MOUNT VERNON — John Freshwater, who, on his own behalf, filed an appeal against the termination of his teaching contract by the Mount Vernon City Schools Board of Education, now has legal representation.



Joshua Morrison: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @


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18 Responses to “Rutherford Institute to assist Freshwater”

  1. Anonymous

    I think the real problem here is not concerning religion or evolution. I feel the problem is Freshwaters arrogant, stubborn personality.nnWhy would any parent allow their child in his classroom after all this? If there was ever a small problem that came up, imagine his attitude! Would he ever say “I’m sorry?” No! nnHe has proven the kind of person he really is. When he doesnt get his way, he pushes, & pushes, & pushes.nnHe is the kind of person that good parents teaches their child NOT to act like. So why in the world would someone allow him to mold their child in his classroom day after day?nnThis mess has went on for so long already, he really isnt fighting for his job or justice anymore. He is doing this to show everyone, “I’m still here, & I’m not leaving!”nBy now he could have been working anywhere, & bringing in a payday. Lowes, Columbus area, Mansfield, Newark, ect.nA very, very, stubborn, arrogant, headstrong, rebellious, self righteous, bible thumper!nSick!!

  2. Anonymous

    DuncanK, I cheated and looked up “scientific fact” and found you are correct, but I’m still going away fighting and scratching. My education in science goes back to the Dark Ages, and since it continually evolves it has left me in the dust. In fact (no pun intended), I have forgotten most of what I was taught in genetics and have only managed to retained what Mendal discovered and understood, and on how to use a Punnett square. I really did use to know much more, honestly!nnI’ll just finish by saying, you, Joanna, and I all agree Freshwater deserved to be released from his teaching position for what he did, and I at least believe he should never be allowed to teach in a public classroom again. He has demonstrated his dishonesty and his disregard for the personal religious beliefs of others, or nonbelievers, by trying to force his religious views on his students. What makes the matter even more incredible is his obvious lack of acknowledgement he committed any type of any wrongdoing. Religious zelots like Freshwater are a danger to our Constitutional freedoms in that they belief they can decide what is moral or not for society and they are entitled to make laws that force their morals on others. Were seeing a lot of that taking place now with the far right wingers. The fact that the Republican party has allowed them so much power in our legislature is unconscionable.nnNow that I got my rant out I feel better, although you might not agree it.

  3. Anonymous

    As I understand it, Freshwater has supplied contradicting views of what occurred. Richard Hoppe over at the Panda’s Thumb blog described it this way: “On the several occasions when he has testified under oath about the Tesla coil incident and about marking (or not) Zacharyu2019s arm with the Tesla coil Freshwater has: 1. Conceded that he did so, but said the mark was an u201cXu201d not a cross; 2. Denied that the Tesla coil left marks on studentsu2019 arms; 3. Suggested that the Tesla coil did not leave a mark on any studentsu2019 arm but only on his own arm; and 4. Declined to answer whether he did so, invoking his 5th Amendment right against self incrimination.”nnAnd as far I know, his admission was not that he burned or branded the students, but that he allowed volunteers to touch the Tesla coil, which as far as I’m concerned is just as bad and only a degree of difference. I agree that it seems more focus should have been on this matter and I think it should have even been investigated by a criminal court, but others disagree. Regardless, if no court has determined he branded the student and the Board didn’t use this as grounds for his eventual termination, the branding/burning incident is still just an allegation.

  4. Joanna Manning

    I was under the impression that he freely admitted to using the Tesla Coil on students, and that he had done it for years. As a parent, I just feel that that should have been the main focus. nnDon’t get me wrong, religion doesn’t have a place in a classroom. Religion should be taught at home and at the church of the parents’ choice (or not as the family decides). I take no issue with the discussion of creationism as a theory believed by some, nor would I take issue of religious writings in an English or American Lit class. However, it seems that Mr. Freshwater went quite a bit beyond this, and to top it off, refused requests by administrators, leading to the insubordination issues. However, I do feel that the use of the Tesla Coil should trump these issues. It’s unfortunate that it seems it was dropped.

  5. Anonymous

    The burning issue was only addressed briefly in the hearing referee’s report and the board’s January 2011 termination didn’t even mention it as grounds for termination. I’m not quite sure what happened there, but it seems as if the issue had been muddied by contradictory testimony during the hearing and the referee didn’t feel it was grounds for termination. And because the civil court cases settled, it has never been decided that Freshwater was actually guilty of branding or burning students. Just a clarification…

  6. Anonymous

    Well, we’re certainly out in the weeds of the philosophy of science, aren’t we? I should mention that something can be both a (scientific) theory, as in the sense that it is an explanation of natural phenomenon with predictive power, and a fact, as in Dennett’s words, “something so amply confirmed by the evidence that it may be accepted without debate.” It is only from a misunderstanding of what scientists mean when they say something is a “theory” that opponents of evolution get confused and think they mean there is room for reasonable doubt.nnYou are correct that for the most part, the philosophy of science encourages us to constantly revise our interpretations of data and indeed, new information could upset current theories. But evolution has been so thoroughly investigated and alternative hypotheses so roundly falsified, that it can, rightly, be called both a theory (an explanation) and a fact. There is, of course, room for debate in the field of the philosophy of science! And perhaps not all scientists view it this way, but from what I understand, most do.nnAnd perhaps you’re aware of this, but heredity is a much more complex beast now. Yes, many traits are determined in a simple Mendelian dominant/recessive manner, but we also have epigenetics (methylation of the DNA, which can be heritable through at least two successive generations; the environment and conditions your grandparents endured, e.g. famine, prior to having your parents can cause heritable DNA methylation events that alter gene regulation in you), and complicated gene regulation interactions. But this doesn’t change our view of evolution and natural selection.nnI agree with your points on Freshwater. Creationism and intelligent design advocates attempt to create sciency-sounding definitions and measures of implied “design” through information theory, but all seem to fail to reach their goals and most have been ridiculed as complete nonsense. Ill-supported or nonsensical alternatives exist, but they have no place in a science classroom until they actually have comprehensive data that becomes widely supported. I would likewise be upset about a public school science teacher discussing other pseudoscience fields like homeopathy or chiropractic that have no real scientific basis.nnCheers!

  7. Anonymous

    I mostly disagree with you. It’s true that Evolution is well supported, but I was taught that nothing in science is fact and what we think we know now may change later if a better explaination is found. Evolution is the current prevailing theory and is universally accepted by the scientific community, but is not definitive. In your sentence about gravity, you stated ” the theory of gravitation is a fact” which contrdicts itself by calling a theory a fact. It’s either one or the other, but not both. In fact (pun intended), the theory of Evolution is continuing to evolve as scientist discover previous unknown fossils that helps to explains how one species evolved into another. But what would happen if we should find a fossil that is totally unexpected for the geologic period in which it was found, or if we discovered a chemical in water that was solely responsible for triggering genetic adaptation of species, and not natural selection. It could entirely or partially upset our whole current theory. We also can continually observe how one chemical reaction results in the same reaction repeatedly, and use that reaction to explain our belief on how molecules and atoms react with one another. The current explaination we use is good in that it can predict a particular reaction ahead of time, and we assume it will make the same reaction 40 years from now. We make that assumption without directly observing how atoms react individually or in combination with other atoms. But again, we are using assumption and they are just that, and our understanding could change in the future if we find a case where it doesn’t hold up, or a beter explaination is found. Under certain conditions or enviroments the reaction may change in a totally unexpected way and would force us to re-examine our current theory. Heredity is based on odds using a theory that includes dominant and recessive genes. In truth, you never know exactly what you will end up with after a crossing two living organisms, but you will know what the odds are in getting what you want. That too is fraught with uncertainity in that you could end up with something totally unexpected because of a previous unknown recessive gene expressing itself in the result. Should a new theory evolve that explains more accurately what the end result in a cross will be, our current theory on genetics could change either partially or into a completely different theory. nnI agree with you that the opponents of Evolution often state Evolution is only a theory and is therefor open to different explainations. The problem with that is they never present a more acceptable explaination that isn’t fraught with fallacies or personal beliefs. If they did came up with an acceptable explaination that could better explain evolution of species, then they might have a case.nnIn many ways what I just expresses above are some of the same principles Freshwater stated he was using. The problem with that is Freshwater tried to inject religion into the conversation where it didn’t belong. With him exhibiting the Bible on his desk and the religious posters on the walls, Freshwater was pointing out that religion is an acceptable alternative explaination, which it is not. It is not an acceptable alternative to scientific theories in that it relies on personal religious beliefs from the Bible, which is based on hearsay. nnI did enjoy your discussion and hope I hear back from you on where you believe I am wrong. Hopefully you will see this responce.

  8. Gregory Gregg

    the man needs to put this all behind him and move on, there is no resonable expectation,(even if he where to win upon apeal) of ever being employed as a teacher around here. perhaps a private fundamentalist school would like to extend a job offert. take what you have and move on

  9. Joanna Manning

    Harming students in his care should have been all that was needed to fire him. It didn’t really need the religious issue added to that; it was brought up originally, if I recall the original articles correctly, to show his repeated insubordination. It bothers me that the burning of kids has taken a back seat to the separation of church and state issue. Now, I realize that the civil rights issue is the way his defense attorneys felt they had the best chance to win, but as a teacher, I would have hoped that Mr. Freshwater realized he had gone way beyond acceptable and retired before it even came to firing him. Unfortunately, he chose to put the kids way behind his own personal gain, and that, to me anyways, isn’t what a good teacher does.nnIn other words, it’s a shame your statement didn’t read: This is an issue of abuse with the exception of the religion in the classroom.

  10. Anonymous

    Certainly. Whitehead said, “He was trying to say, u2018Hey, this is not really a fact.u2019 Some of the stuff around evolution is not a fact. It just isnu2019t.” This is incorrect. The evidence supporting evolution and natural selection is so compelling that is holds the status as a fact just as much as the germ theory is a fact (bacteria cause disease). He also said, “A lot of people question evolution; scientists question it.” No, this is a smokescreen lie. Only a handful of crackpot fringe scientists can be dredged up to be evolution deniers. And they also turn out to be anti-vaccine and HIV-deniers. The real fringe – get it?

  11. Anonymous

    Quite to the contrary, it is entirely correct to say that evolution and natural selection are so well supported that they are indeed facts, just as germ theory is a fact in that bacteria cause disease and the theory of gravitation is a fact. I’ll let Daniel Dennett say more: “The crucial point is that … the distinction between theory and fact, in philosophical discussions as in everyday speech, can be drawn in two quite distinct ways. On the one hand, theories are conceived as general systems for explanation and prediction, while facts are specific reports about local events and processes. On the other hand, ‘theory’ is used to suggest that there is room for reasonable doubt, whereas ‘fact’ suggests something so amply confirmed by the evidence that it may be accepted without debate. Opponents of evolution slide from supposing that evolution is a theory, in the first sense, to concluding that it is (only) a theory, in the second. Any such inference is fallacious, in that many systematic approaches to domains of natural phenomena u2014 like the understanding of chemical reactions in terms of atoms and molecules, and the study of heredity in terms of nucleic acids u2014 are so well supported that they count as facts (in the second sense). Many scientists and philosophers who have written about evolution have pointed out that the contemporary theory that descends from Darwin has the same status u2014 it, too, should count as a ‘fact.’ “

  12. Miriam StJean

    In science class a teacher teaches science; when a teacher’s superiors make a request, the teacher follows it; when a tea files affidavits in federal court, he should not lie to the judgednnfreshwater breached his contract with not only his religious commentaries during class, but his questioning of science; when asked to perform a task by his superiors, he refused; and he lied to a federal court judge in such a blatant way he was fined $28,000.00.nnnow freshwater has the rutherford institute (absolute loons, but well-funded ones) to drag this matter out for YEARS…nnhis martyr fantasy is starting to get on my nerves…………………..he should have stuck to photographing license plates outside the foxhole with his pals………….rather than take this excursion into the twilight zone – oh well, maybe the rutherford institute, with all their money, will give him a makeover and teach him how to speak coherently in public…………………that’d be a plus, anywaynnnnn

  13. Anonymous

    After reading Whiteheads statements, why do I get the feeling Freshwater may have not been upfront with him. And Joanna, this is a religious issue with the exception of Freshwater burning students.nnDocile JIm Brady, I’ll answer your question why DuncanK stated sounds like he knows absolutely nothing about science or evolution.” If he knew about science he would have known that the evolution is a theory, and always will be, which is most of science. Evolution is a theory, until a better theory is discovered explaining how different species evolved. You never hear the word “fact” in explaining how science developes its various explainations of observed processes. Theories develope as we discover different possible explainations on how something happened. I agree with DuncanK about nWhitehead’s understanding of science. nnI’ll be waiting for Whitehead to discover the true facts on this case and then hearing him drop his support of Freshwater.

  14. Docile Jim Brady

    u00b6 Would you please be kind enough to the rest of us readers to share what you have read or heard to support your below quoted position? nu00b6 Thanking you in advance.n-n”This guy from the Rutherford Institute sounds like he knows absolutely nothing about science or evolution”

  15. Anonymous

    Yah, this is the part I would be concerned with “If what heu2019s doing is telling me the truth”. There seems to be a problem there. Just read what Judge Frost has to say about Mr Freshwaters credibility…….

  16. Anonymous

    Yah- this is the part I would be concerned with “If what heu2019s doing is telling me the truth”. Read Judge Frost opinion on Mr Freshwaters credability…….

  17. Anonymous

    This guy from the Rutherford Institute sounds like he knows absolutely nothing about science or evolution. It is both a fact and a scientific theory. And Freshwater was not simply questioning it, he was using materials from creationist sources that directly contradict scientific fact; said materials are instead, based on faith and religion, which has no place in a science classroom.nnI expect this to crash and burn just as majestically as Freshwater did in the administrative hearing.

  18. Joanna Manning

    Since when does burning children with an electrical device make them think more? I’m tired of this being made into a religious issue, when to me, it’s plain and simple. He burned kids while in a position of trust. Hiding that fact behind his religious beliefs isn’t very Christian now, is it?