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Vote Against 'Extremist Thinking' Candidates

Letter to the Editor

I have lived in the Stevenson High School district for over 10 years and look forward to my now 7th and 4th grade children being able to attend one of the best high schools in Illinois, if not the nation. I find it ironic that the new ‘125’ school board candidates are in part running on a platform of less taxation. It’s hard to argue against lower taxes, or motherhood or apple pie for that matter. However, these particular candidates are not only vague on how they plan to lower our tax bills, but they are also vague about exactly who they are, what they believe and what they wish to promote.

Their own web site (http://vote125for125.org) does have some ‘red flags.' With regard to the curriculum (the most important issue for me), they state that they “seek a common ground approach that exposes students to both the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories.” This specific wording has been used as ‘code language’ for over 20 years as a back door method to get creationism taught in public school science classses, so much so that the phrase itself has its own Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strengths_and_weaknesses_of_evolution).

While evolution is indeed a theory, it's a scientific one, just like relativity, gravity and quantum mechanics. Whatever your theological beliefs, creationism has no business being taught as science in public schools, and it’s against the Constitution to do so. Furthermore, two of the three candidates belong to a church whose own web site (http://www.hbclz.org) proudly quotes from past sermons on creationism, including frankly incendiary comments like "Today our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution”. To assume that teaching creationism in science is not part of their agenda would be foolish. And just imagine what would happen to your property taxes if a school board with this ideology was successful. The legal fees involved in defending the inevitable lawsuit would dwarf all other taxation concerns.

I encourage everyone to go to the polls on April 5 and vote against this kind of extremist thinking. Our children will be much better served by the candidacies of Moons, Lubin, Roberts and Weisberg (http://www.united4stevenson.org).

Carl Kalbhen, MD

Long Grove

Connect the Dots March 08, 2011 at 01:51 AM
Dr. Kalbhen, Thank you for your response. In the Time article, the clue that something major is amiss is in the first sentence of the third paragraph which reads, "Indeed, while most people cling to the notion that evolution works its magic over millions of years, scientists are realizing that biological change often occurs in sudden fits and starts." The author makes it sound pretty mild, but at the 1980 Chicago conference on macro evolution, the biologists gasped when Stephen Jay Gould disclosed the "trade secret of paleontology." He admitted that the fossil record does not show gradual change. It shows sudden appearance and stasis. His proposal to address this problem in evolutionary thought was to propose the notion of "punctuated equilibrium." The weakness of this view is that it lacks testability. As you were reading the Time article, were you asking yourself whether the ideas being proposed are mere speculation or are they actually testable? There is much to read in the history of science regarding the chaos caused by that 1980 Chicago conference. Take care, Dots
Connect the Dots March 08, 2011 at 01:57 AM
Hello Patriot, Welcome to the discussion. It looks as though you have much to offer. Out of curiosity, are you saying there's something wrong with bestiality?
Carl Kalbhen, MD March 08, 2011 at 03:09 AM
So.....in a nine page overwhelmingly pro-evolution Time magazine article from 1995 that you referred me to, there's one sentence about something gasp-inducing that was said 15 years earlier (1980) that is supposed to do exactly what to my point of view now in 2011? I think you just like to debate for sport, Dots, and you were much better at it over the weekend. I have an old friend from HS like you. He's smart and funny, and I still see him every now and then. But if I tell him that 2+2=4, he'll spend the next 45 minutes explaining why 2+2 really equals 5. It gets both emotionally and intellectually draining after a while. I've been more than patient with you and your comments and links . Please check out this one at my request: http://teachthemscience.org. I think it will refute some of your arguments, and frankly I need a break from this. Seen any good movies lately? I saw Rango over the weekend and really liked it. I didn't have to work today, but no such luck tomorrow. This and the fact that this thread has gotten old and stale probably means this is it for me here. Take care of yourself. Feel free to contact me after the election if you still wish, but don't tell me that 2+2 is anything other than 4, OK?
Connect the Dots March 08, 2011 at 04:55 AM
Dr. Kalbhen, Probably the most thought provoking movie I've seen lately was Megamind, at my children's insistence. Even though it's animated and all, I found it quite thought provoking. I totally understand about the exhaustion issue. As a philosopher, I guess I have quite a bit of stamina for this sort of thing. My intent is not to drain, but rather to focus on critical issues. Ideas have consequences, so I take them pretty seriously, even the ones from 1980 that are still alive today. I look forward to meeting you after the election, Dots.
Connect the Dots March 08, 2011 at 06:16 AM
One more thing. I did look at the website. Lot's to discuss . . . later. Get some rest, Dots
Mom March 08, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Dots, Many on here think they are far to educated and "in the know" for us peons to even know anything. Sad. I am wondering what the Stevenson paper has in it- as my children let me know the Statesman came out today- and his a big article on the race. Hopefully the kids were able to get the facts, and not their parents using them as pawns. But- nothing surprises me. If people win on lies....well I hope when they sit up at the thrones of leadership they know they got their through deception (theirs for not defending others running and "friends doing the dirty work). That would not be something I could sleep well with-but..I have a concious. My hope is those that win- win on what they say- NOT what others make up. I don't know anyone running but what I have read-but I can tell you one side has not resorted to deception, and has been ridiculed for their beliefs (even if those don't matter). Funny- my teens act more mature than some adults......And have more respect for others.
Mom March 08, 2011 at 11:56 PM
So glad to report that the SHS Statesmen staff (the kids!) did a great job interviewing. They showed all the answers and I am so glad they did it honestly and with respect! Parents- read your kids Statesman! They were reporting-fairly!
jkalbhen March 09, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Mom, you seem to have an inferiority complex. I don't think they are mocking you or belittling you. People can disagree without anger and name calling. It's your right to vote for candidates you believe will do the best by our district and our kids. Debating issues is worthwhile if it is constructive. I am on the side of the original letter writer, but respect that others have different views about issues. I don't think teenagers are being used as pawns...they are old enough and hopefully smart enough to listen to various points of view and draw their own conclusions. If students are against the 125 candidates, why do you assume you are brainwashed by their parents?
jkalbhen March 09, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Jack, I don't think Dr. Kalbhen is saying all church-going people are extremists at all. Some church-going people are extremists, but just because you go to church does not mean you classify as an extremist and I don't think he put all church-going people in the same category.
jkalbhen March 09, 2011 at 01:57 AM
Mom, is labeling anything someone disagrees with you about as smoke, mirror and scare tactics a good lesson for the kids? Just asking...
jkalbhen March 09, 2011 at 02:00 AM
Can't say that I understand why Googling and trying to find out more about candidates who are asking for my vote is fishing for dirt. I'm trying to educate myself and have by going to both sides' web sites as well as reading other sources.
jkalbhen March 09, 2011 at 03:06 AM
Jack, what in any of Dr. Kalbhen's posts gives you the idea that because these candidates are involved in church activities he is using it as a criteria to vote against them. That's jumping to a conclusion not supported by what he has written here. If you'll notice, he mentioned that the current director of the NIH is an evangelical Christian and Kalbhen lauded that person, not lampooned him. It is just plain silly to say anyone who criticizes the 125 candidates is anti-Christian or anti-religion.
Mom March 09, 2011 at 03:48 AM
Did you see the facebook pages by teens at SHS? I pasted them-deleted the names b/c they are minors. Most posts sounded ..well..not like a normal teen.....I don't remember which title it fell under.... BUT- the teens at the stateman DID do a good job. 2 different sets of teens. One set into journalism...the other---(the teen FB site) sounded like a last minute Chicago trash and bash post-Chicago politics! No- don't have a complex- just amazed at adult behavior... And I have seen kids used as pawns...but- that' s just my opinion.
Elizabeth Graupe March 09, 2011 at 04:25 AM
Here is part of the reason SHS was AEWS in 2009: In fact, about 10% of the Class of 2010 – roughly 120 students receiving special education services – wasn't able to match the school's overall success rate. The state required 70% of special ed students to meet state standards in reading and mathematics. Even though those students did better than any SHS special education group yet on the Prairie State exam – with 69% success in reading and 61.7% in mathematics – they did not meet the 70% benchmark set in Illinois. For that reason, Stevenson is classified as failing to make "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind law. This is the first time SHS has failed to make AYP in every student category. Here is Superintendant Twadell's explanation: "As you may know, as part of the PSAE all of our students take the ACT exam, which is designed to produce a normal distribution in which half of the students will fall below median score," he wrote. "As you might imagine, our students who need extra help and support struggled on a test that is purposefully designed to prevent 100% of the students performing in the top 50% of achievement." The easiest solution, Twadell wrote, would be to exclude some students from the Prairie State exam in order to improve the school's scores. He said, "We believe it is important that all of our 11th-grade students take the PSAE so that we have meaningful data from which we can seek ways to help them improve."
Sylvia Lima March 09, 2011 at 07:34 AM
Elizabeth, You are absolutely right. Thank you for taking the time to remind me of Dr. Twadell's stance on this issue. I knew I had a good feeling about him earlier in the year for a reason and this may have well been a part of it. Please correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the way AYP is currently being calculated relatively new? I believe it's just been changed within the last couple of years which means we can do better no? Hey, I'm willing to roll up the sleeves and be part of a solution and not a problem however there's this one message from a counselor that I remember clearly from Open House 2009-2010. "Imagine your kids as pilots.....and you are no longer their co-pilot" and that's when I felt the "wall" literally come down. As a parent, allow me the opportunity to help without it reflecting poorly on my child. I want the same thing the school does which I think is helping them be successful and happy adults. The only difference is that it's my child. I pay the healthy community taxes and on top of that I pay even more for weekly tutoring but those two things do not even compare to the defeat and disappointment I see in my kids eyes. We can do better and there are those of us that want to help.
Quest for Integrity March 10, 2011 at 08:00 PM
We all have a responsibility to be informed and to vote with integrity in this upcoming election. I challenge each candidate and their supporters to conduct themselves with integrity in every aspect of their campaigns; I have the utmost respect for the challengers, Powel/Brady/Cardella for doing this. If the incumbents are not showing integrity in the way they are conducting themselves now during the “get to know you, vote for me” phase how can we have confidence that they have supported our community and our students with integrity in the past and will do so in the future? How can we teach our children to live honestly, to play fairly, to respect others and to be part of the solution to stop the trend of bullying when those who represent our community aren’t being role models and examples of integrity in these areas? We need to practice what we teach whether it be in our homes, in our businesses or in our schools, instructing our future generations to pursue integrity through our example. I encourage all voters to check out the candidates’ website, www.vote125for125.org, and make an informed decision on your own without the bias of those supporting these long term incumbents.
Quest for Integrity March 10, 2011 at 08:01 PM
A voice of reason! Must read posts for all voters: http://justsylvia.com/http:/justsylvia.com/to-challenge-principled-or-rebellious/ http://justsylvia.com/http:/justsylvia.com/in-what-world-is-it-right-to-exploit-kids/ http://justsylvia.com/http:/justsylvia.com/district-125-school-board-election-an-opportunity-to-rise-to-the-occasion/
jkalbhen March 10, 2011 at 08:14 PM
This is more of the same from Sylvia Lima, one of the posters on this thread.
Sylvia Lima March 11, 2011 at 03:57 AM
Wow. Looks like I missed all of the fun. I went to work all day, came home to wait for my son to come off the bus, did house stuff, dropped off my little guy so he could go to Pizza Bingo at Willow Grove while I attended a meeting with my daughter, let my sophomore drive home (with clenched teeth- lol), picked up my little guy from a neighbor's, gave him a bath and put him to sleep and settled down on my bed with my laptop while watching Grey's Anatomy (repeat but that's ok), logon and BAM! the mud continues to fly. I think I'll go back to work. Quest for Integrity: Thanks for plugging my blog. =) LG Voter: I blog because I find I find it relaxing and somewhat therapeutic. I blog for me. I would encourage everyone to try to blog at least once in their lives. It's me and my thoughts and when I hit the Publish button it feels good. I like to dialogue and am honest and open about my thoughts. If you don't like it, don't read it. That's the beauty. And another thing LG Voter, you don't get to trash me. You haven't earned that right. The difference between me and you is that I'm transparent. I don't have to hide behind a tag. Go and find someone else to try bully, discredit and join you in the mud. I tried the mud-slinging thing and realized it leaves me feeling empty and sad. No, I'm pro-community -- so step.
bgguy March 12, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Hey, if you are anti-gay; against the separation of church and state, dont think sex ed should be taught in classroom, think texts should be censored so they meet the approval of a bunch of hard core Baptists, then by all means go vote for the new slate. If you enjoy the fact Stevenson is one of the country's most highly regarded schools, then vote for the incumbants. It's that simple.
J March 12, 2011 at 02:05 AM
Well BG guy and Mr. Tandent... I would have to say...If the persons running that you are so worried about were Muslim or Jewish- there would be complaints up the ying yang, and lawsuits about discrimination. But since they are Christian they are supposed to just sit there and be polite while you bash them(and smile). And God forbid they came back with a statement on it- you would make sure to bash them even more and spin it. Sickens me because many of us don't play that game and will vote accordingly. Who has bigotry. Look in the mirror bgguy- and there Mr. Tandent is your conspirecy theory- alive and well- . Your lies speak volumes...loud and clear. As for me and people I have talked to about this. we can not wait till the election. I am sure more trash and lies are soon to come- right before. Just know-it just makes you look extremely bad.
L. Tandet March 12, 2011 at 02:08 AM
Maybe not as bad as someone who doesn't know how to spell independent.
bgguy March 12, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Yes, if the person was Jewish or Muslim and was running on a ticket wanting the school to conform to theioir religious views without regard to the community's values and wants than I would have a problem with that, too. We dont need anti-gay, anti sex ed, anti- accepted science boards in our schools. Regardless of their religion. They can go to the religious school of their choice- as could a Catholic, Hindu, whatever. But do not make our public schools their pulpit. It's 2011 not 1951.
Sylvia Lima March 12, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Hello neighbors, Couple of things, bgguy: Sir, you have a lot of catching up to do. We've visited and revisited your concerns and they are not valid. Now some information can definitely be construed as proof but I respectfully ask that you do your homework. If you are indeed a part of this community then I would think there is a unique commonality amongst us. No, not in total agreement on all issues but certainly actively wanting and seeking the best resolution. @ Independent: I really feel your passion for the truth. I get it. But I'm thinking there are better ways of getting the facts communicated correctly to the community. You've brought up several good points that deserve looking into. I suggest not engaging with others that obviously haven't done their homework. @Tandet - Yes, I know you got called into this latest scuffle but at this point we've had the opportunity to understand so much more and use a wider lens. Don't get caught up in the muck. --Sylv
Carl Kalbhen, MD March 14, 2011 at 08:04 PM
The 125'ers have updated the FAQ section of their website (http://www.vote125for125.org/faq.html), explaining why they have chosen to use the phrase "strengths and weaknesses" that initially got my ire. The Zogby poll that they now reference was commissioned BY the Discovery Institute. Two indirect references to the Discovery Institute on the same FAQ simply cannot be a coincidence. I have nothing else to say on this matter - at some point the facts speak for themselves.
Elizabeth Graupe March 14, 2011 at 09:40 PM
I also noticed that they had updated their website. I did not know that the poll had been commissioned by the Discovery Institute. In any case, I felt that the quote indicated a willingness to state statistics when they support the cause, but to ignore them when they don't. (80% of people may support this type of "skepticism," but essentially no biologists do, as you have pointed out in previous posts.) And while skepticism may indeed be an important factor in scientific research, there are still "givens" which are understood to be accepted science. (beating a familiar drum here, I know, so I'll stop) Thanks for all your great posts - I am a follower at this point. :-) Looking forward to the candidates' forum tomorrow night!
Carl Kalbhen, MD March 14, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Great point! If 80% of people deny the Holocaust, should we teach that in school? I care what the "experts" in their fields think (be they biologists, historians, mathematicians, etc.), not what Joe Public does.
SeriouslyFolks March 17, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Can anyone answer this question? Why are supporters of the incumbents so intolerant and hateful---and writing like bullies? If they're so sure they're going to win, why don't they sit back and let the truth play out? The truth ALWAYS comes out in the end. For that reason, I'm moving on and talking to people one-on-one. These blogs are a poor substitute for real community. And this community needs healing--- healing that will never happen if we all sit at home on our keyboards and rant.
Just Saying... March 17, 2011 at 05:14 AM
Does Cardella Want Creationism Taught At Stevenson? "Although denying creationism has a role in science classes, Cardella has said teachers should instruct students about the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. He used the phrase in February when talking to the Daily Herald about the issue, and again Tuesday night during a public candidate forum at Stevenson High. “I believe students understanding both Darwin’s theory and also the strengths and weaknesses of that theory is important, based on what we’ve learned here just in the last 100 years,” Cardella said at the gathering. When asked about the phrase Wednesday morning, Cardella said he believes “any type of scientific theory” has strengths and weaknesses. Science has changed since Darwin’s time, he said. “Why shouldn’t students be informed — taught — about what we’ve learned (since then)?” he said. “Not everything in the theory is right. Not everything in the theory is bulletproof.” But some say the phrase — which dates back to the 1990s — is used by creationists to undermine the teaching of the theory that man evolved over the millennia. “It means that they want to teach creationism,” said Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit group that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools." Read more: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110316/news/703169882/#ixzz1GpZ3Ylx1
Carl Kalbhen, MD March 17, 2011 at 05:34 PM
I've been reading more than posting of late, but I am excited that the Daily Herald has also picked up on the "strengths and weaknesses" topic (http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110316/news/703169882/). The DH article is great, but I really want to relay a quote from one of the commenters that I think is just outstanding (and no, it's not me using a pseudonym): "The remarks by Charles Cardella revealed both a discouraging ignorance of science, and also a worrisome political agenda. First, the original theory proposed 150 years ago by Charles Darwin has advanced tremendously. There are just three of his ideas left; inheritable variation, reproductive selection, and common descent. We don't teach Darwin anymore, so criticism of Darwin is wasted classroom time. On the political front, how can anyone remotely qualified to serve on a school board not know about creationist efforts to illegally inject religion into science classrooms? The Dover, Pa School Board lost a million dollars that way. So, I conclude that Mr. Cardella is either unqualified, or he is lying. I would also recommend against voting for a liar."

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