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Comments by Nastika

Go to: Brain Controls Paralyzed Muscles

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Comment 1 by Zeuglodon

How did they disable the monkey's connections between muscle and brain?

They injected lidocaine blocking the median and ulnar nerves.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 00:04:51 UTC | #936143

Go to: Church 'does not own marriage'

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Comment 12 by guwest

member would be excumunicated

Oo-er Missus!

Sorry - couldn't resist.

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:34:28 UTC | #921782

Go to: Will your kid be taught that climate change is a hoax?

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by Nastika

As promised:

Comment 19 by EvilConservative

There is NOT enough solid concrete proof to give evidence of Global Warming. There is NOT enough solid concrete evidence to prove "Man Made GW". There is NOT enough evidence to prove that GW does NOT exist.

There is little doubt that global warming is taking place. Thanks to the sceptical Professor Muller at Berkley, there is a definite warming trend over the last 100 years:

Yes the results are unpublished but they are in close agreement with the published results that Professor Muller was originally sceptical about because of a possible heat island effect.

As to whether global warming is man made - let's list the possible sources of warming (from a comment in

Natural causes:

Oceans: reorganization of ocean currents e.g. more fresh water in the North Atlantic

Continental drift: thousands/millions of years

Volcanic eruptions: sulphur dioxide causes cooling, insignificant quantities of carbon dioxide for warming

Earth orbital changes: discounted as changes happen over tens of thousands of years not hundreds

Solar variations: discounted as warming of the sun would cause warming of all the atmosphere (not observed) and not just the lower layers (greenhouse effect observed)

Man made causes

Carbon dioxide emissions (

  1. 61.4% Energy (electricity, heat, transportation etc.)

  2. 3.5% Industrial processes

  3. 18.2% Land use change

  4. 13.5% Agricultural

  5. 3.6% Waste

Methane emissions

  1. Animals

  2. Landfill

Nitrous oxide emissions

  1. Fertilizer

So - which of the natural forms of global warming do you believe is the culrpit?

30 years ago scientists were complaining about Global Cooling.

This was because of journalists (what again?) misinterpreting ice age cycles.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 22:31:05 UTC | #921297

Go to: Will your kid be taught that climate change is a hoax?

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Nastika

Comment 19 by EvilConservative

Fine, that is why I posted 3. So you don't debunk the one from NASA or CBS News then. My point is made again.

Your 3rd link is missing. Can you please provide it?

In the meantime, let's look at your flood of questions that require a bit more work:

There is NOT enough solid concrete proof to give evidence of Global Warming. There is NOT enough solid concrete evidence to prove "Man Made GW". There is NOT enough evidence to prove that GW does NOT exist.

OK I will get to that later...

Its all still up in the air.

That's funny. What? It wasn't meant as a joke. OK. Let's continue...

30 years ago scientists were complaining about Global Cooling.

I will get to this later too...

But I'm not saying I don't think GW exists.

Hang on. What? You don't think that Carbon Dioxide warms up the atmosphere so that we don't live on a giant snowball?

I don't know what is true.

Yes you clearly don't.

Neither side has won the argument.

It's not an argument it's a scientific theory. There is a difference.

BTW, the 90% of scientists argument doesn't work.

Oh no - the Delingpole manoeuvre. I will therefore use the Sir Paul defence:

Would you refuse a particular medical treatment for a hypothetical disease if only 90% of scientists agreed that it was the correct course of action?

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 22:13:11 UTC | #921287

Go to: Will your kid be taught that climate change is a hoax?

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Comment 11 by EvilConservative

Here is one from NASA getting caught

Here we have "computer expert" E. Michael Smith and "Certified Consulting Meteorologist" Joseph D'Aleo having trouble with understanding the source of Global Historical Climatology Network data.

See the response from Dr Gavin A. Schmidt, a climate modeller at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

I suppose that Google does have its uses when debunking.

BTW "prominent" scientist Joseph D'Aleo has an interesting take on climate change (

"We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth's climate system is no exception."

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 21:57:31 UTC | #921279

Go to: Will your kid be taught that climate change is a hoax?

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Nastika

Comment 11 by EvilConservative

Climategate II

I don't believe it - you actually quoted referenced a Delingpole blog while I was composing my comment. Spooky.

James "It's not my job to sit down and read peer reviewed papers" Delingpole:

So this English Literature graduate is your authority on climate change?

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 21:38:14 UTC | #921265

Go to: Will your kid be taught that climate change is a hoax?

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Nastika

Comment 2 by EvilConservative

I don't need to post the massive returns of a basic Google search into this post because you don't want to do the research yourself.

A Google search is not research:

Proof that fairies are real: 4,310,000 results

Proof that dinosaurs never existed: 6,700,000 results

Proof that earth is flat: 41,200,000 results

Maybe you should get an account with Science Direct rather than joining the ranks of the Delingpole interpreters of the interpreters (of the interpreters) of science. You would then discover just how many "prominent" scientists are against the consensus view on climate change.

Some these "prominent" biologists, chemists and physicists (and even classicists) may be great at publishing blogs about climate change which end up polluting Google searches

However their distinct lack of publishing record in peer reviewed journals is a clear indication of their lack of expertise when it comes to climate science.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 21:30:44 UTC | #921263

Go to: If by "Christian love" you mean hatred & contempt...

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Nastika

Gervais et al. Do you believe in atheists? Distrust is central to anti-atheist prejudice Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

This paper studied (mostly Christian American) individuals' attitudes to atheists. One of the most interesting results was that atheists were the least trusted group when compared to Muslims and homosexuals. One reason put forward was that the existence of atheists threatened organised religion's ability to bring people together especially in countries like the United States:

Religion appears to be a “social glue” in the world, yet the least religious countries are actually among the most cooperative and peaceful on the planet...It is important to recognize that religious prosociality (voluntary behaviour helping others) is primarily a theoretical framework for explaining the types of beliefs that can act as motivators of human cooperation in the absence of large-scale institutions for promoting prosociality. In this view, religion may have once been—and may still be, in many places—one of the only games in town in terms of bringing people together into large cooperative social groups.

This is no longer the case in large parts of the world, and societal-level existential security (as guaranteed by many modern social institutions) is a persistent predictor of reduced religious belief. This is perhaps most evident in Scandinavia, where religious belief is largely a historical curiosity, and the state provides most vital services.

Given that religious prosociality, but not secular institutions, directly implies distrust of atheists, the aforementioned finding that anti-atheist prejudice is exaggerated in strongly religious countries becomes clearer, as these countries also tend to rely the most on religion to guarantee cooperation. Freed from this constraint, people from countries that depend primarily on secular institutions do not tend to distrust atheists.

Sat, 14 Jan 2012 17:14:49 UTC | #908251

Go to: As ultra-Orthodox flex muscle, Israel feminists see a backsliding

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Comment 8 by huzonfurst

Israel exempts the Orthodox from military service and pays them their whole lives to sit around doing nothing but studying the Torah.

Some positive news from The Forward: In Israel, Haredi and Muslim Women Are Having Fewer Children

According to data released June 19 by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, by 2010, Haredi women were averaging one fewer baby than they were five years earlier — 6.5 instead of 7.5. The downward trend was not seen among other Jewish women, and over the same period, fertility among secular Jewish women actually increased by 0.15 children.

[L]ifestyle decisions and changes in Haredi women’s identity pale in importance compared to the most intractable problems of Haredi life — marrying children and setting up homes for them. It is widespread practice in Israel for in-laws to share these costs, and the expectation for help with housing is especially high in the Haredi sector, where many grooms expect to spend at least several years in full-time religious study.

The devaluation of the dollar (donations to fund the Haredi) and rising house prices are making it harder for the Haredi to buy apartments for their children.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 08:53:30 UTC | #889979

Go to: The Magic of Reality (FT review)

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Nastika

Comment 10 by Phoenix*


You want me to alternate between these two explanations? That's going to be a challenge...

if you want your children to understand why we are here,

Something about a walking and talking snake - right? What do you mean "It's metaphorical"? Which bits are literal? How can you possibly know?

why we should treat others with love,

I'm sure that the Gileadites were expressing their love for the Ephraimites as they slaughtered them.

I'm also sure that your god was expressing his love for humanity as he drowned the vast majority of them (including children) in a global flood.

What do you mean "That's just the Old Testament. I'm talking about the New Testament"? If you ignore the Old Testament then you have to throw out the ten commandments and your creation myths.

and how suffering and death will be removed to make life everlastingly meaningful and joyful, get them to read the Bible.

Sounds like something out of last week's Cybermen episode of Dr Who (a series that has more to offer to my children than your collection of desert tribe myths).

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 16:54:47 UTC | #876966

Go to: The conversation: So you believe in hell?

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by Nastika

Cristina Odone's new website ... launches on Monday.

Picture the Cobalt atoms created in the death of an ancient star, wandering in space for millennia, captured by the gravitational pull of our growing Sun, forged as part of the Earth, mined, processed, alloyed, manufactured as thin layer of magnetic particles on a hard disk platter and finally magnetised to store digital information in a hard disk in a server farm.

What information do they end up storing?

Is it part of a PDF of Charles Darwin's letter where he asks for the seeds of Solanum rostratum, a tumbleweed-forming plant that captures his interest just days before he passes away? Perhaps part of an MP3 recording of the second movement in Beethoven's 7th Symphony? Or even part of a JPEG image of a new-born baby proudly uploaded by her father to a social networking site?

None of these.

They end up storing part of a rant on a 3rd rate journalist's website about how better things were before the Enlightenment.

Pity not those atoms for they unable to feel the pain of their predicament.

Sat, 24 Sep 2011 10:19:08 UTC | #874701

Go to: Homeopathic leak threatens catastrophe

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Breaking news: It has been discovered that last year an intruder managed to slip undetected past the high-resolution trillion megapixel homeopathic silicon CCD security cameras installed at the Institute.

According to his blog (which he used to describe his exploits and also confirm his links to Big Pharma) the intruder spent most of one night swapping around labels on the most potent D32768 homeopathic remedies destined for hospitals around the country.

It is not known how many seriously ill patients have had to suffer needlessly as a result of getting the incorrect homeopathic treatment as a result of this criminal action. The institute has issued an immediate recall.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 16:36:59 UTC | #869850

Go to: Most Himalayan Glaciers Retreating; 21% Stable or Expanding, Survey Finds

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Comment 1 by JuJu

I am a bit bewildered as to why India's environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan would make the claim that its part of a natural cycle without presenting the evidence for that.

Check out this article from last month:

Natarajan will replace Jairam Ramesh, who is one of the most influential climate change negotiators the world has ever seen.

Ramesh moved India forward on domestic climate change policy as well, committing his country to reaching 20% renewable energy by 2020, the same goal held by the European Union.

Ramesh was not afraid of controversy during his tenure as Environment Minister. He is known for challenging the growth-over-all paradigm in India by putting multi-billion dollar industrial projects on hold to ensure environmental protection. As a result, some speculate that Prime Minister Singh strategically promoted Ramesh out of his position, to the cabinet-level position of Minister of Rural Development, in a nod to industry amidst concerns of a sluggish economy and decreased foreign direct investment.

There is little hard evidence to make such speculations. There is equally little evidence to predict whether or not Jayanthi Natarajan will continue the policies of her predecessor. Natarajan’s resume, which includes Member of Parliament, leadership positions in several committees, and Spokeswoman for her party, does not indicate a particular expertise in environmental policy.

Tue, 16 Aug 2011 09:58:25 UTC | #861563

Go to: Edzard Ernst: at war with prince

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Comment 14 by sbooder

You've got me worried now. What if water memory lasts for generations. I can't even begin to imagine what my ancestors (human and non-human) put water through.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 10:24:12 UTC | #856154

Go to: Article: Earth's Stabilizing Moon May Be Unique Within Universe

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Comment 27 by Alan4discussion

The Anondromeda galaxy collision is not until 3 to 5 billion years.

The first collision according to Cox and Loeb's paper is in 2.8 billion years +/- 0.5 billion years. Of course, this may not lead to a (crispy) armchair verification of General Relativity.

Space flight to the outer Solar System before then could be a good move for some.

Don't worry - the religious folk will bring us back to a new, long-lasting dark age well before we can settle down on Europa's choppy ocean. Mind you that dark age would be well lit by the Sun's increased luminosity.

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 21:41:41 UTC | #855680

Go to: Article: Earth's Stabilizing Moon May Be Unique Within Universe

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Comment 9 by KenChimp

There is little evidence to suggest that the earth's axis would tilt as much as 85 degrees without the gravitational influence of the moon.

The figure of 85° comes from Lasker et. al's 1993 paper in Nature:

Here we investigate the stability of the Earth's orientation for all possible values of the initial obliquity [axial tilt], by integrating the equations of precession of the Earth. We find a large chaotic zone which extends from 60° to 90° in obliquity. In its present state, the Earth avoids this chaotic zone and its obliquity is essentially stable, exhibiting only small variations of +/- 1.3° around the mean value of 23.3°. But if the Moon were not present, the torque exerted on the Earth would be smaller, and the chaotic zone would then extend from nearly 0° up to about 85°

Given that ice ages can be caused by less than two degrees of axial tilt it's quite likely that even the 50° of tilt reached after a few million year's in the authors' model would have made the evolution of complex forms of life more difficult.

There is also the hypothesis that tides helped encourage the evolution of land based animals.

If would all be wonderfully fine tuned if it wasn't for that pesky G2V star that will start boiling our oceans in less than a billion years. If we're lucky we could avoid a slow roasting if the Earth gets swallowed into Andromeda's supermassive black hole in a couple of billion years.

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 20:01:41 UTC | #855654

Go to: Science and truth have been cast aside by our desire for controversy

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Comment 7 by jac12358

Global Warming became Climate Change

Frank Luntz, an American political consultant, encouraged the use of "Climate Change" rather than "Global Warming because it is "less frightening" in a document for the Republicans.

See p142 of

More on the "Global Warming" vs "Climate Change" from greenman3610:

it felt like GW had to change its branding to account for the rather distracting record cold spells we had been getting


Mon, 25 Jul 2011 09:35:22 UTC | #853743

Go to: [UPDATE] Steve Jones "risks political storm over Muslim 'inbreeding'."

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Nastika

From Bittles 2001:

[I]n Christianity, the Orthodox churches prohibit consanguineous [same kinship] marriage, the Roman Catholic church currently requires Diocesan permission for marriages between first cousins, and the Protestant denominations permit marriages up to and including first cousin unions.

Aryan Hindus of northern India prohibit marriage between biological kin for approximately seven generations on the male side and five generations on the female side. By comparison, Dravidian Hindus of South India strongly favour marriage between first cousins of the type mother’s brother’s daughter and, particularly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, uncle-niece marriages also are widely contracted.

In general, Muslim regulations on marriage parallel the Judaic pattern detailed in Leviticus 18: 7-18. However, uncle-niece unions are permitted in Judaism. Yet they are forbidden by the Koran, even though double first cousin marriages, which have the same coefficient of inbreeding, are recognized within Islam.

In southern Asia, Buddhism sanctions marriage between first cousins, as does the Zoroastrian/Parsi tradition. The Sikh religion forbids consanguineous marriage, although some minority Sikh groups appear to exercise flexibility in the observance of this proscription.

Sun, 29 May 2011 14:07:03 UTC | #632087

Go to: Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven; it's a fairy story'

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Comment 56 by Richard Dawkins

Stephen Green: Hawking is happy to discuss the M-theory, in which the universe is said to have 11 dimensions. Why then could the universe not have a 12th spiritual dimension?

Yes I suppose it's curled up very tightly deep inside the brains of deluded religious folk...

Stephen Hawking's comments are just what is required to get agnostic fence sitters off the fence onto the firm ground of reason. They have their had their doubts about evolution thanks to the creationist onslaught but here's the "smartest guy on the planet" telling them that there's no heaven.

BTW interesting question from the DM comments for this article:

If there is no afterlife and this is it...then why bother paying bills and going to work[?]

This reminds of that caller Richard had in a US talk show who would happily kill his neighbo[u]r if there was no religion.

Tue, 17 May 2011 09:17:13 UTC | #627445

Go to: Sexual preference chemical found in mice

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Nastika

"At this time therefore any potential links between serotonin and human sexual preferences must be considered somewhat tenuous."

A possible explanation lies in Bem's "Exotic becomes Erotic" theory where the child's temperament (based upon genetic factors) predisposes it to activities that are either enjoyed by a particular gender. The child consequently prefers the company of one gender over another and as an adult finds the other gender sexually attractive.

From this perspective it makes as much sense to have a treatment for "curing" homosexuality as it does for curing a love of chocolate or book reading.

Mon, 28 Mar 2011 10:24:07 UTC | #608240

Go to: Religious education has direct relevance to British society

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Nastika


In the article the NSS points out that:

Many advocates of RE are claiming that its inclusion in the EBac is essential for good community cohesion. As RE is already a compulsory subject, and will remain compulsory, we hope the Government will not find favour with this false argument.

As I understand it, EBacs are grades C or higher in GCSEs or IGCSEs in English, two sciences, maths, history or geography and a language. I agree with your argument for giving people a working knowledge of religion but which subject(s) would you drop from the EBac to make way for RE? Isn't compulsory RE with a nationally set curriculum sufficient?

Sun, 13 Mar 2011 17:17:05 UTC | #602312

Go to: Religious education has direct relevance to British society

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Nastika

I doubt that the vanguard of the "secular offensive" have any objections to Religious Education if it was just religious education. Indeed the more children learn about other religions the more likely they are to join this "offensive" as adults.

However Religious Education means different things to each local "Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education" and there is no national standard (see NSS call on Government to stand firm on RE omission from EBac). Until this situation is resolved Religious Education will remain a vehicle for proselytising in most cases.

Sun, 13 Mar 2011 09:47:45 UTC | #602197

Go to: Research study on stigma and secular individuals

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Nastika

Tried it before realising half way through that it intended for a US audience.

Having said that I would include teachers in the relevant question as possible stressors that secularly raised school children might encounter when they express secular viewpoints.

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 17:04:33 UTC | #601515

Go to: Religion? Reality has a grander magic of its own

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a predisposition to be obedient towards authority, which might even be useful under certain circumstances

Don't mention the...

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 10:10:38 UTC | #598277

Go to: Preachers Who Don't Believe in God

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Nastika

Sympathy for Adam quickly replaced with irritation with Mark Rutledge:

Dan Dennett:

Anyone who does not believe in a supernatural entity is an atheist

Mark Rutledge:

I don't believe in a supernatural entity but I'm not an atheist. My god is the process of creativity that occurs within the cosmos and human beings that makes for greater love and justice...blah blah blah...and this god will determine my afterlife.


My brow has not been so furrowed since hearing "universal spirit" mentioned in a recent UK sci fi programme.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 23:04:39 UTC | #597462

Go to: Rupert and The God Delusion

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Nastika

Reminds me of Berger's strip in Oz magazine.
Wonder if this too would have caused such a scene.

Back when public morals suffered easy corruption.
Lennon's "God Save Oz" providing ironic protestation.

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 21:17:36 UTC | #593170

Go to: Can it be that when the founding cells of life were formed, someone planned for a rainy day?

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Nastika

So one variety of spider has developed a technique by which it lassoes an empty snail-shell, and by a careful geometric arrangement of its web, is able to hoist the shell off the ground and suspend it from a branch in shade .. [W]hat magical circuitry did the spider possess that enabled it to create an entirely new home, involving complex suspensory trapezoids and a careful positioning of a crustacean (sic) shell...?

Hmmm - not quite what is actually seen in the video.

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 20:42:30 UTC | #593152

Go to: UPDATED: British GCSE exam: evolution FAIL

Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 97 by Nastika

From the AQA Board Biology Specification for GCSEs in 2012:

Candidates should use their skills, knowledge and understanding of how science works:

  • to suggest reasons why scientists cannot be certain about how life began on Earth

  • to interpret evidence relating to evolutionary theory

  • to suggest reasons why Darwin’s theory of natural selection was only gradually accepted

  • to identify the differences between Darwin’s theory of evolution and conflicting theories

  • to suggest reasons for the different theories.

  • Compare this to Edexcel's draft Specification for 2011:

    Demonstrate an understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection including

    a variation – most populations of organisms contain individuals which vary slightly from one to another

    b over-production – most organisms produce more young than will survive to adulthood

    c struggle for existence – because populations do not generally increase rapidly in size there must
    therefore be considerable competition for survival between the organisms

    d survival- those with advantageous characteristics are more likely to survive this struggle.

    e advantageous characteristics inherited – better adapted organisms are more likely to reproduce successfully passing on the advantageous characteristics to their offspring

    f gradual change – over a period of time the proportion of individuals with the advantageous characteristics in the population will increase compared with the proportion of individuals with poorly adapted characteristics, and the poorly adapted characteristics may eventually be lost

    ...Explain how new evidence from DNA research and the emergence of resistant organisms support Darwin’s theory

    Notice anything? Of course the number of candidates taking the AQA GCSE far exceeds those taking the Edexcel GCSE.

    Wed, 16 Feb 2011 08:45:06 UTC | #592373

    Go to: Depth of the Kindness Hormone Appears to Know Some Bounds

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    Comment 5 by Starcrash

    2007 ABC news report:

    [T]here are repeated accounts from people released from detention in Guantanamo and elsewhere of having been forcibly medicated. So there is a possibility that there is already some experimentation with chemical agents as adjuncts to interrogation. Such chemical agents wouldn't necessarily be torture, it would depend on the nature of the effect they had. For instance the hormone oxytocin can increase the trustingness of a person exposed to it. And so it could be used to soften up detainees and encourage them to be candid with interrogators.

    Thu, 13 Jan 2011 10:31:33 UTC | #577617

    Go to: [UPDATE - JAN11]Freshwater terminated- Recommendation in the Freshwater case

    Nastika's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Nastika

    Comment 22 by Stevehill

    So which member of the Board thinks branding children is no big deal? And why?

    Steve Thompson:

    Possible Reasons:

    1. His son Andrew, a teacher in the middle school and a former student of Freshwater, testified on Freshwater’s behalf at some length in the hearing. Andrew also addressed a Board meeting in August 2008, defending Freshwater.

    2. Andrew met privately with Steve Short, superintendent of schools, to urge that Freshwater be reinstated.

    3. Immediately after taking office as a Board member Thompson raised the possibility of a settlement with Steve Dennis, when Dennis and the Board are not adversaries in any legal proceeding. Apparently Thompson was speaking on behalf of Freshwater.

    4. Steve Thompson was a founding member of the “Community Council for Free Expression,” which was organized in part to raise funds for Freshwater’s legal defense.

    Wed, 12 Jan 2011 11:47:14 UTC | #577073