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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Reply to answer to email requesting "banned book" status for "Pandas"

Re: Email campaign to have "Of Pandas and People" officially designated as a "banned book"

I strongly suspect that others who sent emails supporting the above campaign got the same answer that I did from the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.

In a message dated 10/3/2006 2:47:14 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, dstone@ala.org writes:

Dear Mr. Fafarman,
Thank you for your letter. We appreciate hearing from people who are interested in the issue of censorship, book challenges, and the freedom to read.

It is not our policy to issue press releases every time we are made aware of a challenge to a book in a library or school. If we were to do so, we would sadly have very little time for any other endeavors.

To: Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Deputy Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom,
American Library Association

Normally I would agree with you, but here I am not just asking for a press release stating that a book has been challenged or banned -- I am asking for a press release (or at least a prominent announcement posted on the ALA website) of a correction of your erroneous publicly-released claims that Of Pandas and People has not been banned. In addition to your response to me shown here, Mike Dunford, in reporting a conversation with you, said on his blog that you answered "we wouldn't consider it that way" when he asked you if you felt that the Kitzmiller ruling would qualify Of Pandas and People as a "banned" book.

Moreover, there is an additional obstacle preventing us from complying with your request that the ALA designate Of Pandas and People as 'officially banned.' The Office for Intellectual Freedom, which implements ALA's policies concerning intellectual freedom, does not believe the court's judgment in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District lawsuit constitutes a ban of the book, Of Pandas and People.

We rely upon the court's published opinion for our conclusion. The opinion plainly states the court's order:

To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID. (emphasis added)

The website of the American Library Association makes it very clear that the ALA defines the term "ban" as including the removal of books from curricula as well as libraries.

The "ID Policy," which was banned by the above statement, is described as follows on page 2 of the Kitzmiller opinion:

"On December 14, 2004, Plaintiffs filed the instant suit challenging the constitutional validity of the October 18, 2004 resolution and November 19, 2004 press release (collectively, "the ID Policy")."

The "November 19, 2004 press release" was an announcement by the school district that teachers would be required to read to 9th grade biology classes a statement (pages 1-2 of opinion) that included the following sentence:

"The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves."

So Pandas was mentioned in a statement that was an official part of the school district's curriculum. Banning the ID policy banned the statement from the curriculum, and banning the statement not only banned the book itself from the curriculum, but banned the mere mention of the book from the curriculum. Also, the Kitzmiller opinion referred to the ID policy as a "curriculum change" 48 times! "Curriculum Committee" appears 24 times in the opinion and "curriculum controversy" appears 9 times. The name of the book appears 75 times in the opinion, with about half the appearances concerning the book itself and about half concerning the school board's actions in selecting the book.

As if that were not enough, there is also the fact that the plaintiffs' official complaint demanded removal of the book from science classrooms:

b. an injunction pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65 prohibiting the defendants from implementing their intelligent design policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, and requiring the removal of Of Pandas and People from the School District’s science classrooms; (bold added) -- page 23

If nothing else, that counts as at least a challenge.

Furthermore, the judge stated that he was quite aware that the plaintiffs were seeking removal of the book from science classrooms (as he should have been aware -- removal of the book was one of the
reliefs demanded by the plaintiffs):

"It is therefore clear to the Court that Plaintiffs only seek to remove the book Of Pandas and People from the Dover Area School District's science classrooms, and not from its school libraries." -- page 10

However, the judge nowhere stated in his published final opinion that he was denying the plaintiffs' demand for removal of the book from science classrooms, so by implication the demand was granted. This conclusion that the demand was granted is consistent with the opinion.

In reading the court's order, we cannot identify an order or directive to remove the book Of Pandas and People from the Dover school library, or any specific order which prohibits Dover teachers from using "Of Pandas and People" in the classroom, should they choose to do so for educational purposes that do not violate the Constitution's Establishment Clause. The court's decision to bar the school board from requiring science teachers to refer to Intelligent Design, a religious theory of creation, in classrooms dedicated to the teaching of science, is not an order to remove or ban the book "Of Pandas and People" from Dover's school libraries or classrooms.

The issue here is whether the book was banned from the curriculum, so it does not matter what the teachers could do on their own outside the curriculum. And according to the Kitzmiller decision, there is no way that science teachers could use the book in science classrooms without violating the Establishment Clause, because the judge ruled the book to be an unscientific book of a religious nature.

The only reasonable conclusion is that the book was banned from science classrooms, even if such a ban was not explicitly stated in the final opinion.

Sincerely,


Larry Fafarman

We will continue to inform the public that Of Pandas and People was challenged for inaccuracy in 1993, but retained following a reconsideration process.

Sincerely yours,


Deborah Caldwell-Stone
Deputy Director
Office for Intellectual Freedom
American Library Association
50 East Huron Chicago, IL 60611

===================================================

The ALA's petty rule that a book is not considered to be banned by a court unless the court opinion expressly bans the book reminds me of an anecdote about a football player who was always big for his age when he was growing up. When his dad tried to enroll him in Pop Warner football when he was 11, the coach said, "we've got a rule -- a kid's got to be 13." The dad asked the coach, "have you seen him?" The coach took one look at the kid and said, "we just changed the rule."

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12 Comments:

Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

And Larry gets smacked down yet again.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 9:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

It looks like they kicked his butt again. He is keeping his perfect record.

Sanity 1, Larry(?) 0

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> I strongly suspect that others who sent emails supporting the above campaign got the same answer that I did <

Do you really believe that there were more than one nutcase who wanted to put a non-banned book on a list of banned ones?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Sherry D said...

Doesn't a "campaign" involve more than one person?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

< Doesn't a "campaign" involve more than one person? >

Not necessarily.

Does Sancho Panza count?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

I am really getting a charge out of kicking butt on this blog and other blogs. All you trolls can do is just respond with breathtakingly inane jokes.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 1:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> I am really getting a charge out of kicking butt on this blog and other blogs. <

Where are you doing that? All we can see is you falling on your face one time after another. It is no mystery as to why you were a total failure in your lawsuits.

> All you trolls can do is just respond with breathtakingly inane jokes. <

We can, and do, point out the insanity of your arguments. You really have no clue as to what the meaning of "logic" may be.

As for "breathtakakingly inane", a term which I believe Sherry D pointed out as and example of juvenile thinking. You repeat this term endlessly like a small child who had found a new word. If you want to know what the term actually means, read your own posts.

I wonder. Is Larry(?) really so delusional that he believes that he has ever won a debate, or is he aware of his failure and just blowing smoke?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 2:03:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>As for "breathtakakingly inane", a term which I believe Sherry D pointed out as and example of juvenile thinking. <<<<<<

Judge Jones coined the expression "breathtaking inanity," so I guess that shows where he is coming from.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 2:10:00 PM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>I am really getting a charge out of kicking butt on this blog and other blogs. All you trolls can do is just respond with breathtakingly inane jokes.<<<

Translation: Larry has been getting his ass kicked and can't stand to have everyone point and laugh at him. Unfortnately, Larry pathologically can't admit when he's been beat, so he keeps going back to get his ass kicked again, at which point we point and laugh even more. It's a vicious cycle. Larry can end it one of two ways: admit he was wrong, or stop making the argument. He's just too stupid to do either.

Which means continued amusement for the rest of us.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 2:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> Judge Jones coined the expression "breathtaking inanity," so I guess that shows where he is coming from. <

It went over your head as usual. The point was that you use it repeatedly and have yet to use it appropriately.

You are right, Kevin. He hasn't a clue. Not only that but he is getting worse. We are bound to be treated to more amusement.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:45:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> You are right, Kevin. He hasn't a clue. <

He has a clue. He knows that he has had his butt publicly beaten on his last two misadventures. First his attempts to vandalize Wikipedia and second the email single participant "campaign".

The troll has retired to his cave for now but with his need for attention he will be back soon. We can look forward to some more breathtakingly inane posts.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 8:44:00 AM  

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