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Oregon Biology Teacher Fired Over Bible References
Fox News ^ | Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Posted on 03/20/2007 2:02:43 PM PDT by Diago

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To: trumandogz

It depends on how strong a link the teacher made and what evidence he had to support it. Given media bias, I'm assuming it wasn't that wild. Had it been, the story probably would have spelled it out. Instead, we get generalities.

101 posted on 03/20/2007 7:29:40 PM PDT by California Patriot ("That's not Charley the Tuna out there. It's Jaws." -- Richard Nixon)
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To: All

Additional Info:

Sisters fires biology teacher

By Tia Duerrmeyer

Kris Helphinstine lasted less than two weeks on the job as a new Sisters High School biology teacher. The school board fired him last Monday night on the recommendation of Superintendent Ted Thonstad for deviating from accepted curriculum by presenting materials supporting creationism to his biology class.

By a vote of three to one, with one member abstaining because of a lack of background information, the board terminated the employment of the probationary, part-time teacher.

Helphinstine, 27, disagrees with Thonstad's analysis of his actions.

"Actually, I did not teach creationism," Helphinstine said. "That's one thing I did not teach. I understand that's not my job. As far as what I taught. I taught ... natural selection, the effects of natural selection, genetic drifts and allele frequency that's what I taught."

That's not how some parents of students in the class see it. One parent, John Rahm, said his daughter reported that only "one day of 10" was devoted to the study of evolution, with the rest devoted to devoted to "Intelligent Design" materials.

"The test as well was 90-plus percent ID material," Rahm said.

When asked by The Nugget if he believes the Bible is the final authority when determining scientific fact, Helphinstine said that assumptions have been made about him that are not accurate. However, he acknowledged that he was not responding directly to the question.

The red flag went up last week when parents were asked questions by their puzzled students about information that was being discussed in their freshman biology class. Concern mounted when parents examined materials that Helphinstine was distributing to his students and they brought the matter to the attention of high school principal Bob Macauley.

According to Rahm the material was "conspicuously intelligent design type information or teaching. Actually if you took the material and Googled the crucial passages it takes you to a creationist Web site called Answers in Genesis,, that is run by Ken Ham. ... One of the lines in his (Ham's) mission statement for the Web site is any statement which contradicts the Bible is inherently false," Rahm said.

Helphinstine defended his usage of source material from the "Answers in Genesis" Web site telling The Nugget that some of the information presented is "good scientific fact."

Parents turned out in force at the school board meeting.

"I'm here to tell you that I am absolutely outraged to the deepest level of my bones that this curriculum, that this study session, was allowed to be presented to our families and our children without anybody looking over anybody's shoulder, and I would like to know how this occurred and why it occurred and what remedies the board has," said parent Dan Harrison.

Before board members made public statements, they asked superintendent Ted Thonstad for his recommendation.

"I thought Kris departed from the curriculum," Thonstad stated." He included controversial material in the content of his class without discussing that with his supervisors. I think he exercised poor judgment and strayed into an area that causes a great deal of concern on the part of the people in the district. I have a concern that because of that he might not conform to teaching our curriculum in the future, and I don't believe the district can take that risk, and for that reason I recommend that Kris be terminated."

Board member Glen Lasken said that although he is not sure that Helphinstine broke the law, "when you completely debunk evolution through your paper work that you're handing out, I don't think that at that point it really matters that you (Helphinstine) never said the word God in the classroom."

"I think Mr. Helphinstine wasn't teaching good science. ... I think his performance was not just a little bit over the line. I think it was a severe contradiction of what we trust teachers to do in the classroom," said board member Jeff Smith.

"I feel that he departed from the accepted curriculum and exercised poor judgment on his source material in particular...," chairman Gould said.

When the vote was taken, Dumolt abstained, as he had not attended the closed executive session when all issues surrounding the matter were discussed. Gould, Lasken and Smith voted in favor of termination. Steve Rudinsky voted against termination.

"What this teacher did was unacceptable behavior," Rudinsky said. However, Rudinsky wanted Macauley and veteran biology teacher Glenn Herron to recommend what action should be taken.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't get the input from the principal or from the master biology teacher who are intimately involved in the situation to speak up about it," Rudinsky said. "This was an unfortunate situation It was not just about the teacher. It was about oversight and how we manage new teachers. Do we mentor them? Are we watching what they do? So there's culpability on both sides."

According to the district's Human Resources Director Tim Comfort, "It is not common practice to pop in in the first week or two and observe your new staff formally. In general, you've got to have some faith in their training.... We don't operate thinking that every new employee is going to be at risk and do something wrong,"

According to Thonstad, he asked Helphinstine to resign to save both himself and the district from "negative fall out." However, Helphinstine refused asserting that he had broken no laws and resigning would be contrary to his principles.

The school district has gotten in trouble before for blurring the line between church and state. The State of Oregon is witholding $1.2 million in state school funds that had been earlier paid out for a disallowed homeschool program that involved students at the local private Christian school.

102 posted on 03/20/2007 7:35:46 PM PDT by Diago (Every 3 days, more Blacks are killed by abortion than have been killed by KKK in its entire history)
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To: Diago

OK, sounds like the guy was not only somewhat imprudent, but way over the line. Still, a person violating the curriculum in a left-wing or atheistic direction would not have been punished this severely.

103 posted on 03/20/2007 7:37:36 PM PDT by California Patriot ("That's not Charley the Tuna out there. It's Jaws." -- Richard Nixon)
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To: Gumlegs
Your entire post was one strawman after the other, after the other, after the other.

I am going to bed now but I will address your rant tomorrow or when I have the time. There are so many strawmen and overstatements to wade through.

For now, in brief, you kept bringing up public schools as if I am for the big government public school monopoly, though I have made it abundantly clear that I am completely against the big government public school monopoly. I am for privatization which removes the choice and coercion from big centralized government control and allows parents to choose instead.

You knew this, so the only reason you kept referring to public school, public school, public school was so that you would have a strawman platform from which to launch your tirade based upon a Big Centralized Government public school environment whose existance I am not for in the first place.

104 posted on 03/20/2007 7:48:29 PM PDT by Old Landmarks (No fear of man, none!)
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To: Old Landmarks
By all means, go to bed.

This thread is about a public school teacher. You may have missed that.

I don't know why I should be expected to know what your particular hobby horse is. If it's THE EVIL PUBLIC SCHOOLS, fine. But be prepared to defend equally evil private schools. There may be a group of people out there who might want to teach things of which you could not possibly approve.

105 posted on 03/20/2007 7:51:30 PM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: Gumlegs
You spouted some more nonsense because you know I pointed out your strawman attack. You knew good and well that my post was about public schools, that is, my opinion that they should be closed in favor of privatization and parental choice. Don't give me the hobby horse baloney.

Since you seem to be bent out of shape that someone would oppose the big centralized government public schools, you must want to control those who would be adamantly against your precious big government public school monopoly. You even gave an emotional all caps evil public schools highlight. I think you do favor public schools due to the presence your immense overreaction.

By all means?
You do wear it on your sleeve and you are trying to get cute, so take a hike sonny, until you grow up.

106 posted on 03/20/2007 8:03:21 PM PDT by Old Landmarks (No fear of man, none!)
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To: Old Landmarks

As I said before, go to bed.

107 posted on 03/20/2007 8:06:31 PM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: Gumlegs

And as I said before, grow up.

108 posted on 03/20/2007 8:08:17 PM PDT by Old Landmarks (No fear of man, none!)
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To: Old Landmarks

Been out of the school yard long?

109 posted on 03/20/2007 8:11:50 PM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: Oztrich Boy

As you are talking about cosmology. creationism is the belief in a creator of all things and the creation of the universe out of nothing. Atheists don't believe in a creator; traditionally, they believed that the universe has always existed. Theology, at least Catholic theology, regards creationism as a theological doctrine concerning the origin of the human soul. For instance. Dr. Ludwig Ott wrote this in 1952. repprting the opinion of the Bible Commission (1909) As the sacred writer had no intention of representing with scientific accuracy the intrinsic constitution of things, and the sequence of works of creation but only of communicating knowledge in a popular way suitable to the idiom and the -prescientific development of his day, the account is not to be regardede as if it were.....

110 posted on 03/20/2007 8:18:06 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: Old Landmarks
You spouted some more nonsense because you know I pointed out your strawman attack.

Here's the post with the alleged strawmen you're referring to. Tomorrow morning (or when you've sobered up), point them out.

To: Old Landmarks; tacticalogic
Okay. I read your post. It's most unimpressive.

If you are going to teach in a government school, you have to stick to godlessness. You cannot mention God or anything from the traditional biblical perspective that has served as the underpinning of American civilization for four hundred years.

And in a government school, whose version of which religion should govern the science classes? Or how about Math class? You know, don't you, that the zero is a Muslim invention? It might be interesting if Muslim teachers decided to teach the Koranic version of science, or if Hindu teachers decided to make sure the curriculum didn't contradict the Vedas.

For the entire history of the country until quite recently you could mention God and refer directly to biblical principles concerning the origins of man because that was the kind of schools that communities "freely" chose to create since the beginning of this country.

And if communities "freely" choose to teach that down is up, you're okay with that, right?

This is no longer the case, for you must now lead children to believe that science has proven that the only reasonable explanation for their existence must be given by naturalistic science, for they are the ultimate holders of all truth about past events that they did not observe or test and the Bible is merely a book of nonsense.

I don't know whether this is ignorance or lies. Either way, it's wrong. Science is about naturalistic explanations, but as yet there is not scientifically accepted theory of origins.

Do you really want the Bible in science class? Then you'd better be ready to have scientists subject the Bible to scientific scrutiny. Be careful what you wish for. Should we teach that roses are red because God wanted to remind us of the blood of Jesus? What color were roses before 33AD?

Why is the level of scientific knowledge in the Bible indistinguishable from the average man's knowledge of science when the Bible was written? Why didn't God drop a hint, say, about penicillin?

Kids need to learn science. If you want to live in the tenth century, fine. Enjoy life with the Islamists -- they're your allies in this.

It was only recently that liberals have used the supreme court to overcome the will of most parents in the name of their own secular progressive revisionism.

The only solution is to phase out and discontinue the godless government school monopoly and let the parents choose a private godless school if that is their choice. At the same time the large majority of parents will get to choose a school that they favor as well. Goodbye to the forced godless indoctrination.

Whose version of which God should be in the public schools?

Universal private schooling is a different issue entirely. But it should be noted that those who support schools that willfully distort science end up penalizing primarily their children.

It is the only just solution, because the government schools are a political monopoly as dictated by the NEA and the ACLU playbook.

I'm not here to defend public schools, but I do object to attempts to inject anyone's peculiar reading of the Bible into science.

You post has been addressed. Happy now?

95 posted on 03/20/2007 10:10:13 PM EDT by Gumlegs

111 posted on 03/20/2007 8:18:24 PM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: Gumlegs

"Is that why so many scientists have their own television shows on which they appear immaculately coiffed, sometimes with their wives interjecting, "Oh! Praise Pasteur!" every few moments while the scientist tearfully warns his viewers that unless the viewers send money, that science won't like them any more?"


I will have to save and reuse that quote, if you don't mind.

112 posted on 03/20/2007 8:27:53 PM PDT by LibertarianInExile ("Kid, thanks to your gay little song, there's not gonna BE a San Francisco." - SP, 'Smug Alert!')
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To: LibertarianInExile

I consider your "roflmao" payment in full for any and all use and reuse of said item.

113 posted on 03/20/2007 8:33:11 PM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: California Patriot
There is a simple grandeur in the view of life with its powers of growth, assimilation and reproduction, being originally breathed into matter under one or few forms, and that whilst this our planet has gone circling according to fixed laws, and land and water, in a cycle of change, have gone on replacing each other, that from so simple an origin, through the power of gradual selection of influential changes, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been evolved."

If we ultimately come from matter, without reason, or any design --- or just by ‘luck’ we exist in ‘this‘ universe with its’ fortuitous laws… What is this ‘simple grandeur in the view of life’ in the context of the current naturalism within science regarding Darwinism? If someone states human life has no ultimate purpose - how can that statement, or any other statement put forth by mankind, have any ultimate purpose? Beyond this, if life is ‘ultimately’ meaningless due to undirected mechanistic processes - why should there be a need to state this to mankind over and over as if the statement has actual meaning? IOW, is current science here merely to inform mankind that there is ultimately no meaning to everything that we study, learn, and believe other than invoking the reason and purpose from Darwinism; feed, fight, flee, and… ‘reproduce‘? Is science now able to put the human experience of this ‘grandeur’ on a Petri dish for all to study in the purely naturalistic fashion it currently employs?

Furthermore, Darwin himself, later in life, stated basically that ‘beauty’ does not actually exist - and current science states that we all must keep in mind that ‘design’ is also non-existent --- nature merely displays the appearance of ‘design’.

I am not a creationist nor do I think ‘id’ should currently be taught in high school, but I see no reason why students should not be allowed to explore the questions (or simular questions) above in class. I would think this is especially true considering what they will be exposed to in college biology.
As posted previously:

Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence of design and purpose. By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous. Together with Marx's materialistic theory of history and society and Freud's attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin's theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism…
---Douglas Futuyma's Evolutionary Biology (1998, 3rd Ed., Sinauer Associates), p. 5

Again, what is this ‘simple grandeur in the view of life’ when we reference Darwinism?

Consider consciousness… Is it merely an "emergent property" of natural selection? If so, where does the material complexity of human thought and the qualitative pieces for ‘beauty and grandeur‘ exist? Is human thought nothing more than the liver producing bile (see Huxley/Cabanis)? Until naturalism can reduce the qualitative properties of human consciousness into material things, the arguments based on naturalism are as immaterial as any other argument.

114 posted on 03/20/2007 8:42:25 PM PDT by Heartlander
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To: Diago
It should be noted that Margaret Sanger had to disassemble one of her organizations (Birth Control League) because of the strong ties to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. That is why there was a need to form a new organization when the United States entered World War II. The new organization came into being in January 1942. This is Planned Parenthood that was formed, but still kept the ideas of Birth Control League.

Oddly, after World War II, the Nazi in charge of the SUPER RACE program in Nazi Germany (the Eugenics program) became head of the International branch of Planned Parenthood (as I said, this happened after the end of World War II).

This would make a great 60 Minutes program except it would villanize Hillary Clinton's hero Margaret Sanger and is not attack on conservatives but on liberalism...

115 posted on 03/20/2007 8:59:02 PM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: Diago
"I have never felt the Divine Power as near as in the greatness of our Fuhrer."

"What the Fuhrer has given me is not only a political ideology, but also a religion."

Eerily similar to the mindset of the MoveOn fanatics...

If the teacher used his remarks as a stimulus to discussion and viewpoints, rather than indoctrination, it would not seem unusual or improper.

116 posted on 03/20/2007 9:13:32 PM PDT by mtntop3
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To: Heartlander

But Darwin, like Newton and Descarte didn't explain everything.
So now we have amorphous/probability physics and fuzzy math.

I don't think Darwin ever envisioned the complexity of the
simple "bags of protoplasm" that we now know are highly
coordinated, organized cells.

117 posted on 03/20/2007 9:36:59 PM PDT by Getready (Truth and wisdom are more elusive, and valuable, than gold and diamonds)
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To: Heartlander

I agree that these things should be discussed. I have no patience with people who would censor this. But I still think the teacher seems to have gone overboard.

118 posted on 03/20/2007 10:44:12 PM PDT by California Patriot ("That's not Charley the Tuna out there. It's Jaws." -- Richard Nixon)
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To: trumandogz
Good Riddance.

Yeah, who needs freedom, when you can have Orwell.

119 posted on 03/20/2007 11:33:15 PM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: Continental Soldier
What in the world does Nazi Germany have to do with evolution? This guy had an agenda contrary to science.

Might I suggest you answer the first question before you pass judgement. That would be scientific. To pass judgement without information is faith. Science makes a real bad religion.

However if you read the rather lengthy post in the body, you will see that it was not contrary to science. People who make science into a religion really ruin science, but that has been common in history.

120 posted on 03/20/2007 11:49:22 PM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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