Mike Dunford posted Entry 1403 on August 27, 2005 08:52 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1400

In a post earlier today, I noted that a group of creationists are suing the University of California system in order to force UC to accept several of their classes that are currently not considered adequate. One of the courses in question is biology. As I already pointed out, UC is not discriminating against Christians by refusing to accept the class; it is simply living up to its responsibility to ensure that applicants are adequately prepared for university study. Nevertheless, I was curious as to what about these particular biology classes was so poor as to attract attention.

Read more (at The Questionable Authority).

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Comment #45193

Posted by steve on August 27, 2005 9:11 PM (e)

Biology for Christian Schools is a textbook for Bible-believing high-school students. Those who do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling. This book was not written for them.

That’s funny. There I was thinking that science is a universal concept, open to anyone who is willing to study the natural world. I had no idea that there are things in science that can only be understood if you believe what these folks do.

It’s like Casey Luskin’s IDEA people not allowing non-christians to be officers in their “purely scientific” club. There are just certain scientific results and principles that Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and we atheists, just aren’t smart or brave enough to understand. Poor dumb us.

Comment #45214

Posted by H. Humbert on August 28, 2005 2:30 AM (e)

You have every right to teach your children this drivel, and society has every right to point and laugh at them and demand they take real science classes before they attend a real University.

What’s the problem?

Comment #45216

Posted by Philip Heywood on August 28, 2005 3:29 AM (e)

Hello again to the guardians of Science. I see someone is into evaluating educational materials, and I notice something about a kangaroo court. Kangaroos interest me, because I currently have more than is necessary here, eating a crop. They don’t stop when they get to a fence, unless it’s exceptionally high. You won’t see fatter kangaroos than these. I take it no-one from T/O went along to Kansas to testify for Science. It was too far for me, too, and neither the Young-Earthers nor the I.D.er’s volunteered to pay my fare. O.K.,here’s your opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Myself and the world are waiting for the expert evaluation of the educational materials at www.creationtheory.com . You will need to evaluate the Teachers’ Resources at that site. Q.1 Does Owen’s updated “Archetype” idea give a basis in testable and observable fact for understanding and teaching the history of life? (Kindly document any errors in fact you find.)
Q.2 If yes, then since it both precedes Darwinism and incorporates the useful aspects of that theory, does it stand as the preeminent model of species revelation? Can we improve it?
Q.3 Referring to the nature of Science itself. Matter(=energy) can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter exists. Please explain, without resorting to fairies, trolls, mysticism, or to quantum theory. (Quantum theory does not negate the 1st Law. Large objects appear and disappear only at magic shows).
Here is an opportunity for T/O to show its credentials. Make my day, make some sense, and do something for the world. P.H..

Comment #45221

Posted by Grey Wolf on August 28, 2005 4:13 AM (e)

Philip wrote:

Q.3 Referring to the nature of Science itself. Matter(=energy) can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter exists. Please explain, without resorting to fairies, trolls, mysticism, or to quantum theory. (Quantum theory does not negate the 1st Law. Large objects appear and disappear only at magic shows).

No question there, but I assume “where did everything come from?”. Answer is: we do not know yet. In a few years time, maybe superstring theory will have an answer, but as of right now, we do not know. However, before you go into a self congratulary orgy of “That proves that God did it”, let me point out that just because we do not know now, it doesn’t mean we won’t ever. At one time, God was in the thunder and the lightning, opened windows in the solid firmament for water to fall through and caused the earthquakes and the floods. These days, we know that He is not present in any of those natural phenomenons.

Here is a mental excercise for you: say that tomorrow, a big breakthrough happens and QT finds a way to explain how a Big Bang must happen in abscense of time and space, and how big amounts of energy must appear. Will that mean that your faith will take a big hit? Because it won’t afect mine in any way whatsoever. But then, I don’t try to find God in the gaps of our knowledge.

I wonder, however, why do you feel that this has anything to do with evolution?

Regarding your other two questions, I’ve no idea what Owen’s archetype is, so I won’t go into a discussion about it, but I’m going to guess that the answers are “no”, “no” and “yes”.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

Comment #45222

Posted by a maine yankee on August 28, 2005 4:37 AM (e)

Even the gods accept natural selection (Read to the end.)

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.p…

Comment #45240

Posted by the pro from dover on August 28, 2005 7:52 AM (e)

The Owen being referred to is Richard Owen. He was the most prominent anatomist in England in the mid 1800’s. He coined the word “dinosaur”. His archetypes roughly refer to “phyla”. He separated micro (which could exist) from macro(that cant) evolution. So you see why he’s such a major figure for anti-Darwinists. His positions changed more frequently than M Behe’s as he tried to saddle the fence between Creation and Evolution. His point was the “archetypes” were created and evolution took off from there. Darwin’s prime defender T. H. Huxley (also known as the lenny of the 19th century) was in perpetual debate with him culminating in the famous “hippocampus minor” event. I think he was the founder of the British museum of natural history and was the one who classified the fossil material Darwin sent to England from the Beagle.

Comment #45241

Posted by harold on August 28, 2005 8:02 AM (e)

The loss of this lawsuit by creationists will be a powerful precedent.

More universities need to get into the act.

You can believe what you want to “believe”, but if you want credit for a science course, you need to study science and understand it. Whether you “believe” it is your own business; whether you can explain it is not, if you want to harvest the public benefits of “studying science”.

Of course high school diplomas and university degrees should be denied to those who refuse to meet the requirements.

This gives creationists several HONEST choices.

They can study mainstream science, and explain it accurately and honestly, even while admitting to not “believing” it at a private level. This option is also open to dadaistic new age “deconstructivists” and the like. For some reason, creationists are simply unable or unwilling to honestly understand science, but this option is open to them.

Another honest option is to openly refuse to study science, and to forgo the benefits of studying it. They can tell employers “I lack a high school diploma because biology, chemistry and physics are said to conflict with my rigid interpretation of ‘Christianity’, and out of principle, I refused to study those subjects”.

Comment #45242

Posted by fred lapides on August 28, 2005 8:05 AM (e)

Without getting into the this versus that issue, I believe that Science departments and not court rooms should deicde what exactly it is they are teaching….I once offered (college level) a course in the bible as literature; another in Greek and Roman myth. Should biologists go to court to include their position on such subject matter? It is bad enough that in America we have parents with more control than there should be in control of p[ublic school systems. I was told by one parent that if I wanted my kids to do well (grades) in school I should join the Parent Teacher’s Association and let teachers know I was a member of that august group.

Comment #45243

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 28, 2005 8:09 AM (e)

Another honest option is to openly refuse to study science, and to forgo the benefits of studying it. They can tell employers “I lack a high school diploma because biology, chemistry and physics are said to conflict with my rigid interpretation of ‘Christianity’, and out of principle, I refused to study those subjects”.

Alas, though, despite all their pious holier-than-thou talk, fundies simply don’t have the ping-pongs to do this and actually martyr themselves for their faith.

As I’ve always said, in any fight between God and Mammon, bet on Mammon. Every time.

Comment #45245

Posted by Dan S. on August 28, 2005 8:23 AM (e)

>This book was not written for them.

On the other hand, their bio class actually counts for the University of California, which is a nifty consolation prize. Not to mention the bit about being able to actually participate in that entire aspect of the modern world …

>In any fight between God and Mammon, bet on Mammon.
I’m still waiting for the video game. Especially getting to play as Darwin - the standard moves (clobbering opponents with the Origin, earthworm lash, barnacle ninja stars) are pretty nifty, but the special move involving letting loose finches that, flickering through the generations, quickly evolve beaks well suited to attack that specific opponent - awesome . .

(C’mon, somone should make it!)

Comment #45278

Posted by Otis on August 28, 2005 12:35 PM (e)

Just curious.. is this policy consistent what universities have done in the past when confronted with applicants who come from a background of questionable or demonstrably inferior academic background? Have universities rejected minority students on the same grounds, where their courses or academic standing isn’t on par with other applicants, or have they done things like lower admission scores to reach out to them? Seems to me like this is no different. If they feel the educational background is not on competitive par with those of different background, then find a way to admit them and expose them to better education rather than simply reject them outright. I’ve seen course descriptions at the collegiate level that can be used for comparision with course work from another college or “equivalent experience” situations, but I’ve never seen course descriptives of prequisite high school work. Has anyone here ever seen one of those?

Comment #45282

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on August 28, 2005 12:58 PM (e)

www.creationtheory.com, a fine example of apologetics. I reviewed your site again and came to the same conclusion. Starting with the answer and reverse engineering always works (e.g. the data always fits my hypothesis).

It’s a relatively straightforward process to reverse engineer a hypothesis by selective use of the mainstream literature. It’s analogous to quote mining, only data from the mainstream literature that supports your position is referenced no matter how obscure and no reference is made to contradictory evidence even when that evidence overwhelmingly supports a different position.

You correctly point out that “Owen couldn’t identify the mechanism –[that] would cause species to transform into new species.” As with all creationist theories the mechanism is a god. The idea of an original created “archtype” followed by diversification still requires significant modification of body plans. In combination with the traditional YEC time scale, which is never directly addressed, your proposal is hopelessly lost. The creation of the “archtype” and diversification is not possible on your time scale.

To teach these ideas to students and then expect them to function in a college environment is unfair. The disconnect between your apologetics based “science” and mainstream science is so large that any student with this background would be unable to function in any biology class.

Comment #45285

Posted by SEF on August 28, 2005 1:12 PM (e)

I’ve never seen course descriptives of prequisite high school work. Has anyone here ever seen one of those?

Yes, in the UK. Cambridge (and Oxford) used to insist on Latin ‘O’-level (or ancient Greek perhaps?) - regardless of what subject you were going to read. With the abolition of grammar schools and the first big dumming down of education here, which resulted in many of the best pupils no longer having access to Latin, they then softened that requirement to being at least one foreign language.

At that point most schools did still have at least one (modern) foreign language on the compulsory study list, though of course the inferior students would then fail it. Nowadays with Blair dumming things down even further, modern foreign languages are getting ditched from the curriculum too (because they are too hard) and being replaced by things like media studies which favour more incompetent pupils.

Worse still they now give these fake vocational subjects (which aren’t even up to equipping pupils for a job) greater weight than the academic subjects in order to further skew the results towards the most useless students; while simultaneously awarding A grades to nearly everyone just for turning up. Education is getting very bad here. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for selective colleges (and employers) to work out whether they are being sold a sow’s ear under the guise of it being a silk purse.

Comment #45306

Posted by harold on August 28, 2005 2:08 PM (e)

Otis wrote -

“Have universities rejected minority students on the same grounds, where their courses or academic standing isn’t on par with other applicants, or have they done things like lower admission scores to reach out to them? Seems to me like this is no different”

While it probably wasn’t intended this way, this is a deeply unfair and inaccurate comparison.

It is absolutely untrue that “minority” applicants are accepted to respectable universities or professional schools if they have persistently failed, refused to participate in, or substituted fraudulent material for required courses, science or otherwise. No matter how you may feel about “affirmative action”, that is not how it works.

It is one thing when a “minority” student or a priveleged “legacy” student who had slightly lower grades in mainstream science classes is given preference, in some admissions process, over a “majority” (?) student with somewhat higher grades.

This is how “affirmative action” works. Students who do not at least ostensibly complete the required minimum coursework to move on to the next level are not eligible for “affirmative action”. Rather, among those who complete the required minimum or better, preference is sometimes given to those with extra-academic characteristics, such as “minority” ethnic status or priveleged upper-class connections (sometimes evaluated via the coded admissions criterion “exracurricular activities”), over those with higher grades.

It is another thing altogether when a student demands credit for openly fraudulent “science” courses.

Getting a “C” in mainstream physics is hardly the same thing as trying to get credit for a “physics” course that claims that the universe is 6000 years old or that the earth is flat, for example, even (or perhaps especially) if the student received an “A” in the latter case.

Comment #45314

Posted by Moses on August 28, 2005 3:55 PM (e)

I’m not an expert on this. Heck, I’m not even a biologist and getting into debates about superceeded theories. But, just for the heck of it, I’ll take my shot:

Q.1 Does Owen’s updated “Archetype” idea give a basis in testable and observable fact for understanding and teaching the history of life? (Kindly document any errors in fact you find.)

Archaeopteryx lithographica

Q.2 If yes, then since it both precedes Darwinism and incorporates the useful aspects of that theory, does it stand as the preeminent model of species revelation? Can we improve it?

It’s obviously been discarded because it fails to fit the data. You can’t have a viable theory if it doesn’t fit the facts.

Q.3 Referring to the nature of Science itself. Matter(=energy) can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter exists. Please explain, without resorting to fairies, trolls, mysticism, or to quantum theory. (Quantum theory does not negate the 1st Law. Large objects appear and disappear only at magic shows).

Actually, I’ve read all kinds of funny ideas proposed by phyicists on this issue. None of which I could accurately explain.

Since I can’t explain those theories and I can’t demonstrate they’re even realistic, I’ll just fall-back on a theistic explanation and say the universe was created by Lord Brahma the Creator.

Comment #45370

Posted by Emma on August 28, 2005 10:33 PM (e)

People might find the UC standards useful and the specifics for Lab Sciences.
Including

“Courses should incorporate the principles of the scientific method and scientific thinking with regard to observing, experimenting, forming hypotheses, and coming to conclusions.”

The UC system divides accredited courses into several categories (a-g) of which one is Lab Science, one English, and one Electives. The lawsuit is complaining about the rejected biology class and also some rejected History and English classes.

I also looked at some of the accredited courses at other schools (you can look up the list of accredited courses at any California high school that has any). History of Christianity was an acceptable elective in one place. Didn’t actually find any Buddhist schools. Jewish schools seem to be mostly standard (besides having Hebrew courses
in the Foreign Language category). Couldn’t find any Buddhist schools.

Note that the UC system requires that the schools be accredited by the WASC before allowing schools to submit courses for checking. Use the WASC list to find the names of California High Schools you want to check.

Comment #45390

Posted by Dan S. on August 29, 2005 9:05 AM (e)

“I also looked at some of the accredited courses at other schools (you can look up the list of accredited courses at any California high school that has any). History of Christianity was an acceptable elective in one place. Didn’t actually find any Buddhist schools. Jewish schools seem to be mostly standard … “

If you’re talking about this complaint: ““The suit also accuses the university system of employing a double standard by routinely approving courses that teach the viewpoints of other religions, such as Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.””

I’m not entirely sure that’s what they’re talking about. I suspect they’re including social studies classes (what are the five pillars of Islam?, etc.) - but I dunno.

Comment #45425

Posted by shenda on August 29, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

“Was Joseph Smith’s [founder of the Mormons -tqa] revalation from God? Based on Scripture, one must say no! The apostle Paul says that if anyone (including Paul himself or even an angel) comes and preaches any other gospel, he is to be accursed (Gal 1:8).”

So, it is ok for them to teach that all other religions are not only wrong, but cursed, but it is religious discrimination not to accept this as a valid scientific position. Talk about arrogance!

If these people get their way, the rest of us are in serious trouble.

On the bright side, this should be a slam dunk in court.

On the down side, this supports ID – There is now indisputable proof that God has specially created a “Dumb Gene” just for his self appointed chosen few.

Comment #45441

Posted by Miah on August 29, 2005 1:44 PM (e)

shenda wrote:

If these people get their way, the rest of us are in serious trouble.

Yeah, it’s back to 1500 years of “Dark Ages” where the earth was flat, the earth was the center of the solar system, lightening and thunder were anger of God/gods, epilepsy, multiple personalities, & touretts were forms of demonic possession, the Bible could only be understood by “elected” few, killing people of other races/religions was the work of God, ooooohhhh what else can we throw on here?

Funny, isn’t it…some people STILL believe in everything I’ve just metioned.

The church had it’s chance centuries ago; and they failed miserably. Well, they are still failing, miserably.

shenda wrote:

So, it is ok for them to teach that all other religions are not only wrong, but cursed, but it is religious discrimination not to accept this as a valid scientific position. Talk about arrogance!

Not to mention that a lot of these religions that are “cursed” are much, much older than Chritianity and Islamism. And also that between themselves they can’t define what in their teachings IS correct to begin with!

What arrogance indeed!

Comment #45472

Posted by shenda on August 29, 2005 3:06 PM (e)

Miah wrote:

“Yeah, it’s back to 1500 years of “Dark Ages” where the earth was flat, the earth was the center of the solar system, lightening and thunder were anger of God/gods, epilepsy, multiple personalities, & touretts were forms of demonic possession, the Bible could only be understood by “elected” few, killing people of other races/religions was the work of God, ooooohhhh what else can we throw on here?”

I’m not too worried about this type of regression. I’m more worried about a Technological Theocracy. After all, fundies, in general do not object to technology, just any science that disagrees with their beliefs. Some technology (such as birth control) will have to go, but they will definitely want to keep others, such as guns, surveillance equipment and select medical technology (at least for the leadership). This is not to say they won’t incorporate a lot stuff that you mentioned.

Considering that these are mostly the same people that oppose abortion, but support the death penalty, and that they are closely aligned with people who consider dissent to be treason, the US could become a very unpleasant place. Fortunately, before this could happen, they would need considerable political power……um, do you think Canada is far enough to run?

This also brings to mind an old Heinlein book : “Revolt in 2100”. I haven’t read it in years, but it was about (more or less) an American theocracy. Might be worth (re)reading.

Comment #45565

Posted by Emma on August 29, 2005 8:43 PM (e)

More hunting

Overview of the lawsuit from the plaintiff’s point of view.

And the actual legal complaint (107 pages)

A brief glance shows that if UC has a bias it is against a fair number of textbooks published by Bob Jones univesity

Comment #45580

Posted by Philip Heywood on August 29, 2005 9:58 PM (e)

That’s all very well, and commendably decent of this page’s commenters, but if anyone viewing these pages has or knows someone who has hands-on expertize, say, in Information+ Biotechnology, or in Quantum Theory, or in Mechanics relevant to the solar system, or in Planetary chemistry, or, for instance, in Editing, or in the History of Science, they are needed here and now to get the best outcomes for Education in the 21st Century. I see, for example, that they have deduced that photonics [to do with light] is more efficient in the information carrying sphere than is electronics. I shan’t quote GENESIS 1:14(Authorized Version essential) but it implies the same. You have heard how migrating creatures can probably orient themselves by an effect on light of our magnetic field. That is something, but re-programming DNA and cellular information carriers is something else! Start looking – it might have big outcomes for health. That is, if your beliefs allow you to look into such matters! (The results might favour Owen over Darwin!) As I showed in Q.3 above, scientists by definition are into the supernatural, up to their necks. But as someone has said, sincere, personal religion and technology operate in related but different spheres. HEBREWS 11:6 being an explanation of how & why. We need to get the balance right. Sincerely, Philip Heywood.

Comment #45587

Posted by liz ditz on August 29, 2005 10:27 PM (e)

The suit itself is curious, mixing up the rejection of science and humanities courses, plus the requirement for accreditation by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges).

WASC regularly and readily accredits Christian schools. Essentially, acceditation merely checks that the school has an instructional plan, the resources to meet that plan, and that the instructional methods in fact ensure that the students meet the criteria outlined in the plan. Acceditation says nothing about the fitness of the plan.

UC criteria for acceptance of science courses for satisfaction of the A-G requirements is very clear, including

Cover the core concepts in one of the fundamental disciplines of biology, chemistry, or physics

Evolution is a core concept of biology. If your course doesn’t cover it, it doesn’t meet the criterial.

I am also curious about the civil rights aspect – this was the fundamental issue in the Cupertino case last fall, which was thrown out. Hmmn. The language in the suit allies the Christians with Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, and other religions which might establish day or boarding schools.

Part of this is about money, or enrollment. If you are going to have a high school in California, you pretty much have to guarantee that the graduates will be eligible for the state university system (UC and California State Universities)

Comment #45631

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 30, 2005 3:22 AM (e)

A brief glance shows that if UC has a bias it is against a fair number of textbooks published by Bob Jones univesity

Do any of BJU’s textbooks allow inter-racial dating?

(snicker) (giggle)

Comment #45787

Posted by Brian Fraser on August 30, 2005 5:50 PM (e)

Some of us Christians have moved well beyond the debates about evolution and creation, and would like to apply the Bible in other fields of science. Insights offered by “Scriptural Physics” for instance, might be useful to NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program. Why should we prevent students from learning about such things?

Here are two URLs about the subject:

http://members.dancris.com/~bfraser/
and
http://members.dancris.com/~bfraser/etc/Reflecti…

Comment #45788

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 30, 2005 6:13 PM (e)

Some of us Christians have moved well beyond the debates about evolution and creation, and would like to apply the Bible in other fields of science. Insights offered by “Scriptural Physics” for instance, might be useful to NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program. Why should we prevent students from learning about such things?

Here are two URLs about the subject:

http://members.dancris.com/~bfraser/
and
http://members.dancris.com/~bfraser/etc/Reflecti…

Dude, you’re kidding … right?

That’s the problem with satirizing the nutters — there is nothing so nutty that one can say satirically, that at least SOME of them aren’t stupid enough to declare with all seriousness.

Comment #45790

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on August 30, 2005 6:20 PM (e)

Dude, you’re kidding … right?

Holy cow, it looks like you’re NOT kidding …. .

Even worse, it looks like you and “Dr” Hovind probably have the same, uh, “tax lawyer” …. .

(cukcoo, cuckoo, cuckoo)