Dispatches from the Creation Wars

UC Lawsuit Editorial

I’m sure most of my regular readers remember the lawsuit filed against the University of California system (see here, here and here) because they won’t give credit for certain classes used by some Christian schools in that state that don’t meet their academic requirements. The San Jose Mercury News had an excellent editorial on the subject last week that I forgot to mention here. Despite the inflated rhetoric about religious freedom being thrown around by the plaintiffs, the News wasn’t fooled as to the real issue:

The suit appears to be baseless — a case of substandard academics hiding behind a false cry of religious persecution. But the suit must be taken seriously, because a victory by Calvary Chapel Christian would weaken UC’s ability to require strong curriculums and would open the door to more bad science and sectarian courses in high schools.

UC and the California State University systems have the authority to determine standards and qualifications for admission. One way they do this is to set prerequisite subject requirements, known as a-g, for all applicants. By examining textbooks and course outlines, a committee of UC admission officials certifies whether courses that public and private schools offer are up to standard.

The issue is not whether religious and private schools should be able to teach religion or other courses tied to the core mission of their schools. They have a right to. The issue is what can be used for college entrance requirements.

Let’s bear in mind here what the plaintiffs are claiming. They are claiming that these standards are a violation of the Christian school’s rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It’s right in their complaint. But the UC does not prevent them from teaching such classes, it’s only setting standards for what it will accept as meeting their academic requirements for admission. They are further claiming that the UC is discriminating against Christians. But as the News pointed out, they approve lots of other courses from Christian schools:

UC says it has certified about 80 percent of courses that California high schools submit as prerequisite-worthy. Among the approved are three science and 40 other courses at Calvary Chapel Christian School…

Not all Christian schools agree with the suit or will be affected by it. The science courses at Valley Christian, a high school in San Jose whose graduates have attended every UC campus, already meet the prerequisite standards, as do all courses except religion courses taught from a doctrinal perspective. The biology course uses a non-religious text but includes a discussion on creationism and “intelligent design”; Valley Christian has been upfront about that, Jonathan Burton, Valley Christian’s principal of academics, told us.

“I’ve never felt that UC policies have violated principles we have tried to teach,” Burton said.

The News editorial also came with a sidebar that included quotes from the science textbook being rejected, clearly showing why the UC is justified in rejecting it. I’ve quoted some of it before in the above articles. It is filled with incredibly bad arguments like this:

Considering plagues, wars, famines, and other problems affecting population, eight people at the time of Noah’s Flood would have multiplied to almost 4 billion people today. That figure is about correct. Evolutionists, claiming that man evolved a million years ago, have problems explaining why, using the same mathematical calculations, there are not an astronomical number (10 to the 27,000th power) of people on the Earth.

This book isn’t just unscientific, it’s anti-science. It begins with the premise that any conclusions reached scientifically that contradict their interpretation of the Bible must be false. It repeats this claim over and over again in what is clearly an attempt to innoculate students against scientific findings. It would be perverse to accept that sort of course as a legitimate science credit at a real university. It would be every bit as ridiculous as allowing a course in astrology be used as credit for astronomy.

Comments

  1. #1 pbswatcher
    October 13, 2005

    My thoughts on ID at Talking Past Each Other

  2. #2 spyder
    October 13, 2005

    It strikes me that much like the DI’s contradictory statements on ID development, the conservatives are arguing simultaneously for improving the standards and achievement scores in our schools through rigid curriculums that include things like ID and creationism. Aren’t these somewhat mutually exclusive??

    For laughs here is some ID style science that works perfectly with the CCC school’s choice of biology text:

    Subject: New Element

    A major research institution has announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science – “governmentium.” It has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons and 111 assistant deputy neutrons for an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons that are further surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like sub particles called peons.

    Governmentium has no electrons and is therefore inert. It can be detected however since it impedes every reaction it comes into contact with. A tiny amount of governmentium can take a reaction that normally occurs in seconds and slow it to the point where it take days.

    Governmentium has a normal half life of three years. It doesn’t decay but “re-organizes”, a process where assistant deputy neutrons and deputy neutrons change places. This process actually causes it to grow as in the confusion some morons become neutrons, thereby forming isodopes. This phenomenon of “moron promotion” has led to some speculation that governmentium forms whenever sufficient morons meet in concentration forming critical morass. Researchers believe that in Governmentium, the more you re-organize, the morass you cover.