Nick Matzke posted Entry 3123 on May 16, 2007 12:25 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3113

It looks like Wendell Bird‘s lawsuit against the University of California is going to trial. This is the lawsuit bought by some private Christian high schools (Association of Christian Schools International et al., or ACSI) against the U.C. (Roman Stearns, special assistant to the U.C. president, et al.), protesting the fact that the U.C. doesn’t give credit for certain courses taught at these private schools. Not all of the classes involved are science classes, but the science classes at issue make use of Bob Jones University textbooks which are full of fake fundamentalist “science.” Private religious high schools have the right to teach whatever silliness they want (although even many private Christian schools teach evolution without problems), but it is rather dubious to assert that a top institution like the U.C. should be forced to drop all of its standards and give credit for classes that teach creationist falsehoods.

NCSE is not involved in this case so I don’t know much more than anyone else about the details of it. The legal issues are rather different than in Kitzmiller v. Dover – here, the creationists are the plaintiffs, and as I understand it, the constitutional issue is not the Establishment Clause but the Free Exercise Clause. ACSI asserts that the U.C.’s standards amount to religious discrimination. However, I do have a rather direct interest in the case myself, since I will be a Ph.D. student at U.C. Berkeley this fall, and will be a teaching assistant in the evolution course. Will the undergraduates that the U.C. admits be prepared, or will they require tedious remedial education to re-do all the biology they were taught incorrectly the first time around?

Through the grapevine, I have heard a few tidbits about the case that will interest people. It looks like the trial will be another battle of the experts:

Plaintiffs (the creationists, represented by famous creationist lawyer Wendell Bird, of Edwards v. Aguillard fame)

* Derek Keenan (of ACSI) – standardized tests
* Donald Ericson – various education issues
* Paul Vitz – psychologist, History and Government textbooks
* Sandra Stotsky – the American Literature anthology
* Daniel Guevara – Religion and Ethics Policy
* Michael Behe – Biology and Physics textbooks

Defendants:

* Francisco Ayala – UC Irvine, Biology
* Donald Kennedy – Stanford, Biology
* Gary Nash – UCLA, History
* Mark Petracca – UC Irvine, Political Science
* John Douglass – UC Berkeley, history of the UC’s a-g requirements
* Michael Kirst – Stanford, Education
* Samuel Otter – UC Berkeley, English
* Robert Sharf – UC Berkeley, Religion

You read that correctly, our buddy Michael J. Behe is going to testify on behalf of the Bob Jones University science textbooks! Here’s the guy’s 72-page expert report. (It is mirrored in the ACSI v. Stearns folder at NCSE’s Evolution Education and Law website – feel free to post elsewhere, it is a largish PDF and we don’t want to crash these sites.)

Let’s have a look at the textbooks Behe is defending:

Life is God’s most marvelous and complex creation. Biology: God’s Living Creation presents life as God created it and now controls it. Historically, biology was the first major area of assault in the American classroom as evolution permeated the schools in the 1920s. Even today, evolutionism poisons biology textbooks and distracts from God’s glory in creation. high school students need to understand God’s living creation from a Biblical perspective, as God created it, and as man has learned of it.

This textbook is unique – different form any other biology text in print today. The study of life is presented in a traditional manner as it was discovered by the great naturalists of the past, a large majority of whom revered the Biblical account of Creation. Unlike other texts, which begin by confusing students with intangible, unseen, and theoretical topics such as biochemistry, subcellular structure, genetics, and philosophy, Biology: God’s Living Creation motivates students to learn by first presenting the living world around them.

[…]

Evolution is presented for what it is – a retreat from science. Students and teachers alike will feel more comfortable when they realize that it is not biology that is in conflict with Scripture, but rather the ungodly philosophy of some biologists.

Since the day that Darwinism invaded the classrooms, God’s glory has been hidden from students. Now there is an opportunity in the Christian classroom to declare that glory with Biology: God’s Living Creation.

And that’s just what I got from the very first page of text, the Preface, page iii. On pages 2-3, we have a bunch of Bible quotes and rhetoric about being traditionalist, and the authors mean it. Figure 1.1 divides biology neatly into…”Zoology”, “Anatomy and physiology”, and “Botany.” Yep, that covers it!

Chapter 1 is botany, done in the way of old-fashioned Linnean taxonomy plus an ag- and industry-heavy “practical” view of plants. However, it’s not all practical – p. 22 is an extended quote from Modern Science and the Genesis Record by Harry Rimmer, a leading evangelist/creationist from the mid-20th century. Every blade of grass, we learn, “shouts the fact of design” (p. 22, emphasis original). Maybe Behe’s support is not so surprising after all…

Skipping ahead to p. 88, we get to the old creationist “Species versus Kinds” distinction (well, this was actually invented by the Seventh-Day Adventist Frank Lewis Marsh in the 1940s once he and other creationists realized just how hopeless it was to maintain the fixity of species, but whatever). Here students learn:

The Biblical “kind” is usually a broader category than our modern term “species.” [the “usually” is there because for humans, species = kind for Biblical reasons – NJM] For example, it is likely that the gray wolf, the red wolf, the coyote, the dingo, the jackal, and the domestic dog (six different species) all belong to the same Biblical kind, and that they all trace their lineage to a single pair of canines. (Although these animals rarely interbreed in the wild, they can interbreed in captivity and produce fertile offspring.) Likewise, the domestic cat and several species of wild cats may share a common lineage, and we know that dozens of species of sparrows have sprung from the three pairs of sparrows that left the ark. Creationists recognize that the origin of new species within a kind does occur. The origin of new species within a kind, however, is not the same as changing one kind into another.

The “may” and “likely” bits are in there because creationists have found it completely impossible to come up with a rigorous, non-question-begging definition of kind. The creationist “science” of “baraminology” has, if anything, demonstrated that the creationists’ “kinds” are impossible to retrieve from biological data – e.g. an analysis of some asters suggested that they might be one kind – all 20,000 species, from minute herbs to full trees (see Matzke and Gross 2006 for more on “kinds” and their history).

Back to the “traditional” biology on p. 89:

The taxonomic work of Linnaeus was very successful. His basic system is still used today, although there is disagreement among taxonomists as to the number of kingdoms that exist, as Table 5.3 shows.

Table 5.3, by the way, asserts the the five-kingdom model of Plants, Animals, Protists, Fungi, and Monera is the “[s]ystem predominantly used today” (p. 90). If you believe that, I’ve got a covered bridge to sell you. Anyway, the creationist authors don’t much like even the outdated five-kingdom system. They continue:

Some of the disagreement has arisen from the fact that in the mid-1800s, some biologists began to abandon the idea of classifying organisms according to similarity of structure and tried to classify them based on alleged evolutionary kinships instead. Much disagreement has also stemmed from new discoveries about the structure of bacteria and certain other microscopic creatures, which were once assumed to be structurally similar to nonvascular plants but which are now known to be considerably different in structure. However, evne though there is disagreement on the kingdom level, there is much agreement on the other levels of classification. Some biology textbooks place a great deal of emphasis on kingdom classification, but this text does not dwell on the issue and is organized instead according to the basic fields studied by biologists. (emphases original, pp. 89-90)

By “basic fields”, they mean the “you got yur plants, animals, and humans” classification that was established back in chapter 1. Yep, that’s biology for the 21st century U.C. student right there.

Now we’re dealing with conifers. The following gives you a sense of what it’s like to read the book. Various passages contain plodding, repetitive basic descriptions (no organizing theory – theory is bad! Teach facts not theories! Long live naive Baconianism!) but then throw in something really wild just to make sure you are paying attention. For example:

Conifers are among some of the largest trees in the world. The Douglas fir is one of the biggest trees, reaching a height of almost 300 feet.1 It is native to the western United States and Canada,2 where it forms great forests. The giant sequoia [se.kwoi’a]3 in central California is another huge conifer; some of these trees are among the oldest living things on earth. The ages of many of these trees are estimated at between 2,000 and 3,500 years, and the gnarled bristlecone pines of California’s White Mountains4 – some of the oldest living things on earth – were already seedlings when Abram left Ur of the Chaldees to go to the Promised Land. The coast redwood is very similar to the giant sequoia and also grows in California and Oregon.5 These redwood trees are some of the tallest living things on earth – some are nearly 370 feet tall.6 The conifers furnish us with softwood lumber, the chief source of building materials for houses, doors, frames, panels, boxes, posts, planks, and beams.7 (pp. 92-93, formatting original)

[Gratuitous comments below]
1. 329 feet, actually, but whatever.
2. and Mexico, but whatever.
3. Approximate representation of weird pronunciation characters.
4. And elsewhere, but whatever.
5. Yes, the California coast redwood does sneak into southern Oregon, props to the creationists on that one.
6. Actually, 379.1 feet, but…you know.
7. I prefer to read this as “…panels, boxes, posts, planks…and beams!!!”

The oldest living bristlecones are ~4,700 years old, but counting dead trees, we have a continuous record going back 11,000 years, so I guess there was already a pretty good bristlecone forest up in the White Mountains when Abram left Ur.

After gymnosperms we have the other basal seed plants:

In 1994, a grove of unusual conifers was found growing in a rain forest in the deep recesses of Australia’s Wollemi National Park. In the fossil record, these trees (dubbed Wollemi pines) are often found in the same strata as the dinosaurs. Wollemi pines have unusual knobby-textured bark and waxy, fernlike leaves. In size, they are comparable to other pines, the largest living tree discovered so far is about 130 feet tall.

[…]

Fossil remains [of cycads] show that many varieties of cycads once lived which are not found today. As with many other kinds of plants and animals that lived in the past, they were destroyed by a major worldwide catastrophe such as the Flood of Noah’s time. The environment was apparently so changed by this event that most cycads were unable to reestablish themselves and became extinct.

[…]

The gingko is a species of gymnosperm known as a “living fossil,” because it is the only living species in its group. As with the cycads, most gingko species apparently did not survive the post-Flood environment.

By now you get the idea. I just went through part of the plants section and I don’t have the stomach to do everything else, but rest assured that all the other usual creationist stuff is in there – e.g., a page and a half of William Jennings Bryan (pp. 364-365, e.g. “If [common ancestry] were true, we would all be murderers if we swatted a fly or killed a bedbug, for we would be killing our kin, and we would be cannibals whenever we ate any of the mammals.”); “No true ‘missing links’ have ever been found to bridge the gaps between different kinds of organisms” (p. 367), “there is not a single place on the earth where you can go and see the geologic column” (emphasis original, totally bogus of course); “From a Biblical perspective, all of these ‘transitional forms’ can be considered either 100% ape or 100% human” (emphasis original, p. 376, also totally bogus).

This junk may make the Discovery Institute’s Paul Nelson proud, but why should the University of California give admission credit for it, since the Earth is not young, there was no global Flood, and common ancestry is massively supported by dozens of different independently testable lines of evidence? The U.C. might as well give Geography credit for a flat-earth class.

What does Michael Behe, expert biology/physics witness for the creationists, say when reviewing these books? Nothing much except “[I]t is also important to keep in mind that being generally accepted by the scientific community is no guarantee that a concept or purported fact is correct […]” (p. 28).

References

Matzke, N., and Gross, P. (2006). “Analyzing Critical Analysis: The Fallback Antievolutionist Strategy.” Chapter 2 of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for Our Schools. Scott, E., and Branch, G., eds., Beacon Press, pp. 28-56.

Gregory Parker, Keith Graham, Delores Shimmin, George Thompson (1997). Biology: God’s Living Creation (2nd edition; 1st edition 1986). Published by: A Beka Book: A Ministry of Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola, FL., pp. 1-672.

Some of the other creationist books at issue are:

William S. Pinkston, Jr. (1999). Biology for Christian Schools (2nd edition, 1st edition 1991). Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, SC, pp. 1-694.

Rosemary A. Lasell and Paul Wilt (1998). Physics for Christian Schools. (listed as “copyright 1987, 1998”, but no indication that this is a 2nd edition). Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, SC, pp. 1-614.

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Comment #175777

Posted by Jedidiah Palosaari on May 16, 2007 12:13 AM (e)

I thought Behe defended ID. Doesn’t he see the problem in defending an out-of-the-closet Literal Creationist text?

And that’s just scary. Considering how these guys view the word “theoretical”, that they call “biochemistry, subcellular structure, and genetics” theoretical…I just don’t have any words.

“Conifers furnish us with soft lumber”- oh, so *that’s* why they’re there! To be exploited by the lumber industry! I thought it was ‘cause God delighted in creating them, or maybe even that they fufill a specialized niche in the ecosystem. No, it’s because the religious right that supports these beliefs also has to remember not to cheat on it’s friend, big business.

Long live cannibalism.

Comment #175782

Posted by j a higginbotham on May 16, 2007 12:37 AM (e)

OT http://sonic.net/bristlecone/Martyr.html

Late in the year of 1964 a young geographer, Donald R. Currey, a student at this university [University of North Carolina], who was working toward his doctorate, was in the Southwest searching for evidence of Ice Age glaciers. The Wheeler Peak glacier and related phenomena attracted him. When this student and his associate came upon the bristlecones at the timberline, they began to take core samples from several trees, discovering one to be over 4,000 years old! Needless to say they were excited, and at some point, their only coring tool broke. The end of the field season was nearing. They asked for and I still can’t believe it!were granted permission by the U.S. Forest Service to cut the tree down. It was “Prometheus”.
After cutting the trunk at a convenient level, which happened to be more than eight feet above the original base, 4,844 rings were counted. This student had just killed the oldest living thing on earth! Eventually, dendrochronologist Don Graybill determined the tree to be 4,862 years of age.

Comment #175784

Posted by Michael J on May 16, 2007 12:54 AM (e)

OT but I just received my Wollemi pine to plant in the garden. It sure is a weird looking pine, very cool.

Michael

Comment #175786

Posted by caerbannog on May 16, 2007 1:09 AM (e)

After what Behe endured during the Kitzmiller v. Dover fiasco, I can only imagine how much the plaintiffs agreed to pony up in order for him to take another beating like that. Will he be charging per hour or per new a**hole?

Comment #175790

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on May 16, 2007 1:44 AM (e)

The last page of the expert report says Behe is getting $20,000 for his participation…

Comment #175794

Posted by caerbannog on May 16, 2007 2:20 AM (e)


The last page of the expert report says Behe is getting $20,000 for his participation…

(From the last page – emphasis added)

The compensation to be paid for the study and deposition testimony, excluding trial testimony, is $20,000.

It looks like Behe *did* learn something from his Kitzmiller beating. :) :)

Comment #175797

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 16, 2007 2:39 AM (e)

I’ve been teaching using the Miller and Levine “dragonfly” book over the past several months, and my estimation of the book has risen considerably. In the little things, it is accurate, accurate, accurate, and that makes things just a heck of a lot easier.

I’ve also looked at the Bob Jones books, and found them botanically challenged. In the little details, the ones where Mies van der Rohe said God lives (sorry, P.Z.), the Miller and Levine book holds up.

I hope the defendants will get into some of those issues. For example, in the ecology sections, going over the nitrogen cycle, good biology texts get into some detail, such as the fact that legumes are a key part of the cycle, with their arrangement with bacteria that convert atmospheric nitrogen to plant-usable nitrogen. So a kids asks about the reality of such application in the field: Can legumes really be all that effective, worldwide, considering that legumes examples offered are only a few plants, like peas, clover, and alfalfa? A dive into a decent botanical text reveals that legumes have 600 genera and more than 13,000 species, including acacia, cassia, loco weed, honey locust, etc., etc. Smart alec kid then asks about the probability that such diversity could evolve, and we look at the Hawaiian silver sword “alliance.” Trees, peas and loco weed? Why not?

Now, I’m not sure exactly how the Bob Jones text treats the nitrogen cycle, but I’ll bet it can’t explain speciation that makes 13,000 different legumes over the face of the Earth, especially not with a flood thrown in in the past 200,000 years (and the book doesn’t allow for such timespans). In short, Miller and Levine take Mark Twain’s advice about not lying, so then not having to remember all the lies in order to try to spin a nearly-straight story later. Pick any aspect of biology and chase down the reality of it, especially in diversity and number of species. The Bob Jones books become cartoonish, misleading masquerades of a biology book. I took the nitrogen cycle, which is reasonably fossil free. The phosphorus cycle involves rocks and fossil sources, not to mention guano. Is there any possible explanation for the phosphates on Nauru that could be offered by a Bob Jones text? (http://www.un.int/nauru/economic_paradise.html) And if a kid comes in with a reference showing a few hundred different species of elephants are known from antiquity, how does the Bob Jones book suggest a teacher answer within the ethical standards of Christians?

It’s possible to deliver a high school course without much detail, which might fuzz up enough of the problems of creationism so that kids could pass most state-mandated science tests, and not do so badly on the SAT that it would make them look like total fools. But I can’t figure out how such a course could be delivered ethically. I’d like to see a year’s set of lesson plans for the Bob Jones book.

After Pennsylvania, Nick, is there not a real possibility that the defendants are paying Behe to be the witness for the plaintiffs?

Comment #175812

Posted by AJ on May 16, 2007 4:57 AM (e)

Excuse my ignorance, but what is the classification system that is predominantly used today? (Plants, Animals, ….. ?)

Comment #175814

Posted by AJ on May 16, 2007 5:00 AM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

Table 5.3, by the way, asserts the the five-kingdom model of Plants, Animals, Protists, Fungi, and Monera is the “[s]ystem predominantly used today” (p. 90). If you believe that, I’ve got a covered bridge to sell you.

Forgive my ignorance, but what is the preferred classification system today?

Comment #175817

Posted by Frank J on May 16, 2007 5:18 AM (e)

AJ:

See:

http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Comment #175819

Posted by Peter Henderson on May 16, 2007 5:39 AM (e)

Lenny Flank has a very good essay on “biblical kinds”:

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/24…

From Lenny’s essay:

This definition–a created “kind” consists of organisms which interbreed and produce fertile young–seems to be the most commonly cited among creationists

The definition we have seen of a created “kind” is, moreover, unworkable in its own terms. A horse and a donkey are universally held by creationists to be one “kind”, but a horse and a donkey cannot produce fertile offspring. They can breed and produce young, but this progeny, a mule, is completely sterile and cannot reproduce after its “kind”. By the logic of their definition, the creationists would seem to be forced to conclude that horses and donkeys are separate “kinds”. But, since horses and donkeys are so obviously related by evolutionary descent, the creationists cannot have this either, since it would establish “evolution between kinds”, which is precisely what they are trying to avoid. (Remember that the creationists accept the existence of evolutionary descent as a mechanism for producing “variation within a kind”.)

Hence, some creationists have now dropped the requirement of “interfertility”, and have asserted that any organisms that can breed with each other and produce offspring, whether fertile or not, constitute a “kind”:

“Creationists have long felt a need for a classification that would include in one consistent category all organisms that interbreed under any conditions.” (David Menton, “Species, Speciation and the Genesis Kind”, Missouri Association for Creation, October 1994)

This definition, however, also produces problems. In the northeastern United States, for example, are found two species of tree frogs, Hyla versicolor and Hyla chrysoscelis. The two are absolutely identical in appearence, and the only way to distinguish them in the field is by their slightly differing mating calls. One of these species is a “polyploid” of the other, that is, it developed from the other species when a chromosomal abnormality left some individuals with twice the normal number of chromosomes. (Polyploidy is a very common means of plants to produce new species–in fact, most domesticated food plants like wheat and rye are polyploids–but is comparitively rare among animals.) There is no doubt that the two frogs share an ancestor/descendent relationship, and that one evolved from the other through polyploidy.

For the creationists to consider these two virtually identical frogs as being of different “kinds” would be absurd on the face of it, since they are so alike they can be distinguished only in the lab, and they obviously share evolutionary descent. So naturally, the creationists would like to lump these two species together as “variations” within one “created kind”. But there is a problem for the creationists–the two Hyla species do not, and, because of their chromosomal differences, cannot, interbreed. Not only do they not produce any fertile offspring–they are incapable of producing any offspring at all.

Once again, the creationists must either admit the existence of evolution between “kinds”, or they must change their definition of what constitutes a “kind”. Thus, we are finally led to:

“If two organisms breed, even though it is infrequent, they are of the same kind; if they don’t breed but are clearly of the same morphological type, they are of the same kind, by the logic of the axiom which states two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other.” (Wysong, cited in Kitcher, 1982, p. 152)

Some excellent points there, and it shows how absurd the whole concept of “kinds* actually is.

but the science classes at issue make use of Bob Jones University textbooks which are full of fake fundamentalist “science.”

The first minister of the new NI executive received his Honorary doctorate from there. As far as I know he’s a YEC as his church actively promotes it. Fortunately for us, Sinn Fein holds the Education portfolio so hopefully we won’t encounter any problems !

Comment #175824

Posted by Ron Okimoto on May 16, 2007 6:21 AM (e)

Do they have a clause where payment for testimony is dependent on the testimony? I can see paying for the deposition, but what is Behe’s testimony going to be worth when it all falls apart in the cross examination?

The plaintiffs may dance around the bogus parts of the textbooks, but they can’t expect the defense to do that.

I do not think that Behe will make it to the witness stand. They would be stupid to put someone up that knows how bogus the science materials are. Can the defense make Behe testify as a hostile witness once he gives his deposition? If it is put into the court record they have to have their chance to rebut.

Just think what the fact that Behe doesn’t deny that biological evolution happened and that he can testify to that fact and how this topic is distorted in the books. Does anyone think that Behe can give them a pass without perjuring himself on their YEC claims? What will he do, plead the fifth? Can he refuse to answer certain questions because it would make getting easy money like this harder to come by if he becomes a negative asset?

Remember when the creationists brought in Wichramasinge (spelling?) for the Arkansas trial and he ended up calling the YEC junk that they wanted to teach claptrap. They brought him in because he had some strange notions about evolution, but they got the whole package that included his weirdo notions that insects were more intelligent than humans, but they were just keeping it a secret. These rubes are going to get the whole package with Behe and the Dover testimony should have told them what to expect.

Incompetence or desperation?

Comment #175831

Posted by Pumpkinhead on May 16, 2007 6:43 AM (e)

I am not sure whether this reflects the stupidity or cruelty of evolutionists. I know they would relish limiting the employment prospects of young Christians by denying them admission, but they also deny themselves opportunity to convert young Christians to Darwinian debauchery by failing to admit them. Yet, there is a third possibility. They fear the presence of a single Christian armed with the truth of Jesus can take down the entire Darwinian establishment and its Satanic lies, just like Elijah on Mt. Carmel. He could convert so many of his fellow students that the evolutionist faculty could not expel them all, but would have to come to terms with the challenge Christianity poses to their fetid faith.

Comment #175839

Posted by Richard Simons on May 16, 2007 7:15 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead - I am curious. As you write your little hate-filled rants, do you really believe you are doing God’s work? How do you reconcile it with commands like ‘Love your enemy’?

In your last post you referred to Darwinian debauchery. I think I must have missed out on this. What is it exactly?

BTW the ID leadership are trying to keep it quiet that religion is central to their claims. People like you are not helping their cause.

Comment #175840

Posted by Cedric Katesby on May 16, 2007 7:16 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead said “…blah, blah, blah, fetid faith”.
Fetid faith?
I fear not futile flatulence from a fool.

Comment #175846

Posted by Darth Robo on May 16, 2007 7:28 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead. Just for you, this is an intelligent rebuttal to your (unintentionally) funny post.

BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

You’re not serious, are you? You’re just having a laugh with us. Right?

Comment #175855

Posted by Pumpkinhead on May 16, 2007 7:50 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead - I am curious. As you write your little hate-filled rants, do you really believe you are doing God’s work? How do you reconcile it with commands like ‘Love your enemy’?

That command refers only to a man’s personal enemies. The enemies of God deserve no love or mercy. Read John Calvin’s exegesis on this passage for clarity.

In your last post you referred to Darwinian debauchery. I think I must have missed out on this. What is it exactly?,

Well, here is one example. Here is another. There are many more.

BTW the ID leadership are trying to keep it quiet that religion is central to their claims. People like you are not helping their cause.

I serve not the ID Leadership, but only my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Comment #175860

Posted by CJ Croy on May 16, 2007 8:28 AM (e)

I invoke Russell’s Law on Pumpkinhead.

Comment #175862

Posted by Richard Forrest on May 16, 2007 8:30 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead wrote:

I am not sure whether this reflects the stupidity or cruelty of evolutionists. I know they would relish limiting the employment prospects of young Christians by denying them admission, but they also deny themselves opportunity to convert young Christians to Darwinian debauchery by failing to admit them. Yet, there is a third possibility. They fear the presence of a single Christian armed with the truth of Jesus can take down the entire Darwinian establishment and its Satanic lies, just like Elijah on Mt. Carmel. He could convert so many of his fellow students that the evolutionist faculty could not expel them all, but would have to come to terms with the challenge Christianity poses to their fetid faith.

This has nothing to do with any threat or challenge Christianity poses to science, evolutionary or otherwise.

Many evolutionary scientists are Christians, and to the churches representing most of the world’s Christians there is no conflict between accepting the findings of science in respect of evolution and faith. In fact, the insistence of some creationists that science supports their faith denies the very essence of faith.

If someone wants to believe that the world is 6,000 years old, that’s up to them, but if they claim that this religious conviction is supported by science, they need to present their case in the form of hypotheses which can be tested against the evidence. No creationist has done so or can do so. The evidence shows quite clearly and categorically that the earth is very ancient, that there was no global flood, and that living organisms have evolved over billions of years. Nobody who honestly addresses the evidence can form any other conclusion, and the arguments used by creationists are based on misrepresentation, distortion and outright falsehoods.

This dispute has nothing to do with religion. It is about honesty, and creationists can and have been shown to be systematically dishonest

Comment #175869

Posted by Michael Buratovich on May 16, 2007 9:02 AM (e)

Nick,

I have read several different news sources about this lawsuit and there are two things I cannot figure out. Can you help me?

1. I have examined the Bob Jones Biology text book for some of the home schoolers in our corner of Michigan and I gave it a grade of C for “crap.” The book treats science as a list of facts to be memorized and does a remarkable job of quashing any interest a young enterprising student might have in science. Secondly, I completely agree with Ed Darrell’s comment that the botany coverage in general is very weak and the ecology section is also poor (althought I am far from an ecologist, being a lab rat). Additionally, its coverage of evolution is very poor and if you add to this the book’s glowing endorsement of creationism and rather biased deprecation of evolution, you get a book whose misery I can extinguish with a well-placed match. Having said that, there are some other secular textbooks out there that are pretty bad too. To the best of your knowlege, does the UC system (of which I am an alum) not accept courses which used some of these other less-than-desirable secular textbooks?

2. If these students are taking college-credit courses and passing standardized tests, does their choice of textbook really matter? One of the best courses I had as an undergraduate at UC Davis was a virology course where we had no textbook but spent all our time reading papers, reviews and abstracts from virology conferences. I learned more in that class than I did in any other class with a textbook. If these students are passing standardized tests, then they could have learned their biology of the back of a cereal box for all we care. Why are they being penalized for their teacher’s lousy textbook choice? Do I have this wrong?

Michael Buratovich

Comment #175870

Posted by caerbannog on May 16, 2007 9:03 AM (e)

Posted by Pumpkinhead on May 16, 2007 6:43 AM (e)

I am not sure whether this reflects the stupidity or cruelty of evolutionists. I know they would relish limiting the employment prospects of young Christians by denying them admission, but they also deny themselves opportunity to convert young Christians to Darwinian debauchery by failing to admit them. Yet, there is a third possibility. They fear the presence of a single Christian armed with the truth of Jesus can take down the entire Darwinian establishment and its Satanic lies, just like Elijah on Mt. Carmel. He could convert so many of his fellow students that the evolutionist faculty could not expel them all, but would have to come to terms with the challenge Christianity poses to their fetid faith.

The defense would like to call Pumpkinhead to the stand..

Comment #175871

Posted by Darth Robo on May 16, 2007 9:18 AM (e)

So, pumpkinhead. What do you say about those who believe in God AND accept evolution?

Comment #175873

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on May 16, 2007 9:22 AM (e)

Michael –

1. I don’t know what textbooks the UC accepts. I gather there is a rather elaborate procedure whereby high schools submit their course descriptions etc. to the UC and then get a reply as to whether or not the course will be accepted as satisfying requirement XYZ for admission to UC. The “standard” biology courses in public schools and probably many private schools use the state science standards and the state-approved textbook lists, I assume these get an automatic pass by the UC.

2. The courses the lawsuit is about are not exactly “college credit” classes, they are classes which might or might not fill an admission requirement for a prospective student. The UC requires prospective students to have X number of English, Math, Science, etc. classes in order to be admitted. However this requirement is not absolute, a student missing some of the classes can still be admitted if, based on test scores or other criteria, the admission staff decides their application merits it.

Comment #175877

Posted by Dan Gaston on May 16, 2007 9:24 AM (e)

Nick:

Thanks for the post, I’m going to be eagerly following this case and congratulations on embarking on your Ph.D by the way. UC is clearly in the right here, and forcing them to lower their educational standards in order admit these students would be a huge mistake. I’m all for tolerance, but when it comes to issues like higher education the absurdity of reducing standards is patently obvious. I look forward to future updates.

Comment #175880

Posted by Richard Clayton on May 16, 2007 9:33 AM (e)

So, wait… the ACSI wants the University of California to grant credit to students for learning information that is demonstrably false?

Why is this even an issue? If I teach a United States history class claiming that the South won the Civil War, should universities be required to acknowledge that as equally valid?

Comment #175883

Posted by David Stanton on May 16, 2007 10:01 AM (e)

Nick wrote:

“The UC requires prospective students to have X number of English, Math, Science, etc. classes in order to be admitted. However this requirement is not absolute, a student missing some of the classes can still be admitted if, based on test scores or other criteria, the admission staff decides their application merits it.”

Is there any evidence that students from these private schools do worse on the admission tests than students from schools using state-approved science standards? Is there any evidence that they do worse in classes after admission? Is there any evidence that they are less likely to graduate?

It seems to me that the fact that they come from schools that do not use state standards should be sufficient to deny them admission. If the standards are mandatory, that would simply mean that the school should not be recognized or accredited. Students should be aware of this when deciding to attend such schools.

But of course the issue is undoubtedly much more complicated than that. Any evidence that can be presented supporting the view that these students are not adequately prepared should be brought forward. Admission should based on standard requirements that adequately prepare students, not personal or religious beliefs.

This also raises the issue of whether a University education is a right or a privilege. But perhaps that is too far off topic.

Comment #175884

Posted by Gerard Harbison on May 16, 2007 10:02 AM (e)

OK, here’s something to worry about.

Are UC enlisting the help of any groups experienced with fighting creationism in the courts? Yes, I know they have a fair fraction of the best scientists in the world at UC, but any scientist who’s ever been tempted into debating a creationist knows that you can simply be dazed by the cascade of b.s. they throw at you. Their legal team needs to know the standard creationist gambits, and how those gambits have been most effectively handled in the past.

This case is important for every university in the country, and I hope they’re taking it seriously enough.

Comment #175893

Posted by jkc on May 16, 2007 10:56 AM (e)

pumpkinhead (re Darwinian debauchery) wrote:

Well, here is one example. Here is another. There are many more.

Sorry, but I searched both of those articles for “Darwin*” and didn’t find a single mention. Are you saying there was no debauchery prior to Darwin? If I thought for more than a nanosecond, I could probably come up with cases of homosexual rape and cannibalism that occurred pre-Darwin.

Comment #175900

Posted by Raging Bee on May 16, 2007 11:13 AM (e)

Punkinhead: having violated that Commandment against bearing false witness, you are now an enemy of the God you claim to worship (but, clearly, not to obey), and by your own logic, you “deserve no love or mercy.”

Unless, of course, you’re too young to understand the error of your ways, which most of your posts strongly imply.

Comment #175903

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on May 16, 2007 11:36 AM (e)

Gerhard Harbison wrote:

any scientist who’s ever been tempted into debating a creationist knows that you can simply be dazed by the cascade of b.s. they throw at you. Their legal team needs to know the standard creationist gambits, and how those gambits have been most effectively handled in the past.

But does it work that way though, courts are different? The Dover transcripts looked all right, at places it looked like one envision a typical hunt for a specific nugget of fact.

But of course the legal team need to be good enough, and I hear the Dover team happened to be excellent. [Hmm. Does this count as public suck-up to the poster? Or do I get off punishment on the technicality that there is demonstrably a certain correlation with the posts topic? :-o]

Ed Darrell wrote:

In the little details, the ones where Mies van der Rohe said God lives (sorry, P.Z.),

Cute - and a new variant for me. But of course even atheists knows who is really supposed to be in the details and who is pushed into the gaps. ;-)

Comment #175908

Posted by Mike Elzinga on May 16, 2007 12:12 PM (e)

There is a larger picture going on here.

Both Jerry Falwell’s and Pat Robertson’s law schools are preparing lawyers they hope will eventually get to be judges who interpret the law. According to some of the students in these schools (as seen on Anderson Cooper’s reports about Christians), they believe in absolutes from their bible and think the laws should be interpreted in light of these “absolutes”.

It looks like the fundamentalists are provoking these cases in order to sharpen their skills at debating the law and to provide future arguments for the judges they hope to put in place. At this time, it is not crucial that they win any cases (If the evidence really matters in this current case, they will lose.), but if they can gain experience along with political clout, then they have a shot at achieving their goals of turning this country into a theocracy.

It is interesting how they have now changed their stated goal. They now claim that “institutional separation of Church and State” is proper, but the “Law should not be separate from the Absolutes of the Bible”.

I think we can expect to see additional challenges along these lines.

Comment #175910

Posted by harold on May 16, 2007 12:20 PM (e)

Michael Buratovich -

Not using a textbook at all, in a university level course, is a far cry from using a textbook which is demonstrably and deliberately wrong, for a high school level course.

If the textbook is full of crap, it’s an extremely fair assumption that the student was taught the crap in the textbook, and not the material that the university requires.

If he wants to go to UC all he has to do is go to a normal school and take some real science courses.

If your religion forbids learning algebra, unfortunately, you can’t enter a college that requires a basic course in algebra. If your religion forbids learning basic science, you can’t enter a college that requires exposure to basic science. Note that nobody is requiring anybody to “believe” anything. All that’s being asked is that the kids be exposed to what mainstream scientists currently view as the most accurate material, and why, at a grade-appropriate level. To use the algebra example, all he has to do is understand that if 10X = 50, in math, X = 5. He can “believe” whatever the heck he wants, but it’s reasonable for a university to require exposure to basic mainstream academic material.

By the way, I don’t consider myself an “atheist” and I am certainly not “against religion”. I would be outraged if an educationally qualified student were denied entrance to a university on the basis of private religious beliefs. This is about whether the student is educationally qualified.

Of course it’s that fault of adults, not the students themselves, whenever any elementary or high school students are denied a satisfactory education, but that doesn’t change the fact that colleges need to have standards for entry.

Comment #175916

Posted by Shenda on May 16, 2007 12:56 PM (e)

“Why is this even an issue? If I teach a United States history class claiming that the South won the Civil War, should universities be required to acknowledge that as equally valid?”

Yes.

Just as you should be able to teach that the US was founded on Christian Principles and that the US Constitution is Biblically Based. You should be free to teach anything that your Faith dictates (but only if it is a True Christian Faith!), and to discredit anything that is in conflict with your Faith

Comment #175917

Posted by wamba on May 16, 2007 1:04 PM (e)

How unfortunate that the plaintiffs did not engage Steve Fuller for a reprise of his Dover performance.

Comment #175922

Posted by wamba on May 16, 2007 1:31 PM (e)

From the last page of Behe’s “expert” report:

COPIES ATTACHED
Copies are attached of hte follwing items, not publicly available or produced in discovery in this action:
Appendix (if any) to report
Sent by Federal Express 3 days delivery, separately:
F001-626
Michael Behe, Ph.D., Darwin’s Black Box
Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., Icons of Evolution

So these two books are going to be officially part of the trial?

Comment #175924

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on May 16, 2007 1:32 PM (e)

If the biology textbook in question does not accept biochemistry as part of biology, why is Behe an expert witness for the plaintiff?
Cannot he see the contradiction?
Oh, that’s right you are not only lying for Jesus but you also have to be deaf, mute or blind for Jesus……
With supporters like that who needs enemies.

Comment #175926

Posted by Joe McFaul on May 16, 2007 1:38 PM (e)

The trial judge, I believe is Judge Otero,–another conservative. My personal experience in appearances before him is that he strictly observes the letter of the law and has a tight view of “relevance.” A George Bush apointee:

http://www.fjc.gov/servlet/tGetInfo?jid=2988

Comment #175927

Posted by Richard Simons on May 16, 2007 1:38 PM (e)

Pumpkinhead:

What on earth have the examples of debauchery you gave got to do with Darwin? Did you hope I would believe you and not actually look at them? That is naive as one of the first things that anyone who has dealings with creationists and ID proponents learns is, as Richard Forrest says, that

creationists can and have been shown to be systematically dishonest.

You claim

The enemies of God deserve no love or mercy.

And why do you think that you are qualified to decide who your god’s enemies are? After all, you just broke the commandment to not bear false witness.

I serve not the ID Leadership, but only my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

You reckon? It seems to me you are being very arrogant.

Comment #175936

Posted by Mike Elzinga on May 16, 2007 2:11 PM (e)

Pumpkinhead doesn’t know anything about ANY god and cannot provide verifiable evidence that he does. So it is not important to listen to him or feed his troll-like tendencies. His parents are not supervising him properly, and we shouldn’t have to act a surrogate parents to him.

So don’t feed the troll.

Comment #175937

Posted by sandy_mcd on May 16, 2007 2:12 PM (e)

Michael Buratovich wrote:

One of the best courses I had as an undergraduate at UC Davis was a virology course where we had no textbook but spent all our time reading papers, reviews and abstracts from virology conferences.

How many courses at Davis are like that? Isn’t that how Angie Louie teaches?

Comment #175940

Posted by Peter Henderson on May 16, 2007 2:38 PM (e)

OT but I just received my Wollemi pine to plant in the garden. It sure is a weird looking pine, very cool.

It’s a living fossil Michael, but I’m sure you knew that already !

Comment #175942

Posted by jkc on May 16, 2007 2:39 PM (e)

Mike Elzinga wrote:

Both Jerry Falwell’s and Pat Robertson’s law schools are preparing lawyers…

Speaking of which…what’s the over/under on how long it will take for Pat Robertson to claim that Jerry Falwell’s death is a punishment from God?

Comment #175952

Posted by dhogaza on May 16, 2007 3:29 PM (e)

larry wrote:

I found this good article about the case

Larry, you’re not fooling anyone, we know who you are.

Nothing on your blog is interesting, either.

Comment #175964

Posted by celdd on May 16, 2007 4:07 PM (e)

In CA, every high school, even public schools, have to submit course descriptions and related documentation in order to have that course considered to be acceptable for satisfying an academic requirement for admission to UC or CSU (the so-called a-g requirements). If a course is rejected, they note why, and what the school needs to do to change or add to meet the requirement. Here’s an example of what the school needs to submit:
Url href=”http://www.ucop.edu/a-gGuide/ag/course_submissio…”>

You can cruise around that web site to find out more about the certification process.

Several years ago UC and CSU added a requirement for a year of arts education to the admission requirements (my daughter was a Junior then). There was quite a scramble to get the various arts classes qualified in time so that you could be assured that if you registered for, say ceramics, that this satisfied the requirement. Eventually, I think most of the arts classess were certified, but it was dicey for a while to know what to register for - you liked one of the arts the best, but weren’t sure that that course would satisfy the requirement at the end of the day.

All schools are treated the same. There are minimum standards for a course to satisfy an admission requirement. Religeous schools aren’t being singled out, their courses just have to meet minimum criteria to qualify for satisfaction of an admission requirement.

Comment #175975

Posted by CJO on May 16, 2007 5:23 PM (e)

You really should stop the sock-puppet routine man.

And if, by some wild improbability, you are not Farfromsane, you have indelibly branded yourself a complete maroon for admiring his “brains.”

Larry is an obnoxious idiot.

Comment #175979

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on May 16, 2007 5:28 PM (e)

So these two books are going to be officially part of the trial?

Since Behe cites them in support of his expert opinion, they are fair game. However the role they play in the trial depends mostly on how much Behe uses them, since they are not directly involved in the policy at issue.

Comment #175980

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2007 5:43 PM (e)

So, pumpkinhead. What do you say about those who believe in God AND accept evolution?

I’m sure I speak for all the intelligent, non trolls here who have seen Punkin’ chunkinhead bleat before when I say:

Who frickin’ cares WHAT this nutter has to say?

Comment #175981

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2007 5:48 PM (e)

From the last page of Behe’s “expert” report:

COPIES ATTACHED
Copies are attached of hte follwing items, not publicly available or produced in discovery in this action:
Appendix (if any) to report
Sent by Federal Express 3 days delivery, separately:
F001-626
Michael Behe, Ph.D., Darwin’s Black Box
Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., Icons of Evolution

So these two books are going to be officially part of the trial?

oooohhhh, but can’t you see the dollar signs in Behe and Wells eyes when they consider even the remotest possibility that some school would push for their books to be acceptable texts in a class for UC transfer credit??

I’m sure ‘ol Dembski would be jealous and insist on one of his books appearing as well.

Comment #176017

Posted by David Stanton on May 16, 2007 9:18 PM (e)

celdd,

Thanks for the information. It sounds like the entire process is legitimate and above board. It sounds like the high schools involved knew for a long time that their students would not be accepted. It sounds like it was a matter of public record that their courses were not recognized. It sounds like students should know better than to apply to UC if they choose to go to those high schools. It sounds like the schools had ample opportunity to conform to the standards if they wanted theor students to be accepted.

If that is the case, why don’t the students just go to a school that accepts the courses? It sure sounds like they voluntarily gave up their “right” to attend UC.

I wonder what possible grounds the plantifs have for filing their action? Will they claim that the standards are discriminatory? Will they claim that the textbooks meet the standards and that they should be deemed acceptable? Either way it doesn’t seem like they have a leg to stand on.

One thing is for sure, if these texts are allowed then state standards are in trouble across the country and college admission boards will be in big trouble.

Comment #176032

Posted by H. Humbert on May 16, 2007 11:21 PM (e)

What does Michael Behe, expert biology/physics witness for the creationists, say when reviewing these books? Nothing much except “[I]t is also important to keep in mind that being generally accepted by the scientific community is no guarantee that a concept or purported fact is correct […]” (p. 28).

You will see this sort of thing often times with those into New Age or “alternative” medicine. A panel of half a dozen quacks, all with different and many times mutually exclusive ideas about how to maintain proper health, will convene in order to lend support to one another’s absurd ideas. They all sit and nod their heads as one waxes lyrically about the health benefits of crystals, another rails against the evils of vaccination, yet a third describes the wonders of energy vibrations. They have almost nothing in common with one another, yet they are united under the shared perception that the mainstream scientific community is somehow wrong.

Behe, by everything he’s said, probably thinks creationists are as kooky as the rest of us. But he’s obviously a subscriber to that old saying–“the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Comment #176034

Posted by Science Avenger on May 16, 2007 11:41 PM (e)

H. Humbert observed:

They [the new agers] have almost nothing in common with one another, yet they are united under the shared perception that the mainstream scientific community is somehow wrong.

It is that lack of commonality, a lack of any relevance one to another, that most acutely exposes them (along with their stagnation) as pseudoscience.

Comment #176038

Posted by Pumpkinhead on May 17, 2007 12:11 AM (e)

So, pumpkinhead. What do you say about those who believe in God AND accept evolution?

Their fundamental religion is that of evolutionism. For those people, like Immanuel Kant, God is just an add-on. Some of them, like Ken Miller, are members of sham churches that hide the wolf of Darwin in the sheep’s clothing of Jesus.

Comment #176039

Posted by Pumpkinhead on May 17, 2007 12:19 AM (e)

Sorry, but I searched both of those articles for “Darwin*” and didn’t find a single mention.

The value system from which those actions spring speaks for itself.

Are you saying there was no debauchery prior to Darwin? If I thought for more than a nanosecond, I could probably come up with cases of homosexual rape and cannibalism that occurred pre-Darwin.

Darwinism is something of a misnomer. Darwinism has been with us ever since the serpent beguiled Eve. Darwin was inspired by his father the devil to write his books much like Jesus inspired Moses and Paul.

Comment #176040

Posted by Pumpkinhead on May 17, 2007 12:24 AM (e)

And why do you think that you are qualified to decide who your god’s enemies are?

God decides who his enemies are. I just try my best to point them out. That Toejam guy seems like an obvious case!

After all, you just broke the commandment to not bear false witness.

How? Where?

Comment #176042

Posted by Pumpkinhead on May 17, 2007 12:28 AM (e)

I’m sure I speak for all the intelligent, non trolls here who have seen Punkin’ chunkinhead bleat before when I say:

Who frickin’ cares WHAT this nutter has to say?

It seems you care enough to respond. Your snide indignation is indicative of your inability to reckon with a true man of God!

Comment #176043

Posted by GuyeFaux on May 17, 2007 12:51 AM (e)

Darwinism has been with us ever since the serpent beguiled Eve.

Wow, what can’t you blame women for?

Comment #176064

Posted by Rolf Aalberg on May 17, 2007 2:53 AM (e)

IMHO, this guy Pumpkinhead seems like a fish out of water here. Being completely off target, he looks more like the kind of ignorant, arrogant Christian creationist we love on the talk.origins newsgroup. I hope he will show up there to join forces with Ray Martinez, T. Pagano and the rest. They are just the crowd he would enjoy mingling with. He most likely also would draw some heavy flak, but his kind have elephant skin and just love to come back for more.

Comment #176069

Posted by Darth Robo on May 17, 2007 3:24 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead, YOU don’t get to decide who is and who isn’t an enemy of God and you don’t get to decide who is and who isn’t a “Real Christian”. You have no more religious authority than any other person on the planet and your opinions are no better than anyone else’s. So please excuse us if we just dismiss you as just another crazy person.

“Darwinism has been with us ever since the serpent beguiled Eve.”

So uh, it’s been with us before, uh, Darwin was even born?

By the way - was that the uh, TALKING serpent you’re talking about? (snicker, giggle)

(sounds of cuckoo coming from somewhere)

Comment #176126

Posted by Frank J on May 17, 2007 6:15 AM (e)

Jedidiah Palosaari wrote:

I thought Behe defended ID. Doesn’t he see the problem in defending an out-of-the-closet Literal Creationist text?

Not after Dover. This looks to be another case of “I may not agree with what you say, but defend your right to say it.” Actually Behe agrees with some of the nonsense, specifically the part that misrepresents evolution. I just hope they advertise what he disagrees with (e.g. his acceptance of an old earth and common descent), as well as his Dover admissions that (1) the designer might no longer exist (2) anti-evolution pseudoscience is like astrology.

The only thing that I think these scammers are truly honest about is that science ans science education should be liberalized to what >99% of scientists would consider an absurd extreme.

Comment #176135

Posted by Popper's Ghost on May 17, 2007 6:37 AM (e)

Ye shall know them by their stupidity and dishonesty.

Speaking of which … Jerry Falwell rots at last.

Comment #176157

Posted by Richard Simons on May 17, 2007 7:25 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead:

“After all, you just broke the commandment to not bear false witness.”

How? Where?

The links you claimed explained what ‘Darwinian debauchery’ is did nothing of the sort, referring to neither Darwin nor evolution in any way.

Darwin was inspired by his father the devil to write his books

How do you know? How do you know that it is not you who is inspired by the devil? How could you tell the difference? BTW in your bible how many cases of genocide, rape, murder were encouraged or carried out by God and how many by the devil?

Comment #176189

Posted by George Cauldron on May 17, 2007 9:56 AM (e)

Darwinism is something of a misnomer. Darwinism has been with us ever since the serpent beguiled Eve.

This is a stroke of genius. We are now informed that Darwin was apparently present in the Garden of Eden. In one step, Pumpkinhead has here redefined ‘Darwinism’ to mean ‘anything unchristian’. So he’s now created a perfectly self-contained form of ‘logic’ that proves that Darwin was evil.

I agree, Pumpkinhead sounds either like a shrill 15-year-old, or perhaps a rather out of it 85 year old.

Comment #176295

Posted by Moses on May 17, 2007 3:34 PM (e)

Comment #175831

Posted by Pumpkinhead on May 16, 2007 6:43 AM (e)

I am not sure whether this reflects the stupidity or cruelty of evolutionists. I know they would relish limiting the employment prospects of young Christians by denying them admission, but they also deny themselves opportunity to convert young Christians to Darwinian debauchery by failing to admit them. Yet, there is a third possibility. They fear the presence of a single Christian armed with the truth of Jesus can take down the entire Darwinian establishment and its Satanic lies, just like Elijah on Mt. Carmel. He could convert so many of his fellow students that the evolutionist faculty could not expel them all, but would have to come to terms with the challenge Christianity poses to their fetid faith.

Actually, it’s about “can you do the work?” Berkeley isn’t interested in teaching you all the prerequisites that you should have learned in high school. They’re no more going to accept a student with a HS full of wood-shop, auto-shop and basic math as students whose education is severely lacking in the sciences.

But even then, there are ways to get around these issues by testing; because Berekely does have an “admissions by testing” track. But, the problem might very well be that to avoid the subject of evolution, these people have refused to adopt one of these alternative methods and probably couldn’t pass the test.

Without being overly familer with the individuals HS records, I’m guessing that these guys substituted “Bible Studies Pretending to be Biology” as a science course. Which means that they probably didn’t fulfill the minimum science requirement to get into Berkeley (2 years). Thus, they ran short. So, really, who’s fault was it?

Comment #176300

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on May 17, 2007 3:49 PM (e)

Can someone in Panda’s block the absurdities that PumpkinIdiot is posting. His posts are completely irrelevant to the topic. To the rest of the posters, Stop feeding the troll.

Comment #176303

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2007 4:07 PM (e)

That Toejam guy seems like an obvious case!

jeepers! the jig is up!

he KNOWS.

damn, and I was keeping my plans for my endless bad sci-fi marathon in hell so secret…

who leaked?

Comment #176349

Posted by PC2 on May 17, 2007 6:52 PM (e)

I’m just wondering how many distortions would be found in a strickly materialistic textbook about biology and physics. I bet it would be on par with the Christian textbook

Comment #176352

Posted by PC2 on May 17, 2007 7:01 PM (e)

“The closest science has come to observing and recording actual speciation in animals is the work of Theodosius Dobzhansky in Drosophilia paulistorium fruit flies. But even here, only reproductive isolation, not a new species, appeared.” from page 32 “Acquiring Genomes” by Lynn Margulis.

Many times, naturalists parade examples of reproductive isolation between close sub-species (i.e. Horse, Donkey; Lion, Tiger) as stunning proof of evolution. Yet, the hard evidence of exhaustive experimentation indicates that the information for variation was already “programmed” into the parent species’s genetic code and the sub-species, or what is sometimes known as the pure breed, becomes devoid of much of the variety that was present in the genetic code of the parent species of the sub-species. This fact is made especially clear in mans extensive breeding history of domesticated dogs and thorough-bred horses. Thus, even though a sub-species, or pure breed, may sometimes be demonstrated to become reproductively isolated, it still has reached a wall in which its possibilities for variation are severely limited in its genetic code when compared to its parent species variability. In fact, from the best evidence we have so far, reproductive isolation is due to the fact that genetic information is being lost, not gained, in the genes of the pure breed or the sub-species. Indeed, the lack of genetic variability, in major food crops, is a major concern facing scientists today since variability gives protection from diseases. This fact is totally contrary to what we would expect to find if the variation found in the sub-species were truly wrought by random mutations in the DNA generating novel information for variability! And this result is to be totally expected if the parent species were indeed created with a certain amount of flexibility for adaptation, to differing environments, already programmed in its genetic code! Yet, naturalists conveniently ignore the hard conclusive fact that the variation in the sub-species is severely limited when it is compared to the much larger variability that is found in the parent species.

Comment #176353

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on May 17, 2007 7:08 PM (e)

Heck, even young-earth creationists enthusiatically accept mere speciation, why should we believe you? Margulis is grinding an axe about symbiosis, she thinks symbiosis plays an important role even in speciation, basically based on some studies in insects where bacterial symbionts are involved.

Comment #176365

Posted by Erp on May 17, 2007 7:46 PM (e)

On the list of plaintiff expert witnesses, I did some hunting
* Derek Keenan (of ACSI) – standardized tests
He is apparently vice-president of Academic Affairs for ACSI

* Donald Ericson – various education issues
I think this is actually Donald Erickson, professor emeritus in Education, UCLA. He seems to be a veteran expert witness at least according to his website

* Paul Vitz – psychologist, History and Government textbooks
Professor Emeritus of psychology, New York University. his website

* Sandra Stotsky – the American Literature anthology
a member of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and a columnist at EdNews. A brief look would seem to imply she would be in favor of the UC’s requirement of the English class reading complete novels (one of the reasons for denial the UC system had was that the English class listed no lengthy complete texts to be read). One can look up the reviews of her book “Losing Our Language: How Multicultural Classroom Instruction Is Undermining Our Children’s Ability to Read, Write, and Reason”.

* Daniel Guevara – Religion and Ethics Policy
Possibly the Associate Professor of Philosophy at UC Santa Cruz

* Michael Behe – Biology and Physics textbooks
I’ll leave Behe for the rest.

Comment #176380

Posted by David Stanton on May 17, 2007 9:48 PM (e)

PC2, PC, realpc, Philip Cunningham (whatever you are calling yourself this time around):

Speciation is a well-documented process. Genetic divergence occurs following reproductive isolation. Genetic evidence allows reconstruction of events where direct observation of the process is not possible. And anyway Nick is right, even YECs admit speciation occurs, even if they claim it only produces species within individual families. Of course that still means that the over 25,000 species of weevils evolved in only 6,000 years. Here are a few references for you:

Apple Maggots Nature 336:61-64 (1988)

Anopheles Mosquitos Science 289:115-117 (2002)

Fruit Flies Nature 230:289-292 (1971)

Maidenhair Ferns Am. J. Botany 79:701-707 (1992)

Goatsbeard Am. J. Botany 76:1119-1124 (1989)

Comment #176390

Posted by bob on May 17, 2007 10:11 PM (e)

yeah PC2,

You realized that selection reduces variation in individual populations. However, you are comparing apples to oranges. If you want to determine the effect of speciation has on genetic variation you have to look at the variation of all of the daughter populations, and not just one. Take for example dogs. While each of the individual breeds of dogs might lack variation, taken as a whole the genetic variation present in all dog breeds most likely exceeds the genetic variation in the original population of dog ancestors.

bob

ps But even here, only reproductive isolation, not a new species, appeared.” Guess what, reproductive isolation means that a new species formed. Species don’t have to look different to be different. Anyone who has tried to identify willow/alder flycatchers in the field can attest. Nor when things look different does than mean that, as in the case of white admiral/red-spotted purple butterflies.

Comment #176397

Posted by Michael Buratovich on May 17, 2007 10:36 PM (e)

To Nick - Thanks for clearing that up. The press coverage of this lawsuit has not been all that informative and has left me with more questions than answers.

To Celdd - the website was a great help. Now I think I have a better picture of why the UC campuses refuse to accept these classes. The Christian school in Jackson, MI, near where I live and work simply has students take the Biology CLEP exam. This way the problem is solved.

To Harold - Yes this is a matter or whether or not students are qualified. It was my understanding, based on the information in hand, that these students had already passed standardized tests, but were being denied admission for other reasons, which did not sound right. If that was the case, then you must admit that it sounds more than a little nefarious. Since this is a case of accepting high school courses that act as college preparatory classes, this is a different story altogether. Certainly colleges and universities must have their standards. At my institution, if a student scores lower than a 16 on the math section of the ACT exam, then they MUST take algebra and lower than 17 on the English section of the ACT, then they must take the basic writing class. If they are somehow adverse to studying such subjects, then our institution is not for them.

MB

Comment #176496

Posted by Frank J on May 18, 2007 8:55 AM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

Heck, even young-earth creationists enthusiatically accept mere speciation, why should we believe you?

Like anyone who parrots those sound bites, PC2 is careful to not say what he/she thinks happens instead of speciation, so why should we even believe that he/she even personally rejects speciation?

Comment #176501

Posted by Nigel Depledge on May 18, 2007 9:10 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead said:
“I serve not the ID Leadership, but only my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!”

Thus violating the first and (perhaps) the second commandment. Tell us, have you actually read the Bible?

Your theology appears to be as weak as your knowledge of science.

Comment #176519

Posted by Erp on May 18, 2007 10:13 AM (e)

I would like to emphasize that though biology is the central issue for this site, that the history/social science courses are also important. Their textbooks are distorting or falsifying history as much as the biology textbook is distorting or falsifying science. I note the history course also misuses biology; it calls ‘Social Darwinism’ only ‘Darwinism’ and probably confuses it with the theory of Natural Selection and the neo-Darwinian synthesis (at least judging by the course outline).

My own guess is that the history and biology courses are going to be the main battlegrounds as the other two failed the mechanics (among other things, the English course failed to list the actual required readings and apparently failed to include any lengthy complete works to be required reading; the government course was two semesters instead of one without justification).

Note that nothing requires that the courses be approved by the UC in order to be taught only that they must be approved to be accepted as college prep and as partially fulfilling one way of getting into the UC system.

Comment #176610

Posted by Michael Buratovich on May 18, 2007 3:20 PM (e)

PC2,

It might be worth mentioning that intermediates in the process of speciation have also been found. Work in Fracisco Ayala’s laboratory at UC Irvine have shown that reproductive isolation mechanisms (RIMs) can consist of simple geographical distance. Since a species is defined as a reproductively isolated group, the question of how a species is formed is really a question of how reproductive isolation occurs. In general reproductive isolation seems to occur as a byproduct of genetic diversification. The completion of speciation seems to be directly promoted by natural selection. Even though speciation can occur in a variety of ways, there are usually two main stages to species formation.

According to Ayala, the first stage or Stage I requires the interruption of gene flow between two populations. This interruption can be complete or partial. The absence of gene flow allows the two populations to genetically diversify, as they become adapted to their own local conditions. Genetic drift may play a greater or lesser role in this process. The interruption of gene flow is necessary, since the failure to do so would prevent the two populations from becoming genetically different. The diversification of these two isolated populations will cause hybrids between them to show reduced viability or fertility. This is the first appearance of a postzygotic RIM and this postzygotic RIM is not the result of natural selection, but is merely the byproduct of genetic diversification.

Stage II encompasses the completion of reproductive isolation. At this point if the hybrids show good viability and fertility, then removal of the barriers between the two populations might cause the two populations to fuse and the gene pools to merge. However, if hybrids are neither properly viable nor fertile, natural selection favors the development of a prezygotic RIM, which causes further reproductive isolation between the two populations. This event completes the formation of a new species.

The first stage of speciation is reversible. It is entirely possible for two isolated populations to fuse and become one gene pool as they were before. However, if matings between individuals of these two formerly isolated populations produce poorly adapted individuals or poorly viable or fertile individuals, then it is unlikely that these two populations will merge. Natural selection favors the creation of prezygotic RIMs that will complete the formation of new species.

In some cases, extensive isolation of one population from another allows speciation without Stage II. Organisms that have been isolated on islands are a good example of species that have genetically diversified to the point where prezygotic RIMs are unnecessary. Even in this case it must be admitted that prezygotic RIMs accelerate speciation. In the case of islands where species are isolated from their mainland ancestors, the formation of such RIMs is probably unnecessary.

If Stage I of speciation involves the geographical separation of two populations, then these two populations are in the process of geographic speciation. Water, mountains, deserts, or some other barrier may separate terrestrial organisms. Freshwater organisms may be kept separate if they live in different river systems or unconnected lakes. Marine organisms may be separated by land, water of greater or lesser depth or water of different salinity or temperature.

Natural selection allows local organisms to become well adapted to their own local conditions. This aids in the genetic differentiation of populations, as does random genetic drift particularly if local populations are small. Incipient reproductive isolation may appear if geographic separation continues for some time, particularly in the form of postzygotic RIMs. The second stage of speciation begins when previously separated populations come into contact at some point. Topographic changes on the earth’s surface may cause this or ecological changes in the intervening territory that make it habitable by the populations, or by migration of members of one population into the territory of another (transportation by humans in some cases). Matings between individuals from different populations may then take place and the strength of the pre-existing RIMs and the extent of hybridization will determine if the populations will fuse or develop additional prezygotic RIMs and become separate species.

The two stages of geographic speciation are easily illustrated by a group of closely related species of Drosophila that live in the American tropics. This group, which is called the Drosophila willistoni group, consists of 15 species, 6 of which are sibling species. Sibling species are morphologically indistinguishable. One of these siblings is D. willistoni, which consists of two subspecies, D. willistoni quechua, which lives in continental South America west of the Andes and D. willistoni willistoni, which lives east of the Andes. These two subspecies show incipient postzygotic hybrid sterility. If D. willistoni willistoni females are mated to D. willistoni quechua males, the cross produces fertile females and males. However, if female D. willistoni quechua flies are mated to male D. willistoni willistoni flies, then the resultant females are fertile but the males are sterile. If these two subspecies were to come into contact in nature and intercross, natural selection would favor the development of prezygotic RIMs to prevent the waste of reproductive efforts.

A similar situation is also seen in another species of this Drosophila group. Drosophila equinoxialis consists of two geographically separated subspecies, D. equinoxialis equinoxialis, which inhabits continental South America and D. equinoxialis caribbensis, which inhabits Central America and the Caribbean islands. Laboratory crosses between individual flies from these two subspecies always produce fertile females but sterile males, regardless of the direction of the cross. There seems to be a greater reproductive isolation between the subspecies of D. equinoxialis than between the two subspecies of D. willistoni

We should note that prezygotic RIMs do not exist between the subspecies of D. willistoni or of D. equinoxialis. Reproductive isolation between the subspecies, in this case, is far from complete and they are not considered distinct species.

Stage I of the speciation process is observed in another member of the D. willistoni group. Drosophila paulistorum is a species that consists of six semispecies. Semispecies are incipient species and two of the three semispecies are sympatric in many localities. The semispecies exhibit hybrid sterility similar to that found in D. equinoxialis - crosses between males and females of two different semispecies produce fertile females but sterile males. Two of the three semispecies have come into geographical contact in several places and behavioral isolation between these semispecies is either complete or nearly complete. When females and males from two different semispecies are placed together in the laboratory the success of the matings depends on the geographic origin of the flies. If semispecies from the same locality are used, only homogamic matings are successful. Homogamic matings are matings between members of the same semispecies. If the matings are between flies that are not from the same geographic locality, then heterogamic matings, or matings between members of different semispecies, and homogamic matings are successful. Thus, D. paulistorum provides a remarkable example of natural selection in operation during the second stage of speciation. Reproductive isolation has been completed where the semispecies are sympatric, but not elsewhere, because the genes involved have yet to spread fully throughout each semispecies.

Mind you there are plenty of cases where speciation occurs faster, seemingly without the two stages. Quantum speciation, as in the case of polyploidy, which occurs largely in plants. Harlan Lewis studied quantum speciation in Clarkia biloba and Clarkia lingulata. Both plants are native to California but C. lingulata has a limited distribution to only two sites in the Sierra Nevada at the southern periphery of the distribution of C. biloba. These two species are similar in morphology, but the shape of their petals differs. They are also capable of self-fertilization, but usually outcross. The chromosomal configurations of these two species differ by one translocation, several inversions, and an extra chromosome in C. lingulata, which is homologous to parts of two chromosomes in C. biloba. Thus, the narrowly distributed C. lingulata seems to have arisen from C. biloba by a rapid series of events that involved gross chromosomal rearrangements like translocations, fusions, inversions and fissions. Since such events can greatly reduce the fertility of heterozygotes, the formation of a homozygous species was highly favorable and apparently occurred rather quickly. Self-fertilization probably facilitated the propagation of the rearrangements. Once there was a population of individuals exhibiting some reproductive isolation from the rest of the population because of the chromosomal rearrangements, natural selection favors the development of additional RIMs.

Rapid speciation initiated through chromosomal rearrangements has also occurred in animals. Michael J. D. White has studied particular flightless Australian grasshoppers, Moraba scurra and Moraba viatica, which show incipient species that differ by chromosomal translocations. A translocation establishes itself by means of genetic drift in a small colony and if the members of this colony show high fitness, they may subsequently spread and displace the ancestral form from a certain area. The ancestral and the derived species can exist in contiguous areas and the low fitness of the hybrids formed in the contact zones prevents the overlap of either species in the territory of the other. Thus, the first stage of speciation has occurred very rapidly and natural selection favors the development of additional RIMs.

Other animals groups seem to have undergone this type of speciation. Specifically, the underground rodents or mole rats of the group Spalax ehrenbergi in Israel show this type of quantum speciation. The pocket gophers of the southern Rocky Mountains of the United States, Thomomys talpoides also show such speciation.

Comment #176621

Posted by Richard Simons on May 18, 2007 3:55 PM (e)

RealPC: By classifying lions and tigers as close subspecies you differ from every biologist on the planet. That should give you a hint as to why we consider your views to be ludicrous.

Comment #176625

Posted by David Stanton on May 18, 2007 4:11 PM (e)

Richard,

He didn’t mean real lions and tigers, just some other ones. Just like he didn’t mean domesticated dogs, just undomesticated ones. Speciation doesn’t violate the known laws of physics, just the unknown ones. You should really try to pay closer attention to the arguments, otherwise you might get confused. I’m sure the whold mess will be cleard up when PC explains his Matrix theoty for us.

Comment #176636

Posted by PC2 on May 18, 2007 5:16 PM (e)

The whole idea or theory of macro-evolution is contingent on the generation of meaningful information in the DNA. The following book makes it obvious neo-darwinists or on the verge of empirical bankruptcy. Here is a review of that book.

“Genetic Entropy” was written by Cornel University Professor of Genetics, John Sanford. In his 25 years as a research scientist at Cornell he was granted 25 patents, the most well known one for the gene gun, better known as the ballistic process. It is as a result of this development that I first learned of his important work (I have used this technology in my molecular biology research). I agree with much in this book partly because I have come to the same conclusion as Dr Sanford, only by a very different route. This work for me only further solidified the case for evolution, only evolution the wrong way, downward instead of upward, i.e. the genome is degenerating. Even if half of Dr Sanford’s well documented arguments turn out to be incorrect, he has still made his case in this well written, yet packed full of insight, easy to read, book. He makes his case in 10 chapters, any one of which stands alone as clear evidence for genome degeneration. One point that impressed me was the fact that most mutations are not neutral, as commonly believed, but near neutral. As a result, they are not selected out by natural selection. Consequently, they accumulate in the genomes of all life forms so that, as a set, they reduce fitness for the entire species, eventually producing genetic meltdown. This may be one reason for animal extinction. The harmful mutations are not the problem because those that are nt are usually soon selected out by natural selection. This, as is well documented in this book and elsewhere, is the main role of selection, to help maintain the stability of the genome by reducing the effects of deleterious mutations. Neo-Darwinist today believe that the major means of producing new genetic information is mutations and selection. As Sanford documents, the problem is not the survival of the fittest, though, but the arrival of the fittest because mutations as a whole clearly reduce usable information, not increase it. All other theories of the source of new genetic information, such as Darwin’s pangenesis, and acquired traits as developed by Lamarckism ideas, have been discarded. The only viable theory left is mutations. This book will be important in showing that mutations are not only not the answer to the arrival of the fittest problem, but are clear evidence against Neo-Darwinism.

Comment #176640

Posted by CJO on May 18, 2007 5:28 PM (e)

OK, Phil. Now we know that either: 1. you write reviews on Amazon as “The Professor”, and enjoy the sound of your own crackpot gibberish so well that you can’t help re-posting bits of it here, or 2. You admire the aforementined screeds so well that you can’t help but be a dishonest plagiarist.

Give it up.

To everyone else: just take a snip and Google it. Isn’t the 21st century wonderful? (Unless you’re a crackpot or a plagiarist, in which case, I bet it kinda sucks.)

Comment #176646

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on May 18, 2007 5:38 PM (e)

The whole idea or theory of macro-evolution is contingent on the generation of meaningful information in the DNA. The following book makes it obvious neo-darwinists or on the verge of empirical bankruptcy.

Total bogosity. Read and rebut the scientific literature on the origin of new genes or you haven’t got an argument at all:

Long M, Betran E, Thornton K, Wang W. (2003). “The origin of new genes: glimpses from the young and old.” Nat Rev Genet. 4(11):865-75. http://pondside.uchicago.edu/~longlab/publicatio…

Comment #176659

Posted by David Stanton on May 18, 2007 6:46 PM (e)

PC2,PC, realPC, Phil Cunningham quoted:

“…most mutations are not neutral, as commonly believed, but near neutral. As a result, they are not selected out by natural selection. Consequently, they accumulate in the genomes of all life forms so that, as a set, they reduce fitness for the entire species, eventually producing genetic meltdown.”

If they are “near neurtal” and not “selected out by natural selection” then how do they “reduce fitness”?
Actually, they provide a wealth of genetic variation on which selection can act when the environment changes.

Of course even if they did “reduce fitness for the entire species”, the species would simply go extinct eventually. Now let’s see, is there any evidence that any species have gone extinct? But, but, but, that means that every species will eventually go extinct! So what, that has been the fate of every species that has ever lived. Why should currently living species be any different?

This is just another example of the old argument for the “conservation of information”. As has been pointed out many times before to this individual, there is no such thing. If random mutations occur and deleterious mutations are selected against, then there is information in the mutations that remain. As has been pointed out many times to this individual, new information can arise in duplicated genes not subject to direct selection pressures. As has been pointed out many times to this individual, oh I give up.

Comment #176783

Posted by Henry J on May 18, 2007 10:54 PM (e)

If species’ genomes did accumulate so much junk that it would eventually make the species die off, what would purge the junk from offshoots of that species? The occasional genetic bottleneck, maybe?

Henry

Comment #176928

Posted by David Stanton on May 19, 2007 9:33 AM (e)

Henry J,

Actually, many deleterious mutations do accumulate and are passed on even to descendant species. That is why retroviral transposons are so useful for phylogenetics. This is termed the mutational load. It is important for every species, but especially for humans, since we are currently under relaxed selection for many traits.

Eventually, an equilibrium is reached between new mutaitons and selection. If the mutations are recessive, they may persist for significant periods before selection even acts to any great extent. But, if allele frequencies of recessives iincrease due to mutation or drift, selection will eventually act to reduce the frequencies.

Needless to say, none of this really poses any problem for evolutionary theory. The point is that our genomes are really a mess. This is exactly what one would expect from more than three billion years of random mutation and selection. It is hard to see how this is at all consistent with a special creation of humans 6,011 years or so ago by an intelligent being of any kind.

Comment #179383

Posted by Sojac on May 27, 2007 9:59 PM (e)

There is an error in Lenny Flack’s statement that diploid and tetraploid treefrogs cannot interbreed and produce progeny. Such progeny would be triploids and there is no reason to believe they would be less viable than tetraploids. They would, however, produce almost entirely aneuploid gametes and thus be essentially sterile. Due to triploid sterility, frequent crosses between diploids and triploids would threaten one or the other with extinction. One would expect this to lead to strong behavorial resistance to interbreeding, i.e., the reason diploid and triploid treefrogs don’t interbreed isn’t because they can’t but because because they don’t want to.

Sojac

Comment #191140

Posted by bmkmd on July 30, 2007 12:31 PM (e)

You also might require Astronomy classes to question whether or not the Sun goes around the Earth.

I’m most interested in how the creationists expect their religious bible science to stand up to real science when given a fair presentation as in court.

Even their complaint is that they are being denied freedom of religion, when UC is questioning the validity of their pseudo-science.

As Nietzsche said:

To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.

Trackback: Homeschool Textbooks and University Admission

Posted by Threads from Henry's Web on May 19, 2007 9:07 AM

It’s been a few days since this was front and center, triggered by the presentation of an expert report by Dr. Michael Behe, but I wanted to write a few notes about the issue of admissions at UC and homeschooling. There’s an article ACSI v...