Free speech issue framed incorrectly

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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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shivas
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shivas 03/18/08 - 06:55 am
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Don't try to make sense to

Don't try to make sense to conservatives, they get all their sense from a man named Rush Limbaugh.

christian134
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christian134 03/18/08 - 07:31 am
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Now Liberal be nice .....I

Now Liberal be nice .....I would say I like Rush Limbaugh if I didn't think you would be chomping at the bit to say, "Well look who likes Limbaugh enough said."....Second thought I will say it anyway "I like Rush Limbaugh" Wow ....Slow morning think I will grab more coffee or maybe a hot cup of tea :-)

Bizarro
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Bizarro 03/18/08 - 07:42 am
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After reading about the case,

After reading about the case, I would say that the school was wrong and broke their own policy in firing the professor (although the professor was obviously wrong and was voicing an opinion and not hard scientific facts). Sure she needed to be called on it and reprimanded, but firing because of one student's complaint seems extreme (no warnings just fired). Although I completely disagree with the professor's comments she should not have been fired (given her exemplary record) for the one incident. I hope FIRE can get her job back, but I would hope she would learn from the incident.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 03/18/08 - 07:53 am
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To the far left (see first

To the far left (see first post) the right to free speech only applies to the attitudes of the left. FIRE irritates them by proving in court (time after time) that the right is there for all Americans. I know they hate it, but it's something the left is just going to have to learn to live with.

mojo
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mojo 03/18/08 - 09:01 am
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If you're always shouting -

If you're always shouting - when do you have the presence of mind to think?

NotyourDadsBuick
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NotyourDadsBuick 03/18/08 - 10:11 am
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It's been my experience that

It's been my experience that both lefties and righties advocate free speech right up to the point where the other side tries to express their opinions.

imdstuf
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imdstuf 03/18/08 - 11:32 am
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What is ironic to me is most

What is ironic to me is most conservative people would usually applaud someone saying that females are not born gay. They would also normally laud any one who acts so easily offended as this student. Yet now people on the far right are jumping all over this professor because the free speech issue and people on the far left are defending someone whose views might offend some of their own. I can atleast admire someone defending someone's right to speech, even if it defers from their own. At ASU there was a pysch profession who was always offending people (you should have heard him talk about PMS). I also had history professors who clearly used their class to push their politcal views. I am intelligent enough, as should most people in college, to take from discussions and readings what I find valuable and peice together my own opinions and thoughts on particular matters.

johnsmith
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johnsmith 03/18/08 - 12:47 pm
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How would you say that the

How would you say that the professor was wrong and voicing an opinion and not hard scientific facts? I mean, I'm a conservative who understands the theory of evolution and believes that it describes reality as we see it, so I'm an oddball, but ANY discussion of nature-nurture HAS to involve hypotheticals. We can't raise little Johnny one way, then go back in time and raise him another way, and see if he turns out differently. As ILLUSTRATIONS of the debate, its opposing poles, and how people apply the implications of both hypotheses, it is perfectly legitimate to state: "One who believes in the 'nurture' hypothesis and wants a heterosexual son, might be sure to treat his wife well. A 'nurture' proponent might also theorize that a woman could choose to be a lesbian after having bad hetero experiences." These are perfectly legitimate illustrations of the debate, and are certainly appropriate for a class entitle Human Heredity, in which the nature/nurture origin of homosexuality is part of the standard readings assigned for the course. At no point did the professor say "I believe __" or "You must believe __;" in that, she is different from her liberal colleagues in Sociology...

Bizarro
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Bizarro 03/18/08 - 01:27 pm
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It is not a nature vs

It is not a nature vs nurture, but nature and nurture as to date (as almost all animal behavior). However there has not been a gene or any anatomical feature that has held scrutiny, however there are environmental factors that associate with homosexuality (the third son, etc). As far as evolution is concerned evolutionary biologist see it as an evolutionary conundrum. Even the examples in dolphins and other animals it is not a consistent behavior into adulthood and through their lives-they usually live and mate as heterosexuals. Studies have also demonstrated that homosexuals can be converted back into heterosexuality. It is not a simple issue. The example the professor gave was anectdotal and not a worthy study or illustration. There is a significant literature examining all aspects of the issue, but no clear cut answers or understanding. Talk about the various brain differences reported and then refuted, various environmental cues that associate with the behavior. The professor should be free to discuss the issues in a mature and non-vulgar manner, and those who are offended may actually learn something.

jack
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jack 03/18/08 - 01:43 pm
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Mr Clemens sounds like one of

Mr Clemens sounds like one of those long haired, screeching, rioting miscreants of the 60s. From his own link, I fail to find any "myth" the professor in question taught. Seems from all the evidence, she was answering a student's question on the subject of sexual orientation (whether born with a certain orientation or developed from the environment in which the person lived/s). Students all across our country these days are being indoctrinated by leftist academiics who are products of the 60s. Mr Clemens, how about telling u what "myth" the professor was teaching. Appears FIRE has been very successful in having unconstitutional speech codes thrown off campuses. I say, congratulations. I hope the Professor is duly compensated for her embarrassment and attack on her free speech (clearly documented according to the reports I read)

jack
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jack 03/18/08 - 01:45 pm
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Buick, are you referring to

Buick, are you referring to Cain who always states his opinion as fact?

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 03/18/08 - 04:55 pm
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There is no mouse model for

There is no mouse model for homosexuality. Animal models do enlighten the role of hormones in the development of sexuality, but there are no animal models for homosexuality. Well there are mutant flies (mutant hormone receptor) than display male to male courtship behavior. There is no biological difference that has held upto scrutiny, although all investigators generally believe there is one. None of the environmental influences are evident as causation either. Gee, I'm the third son-Dang I just realized I should a been gay-it must be like V8 juice. hee, hee. Still it is an evolutionary conundrum. In evolution all new traits are ultimately the result of a mutation and evolution is the differential success of this trait-usually reproductive success. Male on male or female on female mating doesn't end in procreation, hence the conundrum.

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