Free speech issue framed incorrectly

Regarding the editorial "Held to the FIRE" (March 15): I should have stopped reading after the first paragraph summarily dismissed the 1960s as a "free speech" soundbite when numerous informative books have been written about this complex and difficult period. Either the writer was asleep during this period or wasn't born yet. No doubt some combination.

And then, of course, once we get to the alleged "issue," there are no factual references, names, dates or background for the reader, just unsubstantiated rants.

The bottom line is, in spite of the attempt to squeeze blood out of turnips, the issue with the San Jose, Calif., community college professor has nothing to do with liberals or conservatives, Republicans or Democrats, or freedom of speech. It has to do with teaching a science class, and how far a science professor can go in teaching myth and the way myth is presented to science students. Free speech ends when you start yelling fire in the theater. It, naturally, smells just like the creationism/evolution debates.

The actual article by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the student's complaint and a detailed document explaining the results of the investigation can be found online at www.thefire.org.

FIRE claims to be an organization that "fights to preserve civil liberties on college campuses," but I have to question their real motives if they believe teachers have the right to present patently false and unscientific data as fact.

John Clemens, North Augusta, S.C.

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