Respectful Insolence

It was just a high school marching band, like so many other high school bands in this country, a band that no one outside of the area of Sedalia, Missouri would be likely to have heard of, were it not for a breathtakingly stupid action by its school superintendent. You see, the band had an idea for a clever and amusing way to illustrate their theme for the year of the “Brass Evolutions.” It was this T-shirt, to be worn by band members and reported by the Sedalia Democrat:

i-509981c3aec944887d0b2eae97e22d8a-Tigerprideevolution.jpg

When I saw it by way of ERV, I thought it was kind of cute and a rather clever way of illustrating the theme. As the assistant band director described:

Assistant Band Director Brian Kloppenburg said the shirts were designed by him, Band Director Jordan Summers and Main Street Logo. Kloppenburg said the shirts were intended to portray how brass instruments have evolved in music from the 1960s to modern day. Summers said they chose the evolution of man because it was “recognizable.” The playlist of songs the band is slated to perform revolve around the theme “Brass Evolutions.”

Sounds about right to me. But this is the Bible belt. Poor Mr. Kloppenburg must be hopelessly naive or not from around that neck of the woods, or he would have known what was coming next:

The band debuted the T-shirts when it marched in the Missouri State Fair parade. Summers said he was surprised when he received a direct complaint after the parade.

While the shirts don’t directly violate the district’s dress code, Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt said complaints by parents made him take action.

“I made the decision to have the band members turn the shirts in after several concerned parents brought the shirts to my attention,” Pollitt said.

Pollitt said the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned.

First off, this little kerfuffle in a little town in the heart of the Bible belt demonstrates one thing: When those who are “skeptical” of evolution tell you it’s not about religion, they’re either deluding themselves, lying, or maybe to them it’s not about religion but they’re deluding themselves that the same is true for most people. It’s not. To the vast majority of people who “don’t believe in evolution,” it’s about religion. It’s always been about religion since Darwin’s time and before. Look at the terminology used by Mr. Pollitt: The school must remain “neutral” towards religion. The theory of evolution has nothing to do with religion! It’s science, supported by enormous quantities of evidence. Religious fundamentalists who are ignorant of science, like the people in Sedalia who complained about an innocent and rather amusing band T-shirt, may think that evolution has something to do with religion, but that’s their problem. Well, unfortunately, it’s our problem too, because their scientific ignorance is passed on to their children all too often. It’s attitudes like this that endanger science:

Band parent Sherry Melby, who is a teacher in the district, stands behind Pollitt’s decision. Melby said she associated the image on the T-shirt with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

Read that once again: “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

And again: “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

Actually, I don’t think that any students should be associated with your school, Mrs. Melby, if that’s the attitude the school has towards well-established science. Think about it: Evolution is science. Why on earth should it not be associated with a high school? Band parent Sherry Melby is a moron. Sorry, there’s no other way to put it, and I’d say the same thing to her face if I ever met her. Evolution is the underlying theory that permeates all of biology. Would she say the same thing if the band had decided to illustrate a band T-shirt with Albert Einstein or perhaps some form of the big bang progressing to galaxies progressing to solar systems to illustrate the evolution of brass? Maybe she would have.

Mr. Pollitt, though, still gets the award for the most disingenuous quote:

“If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” he said.

Well, he might have, but I bet he would have fought it for a while first or complained bitterly about having to succumb to those nasty anti-religious types. Succumb to anti-science nonsense, and he acquiesces without much of a fight.

Here’s the really sad thing about all of this, though:

Pollitt said the district would now have to absorb the cost of the T-shirts — $700 — that would have been paid for by the band parents. Pollitt said an anonymous donor had originally planned to pay half the cost, but declined after the evolution image was placed on the shirts. However, the donor does plan to fund half the price of the new T-shirts.

So, because some religious loons complained about this shirt, a small school district will be out about $1,050 ($700 plus $350, half the price of printing up the new shirts) for no good reason at all and have a stack of T-shirts that will either end up being thrown away, burned, or turned into dust rags. (Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were burned or otherwise disposed of, so that no one could make off with one and wear it.) That’s money that could have gone towards books, supplies, or other school needs, but now that money’s been, in essence, pissed down the drain. Because of fundamentalist religion, the district has wasted tax dollars that could have gone to the education of children.

Finally, if you want to see something that is truly depressing, read the comments after the news article.

Comments

  1. #1 Gene Doctor
    August 30, 2009

    It depresses me that this is the state of our country. Their ignorance astounds me.

    Well written blog, Orac.

    Why doesn’t Matt Lauer do a story on this, too?

  2. #2 pough
    August 30, 2009

    I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.

    Well, “smart” is certainly not going to be associated with your school for some time to come. That’s a start, I guess.

  3. #3 Mim Song
    August 30, 2009

    It’d be great to buy up these shirts and then re-sell them, packaged with this story, to raise money for science education. I’m sure we could turn a prophet! C’mon SciBlogsters, who’s with me?

  4. #4 Corvus
    August 30, 2009

    Ditto Mim Song. Where can I buy one?

  5. #5 The Science Pundit
    August 30, 2009

    I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.

    It gets worse. That shirt design had shapes on it. Does she really want geometry associated with her school? And don’t even get me started on all the English words that were on those shirts …

  6. #6 Becca Stareyes
    August 30, 2009

    I remember one year our high school band did a Les Miserables* themed show. If someone had been going on how the French Flag on the band shirts was an attack on their American patriotism, or that Les Mis promoted Communism or something, they’d be stared at in a baffling way. Because most people recognize that is a logical stretch. (Makes me wonder if the astronomy department softball team shirt I designed — our team is The Big Bangers — would past muster for these people.)

    * The musical, not the book.

    (Not to mention how my sister would tell me stories about high school/college band kids trying to make the most risque rank shirts possible (the sax ranks was especially infamous for this, probably because of the number of dirty puns you can make) without getting smacked down. I think the only time they got in trouble was when they referenced the college football team’s starting defensive line’s nickname** without noticing it was also a nickname for the SS. Oops.)

    ** Based on the color of the defensive starters’ practice jerseys.

  7. #7 Alena Hoeffling
    August 30, 2009

    I am flabbergasted that my children have to go to this district. Moving here as a military wife 4 years ago I was appalled that the curriculum was 2 years behind where we came from, no real sex education, and views highly influenced by the local churches. I wish I had the budget to higher a lawyer to help me complain about my son’s rights being taken away. This is ridiculous. I will be bringing all the comments into the school district office this week to show them I am not the only person that believes evolution is not religion and they had no right to censor something that is actually part of the curriculum. Thanks for your support and spread the word. If they are joked about in the media maybe the school district and school board will be careful in future decisions.

    Alena Hoeffling

  8. #8 ERV
    August 30, 2009

    You missed a detail, Orac.

    Sherry “I dont want evolution associated with our schools” Melby is a band parent AND “a teacher in the district”.

    *face palm*

  9. #9 Orac
    August 30, 2009

    As long as she’s not a science teacher…I hope she isn’t a science teacher. Please tell me she isn’t a science teacher….

    Sadly, though, even in my neck of the woods, there are teachers such as Melby. A relative of mine is a grade school teacher and has overheard anti-evolution comments from…science teachers!

  10. #10 TGAP Dad
    August 30, 2009

    Ahhhh, Missouri! I actually have roots there – my grandparents were born there, and I have been there numerous times for family reunions and such. I, too could have predicted this reaction, although it surprises me that the shirts actually got as far as they did before being nixed. The natives pronounce it “miz-ER-ah,” but I prefer “MIZ-ah-ree.”

  11. #11 DrWonderful
    August 30, 2009

    I consider myself a strong Christian but I have never seen a conflcit between God and science. If there is a God, and I do believe there is, then He created all natural and mechanical laws we study. That would include evolution in my opinion. I think he gave us great puzzles to solve and science is one of His greatest gifts.

    These are the same type of people who oppose health insurance refrom for all the wrong reasons. Just to let you know not all Christians are completely ignorant.

  12. #12 ERV
    August 30, 2009

    Shes an early childhood education teacher: melbys@sedalia.k12.mo.us

    Bradley Pollitt, Superintendent Asst: pollittb@sedalia.k12.mo.us

    Sedalia school district emails

  13. #13 Mike Stanton
    August 30, 2009

    Quite a lot of pro-evolution comments in your link now Orac. And it reads like a local debate, which I find encouraging. Though the anti-evolution comments are ignorant in the extreme.

  14. #14 Jen
    August 30, 2009

    “I think he gave us great puzzles to solve and science is one of His greatest gifts.”

    I’m an atheist, but I always keep Galileo’s quote in the back of my mind when I ponder things like this:

    “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use.”

  15. #15 peter
    August 30, 2009

    I want one!

    and you’re quite right, some of the comments are quite depressing. there’s one long one about how there should be a law allowing property owners to opt out of taxes that pay for public education, complaining that parents who rent get a free ride.

    I think the one thing that amazes more than anything in many modern day controversies, (be it evolution, politics, etc.) is the propensity to fail to follow the chain of consequences more than a single step.

  16. #16 daedalus2u
    August 30, 2009

    Who owns the intellectual property rights to the design on the shirt. If a student created it, then that student owns it and can sell a zillion shirts to who ever wants to buy them, even other students. Maybe take the name of the school off of it and there is nothing the school could do about people wearing them.

  17. #17 DrWonderful
    August 30, 2009

    Jen- yours is a great example of how a Christian and atheist can agree on a fundamental question regarding religion. Please remember that in your travels.

  18. #18 Ruth
    August 30, 2009

    TGAP Dad,

    I live in St. Louis, MIZ ah-ree, with Wash U, Monsanto and AP bio classes. Miz-ER-ah is a whole ‘nother country. (And the answer to the St. Louis question for my kids is Lafayette.)

  19. #19 Jeremy
    August 30, 2009

    It is pretty hilarious that people were offended by those t-shirts though. I mean even if you didn’t think evolution was real, it seems fairly insecure to think that those t-shirts would have any kind of impact on anything. The whole fiasco is insane.

  20. #20 Ex Band Geek
    August 30, 2009

    That money came out of the band budget.

    That’s money that could have purchased a new trumpet, for example.

    Paid for a bus to take them to a competition.

    If I were a kid in that band, I’d either get one of the shirts or bootleg a version of it and wear it to school all the time.

  21. #21 Ex Band Geek
    August 30, 2009
  22. #22 Michelle
    August 30, 2009

    @Ruth:

    I’m with you sister…it does seem like outstate Missouri is a whole different world. Even St. Charles and Jefferson counties have their anti-science wackos and loons (I’m talking to you, Rep. Cynthia Davis). And my kids will go to Parkway South.

    As for religion and science, I’m very glad I don’t have to choose. I’m Catholic, and the Vatican (at least under JPII) has been supportive of evolution.

    Michelle

  23. #23 Joe B
    August 30, 2009

    Not an anti-science situation, just uptight-ness, but my high school had a similar t-shirt recall situation a few years ago while I was there. The school did a yearly T-shirt for the student section for basketball games. That year the students designing it decided to call it the “C-section” (C is the first letter in the schools name) and made a t-shirt to reflect that. Apparently some bare legs and the clear implication that the woman on the shirt was in the process of giving birth to an anthropomorphic hawk (team mascot) is enough to draw so many complaints the school banned the shirt it had approved the design on and sold in the hallways.

  24. #24 Shawn
    August 30, 2009

    Put the shirts on eBay! I’ll buy one!

    So, Sherry Melby says “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

    Let’s put that into context with other things that may be “controversial.”

    “I don’t think gravity should be associated with our school.”
    “I don’t think geology should be associated with our school.”
    “I don’t think relativity should be associated with our school.”
    “I don’t think history should be associated with our school.”
    “I don’t think the war in Iraq should be associated with our school.”

    hmmm… need I say more?

  25. #25 LovleAnjel
    August 30, 2009

    Just to make people feel a weence bit better about the state of Misery, I am biology faculty at a small University on the Western end. The science teachers we prepare get rigorous exposure to evolution as a core concept of science. I know I cover what science is and why a theory is not just a theory in every single class I teach. Most of our teachers end up staying within the region.

  26. #26 hedberg
    August 30, 2009

    Don’t consider that as money pissed down the drain, consider it an economic stimulus. Sort of like paying people to bury bottles of money for other people to dig up, a notion attributed to Keynes and, amazingly, considered approvingly by Krugman, and he’s got a Nobel prize so it must be true. Also, sort of like paying people to destroy perfectly good automobiles. Yes, yes, the economist’s version of the perpetual motion machine.

  27. #27 ebohlman
    August 30, 2009

    “I don’t think our biology courses are core academic courses as defined by the NCAA for purposes of determining freshman eligibility.”

  28. #28 Gaythia
    August 30, 2009

    According to the information available to me online, Smith-Cotton seems to rank fair to middling as compared to other Missouri high schools. I could not reach school or district websites, do they exist or did the controversy take them down?

    The information from ebohlman above about Biology classes would, if true, be quite concerning. Not all of the newspaper article comments were depressing. It is clear from some of the entries on the Sadalia newspaper website as well as that of the military parent above that there are those in town who are very interested in seeing that the children in Sadalia receive a quality education and worried about the educational opportunities available presently.

    There are many communities like this in our country. Most of us who read this blog are scientists and are interested in living in a country with citizens who are knowledgeable, educated and possess critical thinking skills. It is not enough simply to ensure that our own children receive excellent educational opportunities. I think we should work on trying to figure out ways that we can do outreach to those students and families who are motivated to learn more than their local school systems are willing to offer.

    Perhaps for this high school, turning the t-shirts into a national fund raiser would be a good first start. We might be able to empower local parents, such as the mother I mentioned above, to help foster a positive image for this school district, rather than a nationwide black eye.

  29. #29 mariana
    August 30, 2009

    One small nitpick about the shirt is that it portrays an inaccurate representation of hominid evolution. Stephen J. Gould, in one of his essays, spoke out against this caricature of hominid evolution (in an end-note he points out that when his book was printed in Japan(?) the book jacket ironically had this series of steps printed on it).

    Creationists then think this actually portrays hominid evolution so they disprove that these steps took place by showing how the various forms coexisted with one another. Essentially they argue against a strawman rather than argue against the facts. Unfortunately, even if you do know about evolution this particular strawman meme is so prominent many may not realize it is a misrepresentation of the actual theory/hypothesis of hominid descent.

    Not that it really makes a difference—even if hominid evolution were well explained and understood creationists would still debate crocoducks or make claims like Archeopteryx is a fully formed organism with no half formed bits which is what evolution demands if this were a cross between a reptile and a bird (seriously, I read that last week). You can educate a fool and all you get is an educated fool.

  30. #30 Dr Aust
    August 30, 2009

    Wow. I wonder why the person quoted just didn’t go the full distance and say:

    “I don’t think thinking should be associated with our schools”

    This story actually reminded me that my favourite cartoonist John Callahan once produced a whole series of “hill of evolution” cartoons. One of my favourites had one of the pair of fish with legs at the bottom of the hill saying to the other:

    “When we get to the top, let’s say we’re born-again Christians and deny the whole thing ever happened”

  31. #31 ERV
    August 30, 2009

    ATTENTION: POLL CRASH!!!!

    Sedalia Democrat has a poll up now! Lower right panel:

    “Should the Sedalia school district have pulled the Smith-Cotton High School band T-shirts?
    Yes, the evolution image was inappropriate
    57%
    No, critics and the district are overreacting
    43%
    Total Votes: 199″

  32. #32 KristinMH
    August 30, 2009

    Becca Stareyes: Not to derail anything here, but Les Miserables does have a very strong social justice theme. I wouldn’t call it communist perse, but it definitely conflicts with the wholesome American prosperity gospel.

    Going back to the topic at hand, I know a trombonist who would go NUTS for that shirt.

  33. #33 mike stanton
    August 30, 2009

    KristinMH
    Les Miserables is set in 19th century France not the USA. Moreover it is about the lives of people caught up in the turmoil to overthrow autocracy via a bourgeois revolution and replace it with democracy. In short they want what America achieved with its revolution. And since when has social justice been in conflict with the American Way?

    competing interests declared: I am a European, marxist intellectual who wept buckets when I saw Les Mis on stage for the first time.

  34. #34 KristinMH
    August 30, 2009

    Mike Stanton -

    A musical that ends with the full cast standing at the edge of the stage singing:

    Will you join in our crusade?
    Who will be strong and stand with me?
    Somewhere beyond the barricade is there
    A world you long to see?
    Do you hear the people sing
    Say, do you hear the distant drums?
    It is the future that we bring
    When tomorrow comes.

    after showing you various characters suffering due to class oppression (Fantine’s misfortunes) and societal injustice (Valjean’s persecution for a justifiable and long since expiated crime) is sending, IMHO, a very clear message. Like I said, not a communist one, but one that many conservative Americans (I’m thinking Glenn Beck fans here) would find unacceptably socialist.

    And since when has social justice been in conflict with the American Way?

    Dude, I’m not opening THAT can of worms.

  35. #35 Mkat
    August 30, 2009

    Evolution Band in Sedalia! Their Band Parents really beat the band. The district brass sure have a lot of brass! They really needs to get down to Brass Tact. I apologive (or ask ADA accommodation) for my painful case of hereditary punning disorder (and haven’t read the whole thread to know if I’ve got company in this). I don’t have cable, so don’t know what the late night pros have done w/ this, but we need to get Craig, Dave & co. right on this. (After all, this a country where a dismaying percentage of folks get most of their news from these guys!) This this the kind of news that makes me want resign my “Miz-ur-ah” membership.

  36. #36 mk
    August 30, 2009

    @ mim song…

    I’m sure we could turn a prophet!

    Heh-heh…

  37. #37 Janet Camp
    August 30, 2009

    Mariana – the minute I saw that image I thought of Gould’s essay on the subject, but thought no one would care. You make the point perfectly and I thank you. It isn’t nit-picky in the sense that the image plays into the nutters twisted thinking. I think it’s fine that the kids used it, because it works for their message, but in MY ideal world, their science teacher would have covered Gould’s essay’s point.

    Can you think of an image that could be used instead? It would be a good idea to introduce an alternative and start circulating it. I have seen some good ones that are based on a bush, but they don’t have the same impact.

  38. #38 The Blind Watchmaker
    August 30, 2009

    Does someone have the capability to reproduce these shirts from the picture above?

    If so, I will buy one.

    When I was in band, we had tee shirts that said, “Trombonists do it in 7 positions!”
    Nobody seemed to care.

  39. #39 Phoenix Woman
    August 30, 2009

    There was an active KKK branch in Sedalia as recently as the early 1980s. It may well still be there.

  40. #40 Gaythia
    August 30, 2009

    I agree with Janet that Mariana’s point is not nit picky. While we are against the reasons that some adults in Sedalia rejected this t shirt we should make it clear that it is an amusing cartoon figure and not an accurate depiction of the science of evolution.

    I believe we are ultimately more interested in how well Smith-Cotton High School, and other high schools, teach biology than we are in the details of t-shirts for school groups.

    Missouri started three new high school end of course exams last year, in Algebra 1, Biology and English II. According to the August 13th edition of STL Today, (the online version of the St Louis Post-Dispatch Newspaper) only 55% of high school students who took the exam in Biology received a passing score. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education apparently intend these tests to be a measure how well teachers convey the content to students that is embodied in state requirements. Evidently the state hopes that school districts will use the test result information to improve curricula.

    It would be interesting to find out how well Smith-Cotton high school students performed on this exam.

  41. #41 richard
    August 30, 2009

    “Pollitt said the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned.”

    Did he just imply that evolution is religion?

    You can remain neutral on religion while remaining fully pro-common sense by laughing at anyone who complains that the evolution image is offensive. Let them sue.

  42. #42 Miles
    August 30, 2009

    If the school district has any sense, it will put those T-shirts up for sale and make back the money that it spent on them. With the publicity this story is getting, there should be plenty of people wanting to buy them.

  43. #43 Jake Crosby
    August 30, 2009

    If evolutionary biology can’t even convince people of their own historical origin, good luck convincing them that their vaccines can bring deadly recombinant viruses such as AIDS into the human population.

  44. #44 mariana
    August 30, 2009

    Janet–you asked “Can I think of an image that could be used instead?” I’m not sure. The beauty of that stereotype image is that it is so memorable even if wrong. It has been around for, what, 70 years give or take? There are numerous cartoons and jokes based on this image (we’ve probably all seen the monkey to upright man to slouched man at a keyboard). It is embedded in our culture, so to speak, and I’m not sure we can really replace it with anything that will capture peoples’ attention and imagination in the same way.

    Reproducing the National Geographic’s tree probably will not work to the same extent, if at all. It has question marks and dotted lines between finds and may need to be changed or updated every couple of years when new fossils are discovered or old fossils are reanalyzed. Doesn’t make for a catchy t-shirt or poster that people will remember.

    I think you’ve asked an intriguing question. Perhaps a creative genius may come up with something catchy yet more accurate. I’ll have to give it some thought now that you’ve made the point (not that I’m a creative genius) :)

  45. #45 Jake Crosby
    August 30, 2009

    Listen to Merck Vaccine Chief, Maurice Hilleman, for details:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edikv0zbAlU

  46. #46 tagamite77
    August 31, 2009

    Update on ERV post #31: Total votes 2204, now 93% to 7% for the good guys.

  47. #47 Sigmund
    August 31, 2009

    “Does someone have the capability to reproduce these shirts from the picture above?
    If so, I will buy one.”
    I’ve up the image and posted it as a jpeg on my blog below.
    http://sneerreview.blogspot.com/2009/08/smith-cotton-high-school-marching-band.html
    If you want you should be able to get your local or online T-shirt printer to make a T-shirt using it.

  48. #48 Jen
    August 31, 2009

    Hey, Jake, can you let your friends over at AoA know that several members of the Johnson and Johnson family, (as in the makers of Tylenol) including the director of DAN!, Jane Johnson, are funding Wakefield’s work at Thoughtful House? (to the tune of over 1 million dollars?) The board moderator there doesn’t seem to like it when I try to do it. (2 failed attempts)

    I figured that since many of the posters there howl in protest about Nancy Snyderman’s associations with Johnson and Johnson, that little tidbit might also be of interest.

    Thanks.

  49. #49 Dave Robinson
    August 31, 2009

    I think the teacher was misquoted: what she really meant was “I don’t think education should be associated with our schools.”

    Gotta love idiots.

    I personally see the whole “don’t teach evolution in schools” movement as a sign that teaching critical thinking has failed miserably over the last few generations.

    How long will it take to make people aware that evolution is neither religion nor synonymous with abiogenesis? It’s this kind of credulity that lets people honestly believe that a system which costs more per capita than any other developed country’s and covers a smaller percentage of the population is the best way to handle health care.

  50. #50 Sigmund
    August 31, 2009

    “How long will it take to make people aware that evolution is neither religion nor synonymous with abiogenesis?”
    Those of us of a more biochemical bent would probably take issue with the abiogenesis point. Abiogenesis to a molecular biologist is simply the point at which chemical evolution became biochemical evolution. There is no inherent difference to the process, its just that the molecules were of a different class.

  51. #51 Gaythia
    August 31, 2009

    The website for Smith Cotton High School is accessible this morning. The school is apparently divided into three Academies, one of which is called the “Health and Sciences Academy”

    Sedalia obviously has forces such as the “I don’t want evolution associated with our school” parent, who seen to be pressuring the district to take a stance that is anti-science. There are undoubtedly community institutions, such as fundimentalist churches who are supportive of those that hold this position.

    But there are others in town, and presumably some of the teaching staff, who would be supportive of science. They may feel isolated and it may be difficult to speak out. (How would you like to be the band teacher right now?)

    If we have an active interest in having an advanced, scientific society in America, it really matters to all of us that this body of knowledge is conveyed in communities like Sedalia.

    This episode may be a “teachable moment”. I think it would be very powerful if scientists, and especially medical professionals, would make connections with this health and science program in ways that would show the students (and the rest of the community) just how much modern science and medicine is dependent on the theory of evolution. The students future jobs may very well depend on their comprehension of this subject.

    Voting in their newspaper poll may be emotionally satisfying but isn’t going to accomplish anything.

  52. #52 Dr. Donald B. MacGowan
    August 31, 2009

    Dude!

    This is a fund-raiser opportunity par excellance! We should acquire the t-shirts, auction them on eBay to well-meaning atheists who know a good joke when they see one and are willing to part with some capital, and then donate the proceeds to anyone of several worthy secular 501 c3 organizations!

    Who’s with me?

    -Donnie

  53. #53 LovleAnjel
    August 31, 2009

    One of my colleagues has tried to call the school to no avail. I have emailed the band directors directly and offered to donate money in exchange for a shirt. Their addresses are:

    Brian Kloppenburg kloppenburgb@sedalia.k12.mo.us
    Jordan Summers summersj@sedalia.k12.mo.us

  54. #54 Sticks
    August 31, 2009

    @LovieAnjet

    I do not think they will be allowed to do that. They have to be incinerated to cleanse the school heresy don’t you know. ;-)

    To give them away or sell them could undermine their “neutrality on religion” they insist upon now

    Also I suspect the band directors may not be there much longer after this. I understand there was another case across the pond where someone was sacked for sending an email about a talk that was showing how Intelligent Design did not hold water.

    This would never happen in the UK

  55. #55 Evan
    August 31, 2009

    Living in Alabama I know all to well the ignorance of people like them. Well anyway I just emailed the band director and assistant band director about possibly buying these shirts. Well see how it goes.

  56. #56 justin
    August 31, 2009

    i live in sedalia, missouri and its pretty fucking sad what we have put up with. our town has even established zoning regulations on adult stores.

  57. #57 Laura Hern-Arnote
    August 31, 2009

    I am a native of Sedalia, MO and also attended Smith-Cotton HS. If they are so intent to keep neutral on subjects like this, why teach and have students portray the events that happened in the Darwin Monkey Trials?? I remember quite well learning and re-inacting the trials in my history class there at SC, and NO one complained about it!! And that was only 7 years ago!! Stupid people….

  58. #58 truthspeaker
    August 31, 2009

    I hope at least one of the kids disobeyed the order to turn in his or her shirt.

  59. #59 Bobby
    August 31, 2009

    I’m glad to report that there are now over 6500 votes for the poll with 97% agreeing that this is ridiculous nonsense.

  60. #60 RC
    August 31, 2009

    Scopes monkey trial, not Darwin

  61. #61 Jake Crosby
    August 31, 2009

    Jen,

    Thank you for shooting down the utter ridiculous claim that Wakefield had a “conflict of interest” sees he is being paid by the very pharmaceutical companies that are taking him on. I seriously doubt Johnson and Johnson would want to see the MMR vaccine get flushed down the toilet as a cause of autism as that will only lead to a domino effect that will undoubtedly collapse onto their precious Rhogam immunoglobulin. You know, I have not heard this until he wrote a post for AoA, but Wakefield won an award from the Wellcome Trust one year after it sold all its stock to Glaxo, creating the pharmaceutical company Glaxo Wellcome which would merge with SmithKline Beecham to make GlaxoSmithKline. So he also had financial ties to MMR manufacturers, too. So much for the claim of his “conflict-of-interest.” You wanna talk about conflict of interest let’s talk then about every researcher who has claimed to show no link between thimerosal/MMR and autism.

    PS: Did you listen to the interview of MMR-inventor Hilleman that I posted?

  62. #62 Todd W.
    August 31, 2009

    @Jake Crosby

    Wakefield won an award from the Wellcome Trust one year after it sold all its stock to Glaxo

    And your point would be?

    So much for the claim of his “conflict-of-interest.”

    Not so fast. He is still guilty of not disclosing his financial conflicts of interest on the Lancet paper. His COIs still included payments from lawyers representing the families of the children who were subjects in the study. So, his conflicts of interest still stand as some major no-nos.

  63. #63 Jen
    August 31, 2009

    “I seriously doubt Johnson and Johnson would want to see the MMR vaccine get flushed down the toilet as a cause of autism”

    Of course they don’t! They want to keep that controversy burning for as long as possible, and they’re counting on Wakefield and the rest of the anti-vaccine crowd to help them. It distracts from a more likely cause of autism, their own product, Tylenol.

  64. #64 Jake Crosby
    August 31, 2009

    Todd,

    No legal money went into The Lancet paper, and Wakefield also got funded by the Wellcome Trust, perhaps most of which would be money that came out of a massive stock-sale to a huge pharmaceutical company that made MMR vaccines. So while he may have received legal aid for a paper that never even got published, he also received money from organizations affiliated with MMR manufacturers.

    Wow, way to scramble my words, Jen, here’s what I really said:
    “I seriously doubt Johnson and Johnson would want to see the MMR vaccine get flushed down the toilet as a cause of autism as that will only lead to a domino effect that will undoubtedly collapse onto their precious Rhogam immunoglobulin.”

    As if “getting flushed down the toilet” would be the metaphorical way of describing what would happen to a vindicated drug. It seems to be a reflection of your honesty, or lack of it.

    You are probably right about Tylenol also contributing to many cases of autism though. I’ll give you that much.

  65. #65 Doug
    August 31, 2009

    If they are joked about in the media maybe the school district and school board will be careful in future decisions.

    Alena Hoeffling

    Arlena, HATE to tell you this, but I’m an alum of Knob Noster HS…1972… NOTHING has changed since I lived there so don’t be getting your hopes up. (oh, and Sedalia was da big city compared to Knob).

  66. #66 Gaythia
    August 31, 2009

    I think that there is a big difference between now and the ’70s. While it seems that nothing changes in our hometowns, simply accessing a computer allows local residents much more access to outside ideas. And also to outside assistance.

  67. #67 Jen
    August 31, 2009

    “You are probably right about Tylenol also contributing to many cases of autism though. I’ll give you that much.”

    Okay, so why are you still harping about thimerosal? It’s been largely removed from childhood vaccines, and autism rates are still climbing. In addition, it fits the timeline, as autism rates started rising after aspirin was linked to Reye’s Syndrome.

  68. #68 Will
    August 31, 2009

    …Am I the only one who noticed that, if the parents were going to pay $700, and half of the cost was going to have been paid by an anonymous donor, the total price for the shirts would have been $1400?

    $700 + $350? I’m sorry, Orac, math doesn’t work that way. :P

  69. #69 jeff
    August 31, 2009

    The religious nuts are at it again. If you ever wonder why American schools rank on or about dead last among all industrialized nations on earth in math and science scores every year, ask the zealots and the school officials who cave into them.

  70. #70 Kris
    August 31, 2009

    Hell, I would buy one of those t-shirts and wear it for the irony. Then they would be out…well, ten or 15 less.

    That said, it’s a really bad design. Far too cluttered – of the “Hey, I love all this stuff, let’s put it all on the same tshirt!! Throw in cupcakes and dinosaurs and astronauts too!” If I was a brass player there, I probably would have whined about that.

  71. #71 bandmom
    August 31, 2009

    I live in Sedalia and my daughter is a member of the color gaurd. I have one of these shirts and I am going to keep it. Not everyone in Sedalia shares the opinions of the school board. I might just put the shirt on ebay and see how much money I can raise for the color gaurd girls. We had a woman go missing about a year ago and that got less publicity than these damn shirts. What a sad world we live in.

  72. #72 Oscar
    September 1, 2009

    Well I think the school should sell those shirts to whoever is willing to buy them. I know I would buy some of them for sure, and probably use one everyday.

  73. #73 Jake Crosby
    September 1, 2009

    @Jen

    Because the CDC did not remove it as soon as they said they would, parents have still found lots their children received containing the preservative well after the supposed “phase-out” which have been on the shelves for many years, and because it’s now in the flu shot given to pregnant women and all children ages 6 months to 18 years, and will be in the two-shot swine flu vaccine also recommended for pregnant women and children of those ages. Tylenol just weakens the immune systems of these children, making them more likely to have an adverse reaction.

  74. #74 Jen
    September 1, 2009

    “Tylenol just weakens the immune systems of these children, making them more likely to have an adverse reaction.”

    Jake, my younger child on the spectrum has NEVER been exposed to thimerosal. Completely unvaccinated, no flu shot during pregnancy. No RhoGam. He is still autistic. He also has mild asthma. (I assume you’ve read the accumulating evidence linking prenatal and early childhood acetaminophen use to asthma and allergies?)

  75. #75 Eric
    September 1, 2009

    I’m an atheist and the evidence for evolution is not totally convincing.

    If I wanted to be convinced, if I wanted to BELIEVE, then it would be much easier.

    Goes both ways, now that I think about it.

  76. #76 ildi
    September 1, 2009

    I’m an atheist and the evidence for evolution is not totally convincing.

    Non sequitur. Your knowledge of basic biology must be sadly lacking, IMO. Evolution is a fact, how it occurs is the theory.

  77. #77 Ruth
    September 1, 2009

    Good teachers are working unnoticed in many of the small towns in Missouri. My daughter has competed in the state finals for Science Olympiad for 3 years now. The medals mostly go to schools from St. Louis or KC. But I have talked to kids from little towns who are competing because a single teacher is dedicted to giving them a solid science education.

  78. #78 Todd W.
    September 1, 2009

    @Jake Crosby

    No legal money went into The Lancet paper, and Wakefield also got funded by the Wellcome Trust, perhaps most of which would be money that came out of a massive stock-sale to a huge pharmaceutical company that made MMR vaccines. So while he may have received legal aid for a paper that never even got published, he also received money from organizations affiliated with MMR manufacturers.

    Okay. Let’s step through this again. Wakefield received money from lawyers representing the families of individuals with autism who were claiming that the MMR vaccine caused autism. Almost all of the 12 subjects of Wakefields Lancet study were children of those parents represented by the lawyers paying Wakefield. Whether he used that money for the paper or to buy a lifetime supply of crisps doesn’t matter. It counts as a conflict of interest due to the relationships of the individuals involved and the timing of the funds received.

    As to the Wellcome money, from Wakefield’s own bio at Thoughtful House, emphasis added: “in 1996 was awarded a Wellcome Trust Traveling Fellowship to study small-intestine transplantation in Toronto, Canada“. So, he received the money completely unrelated to anything he was doing with the measles/autism work. The money was received well before the Lancet study. I couldn’t find the paper associated with this, though, so I can’t determine if he declared the funding.

  79. #79 jeebus
    September 1, 2009

    Here’s their email addresses, you should let them know how you feel.

    Mr. Pollitt’s email:
    pollittb@sedalia.k12.mo.us

    Sheryl Melby:
    melbys@sedalia.k12.mo.us

  80. #80 Missy
    September 1, 2009

    Okay,
    Not everyone in Sedalia feels the same way. I live in Sedalia, teach in Sedalia and went to Smith-Cotton.

    First, we are taught evolution and we are not taught that it is a religion. Our science classes are just as good as any other high school.

    Second, I think that Mr. Pollitt (who is the assistant superintendent) made a simple error in his comment. His comments were in response to the complaints that were made. The parents that complained, did so because the shirts offended their religious beliefs. Hence the reason for his comment.

    Third, our newspaper (which is how the story was leaked) does a horrible job of showing all sides of a story. I know many band parents, teachers and administrators that think that this is stupid really.

    Beucase of misinformation, Mr. Pollitt is now recieving hate mail and death threats.

    As a teacher, I would have simply allowed the students that were offended by it to not wear it and would not have marched with it on. (When you are representing the school in a parade, everyone should be uniform) I think it was silly to make a huge deal about it. If it was pulled, why is that everyones buisness. If I had 25 parents out of 100 that complained about something, I would have pulled it too. I wouldn’t have pulled it because it offended me, I would have pulled it to keep peace in my school.

  81. #81 J. Anthony Carter
    September 1, 2009

    “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”
    Okay. Now all of a sudden the Earth got flat, Sea Monsters came alive again from nothing. Chemistry reverts back to Earth, Air, Fire and Water and there are no numbers over 100 and no need to learn anything past arithmetic. The stars are just pin pricks in the night sky and EVERYTHING revolves around these twits’ tiny, tiny heads. Bring back the pillory and stock, burn the witches in the name of God and cure their diseases with leeches!
    I’m so fine with those ideas. Let’s make sure they’re instituted right away!!

  82. #82 Gaythia
    September 1, 2009

    A free press is fundamental to Democracy. One of the primary reasons that America founded public school systems is to create an informed citizenry that can participate in elections in an informed fashion.

    I actually think that the Sedalia Democrat Newspaper did an excellent job of reporting this story in a fair and balanced fashion. Those objecting seem to feel that the best reporting is no reporting at all.

    Besides, in this modern day of the internet, a local newspaper is not as necessary for communication. Any one with a computer can post items and potentially reach and international audience.

    For public education to succeed, it can not operate in a closed wall vacuum. I think that the attitude expressed above that this story was “leaked”, that somehow everything would be ok if only nobody knew what was going on, is contrary to what public education is all about.

    Of course, it is reprehensible that some who read about this issue have reacted in a completely inappropriate manner. That should be condemned. But that does not mean that it would have been acceptable for Mr. Pollitt’s statement to stand. The school district did over-react, the decision was unreasonable. As the editor of your newspaper so ably stated in his editorial on this topic.

    There is no such thing as any school, anywhere in the nation that is “just as good as any other high school”. All high schools are somewhat unique, with their own attributes. Education is not about searching for a uniform mediocrity, it is about searching for excellence, about bringing out the best in each and every student.

    It is possible that Smith-Cotton has many good programs. It would be worthwhile to hear more about them.

    We can all learn from each other. But if we succumb to an impulse to cover up and hide, we can’t learn anything at all.

  83. #83 Reason
    September 1, 2009

    Just for a laugh, I noticed that the poll on the Sedalia Democrat is now 97% voting that the fundies and the district over reacted :D :D.

    Sadly though, the entire event results from the terrible condition this country is in terms of education and critical thinking.

    Fundies – failing at failing for centuries and counting.

    We all fail though, when we allow them to use their fear mongering and obvious penchant to violence and censorship to control the rest of us. Whether you are a non-believer or just one that is smarter than the dirt we supposedly came from. These people must be told they are wrong, not that their ideas are valid or some whimsical notion of “believe what you want”, no. They are wrong.

    Science ftw.

  84. #84 Jake Crosby
    September 1, 2009

    @Jen: You think tylenol caused your kids to become autistic and asthmatic?

    @”Todd W.,” who said,

    “It counts as a conflict of interest due to the relationships of the individuals involved and the timing of the funds received…he received the money completely unrelated to anything he was doing with the measles/autism work.”

    Actually, Wakefield did not receive those funds for spending until nine months after The Lancet paper was submitted for publication, on top of which the study linked autism to inflammatory bowel disease, not autism to the MMR. So the mere scope of what this study was looking at was irrelevent in relation to your supposed COI. The legal firm even informed Lancet editor Richard Horton of its connection to Wakefield one year prior to the paper’s publication, but evidently Horton felt it was not a legit COI at the time, because it wasn’t printed anywhere in the paper when it was published.

    Now tell me, what about the connections of people who conduct studies attempting to vindicate MMR vaccines to MMR manufacturers, like those of Eric Fombonne and Michael Rutter, who don’t mention them in their papers. Aren’t those undisclosed COIs?

  85. #85 Jen
    September 1, 2009

    “@Jen: You think tylenol caused your kids to become autistic and asthmatic?”

    Yes.

  86. #86 Dale Downs
    September 1, 2009

    I grew up in this area. Brad Pollitt was even the principal of my school in Smithton for a short time when I went there. These people live in a creationist bubble. Smithton blacked out evolution from their textbooks. I went to college in the real world. I feel like 13 years of education (k-12) all at Smithton were completely wasted. I hope for a better America one day. We need to educate our children.

  87. #87 Jake Crosby
    September 1, 2009

    @Jen:

    And the detriment of painkillers to your kids vindicates other drugs such as vaccines and immunoglobulins from being a detriment to others how?

  88. #88 Jen
    September 2, 2009

    “And the detriment of painkillers to your kids vindicates other drugs such as vaccines and immunoglobulins from being a detriment to others how?”

    Jake, go back and re-read the last sentence of your own comment in post #73.

  89. #89 Jake Crosby
    September 2, 2009

    If you’re so confident in your opinions, why don’t you just tell me yourself?

  90. #90 mzktchr
    September 2, 2009

    I grew up in Sedalia and graduated from S-C although I escaped (but not too far). I can’t honestly say I recall much about the science and it’s focus on evolution (or not)but I’m willing to bet it wasn’t as thorough as it could/should have been.

    I have heard people that live in Sedalia and current students make the comment that this is much ado about nothing to them and maybe that is more disturbing than the fact that the t-shirts were pulled in the first place. Why don’t they care that the district equates science with religion? Spooky!

    I did order a t-shirt. If you’ll search the comments under the story on the Democrat site in the first 10 pages or so there there is a gentleman that was taking orders for the shirts. I hope to have one to wear to my 25 year reunion coming up in Sedalia next month during Homecoming. In the end this should be about the financial hardship it has created on the band and the kids as well as the repercussions to the band director himself. His father was the band director when I was there and I’m sure he meant well and was just being creative. Sad it blew up in his face.

  91. #91 Prup (aka Jim Benton)
    September 2, 2009

    I can’t believe that there have been 90 comments posted here, and not one person mentioned ‘the elephant in the room.’ And this time the image had two meanings, because I am referring to the Republican Party.

    It was just last year there was a ‘candidates’ forum’ where seven Presidential candidates attended, and they were asked about evolution and the teaching of creationism, and (afair) not one of them was willing to call for the teaching of evolution, was wuilling to state that it was a fact, or was willing to condemn the teaching of creationism.

    (Now someone will point out we have some idiots on my side of the aisle — Tom Harkin, anyone — but they are not party policy makers, nor has my party deliberately muddied the waters of religious extremism, or put its administration behind the sort of Christianization of the military that has created the need for Mikey Weinstein’s MRFF.)

    The Republican Party, for forty years, has played to the irrationality of the most conservative of Christian groups — to the point that when a Republican says ‘Christian” he doesn’t mean ‘mainstream Protestant,’ and might deny they were “Christian” at all.

    For a while they were merely using them, gaining their votes by only promising support on things they knew they’d never be called on to deliver. But that changed during the Bush Administration — which silenced other parts of the base, leaving only the crazies as the vocal ones.

    You’ve pointed out the similarities in creationists, woomeisters, holocaust deniers, birthers, truthers, etc, but that specific type of ‘thinking,’ that fear of critical thinking, that turning towards ‘authorities’ rather than evidence, even accepting what they are told a ‘written authority’ (the Bible, the Constitution, etc.) says rather than looking for themselves, that reacting to ‘signal words’ without testing them against facts, that mostly mild but frequently extreme paranoia
    (of the ‘if they give me evidence that shows me I’m wrong, that only means they are part of the consipiracy’ type) — this has become a “feature not a bug” of official Republican thinking — see speeches every day, not just by the Becks, Limbaughs and Bachmanns, but by Congressional Leaders, state Party secretaries — and in platforms.

    Is it any wonder that this type of stupidity occurs in a country where one party has chosen to play to the worst and most irrational of its members?

  92. #92 Jen
    September 3, 2009

    “If you’re so confident in your opinions, why don’t you just tell me yourself?”

    Jake, you said it yourself…”Tylenol weakens the immune system.” What makes you so sure that Tylenol only weakens the immune system at the time of vaccination?

    Do you or don’t you think that Jane Johnson’s affiliations with Dr. Wakefield and DAN! present an unusual conflict of interest? It appears that she is actively helping to promote the idea that vaccines cause autism, which therefore conveniently diverts attention away from a more likely cause of autism, a product that her own family has made billions from.

    Furthermore, why am I not allowed to post this information at AoA? I’ve tried twice, and the comments were deleted both times.

    Don’t you think that’s odd?

  93. #93 Jake Crosby
    September 3, 2009

    @Jen: I never said I was “so sure” of anything, I just base my opinions off what I already know, like any rational person.

    Since you’ve never made your experience with tylenol and autism clear until right after that comment of mine which you just dishonestly quote-mined, it is completely unfair of you to make such an assertion.

    Johnson & Johnson also makes RhoGam, remember? The immunoglobulin injected into pregnant women which contained thimerosal? If even MMR is found to cause autism, ALL the other childhood vaccines will go into question as well, especially those that contain the poison. Since it is also present in RhoGam, the dominos will come crashing down onto J&J as well, and by then it really won’t matter to them whether tylenol is also found to merely contribute or actually cause autism as well.

    I doubt AoA is editing you, but just for future advice on commenting, type in your name, type in your email, click post, then copy the characters in the space exactly as they are displayed in the box above and click post again. If that doesn’t work, contact someone on the AoA team, preferably one of the main editors, tell them your comment is not going through and ask them to post it for you, and they’ll probably comply.

  94. #94 Clay
    September 3, 2009

    Jake, if you ever want to be taken seriously, then stop posting B.S. like your previous posts, and take the time to learn some biology.

    First off, the MMR never contained thimerosal, so your statement “If even MMR is found to cause autism, ALL the other childhood vaccines will go into question as well, especially those that contain the poison.” makes no sense. It’s also offensive to anyone who knows toxology, since “The dose makes the poison.”

    Secondly, if tylenol really did “weaken the immune system”, then it would lower the risk of an “adverse [immune] reaction.” Seriously, what do you think immmunosuppressants are used for, anyways?

  95. #95 Jake Crosby
    September 4, 2009

    Clay,

    If you want to ever be taken seriously, read what I say more carefully.

    I never said the MMR ever contained thimerosal, it’s a live-virus vaccine, thimerosal would kill the viruses. The MMR-autism link being accepted by the medical establishment having a devastating political effect on all vaccines makes perfect sense, because then it would call other childhood vaccines into question. Those at the top of the “to be answered” list are those that have contained thimerosal, and in that category of drugs that contained thimerosal is RhoGam, the makers of which would also suffer from this domino effect.

    Secondly, lowering the immune system makes a person less able to handle the reaction to the vaccine. What are you even talking about? Perhaps you should learn some biology, and lay off the neurodiversity.

  96. #96 Jen
    September 4, 2009

    “Those at the top of the “to be answered” list are those that have contained thimerosal, and in that category of drugs that contained thimerosal is RhoGam, the makers of which would also suffer from this domino effect.”

    Jake, there is already accumulating evidence (10 years worth) linking Tylenol to asthma and allergies. (conditions that are also very common in autistics) Go to pubmed and read it. I can assure you that RhoGam is the least of their worries. Eventually, that pile of evidence is going to have to be dealt with. It’s only a matter of time.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19210907?ordinalpos=5&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    “A growing number of studies show that regular use of acetaminophen (paracetamol) carries a dose-dependent risk of developing allergies in general and asthma in particular and of worsening other respiratory diseases and lung function. The most disturbing finding has come from the population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, in which use of paracetamol-but not aspirin-in late pregnancy was positively associated with asthma when comparing children whose mothers took paracetamol “sometimes” and “most days/daily” with those whose mothers never took it. Assuming a causal relationship, the percentage of asthma attributable to paracetamol use in late pregnancy was 7%. In this review, we present data from the most important studies published since 2000. Although the pathophysiology remains unclear, the available data justify a warning to the general public that the uncritical use of over-the-counter acetaminophen can lead to the development of allergies and asthma, even in utero.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15706003?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    “The prevalence of asthma has increased worldwide. The reasons for this rise remain unclear. Various studies have reported an association between acetaminophen, a widely used analgesic, and diagnosed asthma. In a prospective cohort study, the rate of newly diagnosed asthma was 63% higher among frequent acetaminophen users than nonusers in multivariate analyses. Studies of patients with asthma suggest that acetaminophen challenge can precipitate a decline in FEV(1) > 15% among sensitive individuals. Plausible mechanisms to explain this association include depletion of pulmonary glutathione and oxidative stress. This article reviews the existing literature and evaluates the epidemiologic and pathophysiologic evidence underlying a possible link between acetaminophen and asthma.

    Glutathione depletion and oxidative stress…doesn’t this sound familiar, Jake?

  97. #97 Clay
    September 4, 2009

    Jake @95,

    If you weren’t referencing thimerosal when you mentioned “poison”, then your statement just moves from being wrong to being not even wrong. I suppose I should be happy that you’ve turned out to be incompetent rather than malicious, but it depresses me all the same.

    And you seriously claim that suppressing the immune system will increase the immune system’s reaction to vaccines? *shrug*

  98. #98 Jake Crosby
    September 4, 2009

    @Jen:

    I’m not disagreeing with you that Tylenol may have a causal relationship with autism, or asthma, or allergies. You seem to be erroneously thinking that somehow I do not acknowledge the dangers of Tylenol, but I do, although I doubt RhoGam is the least of J&J’s worries.

    @Clay Adams,

    I was referencing thimerosal when I said “poison,” I just never said it was in the MMR vaccine. Read it again. The only incompetent one here is yourself.

    Now tell me how this:
    “And you seriously claim that suppressing the immune system will increase the immune system’s reaction to vaccines?”

    Fits into this:
    “Secondly, lowering the immune system makes a person less able to handle the reaction to the vaccine.”

    It appears you can’t handle not being able to argue with what I say, so make make up words that I’ve never said, attribute them to me, and then argue with those instead. Jonathan Mitchell was right, you and Phil Gluyas are two of the biggest ND crybabies on the internet.

  99. #99 Clay
    September 4, 2009

    Jake @98

    Sure, I’ll bite. What’s the difference in meaning between your quote and my paraphrase?

  100. #100 Sullivan
    September 4, 2009

    Orac,

    it appears to this reader that you are not blogging the vaccine-autism discussion enough. Otherwise how am I to explain why the discussion has appeared following a post on creationists in Sedalia Missouri?

  101. #101 Dedj
    September 5, 2009

    I’m with Clay on this one.

    The contemporary use of the term ‘reaction’ in this context typically refers to an immune system reaction, thus the claim:

    “Secondly, lowering the immune system makes a person less able to handle the reaction to the vaccine.”

    reads exactly as Clay has paraphrased it. It’s simply a nonsensical claim to anyone who knows that immunosupression decreases immune reactions.

    If Jake wants people to read what he writes, it would be helpful for him to use proper terminology rather than blaming someone else for his poor writing skills again.

    Jake should learn to write clearly and concisely, and should stop using words idiosyncratically. He should provide a appropriate definition or explanation of his terms if he is unable to do so.

  102. #102 Jake Crosby
    September 5, 2009

    Clay Adams,

    I cannot believe I have to explain the obvious again. If the immune system is lowered then there will be a greater chance of the immune system getting overwhelmed by the vaccine, hence worsening the reaction. This is the last time I’m arguing with you about this. It’s obvious you can’t argue with me since you have to concoct your own message in order to do any successful debunking instead. But by all means, continue arguing with yourself.

  103. #103 Todd W.
    September 5, 2009

    @Jake Crosby

    If the immune system is lowered then there will be a greater chance of the immune system getting overwhelmed by the vaccine, hence worsening the reaction.

    A couple questions:

    1) Just what part of the vaccine would be responsible for ‘overwhelming” the immune system, if it were suppressed?

    2) How would the part of the vaccine identified in question 1 achieve such overwhelming?

    3) What specific effects result from this “overwhelming”?

    Please provide citations to scientific studies that support your answers. I ask this, because we know that in individuals with suppressed immune systems (e.g., Lupus, HIV, on immunosuppressants, etc.), the vaccine does not have much of an effect.

  104. #104 Dedj
    September 5, 2009

    “I cannot believe I have to explain the obvious again. If the immune system is lowered then there will be a greater chance of the immune system getting overwhelmed by the vaccine, hence worsening the reaction. This is the last time I’m arguing with you about this.”

    Jake , it’s precisely because it’s NOT obvious that you’re being asked to explain it. ‘Reaction’ in this context typically refers to an immune system reaction, so you wrote exactly what Clay said you did. If you did not mean this, then you should have explained sufficiently.

    You did not do so, and blithely assumed that we would use the same non-defined idiosyncratic defintion that you were.

    This is clearly an error on your part, as three of us have had to ask you to clarify a seemingly non-sensical statement. You did not write anything near what you thought you did. You have still failed to provide a basic inkling of what you consider the ‘reaction’ to be, or even what is supposedly reacting with what.

    Answer the questions properly or don’t attempt at all.

  105. #105 Jake By Proxy
    September 5, 2009

    Just what part of the vaccine would be responsible for “overwhelming” the immune system, if it were suppressed?

    Aborted fetal tissue contains DNA code that corrupts more developed immune systems. Ever had a computer virus weaken your hard drive? It’s the same thing, only without magnets or tunneling.

    How would the part of the vaccine identified in question 1 achieve such overwhelming?

    The part that encodes immune system code on the immune system coding part. Duh!

    What specific effects result from this “overwhelming”?

    Autism, autistic disorders, PDDs, vaccine injuries, ADD, ADHD, Crohn’s, dyslexia, erectile dysfunction, fragile X syndrome, ASDs, arms akimbo, potassium pump priming, T-bagger cells, optic rectosis, and Mercola syndrome. This is all proven fact but you won’t find them in books, so you will have to just listen to me.

  106. #106 Clay
    September 5, 2009

    Just an aside: When Jake first called me Clay Adams, I was a bit puzzled as to why he would draw a connection between me and a brand of centrifuges (I’m in a cell bio lab this semester; otherwise I wouldn’t have known.) But after a google search, I found that there’s a Clay Adams who posts as Clay on the ageofautism site. I’m surprised Jake has confused the two of us, since our writing styles and perspective seem fairly different.

  107. #107 Orac
    September 5, 2009

    Alright, I’ve remained silent here for dozens of comments, but I’m starting to get annoyed. The reason: None of this vaccine stuff has anything to do with the evolution/creationism manufactroversy.

    Jake et al, please move it to a thread that’s actually about vaccines. For example, this one:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/09/there_must_be_a_reason.php

    or this one:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/08/a_dose_of_controversy_more_like_a_dose_o.php

    If you don’t, I’ll simply shut down the comments here. Jake, I blame you for this, since you hijacked the thread to an unrelated topic.

  108. #108 Jake Crosby
    September 6, 2009

    I don’t care if you’re Clay Adams or Clay Doe, you are both enough alike that you might as well be the same person.

  109. #109 Jake Crosby
    September 6, 2009

    @”Orac”:

    This is the very first thing I wrote, which actually has a lot to do with evolution/creationism:

    “If evolutionary biology can’t even convince people of their own historical origin, good luck convincing them that their vaccines can bring deadly recombinant viruses such as AIDS into the human population.”

    and:

    “Listen to Merck Vaccine Chief, Maurice Hilleman, for details:”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edikv0zbAlU

    So it wasn’t me who took this discussion off-topic, it was someone else who claimed to be a parent and started bringing up autism, Tylenol, and J&J. Blame her, and yourself too for that matter for not reading your own comments carefully enough.

  110. #110 Todd W.
    September 6, 2009

    @Orac

    Apologies for feeding the troll. I’ll do my best in the future to try to stay on topic.

  111. #111 Jen
    September 6, 2009

    It wouldn’t be right to lay the blame entirely on Jake for the discussion veering off-topic, when it was in fact, my fault. I apologize.

  112. #112 doctoratlantis
    September 8, 2009

    I think it took some balls to have the band wear these shirts in their community. But now they have no balls – just empty sax.

  113. #113 Jordan Wallace
    September 12, 2009

    Orac: Your conclusion is that the t-shirt is not religious so it should be allowed. You also conclude that the people of this community must be “morans” because they do hold religious views.

    Your conclusion is unscientific because it is not based on empirical fact. You have made overarching philosophical arguments that tread on your (apparent) closely held philosophy. You advocate “scientific” dogma the way religion advocates its own dogma. That seems unscientific. Is it any wonder that people of faith regard evolution (and I mean common origen lines of thought) as religion?

  114. #114 Bronze Dog
    September 12, 2009

    Yet another scripted moron who learned everything he knows about the philosophy of science from Hollywood.

    Science is the antithesis of religion. Faith assumes its conclusion based on the alleged infallibility of faith. Science examines evidence, controls for alternate explanations, makes predictions to see if they’ll come out true, and so on and so forth.

    Of course, you could be one of those milquetoast accomodationists who think even the slightest bit of annoyance in a person’s tone means they’re a fanatic. This, of course, falls pretty well under the style over substance fallacy.

    Ever thought about actually understanding us, Jordan, instead of affirming your prejudices?

  115. #115 Sandy Black
    September 30, 2009

    As a 1958 S-CHS graduate I continue to feel a deep connection to my alma-mater. Why not add a few pictures of authentic brass instruments from the 1960s as a comparison to those you currently use in your 2009 Smith-Cotton Marching Band. Mix them with those you chose for your shirt minus the evolution figures.
    You are correct when you point out it is best not to cause controversy with the audience you so depend on. Change that involves and concerns the community should be included in the decision making as a courtesy. Change is best when it is mutual. Life is difficult enough without searching it out. Common-sense is always the best route to follow when in doubt.
    Wish I lived closer so I could come hear and watch you perform. You probably have a brand new stadium to march and play in today. The Jenny-Jaynes Stadium was built and dedicated when I was in HS and holds fond memories for me.
    Good Luck!
    Mrs. Black

  116. #116 Timelord
    November 16, 2009

    Jonathan Mitchell was right, you and [name deleted] are two of the biggest ND crybabies on the internet.

    And what have you been doing on this thread, Crosby? Hello, Pot, meet Kettle. And that applies to Mitchell as well.

    Orac – I would appreciate it if you could remove my name from post #98. I won’t have it smeared like that and I blame Crosby who clearly fears my influence (what does that tell you huh?).

  117. #117 Phats
    July 24, 2010

    Evolution has been proved on this page. I’ve lived in the area for almost 30 years. It has been proven because there are over 100 comments on here. I still know a few people that don’t understand what or who the internet is. For over 100 of us Yokels to figure out the magic box with which we gets our nakeds…..can also be used in many other ways like a blog about some shirts. That’s a massive improvement. This whole planet is just a little blip on an infinite stretch of space & time. And yet people in & around the Sedalia area still think there lifes have true meaning. You don’t matter, I don’t matter, in 1,000′s of years Tom Cruise will not matter. Just live, laugh, love & don’t be a douche. Think of it as a positive. We used to live in trees & throw feces at one another. We now do that….but we film it & put it on YouTube. Evolution Rocks!!

  118. #118 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 24, 2010

    Uh, Phats? You might want to put a breathalyzer lock on your keyboard… just sayin’.

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