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The Lie: Evolution
 

Grievance


This is the third battle fought over allowing students to receive scientific facts about evolutionism. See my testimony for links to the other battles.

Following was my initial grievance.

According to School Laws of West Virginia (18-29-2a) I have a grievance because of any actions, policy, or practice constituting a substantial detriment to, or interference with effective classroom instruction. Testimony from board president John Luoni demonstrated that he and the Board of Education require exclusively teaching about anything viable as having been evolved. It is common knowledge that evolution cannot even evolve a screwdriver which has no moving parts and cannot reproduce itself. Yet Mr. Luoni requires teaching exclusively that living things, the most complex engineered machines in the universe, evolved mindlessly. This flies in the face of common sense and all human experience throughout all of history.

Counsel for the Board of Education has suggested that it is unnecessary for the Board of Education to provide a policy that clearly states evolution may be criticized. This is prejudicial or capricious because it is not the case for other redundancies like student character. Kanawha County Schools passed a Character Resolution even though county policy already contains a Student Code of Conduct.

The Board of Education and Administration allege that criticism of evolution is the same as teaching religion. This is patently false. As Mr. Luoni testified, teaching that Henry Ford designed, or intelligently designed, or created the Ford automobile is not teaching religion. Yet to offer the evidence to students that a tree was designed, or intelligently designed, or created, Mr. Luoni testified, would not be permitted because, in his mind, that would be the same as teaching religion. This policy is clearly anti-scientific because the evidence is overwhelming that all living forms were designed (please see Evolution Is Biologically Impossible (http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-317.htm). It is also prejudicial or capricious and clearly violates free speech and academic freedom.

If Intelligent Design is not allowed to be discussed as a possibility then we are left with nothingness and that is tantamount to promoting atheism. That is just as illegal as to attribute something to a deity. I want to be neutral on both sides and merely close the vacuum by criticism of evolution.

Actions, and lack of action, by the Kanawha County Board of Education and its officials have made it clear that my freedom of speech has been arbitrarily and severely abridged by restraining me from properly and objectively teaching mathematics as it integrates, as mandated, with science.

School Laws of West Virginia (18A-2-8) also make it clear that a teacher can be dismissed for willful neglect of duty. This is clearly stated in my contract in which I solemnly affirmed to honestly demean myself as a member of the teaching profession and to the best of my ability execute my position of teacher.

Reactions by the Kanawha County Board of Education, and its officials, has revealed the issue of evolution criticism is extremely inflammatory and produces strong reactions.

There is no reasonable doubt and the preponderance of the evidence suggests, very strongly, that freedom of speech and academic freedom in opposition to the dogma of evolution has been substantially abridged in Kanawha County public schools and those abridgments substantially interfere with effective classroom instruction and job performance. On the basis of the evidence, I respectfully request a judgment in favor of my grievance.

I request the following relief: The Kanawha County Board of Education should be instructed to institute a policy that clarifies that evolution is not immune from scientific criticism. This would remove the fear a teacher may have of the act of evolution criticism resulting in administrative or legal harassment. By instituting such a policy Kanawha County Schools will come down firmly on the side of academic freedom and free speech.

Following is my "Findings of Fact" presented to the Administrative Law Judge after the hearing.

The Kanawha County Board of Education has failed to answer specific questions regarding what academic freedom I have to criticize evolution. There is a contradiction with what the Board, and its officials, do and what the Controversial Subject policy states. The caveat is to give half answers and veiled threats. There is always an implied warning which has a chilling effect on my freedom of speech. For example, in a letter Dr. Thomas Williams seems to say that I am allowed to criticize evolution then he states, However, I find it difficult to see how a discussion on these math topics would be enhanced by a discussion on evolution... I am in fear that a comment I make will place my career in jeopardy.

Most importantly, I have concern about the effect of my students reading false information. I have a primary obligation to my students which is significantly impeded because of actions and lack of action taken by the Board and its officials. This cloud of censorship forced me to cancel a lesson. I am worried that my students will absorb, uncritically, false information about evolution theory. My students, and their parents, expect me to present facts and truth.

Kanawha County Schools has put in jeopardy my academic freedom. I feel, based upon the atmosphere that has been created by Kanawha County Board of Education decrees and by threats from others, implied and direct, to me that I cannot do my job fully.

To support my argument I present four points followed by case law.

A. A prime example of evolution concepts which are part of one of my adopted textbook (Pre-Algebra-An Integrated Transition to Algebra and Geometry, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1999, Westerville, OH) is the introduction to Chapter 9 (pages 430-431) which has (among others) the following evolution concepts:

1. ...eras of life development.
2. ...skull of a primate believed to be a 2- to 3-million-year-old human ancestor.

The same chapter has a website link that leads a student to a Research Feature that uses the phrase long-held evolutionary theories. Also, Chapter 9 has a special project entitled Endangered Species which has as its introductory sentence: “There are differing theories for the reasons behind the disappearance of the dinosaurs”.

B. Educational journals (such as Schools In The Middle and Middle Ground), Kanawha County Schools Staff Development requirements, National Science Foundation awards, United States Department of Education publications, combined catalogues for science and math teacher resources, and national programs (such as AIMS* and GEMS*)

* Activities Integrating Math and Science Guided Explorations in Math and Science clearly demonstrate the close correlation of science and math. In fact, the West Virginia Department of Education specifically states the goal of adolescent education is that all students become scientifically literate utilizing a curriculum based on an integration of science, mathematics, and technology with an emphasis on development of themes. The Instructional Goals and Objectives for West Virginia Schools (distributed by Kanawha County) states students are to learn to reason mathematically and solve problems using real-life data since the development of critical thinking skills is essential. The same document states students will be asked to extend ideas (and) make conjectures and recognize connections...with other disciplines.

Mathematics is the language of science as well as the model for analytical thinking needed in science. You cannot have science without math. It is respectfully requested that the judge take official notice of Websters Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged. It defines mathematics as 1. a science that deals with the relationship and symbolism of numbers and magnitudes and that includes quantitative operations and the solution of quantitative problems.

C. Scientific publications regularly reveal the theory of evolution is in crisis. Several books and articles could be cited, however, one will suffice. Second Thoughts About Peppered Moths by University of California postdoctoral student Jonathan Wells (The Scientist, May 24, 1999) concludes with Yet textbooks continue to present the classical story of industrial melanism in peppered moths as an example of evolution in action. Clearly, this is misleading...Our students deserve better.

Mathematics has risen to the top as the chief means of criticism of evolution. Evolutionist and physicist Sir Fred Hoyle has published more than one work showing that evolution is impossible according to commonly accepted laws of mathematics. Hoyle has likened the possibility of evolution to that of a tornado passing through a junkyard and assembling a modern jet passenger plane. Yet, The Design Inference (Dembski, William. Cambridge University Press, NY, 1999) would likely be banned from Kanawha County Science classrooms because its author (who has a doctorate in mathematics and has done post doctorate work at Princeton) uses complexity theory to determine if events are due to an intelligent cause. In testimony given for this grievance Kanawha County Board of Education president, John Luoni, admitted that he objected to the book Of Pandas and People even though he had not read it. He only knew that it gave evidence that living things were designed. He did not know that the book gave both sides of the argument and encouraged the students to decide based upon the evidence. This is an example of crass censorship and demonstrates how extreme academic freedom has been constricted in Kanawha County public schools.

D. The American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State publicly threatened lawsuits if the Kanawha County Board of Education passed a resolution clarifying that teachers were allowed to criticize evolution. A December 16, 1999 Charleston Gazette headline blared Evolution Supporters Threaten Lawsuit and revealed a letter confirming the threat had been sent to school board president John Luoni. A November 30, 1999 Charleston Daily Mail headline clearly stated an attempt to clarify that teachers could criticize evolution was likely to fail because, Board Members Cite Suit Possibility as Policy Killer (emphasis added).

There are current examples of teachers elsewhere suffering because they were critical of evolution. Four cases have made national news and two of those are in the legal limelight. One involves a Washington state teacher who had severe restrictions placed upon him after a complaint by the ACLU. He now has to clear all his lessons with a school board committee. His dilemma was featured in a recent issue of the American Bar Association Journal. Another public high school teacher (in Minnesota)was demoted to teaching a lower level course even though he was highly qualified in his field. He has sued and the case is currently in litigation.

In December, 1999 a Kanawha County School principal (Hayes Junior High) required students to bring permission slips and walk to a neighborhood church in order to hear a visiting scientist present scientific criticism of evolution. She cited the emotion of the issue as one of her concerns.

In March, 2000 a top group of Kanawha County Schools science teachers, and the county science supervisor, unanimously selected a book (Of Pandas and People) to help them meet expectations of presenting factual scientific information. They withdrew this recommendation a few days later citing concern over legal problems. County superintendent, Dr. Ronald Duerring, said, We cant put this school system in legal jeopardy.

I have shown, by the preponderance of the evidence that:

A. I am a math teacher and science themes, including evolution concepts, are commonly used in the math books I am required to use.

B. Math and science are closely correlated and are, by definition, one and the same.

C. Evolution is full of fallacies and frauds. Mathematics, particularly the laws of probability, is an excellent way to provide non-sectarian criticism of evolution.

D. Events over the past several months threaten my academic freedom and free speech. Weak assurances that I can criticize evolution are outweighed by the implications that I should be very wary of what I say.

West Virginia state law and professional ethics require me to teach facts and truth to my students. School Laws of West Virginia (18-2A-1) states Adopted materials must be current and information presented accurately.

Legal preponderance supports the fact that a teacher has the right to present non-sectarian evidence that is critical of evolution.

Aguillard v. Edwards (US Cir. Ct. of Appeals 5th Cir.) (v. 565 F 2nd 1251 at 1257) states No court, of which we are aware, has prohibited voluntary instruction concerning purely scientific evidence that happens, incidentally, to be consistent with a religious doctrine or tenet. It simply does not follow that science instruction violates the Establishment Clause merely because it happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions.

Edwards v. Aguillard (482 US 578 107 S. Ct. 2573, at 587) states The act does not grant teachers a flexibility that they did not already possess to supplant the present science curriculum with the presentation of theories, besides evolution, about the origin of life.

(at 588) If the Louisiana legislatures purpose was solely to maximize the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of science instruction, it would have encouraged the teaching of all scientific theories about the origin of humankind.

(at 594) In a similar way, the teaching of a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.

In 385 U. S. 589, 87 S. Ct.at 675 precedents reveals the obstacles I need to overcome are not in the best interest of free speech. The very intricacy of the plan and the uncertainty as to the scope of its proscriptions make it a highly efficient in terrorem mechanism. It would be a bold teacher who would not stay as far as possible from utterances or acts which might jeopardize his living by enmeshing him in this intricate machinery.

Our nation is deeply committed to safeguarding academic freedom, which is of transcendent value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned. That freedom is therefore a special concern of the First Amendment, which does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom. The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools. Shelton v.Tucker, 364 US, at 487, 81 S. Ct., at 251. The classroom is peculiarly the marketplace of ideas. The Nations future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure to that robust exchange of ideas which discovers truth out of a multitude of tongues, (rather) than through any kind of authoritative selection.

No one should underestimate the vital role in a democracy that is played by those who guide and train our youth.

Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die.

WHEN ONE MUST GUESS WHAT CONDUCT OR UTTERANCE MAY LOSE HIM HIS POSITION, ONE NECESSARILY WILL STEER FAR WIDER OF THE UNLAWFUL ZONE. (emphasis added)

FOR THE THREAT OF SANCTIONS MAY DETER ALMOST AS POTENTLY AS THE ACTUAL APPLICATION OF SANCTIONS. (emphasis added)

ADDENDUM:

Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo, after an all-night drive from Atlanta due to a missed flight, supported me at an all-day hearing.

I received clandestine legal assistance from an elderly attorney who was a liberal evolutionist. He had some doubts about evolution and was a fair-minded man who felt that I deserved legal counsel. He would not allow me to call him at home due to concern that his wife would discover what he was doing. Also, he told me that he felt the textbook protestors (see Textbook War) had good points and were poorly treated by the elite intelligentsia.

In late August, 2000, I received notice that my grievance, requesting Kanawha County Schools provide unequivocal support for a teacher's academic freedom to criticize evolution, was denied. The decision was expected based on the anticipated logic of the court. The judge ruled that the Grievance Board has no authority to require a board of education to adopt a specific policy. http://www.state.wv.us/admin/grievanc/decision/dec2000/priest.htm

One major victory was obtained from this grievance. A central office administrator had told me that I could criticize evolution. However, after the uproar that developed during the 1999 debate over the "Evolution Resolution" there was a high degree of doubt about the administrator's intent. The administrative law judge stated in the decision that I "Was (already) given permission to criticize evolution"

The following is a report of the September 2000 Board meeting.

After being with adolescents all day I got home a little after 4 PM. I reviewed my notes, rolled on some deo and headed out about 5:30. Somehow, yesterday I busted a knuckle on a joint that connects to my right wrist and it started bleeding again right before I left. I couldn't find a band aide so I had to stop at my school and get one out of my desk.

In today's mail I received a copy of a talk show featuring CRSnet member Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo against the "esteemed" Dr. Miller and a secular humanist. It was strengthening to listen to Joe spar with those two fellows. It is a real battle for me to go to speak to the Kanawha County Board of Education (KCBOE). I literally go with fear and trembling. Joe's voice and the tape along with an encouraging call from him were a real blessing.

Upon arriving at the BOE I saw a huge throng of people and all the media. It was shades of December when the big vote on the Evolution Resolution occurred. Except this crowd was teachers demanding a pay raise. I wonder if the media will show a front page color picture of their most matronly member as they did of the much quieter group who were gathered in support of the Resolution.

Those of you who were praying for me did not waste your time. The BOE has a policy of limiting speaker time if more than 15 speakers are scheduled. A friend gave time from a continuing prophecy study at his church to sign up to donate his time to me. My wife, hardly able to remain awake during the meeting, came straight from a difficult day as a nurse and gave me her time.

The wait was long as the teachers demanded a pay raise and other speakers fussed over school closings. Finally I was called to the podium. Just as I began to speak, I was interrupted by the ex-Unitarian minister (XUM) who demanded I prove I had people present who donated speaking time. Thank God my wife and friend had persevered. I called them in from the hall (the meeting room had been standing room only) and verified their presence.

When I finished my exit was blocked by the XUM who (I do not exaggerate here) got his face so close to mine I could have kissed him if I had puckered up. (BTW, his breath was sour.) He demanded I tell him if I was aware that creation science was banded. I said, "I challenge you to a debate sir." He angrily said, "Answer my question!" I repeated my challenge and he walked away in a huff. This exchange was at the door and in full view of everyone but out of microphone range.

My remarks to the BOE at the September 21 meeting:

I am not here to be confrontational, rather I am here to be informational. I am addressing you on the subject of criticism of evolution and would like to preface my remarks with this disclaimer: I am discussing free speech, academic freedom, and the tenor of education.

This is not a religious issue except in the minds of left wing radicals who believe in "things unseen." They vehemently resist all attempts to expose the fallacies and frauds of evolutionism. They have a right to believe what they want, but they have no right to use their religious bigotry to push their personal religious agenda and indoctrinate Kanawha County students.

A quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes aptly describes what those extremists fear: "The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of a larger idea, never returns to its original size."

A West Virginia Administrative Law Judge has stated that Kanawha County Schools administration has granted me (and, by extrapolation, all Kanawha County teachers) “PERMISSION TO CRITICIZE EVOLUTION". So, I am here to respectfully inform you that I intend to do just that in my classroom.

I will not place undue emphasis on the matter. I will follow county policy for teaching controversial subjects. I will not tell the students what they should believe. I will present, from secular sources, material that exposes evolutionism as absurd.

I will encourage my colleagues in math and science to do the same thing by teaching all the facts about evolution. I will encourage teachers from headstart to grade 12, in all content areas, to join us. I will encourage Current Events teachers to expose that Australian aborigines were considered flora and fauna until recent times because of Darwinism. I will encourage history teachers to reveal what was done to blacks and the handicapped due to eugenics which was rooted in Darwinism. I will encourage those who teach ethics to reveal the scary facts of Social Darwinism.

I will encourage art instructors to show how pure imagination is used to depict "missing links", particularly the complete family that was painted from viewing a single tooth which later was identified as belonging to an extinct pig? I will encourage evolution be taught in language classes. What a rich source for the fantasy genre of "Just So Stories". We may discover another Kipling.

Dr. James Patton, who conducted our Cultural Awareness training during Faculty Senate last Friday, shared a story from Plato that is germane to this issue. He told of people who stayed hidden in a dark cave afraid of the shadows they saw outside. If anyone dared venture outside and return to share that the shadows need not be feared--they were attacked by those determined to remain in the dark.

The majority culture of Kanawha County (which includes professional educators) does not want our children locked in a Victorian science time warp. A majority culture still has value in multi-culturism.

Evolution is based upon superstition. There are teachers bringing light into the dark cave of evolutionism. Their shadows need not be feared. I implore you, board members and Dr. Duerring: please do not extinguish our light.

And, remember, criticism of evolution is not an establishment of religion. Criticism of evolution is at the heart of free speech, academic freedom, and the tenor of education.

Here is video of this speech.

I mailed the following letter to Faculty Senates in our 29,000 student public school district. Also, I mailed similar letters to each principal and Local School Improvement Council (LSIC). The latter is the parent centered organization. Copies of those letters are below.

Letter to fellow teachers:

December 26, 2000

Dear Colleagues:

A college physics teacher made the following glaring admission in the June 2000 issue of Physics Today: "We only introduce arguments or evidence that support the currently accepted theories, and omit or gloss over any evidence to the contrary." He goes on to admit that teachers are guilty of brainwashing their students. We, Kanawha County professionals, have a chance to take the lead nationally in exposing our students to information that will challenge them to truly open their minds and think critically.

Under current County policy you have the right to do something that is quite legal and the essence of free speech, academic freedom, and the tenor of education. It is time for all Kanawha County teachers to provide their students with information that reveals the significant flaws in the theory of evolution.

This is not a religious issue. You need not tell the students what they should believe. There is a wealth of interesting material, from secular sources, that you can use if you choose to do this for your students. Science teachers are not the only ones who should be interested in this topic. All teachers, from head-start to grade 12, are encouraged to do something concerning this vital subject. Civics teachers can reveal that Australian aborigines were considered flora and fauna until recent times because of evolutionism. History teachers can expose what was done to blacks
and the handicapped due to eugenics which is rooted in Darwinism. Those who teach ethics can disclose the scary facts of Social Darwinism. Math teachers have some very interesting probability equations that prove the impossibility of evolution from microbes to mankind. Art instructors can show how pure imagination is used to depict "missing links", particularly the complete family that was painted from viewing a single tooth which later was identified as belonging to an extinct pig? The fallacies of evolution can be taught in language classes. The subject provides a rich source for the fantasy genre of "Just So Stories". Another Kipling may be
discovered sitting in your class.

Dr. James Patton, who conducted our Cultural Awareness training during Faculty Senate in the Fall, shared a story from Plato that is germane to this issue. He told of people who stayed hidden in a dark cave afraid of the shadows they saw outside. The majority culture of Kanawha County does not want our children locked in a Victorian science time warp. A majority culture still has value in multi-culturism. Evolution is based upon superstition. Please join other teachers who are bringing light into the dark cave of evolutionism.

For further information log on to www.iconsofevolution.com or contact me.

Karl Priest (Math Teacher, Andrew Jackson Middle School)

The following was delivered to the BOE on 6-21-01.

Rene Descartes said, "It is truth very certain that when it is not in our power to determine what is true, we ought to follow what is most probable"

I am pleased to announce that Criticism of Evolution is going very well in the Kanawha County School System. Adhering very closely to the Criticism of Evolution Policy (a. k. a. Controversial Issues Policy) I criticized evolution to over 100 middle school students during the last school year. The primary way I did this was through the mathematics of Probability and "Discovery" pedagogy).

Also, under the freedom provided by the U. S. Constitution, I encouraged my professional colleagues, in all content areas, to join me in criticizing evolution. Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo, has aptly stated that evolution is an occult religion, build on fallacies and fraud, that needs to be expunged worldwide. Perhaps the Genesis of this will be right here in the Kanawha County School System.

As for the ACLU, and others, who seek to continue the evolutionism indoctrination of our students: I publicly call their bluff. They said they would sue if the Board passed a Criticism of Evolution Policy. The board ruled that it already had a policy to that effect. I have used the established policy to criticize evolution. I do not think that Kanawha County Schools needs to be concerned about a lawsuit over criticism of evolution.

I am asking you--Dr. Duerring, Board Members, and other administrators--to stand firm if there is a backlash from the evolutionist minority. You have solid backing from a majority of the public and a majority of professional educators for allowing criticism of evolution.

I close with a quote about criticism of evolution. "A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing arguments on both sides." (Charles Darwin, Origin of Species)

PRESS RELEASE

CRITICISM OF EVOLUTION ACCEPTED BY COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION IN WV

Kanawha County Middle School math teacher, Karl Priest, informed the KCBOE at its regular meeting, June 21, that he is using established KC policy to reveal to students that evolutionism is not science. Priest is backed by two grievance rulings (his and that of a parent, Patricia Pulliam) that found teachers have the right to criticize evolution and should be encouraged to do so. Priest also has the support of local polls and surveys that show the majority of West Virginia citizens and Kanawha County professionals support the teaching of Creation Science.

Priest publicly challenged the ACLU to try and stop teachers from exposing their students to information that is usually censored in the public schools. "Evolution is an occult religion based upon fallacies and fraud, that needs to be expunged worldwide" Priest stated in his remarks to the Board.

Letter to local ACLU Director:

June 21, 2001

Mr. Andrew Schneider
Executive Director West Virginia ACLU
Box 3952
Charleston, WV 25339

Dear Mr. Schneider:

Welcome to West Virginia. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am the public school teacher who has actively encouraged other professional educators to expose the fallacies and frauds of evolutionism.

It seems to me that the American Civil liberties Union would want to support my efforts. Unfortunately, your predecessor insisted upon a policy of intimidation and censorship. If you choose to continue previous ACLU efforts to prevent criticism of evolutionism then forge ahead. I do not think a reasonable case can be made against the Kanawha County School System.

If you would like to discuss this issue on friendly terms I would like to host you to lunch at a local restaurant featuring West Virginia home cooking. Just give me a call.

Yours truly,

Karl Priest

-------------------------------------

More "battles" can be found in my testimony. For video of other battles see “See for Yourself”.

IMPOTANT NOTE: I have demonstrated that teachers in West Virginia can criticize evolution. There is no evidence that any of them have done so. There is no question that children will continue to be indoctrinated with evolutionism. Students face even worse dangers in government schools and parents MUST rescue their children without delay!

Be sure to see “Evolution is a Lie”.

There is a COMMON THREAD connecting evolutionism and the One World Religion.