrying trends.

One thing I do have an issue with is that our Australian public school system includes weekly religious indoctrination classes for one hour per week. They are euphemistically called 'Special Religious Education' classes.

It is not compulsory for children to attend. Children can opt out if their parents so desire by providing a note to the school stating that they do not wish for their children to attend. Unfortunately, the children who do opt out (including mine) are generally not given anything else worthwhile to do while these classes are going on. This stems back to a deal that the churches made with our federal government back in the 19th century, when the government took over public education.

We don't have a state church like the U.K. does, but our constitution was more heavily influenced by them than yours is. Our constitution does not have an official seperation of church and state like you folks do over there, which in my opinion is unfortunate. However, one encouraging sign is that according to our last published national Census (year 2001), 26% of the population stated they had no religion or did not state their religion on the census form. We have just conducted another census, which has not yet been published, so it will be interesting to see what trends have occured since 2001.

The other thing we don't have here in Australia, is the fanatical nationalism that seems to be so pervasive in your country. For example, our children are not required to state a pledge of allegiance to the flag the way your children are, which I think is a good thing. Seeing pictures of your citizens venerating the flag the way so many of them do, almost looks like nationalist idolatry to me.

Take a look at this website which discusses the pledge of allegiance and the 'Bellamy Salute'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_salute

From what I have observed, your education system seems to be very 'America centred'. Perhaps this is part of the reason why many Americans seem to be so woefully ill informed about the rest of the world. I hope that trend doesn't percolate through to Australia like your evangelical resurgance seems to be doing.

Having said all that though, I know that there are many, many thoughtful and rational people in your country. It's just unfortunate that the noisy, ignorant fundamentalists seem to get all the attention. A bit like a spoiled and squawking child tries to do when he thinks he's not getting enough attention, or when he thinks someone wants to take his favourite toy away from him.

It has been very encouraging to see so many people come out in support of Matthew and Paul LaClair. Keep up the good work folks, rational people throughout the rest of the world are grateful to you.

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Guest DingoDave

Dear Bryan,

You still deny that Mr. P. dismissed the findings of modern science?

I wrote:

"You disagree that calling into question the findings of the world's astronomers, physicists, geologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, zoologists, botanists, physiologists, anthropologists, meteorologists etc. constitutes an undermining the school’s science curriculum? All I can say in response is - Wow, what planet are you living on?"

You responded with:

“One where I reasonably expect you to specify how Paszkiewicz undermined the science curriculum instead of just tossing out the names of a bunch of scientific disciplines for rhetorical effect.

Hopefully I'll find you on the same planet. Otherwise, you're a waste of time”

By dismissing the theory of evolution, Mr. P. has contradicted the findings of geneticists, zoologists, anthropologists, botanists, palaeontologists, evolutionary biologists and just about everyone else involved in the study of living organisms and biological ecosystems.

By subscribing to the Biblical scheme of creation, he has dismissed the findings of astronomers, astrophysicists and cosmologists etc. whose findings all point to a very ancient universe, and who describe the process of star formation and planetary formation very convincingly. He has also contradicted the findings of geologists and physicists, whose work on plate tectonics, stratigraphy, radioactive isotopes, and the magnetic alignments of strata also don’t mesh with the Biblical story. The Bible clearly contradicts these findings, and it is only by denying the plain meaning of the text that the Bible can in any way be harmonised with the findings of modern science.

By endorsing the story of Noah’s flood, Mr. P. has dismissed the findings of geologists, geophysicists, physicists, meteorologists etc. as well as population geneticists, evolutionary biologists, ecologists, and archaeologists. None of whose findings support the Biblical version of events.

I don’t have the time to go into more details right now, so I hope that these examples will suffice. If you can’t see what I’m getting at, then I can only assume that it’s because you simply don’t want to.

I’m not even going to go into details about Biblical prophecies except to say that many of them are so vague as to be meaningless, that some were just flat out wrong, that some were simply invented out of the whole cloth, and that some have been clearly demonstrated to have been written after the events which they claim to portray as prophecy.

If you want to look into these issues further, you will have to do your own research.

I wrote:

"-No racial or ideological tensions before 1922 or whenever he said it was?"

You responded with:

“I've no idea what you're talking about with that one. Have you ever considered quoting Paszkiewicz?”

I was going by what I read in a transcript of one of his classes. It went like this.

“...now my parents grew up and went to public schools but they went prior to 1962 so the teachers read the bible and the teachers prayed and it was part of the school day and I phrase this very very diplomatically, but that's the generation that did not have terrorism did not have race aggression and all of that...”

If that transcript is inaccurate, then I will be happy to stand corrected.

I wrote:

"-That doubting the divine inspiration of the Bible, or the divinity of Jesus the Nazarene, means that you’ll be condemned to God’s Gulag for all eternity?"

You responded with:

“Indeed. Without offering some form of evidence you're just wasting time. That last supposed fact, in fact, seems to be your own creative invention, Dave.”

What facts have I invented about Christian doctrines?

Mr. P. said that all non-Christians will be sent to Hell, and that that’s where they belonged.

You can’t be an orthodox Christian without accepting the divine inspiration of the Bible, or the divinity of Jesus the Nazarene, otherwise his supposed sacrifice for the remission of sins becomes meaningless.

I was raised in a Baptist household, and for many years attended a Baptist church. That’s what I was always taught by my parents and my church leaders, and I’m afraid your comment is not going to change any of that. Just ask any Baptist.

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Excellent post Dave. Good points, well presented.

Too bad the Christians can't see past their Bibles to even being to understand what you wrote.

That bit about “...now my parents grew up and went to public schools but they went prior to 1962 so the teachers read the bible and the teachers prayed and it was part of the school day and I phrase this very very diplomatically, but that's the generation that did not have terrorism did not have race aggression and all of that...” was priceless.

And to think that jackass is a history teacher.

No race agression prior to 1962. that's because all the WHITE BAPTISTS lived happily in segregation.

But alas, I'm afraid the normal people are losing the battle in kearny. The Christian wackos clearly out number the normal people.

another Backwater Hillbilly Community. Just like Dover, PA, only they had the sense to kick out the entire School Board.

there's always hope.

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Dear Bryan,

You still deny that Mr. P. dismissed the findings of modern science?

I have seen no persuasive evidence that he did so.

I wrote:

"You disagree that calling into question the findings of the world's astronomers, physicists, geologists, geneticists, evolutionary biologists, zoologists, botanists, physiologists, anthropologists, meteorologists etc. constitutes an undermining the school’s science curriculum?  All I can say in response is - Wow, what planet are you living on?"

You responded with:

“One where I reasonably expect you to specify how Paszkiewicz undermined the science curriculum instead of just tossing out the names of a bunch of scientific disciplines for rhetorical effect.

Hopefully I'll find you on the same planet. Otherwise, you're a waste of time”

By dismissing the theory of evolution, Mr. P. has contradicted the findings of geneticists, zoologists, anthropologists, botanists, palaeontologists, evolutionary biologists and just about everyone else involved in the study of living organisms and biological ecosystems.

Can you specify how the theory of evolution was dismissed (your term rather than Paszkiewicz's, I'm sure) by Paszkiewicz?

If you were to do that, it would solve your problem of arguing minus evidence.

By subscribing to the Biblical scheme of creation, he has dismissed the findings of astronomers, astrophysicists and cosmologists etc. whose findings all point to a very ancient universe, and who describe the process of star formation and planetary formation very convincingly.

So you're trying to say that he dismisses science personally via his apparent beliefs or via his instruction of the class?

If the former--how is that relevant?

Suppose you were a solipsist who didn't even believe your students really exist, but you did an okay job of teaching them the appointed curriculum, in fact.

Would you have done your job adequately in the existing universe.

He has also contradicted the findings of geologists and physicists, whose work on plate tectonics, stratigraphy, radioactive isotopes, and the magnetic alignments of strata also don’t mesh with the Biblical story. The Bible clearly contradicts these findings, and it is only by denying the plain meaning of the text that the Bible can in any way be harmonised with the findings of modern science.

Could you attempt to be very specific about how Paszkiewicz contradicted the findings of science with his statements?

Otherwise it's hard to see how your diatribe is relevant.

By endorsing the story of Noah’s flood, Mr. P. has dismissed the findings of geologists, geophysicists, physicists, meteorologists etc. as well as population geneticists, evolutionary biologists, ecologists, and archaeologists. None of whose findings support the Biblical version of events.

Could you attempt to be very specific about how Paszkiewicz dismissed the findings of those disciplines in terms of class instruction?

I don’t have the time to go into more details right now, so I hope that these examples will suffice.

You didn't give any concrete examples from Paszkiewicz's teaching. Instead you took one apparent statement of belief (Noah's ark) and extrapolated like a madman.

If you can’t see what I’m getting at, then I can only assume that it’s because you simply don’t want to.

Sorry, but I don't see how Paszkiewicz's statements of personal belief are relevant if they do not constitute proselytizing (in the normal dictionary sense) or directly contradict the school curriculum.

I think you chose an unfortunate strategy for making the case against Paszkiewicz.

I’m not even going to go into details about Biblical prophecies except to say that many of them are so vague as to be meaningless, that some were just flat out wrong, that some were simply invented out of the whole cloth, and that some have been clearly demonstrated to have been written after the events which they claim to portray as prophecy.

If you want to look into these issues further, you will have to do your own research.

It's unlikely that you've done more research into those topics than I have.

You chose an unfortunate subject on which to project condescension.

I wrote:

"-No racial or ideological tensions before 1922 or whenever he said it was?"

You responded with:

“I've no idea what you're talking about with that one. Have you ever considered quoting Paszkiewicz?”

I was going by what I read in a transcript of one of his classes. It went like this.

“...now my parents grew up and went to public schools but they went prior to 1962 so the teachers read the bible and the teachers prayed and it was part of the school day and I phrase this very very diplomatically, but that's the generation that did not have terrorism did not have race aggression and all of that...”

If that transcript is inaccurate, then I will be happy to stand corrected.

The transcript I've been going by has it like this:

"Now, my parents grew up and went to public schools,

but they went prior to 1962, so teachers read the Bible, the teachers

prayed, it was part of the school day, and in other words, just a very

very different attitude, but that's also back a generation, back to

totalitarianism, communism, following the Great Depression, and all

that."

http://www.dranger.com/classtranscript.html

If it's supposed to be the same statement, then the two transcripts display a suspicious amount of variance.

Can you refer us to the source of the transcript you're using?

I wrote:

"-That doubting the divine inspiration of the Bible, or the divinity of Jesus the Nazarene, means that you’ll be condemned to God’s Gulag for all eternity?"

You responded with:

“Indeed. Without offering some form of evidence you're just wasting time. That last supposed fact, in fact, seems to be your own creative invention, Dave.”

What facts have I invented about Christian doctrines?

Mr. P. said that all non-Christians will be sent to Hell, and that that’s where they belonged.

You can’t be an orthodox Christian without accepting the divine inspiration of the Bible, or the divinity of Jesus the Nazarene, otherwise his supposed sacrifice for the remission of sins becomes meaningless.

Well, actually you can be an orthodox Christian without accepting the divine inspiration of the Bible.

Check this out, for example:

http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.ht...tles_creed.html

As for the central issue, it isn't whether or not you're inventing Christian doctrines (though making Bible inspiration a requirement of orthodoxy probably counts) but the fact that you seem to be claiming that Paszkiewicz specifically taught those doctrines to his class.

I was raised in a Baptist household, and for many years attended a Baptist church. That’s what I was always taught by my parents and my church leaders, and I’m afraid your comment is not going to change any of that. Just ask any Baptist.

Baptists do not dictate orthodoxy. The Southern Baptists (the largest Baptist denomination in the U.S. and the world), in particular, historically do not even have an explicit doctrinal statement to which member churches are bound.

"Baptists cherish and defend religious liberty, and deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches."

http://www.sbc.net/bfm/default.asp

That means, in essence, that they are reluctant as a denomination to try to pin down orthodoxy.

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Excellent post Dave.  Good points, well presented.

Your standards are apparently low indeed.

That bit about “...now my parents grew up and went to public schools but they went prior to 1962 so the teachers read the bible and the teachers prayed and it was part of the school day and I phrase this very very diplomatically, but that's the generation that did not have terrorism did not have race aggression and all of that...”  was priceless.

And to think that jackass is a history teacher.

Yeah--too bad the transcripts are so wildly different after the "part of the school day" portion.

"Great Depression" became "race oppression" I'm guessing. Heh.

No race agression prior to 1962.  that's because all the WHITE BAPTISTS lived happily in segregation.

More likely you've relied on an inferior transcript.

But alas, I'm afraid the normal people are losing the battle in kearny.  The Christian wackos clearly out number the normal people.

Right. Because the people who think the Great Depression is "race oppression" are the ones who should be running things.

<_<

another Backwater Hillbilly Community.  Just like Dover, PA, only they had the sense to kick out the entire School Board.

there's always hope.

That was hilarious. What did your community do about the other races during the Great Depression, BTW?

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Guest DingoDave

Dear Bryan,

David Paszkiewicz is a Baptist minister, therefore it would seem reasonable for me to conclude that he agrees with Baptist theological doctrines.

The last time I looked, Baptists considered themselves to be mainstream Christians. Are you trying to suggest that Baptists do not fairly represent the general Christian community or that Mr. P. is unfairly representing Baptist Christianity?

Here is a summary of what the ‘Baptist Union of Australia’ emphasises as part of their core beliefs. Considering that the Australian Baptists inherited all of their core beliefs and doctrines from the American Baptists, I think that I have a pretty fair idea about what David Paszkiewicz claims to believe in.

These are the official doctrines of the 'Australian Baptist' churches.

Read and weep.

"Australian Baptist Union. Becoming a Christian."

"We are an evangelical church. We believe the Bible to be God's inspired word for us. We look to the Bible to discover the mind of God and therefore our life values. We believe in the great biblical truths of the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus.

We believe in salvation by faith through God's grace.

A full statement of belief is available from all Baptist churches or from the Baptist Union in each State."

“Statement of Beliefs

AS APPROVED BY THE 1979 ASSEMBLY

(Amended to gender inclusive language following 2002 Assembly)

1. THE NATURE AND UNITY OF THE GODHEAD - There is one God Who is eternal personal Spirit. He is infinite in power, wisdom, holiness and love. God is Triune in essential being and revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

2. THE DEITY AND HUMANITY OF CHRIST - Jesus Christ as the second Person of the Godhead is eternally one with God the Father of whose person and glory Jesus is the accurate expression. To become human He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, the nature of God and human nature, were united in one Person; truly God and truly human.

3. THE HOLY SPIRIT - The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity is eternally one with the Father and the Son yet He is sent by Them to achieve the divine purpose in the world and in the Church.

4. THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES - The Scriptures, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, are the infallible Word of God. They were written by holy people of God inspired by the Holy Spirit and have supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

5. THE SINFULNESS OF PEOPLE - People were made in the image of God and for fellowship with God. By transgression of God's command humankind fell from fellowship with God and their nature was corrupted. As a consequence all people are spiritually dead under Satan's dominion and control and subject to God's wrath and condemnation. Therefore, apart from God's grace, people are helpless and hopeless.

6. CHRIST'S ATONEMENT FOR THE SIN OF MAN - In order to redeem people from the guilt, penalty and power of sin, Jesus Christ became human and died a sacrificial death as our representative substitute. By His resurrection, God's acceptance of His atoning death was demonstrated. This atonement is sufficient for the whole world, but effective only in those who received it. The sinner is justified and reconciled to God, not through any personal merit, but solely on the basis of God's gracious gift of salvation in Jesus Christ received through faith.”

I am willing to bet 1000 Australian Dollars here and now that this is what David Paszkiewicz essentially believes. Are you willing to take me up on it?

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"Argument one: The phrase 'separation of Church and state' is of recent origin, and the concept was not known or promulgated by the founders.

False. The Founders were well aware of the threats posed by religion/state entanglement; it's what gave the world Kings with "divine right."

The exact phrase was first used in Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists, explaining the decision to seperate state and religion:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for is faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

James Madison, principal author of the constitution:

"The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State." (1819)." --http://altreligion.about.com/library/weekly/aa070202a.htm

Now, please explain to me just how anyone in their right mind could think that there was no intended separation of church and state in the Constitution. Other than having Madison, Jefferson, etc. themselves telling you to your face what a ridiculous notion that is, it pretty much doesn't get any clearer than what you see here.

Once again you can't point to any "explicit" reference "in The Constitution".

And there are just as many instances of Jefferson and the other founders looking for "Divine Guidance" to inspire them, as there are concerns over religion in government. To only put a one line clause in The Constitution tells me they weren't as concerned with it as you want us to beleive. They probably have a good laugh at all of this silliness.

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