In reading the complaint against UC, there are some interesting things to discover. Here’s an interesting item it contains. The plaintiffs allege that UC is official state board of education policy by requiring students to believe in evolution:
Furthermore, the State of California has agreed that in public and private schools, students do not have to accept everything that is taught, and cannot be required to hold a state-prescribed viewpoint:
Nothing In science or in any other field of knowledge shall be taught dogmatically. Dogma is a system of beliefs that is not subject to scientific test and refutation…
To be fully informed citizens, students do not have to accept everything that is taught in the natural science curriculum, but they do have to understand the major strands of scientific thought, including its methods, facts, hypotheses, theories and laws.
California State Board of Education, Science Framework for California Public Schools,
“State Board of Education Policy on the Teaching of Natural Sciences” Pgs. 3-4 (2003).
First of all, this is an empty argument. Nothing in the UC standards requires students to accept or believe anything. Indeed, it is not the individual student or their positions that have been rejected, it is the pedagogical content of the class they may take that is being rejected. So this is a pure red herring from the get go. Secondly, let’s compare the definition of dogma – “a system of beliefs that is not subject to scientific test and refutation” – to this statement from the introduction to the biology book the UC is objecting to:
The people who prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second…If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.
Clearly, the definition of dogma applies perfectly here. They begin from the premise that the Bible is absolutely true and it doesn’t matter what the scientific evidence indicates. So it appears that they are admitting, unwittingly, that the material contained in this science book is not science, but dogma. And ironically, they’re claiming that if you don’t allow their dogma to pass as science, you’re being dogmatic. Another irony meter bites the dust.
Also interesting is this quote from the university’s analysis of the textbook and why they rejected it:
The texts in question are primarily religious texts; science is secondary. The textbook authors and publishers are quite clear and direct about their approach and provide evidence of this approach in both the texts and general marketing materials such as their websites… As a result of the orientation/approach of the texts in question, which expressly prioritize religion over science, a course relying on these texts as core instructional
materials does not meet the faculty’s criteria for the UC subject “d” laboratory science requirement.
Seems to me that the university is dead right. The textbook – allegedly a science textbook, remember – explicitly declares that they begin from the assumption of Biblical inerrancy and any science which appears to contradict that assumption is wrong, regardless of the facts. Game, set, and match, I would argue. If you start a science book with the assumption that science must be wrong any time it conflicts with your religious views, you are not teaching science you are teaching anti-science. The notion that such a text should be accepted as a science credit is as ridiculous as the notion that a class in homeopathy should be accepted by a medical school, or that a course in astrology should be accepted as credit for astronomy.