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Should this teacher be fired?


Bryan
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Atheist teacher, literature class.

Here is the assignment:

http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/07/02/22/handout2.pdf

Fire the teacher?

First off, what makes you assume this teacher is atheist? Do you think that it is impossible for a theist to logically approach a subject like this?

This teacher is logically (not dogmatically) approaching the famed "problem of evil." Now, the only issue I _might_ see is that he's straying from the curriculum, but he may very well not be, depending on what literature this is being discussed in parallel to.

He (I don't feel like typing 'he/she' so many times; just assume it's there, okay? lol) didn't tell any of his students they were going to hell, or that there were any consequences (especially not eternal ones) for them not agreeing with what his 'handout' said.

He didn't make false, dogmatic statements on other subjects that completely undermined those curricula in that school system.

He didn't blatantly lie about what his handout said.

He also didn't write a letter to the local newspaper which displayed a gross level of incompetence on his part concerning American Literature, which is the subject he's teaching.

Don't even try, Bryan; just don't. A PARALLEL? What an absurd suggestion.

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First off, what makes you assume this teacher is atheist?

He declared to the students that he was an atheist.

What makes you assume that I was assuming something?

Regardless, you could assume for the sake of argument that he was an atheist and answer the question in those terms. Maybe you intend to avoid the question entirely in your response.

Do you think that it is impossible for a theist to logically approach a subject like this?

No. It's not even impossible for an atheist to logically approach a subject like this.

You seem to be avoiding the question so far.

This teacher is logically (not dogmatically) approaching the famed "problem of evil."

What if there were blatant logical errors in his argument? Would you still consider it "logically (not dogmatically)"?

Now, the only issue I _might_ see is that he's straying from the curriculum, but he may very well not be, depending on what literature this is being discussed in parallel to.

"Religion played an important role in early American literature, he said. The goal was to prepare students for the study of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," based on the Salem witch trials."

http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/07/02/22/...1teacher001.cfm

Have you read "The Crucible," Strife?

Do you find McDonald's explanation plausible enough to warrant the particulars of his lesson?

He (I don't feel like typing 'he/she' so many times; just assume it's there, okay? lol) didn't tell any of his students they were going to hell, or that there were any consequences (especially not eternal ones) for them not agreeing with what his

'handout' said.

So it's mainly religious ideas having to do with "hell" and "consequences" (particularly eternal ones) that are impermissible in school?

What's the consequence of saying that there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark? Were students not allowed to disagree with that proposition? Were they graded on it?

He didn't make false, dogmatic statements on other subjects that completely undermined those curricula in that school system.

Neither did Paszkiewicz, but credit you for a mighty effort to obfuscate the issue.

You seem to be making quite the effort to excuse this teacher. Is it fair to say that (based on the evidence thus far) you do not think he should be fired?

Do you think that the handout is neutral toward religion?

Who said this:

"It is to be not only expected, but _demanded_, that public schools are kept religiously neutral."

?

He didn't blatantly lie about what his handout said.

Neither did Paszkiewicz.

He also didn't write a letter to the local newspaper which displayed a gross level of incompetence on his part concerning American Literature, which is the subject he's teaching.

So you didn't think that Paszkiewicz should have been fired before that letter was written?

"Firing is too good for him. How exactly can anyone justify these reprehensible actions by that teacher?"

--Strife767, December 23, 2006

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...583entry39583

By my calculations, this statement of yours preceded Paszkiewicz's letter.

Don't even try, Bryan; just don't.

Showing that you are inconsistent hardly requires effort, Strife.

Edited by Bryan
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I couldn't get the link to work.

It's a .pdf file. Perhaps that's why you're having trouble?

Was Mr. P fired?

No, and neither was this guy (though he's gotten himself into more trouble recently so that might change--I'll let you research that on your own if you're interested).

However, those who think that Paszkiewicz should have been fired might be expected to share a similar opinion in this case.

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I couldn't get the link to work. Was Mr. P fired?

As far as I know, no.

The link is a PDF file; if you can't get it to work at all, you can download this, which works as well as Acrobat Reader except it's exponentially faster-loading and a smaller size to download (and also free):

http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/reader_2/down_reader.htm

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He declared to the students that he was an atheist.

What makes you assume that I was assuming something?

You made an assertion with no supporting evidence. And not just a random assertion, but one about a facet of one's life that is fairly personal more often than not. How could you have expected any different a reaction?

Regardless, you could assume for the sake of argument that he was an atheist and answer the question in those terms.

So I should be deciding whether someone should lose their job based on an assumption? No, I don't think so.

Maybe you intend to avoid the question entirely in your response.

No, you're still reigning champion of evasion around these parts.

No.  It's not even impossible for an atheist to logically approach a subject like this.

You seem to be avoiding the question so far.

Well, sure I am, in your eyes. How much is that really saying? :rolleyes::lol:

What if there were blatant logical errors in his argument?  Would you still consider it "logically (not dogmatically)"?

"Religion played an important role in early American literature, he said. The goal was to prepare students for the study of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," based on the Salem witch trials."

http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/07/02/22/...1teacher001.cfm

Have you read "The Crucible," Strife?

In high school--I don't really remember any of it, though.

Do you find McDonald's explanation plausible enough to warrant the particulars of his lesson?

Assuming that your obvious implication of this is correct (that he, as I suggested he may have been from the start of my previous post, is deviating from the proper curriculum), would you seriously consider that in itself enough of a reason to fire a teacher?

So it's mainly religious ideas what have to do with "hell" and "consequences" (particularly eternal ones" that are impermissible in school?

Any dogmatic religious statements are impermissible. It's just that Paszkiewicz's were really on the 'high end' of that spectrum.

And how many dogmatic statements did this apparently atheist teacher make?

What's the consequence of saying that there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark?

Uh, how about the fact that a teacher telling kids lies instead of facts is exactly the opposite of the purpose of a school? Children go to school to learn, not to be indoctrinated with absurdities.

Were students not allowed to disagree with that proposition?  Were they graded on it?

Why would that matter, or change anything? Teachers are there to inform, not misinform.

Neither did Paszkiewicz, but credit you for a mighty effort to obfuscate the issue.

What was that he said about the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang? Who are you to accuse anyone else of 'obfuscation,' considering the incredible semantic dance you attempted to try and change Paszkiewicz's obvious intentions in what he said about those subjects? I'm sure it'd be a laugh to see you asking him directly if he thinks that evolution and the big bang are scientific, and seeing how he answers.

(part 1 of 2)

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He declared to the students that he was an atheist.

What makes you assume that I was assuming something?

Probably because that was not mentioned in the pdf that you linked to. Thanks for your later link to the referring article. It helps clarify things.

He also didn't write a letter to the local newspaper which displayed a gross level of incompetence on his part concerning American Literature, which is the subject he's teaching.

So you didn't think that Paszkiewicz should have been fired before that letter was written?

"Firing is too good for him. How exactly can anyone justify these reprehensible actions by that teacher?"

--Strife767, December 23, 2006

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...583entry39583

By my calculations, this statement of yours preceded Paszkiewicz's letter.

Showing that you are inconsistent hardly requires effort, Strife.

What Strife appears to be arguing is that this is a poor parallel to the Paszkiewicz affair. No where does he suggest that this statement to the press was a requirement to deserve firing. That implication is your own invention. If you re-read what he wrote with as much neutrality as you can muster, your conscience will leave you little choice but to at least give him the benefit of the doubt.

However, my defense of Strife on this point does not mean that I agree with him overall. I think it is a pretty fair parallel. Some differences, as Strife pointed out, but still a pretty good parallel overall. McDonald's "The Problem With Evil" handout did not directly state what a person should or should not believe, but it is clear enough what view it was intended to promote. When teaching his students, this teacher is a government employee acting on behalf of that government. Therefore, he crossed the church-state boundary just as Paszkiewicz did. He even used Paszkiewicz' excuse that he was trying to get students to think. That may have been true in both cases, but does not make it right in either. And, like Paszkiewicz (as Strife pointed out), this was also entirely off-topic for the class he was teaching, so it is fair to say that both were doing something other than the job they were paid to do. So, I'd say it's a pretty fair parallel, and that this teacher, like Paszkiewicz, stepped well out of bounds.

As to whether he should have been fired, that's a harder question. I don't think firing would have been unjust in either case, but neither do I think it would be the best way to solve the problem. Justified though it may be, the resulting outcry would likely galvanize the opposing sides against each other rather than bringing resolution.

It is much more important to solve the problem than to punish. I would only advocate firing if they do not stop the inappropriate behavior. Not so much as a punishment, but because the behavior needs to be stopped and voluntary means had failed to do so.

So, what's your take on it, Bryan?

Did they both do wrong? Only one? Neither?

Should both have been fired? Only one? Neither?

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(part 2 of 2)

You seem to be making quite the effort to excuse this teacher.  Is it fair to say that (based on the evidence thus far) you do not think he should be fired?

Of course he shouldn't. What did he do that would merit firing? The worst one could accuse him of was going off on a tangent. He even, after his dissection, leaves the possibility open at the bottom that "this is a mystery, and it is a mistake to even ask the question." Yeah, really dogmatic, all right.

Do you think that the handout is neutral toward religion?

Who said this:

"It is to be not only expected, but _demanded_, that public schools are kept religiously neutral."

?

Considering it makes no dogmatic statements for or against religion, yes.

By the logic of what you're obviously implying (that this is not religiously neutral), we shouldn't teach evolution in schools because it conflicts with some people's religious beliefs.

Neither did Paszkiewicz.

lol, yeah okay, I think you ought to give that recording of the meeting another listen.

So you didn't think that Paszkiewicz should have been fired before that letter was written?

"Firing is too good for him. How exactly can anyone justify these reprehensible actions by that teacher?"

--Strife767, December 23, 2006

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...5533;entry39583

I stick by that, and I feel that way simply because Paszkiewicz didn't just cross the line, but leaped over it. Similar to the way I wouldn't think someone who shoplifts a peppermint candy should get jail time (a fine would be...well, fine), but someone who steals a plasma TV should. Also, the fact that he is an American History teacher with a very apparent lack of knowledge of the United States Constitution (as seen from his statements, and only reaffirmed by his letter) gives another good reason--incompetence.

By my calculations, this statement of yours preceded Paszkiewicz's letter.

Showing that you are inconsistent hardly requires effort, Strife.

Yet I just explained my reason. Looks like your hair-splitting fails again.

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You made an assertion with no supporting evidence. And not just a random assertion, but one about a facet of one's life that is fairly personal more often than not. How could you have expected any different a reaction?

I don't assume stupidity on the part of the audience.

So I should be deciding whether someone should lose their job based on an assumption? No, I don't think so.

Always try to avoid reasoning from a hypothetical.

The person would not lose his job based on your decision. You don't have that kind of power. You'd be doing a thought experiment at worst. At best, I'm exactly right that the teacher was an atheist (the accompanying news report made that claim unequivocally), and you're dealing with the actual case.

Happily, I'm exactly right (if the news report is accurate).

No, you're still reigning champion of evasion around these parts.

Heh. For example?

Just above, you took me to task for making an assertion without evidence. It's okay for you to do that, though--isn't it?

Well, sure I am, in your eyes. How much is that really saying? :rolleyes::lol:

Time will tell.

Watch Strife dodge a question (two, actually):

What if there were blatant logical errors in his argument?  Would you still consider it "logically (not dogmatically)"?

"Religion played an important role in early American literature, he said. The goal was to prepare students for the study of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," based on the Salem witch trials."

http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/07/02/22/...1teacher001.cfm

Have you read "The Crucible," Strife?

In high school--I don't really remember any of it, though.

That seems very hard to believe.

You're still allowed to address the two questions you skipped.

Do you find McDonald's explanation plausible enough to warrant the particulars of his lesson?

Assuming that your obvious implication of this is correct (that he, as I suggested he may have been from the start of my previous post, is deviating from the proper curriculum), would you seriously consider that in itself enough of a reason to fire a teacher?

It's not easy for you to answer a question, is it?

;)

I'm not trying to imply anything with my question. I don't find the explanation plausible. But I remember something about "The Crucible" while Strife says he does not, so maybe I've got more to go on in rendering my judgment.

I had hoped to draw Strife into sharing his reasoning, but given that he doesn't remember "The Crucible" much, perhaps he cannot have an educated opinion regarding McDonald's assignment.

Hey Strife--remember this?

"Do you think that the handout is neutral toward religion?"

Any dogmatic religious statements are impermissible. It's just that Paszkiewicz's were really on the 'high end' of that spectrum.

Heh. Now it's "[a]ny dogmatic religious statements are impermissible" and Strife dodged another question.

For those who missed it (being hoodwinked by Strife's trickery), it looked like this:

Who said this:

"It is to be not only expected, but _demanded_, that public schools are kept religiously neutral."

?

Strife, unless his memory of his own recent statements is on a par with his memory of "The Crucible" from high school, knew he had made that statement, and declined to own up to it.

So, we see Strife's principles seem to change with the weather. When he doesn't like the implications of the principle he invoked earlier, he dumps it like a cheatin' girlfriend.

And how many dogmatic statements did this apparently atheist teacher make?

Hmmm. You seem to want to avoid the "religious neutrality" principle you espoused earlier. Why is that? ;)

In the homework assignment, the teacher made logical errors in his argument, chief among them his failure to account for all the possible answers to the problem of evil. There were other errors, also.

Uh, how about the fact that a teacher telling kids lies instead of facts is exactly the opposite of the purpose of a school? Children go to school to learn, not to be indoctrinated with absurdities.

Telling lies is not a "consequence" of telling lies as such.

Tell me again how I'm a champion of evasion.

Here's what you said, Strife (I'll be adding bold emphasis):

"He (I don't feel like typing 'he/she' so many times; just assume it's there, okay? lol) didn't tell any of his students they were going to hell, or that there were any consequences (especially not eternal ones) for them not agreeing with what his

'handout' said."

I couldn't help but notice that telling students that dinosaurs were on the ark wasn't telling students that they were going to hell or there were any consequences (especially eternal ones) for not accepting the statement.

Perhaps Strife lost the thread of his own logic and did not see where my question was going.

Why would that matter, or change anything? Teachers are there to inform, not misinform.

I'm working from the principles that you enumerated. If your principles do not really apply across the board but only when you say they apply (a la special pleading), you should specify that in advance.

:)

What was that he said about the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang?

You can't remember? Did that go down the memory hole, too?

He said that both relied on faith.

Who are you to accuse anyone else of 'obfuscation,' considering the incredible semantic dance you attempted to try and change Paszkiewicz's obvious intentions in what he said about those subjects?

Considering your fallacy of the complex question (question containing a questionable premise) and considering your current semantic dance, I'd seem to be me justly accusing you of obfuscation.

I'm sure it'd be a laugh to see you asking him directly if he thinks that evolution and the big bang are scientific, and seeing how he answers.

Anything you can't argue against seems to make you laugh.

(part 1 of 2)

Part two will contain the answers to the questions Strifey skipped this time--maybe.

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(part 2 of 2)

Of course he shouldn't.

dingdingdingding!

Strife answered a question!

Let's see how long it takes before he resorts to the fallacy of special pleading.

What did he do that would merit firing?

That's up to you. In the past, you have claimed that public school service demands religious neutrality. Maybe you don't believe that in this case. We'll go with what you say and see where it leads.

The worst one could accuse him of was going off on a tangent. He even, after his dissection, leaves the possibility open at the bottom that "this is a mystery, and it is a mistake to even ask the question." Yeah, really dogmatic, all right.

Odds are (overwhelming odds) that he was not talking about the assigment itself being a mistake, but suggesting that one option for the Christian was to claim the there was no viable explanation, therefore it would remain a mystery.

Can one teach via fallacy without being dogmatic?

If I teach that 2+2=4, and the reason I give for the answer is that chocolate ice cream tastes good, is this a non-dogmatic rationale for 2+2=4?

Do you think that the handout is neutral toward religion?

Who said this:

"It is to be not only expected, but _demanded_, that public schools are kept religiously neutral."

?

Considering it makes no dogmatic statements for or against religion, yes.

Can you be an atheist and still be a good citizen?

Am I being religiously neutral? Is my question a dogmatic statement?

An argument concerning religious ideas (such as the the problem of good and evil from the Christian perspective) has premises built-in. The premises account for one element of dogmatism.

Additionally, an argument that proffers a limited number of possible answers where more answers exist, is presenting the set of solutions dogmatically.

If you are an atheist, then you are

a ) a moral relativist

b ) a nihilist

or

c ) can't be bothered with the whole issue of morality in the first place.

See how it works?

By the logic of what you're obviously implying (that this is not religiously neutral), we shouldn't teach evolution in schools because it conflicts with some people's religious beliefs.

The religious neutrality requirement was your requirement, not mine. Did you forget?

lol, yeah okay, I think you ought to give that recording of the meeting another listen.

Why? Did you alter it in some manner?

Yet I just explained my reason. Looks like your hair-splitting fails again.

Strife still doesn't understand how the Socratic method works.

You've been forced to clarify your position, and that new position has been challenged in its turn.

-success-

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Probably because that was not mentioned in the pdf that you linked to. Thanks for your later link to the referring article. It helps clarify things.

I didn't think that the issue was unclear as I presented it. :)

So you didn't think that Paszkiewicz should have been fired before that letter was written?

"Firing is too good for him. How exactly can anyone justify these reprehensible actions by that teacher?"

--Strife767, December 23, 2006

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...583entry39583

By my calculations, this statement of yours preceded Paszkiewicz's letter.

Showing that you are inconsistent hardly requires effort, Strife.

What Strife appears to be arguing is that this is a poor parallel to the Paszkiewicz affair. No where does he suggest that this statement to the press was a requirement to deserve firing. That implication is your own invention.

There is no implication on my part. I'm using the Socratic method to cut Strife off from the introduction of distractions. If he's willing to see Pasziewicz fired before the letter to the paper (history shows that he was) then using that fact in the context of his defense of the Washington teacher is irrelevant.

That's just fact, because that's where logic leads.

If you re-read what he wrote with as much neutrality as you can muster, your conscience will leave you little choice but to at least give him the benefit of the doubt.

Like you just did with me? :)

When I ask Strife a question that gives him the opportunity to make clear where he stands on the issue, how is that not giving him the benefit of the doubt?

To make it seem as though I'm not giving him the benefit of the doubt, you have to assume that my question does not permit Strife the option of answering in any manner he sees fit.

That's kind of a big assumption, isn't it?

However, my defense of Strife on this point does not mean that I agree with him overall. I think it is a pretty fair parallel. Some differences, as Strife pointed out, but still a pretty good parallel overall. McDonald's "The Problem With Evil" handout did not directly state what a person should or should not believe, but it is clear enough what view it was intended to promote. When teaching his students, this teacher is a government employee acting on behalf of that government. Therefore, he crossed the church-state boundary just as Paszkiewicz did. He even used Paszkiewicz' excuse that he was trying to get students to think. That may have been true in both cases, but does not make it right in either. And, like Paszkiewicz (as Strife pointed out), this was also entirely off-topic for the class he was teaching, so it is fair to say that both were doing something other than the job they were paid to do. So, I'd say it's a pretty fair parallel, and that this teacher, like Paszkiewicz, stepped well out of bounds.

Your position is self-consistent on that point--an admirable quality.

As to whether he should have been fired, that's a harder question. I don't think firing would have been unjust in either case, but neither do I think it would be the best way to solve the problem. Justified though it may be, the resulting outcry would likely galvanize the opposing sides against each other rather than bringing resolution.

It is much more important to solve the problem than to punish. I would only advocate firing if they do not stop the inappropriate behavior. Not so much as a punishment, but because the behavior needs to be stopped and voluntary means had failed to do so.

Thanks for addressing the question. I sincerely appreciate it.

So, what's your take on it, Bryan?

I don't think that either teacher should be fired. I think what the Washington teacher did was worse since he included his argument as a class assignment, which draws it in as part of the curriculum proper. I don't know if the assignment was for grading, however (if so, the problem is compounded).

Also, the assignment would have occurred regardless of student input.

Finally, I don't think that McDonald's rationale for including the assignment rings true. Discussing Christianity as a prelude the "The Crucible" maybe, but how is the problem of evil relevant? Miller was an atheist, but "The Crucible" is generally taken as a response to McCarthyism.

http://www.aresearchguide.com/crucible.html

Did they both do wrong? Only one? Neither?

I think that Paszkiewicz overstepped when he said that the universe had to be created by a being (obviously implying a personal being, IMO). On that point, it's fair to suggest that he treated a religious issue dogmatically. Oddly, the point where I'd fault Paszkiewicz didn't seem to draw much attention compared to other comments, and on the other instances I think he has been treated from unfairly to very unfairly.

McDonald did wrong by providing a poor representation of the problem of evil (containing fallacies) and presenting it as a solid argument. He compounded the problem, IMO, by having a dubious rationale for making an assignment out of it.

A written assignment should have a clearer relationship to the curriculum, IMHO.

I have no problem with the problem of evil occurring in a class discussion (I think that Paszkiewicz's teaching method was acceptable--he was asked about the theist perspective on the problem, and it's fair to offer that perspective and fair to offer his opinion on it as long as he's not presenting it as something that the class must accept).

Should both have been fired? Only one? Neither?

Neither should be fired, but Paul LaClair should bring suit against the school district in Washington to force them to retract McDonald's errors and institute an inservice program on church/state separation. ;)

Kidding, Paul. I know it's unlikely you'd have standing. :)

Others who called for Paszkiewicz's firing are encouraged to contribute their opinions on this case.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Guest
I could have sworn that there was more than one on the LaClair side of things who called for Paszkiewicz's firing.

Yes, there were DROVES of 'em. And they all just LOVED to talk about "what if it was a Muslim teacher", or "what if it was an atheist teacher" and similar arguments. Now, an atheist teacher apparently ignores the church and state separation in an equally opposite manner as such principle was ignored by Mr. P - and where are they?

Nowhere.

I mean - here's their chance to solidify that their opinions were based on Constitutional tenents and not solely atheist sentiment. Yet what type of outrage is there to your post?

None. Nada. Silence but for one voice (Strife) attempting to draw distinctions and justify what the teacher had done (ignoring the same Constitutional provisions that he championed in favor of the LaClairs in the process).

Conclusion? Cynics would clearly call them hypocrites. However, I think that it's easy to fight when we're on the side of the right, but when someone who shares our beliefs crosses the line, we are reluctant to criticize.

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Yes, there were DROVES of 'em.  And they all just LOVED to talk about "what if it was a Muslim teacher", or "what if it was an atheist teacher" and similar arguments.

We still haven't gotten an answer to those hypotheticals, by the way.

Now, an atheist teacher apparently ignores the church and state separation in an equally opposite manner as such principle was ignored by Mr. P

lol, excuse me? Show me once where that teacher told his class "there is no God." He pointed out a philosophical/logical issue that comes in believing in a certain type of god, and broke it down--he didn't even 'answer his own question' at the end--instead, he left several choices, and made no personal statement on the matter at all.

THIS is your idea of a parallel? What are you smoking?

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Yes, there were DROVES of 'em.  And they all just LOVED to talk about "what if it was a Muslim teacher", or "what if it was an atheist teacher" and similar arguments.  Now, an atheist teacher apparently ignores the church and state separation in an equally opposite manner as such principle was ignored by Mr. P - and where are they? 

Nowhere.

I mean - here's their chance to solidify that their opinions were based on Constitutional tenents and not solely atheist sentiment.  Yet what type of outrage is there to your post? 

None.  Nada.  Silence but for one voice (Strife) attempting to draw distinctions and justify what the teacher had done (ignoring the same Constitutional provisions that he championed in favor of the LaClairs in the process).

I thought that WilliamK posted reasonably. But he hadn't been one of the strident ones calling for Paszkiewicz's firing, either.

Conclusion?  Cynics would clearly call them hypocrites.  However, I think that it's easy to fight when we're on the side of the right, but when someone who shares our beliefs crosses the line, we are reluctant to criticize.

You don't have to be a cynic to call them hypocrites. Those who can't bring themselves to call for the atheist teacher to be fired while failing to draw a meaningful distinction between the two cases (thus excluding Strife's attempt) after calling for Paszkiewicz to be fired perfectly fit the definition of hypocrisy regardless of whether or not we offer understanding of the common human foible.

All of us are likely to indulge in hypocrisy. The hope is that those who called for Paszkiewicz's firing will think a bit more deeply about their view next time.

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Guest qetzal

Mr. P. was wrong to argue the truth of his religious beliefs in a public school classroom.

Based on the available info, McDonald was likely wrong in his actions as well (though not 'entirely off-topic', if the HeraldNet article is accurate). I say "likely" because it's less clear that he was making truth claims about religion. In any case, his handout did seem to have a condescending tone, and his five answers to the problem of evil make unwarranted claims about what monotheistic religions can 'logically' conclude.

Even assuming the least charitable interpretation in each case, I don't think either deserved to be fired for their initial classroom actions and statements.

The key distinction to me is their actions and statements after being called to account. McDonald acknowledged his error & apologized. This was the proper response. Assuming he does not repeat his error in the future, he should not be fired.

Mr. P. denied making improper statements, then refused to admit any error in the face of recorded proof. As far as I've heard, he still claims he did nothing wrong, and has never apologized. If he lied about his statements during the meeting in the principal's office, and if he is unable or unwilling to recognize his errors and agree not to commit them in the future, he deserves to be fired.

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Mr. P. was wrong to argue the truth of his religious beliefs in a public school classroom.

Based on the available info, McDonald was likely wrong in his actions as well (though not 'entirely off-topic', if the HeraldNet article is accurate).

How do you think the problem of evil relates to "The Crucible" then?

I say "likely" because it's less clear that he was making truth claims about religion. In any case, his handout did seem to have a condescending tone, and his five answers to the problem of evil make unwarranted claims about what monotheistic religions can 'logically' conclude.

Why isn't the latter a truth claim about religion?

Even assuming the least charitable interpretation in each case, I don't think either deserved to be fired for their initial classroom actions and statements.

Well, then, you're somewhat like WilliamK. Your position was more moderate than many who expressed their opinions at KOTW. I was hoping to obtain responses from those who called for Paszkiewicz to be fired--and there was more than one who did that.

The key distinction to me is their actions and statements after being called to account. McDonald acknowledged his error & apologized.

McDonald expressed puzzlement over his actions being called into question. He offered one of those non-apology apologies. Review:

"I regret in the strongest terms the trouble that I have caused."

Yes, he regrets the trouble. He don't want to be fired or otherwise risk his retirement.

This was the proper response. Assuming he does not repeat his error in the future, he should not be fired.

Indeed, given that the the school administration has instructed him not to use the supplemental handout he invented as an addendum to the course.

Mr. P. denied making improper statements, then refused to admit any error in the face of recorded proof.

Part of the recorded proof has Paszkiewicz specifically asking the students if they minded the religious discussion. Not only was there no objection, but one particular student engaged in the discussion with particular vigor.

I'm not aware of Paszkiewicz having denied making improper statements, for that matter. He denied making particular statements as Matthew LaClair presented them, and I think he was correct to do so. Young LaClair's presentation omitted relevant context in every case, from what I can tell.

As far as I've heard, he still claims he did nothing wrong, and has never apologized.

And what is the source of your information?

Paszkiewicz's apology is at least as good as McDonald's.

"So if that’s preaching m[y] religion in class, I’m sorry." (meeting between LaClair, Paszkiewicz, Somma, and a Ms. Woods).

If he lied about his statements during the meeting in the principal's office, and if he is unable or unwilling to recognize his errors and agree not to commit them in the future, he deserves to be fired.

I don't think he lied about his statements during the meeting in the principal's office. I think he answered to the best of his recollection, and with a POV that (frequently) put him more in touch with the context of the comments than young LaClair was able to muster for the occasion.

Let me put it this way: Almost all of the statements that Matthew asserted were "dangerous" were in the Dranger transcript. A reasonable observer with a bias against religious people found Paszkiewicz's comments "pretty balanced" ("In truth, and going over the transcript, Mr. P. was pretty balanced if very self contradictory, but that's the nature of a transcript of spontaneous conversation I guess. I wouldn't say he was actually being intolerant in terms of his religious beliefs towards the students in that classIt's just that he was balanced about a load of complete bollocks! It had no place in the class." It's worth nothing that part of the Dranger transcript reads "You're a (???), you belong here" where it should read "If you reject that, you belong in hell" but given the context I doubt his views would be much different) while young LaClair declared Paszkiewicz's comments "dangerous" in the letter he addressed to school officials and emphasized during the subsequent meeting his concern over the safety of his fellow students.

On that point there seems to be no parallel in the McDonald case.

For that matter, McDonald's rationale for teaching on the problem of evil seems like a rather thin justification--perhaps to the point of being a lie.

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We still haven't gotten an answer to those hypotheticals, by the way.

lol, excuse me? Show me once where that teacher told his class "there is no God." He pointed out a philosophical/logical issue that comes in believing in a certain type of god, and broke it down--he didn't even 'answer his own question' at the end--instead, he left several choices, and made no personal statement on the matter at all.

THIS is your idea of a parallel? What are you smoking?

As to the hypotheticals - yes you have had answers, and no you will never get a definitive answer until it happens.

So ... now you're creating degrees of allowable infringement upon the previously untouchable proscription of the Separation of Church and State. Why does he have to say "there is no God" for him to cross the line (and just because he didn't give a specific answer, doesn't mean that he wasn't alluding to one)? It's okay for this guy to ask my kids to question the non-existence of God in a public school classroom? There's no Constitutional infringement there? If you don't see the hypocrisy in your statements - all I can say is that it's either the drugs you're taking or the drugs you should be taking that's causing the problem.

At the end of the day, I don't want this guy, Mr. P ... or anyone else for that matter ... talking religion to my kids in school.

So c'mon - a little honesty and integrity here. You agree with his obvious implication - so you won't criticize. It's okay ... go ahead ... admitting it is the first step.

I'm Strifey, and I'm a bit of a hypocrite.

(ALL) We love you Strifey.

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As to the hypotheticals - yes you have had answers,

Link me to them--I must have missed them.

and no you will never get a definitive answer until it happens.

So ... now you're creating degrees of allowable infringement upon the previously untouchable proscription of the Separation of Church and State.

Uh, no. It does not violate the separation of church and state to talk about some religion or another in a non-dogmatic, matter-of-fact way, especially when there is some relation to literature that the class is assigned to read.

Why does he have to say "there is no God" for him to cross the line (and just because he didn't give a specific answer, doesn't mean that he wasn't alluding to one)?

Uh, because there is no endorsement unless he says something like that. And if there's no endorsement, there is no violation.

It's okay for this guy to ask my kids to question the non-existence of God in a public school classroom?

Depends how you mean. If the presentation of factual material makes a child question the beliefs he's been brought up with, that is no fault of the teacher or school. Would you consider it a violation of separation of church and state for a child brought up by creationists to be taught modern biology?

There's no Constitutional infringement there?  If you don't see the hypocrisy in your statements - all I can say is that it's either the drugs you're taking or the drugs you should be taking that's causing the problem.

Ad hominem ignored.

At the end of the day, I don't want this guy, Mr. P ... or anyone else for that matter ... talking religion to my kids in school.

It's impossible to never mention religion ever, especially in stuff like literature and history classes (that is, unless you want to deprive the kid of important context). It all depends on the context. If there is no endorsement, there's no infringement--at least, that's the criterion that the courts seemed to have decided upon.

So c'mon - a little honesty and integrity here.  You agree with his obvious implication - so you won't criticize.

Patently false assumption--doesn't deserve any more refutation than that.

The rest of the childish banter has been snipped--to think for a moment there I thought you were interested in serious discussion.

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