I found this quite by accident, at this site, which mentioned a completely different Scott Hatfield, who is apparently not a science teacher, but a pastor. I doubt that it really describes me that accurately in every respect (older forms of worship don't alienate me), but I think it's interesting to look at. I'd be curious to see how any other readers of the blog might have scored, though of course if you're shamelessly godless (and why should that be shameful?) then it may not work that well for you---but the results would still be interesting.

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern.

You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.



Neo orthodox


Classical Liberal


Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Modern Liberal




Reformed Evangelical




What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

OK, alert, this post had bad links, but I FIXED 'EM!


Well, the previous post seems to have struck a nerve. It didn't hurt, either, to be linked to PZ Myers' fabulous blog, Pharyngula, at which locale I am active and (it's still hard to say this without pinching myself) appreciated. Once again, I have to say thanks to the many who have given me much-valued criticism, support and encouragement. I think, in this post, I'll focus on some of the folk who I think of as 'jump-starters'. These are the ones who write, who speak out, who do things within the Central Valley/Northern Californai who stand up for science education, for critical thinking, for religious freedom. They are 'jump-starting' the evolution of the community:

  • Mark, who is founder of the Fresno area meetup group for skeptics, has a charming blog of his own and encouraged me to start my own. Right now Mark is dealing with that cruel and pesty thing we call 'reality', but he has a long-standing challenge to creationists of all stripes that you can read in this essay here. He's sort of the Anti-Hovind, you might say.

  • Madhu, who not only encouraged me to blog, but really sort of shamed me into it by naming me a contributor to this blog, whose title really says it all. He and his colleagues at CSU Fresno have lended me valuable advice and often-bemused counsel on the various occasions I've taken the science education battle to the public, or even the pews.

  • Zeno, who encouraged me on Pharyngula to put my views out there for public critique, has an interesting recollection about a similar example of intolerance toward non-believers that was published in Fresno. I had no idea until he mentioned it that he, too, was a graduate of CSU Fresno----but I'll try to remember to not, in a job interview, advertise that fact too loudly.

These are just some of the folk in my neck of the woods who seem to be doing their part to make my part of the planet safe for science. Or at least, less dangerous, I hope. Thanks, guys!



An appalling story, culled from my (sigh) region’s largest newspaper (the Fresno Bee), has to do with lawsuits being brought against CSU Fresno and it’s athletic department, alleging discrimination and wrongful termination. The details have gotten juicy, with allegations of lesbianism and (gasp) atheism:

In a conversation with Johnson at the North Gym, the athletic director told her not to bother asking Vivas or Wright about getting settled in Fresno, she (Johnson) testified.

"You don't need to ask those two about where to put your children [in] school, because they're lesbian and they don't have children," she said Johnson told her and her husband. "So they won't have any knowledge of that ... and ... they're not going to be around much longer."

It was the first time during the trial a witness testified about directly hearing Johnson -- or any school administrator -- call Vivas a lesbian.

Johnson-Klein said former associate athletic director Randy Welniak also called Vivas a lesbian. "The one that sticks out was when Randy took me behind closed doors and said he had just learned of a situation where he just found out why Lindy was such a bitch. That he just learned she not only was a lesbian. She was an atheist.

"I was appalled. ... I couldn't believe one more time I was hearing this from a male supervisor."
Then, Johnson-Klein went after Welty with one of the most startling remarks heard during the trial's nine days.

"Sharon Welty told me," Johnson-Klein said in an adamant tone, "that John Welty's [first] wife left him for another woman. And that he loathed lesbians because of that."

She was an atheist. Gasp! That pretty much says it all: an administrator justifies his distaste for one of his colleagues by labeling her an ‘atheist’, as if atheism is somehow, don’tcha know, some sort of inherent evil.

Some might observe that, due to the circumstances regarding her termination, that Johnson-Klein’s testimony might not be credible. That’s only marginally better, in that it would say that the disgruntled ex-coach is gambling that hanging the label of ‘atheist basher’ on her former supervisor is a credible riff for public consumption.

This is wrong on a number of levels, not the least of which is the presumption that atheists are miserable, hateful people, and that it is ‘OK’ to harass and drive such folk from the workplace. Presumably, the who feel this way would also describe themselves as ‘believers’.

Color me nauseous. Many of my friends are happy, well-adjusted people who happen not to be persuaded of any particular supernatural being’s existence. The technical term for such folk is ‘atheist’, which means, literally, one who is not a theist. It is not a moral failing, nor does it follow that those who hold this position are anti-religious bigots. The bigotry, it seems to me, is on the other side.

What creed is this, that would hold that the free exercise of a human being’s liberty of conscience entitle them to persecution and abuse?



As I like to tell my skeptical friends, church can be interesting. Sometimes, going to somebody else’s church can be really interesting. Everybody needs a little variety now and then, and so from time I time I like to check out other churches—not that my church home is boring, you understand, but you know, I like to stretch my legs!

Earlier this year I found myself listening to one of Fresno’s most prominent pastors, and he was really on a roll, preaching about Genesis. If you missed that part in Sunday School, that’s the first book in the Bible, the one that talks about the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth and all that. So anyway, this preacher was on a roll, as I mentioned, and suddenly he up and says, "What about the theory of evolution?"

The pastor now had my complete attention! You see, in addition to being a church-hopping, leg-stretching guest in another fellow’s sanctuary, I also teach science for a living, and I like to think I do a good job of it. So I took a keen interest in the preacher’s next remark: "Well, first place, if somebody says, if a teacher says to you, I’m going to teach you the facts of evolution, that teacher is LYING, and either he knows he’s lying, or else he’s ignorant of the facts, ‘cause there are NO facts of evolution, it does NOT exist!"

Well. I have to admit that the pastor’s statement got me thinking! You see, according to the State Board of Education, fellows like me have to teach certain science standards. In fact, if I may say so, I’m asked to teach a few too many standards in my opinion, but that’s a tale for another time. What I might want doesn't count here; California, it seems, is determined I teach certain things. What does the state actually say about this evolution stuff? What are the facts?

It’s easy to find out! You can view the Grade 9-12 Biology standards on the Web. If you read Standard 8a, it’s pretty clear that the State of California regards evolution as a fact. "Evolution is the result of genetic changes that occur in constantly changing environments." The State doesn't say that maybe these changes happened. California says that they happened, and the result was evolution. The Standards go on to note the different lines of evidence used to support the fact of evolution, and that this evidence can be used to figure out the "evolutionary relationships" between living organisms today, and to estimate when past populations "diverged evolutionarily from one another."

Facts are facts, Pastor. It’s a fact that the State Standards teach evolution—as fact! It’s a fact that the Biology text used by both Fresno and Clovis Unified, approved by the state, teaches evolution—as fact! It’s a fact that the science teachers in this state are following these standards, using these approved texts and teaching evolution—as fact! And, sadly, it’s a fact that you've claimed that all of us teachers who are doing our duty are, according to you, a bunch of liars—or else, ignorant. You have, in effect, told the hundreds of young people in your congregation that they can’t trust their science teacher. That’s a fact—and, I think, a shameful one.

I’m not going to embarrass you, Pastor, by mentioning you by name here. That would serve no purpose, and besides, you've recently announced your retirement. Your congregation knows who you are, and they know that I am telling the truth about what you said, and how you said it. But I say to you, and to all of my fellow believers, that it is an unacceptable state of affairs, that one of the most prominent Christian leaders in the Valley would define the question of origins in such stark terms as to discourage young people from learning science. It’s more than wrong—it’s wrong-headed, and that’s a fact.



Lee Strobel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former self-described ‘atheist’ who converted to Christianity. Strobel has written a number of books in which he ‘investigates’ faith-based claims and the impression he attempts to give is that he is an objective investigator!

However, in ‘The Case for a Creator’ Strobel not only lacks objectivity, he ‘stacks the deck’ in a way that can only be regarded as intellectually dishonest.


1# Strobel’s interview subjects are ‘cherry-picked.’

Most of them are not practicing scientists. All of them are proponents of intelligent design, which is widely regarded as pseudoscience.
(1) Strobel does not grant ‘equal time’ to scientists who accept evolution, even though they vastly outnumber ID advocates in the scientific community. (2, 3)

2# Strobel’s contrived counter-arguments are misleading.

When Strobel interviews ID advocates like Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe and Jonathan Wells he poses what are supposed to sound like tough-minded challenges, but they are actually ‘straw man’ arguments, distortions of evolutionary biology that virtually no one in the field actually agrees with, and thus easy to debunk. His ‘experts’ oblige him by knocking down the ‘straw man’ he provides!
(4, 5, 6)

3# Strobel fails to ‘connect the dots’.

A good journalist would tell you that virtually everyone he interviews has been financially compensated by a right-wing think tank,
the Discovery Institute (DI). (7) A good journalist would tell his largely-Christian readership that one of his interviewees, the phony biochemist Jonathan Wells, is a ‘Moonie’: a member of a cult (the ‘Unification Church’) founded by a self-styled ‘Messiah’, the Rev. Sun-Myung Moon. (8) Why doesn’t Strobel mention these facts? Clearly, he doesn’t want his cherry-picked experts to be closely scrutinized by the book's intended audience!

4# Strobel leaves out the real science.

The specific arguments made in his book against evolution have been refuted by legitimate scientists, but Strobel doesn’t present this evidence. Since many of these arguments have been around for nearly a century and are throughly discredited, failing to report this amounts to journalistic fraud.

As a science teacher, I’m committed to the integrity of science. As a Christian, I’ve been taught to tell the truth as I see it. I believe that both my vocation and my faith requires me to speak out when someone trashes science and bends the truth. I invite anyone who reads this to investigate Strobel’s book for themselves and see if what I have written about Strobel is true.

(1) Wikipedia: "List of scientific societies rejecting intelligent design"

(2) National Center for Science Education: "Project Steve"

(3) "Results of the Four Day Petition: A Scientific Support For Darwinism"

(4) Humburg, B. "Jonathan Wells: Who Is He, What is Doing and Why?"

(5) Matzke, N. "Evolution in (Brownian) space: a model for the origin of the bacterial flagellum"

(6) Otto, J. and Petto, A. "Design and Its Critics: Yet Another ID Conference"

(7) 'Fellows' of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture

(8) Wells, J. "Darwinism: Why I Went for a Second Ph.D"


My father, Jerry Hatfield, is one prolific dude when it comes to his passion, antique motorcycles and their history. At last count, he's published more than a dozen books, has appeared in documentaries (on the History Channel and Springfield public television) and is recognized worldwide as an expert on this topic. Here's a nice interview which summarizes some of my Dad's interests and opinions.
I would just like to go on record that, in addition to being envious of his publication record (he has another book coming out this fall on racing legend Rollie Free), I'm also proud of to call him my old man.