I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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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.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wikipedia's political attacks violate nonprofit 501(c)(3) status

The Wikimedia Foundation, which operates the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Wikipedia's extremely biased biography of Cheri Yecke, a political candidate for the office of Florida commission of education, is a flagrant violation of an IRS rule prohibiting 501(c)(3) organizations from campaigning for or against a candidate for elective public office. The IRS says,

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.

. . . .voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that: (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

Not only is the Wikipedia bio of Cheri Yecke extremely biased, but my attempt to add a rebuttal was censored. When I attempted to add my rebuttal, I had the courtesy to not disturb any existing material, even though I saw clear bias in that material. Of course, the satanic Wickedpedian control freaks who censored my rebuttal don't know what "courtesy" means. Truth is a defense against charges of libel but is not a defense against charges of censorship of rebuttals.

Here are some examples of extreme bias in Yecke's Wikipedia biography. Her bio begins,
.
Cheri Pierson Yecke, Ph.D. is a conservative politician who has been involved in attempts to teach creationism in science classes

Mentioning a bio subject's alleged pro-creationism activities in the first sentence of a bio might be appropriate in, say, a bio of Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis; it is hardly appropriate in the case of Cheri Yecke. Calling her "a conservative politician who has been involved in attempts to teach creationism in science classes" is based solely on a biased interpretation of a single minor event that happened in Minnesota in 2003. Yet about one-half of her bio is taken up with discussing that event.

There is no evidence that she ever made the following statement that was cited in support of the preceding claim:

1. Yecke: "every local district should have the freedom to teach creationism if that is what they choose" Minnesota Public Radio, June 9, 2003.

Her bio says,

In July of 2003 during her term as education commissioner, Yecke proposed that the Minnesota Science Standards included (sic) the technique favored by intelligent design proponents to Teach The Controversy in science curriculum.

Wrong -- she said that decisions about "teaching the controversy" should be made by the local school districts. A newspaper article cited by the bio said,

. . . she said she will instruct the science committee to avoid any clashes over the teaching of evolution. She will cite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits the teaching of strict creationism in the classroom and a section of the new federal No Child Left Behind Act that strongly advises school districts to teach evolution in a way that "helps the student to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society."

"My purpose is that we don't need to enter that debate," Yecke said. "And that these decisions lay with the local school boards."

"Teach the controversy" was also the technique favored by the 91 Senators who voted for the Santorum Amendment. And there is much more to the controversy than just evolution and ID -- there are many scientific and pseudoscientific non-ID criticisms of evolution.

The bio says,
She cited the pro-intelligent design Santorum Amendment as supporting her effort.

The Santorum Amendment is not "pro-intelligent design" -- this amendment does not even mention intelligent design. If this amendment is pro-ID, then so were the 91 Senators who voted in favor of it.

The versions of the Minnesota Science Standards circulated by Yecke contained language used by the pro-intelligent design Teach The Controversy campaign which casts doubt on evolution while offering intelligent design as a competing theory. The version that was circulated among the public did not include these revisions.

It is claimed that the original newspaper article containing this story is no longer available online, so here is the Pharyngula blog's quotation of the article --

Two drafts of Minnesota’s science standards circulated this week. The only difference? How they described the teaching of evolution.

The version the public didn’t see included words like “might” and “possible” at strategic points that clearly cast doubt on the certainty of biological evolution.

When members of the citizens’ panel that wrote the standards saw what was to be the final document, several saw the “mights” and “possibles” and protested that they didn’t write the document that way and that the department made critical changes without telling the panel.

In the end, the committee got the language it wanted, giving evolution the full stamp of approval of the state as the way to teach science to all students in Minnesota’s public schools.

The department said the confusion was a simple mistake caused by several versions floating around the agency, said spokesman Bill Walsh. He said it wasn’t that Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke — who has acknowledged her belief in creationism — tried quietly to place her own personal misgivings about evolution into the standards.

There is no proof that Yecke deliberately tried to sneak those words into the final version of the standards. The words were removed before the final version was released to the public.

The bio says,
Wesley R. Elsberry, marine biologist and critic of intelligent design whose blog The Austringer had referenced the article linking Yecke to the Teach The Controversy method of promoting intelligent design was contacted by ReputationDefender in June 2007.

Again, "teach the controversy" is not just specifically a method of promoting intelligent design.

The bio says,
Readers of blog then provided links to archived recordings of Twin Cities Public Television broadcasts from 2003 showing Yecke saying that teaching intelligent design was a decision local school districts could undertake and teaching intelligent design is supported by the Santorum Amendment.

Well, Yecke was correct -- teaching intelligent design is supported by the Santorum Amendment. The only thing is that the Santorum Amendment is not in the No Child Left Behind Law itself but is in a modified form in the House-Senate conference report accompanying the Act.

BTW, the Wikimedia Foundation is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, the home state of Cheri Yecke. How convenient.
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11 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> Wikipedia's extremely biased biography of Cheri Yecke <

The one you quoted doesn't seem biased at all. You seem to believe that telling the truth is, of necessity, biased if it reflects badly on the person who is being described.

Telling the truth about you would reflect badly on you but you would censor it as "gossip". Wikipedia is above this.

Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Wikipedia's extremely biased biography of Cheri Yecke <

The one you quoted doesn't seem biased at all. You seem to believe that telling the truth is, of necessity, biased if it reflects badly on the person who is being described. <<<<<<

You obviously missed the following statement that I made --

Truth is a defense against charges of libel but is not a defense against charges of censorship of rebuttals.

As I said, Wikipedia is operated by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit outfit. The IRS prohibits 501(c)(3) outfits from engaging in political campaigning. Sheri Yecke is a candidate in a public election. Wikipedia therefore must allow rebuttals of unfavorable material about her on her bio, regardless of whether or not that unfavorable material is true.

Sunday, July 15, 2007 2:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> You obviously missed the following statement that I made -- <

I saw the nonsensical statement. You obviously missed my point.

> Truth is a defense against charges of libel but is not a defense against charges of censorship of rebuttals. <

Allowing nonsense is not a requirement of nonprofit status. Censoring irrational rebuttals is just acting responsibly for a reference page. Wikipedia is not a debating forum.

> The IRS prohibits 501(c)(3) outfits from engaging in political campaigning. <

And they are not doing so.

> Sheri Yecke is a candidate in a public election. <

Which doesn't mean that they can't have an article about her.

> Wikipedia therefore must allow rebuttals of unfavorable material about her on her bio, regardless of whether or not that unfavorable material is true. <

No they do not need to post mindless braying.

You will lose this one like you lose every case and then you will claim that the deck is stacked against you.

Sunday, July 15, 2007 8:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

A "Wiki" guy bawled, "It's fine
That I lie and I cheat. It's a sign
That aids the promotion
Of Darwin's old notion,
Which says that I'm just like a swine."

Sunday, July 15, 2007 4:36:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Telling what someone is doing or has done is not political campaigning. <<<<<<

The rules for 501(c)(3) outfits say --
. . . .voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that: (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention. . (emphasis added)

So the rules say that even activities that just "have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention."

Even just denying an opportunity for rebuttal has "the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates."

Give it up already, dunghill. You are just wasting my time.

I can assure you that after I win this one you will never hear the end of it.

Monday, July 16, 2007 5:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> I can assure you that after I win this one you will never hear the end of it. <

You will lose and you will accuse the IRS of corruption.

Monday, July 16, 2007 7:47:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> I can assure you that after I win this one you will never hear the end of it. <

You will lose and you will accuse the IRS of corruption. <<<<<<

Publicity is the most effective antidote to corruption. There has already been plenty of publicity here and there is likely to be more.

Monday, July 16, 2007 8:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill Carter said...

> Publicity is the most effective antidote to corruption. There has already been plenty of publicity here and there is likely to be more. <

Larry, as one who makes such a point about your "privacy", do you really want to publicize your insanity?

Monday, July 16, 2007 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Publicity is the most effective antidote to corruption. There has already been plenty of publicity here and there is likely to be more. <

Larry, as one who makes such a point about your "privacy", do you really want to publicize your insanity? <<<<<<

I am no longer protecting my privacy, dunghill -- I am no longer censoring gossip about my private affairs. And though I am bending over backwards to avoid censorship, there are still worthless pieces of crap like you who charge that I am still censoring.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 5:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> I am no longer censoring gossip about my private affairs. <

There was another mysterious disappearance of a post this morning.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice in the Wilderness said...

>>>>>> I am no longer censoring gossip about my private affairs. <

There was another mysterious disappearance of a post this morning. <<<<<<<

ViW, there is nothing that I can do about mysterious disappearances. As I said, if a comment disappears, just re-post it. You might want to note that it is a re-posting in case it is out of sequence with comments that respond to it.

You keep complaining about disappearing comments but I never see re-postings.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 12:35:00 PM  

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