Bethlehem Battlefield Lies

Posted 4th February 2020 by Dave Cross
Bethlehem High School is located in Delmar, in the state of New York. It was a reasonably tolerant place for vaping, by American standards, as town officials looked at ‘allowing’ vape shops to exist, last year. The schools and parents weren’t fans though and mobilised to oppose such action. Now, Cornell University is encouraging the children to ignore science and perform ludicrous experiments to “prove” the dangers of vaping.

"The proposed moratorium is not a foregone conclusion. If you have an opinion about this issue this will be your chance to express it," said PTA President Sarah Patterson in an email to PTA members, when a moratorium permitting new vape shops was proposed.

The moratorium aimed to stop the processing of any building permit for new vape stores – the town only had one at that point…and that was one too many for Patterson’s liking. What she will appreciate is the efforts being carried out to embed scientific illiteracy in Paul O'Reilly's Bethlehem High School Biology class.

"It's like looking at a battlefield, everything's dead," 9th grader Ronan Tiu is quoted as saying by the local Times Union newspaper.

Not only is he displaying his Cornell University inspired ignorance, but it seems that Ronan also has precious little comprehension of what a genuine battlefield looks like.

O'Reilly's students are taking a teaching unit designed by Cornell research scientist Donna Cassidy-Hanley. The scientific value of the unit is amply demonstrated by her when she explains that single cell water organisms called Tetrahymena can be “happy”. Her failed grasp on factual language and accuracy is compounded by her adding that, apparently, happy protozoa “zip”, “zap”, and “zop” about in the water.

“We created this module in direct response to the vaping epidemic spreading among teens and children,” said Cassidy-Hanley.

“The lab allows students to experimentally explore for themselves the effects of e-cigarette vapor on Tetrahymena viability, motility, and behaviour, and to consider possible related effects on human cells.”

“The vaping module provides small quantities of e-cigarette vapor condensate prepared by condensing e-cigarette vapor into a water-based, isotonic medium; unsmoked vape juice, and water that has been vaporised and re-condensed in a clean e-cigarette. Students compare untreated cells to cells treated with e-cigarette vapour, unsmoked vape juice, and re-condensed water, noting the effects on cell viability, motility, and overall shape over time.”

Students write about all of the bad things they get told about vaping, the lies about what is in eliquid, and abject nonsense about “second-hand vape”.

"People who die from cigarettes each year could fill three jumbo jets," teacher O'Reilly is quoted as saying, demonstrating that he knows as much about the size of a jumbo jet as little Ronan knows about battlefields.

This educational farce is best summed up by a comment made by Nige Rudd on Twitter: “I dropped a snail into a cup of breakfast tea... that stuff is lethal, it died almost immediately. This science stuff is great, & a real eye opener.”

Kids, Cassidy-Hanley is lying to you.


  • Advancing Secondary Science Education through Tetrahymena – [link]

Image edited for banner from the version uploaded as Creative Commons by Pawel Jasnos

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker