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Baksa and Dover

In the series of events leading up to the 2005 Kitzmiller trial, one of the most tragic figures is Michael Baksa. The lead roles are taken – the school board on one hand, led by oxycontin-addicted Bill Buckingham, who turned to intelligent design
only after they failed to get the Bible back in science class. The teachers and parents, supported by the ACLU and the Pepper Hamilton law firm who heroically fought for science education.  And then there’s Baksa.  According to Edward Humes‘ book Monkey Girl (which I highly recommend), Assistant Superintendent Baksa played a key role in communicating between the school board and the teachers.  He also drafted the original version of the intelligent design statement that was to read to the students (although his language was changed by the school board) and was the person upon whom it fell to read the statement in class.

I am imagine he had a difficult role, whatever his personal beliefs.  Had he stood up to the school board (and probably gotten fired) he would have been one of the heroes of the whole saga.  Instead, he was just a loyal civil servant, doing his job.  As Humes writes:

A day after [school board member Alan] Bonsell finished testifying, the assistant superintendent Mike Baksa – caught in the middle yet again, his hands shaking visibly as he took the stand – swore to tell the truth about the Dover school district that employed him.  And he swore than in those June meetings, Bill Buckingham really had talked about creationism, just as the newspapers reported.

[Transcript from NCSE‘s Evolution Education and the Law site: Day 14, Day 17, Day 19, Day 20]

Last year, Baksa was hired by the Hanover Public School District in Hanover, Pennsylvania.   Unfortunately, according to the local Evening Sun, Baksa resigned, effective Friday 31st.  The news story also mentions DUI charges against Baksa from January 2006.

When you read a book about a story like this, you tend not to focus on the aftermath.  Fiction has taught us that when a story has a happy ending, that loose ends get tied up.  Good triumphs, and while the bad people may not fare so well, the good people (and the victims caught up in the mess) will be ok in the end.  Real life if never so neat.  People like Buckingham and the school board do what they do, not thinking about the hurt it will cause, not thinking about the way they are tearing their communities apart.  Sure, Buckingham probably suffered as much as anyone, but even that isn’t ok, no matter how much he might” deserve” whatever came his way.  No winner, only losers.  But the Discovery Institute still proceeds with their crusade against science and truth.

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One Response

  1. As I recall, the mention of DUI came almost as an afterthought in the newspaper item about Baksa leaving Hanover, although it had been reported at the time it happened. It never seemed entirely clear why Baksa and Nilsen did not have their contracts renewed at Dover; Dover had budget problems that some folks considered more important than the Creationism fiasco.
    The York papers are seeing fewer letters to the editor in support of Creationism now–it’s back to the usual “get right with God” letters that appeared before the Dover Affair.

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