Dispatches from the Creation Wars

UC Wins Lawsuit Over Christian Courses

A Federal judge has ruled in favor of the University of California system in a lawsuit brought against them by the Association of Christian Schools International over their refusal to grant admissions credit for a handful of courses offered at their schools. Judge James Otero granted the UC’s motion for summary judgment and ruled that the rejection of those courses is not unconstitutional either on facial or as-applied grounds. See the full ruling here. The standard for judgment was clear:

Plaintiffs primarily argue that Defendants engaged in viewpoint discrimination and content regulation prohibited by the Free Speech Clause. As discussed in the Prior Order, Defendants necessarily facilitate some viewpoints over others in judging the excellence of those students applying to UC. Therefore, the decision to reject a course is constitutional as long as: (1) UC did not reject the course because of animus; and (2) UC had a rational basis for rejecting the course.

Predictably, the attorneys for the ACSI showed serious incompetence in the case. This passage is amusing:

Defendants argue that Plaintiffs waived any animus argument when Plaintiffs’ counsel stated “We do not intend to argue the case based on proving animus” at the hearing on the parties’ first round of summary judgment motions. Plaintiffs dispute this argument, explaining that they did not intend to argue animus until this Court used that term to describe the punishment of disfavored viewpoints prohibited by National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, 524 U.S. 569, 587 (1998).

Amusing. “We said we weren’t going to argue animus until the judge reminded us that we needed to in order to fit the precedents we were citing.” Law school 101. Regardless, they didn’t actually present any evidence of animus anyway:

Here, Plaintiffs provide no evidence of animus. Instead, Plaintiffs essentially argue that Defendants had no rational basis for their actions and therefore they must have been motivated by animus. This argument adds nothing to the constitutional analysis; if Defendants had no rational basis, the Court need not reach the issue of animus.

Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark. The section of the ruling dealing with the Biology book is hardly surprising. The arguments are pretty obvious:

Defendants’ biology experts, Professors Donald Kennedy and Francisco Ayala, reviewed the A Beka text and a second Biology text published by BJU and concurred in her judgment. Professor Kennedy determined that “[b]y teaching students to reject scientific evidence and methodology whenever they might be inconsistent with the Bible . . . both texts fail to encourage critical thinking and the skills required for careful scientific analysis.” (Kennedy Decl. Ex. A, at 8.) Professor Ayala found that the texts “reject the methodology generally accepted in science, which relies on observation and experimentation and on the formulation of laws and theories that need to be tested rather than accepted on the basis of the Bible or any other authority.” (Ayala Decl. Ex. A, at 4.)

And Behe’s expert report is explicitly rejected:

Plaintiffs offer little admissible evidence to the contrary. Plaintiffs’ Biology expert,
Dr. Michael Behe, submitted a declaration concluding that the BJU text mentions standard
scientific content. However, Professor Behe “did not consider how much detail or depth” the texts gave to this standard content. Therefore, Professor Behe fails to refute one of Professor Kennedy’s primary concerns that the nature of science, the theory of evolution, and critical thinking are not taught adequately.

Science 2, Behe 0. The plaintiffs say they’re going to appeal.