A judge refused to toss out a suit over inadequate curricula at some religious schools in California. The schools claim that the University of California shouldn’t be allowed to reject certain courses as adequate preparation for college. Or, as a lawyer for the schools explains,

The lawsuit is about theological content in “every major area in high school except for mathematics,” says Wendell Bird, a lawyer for Calvary Chapel.

Bird previously lost Edwards v. Aguillard, thus ending the “equal time” rules for creationism and evolution.

The University asserts a 1st amendment right to speak freely about the scientific inadequacies of the courses and their textbooks, the schools assert a 1st amendment right to teach whatever they like without the State (represented by the university) imposing Godless yada yada ….


Among the textbooks at issue is:

A biology book from Bob Jones University [which] presents creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. The introduction says, “The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second.”

In order to claim that rejecting a course built around such a book, you’d have to have a fairly skewed perspective about religion. The bizarreness is evident in this argument, from Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center in Virginia:

what about Muslim schools? Are they next? They teach within a Koranic framework. That doesn’t mean those kids aren’t well-educated.

Neither does attending a Christian school (though we all remember that kids in conservative Christian schools underperform). The discrimination isn’t against religious teaching, it’s against bad teaching. Teaching a science class or a history class that sacrifices accuracy of the content for theological correctness is bad teaching, it’s bad science and it’s bad history. A university has every right to refuse admission to people who are poorly educated.

The only way this could be a First Amendment issue is if the schools claimed that accurately teaching science would infringe on their religious freedom, and that the State’s requirement that the children learn accurate science is itself an establishment of religion.

But just as the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference, the opposite of religion is not anti-religion, it’s indifference to religion. That sort of official indifference to religion is precisely what the University of California exhibits in its policy, and is precisely what the Constitution demands.

Wendell Bird will fail again.

Comments

  1. #1 CulturalIconography
    August 21, 2006

    Except mathematics? Why not math? Suppose I hear a voice from the Almighty telling me that Pi is really 3, not the atheistic and demonic 3.14159, etc.? Why should I have to bend to the yoke of the evil secular mathematic establishment conspiracy? Oh, ’tis a sad day for the righteous…

  2. #2 bernarda
    August 22, 2006

    The article cited gives this quote,

    “We’re not teaching that water boils at a different temperature, or that the periodic table of elements doesn’t have some of (the elements),” he says.”

    But in fact that is exactly what they are doing in relation to biology and evolution.

  3. #3 Larry Fafarman
    August 22, 2006

    Note — URL links are shown in bold. I have removed the http:// prefix from these links to prevent the blog from recognizing them as links, because having a large number of links prevents comments from posting immediately. Therefore, it is not possible to click on the links but they must be copied and pasted instead.

    Josh Rosenau said in the opening post –

    The lawsuit is about theological content in “every major area in high school except for mathematics,” says Wendell Bird, a lawyer for Calvary Chapel.
    Bird previously lost Edwards v. Aguillard, thus ending the “equal time” rules for creationism and evolution.

    Edwards v. Aguillard was a completely different kind of case. IMO, the plaintiffs in Calvary Chapel v. UC have a very strong case.

    we all remember that kids in conservative Christian schools underperform

    You have presented no evidence to back up that assertion. So far as the Christian-school science textbooks are concerned, a report of a meeting with UC representatives said,

    When asked whether poor college performance by students from religious schools prompted the rejection of the textbooks, UC representatives responded negatively. They also acknowledged that UC did not have any objective evidence that students from religious schools are deficient in science when they arrive for their freshman year of college . . . . .

    As the discussion continued about the biology books, it became evident that they were rejected because they appeared to state the perspective that the Bible is revelation and along with faith is more authoritative than the observations of science, especially if there were a conflict over a “factual scientific issue.”
    – from page 3 of http://www.acsi.org/webfiles/webitems/attachments/007875_1.%20Overview%20of%20ACSI%20Law%20Suit.pdf

    IMO, the University of California was nitpicking about the two biology textbooks. So far as I can see, the only faults that UC found with the biology textbooks were (1) their critical treatments of evolution theory, which is at most a small part of the biology courses, and (2) the textbooks’ general approach to science — e.g., one of the textbooks said in the introduction, “If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.” Those are hardly sufficient reasons to junk the whole course and deny students credit for it.

    In an op-ed piece in the Decatur Daily, Charles Haynes, a senior fellow at the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va., wrote,

    Solely on academic grounds, the most problematic textbook may be the one used in biology. If UC can show that the text presents inaccurate or misleading science, then the university may have a legitimate basis for not accepting the course. If, however, the textbook presents the core information students need to know about biology, then the additional religious content should not disqualify the course. In other words, if the science itself is sound, then the fact that the authors promise to “put the Word of God first and science second” should be irrelevant in the university’s decision.
    – from http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/opinion/other/060312a.shtml

    This lawsuit is further discussed on my blog at —

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/07/dover-aint-over-darwinists-now.html

    – and –

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/dover-aint-over-ii-lawsuit-against-uc.html

  4. #4 Larry Fafarman
    August 22, 2006

    CulturalIconography said ( August 21, 2006 10:48 PM ) –

    Except mathematics? Why not math? Suppose I hear a voice from the Almighty telling me that Pi is really 3, not the atheistic and demonic 3.14159, etc.?

    You apparently do not know very much about mathematics. The standards of proof in mathematics are extremely rigorous — there is no room for if’s, and’s, but’s, and maybe’s as there is in evolutionary biology. It is known that Pi is an infinite series. Even the ancients knew Pi to much greater accuracy than “3.” BTW, a statement in the Bible does give Pi a value of 3, but of course no one takes that value seriously —

    It is sometimes claimed that the Bible states that π = 3, based on a passage in 1 Kings 7:23 giving measurements for a round basin as having a 10 cubit diameter and a 30 cubit circumference. Rabbi Nehemiah explained this by the diameter being from outside to outside while the circumference was the inner brim; but it may suffice that the measurements are given in round numbers. Also, the basin may not have been exactly circular.

    – from Wikipedia article on Pi

    A recent proof of “Fermat’s Last Theorem” was rejected when lack of complete rigor was discovered. Corrections were made and the proof was later accepted.

    bernarda said ( August 22, 2006 12:54 AM ) –

    The article cited gives this quote,

    “We’re not teaching that water boils at a different temperature, or that the periodic table of elements doesn’t have some of (the elements),” he says.

    But in fact that is exactly what they are doing in relation to biology and evolution.

    Unlike evolution, the boiling temperature of water and the periodic table are observed facts, not theories. They are not speculations about what might have happened in the past.

    I assert that evolution theory is not necessary in the study of biology — see

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/darwinism-is-grossly-overrated.html

  5. #5 gengar
    August 22, 2006

    e.g., one of the textbooks said in the introduction, “If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.” Those are hardly sufficient reasons to junk the whole course and deny students credit for it.

    Riiiight… baldly stating that reality is trumped by personal preference, which essentially undermines the whole scientific method, still adequately prepares students for degree level science. Gotcha.

  6. #6 Josh
    August 22, 2006

    Larry, evolution is observed too. Of course, we haven’t examined every circle, so maybe somewhere there’s a circle with pi=3.0. Right?

    The periodic table is built on many theories, as is any general statement about boiling points, particular the interaction between temperature and pressure.

    Thanks for pointing out the missing link to the recent Department of Ed. study showing that conservative Christian schools underperform other schools (but religious schools as a whole do not).

  7. #7 Kleyau
    August 22, 2006

    I’m from Missouri, too. And that makes me sad.

    But anyways, evolution has been observed. Check out Stephen Wolfram, and anyone else involved in information theory. Because evolution just an application of information theory. DNA is a base 4 system, and evolution merely describes the general principles this system uses to continue making information. Computers are base 2. They depend on the base 4 system to replicate, though.

    You don’t need to know that computers are a base 2 system to use them, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are still base 2. Kind of like you don’t need to believe in god to hold christian values, but you still wouldn’t really be a christian, would you?

  8. #8 Fastlane
    August 22, 2006

    I wonder if these kids were coming from a Muslim school, using a Muslim textbook, that said “If the conclusions contradict the Word of Allah/the Koran, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.”, if the xian backers of this current lawsuit would still be saying “Those are hardly sufficient reasons to junk the whole course and deny students credit for it.”

    Somehow, while they will make the claim that they would, I don’t think I’d believe most of them.

    The funny (sad, really) thing about this rather frivolous lawsuit is that colleges deny transfer credits from other universities all the time, and they deny to grant credit to high school courses quite regularly (if not even more often) also. But when it happens to a couple of students coming from a xian private school, suddenly, it’s persecution.

    And frankly, that statment of belief alone IS quite sufficient to not grant credit in a SCIENCE class. They want credit for that, they should go to ORU, or Bob Jones, or any one of dozens of other xian schools around the country that buy into that crap.

    Cheers.

  9. #9 Flex
    August 22, 2006

    Larry Fafarman wrote: “1) their critical treatments of evolution theory, which is at most a small part of the biology courses” and “I assert that evolution theory is not necessary in the study of biology….

    Your assertions are not particularly relevant to the discussion. Your profile indicates you are an engineer, which suggests your proficiency in the biological sciences is limited. The blog entry you point us adds nothing to the disscusion, it merely repeats what you have writen in these comments.

    As another engineer, I am well aware of my own limited knowledge of biology. Even though I enjoy reading about biology as a hobby (with a understanding sufficiently advanced such that I find the articles in Science to be much more enjoyable than Scientific American). However, I know my limitiations and would never presume to tell another profession what their students should study.

    The experts in biology indicate that the overarching theory which explains the diversity of species, as well as the similarity of species, is an evolutionary theory requiring tremendous time with intraspecial varition and selection pressures on that intraspecies diversity.

    As an engineer you should be familiar with variation within a population. I suspect you are also aware of selection pressures on a population. Or possibly you have never designed or built high-volume products.

    As an automotive engineer, dealing with the troubles of making millions of parts a year, I see the variation among parts. I also help set up the test paramaters for our end-of-line testers to screen out parts which won’t work properly. I analyze these failed parts to see where I can make improvements. In many engineering fields, all the requirements for understanding evolution are met, population variation and selection pressures.

    The only point open to arguement is; what are the selection pressures? Since biologists have identified a plethora of selection pressures operating over all levels of biological systems, from the cellurlar to ecosystem, without the need for intervention by an outside intelligence, the parsimonious explaination is that there is no outside intelligence influencing selection.

    Biologists may create distictions between various evolutionary fields in order to study them more closely, but evolutionary theory explains such disparate biological phenomena, e.g. the development of your immune system as well as the ecosystem of coral reefs, that is truly is the overreaching theory of biology and needs to be taught to all students.

    Biology could be taught without evolutionary theory, but it would be like teaching electical engineering without discussing Ohms Law.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  10. #10 Larry Fafarman
    August 22, 2006

    gengar said ( August 22, 2006 04:27 AM ) –

    “baldly stating that reality is trumped by personal preference, which essentially undermines the whole scientific method, still adequately prepares students for degree level science. Gotcha.”

    As Charles Haynes noted: if the science in the biology texts is sound, the texts should not be condemned just because they add a religious viewpoint. UC has neither the ability nor the right to stop the Christian schools from giving the students a religious viewpoint about science. Also, please note that this religious viewpoint would affect only a small part of biological science, mainly just evolutionary biology and paleontology, and also most of the students are not going to major in biology in college.

    Josh said ( August 22, 2006 08:40 AM ) –

    “Larry, evolution is observed too.”

    Microevolution has been observed — macroevolution has not been observed.

    Of course, we haven’t examined every circle, so maybe somewhere there’s a circle with pi=3.0. Right?

    We don’t need to examine every circle. We know from the definition of a circle that pi is not equal to 3.

    “The periodic table is built on many theories, as is any general statement about boiling points, particular the interaction between temperature and pressure.”

    There may be theories about the periodic table and boiling points, but the table and boiling points are based on observed properties of matter.

    Thanks for pointing out the missing link to the recent Department of Ed. study showing that conservative Christian schools underperform other schools (but religious schools as a whole do not).

    So? Should otherwise qualified graduates of poor inner-city schools be denied admission to UC just because they come from underperforming schools?

    Fastlane said ( August 22, 2006 09:06 AM ) –

    I wonder if these kids were coming from a Muslim school, using a Muslim textbook, . . . .if the xian backers of this current lawsuit would still be saying “Those are hardly sufficient reasons to junk the whole course and deny students credit for it.”

    I doubt that the Xian fundies would complain, and even if they did, it would be of no consequence because they are not the ones who accredit the high school courses.

    The funny (sad, really) thing about this rather frivolous lawsuit is that colleges deny transfer credits from other universities all the time, and they deny to grant credit to high school courses quite regularly (if not even more often) also

    So far, UC is the first state university/college system to discriminate against graduates of Christian schools. And the lawsuit is not frivolous — UC is guilty of egregious discrimination against the Christian schools and their graduates. I am really surprised that UC did not back off when confronted with a lawsuit.

    Flex said ( August 22, 2006 09:13 AM ) –

    Your assertions are not particularly relevant to the discussion. Your profile indicates you are an engineer, which suggests your proficiency in the biological sciences is limited.

    We’ve heard the saying, “I don’t know art, but I know what I like.” To that I would add, “I don’t know biology, but I have common sense.” As an engineer, I know that an analytical tool can be used without believing that it has any connection to reality — for example, engineers use imaginary number mathematics in analyses of AC circuits and aerodynamics. Hence, if it is easier for biologists to conceptualize biology in terms of evolution theory, they can do so even while believing that all or part of evolution theory is untrue. Also, it is not just my idea that evolution theory is not necessary in the study of biology — many biologists agree with that idea, as shown in that article on my blog, http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/darwinism-is-grossly-overrated.html

    “Biologists may create distictions between various evolutionary fields in order to study them more closely, but evolutionary theory explains such disparate biological phenomena, e.g. the development of your immune system as well as the ecosystem of coral reefs, that is truly is the overreaching theory of biology and needs to be taught to all students.”

    You just finished telling me that my assertions are not relevant to this discussion because I am just an engineer, but you are just an engineer too, so why should your assertions be relevant?

    “Biology could be taught without evolutionary theory, but it would be like teaching electical engineering without discussing Ohms Law.”

    That is absurd and you know it. I don’t even remember studying evolution theory in my high school biology classes — it was just sort of something that we took for granted.

  11. #11 Josh
    August 22, 2006

    Larry, can you give me a definition of macro-evolution that will sensibly distinguish between natural selection (which is directly observed) at the micro-scale versus however you define the macro-scale? Because the observation of natural selection is as rigorous as our observation of boiling points, and rests on as solid a mathematical footing as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its radius.

    As for the UC system, it doesn’t discriminate against Christian schools. That is simply false. It discriminates against particular classes that fail to present an adequate background in their subject matter. Inadequate classes at non-religious schools would face the same sanctions.

    See my recent post on fish poisons for one perspective on why evolution is central to any biology class.

  12. #12 Larry Fafarman
    August 22, 2006

    Josh said ( August 22, 2006 02:38 PM ) –

    “Larry, can you give me a definition of macro-evolution that will sensibly distinguish between natural selection (which is directly observed) at the micro-scale versus however you define the macro-scale?”

    Evolution theory is not just about natural selection but is also about natural genetic variation (including random mutations and genetic drift). Without the natural genetic variation, there would be nothing for natural selection to act upon.

    As for defining macro-evolution, a lot of concepts in biology are not exact, and this is one of them. Wikipedia has a long discussion about the differences between macro- and micro-evolution, and I really have nothing to add. A lot of evolutionary biologists accept the ideas of macro- and micro-evolution.

    “As for the UC system, it doesn’t discriminate against Christian schools. That is simply false. It discriminates against particular classes that fail to present an adequate background in their subject matter.”

    UC has not shown that the Christian-school biology classes fail to present an adequate background in the subject matter. UC has not shown that the science in the textbooks is not sound, and UC has not shown or claimed that the graduates of Christian K-12 schools are not adequately prepared to study biology or other sciences at the college level. It is apparent that UC condemns the Christian-school biology textbooks just for (1) criticizing evolution theory and (2) presenting a religious viewpoint.

    “See my recent post on fish poisons for one perspective on why evolution is central to any biology class.”

    If some people find it helpful or interesting to conceptualize or analyze biological studies in terms of evolution theory, fine. But that is no reason to ban criticism of evolution theory. And I have always found biology interesting — I never had a need to use evolution theory to make biology interesting.

  13. #13 Josh
    August 22, 2006

    “A lot of evolutionary biologists accept the ideas of macro- and micro-evolution.”

    Indeed, and also are pretty sure both are readily demonstrable. I assumed you were using a different definition.

    I also assume you aren’t claiming that genetic drift can’t be observed, nor that genetic variation is somehow unobservable. So I don’t know what your argument is, exactly, about what can’t be observed.

    What you find necessary to make biology interesting is frankly not relevant. The issue is what properly prepares students for a college-level course in biology, and students who lack an adequate background in evolution are not prepared for such courses. UC can and has set reasonable standards for admission. Many of the students involved fulfilled those standards by means other than that course grade, and those that didn’t either tried and failed (thus validating UC’s position) or didn’t try (which isn’t UC’s fault). No harm, no foul.

  14. #14 Larry Fafarman
    August 23, 2006

    Josh said ( August 22, 2006 09:09 PM ) –

    “So I don’t know what your argument is, exactly, about what can’t be observed.”

    It was not my intention to get involved in a long discussion of whether evolution theory is right, wrong, or partly right. We are not even going to be able to scratch the surface of that complicated issue in this thread.

    “The issue is what properly prepares students for a college-level course in biology, and students who lack an adequate background in evolution are not prepared for such courses.”

    Evolution theory is not taught at all in a lot of high-school biology courses, even in the public schools. Often, the theory is just taken for granted or the teacher avoids the subject because it is controversial. I think that blows a big hole in the idea that a knowledge of evolution theory is necessary in the study of modern biology.

    “Many of the students involved fulfilled those standards by means other than that course grade, and those that didn’t either tried and failed (thus validating UC’s position) or didn’t try (which isn’t UC’s fault).”

    I don’t know what you mean by “tried and failed.” The Christian school grads were never tested on their knowledge of evolution theory. UC never even claimed that these grads did not learn evolution theory and has not claimed that evolution theory is not presented accurately in the textbooks. And UC has not shown that a general knowledge of evolution theory is essential in the study of biology. The textbook from Bob Jones Univ. Press (the other publisher was A Beka Book) has a section of about 15 pages on evolution theory, in Chapter 8. Chapter 8 has the following sections: “A Biblical Worldview,” “Biblical Creationism,” and “Biological Evolution.” The chapter contains brief discussions (called “facets” in the book) on Nonliteral interpretations of Creation, Noah’s Ark and the Animals, A Common Ancestor?, Anthropology, and Arguments Used to Support Evolution Theory. See
    http://www.bjupress.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?parent_category_rn=279832&samplePage=2&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&productId=1514951

    The book’s website also has a complete sample chapter — unfortunately, it is not chapter 8.

    I think that UC does not have a case in regard to the science textbooks. There are also disputes about the textbooks in non-science subjects, but here I think that the plaintiffs are correct in charging that UC is discriminating against Christian-viewpoint textbooks because UC has accepted textbooks with other narrow viewpoints on those subjects.

    I think that Darwinists have become overconfident because of a string of successes in the courts, but one evolution-disclaimer decision, Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish, came close to being overturned on appeal, and the Selman v. Cobb County textbook sticker decision also appeared to be close to being overturned before it was remanded to the district court. See
    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/05/close-votes-in-freiler-case-show.html

    – and –

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/05/sticker-shock-appeals-court-ducks.html

  15. #15 Flex
    August 23, 2006

    Larry Fafarman wrote: “As an engineer, I know that an analytical tool can be used without believing that it has any connection to reality — for example, engineers use imaginary number mathematics in analyses of AC circuits and aerodynamics.”

    Funny, I was pretty sure that the model of imaginary number mathematics works pretty well to describe electromagnetic effects (I have very little knowledge of aerodynamics so I can’t comment on that). Are you suggesting that this model has no connection to reality? Seems to me that it has a great deal of connection to reality, don’t get confused because the math is called imaginary.

    Larry Fafarman wrote:“You just finished telling me that my assertions are not relevant to this discussion because I am just an engineer, but you are just an engineer too, so why should your assertions be relevant?”

    If you re-read the last line of my second paragraph you might discover that I don’t maintain that my assertions should be used to determine what is appropriate for teaching a biology class.

    Here, just for your edification, is that sentance again: “However, I know my limitiations and would never presume to tell another profession what their students should study.” Apparently you lack that humility.

    Cheers,

    Flex

  16. #16 Larry Fafarman
    August 23, 2006

    Flex said ( August 23, 2006 06:33 AM ) –

    Funny, I was pretty sure that the model of imaginary number mathematics works pretty well to describe electromagnetic effects (I have very little knowledge of aerodynamics so I can’t comment on that). Are you suggesting that this model has no connection to reality?

    The question is not whether it works — the question is whether it makes sense. In the Joukowski transformation of conformal mapping, the aerodynamics of a rotating cylinder is used to analyze the aerodynamics of wing airfoil shapes. Common sense and intuition tell us that there is no connection, but engineers use the connection because they know that it works.

    If you re-read the last line of my second paragraph you might discover that I don’t maintain that my assertions should be used to determine what is appropriate for teaching a biology class.
    Here, just for your edification, is that sentance again: “However, I know my limitiations and would never presume to tell another profession what their students should study.”

    I did not notice your disclaimer because it was not in the paragraph that I quoted but was several paragraphs previous. Your disclaimer is not relevant because: (1) evolution is not taught in many public-school biology classes; (2) UC never claimed that the Christian-school graduates never learned evolution; (3) at least one of the biology textbooks in question has a fairly large section on evolution; and (4) UC never claimed that the books present evolution inaccurately.

    One thing is very clear — UC is wantonly using nitpicking and arbitrary standards to deny Christian-school graduates an opportunity to attend UC.

  17. #17 Josh
    August 23, 2006

    Larry, the last paragraph of the USAToday article reads:

    UC has certified 43 Calvary Chapel courses and has admitted 24 of the 32 applicants from the high school in the past four years, Patti says.

    First, certifying 43 courses doesn’t sound terribly nitpicky. Second, if 24 applicants got in, it suggests that it isn’t that hard, and also that 8 tried and failed, as I said.

    You are right that not all biology classes present an adequate grounding in evolution. Maybe that’s why levels of scientific literacy in the US are so poor.

  18. #18 Flex
    August 23, 2006

    Larry Fafarman wrote; “Your disclaimer is not relevant because:….”

    Hahahahaha.

    My disclaimer about MY ability to judge what standards are used to teach biology is perfectly relevant. I’m not a biologist. I voluntarily excuse myself from telling biologists what their subject is. The fact that other non-biologist are trying to tell biologists what biology is and how it should be taught is pure hubris, yet it happens.

    Second, when you speak of aerodynamic modeling, “Common sense and intuition tell us that there is no connection.” Commen sense and intuition are often wrong. Again, I cannot comment on aerodynamics because I don’t know the subject.

    However, when I finally grasped the elegant relationship between electric and magnetic fields described by multiple partial differential equations in imaginary space I realized it wasn’t just a question of does the math work, but the math makes sense. In my understanding, the math model moved from a descriptive model to a predictive one. Intuition and commen sense re-aligned with the math model. I can’t describe the feeling, but I won’t forget it. As Martin Gardner has written, it was an A-HAH! moment.

    Like the recent post here on TFK where the power of evolutionary theory was used as a predictive model. That is the sign of a powerful model closely tracking reality. Why shouldn’t biology students be taught this model? I know that some aren’t, but that’s not a reason why they shouldn’t.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  19. #19 Larry Fafarman
    August 23, 2006

    Josh said ( August 23, 2006 08:39 AM ) –

    “certifying 43 courses doesn’t sound terribly nitpicky.”

    That doesn’t follow at all. That does not show that UC had good reasons for rejecting the courses that it rejected.

    “Second, if 24 applicants got in, it suggests that it isn’t that hard, and also that 8 tried and failed, as I said.”

    It is hard enough just to get in through regular admissions — UC accepts only the top 15% of high-school graduates in the state (I think it used to be 12.5%). If you have to get in through special admissions because some of your courses are not accepted, it is much tougher — you have to be in the top 2-4% or so.

    The acceptance rate (percentage of applicants who are accepted) is high for UC because the UC system has a policy of accepting all qualified applicants (some campuses — notably the Berkeley campus — are more selective and sometimes even arbitrary or discriminatory in selection; Berkeley often has to choose between applicants of equal qualifications). People generally know before they apply whether they are qualified or not.

    “You are right that not all biology classes present an adequate grounding in evolution.”

    So why single out the Christian-school grads when a lot of public-school biology classes do not cover evolution? UC has not even shown that the Christian-school grads did not learn about evolution — there is a fairly large section about evolution in at least one of the rejected biology textbooks.

    “Maybe that’s why levels of scientific literacy in the US are so poor.”

    I think it is very unfortunate that many people consider knowledge and even acceptance of evolution theory to be a litmus test for “scientific literacy.” There is a lot more to scientific literacy than that.

  20. #20 Larry Fafarman
    August 23, 2006

    Flex said ( August 23, 2006 09:28 AM ) –

    “Hahahahaha.”

    I would like to know what’s so funny because I enjoy a good laugh too.

    “My disclaimer about MY ability to judge what standards are used to teach biology is perfectly relevant.”

    I am saying that there is a practical reason why your disclaimer is irrelevant, that reason being that even a lot of public-school biology courses do not teach evolution.

    “I finally grasped the elegant relationship between electric and magnetic fields described by multiple partial differential equations in imaginary space I realized it wasn’t just a question of does the math work, but the math makes sense.”

    The relationships are often “elegant,” but physically they sometimes do not make sense. Of course, we can go through the lengthy mathematical derivations that show that the relationships actually work. Intuitively it seems that the relationships shouldn’t work, but we use them because we know that they work.

    My point is that even if evolution theory is helpful in biology, it is OK to tell people that the theory is a lot of hokum because they can use the theory even while believing that all or part of it is untrue.

  21. #21 Josh
    August 24, 2006

    “I think it is very unfortunate that many people consider knowledge and even acceptance of evolution theory to be a litmus test for “scientific literacy.” There is a lot more to scientific literacy than that.”

    Indeed. But given the appalling levels of science literacy out there, there’s no reason to use current practice as a guide to how science ought to be taught.

    As for courses that use textbooks and curricula that do cover science adequately, why should they be treated like courses that don’t?

    Science is science. If it works, it isn’t hokum, and evolution works. If your science class teaches otherwise, it’s dishonest and inadequate. QED.

  22. #22 Larry Fafarman
    August 24, 2006

    Josh said,

    As for courses that use textbooks and curricula that do cover science adequately, why should they be treated like courses that don’t?

    I hate to keep repeating myself, but as I said, at least one of the two rejected Christian-school biology textbooks has a fairly large section — about 15 pages — on evolution theory. This textbook just adds a religious viewpoint. I know that the other textbook covers evolution, but I don’t know how much coverage is given.

    So far as I am concerned, you have not shown that UC was justified in taking the drastic action of denying credit for the biology course. You think it is OK for UC to shut out Christian-school grads just because of some nitpicking disapproval of their textbooks. I think that a judge is more likely to agree with me than agree with you, and that is what counts.

  23. #23 Josh
    August 24, 2006

    That there are 15 pages on evolution doesn’t make the book adequate. Are those 15 pages accurate? Do they provide necessary background? Do they misinform the student?

    That you don’t have or don’t discuss those details suggests what the answer is.

  24. #24 Larry Fafarman
    August 25, 2006

    Josh said ( August 24, 2006 09:30 PM ) –

    That there are 15 pages on evolution doesn’t make the book adequate. Are those 15 pages accurate? Do they provide necessary background? Do they misinform the student?
    That you don’t have or don’t discuss those details suggests what the answer is.

    You are jumping to conclusions. Furthermore, reviewers’ comments about the books were shown in two of the blog pages which I linked to here.

    I have not seen the books personally. The books come from two publishers, A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press.

    A Wall Street Journal reporter said that one of the books — she does not say which one — presents evolution “straightforwardly”: “As for the biology textbook, it is certainly true that it includes a presentation of creationism and intelligent design, but it presents evolution as well, straightforwardly.”

    I see no reason why evolution would not be presented in a straightforward manner in the books.

    One reviewer said of the book from A Beka Book,

    The A-Beka books are shoddy and inadequate in biology. They give short shrift to evolution, describing the theory inaccurately and incompletely, and ignoring the practical effects of evolution in genetics and population dynamics, and other places, throughout the book.

    Well, that is just one reviewer’s opinion. I have known Darwinists to be nitpicking and arbitrary in their criticisms of the way evolution is taught. Things that are important to them might not be important to others. Also, there are different versions of evolution theory, e.g., punctuated equilibrium and phyletic gradualism, and a reviewer might be critical of a book that does not present his favorite version.

    The preceding reviewer said that he also read the BJU biology texts, but he did not comment on them.

    For more information, I suggest the following pages on my blog (http:// prefixes have been removed to prevent the links from causing failure to post) —

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/07/dover-aint-over-darwinists-now.html

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/dover-aint-over-ii-lawsuit-against-uc.html

  25. #25 Larry Fafarman
    August 25, 2006

    The followng citation should have been added to my preceding comment:

    A description of a 2004 meeting between UC personnel, Christian school personnel, and attorneys from both sides said the following:

    “As the discussion continued about the biology books, it became evident that they were rejected because they appeared to state the perspective that the Bible is revelation and along with faith is more authoritative than the observations of science, especially if there were a conflict over a ‘factual scientific issue.’ ”

    There is no mention here that UC found the books’ presentation of evolution to be inadequate or inaccurate.

  26. #26 Flex
    August 25, 2006

    Flex wrote: “Hahahahaha.”

    Larry Fafarman replied “I would like to know what’s so funny because I enjoy a good laugh too.”

    What is so funny is that you keep on trying to tell me that my opinions about biology are important to determine how to teach biology.

    Okay, I’ll give you my opinion on what’s important about biology and necessary to be taught in biology classes. My opinion is that my opinion is not important. I will defer to biologists, you know, the experts in the field, as to what is important to teach in biology class.

    You keep making two points over and over. First, some biology classes don’t cover evolutionary theory. This point is irrelevant as our disscussion is not what biology courses are currently teaching, but what biology courses should be teaching based on what the experts in biology think the students should be learning.

    The experts are universally (as far as I can determine) saying that teaching evolutionary theory is important in a biology class. Why are your assertions more relevant than the experts in the field?

    Second, you have several times stated that the theory of evolution is hokum, and you apparently feel the same way about other system models.

    Now you are entering in the realm of philosophy and leaving the realm of science. Questions about the truth of a model are not discussed in science classes, models used in science have to meet some qualifications, among other requirements they have to be accurate, consistant,and testable. The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific model. It is not hokum.

    Truth is not part of scientific models simply because we still don’t know what the word means. Instead, science has determined that accuracy, testability, etc. are better ways to define scientific models and leaves truth to philosophers.

    But if the theory of evolution is not TRUE in the philosophical sense, what is true? Is quantum mechanics true? It is a scientific model which is accurate, consistant, testable and predictive. Some of the products you use everyday were developed because of the predictions of the quantum mechanical model. Just like your flu vaccine was developed with evolutionary model. Is arithmatic true? There is no physical manifestation of the idea of arithmatic, I can’t point at something and say, “This is arithmatic and nothing else.” Maybe arithmatic is not true in the philosophical sense.

    Let’s review. You assert that the theory of evolution need not be taught in biology classrooms because it is,
    1) not taught in all biology classrooms, and
    2) it may be an accurate scientific model, but it may not philosophically true.

    Finally, I’m supposed to rely more on your assertions than on biologists.

    I’m unswayed by your arguments.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  27. #27 Larry Fafarman
    August 25, 2006

    Flex said ( August 25, 2006 07:54 AM ) –

    You keep making two points over and over. First, some biology classes don’t cover evolutionary theory. This point is irrelevant as our disscussion is not what biology courses are currently teaching, but what biology courses should be teaching based on what the experts in biology think the students should be learning.

    I disagree with your assertion that the point is irrelevant to the discussion. Considering that many public-school biology courses do not teach evolution at all, is it reasonable for UC to reject the Christian-school biology texts just because those texts criticize evolution?

    Second, you have several times stated that the theory of evolution is hokum

    No, I never said that — that is not relevant to my arguments.

  28. #28 Flex
    August 25, 2006

    Larry Fafarman: “My point is that even if evolution theory is helpful in biology, it is OK to tell people that the theory is a lot of hokum because they can use the theory even while believing that all or part of it is untrue.

    and later,“No, I never said that”

    So basically, you personally believe the theory of evolution is the foundation of modern biology, but you think it’s all right for teachers to tell students that it’s it hokum? Is that what you are saying?

    That’s great.
    Teacher: “We have this really great theory describing how all life on earth is inter-related. A theory with so much evidence supporting it that we could spend every day from now until you are 35 just reviewing the evidence supporting this theory. A theory which is predictive enough to be used to develop vaccines or suggest research topics. A theory which is being tested and refined on a daily basis. But it’s all hokum, your 1600 year old, unchanging, bible is inerrant. Just use this theory to get the results you are looking for.”

    I apologise if I miss-understood you previously. Somehow, when you continually state that it’s okay for teachers to teach that evolutionary theory is hokum, I leapt to the conclusion that you believe it to be hokum yourself.

    For clarification, this is the first time our side discussion has mentioned the UC attitude toward christian-school biology texts. Within the framework of that discussion, the point of other public-school biology courses not teaching evolutionary theory is still irrelevant.

    Why? It’s the difference between taking no position on an issue and taking an antagonistic position.

    If your belief is true, that some public-school biology classes don’t mention evolution (and I haven’t seen evidence to back up this assertion), at worse it’s a disservice to the students who are not being taught contemporary scientific knowledge in a science class.

    Try reading this sentance from the original article again, “A biology book from Bob Jones University [which] presents creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. The introduction says, “The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second.”

    This is clearly a case where what is being taught is not representative of the state of the science. Further, by including creationism and ID in a biology testbook they are teaching non-science in a science class. Finally, as most of what I’ve seen written from the creationist and ID camps are critiques of evolution, the text is likely very critical of evolutionary theory.

    [Or only contain a single page on creationism and ID because there is no science to either of these beliefs.]

    This goes beyond negligence and enters the area of deliberate missrepresentation.

    To connect UC’s decision to select against students from schools which deliberately missrepresent scientific knowledge with schools which may have not even exposed students to that knowledge does not follow.

    The question of reasonablity doesn’t arise because the situations are not equivalent.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  29. #29 Larry Fafarman
    August 25, 2006

    Flex said ( August 25, 2006 01:48 PM ) –

    Larry Fafarman: “My point is that even if evolution theory is helpful in biology, it is OK to tell people that the theory is a lot of hokum because they can use the theory even while believing that all or part of it is untrue.”

    and later,”No, I never said that”

    I only said that it is OK to tell people that evolution theory is hokum. That is different from saying that evolution theory is hokum.

    So basically, you personally believe the theory of evolution is the foundation of modern biology, but you think it’s all right for teachers to tell students that it’s it hokum? Is that what you are saying?

    No, I never said that I believe that evolution is the foundation of modern biology. Why do you keep putting words in my mouth?

    I apologise if I miss-understood you previously. Somehow, when you continually state that it’s okay for teachers to teach that evolutionary theory is hokum, I leapt to the conclusion that you believe it to be hokum yourself.

    I am just saying that my personal beliefs about whether evolution theory is wholly or partly hokum are not relevant to my arguments.

    If your belief is true, that some public-school biology classes don’t mention evolution (and I haven’t seen evidence to back up this assertion), at worse it’s a disservice to the students who are not being taught contemporary scientific knowledge in a science class.

    There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that evolution is not taught in a lot of public-school biology classes. I myself do not remember studying evolution in my high-school biology classes.

    This is clearly a case where what is being taught is not representative of the state of the science. Further, by including creationism and ID in a biology testbook they are teaching non-science in a science class.

    You call it “non-science,” but a lot of the criticism of evolution theory is scientific, and contrary to popular belief, not all scientific (or pseudoscientific, to some) criticism of evolution theory is ID (there are also criticisms regarding co-evolution, the propagation of beneficial mutations in sexual reproduction, etc.). Also, the textbook presents a religious viewpoint.

    Evolution is still just a theory, not a proven fact. Not only are you Darwinists trying to suppress criticism of evolution in the public schools, but you are now also trying to suppress criticism of evolution theory in the private schools.

    Also, UC has not claimed that the Christian-school graduates who took the biology course are not prepared to study biology at an advanced college level.

  30. #30 Mary
    August 26, 2006

    Larry’s argument that “some public school biology classes don’t teach evolution” is lamentably true in some states. However, the California biology standards have been rated among the best in the nation, largely on the basis of their comprehensive, integrated coverage of evolution. The vast majority of UC students graduated from the California public schools, and so UC introductory science courses assume that the student is familiar with the concepts in the relevant high school standards.

    Reviews of the disputed biology textbooks are available online, as are excerpts. It is clear that the books teach a straightforward young earth creationism. What little real biology exists in the sample chapters is presented in a confusing and distorted fashion. There is no way that any objective observer would agree that the books teach the material in the California biology standards, and so any course based on such a textbook would not be an appropriate prerequisite for an introductory biology course which assumes that students are familiar with the material in the standards.

    All UC will have to prove in court is that its admissions prerequisites are reasonably related to a valid, academic goal (selecting students who are well prepared to take the courses required to graduate) and that the standard used to decide whether a course meets those prerequisites is appropriate. UC’s standard is that courses must reflect “material generally accepted in the relevant academic community”. I don’t think UC will have any trouble demonstrating that its biology departments don’t teach young-earth creationism.

    Note that Calvary Chapel students aren’t penalized in the admissions process for having taken classes which are not certified. They must simply take a minimum of 15 classes over four years which did meet UC standards, or have demonstrated that they mastered the required material in other ways. SATII or Advanced Placement subject tests, or classes at a community college can be used to make up deficiencies.

    What the Calvary Chapel students seem to be demanding is an exemption from the requirement that they demonstrate a broad-based, academically rigorous high school education. Unfortunately for them, the First Amendment doesn’t include a right to be admitted to a top-noch university. That’s a privilege that must be earned.

  31. #31 Larry Fafarman
    August 26, 2006

    Mary said ( August 26, 2006 02:41 PM ) –

    the California biology standards have been rated among the best in the nation, largely on the basis of their comprehensive, integrated coverage of evolution.

    I attended an urban California high school in the early 1960′s and took a year of biology, and I do not recall studying evolution. It was just something we sort of took for granted.

    Reviews of the disputed biology textbooks are available online, as are excerpts.

    I posted on my blog all the online excerpts and reviews I could find, at –

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/dover-aint-over-ii-lawsuit-against-uc.html

    – and –

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/07/dover-aint-over-darwinists-now.html

    If you know of any others, I would very much like to know about them.

    It is clear that the books teach a straightforward young earth creationism.

    I don’t know about the biology text from A Beka Book. The biology textbook from Bob Jones Univ. Press has sections on both biblical creationism and evolution theory.

    What if the school taught YEC to the students outside of science class — would that disqualify them from regular admission?

    What little real biology exists in the sample chapters is presented in a confusing and distorted fashion. There is no way that any objective observer would agree that the books teach the material in the California biology standards,

    A report on a meeting between UC officials, Christian-school officials, and attorneys said,

    As the discussion continued about the biology books, it became evident that they were rejected because they appeared to state the perspective that the Bible is revelation and along with faith is more authoritative than the observations of science, especially if there were a conflict over a “factual scientific issue.”

    The UC officials did not say that the science itself was bad. If UC wants to win this lawsuit, I think that UC needs to find more fault with the books than that. The main issue here is whether the books may add a religious viewpoint to the standard curriculum.

    Note that Calvary Chapel students aren’t penalized in the admissions process for having taken classes which are not certified.

    No, they are penalized. Taking the non-certified courses disqualifies them from general admission, which admits the top 15%, and therefore they can only apply for special admission, which admits only the top 2-4% or so.

    Unfortunately for them, the First Amendment doesn’t include a right to be admitted to a top-noch university.

    Admission to UC undergraduate school is almost considered to be a right for all qualified California residents. UC-Davis medical school has more discretion in choosing applicants than the UC undergraduates schools have, but the Supreme Court required this medical school to admit Alan Bakke after determining that the school had discriminated against him because of his race.

  32. #32 Josh
    August 26, 2006

    Larry, this is simply not how science is done, and is not an adequate basis for a science class: “they appeared to state the perspective … faith is more authoritative than the observations of science, especially if there were a conflict over a ‘factual scientific issue.’”

    In a theology class, that would be one thing. But we’re talking about science class, and in science, faith isn’t worth squat. You take the evidence and you let it guide you. If you find a conflict between scientific results and other teachings, you have to resolve that outside of science class.

    The textbook is inadequate based on the evidence you’ve offered in its defense.

  33. #33 Mary
    August 27, 2006

    Larry Fafarman said (August 26, 2006 10:49 PM)

    ” I attended an urban California high school in the early 1960′s and took a year of biology, and I do not recall studying evolution. It was just something we sort of took for granted.”

    Larry, the early 1960s was over 40 years ago. The science standards have been updated a few times since then, as have UC’s standards for admissions.

    Larry also said, “No, they are penalized. Taking the non-certified courses disqualifies them from general admission, which admits the top 15%, and therefore they can only apply for special admission, which admits only the top 2-4% or so.”

    Taking uncertified classes certainly does not disqualify a student from general admissions to UC. All students take at least some uncertified classes, since classes like shop, home ec, and phys ed also don’t count towards UC admssions. The only time the Calvary Chapel students would be penalized is if they tried to substitute the Young Earth Creationism class for one of the two to three qualified science classes UC demands.

    The UC admissions standards aren’t exactly a secret. Any guidance counselor in any California school, public or private, knows exactly which courses qualify at their particular school. If the students were wrongly told that the Young Earth Creationism class was an accredited biology class for UC admssions purposes, they should be sueing their high school, not UC.

    Admissions to UC is indeed “almost considered a right for all qualified California residents”. However, a “qualified” student is one who can demonstrate that he or she has taken the required 15-18 credits of certified courses in the proper areas. A student who has taken shop, home ec, or Young Earth Creationism intstead of the required two science classes is by definition not qualified for admissions to UC by the standard pathway.

  34. #34 Larry Fafarman
    August 27, 2006

    Josh said ( August 26, 2006 11:34 PM ) –

    “In a theology class, that would be one thing. But we’re talking about science class, and in science, faith isn’t worth squat.”

    In biology, generally only mainstream evolution theory and paleontology are in conflict with biblical creationism, and they are only small parts of a general biology course (paleontology might not be covered at all).

    And you didn’t answer my question — what if the Christian-school students are taught biblical creationism outside of a biology class? And what if public-school students are taught biblical creationism in Sunday school? What’s the difference? Should that disqualify any of them from UC general admission?

    Mary said ( August 27, 2006 02:25 PM ) –

    ” I attended an urban California high school in the early 1960′s and took a year of biology, and I do not recall studying evolution. It was just something we sort of took for granted.”

    Larry, the early 1960s was over 40 years ago. The science standards have been updated a few times since then, as have UC’s standards for admissions.

    Evolution theory was certainly not new when I went to high school. I think that there was as much reason to include it then as there is now.

    Taking uncertified classes certainly does not disqualify a student from general admissions to UC.

    The Christian-school students who took the decertified courses are disqualified from UC general admission, period. Otherwise there would be no basis for the lawsuit.

    The only time the Calvary Chapel students would be penalized is if they tried to substitute the Young Earth Creationism class for one of the two to three qualified science classes UC demands.

    It is not a YEC class — it is a standard biology class with maybe a little YEC thrown in. The BJU textbook sections titled “A Biblical Worldview” and “Biblical Creation” together cover only about 20 pages out of a two-volume set of about 1100 pages.

    If the students were wrongly told that the Young Earth Creationism class was an accredited biology class for UC admssions purposes, they should be sueing their high school, not UC.

    Apparently UC is applying the course decertifications retroactively, so there was no chance to warn the students that the courses would disqualify them from general UC admission. Anyway, UC is still subject to suit on the grounds that there was no good reason to decertify the courses.

    Anyway, I think we have just about exhausted this subject — I am mostly just repeating myself now. All I can add is this: don’t be surprised if UC loses the lawsuit.

  35. #35 Flex
    August 28, 2006

    Boy Larry, you twist and turn quite a bit,

    Finally you say this: “I am just saying that my personal beliefs about whether evolution theory is wholly or partly hokum are not relevant to my arguments.”

    Yet, then, later on you say: “Evolution is still just a theory, not a proven fact.”

    And as justification for that statement you provide a list of topics wholly within evolutionary theory as examples of criticisms of the overall theory.

    That’s like saying that because we don’t have a complete model of turbulance in fluid systems, we can’t teach students about powered flight. And, by extension, a high school physics textbook should give equal time to the theory that it’s the hand of god holding up the plane. (Or in the ID world, an unspecified, unmeasureable, supernatural force, wink-wink.)

    The areas within evolutionary theory which are being debated by the experts shows the theory is not dogma. The debate does not invalidate the theory. Evolutionary theory is the best scientific model we have to explain the diversity of life, just like fluid mechanics is the best scientific model we have to explain turbulance. Science classes are supposed to teach scientific models. Teaching those models which are best supported by scientific evidence.

    What evidence do you have that creationism or ID is scientific? [sounds of crickets] Well, then why should creationism and ID be taught in a science class?

    Face it Larry, your personal opinions are getting in the way of logical thought, regardless of what you assert. This is why you should trust the experts in the field to determine what is and isn’t science, and what should and shouldn’t be taught in a science course.

    Good health,

    -Flex

  36. #36 Mary
    August 28, 2006

    Larry,

    You obviously haven’t bothered to research this lawsuit before commenting upon it. The four rejected courses were NEW ones that had been submitted for PRE-approval, meaning that they had not yet been taught. Therefore, none of the six students in whose name the suit has been brought had taken them. If they chose to take the classes _after_ the suit was filed, they can hardly complain that they didn’t know UC wouldn’t accept them as core requirements.

    Also, at the time of the lawsuit none of the six students had actually applied to the UC system, so none had been rejected. If I recall correctly, several of them announced in interviews that they had no intention of going to a secular school like UC, even if they were admitted.

    So, we have six students engaged in a lawsuit to gain admissions to a university they don’t want to attend, on the basis that coursework they didn’t take might not have helped their application if they had bothered to apply.

    Sounds like a frivolous lawsuit to me, at least as regards the students.

    The real reason for the lawsuit, I expect, is that Calvary Chapel and its fellow ASCI schools know or suspect that much of their curriculum would not pass a close inspection. UC is a trend setter. If it starts rejecting classes that are more bible study than academics, other universities will follow. Parents who want their children to go to a reputable college will leave, and take their $6000 a year with them.

    All of which is the normal operation of a free market. Calvary Chapel is free to teach bible study instead of academics, UC is free to reject students who haven’t taken sufficient academics, and parents who want their kids to go to UC can enroll their kids in public school and do bible study on the weekends. Alternatively, Calvary Chapel can keep the college-bound students by maintaining a core sequence of academically rigorous courses.

    UC has a very high-powered legal team, and the right of a university to choose its students is pretty well established in law. All they have to prove is that the courses were rejected because they failed to meet basic academic standards. With ten campuses full of world-class biologists who do cutting-edge research to call on, I don’t think they’re going to have any trouble at all showing the judge why the two disputed creationist books aren’t acceptable as primary texts. The same goes for the history class; the English and government classes were apparently rejected because the applications weren’t filled out properly.

    ASCI would have done better to leave well enough alone.

  37. #37 Josh
    August 28, 2006

    Larry, this is getting embarassing for you. Quit while you’re behind. No, learning about creationism outside of a science class wouldn’t make a student unqualified. The issue is that the science classes the students took were deemed inadequate.

    You write: “The Christian-school students who took the decertified courses are disqualified from UC general admission, period.”

    No. Again, “UC … has admitted 24 of the 32 applicants from the high school in the past four years.” That students took the class doesn’t prevent their admission, it just means they have to show that they have an adequate scientific background by other means. So, by your own admission, the suit has no merits.

  38. #38 John
    August 28, 2006

    There seems to be some doubt expressed in the discussion above about teaching or not teaching Physics students how a plane is able to stay in the air viz: hand of god vs. Bernouilli effect.

    Just to put you all straight, planes are, of course, held up by the tentacles of his Noodliness, The Flying Spaghetti Monster (blessings be upon Him)

  39. #39 Larry Fafarman
    August 28, 2006

    Flex said,

    Boy Larry, you twist and turn quite a bit,

    Finally you say this: “I am just saying that my personal beliefs about whether evolution theory is wholly or partly hokum are not relevant to my arguments.”

    Yet, then, later on you say: “Evolution is still just a theory, not a proven fact.”

    There is no inconsistency here. The statement “Evolution is still just a theory, not a proven fact” only means that there is no proof that evolution is not hokum. That statement has nothing to do with my belief as to whether or not evolution is hokum.

    Mary said,

    Larry,

    You obviously haven’t bothered to research this lawsuit before commenting upon it.

    You are the one who has not bothered to research this lawsuit. None of your claims, i.e., that the students did not take the decertified courses, that the students were not disqualified from UC general admission, that the students never applied for admission to UC, and that the students did not want to attend UC, is supported by news reports. None.

    Mary said,

    The real reason for the lawsuit, I expect, is that Calvary Chapel and its fellow ASCI schools know or suspect that much of their curriculum would not pass a close inspection.

    Wrong. The schools and the students cannot sue UC on the grounds that UC might decertify the courses — UC would actually have to decertify the courses before it could be sued.

    . . .learning about creationism outside of a science class wouldn’t make a student unqualified. The issue is that the science classes the students took were deemed inadequate.

    No, the issue here seems to be that the students learned about creationism inside of science class rather than outside it.

    Josh said,

    No. Again, “UC has admitted 24 of the 32 applicants from the high school in the past four years.”

    As I said, this means nothing. Discrimination against qualified applicants cannot be excused by the acceptance of other qualified applicants. And the high acceptance rate is the result of UC’s policy of admitting all qualified applicants.

    Josh said,

    That students took the class doesn’t prevent their admission, it just means they have to show that they have an adequate scientific background by other means.

    The practical effect is likely to be prevention of the students’ admission. Instead of having to be within the top 15% to qualify for general admission, they now have to be within the top 2-4% to qualify for special admission. It is not just a matter of passing a test showing knowledge of evolution theory.

    John said,

    There seems to be some doubt expressed in the discussion above about teaching or not teaching Physics students how a plane is able to stay in the air viz: hand of god vs. Bernouilli effect.

    A straw man argument. The physics text does not dispute the Bernoulli effect or any other scientific fact or theory.

    Anyway, as I said, I am mostly just repeating myself now.

    As I said, don’t be surprised if UC loses this lawsuit.

  40. #40 Mary
    August 28, 2006

    Larry said, “You are the one who has not bothered to research this lawsuit. None of your claims, i.e., that the students did not take the decertified courses, that the students were not disqualified from UC general admission, that the students never applied for admission to UC, and that the students did not want to attend UC, is supported by news reports. None.”

    Larry is wrong, on all counts.

    That the courses were new, and therefore that the students on whose behalf the lawsuit was brought hadn’t taken them: a SF Chronicle article refers to, “courses that Calvary Chapel planned to offer this fall”, implying that the courses were not offered previously. Other sources agree that the courses were new offerings, and that they were never taught due to the dispute.

    That the students wouldn’t have been penalized for taking the classes (as long as they took the proper number of other, certified classes), from the UC fact sheet on the case: “In addition to completing the a-g curriculum, UC-bound students of course are free to take whatever additional courses they wish, including any religion courses their schools offer.”

    That the students had not applied to UC when the lawsuit was filed (I made no claim that one or more hasn’t applied since), from multiple news sources, “None of the students has been rejected by the university. Two are seniors and will apply this winter. The others are juniors and sophomores who plan to apply.”

    This in the first six pages of Google results.

    As far as the six student’s intentions go, if they were actually serious about attending UC, they wouldn’t be trying to skirt the long-established admissions criteria. Competition for UC slots is fierce, especially among students from large suburban areas with good public schools. Many fully qualified students with good test scores get rejected. If the Calvary Chapel students are in the position of having to substitute uncertified courses for certified ones because they don’t have enough certified courses, they might as well save their application fees and go to the local community college.

  41. #41 Josh
    August 29, 2006

    Larry, you claim that “The practical effect is likely to be prevention of the students’ admission.” But most of the students who applied were admitted. Therefore your prediction is falsified.

  42. #42 Larry Fafarman
    August 29, 2006

    Mary –

    The school and the students are being penalized by UC — otherwise, under the “injured-in-fact” principle, they would not have standing to sue. UC never claimed that they were not being penalized.

    Mary said,
    Competition for UC slots is fierce, especially among students from large suburban areas with good public schools.

    The fierceness of competition is relative — you have to be in the top 15% of high-school graduates to get into UC. However, it is UC’s policy to admit all qualified applicants. Some campuses — notably the Berkeley campus — are more selective than the UC system as a whole.

    Josh said,
    Larry, you claim that “The practical effect is likely to be prevention of the students’ admission.” But most of the students who applied were admitted. Therefore your prediction is falsified.

    No, it is not falsified. The admission of some qualified students does not excuse the rejection of other arguably qualified students.

  43. #43 Flex
    August 29, 2006

    Larry Fafarman wrote, “the issue here seems to be that the students learned about creationism inside of science class rather than outside it.

    And you have yet to indicate how creationism is science.

    At the same time smearing a perfectly good science called evolutionary theory. Suggesting without evidence that no biologist wants to discuss, or teach, the areas where evolutionary theory is under investigation. Completely missing the point that those areas being investigated by biologists is an indication of a robust and predictive theory, not an indication of weakness.

    Further, you appear to be unable to answer why your assertions are more valid than experts in biology, aside from a vague feeling of conspiracy. [Larry Fafarman wrote, "Darwinists ... are now also trying to suppress criticism of evolution theory in the private schools."]

    Finally you say your beliefs are unimportant to this disscussion. Larry Fafarman wrote, “I am just saying that my personal beliefs about whether evolution theory is wholly or partly hokum are not relevant to my arguments.” But you appear unwilling to even consider that your beliefs may be in error and that the experts in the field of biology might just know more about biology than you do.

    You’re right Larry, this discussion has stagnated.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  44. #44 Josh
    August 29, 2006

    On what basis are the small number of students not admitted “arguably qualified”? The issue of whether the students suffered actual harm is a matter of fact to be established by a trial, no one disputes that the alleged harm is real. UC clearly disputes that the students suffered harm. That’s why the issue of how many of these students were admitted is relevant. If the goal were to discriminate against these schools, UC clearly failed.

  45. #45 Mary
    August 29, 2006

    Larry said, “The fierceness of competition is relative — you have to be in the top 15% of high-school graduates to get into UC. However, it is UC’s policy to admit all qualified applicants. Some campuses — notably the Berkeley campus — are more selective than the UC system as a whole.”

    UC is supposed to maintain enough spaces to admit the top 15% of California high school graduates. California is in the middle of a college-age baby boom, however. Despite the opening of the new Merced campus, there are only spaces enough for the top 10-12%. At that, they’re admitting more freshmen than can be accomodated in the freshman classes, which is causing more than a little uproar.

    Under such circumstances, being in the top 1% of your high school class won’t help you if you haven’t taken proper coursework. A kid who’s serious about getting into UC will not just take the required minimum of two science classes. She’ll take two years of biology, and one each of chemistry and physics if she can get it. She’ll also make sure that her summers are spent doing something interesting and unusual, like volunteering at the local zoo or museum.

    Reading over the descriptions of the six students’ qualifications in the Calvary Chapel complaint, I can’t help getting the impression that they are barely going through the motions of trying to earn UC eligibility. Two students are listed as participating in sports, one plays in the school band, and one works with abandoned pets. None of them seem to have spent time abroad, or to have participated in internships, or to be taking classes at the local community college. None of them lists an unusual hobby, and only the one lists any interest outside of school-sponsored activities.

    I’ve gotten to know a lot of UC undergraduates over the past 17 years, and every one of them has been significantly more motivated and more qualified than the six Calvary Chapel students appear to be. While it’s certainly possible that there is more to these kids than is listed in the complaint, on paper they look distinctly below average for UC incoming freshmen.

    My guess is that Calvary Chapel hand-picked for their lawsuit six kids who had the test scores, class standing, and (more or less) the coursework to meet the minimum UC qualifications, but who are not particularly interested in attending. After all, a kid who’s taken a realistic four qualified science classes is going to have a hard time convincing the judge that he fears being disqualified because his Young Earth Creationism class doesn’t count as a fifth science class. In order to make their case that the students need the uncertified classes to count towards admissions, the kids have to be borderline-qualified.

    And borderline-qualified doesn’t get you into UC these days.

  46. #46 Larry Fafarman
    August 29, 2006

    Flex said –

    And you have yet to indicate how creationism is science.

    If students are taught that biblical creationism or creation science is right and that evolution theory is wrong, what difference does it make whether they are taught that in a science class or in a non-science class? The end result is the same, isn’t it? And the biology textbooks just add a religious viewpoint — it seems to me that that is protected by the 1st Amendment.

    [Larry Fafarman wrote, "Darwinists ... are now also trying to suppress criticism of evolution theory in the private schools."]

    Well, it’s true, isn’t it?

    Josh said,

    On what basis are the small number of students not admitted “arguably qualified”?

    When I said “arguably,” I was referring to the students who sued UC. UC’s general-admissions policy is to admit all state-resident students who qualify according to objective criteria. Some students may be borderline on the objective criteria but apply for admission anyway in the hope of getting a break. Also, some students might apply for special admission and be rejected.

    First Josh said, “no one disputes that the alleged harm is real,” and then he said, “UC clearly disputes that the students suffered harm.” The two statements are clearly contradictory.

  47. #47 Mary
    August 29, 2006

    Larry said, “UC’s general-admissions policy is to admit all state-resident students who qualify according to objective criteria.”

    No, UC’s policy is to accept as APPLICANTS all state-resident students who have minimal test scores, class standing, and coursework. If I recall the latest statistics correctly, only about 2/3 of the qualified students are actually admitted to one or more UC campuses. That’s a statewide average, though. Students from areas that are hugely overrepresented in the pool of qualified applicants (like suburban Los Angeles) have to show a bit more in the way of qualifications than students from areas with less competition.

    Like I said, a Southern California suburbanite kid who was serious about getting into UC would be taking 3-4 qualified science courses, and 18-20 qualfied classes overall. He wouldn’t be asking a judge to reclassify his Bible Study classes as academic ones in order to meet the minimum 15.

  48. #48 Flex
    August 29, 2006

    Hhahahaahaha.

    Larry, you really are a barrel of fun. You won’t say that science should be taught in science class. Instead you try to change the subject and suggest that the results are the same if students are taught creationism in, say, a comparative religion class.

    Go ahead. Teach creationism in a religion class. Very few will complain, I certainly won’t, and based on their comments, neither will Mary or Josh.

    But shouldn’t we restrict science classes to science? And English courses to the study of English? And history courses to the study of history? We don’t ask biologists to teach grammer? Why not? because it’s not appropriate to a science class.

    But you won’t say that creationism isn’t science, even if you can’t produce any evidence showing it to be science. And you imply that creationism is acceptable to be taught in a science course.

    Hahahahahahah.

    Oh, and as for your other comment:

    In a previous post, [Larry Fafarman wrote, "Darwinists ... are now also trying to suppress criticism of evolution theory in the private schools."]

    And when I reminded you of it, you replied, “Well, it’s true, isn’t it?”

    I don’t know Larry, say I’m from Missouri, it’s your claim, why don’t you provide evidence to prove it?

    But this recent court case is not evidence of conspiracy.

    I do have to give you some credit, you are certainly one of the more patient and reasonable defenders of creationism, and you have avoided name-calling. All of which have made this an enjoyable conversation.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  49. #49 Larry Fafarman
    August 29, 2006

    Mary said –

    “Under such circumstances, being in the top 1% of your high school class won’t help you if you haven’t taken proper coursework.”

    Wrong. If you are in the top 1%, as shown by SAT scores, you can easily get in through special admission. That is one of UC’s defenses in the lawsuit — that students who take the decertified courses might be able to get in through special admission.

    Anyway, this whole discussion of whether the students would be or would have been admitted if UC had not decertified their courses is moot — the whole issue is whether UC unjustifiably discriminated against the students on the basis of religion. In the Bakke case, where the Supreme Court ruled that UC Davis medical school’s racial quota program unjustifiably discriminated against Bakke on the basis of race, the court said in the footnotes,

    . .even if Bakke had been unable to prove that he would have been admitted in the absence of the special program, it would not follow that he lacked standing. The constitutional element of standing is plaintiff’s demonstration of any injury to himself that is likely to be redressed by favorable decision of his claim . . . . .The trial court found such an injury, apart from failure to be admitted, in the University’s decision not to permit Bakke to compete for all 100 places in the class, simply because of his race. (footnote #14)

    Therefore, mere exclusion of the Christian-school students from UC’s general admissions program gives them standing to sue, regardless of whether or not they would have been admitted under that program.

    The Supreme Court also said,

    There is no occasion for remanding the case to permit petitioner [i.e., UC] to reconstruct what might have happened if it had been operating the type of program described as legitimate in Part V . . . .Having injured respondent solely on the basis of an unlawful classification, petitioner cannot now hypothesize that it might have employed lawful means of achieving the same result.(footnote #54)

  50. #50 Mary
    August 29, 2006

    Larry finally said something with which I can agree, to wit: “the whole issue is whether UC unjustifiably discriminated against the students on the basis of religion.”

    In other words, did UC have secular reasons to reject the four courses as not being comparable to certified public school courses in English, government, social studies, and biology?

    The English course was rejected because the application listed an anthology as the only textbook. The guidelines for certified English courses require that students read at least some entire novel-length works. This is a reasonable, and wholly secular, requirement for a college-prep class. There were additional problems with the course, as well: it was supposed to be an “American Literature” class, but only two of the twelve authors to be studied were American.

    The government class was rejected primarily because of its format. It was a year-long course, and UC generally only allows a half-semester credit for courses in this category. Also, the course outline started with a bogus Madison quote, which leads to the question of what other bogus material was included.

    The American History class was rejected because, “The content of the course outline submitted for approval is not consistent with the empirical historical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community.” In other words, the history outlined in the textbook to be used did not cover the facts that professional historians feel are important for a college freshman to know. Reviews warn that the book is full of anti-Catholic rants, which suggests that in addition to cutting out some material that should have been included, material of questionable accuracy may have been added.

    The biology course was rejected because the textbook was a standard young earth creationist tract. A book that teaches that the world is only 6000 years old, that there was a worldwide flood survived only by the people and animals on Noah’s Ark, and that scientific data must be rejected if it conflicts with a literal interpretation of the Bible is not a science textbook. If science–as defined by the scientific community–is not being taught, then UC is not engaged in unlawful discrimination when it refuses to accept the class for a biology credit.

    It can be argued that Calvary Chapel had religious motivations for wanting to offer the classes. However, what UC is discriminating against is the secular result of that religious zeal: courses which lacked academic rigor and in some cases would have taught bogus material. With ten campuses full of academic experts to call on, UC’s legal department should have little trouble demonstrating that the courses as outlined on the applications were inadequate by secular standards.

  51. #51 Josh
    August 29, 2006

    “First Josh said, ‘no one disputes that the alleged harm is real,’ and then he said, ‘UC clearly disputes that the students suffered harm.’ The two statements are clearly contradictory.”

    Only if you don’t know what “alleged” means.

  52. #52 Larry Fafarman
    August 30, 2006

    Mary –

    I don’t know very much about the controversy over the non-science texts. All I know is that the plaintiffs’ discrimination charge regarding these texts is based on the claim that the university has accepted non-science texts that have a narrow non-Christian perspective.

    Josh said,

    “First Josh said, ‘no one disputes that the alleged harm is real,’ and then he said, ‘UC clearly disputes that the students suffered harm.’ The two statements are clearly contradictory.”

    Only if you don’t know what “alleged” means.

    You are playing word games with me. I thought that you meant that the harm was initially just “alleged” and that everyone later concluded that it is “real.”

    Flex said –

    But shouldn’t we restrict science classes to science? And English courses to the study of English? And history courses to the study of history?

    If there is too much mixing up of the subjects in the different courses, then of course it is not clear that the UC entrance requirements are being satisfied. But the BJU biology textbooks’ sections on a biblical worldview and biblical creationism together cover only about 20 pages out of about 1100 pages in a two-volume set — hardly enough coverage to justify rejecting the entire textbook set.

    In a previous post, [Larry Fafarman wrote, "Darwinists ... are now also trying to suppress criticism of evolution theory in the private schools."]

    And when I reminded you of it, you replied, “Well, it’s true, isn’t it?”

    I don’t know Larry, say I’m from Missouri, it’s your claim, why don’t you provide evidence to prove it?

    But this recent court case is not evidence of conspiracy.

    I didn’t say that there is a conspiracy — I only said that the Darwinists are trying to suppress criticism of Darwinism in private schools as well as public schools. The “conspiracy” thing was your idea.

  53. #53 Flex
    August 30, 2006

    Larry Fafarman wrote, “I only said that the Darwinists are trying to suppress criticism of Darwinism in private schools as well as public schools. The “conspiracy” thing was your idea.”

    Okay, call it my expansion on your suggestion that Darwinists have agreed to suppress criticism of Darwinism.

    First, you should use the proper terms. Darwinism is a sub-group of the broad scientific discipline of evolutionary theory. All biologists are not Darwinists, even though all biologists recognize the explainatory power of evolutionary theory.

    Using the incorrect terminology makes it read like you don’t know what you are talking about. Based on your arguments, I suspect you don’t have a good grasp on evolutionary theory. Mainly because you are focusing on the rights of religious schools to teach their own version of evolutionary theory and mix un-scientific explainations into a science curriculum.

    However, as modern evolutionary theory has shown it’s explainatory and predictive strengths, it is appropriate that institutions of higher learning require an adequate grounding in this theory as a admission criteria.

    Not by counting pages in a text. What has been said in these comments? Is it 20 pages on creationism and 15 pages on evolutionary theory out of 1100 pages of text? How does that matter? It may be possible to describe the basics of evolutionary theory in 15 pages of text, but the remaining 1065 pages of the biology text should indicate how evolutionary theory ties into each part of the biology being studied. I can’t imagine how someone could strech creationism into 20 pages, but I suppose it could be done.

    So counting pages doesn’t convince me.

    But you do make a claim about the activities of ‘Darwinists’. You claim that they are trying to suppress criticism of Darwinism in private schools. This is incorrect. Flip the coin over and look at the other side.

    The people who are annoyed about creationism are annoyed because the creationists want to teach creationism as science in science classrooms. It’s not about suppressing criticism of evolutionary theory, criticism is how a theory develops. It is about preventing the replacement of science with dogma. The ‘Darwinists’ want to continue to teach science, warts and all. The creationists want to eliminate the creative, curious, and messy scientific thought and replace it with ‘God did it, revel in his glory!’

    This is why most people don’t care if you teach creationism in another class, just keep it out of science classrooms. Creationism isn’t science, it’s dogma.

    ‘Darwinists’ who are trying to suppress criticism of creationism are trying to keep science classes teaching science.

    If you want to convince me that ‘Darwinists’ are truly trying to suppress criticism of ‘Darwinism’ in private (or public) schools, you have to show me one of two things:

    1. Creationism is science. or
    2. ‘Darwinists’ are suppressing scientifically supported alternative explainations for the diversity of species.

    Good luck,

    -Flex

  54. #54 Mary
    August 30, 2006

    Larry said, “I don’t know very much about the controversy over the non-science texts. All I know is that the plaintiffs’ discrimination charge regarding these texts is based on the claim that the university has accepted non-science texts that have a narrow non-Christian perspective.”

    Yes, but in what category?

    UC has different standards based on which requirement a particular course is supposed to fulfil. Courses in science must teach science, courses in English must read entire books, courses in history must provide an overview of particular mateirals, courses in the arts must involve hands-on practical experience, and so on.

    Elective courses, on the other hand, can have a more narrow, specialized focus. They still must meet standards for academic rigor, and they must take a scholarly approach to the material, however. So, a course on “The Bible as Literature” would be acceptable, but a course on “The Bible as the Word of God” would not be.

    Even the plaintiffs aren’t claiming that non-science texts of any kind are being used as primary texts for courses accepted for science credit. A standard text using a standard, secular approach must be used, although it seems likely that UC would still accept the course if a small amount of time was devoted to giving a denominational perspective on what the standard material means.

    The complaint lists a number of certified courses offered by other schools that have a narrow focus. Unfortunately, it doesn’t list what category they were certified under or where they were taught, making the information difficult to look up. My suspicion is that the course taught from the feminist perspective was an elective, though, as were many of the others. The religious literature course might have been accepted for English credit, although only if it required students to read entire novel-length works.

    Once again, it appears that this lawsuit is a frivolous attempt to pass off substandard classes as college-prep material. There’s no religion-based discrimination going on, unless it’s Calvary Chapel’s apparent discrimination against secular scholarship. Which is fine, but they shouldn’t expect top secular universities like UC to sanction their approach.

  55. #55 Josh
    August 30, 2006

    “You are playing word games with me. I thought that you meant that the harm was initially just ‘alleged’ and that everyone later concluded that it is ‘real.’”

    No, I’m using words to mean what they mean. The parties agree that if the plaintiffs are correct in their claims, the harm is real. If the defendant is right, the harm didn’t happen, and couldn’t be real. But the harm alleged would be real if it happened. The point of a trial is to determine whether the harm happened.

    And Flex, “Darwinism” is actually a subspeciality within the field of history, “Darwinists” are historians who study the life of Charles Darwin. Biology no more has a field of “Darwinism” than physics has “Newtonism.”

  56. #56 Flex
    August 30, 2006

    Thanks for the correction Josh, I’ll remember that in the future. That’s the trouble with being an engineer, I have little knowledge outside of my own speciality.

    I had the impression there was a sub-group of biologists who are called Darwinists who specialize on the mechanisms proposed by Charles Darwin to the exclusion of other, more recent, evolutionary concepts like genetics or evo-devo. Not that they ignore or question these newer mechanisms and the knowledge gained in those areas, but that they are really more focused on differential reproductive rates due to the variation of expressed traits within a species. But, my mistake. It only goes to show how much I can expand a concept far beyond the evidence for it.

    I like your definition better anyway, it makes the idea of Darwinist group of historians conspiring to prevent any criticism of the life of Darwin even funnier.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  57. #57 Larry Fafarman
    August 30, 2006

    Flex said –
    “It may be possible to describe the basics of evolutionary theory in 15 pages of text, but the remaining 1065 pages of the biology text should indicate how evolutionary theory ties into each part of the biology being studied.”

    You are really getting nitpicking. UC never criticized the texts for failing to suffuse evolution theory through all of the chapters. Furthermore, I assert that it is possible to learn basic biology without knowing evolution theory — all evolution theory provides is a possible “why” for observations. Remember the poem, “Charge of the Light Brigage,” which said, “theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.”

    Flex said –
    If you want to convince me that ‘Darwinists’ are truly trying to suppress criticism of ‘Darwinism’ in private (or public) schools, you have to show me one of two things:

    1. Creationism is science. or
    2. ‘Darwinists’ are suppressing scientifically supported alternative explainations for the diversity of species.

    I suspect that at least some of the books’ criticisms of evolution theory are scientific (and no, not all criticisms of evolution are intelligent design, so please don’t tell me that ID is not scientific). And even if these criticisms are not scientific, the books might be considered to just be adding a religious viewpoint to what otherwise might be perfectly normal science texts.

    Mary said –

    So, a course on “The Bible as Literature” would be acceptable, but a course on “The Bible as the Word of God” would not be.

    A course should not be judged by its title. Two courses with different titles might cover the same material.

    Of course, the words “Word of God” would not be appropriate in a public school, but they would be appropriate in a Christian school.

    The complaint lists a number of certified courses offered by other schools that have a narrow focus. Unfortunately, it doesn’t list what category they were certified under or where they were taught, making the information difficult to look up.

    I really cannot comment on this — I have not investigated the non-science texts.

    Josh said,

    No, I’m using words to mean what they mean. The parties agree that if the plaintiffs are correct in their claims, the harm is real. If the defendant is right, the harm didn’t happen, and couldn’t be real. But the harm alleged would be real if it happened.

    Wrong. The plaintiffs could lose the lawsuit even if the courts agree that they were really harmed. The courts could just rule that the harm to the plaintiffs is justified.

    Josh said,

    And Flex, “Darwinism” is actually a subspeciality within the field of history, “Darwinists” are historians who study the life of Charles Darwin. Biology no more has a field of “Darwinism” than physics has “Newtonism.”

    The Wikipedia article on “Darwinism” says,

    In the United States, the term “Darwinism” is sometimes used by creationists as a somewhat derogatory term for “evolutionary biology”. Casting evolution as an “ism” ? a doctrine or belief ? is used to strengthen arguments to mandate “equal time” for unscientific beliefs such as creationism in biology classes. However, in other countries ? such as the United Kingdom ? “Darwinism” carries no such derogatory connotations and is freely used by evolutionary scientists. A notable example of a scientist who uses the term in a positive sense is Richard Dawkins.

    Modern evolutionary biology is sometimes called “neo-Darwinism.”

    I have been criticized for relying too much on Wikipedia, but I generally find it to be objective, comprehensive, and accurate.

  58. #58 Mary
    August 30, 2006

    Larry said, “A course should not be judged by its title. Two courses with different titles might cover the same material.”

    Indeed they might. Which is why UC judges courses based on the textbook, supplementary readings, course syllabus, sample lesson plans, and other materials. If the application is complete (as those for two of the rejected Calvary Chapel courses were not), UC has a pretty good idea what is being taught, and how.

    It can certainly distinguish between a course that teaches solid introductory material in an academic fashion, and one that teaches bogus material mixed with religious advocacy.

    Larry also said, “You are really getting nitpicking. UC never criticized the texts for failing to suffuse evolution theory through all of the chapters. Furthermore, I assert that it is possible to learn basic biology without knowing evolution theory — all evolution theory provides is a possible “why” for observations. ”

    UC rejects biology courses using A Beka and Bob Jones University texts because they are basically religious tracts, not science textbooks. As the introduction to the BJU text makes clear, no empirical fact or scientific theory which conflicts with a literal reading of the Bible is accepted by the authors.

    That’s the opposite of the scientific approach, where religious texts are considered so irrelevant that they don’t even make it into the conversation.

    I admit to being a bit confused as to what “basic biology” you think can be taught without mentioning evolution. Taxonomy? Anatomy? Biochemistry? Genetics? Ecology? Without the evolutionary framework to tie them together, all you’d be left with is a few random factoids and a long vocabulary list, none of which provides a good background in biology.

    It’s like teaching a basic physics course by having the students memorize a lot of random data on the specific forces, masses, and accelerations of objects, without introducing the uniting concept of F=ma. Or like teaching an introductory chemistry course by having students memorize an alphabetical list of elements, without introducing the periodic table. Or for that matter, like attempting to provide instruction in Christianity without mentioning Jesus.

    You are right, evolution does provide the “why” for much of biology. As such, there’s no legitimate pedigogical reason not to make it the centerpiece of any introductory biology course. When a course or textbook systematically dismisses evolution, downplays it, or “balances” it with non-scientific religious doctrine, one of two things is happening. You’ve got an academically unsound biology class, or you don’t have a biology class at all. In either case, UC is perfectly within its rights not to certify such a class as fulfilling the science requirement for admissions.

  59. #59 Larry Fafarman
    August 31, 2006

    Mary said –

    UC rejects biology courses using A Beka and Bob Jones University texts because they are basically religious tracts, not science textbooks.

    Wrong. UC never said that.

    I admit to being a bit confused as to what “basic biology” you think can be taught without mentioning evolution. Taxonomy? Anatomy? Biochemistry? Genetics? Ecology?

    I learned that stuff without studying evolution.

    You yourself said, “Larry’s argument that ‘some public school biology classes don’t teach evolution’ is lamentably true in some states.” So why single out the Christian-school graduates? That’s discrimination.

    Evolution may be a nice teaching aid, but it is not essential. See

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/darwinism-is-grossly-overrated.html

    It’s like teaching a basic physics course by having the students memorize a lot of random data on the specific forces, masses, and accelerations of objects, without introducing the uniting concept of F=ma. Or like teaching an introductory chemistry course by having students memorize an alphabetical list of elements, without introducing the periodic table.

    F=ma and the periodic table are laws. Evolution is just a theory.

    there’s no legitimate pedigogical reason not to make it the centerpiece of any introductory biology course.

    And there is no legitimate reason to make it the centerpiece. I predict that UC is going to lose this lawsuit, at least so far as the science textbooks are concerned.

  60. #60 Flex
    August 31, 2006

    Larry Faraman wrote, “all evolution theory provides is a possible “why” for observations.”

    Larry Fararman also wrote, “F=ma and the periodic table are laws. Evolution is just a theory.”

    F=ma is a mathematical model which holds true in all situations with the caveat that it is sometimes difficult in a particular real world application to identify all the forces being applied to a mass to determine acceleration.
    The equation does not attempt to explain “why” F=ma works, but through repeated observations and experiments we know it does.

    The periodic table is a model which helps to explain how elements react, and is used to show similarities between elements. There are several varient periodic tables, all useful in different ways to help explain how elements react with each other. The periodic table does not explain “why” it exists, but through repeated observations and experiments we know that the model is accurate. And through more advanced theories we can explain how the periodic table is necessarily accurate.

    The theory of evolution is a model which helps to explain how the observed diversity of life developed on our planet. The theory of evolution does not explain “why” this diveristy exists, only how it developed. Through repeated observations and experiments we know that this model is accurate.

    Is that the root of the difficulty Larry? You think that evolutionary theory is attempting the answer the question of “Why are we here?” It doesn’t. It doesn’t try to.

    Evolutionary theory is the best explaination as to “how” life on this planet has developed in the myriad of forms life takes. Evolutionary theory does not speak directly to the question of “Why are humans on this planet?” It is, by itself, neutral on questions of “why?” That’s more a question of philosophy and not science.

    Now, I recognize that evolutionary theory strongly implies that the question “Why are we here?” cannot be answered in any way that suggests humanity is innately privledged over other life on this planet.

    Evolutionary theory strongly implies that humanity is not special when it comes to any physical measure. Even in those areas where we appear to have an advantage over other creatures, that advantage was not due to a special ability granted by an outside source, but developed through natural, explainable, predicable processes.

    This doesn’t mean that the question of “why are we here?” is a bad question. I think, in fact, that it’s a very good question.

    It does mean, however, that the evidence supporting the evolutionary model prevents the answer for ‘how’ being, “The bible says so.”

    But that’s similar to the evidence for F=ma preventing the number of biblical stories of stopping rivers, destroying walls with a shout, or parting seas. Or the periodic table preventing water from being used as a firestarter as I seem to recall from one old testament passage.

    Evolutionary theory, which teaches how all biology is related, is necessary to be taught in biology class. Biology no longer can be learned with any clarity without studying evolutionary theory. Forty years ago, when you were in biology class, it may have been possible to discuss taxonomy, biochemistry, genetics, ecology, or anatomy without discussing evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory has advanced greatly since then, and all those fields have changed because of the advances in the studies of evolution.

    It’s gotten to the point where the experts in the field, the biologists, tell us that it’s necessary to study evolutionary theory to understand how biology works. You have yet to explain why your assertions are more valid than biologists.

    But if you think that evolutionary theory is about providing a possible “why” for biology you are mistaken, it provides a “how”.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  61. #61 Mary
    August 31, 2006

    Larry said, ” UC never said that.”

    Larry, UC used its standard rejection phrase, “The content of the course outline submitted for approval is not consistent with the empirical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community.” UC phrases its requirement that way so it doesn’t have to argue back and forth over whether creationism is legitimate science or Holocaust denial is legitimate history. The standard for acceptance or rejection is that the course provides a solid introduction to the field, as determined by a faculty committee drawn from the relevant departments. Which, by the way, is a completely neutral standard, which does not discriminate on the basis of religious content.

    The two Creationist texts were so infused with non-scientific religious doctrines and scientific inaccuracies that the faculty brought back a verdict that no course using them as a primary textbook could be viewed as teaching the science of biology. In other words, it was a religious tract, not a biology text.

    Larry said, “I learned that stuff without studying evolution.”

    Larry, I’ve seen your attempts to argue for the legitimacy of creationism before, most notably over at the Panda’s Thumb. It’s clear from your writings that you did not, in fact, learn much about subjects such as taxonomy, anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, or ecology.

    Larry said, “You yourself said, “Larry’s argument that ‘some public school biology classes don’t teach evolution’ is lamentably true in some states.” So why single out the Christian-school graduates? That’s discrimination.”

    UC isn’t singling out the Christian-school graduates. California public school classes undergo the same certification process, and out-of-state applicants must also prove that their high school preparation was adequate. A kid from a state with a poor biology standard would be well advised to take the SATII subject test in biology as additional evidence of subject mastery. Or to fulfil the requirement for two science classes with chemistry and physics, which for some reason aren’t generally watered down with religious doctrine.

    All the UC class certification does is make life easier for California students who want to apply. It lets students and guidance counselors know ahead of time which courses will count towards the requirements, rather than leaving them trying to prove their case to the admissions committee when it’s too late to go back and make up any deficiencies.

  62. #62 Josh
    August 31, 2006

    “I learned that stuff without studying evolution.”

    Apparently not.

  63. #63 Larry Fafarman
    August 31, 2006

    Mary –

    I cannot continue in this discussion if you continue to ignore the indisputable facts that I have presented here. What counts here is not your own prejudice against the textbooks but UC’s stated reasons for rejecting them, and here is what UC has stated –

    The lawsuit’s official complaint says that the UC rejected high-school biology textbooks from two Christian-textbook publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, on the basis of “both the ‘way in which these texts address the topics of evolution and creationism’ and ‘their general approach to science’ in relation to the Bible.” (page 23 of the complaint).

    A description of a 2004 meeting between UC personnel, Christian school personnel, and attorneys from both sides said the following:

    As the discussion continued about the biology books, it became evident that they were rejected because they appeared to state the perspective that the Bible is revelation and along with faith is more authoritative than the observations of science, especially if there were a conflict over a “factual scientific issue.”

    UC never said that the science in the textbooks is bad.

    Mary said,

    Larry, I’ve seen your attempts to argue for the legitimacy of creationism before, most notably over at the Panda’s Thumb. It’s clear from your writings that you did not, in fact, learn much about subjects such as taxonomy, anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, or ecology.

    Most of my arguments have been about the legal issues involved. But if you want to discuss the science, I invite you to come to my blog and leave some comments there — I have several articles about the scientific issues –
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/

  64. #64 Mary
    August 31, 2006

    Larry,

    I’m starting to wonder if you read the quotes you copy before you cite them, because you have a habit of citing evidence that disproves your own position.

    You cite a meeting where UC rejected the books because they said that the Bible, revelation, and faith were more authoratative than empirical scientific observations. That may or may not be good religion, but it’s bad science. That is such bad science that a course based on that approach can not possibly act as a prerequisite for college-level biology courses.

    In science, the Bible is not authoritative. It is so unauthoritative that no one bothers to check whether or not experimental results are in agreement or in conflict with it, because it doesn’t matter either way.

  65. #65 Larry Fafarman
    September 1, 2006

    Josh said –

    “I learned that stuff without studying evolution.”

    Apparently not.

    You have no idea how much I know about biology. Many experts in biology agree that evolution theory is not necessary or even helpful in the study of biology. You may think that evolution helps in conceptualizing biology or that it is a good teaching aid, but that does not make it necessary. And the fact that many students learn biology adequately without studying evolution proves that evolution is not necessary in the study of biology. UC does not even claim that the books do not present evolution correctly or that the students are not taught evolution. It is not necessary that the Christian-school biology courses conform to your prejudices.

    Knowledge of evolution helps biologists and paleontologists to understand scientific literature that is written in terms of evolution. But most students are not going to major in biology or paleontology or become professional biologists or paleontologists. If they are going to major in those subjects and did not learn evolution in high school, they can very quickly pick up a high-school level knowledge of evolution.

    Mary said –
    You cite a meeting where UC rejected the books because they said that the Bible, revelation, and faith were more authoratative than empirical scientific observations. That may or may not be good religion, but it’s bad science. <<<<<

    The courts may very well rule that so long as the textbooks present evolution theory correctly, it does not matter whether the students are told inside or outside biology class that evolution is bad science.

  66. #66 Mary
    September 1, 2006

    Larry said, “You have no idea how much I know about biology.”

    As before, your own statements are proving the opposite of what you claim. You claim to have taken one high school level course in biology some 40 years ago. Your writings elsewhere make it clear that you don’t really have even an “educated layman” knowledge of biology, which is probably why you keep repeating the same long-disproved creationist nonsense year after year.

    Or do you claim to have a biology PhD from a reputable, secular university and to have published scholarly papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals? If so, give me the citations of your last three papers and a short run-down of your research program.

    Larry also said, “It is not necessary that the Christian-school biology courses conform to your prejudices.”

    Very true. It just has to conform to the expectations of the UC biology professors on the examining committee. One of which is that the textbook will present science and not religious dogma. I’ve spent a large part of the last 20 years doing biological research at UC Davis, and I haven’t yet met a professor who’d pass those two books as adequate college-prep material.

    Larry said, “The courts may very well rule that so long as the textbooks present evolution theory correctly, it does not matter whether the students are told inside or outside biology class that evolution is bad science.”

    First of all, the court hasn’t been asked to rule on how well the books cover evolution. A judge isn’t qualified to make such a ruling. The issue at hand is whether UC’s evaluation process for course certification constitutes illegal discrimination on the basis of religion. “We get a faculty committee of experts in the relevant field together, and they look over the texts and other material to be taught and decide if the course teaches what the kids need to know” is about as religiously neutral a method of course evaluation as you can get.

    It’s true, no group of biology faculty from a UC campus will accept a course in young earth creationism for biology credit. Maybe that should tell you something? Like, perhaps, that young earth creationism was disproved over 150 years ago, even before Darwin publish the ORIGIN? It’s crackpot science, and I’m told it’s lousy theology as well.

    Larry also said, “But most students are not going to major in biology or paleontology or become professional biologists or paleontologists. If they are going to major in those subjects and did not learn evolution in high school, they can very quickly pick up a high-school level knowledge of evolution.”

    Again, not relevant. The ability of students to make up deficiencies in their education is not at issue. Admissions is an elimination game, especially when a third or more of the fully qualified applicants must be turned down each year. If UC can fill all available slots and more with students who took real biology classes, why should they admit one who took a creationist course instead?

    An Amish child who exercises his right to leave formal schooling after seventh grade to take a traditional appreticeship will no doubt learn many useful skills. Those skills are arguably more important to an Amish adult than the skills he would have learned if he had stayed in school. However, he doesn’t have the right to go back and demand a high school diploma on the grounds that he successfully completed his apprenticeship. He learned many things, but he did not learn the specific subjects whose mastery is required for a high school diploma.

    Likewise, the First Ammendment protects the right of Calvary Chapel to teach creationism classes instead of biology, and the right of its students to take such classes. It doesn’t protect either the school or its students from the secular consequences of not having offered or taken a certified biology course. The course may or may not be useful–the two of us certainly disagree on that. But we do agree that the approach to science in the Calvary Chapel texts is substantially different from the approach to science seen in, say, California public school biology classes.

    UC rejects Calvary Chapel’s approach and accepts the public school approach, not because they hate Christians, but because the latter approach reflects the way real biologists do real biological research. That’s not unlawful religious discrimination, it’s sound pedagogy.

  67. #67 Larry Fafarman
    September 1, 2006

    Mary said –

    You claim to have taken one high school level course in biology some 40 years ago.

    I took two courses (one year) of biology and two courses in human physiology. And I didn’t stop learning about these subjects after I left high school.

    Your writings elsewhere make it clear that you don’t really have even an “educated layman” knowledge of biology, which is probably why you keep repeating the same long-disproved creationist nonsense year after year.

    “Year after year”? I have been participating in these Internet discussions about evolution for less than a year. I wrote relatively little about the scientific issues when I was posting on Panda’s Thumb. You have probably seen little or nothing about what I have written about the scientific issues. Here is a sample of my writings on the scientific issues –
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/review-of-pz-myers-review-of-chapter-3.html

    It just has to conform to the expectations of the UC biology professors on the examining committee.

    We don’t know who made the final decision to reject the books. Maybe that decision was made by bureaucrats rather than biology professors.

    I haven’t yet met a professor who’d pass those two books as adequate college-prep material.

    I presume all or most of them never saw the books, so how could they pass judgment on them? And did you ever ask any of them about the books?

    I can only presume that the books present evolution correctly because UC did not claim that they do not.

    the court hasn’t been asked to rule on how well the books cover evolution. A judge isn’t qualified to make such a ruling.

    Then how was a judge in Pennsylvania qualified to rule on the question of whether ID and irreducible complexity are scientific?

    How well the books cover evolution is not an issue, anyway — UC did not make it an issue.

    “We get a faculty committee of experts in the relevant field together, and they look over the texts and other material to be taught and decide if the course teaches what the kids need to know” is about as religiously neutral a method of course evaluation as you can get.

    The method might be neutral but the end result might not be. The means does not justify the end.

    third or more of the fully qualified applicants must be turned down each year.

    As I said, it is the policy of UC to admit all students who qualify according to objective criteria, though the criteria are subject to change. Some students may be borderline and get rejected for this reason. Some campuses are more selective.

    The ability of students to make up deficiencies in their education is not at issue.

    It is an issue because even many public-school biology courses do not teach evolution. You admitted that yourself.

    An Amish child who exercises his right to leave formal schooling after seventh grade to take a traditional appreticeship will no doubt learn many useful skills.

    Not relevant. Evolution is at most a very small part of a high-school biology course.

    But we do agree that the approach to science in the Calvary Chapel texts is substantially different from the approach to science seen in, say, California public school biology classes.

    But nothing can stop Calvary Chapel from telling students outside of biology class that evolution theory is bad science. So the end result is the same.

  68. #68 Mary
    September 1, 2006

    Larry said, “Here is a sample of my writings on the scientific issues.”

    Once again, you have proved my point. You don’t understand the fundamentals of biology.

    Larry then said, “We don’t know who made the final decision to reject the books. Maybe that decision was made by bureaucrats rather than biology professors.”

    The UC web site goes into mind-numbing detail on exactly how the course approval process works. Look it up.

    Larry also claimed, “As I said, it is the policy of UC to admit all students who qualify according to objective criteria.”

    While you’re educating yourself on the course approval process, you might also look up the number of students applying to UC and the size of the freshman class. UC simply doesn’t have the space in its facilities to accept all qualified applicants, even with the new Merced campus. That’s why they recommend that students who are serious about attending take more than the minimum required courses.

    Then Larry asked, “Then how was a judge in Pennsylvania qualified to rule on the question of whether ID and irreducible complexity are scientific?”

    He didn’t. He ruled that ID was religious apologetics, and accepted the expert testimony of the scientists that ID isn’t science.

    Larry also stated that, “It is an issue because even many public-school biology courses do not teach evolution. You admitted that yourself.”

    There are plenty of states where the standards do not require biology classes to teach evolution. However, California’s standards do cover evolution in a comprehensive fashion. Out-of-state public school students, like in-state private school students, must demonstrate that their coursework covered the essentials. If it didn’t, they don’t qualify. UC has no state mandate to accept any out-of-state students at all, much less ones with a high school education that doesn’t meet California’s public school standards.

    And finally Larry claimed that, “Nothing can stop Calvary Chapel from telling students outside of biology class that evolution theory is bad science. So the end result is the same.”

    The end result is actually quite different. If a student takes a standard secular biology course, and then learns in religion class that her church rejects evolution and all other science that conflicts with a literal interpretation of Genesis, she at least has an honest view of what science is and what it teaches. If instead the religious doctrine is presented in science class, as legitimate science, she hasn’t a clue what science is, nor can she distinguish which “facts” are derived from Biblical interpretation rather than empirical data.

  69. #69 Larry Fafarman
    September 1, 2006

    Mary said –

    Larry said, “Here is a sample of my writings on the scientific issues.”

    Once again, you have proved my point. You don’t understand the fundamentals of biology.

    So you are saying I was wrong when I agreed with PZ Myers that Jonathan Wells was wrong in Chapter 3 of his book, “A Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design”? LOL

    What don’t I understand about the fundamentals of biology? If you can’t answer, you are just a bag of hot air.

    I spent a lot of time doing research for that review on my blog because I knew almost nothing about embryology (I never took a course in embryology, but that does not mean that I do not have a general knowledge of biology), but my review is well backed up with references.

    I think I clarified everything after it was muddled up by Ballard, Wells, and Myers.

    While you’re educating yourself on the course approval process, you might also look up the number of students applying to UC and the size of the freshman class.

    That has nothing to do with the acceptance rate. Students who apply and are accepted often decide to go to another institution or not enter college.

    Then Larry asked, “Then how was a judge in Pennsylvania qualified to rule on the question of whether ID and irreducible complexity are scientific?”

    He didn’t. He ruled that ID was religious apologetics, and accepted the expert testimony of the scientists that ID isn’t science.

    How anyone can so blatantly contradict oneself is beyond me. First you said that he did not decide on the question of whether or not ID is science, then you said that he did.

    Out-of-state public school students, like in-state private school students, must demonstrate that their coursework covered the essentials.

    Under the full-faith-and-credit clause of the Constitution, California is supposed to accept the biology-course standards of other states. Discrimination by UC against applicants from another state invites that other state to discriminate against state-university applicants from California.

    The end result is actually quite different.

    Not really. Practically all public-school graduates who disbelieve evolution were not taught to disbelieve it in public schools.

  70. #70 Mary
    September 2, 2006

    Larry asked, “What don’t I understand about the fundamentals of biology?”

    It’s not that you’re agreeing or disagreeing with PZ Meyers, it’s that you don’t seem to understand what he is saying, what Haekel said, why Haekel’s observations are still relevant enough to modern embryology to be mentioned in textbooks, or even the essential differences between what an illustrative drawing and a photograph are intended to do.

    Maybe it’s the modern, college-level textbook you were using for your extensive research into embryology. Which one was it, again? All you cited was Wikipedia.

    Larry then charged, “First you said that he did not decide on the question of whether or not ID is science, then you said that he did.”

    I did not. I said that he ruled on his own authority that ID is religious dogma, and on the authority of the expert witnisses that it wasn’t science. The two actions are quite different. He was not defining science himself, he was applying the definition offered by actual scientists.

    Larry also claimed, “Under the full-faith-and-credit clause of the Constitution, California is supposed to accept the biology-course standards of other states.”

    The full-faith-and-credit clause applies only to legal contracts such as marriages, bills of sale, child support orders, and so on. A curriculum standard isn’t a legal contract. Or can you cite a judicial opinion to the contrary? Full citation, please, so I can look it up on FindLaw and determine that it was an actual settled legal case, not a speculative article written by a hopeful lawyer.

    Then Larry obfuscated, “That has nothing to do with the acceptance rate. Students who apply and are accepted often decide to go to another institution or not enter college.”

    UC, like any university, accepts enough students to make up for these losses. It is still forced to reject a large number of the fully qualified applicants. The statistic I remember reading last spring was that about a third of the qualified applicants were being turned away.

    And finally Laary said, “Practically all public-school graduates who disbelieve evolution were not taught to disbelieve it in public schools.”

    This is relevant how? The issue isn’t whether or not the student believes the science teacher or the pastor, the issue is whether the student understands that science does not operate by the same rules as religion. Specifically, that faith, revelation, and Biblical interpretation are not valid scientific methodology. A creationist student who has taken a standard biology class at least knows what the scientific community has concluded and why it has reached conclusions different from his church’s. A student whose primary biology instruction comes from a text like those UC rejected won’t understand that crucial distinction.

  71. #71 Larry Fafarman
    September 2, 2006

    Mary said –

    It’s not that you’re agreeing or disagreeing with PZ Meyers, it’s that you don’t seem to understand what he is saying

    On the contrary, I clarified what he was saying.

    Haekel’s observations are still relevant enough to modern embryology to be mentioned in textbooks

    Wikipedia didn’t say that Haeckel’s recapitulation theory has been completely discredited, only that it has been partially discredited.

    All you cited was Wikipedia.

    Wikipedia is a darn good reference. In a comparative study, Wikipedia compared favorably with the touted online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

    You keep saying I am wrong but won’t say how I am wrong. You are just a big bag of hot air. I would be ashamed to call someone else wrong without saying why.

    I said that he ruled on his own authority that ID is religious dogma, and on the authority of the expert witnisses that it wasn’t science.

    And I am saying that he was not particularly well-qualified to make that judgment. Also, arguably he did not have the authority to make that judgment — judges have no express constitutional or legal authority to decide scientific questions. I feel that judges should not decide scientific questions unless it is absolutely essential to do so in order to decide a case, and it was not essential in this case.

    Larry also claimed, “Under the full-faith-and-credit clause of the Constitution, California is supposed to accept the biology-course standards of other states.”

    The full-faith-and-credit clause applies only to legal contracts such as marriages, bills of sale, child support orders, and so on

    I said that California is “supposed to,” not that California is “required to.” UC discrimination against applicants from a particular state would invite retaliation from that state.

    UC, like any university, accepts enough students to make up for these losses. It is still forced to reject a large number of the fully qualified applicants.

    The issue here is discrimination and not the acceptance rate. Bakke sued UC-Davis medical school not because he wasn’t admitted, but because the school was operating a discriminatory racial quota system and because his race was the sole reason why he was not even considered for admission. Since you are from UC-Davis, I thought that you might have known something about the Bakke case.

    The issue isn’t whether or not the student believes the science teacher or the pastor, the issue is whether the student understands that science does not operate by the same rules as religion.

    UC is unable to prevent religious schools from indoctrinating students in the idea that religion trumps science.

  72. #72 Mary
    September 2, 2006

    Larry said, “Wikipedia is a darn good reference. In a comparative study, Wikipedia compared favorably with the touted online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica.”

    An encyclopedia is a handy place to quickly look up an unfamiliar word or concept. It’s not a good place to research anything in depth. Quite apart from accuracy issues, the space limitations prohibit covering a complicated subject in any comprehensive fashion. Remember those grade school term papers where the teacher marked you down if you based your report solely on the encyclopedia? There was a reason for that.

    To learn the basics of a scientific subject like embryology, you want a college-level textbook, preferably one that is currently widely used at good universities. From there, you can pick up the details by reading a few review articles published in an appropriate journal. PubMed is a good resource to locate such material.

    Larry continued to demonstrate problems with reading comprehension when he said, “And I am saying that he was not particularly well-qualified to make that judgment. Also, arguably he did not have the authority to make that judgment — judges have no express constitutional or legal authority to decide scientific questions”

    I repeat, Judge Jones didn’t decide any scientific issue. He accepted the evaluation of the expert scientists in the field who gave testimony. That’s why courts have expert testimony in the first place: to inform the judge in areas outside his expertise.

    And he issued his legal opinion that the scientific judgement of the scientists on the merits of ID was more credible than Behe’s because both sides asked him to rule on that issue.

    As far as UC’s acceptance rate goes, you are the one who has been claiming that UC accepts all students who meet the minimum qualifications. They don’t. They reject about a third of the qualified applicants outright. Meeting the minimal qualifications is no guarantee that a student will be accepted, and so a student who is serious about getting in will make sure to take more than the minimum.

    And finally, Larry demonstrated skill at dodging the issue when he pointed out the undisputed fact that, “UC is unable to prevent religious schools from indoctrinating students in the idea that religion trumps science.”

    UC isn’t trying to do so. It simply requires that all students who wish to apply to UC have taken at least two science courses that teach accurate science. In a science class, students must learn that IN SCIENCE, the evidence trumps religious preconceptions, and that the Bible is not used as a reference book.

  73. #73 Larry Fafarman
    September 2, 2006

    Mary said –

    An encyclopedia is a handy place to quickly look up an unfamiliar word or concept. It’s not a good place to research anything in depth.

    I was not researching anything “in depth” — I just wanted enough information to write a short review of the PZ Myers’ review of Chapter 3 of PIGDID. Wikipedia served my purposes adequately. I am not going to go out and buy and study a college text on embryology. Anyway, you never said what was wrong with my review.

    I repeat, Judge Jones didn’t decide any scientific issue. He accepted the evaluation of the expert scientists in the field who gave testimony.

    He can’t just “accept” the evaluation from one side — he has to weigh the evidence from both sides and then make a decision.

    As far as UC’s acceptance rate goes, you are the one who has been claiming that UC accepts all students who meet the minimum qualifications.

    OK, there may be a lot of borderline students who get rejected. But UC’s admissions standards tend to be more objective than those of most private universities and maybe even some public universities. Anyway, I don’t want to make a big deal about acceptance rates. The issue here is that rejection of the textbooks means that the Christian-school students cannot even compete for regular admission. That was the issue in the Bakke case — not that he was rejected, but that he could not compete for admission because of his race.

    It simply requires that all students who wish to apply to UC have taken at least two science courses that teach accurate science.

    But it could be accurate science with just the addition of a religious viewpoint.

  74. #74 Josh
    September 3, 2006

    “The issue here is that rejection of the textbooks means that the Christian-school students cannot even compete for regular admission.”

    False. As demonstrated by the excellent rate at which this school gets students accepted by UC. Students can compete for regular admission. QED.

    “He can’t just “accept” the evaluation from one side — he has to weigh the evidence from both sides and then make a decision.”

    Precisely what Jones did. You don’t like his conclusion, but that’s life.

    “UC is unable to prevent religious schools from indoctrinating students in the idea that religion trumps science.” Nor are religious schools able to force UC to accept unqualified applicants.

    But I had to laugh at this claim: “I would be ashamed to call someone else wrong without saying why.”

    Really? It’s clear that you think Judge Jones is wrong about whether ID is science, but you don’t seem to be explaining why.

    In your review, you write that Darwin refers to Haeckel’s drawings, when in fact he doesn’t. You quote Darwin writing: “In drawing up the several series he trusts chiefly to embryological characters, but receives aid from homologous and rudimentary organs.” “The several series” refers to “what [Haeckel] calls phylogeny, or the lines of descent of all organic beings.” Not to actual drawings. This isn’t even scientific literacy that you’re failing, it’s just plain literacy.

    It also isn’t clear why you’d prefer the Wikipedia’s description of developmental biology to the description of a developmental biologist.

  75. #75 Mary
    September 3, 2006

    Larry demonstrated selective memory when he said, “Anyway, you never said what was wrong with my review.”

    See my explanation a few messages up. I’m glad to see you agree that embryology is a subject about which you know next to nothing.

    Larry then continued to miss the point when he said, “He can’t just “accept” the evaluation from one side — he has to weigh the evidence from both sides and then make a decision. ”

    Yes, he made a decision. It wasn’t, however, a decision about the scientific merits of ID. It was a decision about whether or not the scientific consensus accepts the alleged scientific merits of ID. In the process, he did pick up some solid background information on the scientific issues. He’s an intelligent man, and he was being presented with a mini-seminar on the science taught by some very good biologists. However, it was less a decision about the scientific merits than about the qualfications and credibility of competing witnesses. That falls squarely within a judge’s area of competence.

    Larry admitted, “OK, there may be a lot of borderline students who get rejected.”

    About a third of the total pool of qualified applicants. That’s more than just the borderline cases. UC tries to accept the best of the applicants under a merit-based system, but no one disputes that many qualified students who would probably do very well at UC are also rejected.

    Larry then dodged to reframe the issue inaccurately once again, by saying, “The issue here is that rejection of the textbooks means that the Christian-school students cannot even compete for regular admission.”

    No, it means that they have to pay attention to their coursework, like any student who wants to get into a good university. Calvary Chapel does offer science courses that passed UC certification. How else did you think the two dozen or so Calvary Chapel students who’ve been admitted in the past few years were getting into UC? Bakke doesn’t apply.

    Since Calvary Chapel students can get into UC by taking the proper courses, and since every other student that applies to UC is also required to take at least two certified science classes, just how is it impermissable discrimination on the basis of religion that UC won’t make a special exception and allow Calvary Chapel students to take an uncertified religion class instead of science? How is that any different from rejecting a public school student who took an uncertified home ec class instead of science?

    Larry dodged again by saying, “But it could be accurate science with just the addition of a religious viewpoint.”

    You’re right. This is the approach taken by a lot of Catholic schools: the course is taught in a secular manner from a secular textbook, with the addition of a short unit that adds the Catholic perspective on various scientific matters. Such courses have no trouble winning UC certification, because they clearly distinguish between scientific findings and theological interpretations.

    The A. Beka and BJU texts go way, way beyond this, which is why UC considers them inappropriate for primary texts in a biology class.

  76. #76 Larry Fafarman
    September 3, 2006

    Josh said –
    False. As demonstrated by the excellent rate at which this school gets students accepted by UC. Students can compete for regular admission. QED.

    Students who take the courses that use the rejected textbooks cannot compete for regular admission in the future. Period. QED Also, I don’t know if UC is applying the new rules retroactively.

    “He can’t just “accept” the evaluation from one side — he has to weigh the evidence from both sides and then make a decision.”
    Precisely what Jones did. You don’t like his conclusion, but that’s life.

    But he still made a decision. Mary said that he did not make a decision. That’s absurd.

    It’s clear that you think Judge Jones is wrong about whether ID is science, but you don’t seem to be explaining why.

    Most of my arguments against Judge Jones have been against his procedural rulings, e.g., his denial of the Of Pandas and People book publisher’s motion to intervene. I have said very little about his judgment on whether ID is science.

    You quote Darwin writing: “In drawing up the several series he trusts chiefly to embryological characters, but receives aid from homologous and rudimentary organs.” “The several series” refers to “what [Haeckel] calls phylogeny, or the lines of descent of all organic beings.” Not to actual drawings.

    The words “drawing up” are ambiguous — it is not clear what Darwin meant. He could have been referring to the drawing of pictures. Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that Darwin’s statements might be interpreted as referring to recapitulation theory, but there is apparently no evidence that he considered recapitulation theory to be — as Wells claimed — the best evidence for evolution theory.

    Mary said,

    Larry demonstrated selective memory when he said, “Anyway, you never said what was wrong with my review.”

    See my explanation a few messages up.

    Your criticisms were just vague — nothing specific. You Darwinists think that you can win arguments just by waving your arms and saying, “trust me.” Here is what you wrote –

    “It’s not that you’re agreeing or disagreeing with PZ Meyers, it’s that you don’t seem to understand what he is saying, what Haekel said, why Haekel’s observations are still relevant enough to modern embryology to be mentioned in textbooks, or even the essential differences between what an illustrative drawing and a photograph are intended to do.”

    I didn’t initially understand what PZ and Ballard were saying because they said it very poorly. I explained all this on my blog. After I did some research, I understood what they were saying.

    And why would a modern textbook depend on inaccurate drawings that are over a century old?

    Yes, he made a decision. It wasn’t, however, a decision about the scientific merits of ID. It was a decision about whether or not the scientific consensus accepts the alleged scientific merits of ID.

    At least you finally admit that he made a decision. Even deciding whether a consensus exists is still making a decision. But under the new federal court rules of the Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals decision, he was not obligated to accept the consensus of scientists. Personally, I feel that he should not have decided on the scientific merits at all — it was neither necessary nor wise to do so.

    UC tries to accept the best of the applicants under a merit-based system, but no one disputes that many qualified students who would probably do very well at UC are also rejected.

    It is pointless to argue about UC’s acceptance rate — the issue here is that the students who sued are not eligible to compete for regular admission. Whether UC is unconsitutionally discriminating against them is a matter for the courts to decide.

    Calvary Chapel does offer science courses that passed UC certification.

    How do you know that Calvary Chapel is not now using these Christian-school science textbooks in all of its courses? Why would the school use different textbooks? The Calvary Chapel students who were admitted to UC might have taken the same courses but were admitted before UC changed the rules.

    Bakke doesn’t apply.

    Bakke does apply, because Bakke was denied the opportunity to compete for admission because of his race.

    This is the approach taken by a lot of Catholic schools: the course is taught in a secular manner from a secular textbook, with the addition of a short unit that adds the Catholic perspective on various scientific matters.

    The criticism of Darwinism only covers only about 15 pages of the BJU text. That is hardly enough material to justify a whole separate course.

    As I said, you Darwinists were not happy just to suppress criticism of Darwinism in public schools under the guise of maintaining separation of church and state — now you want to suppress criticism of Darwinism in private schools as well.

  77. #77 Josh
    September 3, 2006

    “Students who take the courses that use the rejected textbooks cannot compete for regular admission in the future. Period.”

    False. They may get accreditation by other means.

    “Most of my arguments against Judge Jones have been against his procedural rulings, e.g., his denial of the Of Pandas and People book publisher’s motion to intervene. I have said very little about his judgment on whether ID is science.”

    I know. And when other people make similar procedural arguments against your claims, you respond by saying “I would be ashamed to call someone else wrong without saying why.” Are you ashamed at calling Judge Jones wrong without saying why?

    “The words ‘drawing up’ are ambiguous.”

    No. They really aren’t.

    “why would a modern textbook depend on inaccurate drawings that are over a century old?”

    They don’t. Most textbooks use photographs or modern drawings from photographs to make the same point.

    “I didn’t initially understand what PZ and Ballard were saying”

    And still don’t.

  78. #78 Larry Fafarman
    September 4, 2006

    Josh said –

    “Students who take the courses that use the rejected textbooks cannot compete for regular admission in the future. Period.”

    False. They may get accreditation by other means.

    That is why I said “regular” admission. They are not eligible for regular admission. They are eligible for special admission, which is much harder.

    Are you ashamed at calling Judge Jones wrong without saying why?

    I always say why I call him wrong.

    “The words ‘drawing up’ are ambiguous.”

    No. They really aren’t.

    Yes they are. The subject was Haeckel’s drawings, so I naturally thought that “drawing up” referred to making drawings. “Drawing up” is not an expression I would use to describe making drawings, but I thought that maybe it was just a 19th century English idiom. Anyway, as I said, the interpretation of those words is unimportant — my point was that the quoted paragraph of Darwin arguably referred to recapitulation theory.

    “why would a modern textbook depend on inaccurate drawings that are over a century old?”

    They don’t. Most textbooks use photographs or modern drawings from photographs to make the same point.

    Well, then the charge that modern books are still using Haeckel’s drawings is false. Mary claimed that modern books are still using Haeckel’s ideas, and maybe some of his ideas are valid, but there appears to be a general consensus that his drawings were faked.

    “I didn’t initially understand what PZ and Ballard were saying”

    And still don’t.

    Again I ask you to identify specific errors in my review of PZ Myers’ review of Chapter 3 of Wells’ new book. If you can’t do it, then you are just a bag of hot air.

  79. #79 Mary
    September 4, 2006

    Larry tried once again to assert, “Students who take the courses that use the rejected textbooks cannot compete for regular admission in the future. Period. QED Also, I don’t know if UC is applying the new rules retroactively.”

    This is not only demonstrably wrong, Larry, you know it’s wrong, because we’ve already discussed the issue. What is a person who knowingly makes false claims called, again?

    There is no penalty in UC admissions for taking a class that is not certified. Check it out on UC’s admissions page. There is also no credit given for taking a class that isn’t certified. So students who took the course, if it had been offered which it wasn’t, would not have been helped or hindered with respect to UC admissions.

    UC’s web site also goes into nauseating detail about the course approval process. Courses are examined when they are new, or are substantially revised from the previous offering. Maybe you should actually look up what UC does, before you make wild–and false–assertions about what’s going on?

    I can understand that as a fellow creationist you desperately want Calvary Chapel and its students to be the innocent victims of persecution by rabid Darwinian biologists. However, UC’s actual policy is available on the Internet for anybody to read, and you already know that I have done so. Exactly what do you think you’re accomplishing by making up imaginary circumstances that would tilt the case in Calvary Chapel’s favor, and then claiming ignorance as to whether or not they’re true? When it would take you less than five minutes to discover that your imaginiary circumstances are not, in fact, the actual ones?

    Do you enjoy looking silly and ignorant in public? Or are you just hoping that some of the people who read this discussion also won’t bother to look up UC’s actual policies? It doesn’t matter, in the long run, because the judge who is trying Calvary Chapel’s case will know exactly what UC’s policies are, and that the only consequence to students who take unaccredited courses is that those particular courses don’t count towards the minimum 15. There is no lifelong ban from UC for using the disputed textbooks, no matter how much you wish there was.

    Calvary Chapel is in serious trouble with this lawsuit. They’ve got a weak case to begin with, because the only “harm” they can allege is that their students who want to go to UC have to fulfil the same, secular requirements as everybody else. To add to that, their lawyer is a hack with a history of losing creationism-related cases. (The Calvary Chapel brief is so badly written it’s almost incoherent in places.) UC, on the other hand, is represented by one of the most high-powered, cutthroat legal teams in California. Since UC’s reputation depends on the quality of its students, they won’t be pulling any punches, either.

    A loss by Calvary Chapel would make it much harder to convince scientifically illiterate school boards and parents that creationism/ID is legimiate science. “Adding this to your curriculum will make it harder for your kids to get into any decent college or university” is a hard argument to counter. Especially when it’s added to, “Remember that million dollars in legal fees that the Dover school district had to pay?”

    It would also make it much harder for Calvary Chapel to recruit students, if the school gets a reputation for offering substandard academics. However, the blame for that falls squarely on Calvary Chapel, not UC. Most public and private schools whose courses flunk UC approval either revise the course to remedy the deficiencies or offer the course as an unaccredited elective. All religion classes at parocial schools that focus on the sponsoring denomination’s teachings fall into the latter category. Why should Calvary Chapel’s creationism class be the exception?

  80. #80 Larry Fafarman
    September 4, 2006

    Mary said –

    There is no penalty in UC admissions for taking a class that is not certified.

    There is a penalty — the class does not count towards meeting the UC admission requirements, and those requirements allow little or no margin for the deletion of uncertified courses from a student’s record.

    To add to that, their lawyer is a hack with a history of losing creationism-related cases.

    Just try to argue in court that the opposing attorney has a history of losing cases and see how far you get.

    They’ve got a weak case to begin with, because the only “harm” they can allege is that their students who want to go to UC have to fulfil the same, secular requirements as everybody else.

    For the umpteenth time, UC has never complained that the science textbooks contain bad science — UC has only complained that the textbooks add a religious viewpoint.

    A loss by Calvary Chapel would make it much harder to convince scientifically illiterate school boards and parents that creationism/ID is legimiate science.

    The primary effect of the outcome of this lawsuit will be on religious schools. Public schools are not allowed to adopt Christian-school textbooks.

    Most public and private schools whose courses flunk UC approval either revise the course to remedy the deficiencies or offer the course as an unaccredited elective. All religion classes at parocial schools that focus on the sponsoring denomination’s teachings fall into the latter category.

    How do you know that UC does not approve any religion courses for credit? A number of public schools have courses on the bible as literature. Anyway, this is a side issue — this lawsuit does not include any dispute over accreditation of courses that are strictly about religion.

    You can keep repeating your arguments until you are blue in the face, but that won’t make them true.

  81. #81 Josh
    September 4, 2006

    “The subject was Haeckel’s drawings, so I naturally thought that “drawing up” referred to making drawings.”

    No, as the quote you put on your blog shows, the subject was “what [Haeckel] calls phylogeny, or the lines of descent of all organic beings.” Darwin never refers to the drawings. You ask me to show an error in your review, and there’s a pretty enormous one. That textbooks don’t use Haeckel’s drawings is another enormous error.

    You’ve cited no similar errors in what Judge Jones said. Indeed, you don’t seem to have actually referred to anything the said, just to whether or not he should have said anything.

    The procedure by which students from the schools apply is no different than the process that home schooled children would go through, or that children whose school wasn’t part of UC’s evaluations might have to go through. What in UC’s procedures marks that admission process as “special”? They file the same forms on the same deadlines.

  82. #82 Mary
    September 4, 2006

    Larry asserted somewhat incoherently, “There is a penalty — the class does not count towards meeting the UC admission requirements, and those requirements allow little or no margin for the deletion of uncertified courses from a student’s record”

    If by this you mean that meeting UC eligibility somehow deprives Calvary Chapel students from taking religious courses, that’s nonsense. A typical high school student takes 6-7 classes a day, most of which run for the entire year. The exceptions are usually half-year courses like civics, P.E., or driver’s ed, which are paired with each other to make completing graduation requirements easier for students. So, a typical high school student will take at least 30 total courses over four years, and probably more than that.

    A brief calculation will show you that fulfilling the UC requirements uses up less than half of the total courses a student will take in high school. Most of the UC-required courses are also required to get a high school diploma, so they don’t even add a significant additional burden to a student’s coursework. That leaves the student free to take a dozen or more electives, which don’t have to be certified courses. These can include shop, home ec, typing, fashion design, religious apologetics, sports, auto mechanics, or any other certified or uncertified course that catches a student’s fancy.

    While it’s true that using some of those elective spots to take additional academic subjects will help a student’s application to UC, your claim that students are somehow unable to fit in any uncertified religious courses because of the UC requirements is bogus.

    Larry showed additional confusion when he said, “For the umpteenth time, UC has never complained that the science textbooks contain bad science — UC has only complained that the textbooks add a religious viewpoint.”

    No, Larry. YOU are the one who keeps saying that UC only objected to an added religious viewpoint when rejecting the two creationist texts. What UC actually objected to was “content not consistent with the empirical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community.” Translation: the textbooks got the science wrong. Since the books teach young earth creationism, complete with a 6000-year-old Earth and Noah’s ark, that shouldn’t surprise you.

    And Larry asked disingenuously, “How do you know that UC does not approve any religion courses for credit?”

    First of all, I didn’t say that UC doesn’t approve any religion classes for credit. Classes which take a scholarly approach are acceptable, albeit usually only in the elective category. Classes whose primary purpose is indoctrination in a specific religious tradition are generally not acceptable towards UC admissions, although there is no penalty attached to taking them.

    I know this because I read the relevant guidelines posted on the UC admissions site. Which you apparently still have not bothered to do, despite the fact that your ignorance of them has been making you look ridiculous.

    Then Josh asked, “The procedure by which students from the schools apply is no different than the process that home schooled children would go through, or that children whose school wasn’t part of UC’s evaluations might have to go through. What in UC’s procedures marks that admission process as “special”? ”

    Larry’s just getting confused again, Josh. The most common general admissions path is available to both public and private school students from in-state high schools who participate in the certification process, including Calvary Chapel. All that’s required is that the student take at least 15 UC-certified courses in the required categories. If a student is short one or two certified courses, he or she can demonstrate proficiency by taking the SATII subject test in that area and scoring well.

    A student who is lacking a large portion of the required coursework has a much harder time demonstrating that he or she is ready for college work. Such students who score in the top few percent on their aptitude tests are allowed to try a “dog ate my homework” special admissions application, which is basically an attempt to convince the admissions committee that they are prepared for college even if they haven’t done enough college-prep coursework to qualify for general admissions. As one would expect from a “dog ate my homework” excuse, the acceptance rate under special admissions is lower and the required test scores are significantly higher than for students applying through general admissions.

    All of which is a long-winded way of saying that UC really, really wants students to have completed the required college-prep coursework.

  83. #83 Larry Fafarman
    September 4, 2006

    Josh said,

    “The subject was Haeckel’s drawings, so I naturally thought that “drawing up” referred to making drawings.”

    No, as the quote you put on your blog shows, the subject was “what [Haeckel] calls phylogeny, or the lines of descent of all organic beings.”

    Here is Myers’ complete quotation of Darwin’s book:

    Professor Haeckel in his Generelle Morphologie and in other works, has recently brought his great knowledge and abilities to bear on what he calls phylogeny, or the lines of descent of all organic beings. In drawing up the several series he trusts chiefly to embryological characters, but receives aid from homologous and rudimentary organs, as well as from the successive periods at which the various forms of life are believed to have first appeared in our geological formations. He has thus boldly made a great beginning, and shows us how classification will in the future be treated.

    The quote refers to “drawing up the several series,” and the term “several series” is not defined in the quote. Who knows — maybe the term is defined elsewhere in the original text. The term “several series” could mean series of embryo drawings. Anyway, as I already pointed out: If I misunderstood, it is of no consequence because such misunderstanding has no effect on my main point, which was that “rudimentary organs” and “successive periods at which the various forms of life are believed to have first appeared in our geological formations” might have been references to Haeckel’s recapitulation theory.

    That textbooks don’t use Haeckel’s drawings is another enormous error.

    I never said that modern textbooks don’t use Haeckel’s drawings. What I said was, “As for Wells’ claim that Haeckel’s faked data is still used in biology textbooks, I have no idea about that.”

    You’ve cited no similar errors in what Judge Jones said.

    I don’t know what you are talking about — I did not even mention Judge Jones in my review of PZ Myers’ review of Wells’ new book. My blog has about a dozen articles about Judge Jones — if you have any criticisms of those articles, please be specific.

    The procedure by which students from the schools apply is no different than the process that home schooled children would go through

    These graduates paid a lot of money and did a lot of work to attend a private school — they should not be compared to home-schoolers.

  84. #84 Larry Fafarman
    September 4, 2006

    Mary said –

    Larry asserted somewhat incoherently, “There is a penalty — the class does not count towards meeting the UC admission requirements, and those requirements allow little or no margin for the deletion of uncertified courses from a student’s record”

    If by this you mean that meeting UC eligibility somehow deprives Calvary Chapel students from taking religious courses, that’s nonsense.

    You are the one who is asserting incoherently. You expect the students to take two science courses with virtually the same content: one no-credit course with a small amount of religious viewpoint and one for-credit course without a religious viewpoint. Probably the only religious viewpoints in the biology textbooks are in the introduction and the 20 pages titled “biblical viewpoint” and “biblical creationism.”

    How do you know that Calvary Chapel now even offers a biology course using a non-Christian textbook?

    The conflict is not just with Calvary Chapel — the conflict is also with other Christian schools and non-Christian religious schools. That is why the Association of Christian Schools International has joined the suit. Here is what Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the 1st Amendment Center, wrote in an op-ed article in the Decatur Daily:

    Of course, the University of California has every right to establish academic standards for admission and disapprove courses from any school that don’t cover the core content in science, history, literature or other subjects. But under the establishment clause of the First Amendment, no state university should keep a course from the “approved list” because it includes religious ideas or is taught from a religious perspective.

    Until we know all of the facts behind UC’s decision-making, it’s hard to sort out why some of these Calvary courses were rejected. But past approval of courses with a viewpoint such as “Feminist Issues throughout U.S. History” lends credence to ACSI’s contention that the university is targeting textbooks and courses with an evangelical perspective. If true (and that’s what trials are for), that would be a form of viewpoint discrimination prohibited by the First Amendment.

    This high-profile fight over courses taught in Christian schools has already sent a chilling message to other religious schools. They worry that if these courses can be rejected, what’s next? After all, most subjects in religious schools are taught from a faith perspective and may well include religious viewpoints of science, literature or history that the university could deem not “generally accepted” in the secular scientific and educational communities.

    – from http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/opinion/other/060312a.shtml

    YOU are the one who keeps saying that UC only objected to an added religious viewpoint when rejecting the two creationist texts. What UC actually objected to was “content not consistent with the empirical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community.” Translation: the textbooks got the science wrong.

    “content not consistent with the empirical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community” is too vague an objection. Here are UC’s specific objections, from articles on my blog –

    The lawsuit’s official complaint says that the UC rejected high-school biology textbooks from two Christian-textbook publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, on the basis of “both the ‘way in which these texts address the topics of evolution and creationism’ and ‘their general approach to science’ in relation to the Bible.” (page 23 of the complaint).

    A description of a 2004 meeting between UC personnel, Christian school personnel, and attorneys from both sides said the following:

    “As the discussion continued about the biology books, it became evident that they were rejected because they appeared to state the perspective that the Bible is revelation and along with faith is more authoritative than the observations of science, especially if there were a conflict over a “factual scientific issue.” — from Should Some Students Be Denied College Entrance Because They Used These Textbooks?”, page 3

    A student who is lacking a large portion of the required coursework has a much harder time demonstrating that he or she is ready for college work.

    My answer is the following quote from my blog –

    An article titled “Should Some Students Be Denied College Entrance Because They Used These Textbooks?”, by the Association of Christian Schools International, said the following about a meeting between UC personnel, Christian school personnel, and attorneys on both sides of the issue (page 3):

    When asked whether poor college performance by students from religious schools prompted the rejection of the textbooks, UC representatives responded negatively. They also acknowledged that UC did not have any objective evidence that students from religious schools are deficient in science when they arrive for their freshman year of college …..

    UC as an organization has already lost round one of this suit — its attempt to block the suit against university (only the charges against individual defendants were dismissed).

  85. #85 Josh
    September 5, 2006

    “These graduates paid a lot of money and did a lot of work to attend a private school — they should not be compared to home-schoolers.”

    Then they should sue their school, not UC.

    “The quote refers to “drawing up the several series,” and the term “several series” is not defined in the quote. ”

    For the third time, it is. “The series” are phylogenies. From the immediately preceding sentence. Stop embarassing yourself.

  86. #86 Larry Fafarman
    September 5, 2006

    Josh said,

    Then they should sue their school, not UC.

    Why should they sue their school if UC is the one who is violating their constitutional rights? Maybe you should read Charles Haynes’ words again:

    …. under the establishment clause of the First Amendment, no state university should keep a course from the “approved list” because it includes religious ideas or is taught from a religious perspective . . . . .past approval of courses with a viewpoint such as “Feminist Issues throughout U.S. History” lends credence to ACSI’s contention that the university is targeting textbooks and courses with an evangelical perspective. . . .most subjects in religious schools are taught from a faith perspective — and may well include religious viewpoints of science, literature or history that the university could deem not “generally accepted” in the secular scientific and educational communities.

    UC has already lost round #1 of this lawsuit.

    “The quote refers to “drawing up the several series,” and the term “several series” is not defined in the quote. “
    For the third time, it is. “The series” are phylogenies. From the immediately preceding sentence. Stop embarassing yourself.

    You are the one who is embarrassing yourself. Maybe a hidden sentence preceding the quote says or indicates that the “series” are embryo drawings. And with everyone always talking about “Haeckel’s drawings,” it is quite understandable that I would interpret “drawing up” as referring to drawings. Anyway, as I said, even if I misunderstood, my argument that the quote possibly referred to recapitulation theory still applies.

  87. #87 Mary
    September 5, 2006

    Larry once again failed to use Google before he speculated, “Probably the only religious viewpoints in the biology textbooks are in the introduction and the 20 pages titled “biblical viewpoint” and “biblical creationism.””

    There are reviews with excerpts from the rejected books available online, including the entire first chapter of one biology text. The religion is infused into every page, as promised in the introduction. So are the standard fallacious creationist “arguments against evolution”, various rants against other religions, and even some racist commentary. A student taking a course from these texts will not have to worry about much duplication between it and a standard biology course.

    Larry’s abysmal lack of research continued to be apparent as he asked, “How do you know that Calvary Chapel now even offers a biology course using a non-Christian textbook?”

    This coming year, Calvary Chapel offers one accredited physics course, two accredited chemistry courses, and four accredited biology courses. The courses would not have been accredited had they used the disputed books as the primary text. There are also plenty of certified offerings in the other required categories.

    I know this because I looked it up. You could have looked it up, too. The UC admissions web site is designed to be used by high school students, after all. That you didn’t bother has once again made you look silly, lazy, and uninformed.

    At least you looked a little beyond Wickipedia when you offered two quotations in support of your claim that UC does not object to the science in the textbooks, even if you didn’t evaluate them carefully.

    The plaintiff’s complaint isn’t necessarily the best place to research the defendent’s reasons for doing anything. UC’s lead lawyer on the case says that the problem with the disputed texts was, “more fundamental and had to do with its scientific and academic quality and accuracy.”

    The Charles Haynes op-ed piece is also irrelevant, since he admits in the editorial that he doesn’t know the details of the case. Since you like quoting talking heads, however, here is an opposing opinion from a more recent piece:

    “The curriculum case is ‘cut and dry,’ said Michael Broyde, a law professor at Emory University and a fellow in the Center for Study of Law and Religion. ‘If the way a Christian school manifests its Christianity is by changing the curriculum, then it’s clear the state of California doesn’t have to accommodate them,’ he said.”

    Larry demonstrated a weak grasp of legal issues when he implied that recent developments in the case are a significant victory for Calvary Chapel by saying, “UC as an organization has already lost round one of this suit — its attempt to block the suit against university.”

    A motion to dismiss rarely succeeds, because the judge decides it using the assumption that all allegations in the plaintiff’s brief are true. For a case to be dismissed, there almost always has to be a basic technical problem with the lawsuit: the plaintiff lacks standing to sue at all, the wrong defendent is being sued, the alleged actions of the defendent are not actionable, or almost identical cases have already been settled in the defendent’s favor.

    All the failure of UC’s motion to dismiss means is that IF Calvary Chapel can demonstrate that UC is systematically discriminating against its students in admissions because of their religion, they are entitled to relief. The burden of proof is still on Calvary Chapel. Judge Otero has already taken the unusual step of expressing skepticism as to whether Calvary Chapel can provide sufficient proof, and with good reason.

    Calvary Chapel can’t claim a statistical pattern of discrimination: their qualified students get accepted and their courses certified at pretty much the same rate as other schools.

    They can’t claim that they have a deep, religious-based aversion to offering courses that meet UC’s standards for academic rigor and quality, because they have been offering plenty of such courses for years now.

    Wendell Bird’s peculiar argument that it is impermissiable discrimination when UC evaluates the academic rigor of a course by examining what is actually being taught is weak, as is his contention that UC ought not to base an applicant’s qualifications on demonstrated achievement in rigorous, college-prep courses. I think even he realizes that these assertions are nonsense, as he fails to offer any alternative methods that UC might use.

    The only strategy Calvary Chapel has left is to defend the academic quality and accuracy of the material in the rejected courses, which in turn demands that they be able to prove that the disputed textbooks are scientifically accurate. Or historically accurate, in the case of the rejected history class.

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Wendell Bird tries to convince Judge Otero that the world really is only 6000 years old and that the fine, upstanding residents of Salem were executing real, magic-wielding, ride-on-a-flying-broomstick witches.

  88. #88 Larry Fafarman
    September 5, 2006

    My sources are cited on my blog in the following posts (articles):

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/dover-aint-over-ii-lawsuit-against-uc.html

    – and –

    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/07/dover-aint-over-darwinists-now.html

    ===============================

    Mary said,

    There are reviews with excerpts from the rejected books available online, including the entire first chapter of one biology text.

    What reviews? Where? Why can’t you give links to your sources to save others the time and trouble of searching for those sources? Having two or more links can cause a comment to bomb here, but that can be prevented by removing the http:// prefixes from the links, as I have done above.

    The BJU Press website gives the complete 4th chapter as a sample. A complete online copy of the 1st chapter in an independent review would probably be a violation of the copyright.

    The religion is infused into every page, as promised in the introduction.

    I did not see religion infused into every page of chapter 4 of the BJU textbooks. Most of the conflict between biology and Christianity occurs in evolution theory and paleontology. There was no sample chapter on the A Beka Book website, but the biology text was described as, “Thoroughly Christian in perspective and tone. Truly nonevolutionary in philosophy, spirit, and sequence of study.”

    Larry’s abysmal lack of research . . . .

    Speaking of abysmal lack of research — just compare the research and documentation that go into my writings and the writings of you and Josh. You state a lot of information but do not give links to your sources.

    This coming year, Calvary Chapel offers one accredited physics course, two accredited chemistry courses, and four accredited biology courses.

    Why would Calvary Chapel offer both Christian and non-Christian versions of science courses? And Calvary Chapel’s offering of non-Christian versions does not excuse UC’s non-accreditation of the Christian versions. Anyway, this suit is not just about Calvary Chapel — there are presumably some Christian schools out there that do not offer non-Christian science courses.

    At least you looked a little beyond Wickipedia when you offered two quotations in support of your claim that UC does not object to the science in the textbooks.

    Now I know that you are crazy — neither quote came from Wikipedia.

    The plaintiff’s complaint isn’t necessarily the best place to research the defendent’s reasons for doing anything.

    The plaintiffs’ complaint apparently quoted a UC source. As noted on my blog,

    The lawsuit’s official complaint says that the UC rejected high-school biology textbooks from two Christian-textbook publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, on the basis of “both the ‘way in which these texts address the topics of evolution and creationism’ and ‘their general approach to science’ in relation to the Bible.”

    A legal brief can get into big trouble by not accurately and completely quoting a source. Also, it would have been difficult or impossible for me to find the source — maybe it is not even available online.

    UC’s lead lawyer on the case says that the problem with the disputed texts was, “more fundamental and had to do with its scientific and academic quality and accuracy.”

    That is too vague — they have to be more specific. Even the description given above in the plaintiffs’ complaint is not very specific.

    The Charles Haynes op-ed piece is also irrelevant, since he admits in the editorial that he doesn’t know the details of the case.

    He doesn’t know all the details of the case, but he knows enough of the details to make comments. Even the court does not know all the details — there is a lot to be discovered.

    “The curriculum case is ‘cut and dry,’ said Michael Broyde, a law professor at Emory University and a fellow in the Center for Study of Law and Religion. ‘If the way a Christian school manifests its Christianity is by changing the curriculum, then it’s clear the state of California doesn’t have to accommodate them,’ he said.”

    Does Broyde know all the details of the case? If Haynes’ comments are “irrelevant,” shouldn’t Broyde’s be also?

    IMO, Haynes’ reasoning is much better than Broyde’s. Haynes said that if the school presents the core material correctly, it should not matter if a religious viewpoint is added. And why should the Christian schools have to “accommodate” all of the whims of the UC bureaucrats?

    A motion to dismiss rarely succeeds, because the judge decides it using the assumption that all allegations in the plaintiff’s brief are true.

    On the contrary, motions to dismiss often succeed. In this case, I presume that UC argued that it had immunity and that the plaintiffs lacked standing.

    The burden of proof is still on Calvary Chapel.

    I never said otherwise.

    Judge Otero has already taken the unusual step of expressing skepticism as to whether Calvary Chapel can provide sufficient proof, and with good reason.

    It is rather early for the judge to make that assessment — there are still discovery, briefs, and maybe courtroom hearings.

    Calvary Chapel can’t claim a statistical pattern of discrimination: their qualified students get accepted and their courses certified at pretty much the same rate as other schools.

    There is a statistical pattern of discrimination — 100% of the students who took too many of the uncertified courses are not eligible for regular admission.

    Wendell Bird’s peculiar argument that it is impermissiable discrimination when UC evaluates the academic rigor of a course by examining what is actually being taught is weak, as is his contention that UC ought not to base an applicant’s qualifications on demonstrated achievement in rigorous, college-prep courses.

    I have not read all of his arguments, but it is absurd to suggest that he made the arguments that you state above.

  89. #89 Mary
    September 5, 2006

    Larry pouted, “Speaking of abysmal lack of research — just compare the research and documentation that go into my writings and the writings of you and Josh.”

    Yes, let’s.

    I’ve been getting my information on UC policies directly from an appropriate source: the UC admissions department. You keep making up wild fantasies about bans for life out of whole cloth, with no documentation whatsoever. On the rare occasions when you do bother to look something up, as with Haekel’s embryos, you frequently choose an inappropriate source or fail to read and understand the material you’re trying to discuss.

    Larry then whined, “Why can’t you give links to your sources to save others the time and trouble of searching for those sources?”

    I’ve been telling you for days exactly where to find accurate, up-to-date information on subjects such as UC admissions policies, the certification process, and Calvary Chapel’s certified course offerings: the UC admissions page. You can find it in one click from the home page of any of the UC system’s ten campuses. It’s also the first two hits when you google “UC admissions”. If you find it too much trouble to actually type “UC admissions”, you can even cut and paste it into Google.

    As far as I can tell, you still haven’t bothered to make even that minimal effort.

    Citing a source means providing sufficient information that an interested reader can look up the original work and evaluate it in context. It does not necessarily mean spoon-feeding click-by-click instructions to someone who’s too lazy to do his own typing. Nor does it mean referring back to a page where you discuss someone else’s discussion of the original material, for that matter.

    Then Larry ducked the issue once again by asking, “Why would Calvary Chapel offer both Christian and non-Christian versions of science courses?”

    Presumably because they want to stay in business. High-achieving, college-bound students build a high school’s reputation and attract more students. However, the parents of such students tend to demand that their children be provided with coursework that will get them into a good college. If Calvary Chapel eliminated its UC-certified courses, its students would pretty much be limited to pursuing higher education at Bible colleges like Bob Jones or Liberty U, or to taking courses at their local community college.

    All of which is beside the point. Since Calvary Chapel does, in fact, offer a good selection of UC-certified courses, its students can easily fulfil UC requirements while taking a wide variety of uncertified courses.

    Larry demonstrated the aforementioned problems with reading comprehension when he said, “Now I know that you are crazy — neither quote came from Wikipedia”

    I didn’t say they did. I specifically congratulated you that they did not.

    Larry then speculated without doing his homework, “In this case, I presume that UC argued that it had immunity and that the plaintiffs lacked standing.” and “I have not read all of his arguments, but it is absurd to suggest that he made the arguments that you state above.”

    I see that you haven’t bothered to read either brief in its entirity, because UC did not argue that the plaintiffs lacked standing, and did argue (not successfully, as it turned out) that the issues in this case were similar enough to settled case law that it was not necessary to hold a trial.

    The section of the plaintiff’s complaint in which Wendell Bird complains about UC’s “content-based discrimination” while evaluating coursework is quite absurd, I agree.

    Larry showed that he hasn’t read Otero’s ruling on the motion to dismiss either when he said, ” It is rather early for the judge to make that assessment — there are still discovery, briefs, and maybe courtroom hearings.”

    Otero was basing his skepticism on the demonstrated fact that no other Christian parocial school systems appear to feel that UC discriminates against their coursework on the basis of religion.

    Larry finally demonstrated a Wendell Bird-like talent for obfuscation when he said, “There is a statistical pattern of discrimination — 100% of the students who took too many of the uncertified courses are not eligible for regular admission.”

    If by that you mean, 100% of the students who couldn’t be bothered to sign up for fifteen of the college-prep courses offered at Calvary Chapel are not eligible for general admissions, you’re right. Public school students who don’t take enough college-prep courses also lack eligibility for UC general admissions.

    The only discrimination involved there is merit-based. Just as a job applicants must show that their experience is appropriate to the jobs for which they are applying, students applying to a university must show that they are prepared to do college-level work in particular areas. That rule applies to all students, not just those from Christian schools, and the standards for the required courses are also uniformly applied: they must cover “material generally accepted in the academic community”.

    So how is UC’s holding Calvary Chapel’s courses and students to exactly the same standards as every other applicant discrimination? It’s only impermissiable discrimination if Calvary Chapel and its students are treated differently from public school students.

  90. #90 Flex
    September 6, 2006

    Oh, and Larry, while you’re at it, could you answer my question?

    Why should your assertions about what should be taught in biology class be given more weight than experts in the field of biology?

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  91. #91 Larry Fafarman
    September 6, 2006

    Mary said –

    You keep making up wild fantasies about bans for life out of whole cloth, with no documentation whatsoever.

    Absolutely false. Almost everything I say is documented — and I have the courtesy to provide links for the documentation on my blog.

    Larry then whined, “Why can’t you give links to your sources to save others the time and trouble of searching for those sources?”

    I’ve been telling you for days exactly where to find accurate, up-to-date information on subjects such as UC admissions policies, the certification process, and Calvary Chapel’s certified course offerings: the UC admissions page.

    Even when you have the right keywords, it can take a long time to find the information. That is why I and many other bloggers give links to sources.

    Then Larry ducked the issue once again by asking, “Why would Calvary Chapel offer both Christian and non-Christian versions of science courses?”

    Presumably because they want to stay in business. High-achieving, college-bound students build a high school’s reputation and attract more students.

    This is not ducking the issue, like you so often do. It was a perfectly reasonable question. UC did not claim that students who used the Christian texbooks are poorly qualified to study science in college — my blog noted —

    An article titled “Should Some Students Be Denied College Entrance Because They Used These Textbooks?”, by the Association of Christian Schools International, said the following about a meeting between UC personnel, Christian school personnel, and attorneys on both sides of the issue (page 3):

    When asked whether poor college performance by students from religious schools prompted the rejection of the textbooks, UC representatives responded negatively. They also acknowledged that UC did not have any objective evidence that students from religious schools are deficient in science when they arrive for their freshman year of college …..

    Larry demonstrated the aforementioned problems with reading comprehension when he said, “Now I know that you are crazy — neither quote came from Wikipedia”
    I didn’t say they did. I specifically congratulated you that they did not.

    My error, but I get so exasperated answering your breathtakingly inane comments that I am prone to make errors. When you said “Wikipedia,” I just saw red. I counted a total of 11 links in my two blog articles about the UC lawsuit and not one is a link to Wikipedia. NOT ONE. And I have found Wikipedia to generally be a darn good reference, anyway.

    Larry then speculated without doing his homework, “In this case, I presume that UC argued that it had immunity and that the plaintiffs lacked standing.” and “I have not read all of his arguments, but it is absurd to suggest that he made the arguments that you state above.”

    I see that you haven’t bothered to read either brief in its entirity, because UC did not argue that the plaintiffs lacked standing, and did argue (not successfully, as it turned out) that the issues in this case were similar enough to settled case law that it was not necessary to hold a trial.

    What in the hell are you saying? The “settled case law” was presumably used to support the claims that I presumed — that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that UC has immunity. You have not shown otherwise.

    The section of the plaintiff’s complaint in which Wendell Bird complains about UC’s “content-based discrimination” while evaluating coursework is quite absurd, I agree.

    You agree with whom? I never said that I thought that this argument is absurd.

    Otero was basing his skepticism on the demonstrated fact that no other Christian parocial school systems appear to feel that UC discriminates against their coursework on the basis of religion.

    If Judge Otero said that, then he is even dumber than Judge Jones. How did he explain why the 5,400 member Association of Christian Schools International joined the lawsuit?

    students applying to a university must show that they are prepared to do college-level work in particular areas.

    As I said, UC never argued that students who used the textbooks in question are poorly prepared to study science in college.

  92. #92 Larry Fafarman
    September 6, 2006

    Flex said –

    Oh, and Larry, while you’re at it, could you answer my question? Why should your assertions about what should be taught in biology class be given more weight than experts in the field of biology?

    My argument is not based on what I believe should be taught in biology class (though I personally believe that a knowledge of evolution theory is not necessary in the study of basic biology). My argument is that if the Christian biology textbooks present the core material correctly, they should not be rejected just because they add a religious viewpoint.

  93. #93 Mary
    September 6, 2006

    Larry demonstrated confusion about the definition of “documentation” when he claimed, “Absolutely false. Almost everything I say is documented — and I have the courtesy to provide links for the documentation on my blog.”

    Just about every statement you’ve made in this discussion about UC’s admissions policies and course standards has been both undocumented and false, Larry. Documentation you’ve offered on other issues has usually been from secondary sources, and quite frequently does not support the point you’re trying to make.

    Secondary sources can be a useful way to discover what primary documents exist, and often where to find them. They are not definitive, however, and when a primary source is available, they should not be used.

    As far as UC’s admissions page goes, you can’t miss the detailed information on the a-g requirements and exactly how candidates are evaluated. Information on the certified course offerings at any high school in California is also very easy to find. Like I said, the site’s designed to be used by high school students.

    Larry once again showed lack of reading comprehension when he said, “The “settled case law” was presumably used to support the claims that I presumed — that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that UC has immunity.”

    Ah, but Larry, it isn’t necessary to “presume” anything when primary sources are available. That’s what library/Internet research on a legal case is all about–finding and reading the briefs for both sides, in their entirety, plus the judge’s opinions and rulings. And then looking up any appropriate background information, from the most definitive sources available.

    That way you can discuss the merits of the actual arguments made by both sides, on the basis of the actual facts of the case. You should try it. It’s a lot more fun than sitting around drawing up elaborate–and false–fantasies about what might have been plausably argued, if the facts were more favorable to the side you like than they are.

    I have actually read UC’s motion to dismiss, and therefore I know–not presume, know–that UC never challenged the standing of Calvary Chapel or the six students to bring suit.

    UC instead argued that the settled case law which allows a university broad latitude to select its criteria for admissions applied to the a-g requirements and the standards used in course evaluation, and that both are neutral with respect to religion. Otero, however, had to evaluate the motion for dismissal under the assumption that Calvary Chapel’s charges of arbitrary religious discrimination against Christian institutions were true. He correctly (in my admittedly uneducated opinion) ruled that Calvary Chapel’s complaint was novel enough that settled case law could not decide the issue without first determining the accuracy of the religious discrimination charges.

    Larry then performed a flip-flop more dramatic than anything Clinton ever did by first saying, “I have not read all of his arguments, but it is absurd to suggest that he made the arguments that you state above.” and then claiming, “I never said that I thought that this argument is absurd.”

    You did say the arguments were absurd, Larry. And there we are in complete agreement.

    Larry hasn’t even researched the side of the dispute that he supports, as demonstrated by his asking, “How did he explain why the 5,400 member Association of Christian Schools International joined the lawsuit? ”

    The Association of Christian Schools International is the group of evangelical parochial schools to which Calvary Chapel belongs. They are not a different denomination. No Catholic, Episcopalian, Mormon, Jewish, Moslem, etc. schools have complained of religious discrimination by the UC admissions department.

    And Larry finished by once again repeating, without documentation, a false claim about UC, namely, “UC never argued that students who used the textbooks in question are poorly prepared to study science in college.”

    UC argued just that in their widely quoted position statement on the lawsuit, “UC Policies for High School Course Approval”. I expect you haven’t ever read it, have you?

  94. #94 Flex
    September 6, 2006

    Larry Fafarman wrote (in his second post on this thread), “I assert that evolution theory is not necessary in the study of biology.”

    Then, recently, Larry Fafarman wrote, “My argument is not based on what I believe should be taught in biology class.”

    Okay, good to see that you have changed your mind, or at least the goalposts.

    Now you write, “My argument is that if the Christian biology textbooks present the core material correctly, they should not be rejected just because they add a religious viewpoint.”

    Who judges whether the core material is presented correctly? The biologists or the religious? In this case, it seems that UC judged that the core material was inadequate to meet their requirements for certification.

    Now, I don’t particularly care about the lawsuit. It’s within everyones right to sue for whatever reason they want.

    But your complaint seems a bit strange. Here is a public educational institution, which has more applicants than they can possibly take. This institution must use some criteria to ensure the students who will profit the most from the teaching they provide will be admitted. So the institution publishes guidelines of minimum requirements to be considered for admission. These guidelines, publicly available, stipulate that a certain number of credits of UC certified courses must be taken as a minimum requirement to be considered for admission.

    There doesn’t seem to have been any secrecy here. It seems very open and above board.

    Your sole complaint seems to be that a non-certified course taught at Calvary Chapel should be certified because, in your opinion, the textbooks they use cover the material properly. Even though you admit that you don’t know enough about the material to know if it is covered properly.

    And you wonder why I laugh at your hubris.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  95. #95 Larry Fafarman
    September 6, 2006

    Mary said –

    As far as UC’s admissions page goes, you can’t miss the detailed information on the a-g requirements and exactly how candidates are evaluated.

    I don’t need to know this “detailed information.” All I need to know is that the students who took or who are going to take the science courses that use the rejected textbooks will likely not be eligible for regular UC admission.

    I have actually read UC’s motion to dismiss, and therefore I know–not presume, know–that UC never challenged the standing of Calvary Chapel or the six students to bring suit.

    I don’t need to know the claims that UC made in the motion to dismiss — all I need to know is that the motion was denied. You keep expecting me to spend a lot of time and effort researching things that I believe I do not need to know, and if there is something that you think I should know, you don’t help me by giving a quotation and/or a link. Also, a lot of court documents are stored on PDF files, and PDF files often fail to load on my computer and/or cause my computer to freeze up, so it is often hard for me to get information from court documents (the basic software on my computer was recently restored to factory condition and I recently reloaded the latest version of Adobe Acrobat, version 7, so I don’t know what is causing the problem). You spend so much time studying the trivia that you can’t see the forest for the trees.

    UC instead argued that the settled case law which allows a university broad latitude to select its criteria for admissions applied to the a-g requirements and the standards used in course evaluation, and that both are neutral with respect to religion.

    That argument gets into the lawsuit’s merits, an issue which is not applicable to a motion to dismiss. Under Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a motion to dismiss must fall under one of the followng seven categories:

    Every defense, in law or fact, to a claim for relief in any pleading, whether a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, shall be asserted in the responsive pleading thereto if one is required, except that the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion: (1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, (2) lack of jurisdiction over the person, (3) improper venue, (4) insufficiency of process, (5) insufficiency of service of process, (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, (7) failure to join a party under Rule 19. — from http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/Rule12.htm

    He correctly (in my admittedly uneducated opinion) ruled that Calvary Chapel’s complaint was novel enough that settled case law could not decide the issue without first determining the accuracy of the religious discrimination charges.

    You are right about one thing — your opinion is uneducated.

    You did say the arguments were absurd, Larry.

    No I didn’t. You are putting words in my mouth.

    The Association of Christian Schools International is the group of evangelical parochial schools to which Calvary Chapel belongs. They are not a different denomination. No Catholic, Episcopalian, Mormon, Jewish, Moslem, etc. schools have complained of religious discrimination by the UC admissions department.

    You didn’t mention denominations before, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that Calvary Chapel is not the only religious school that is unhappy with the new UC rules.

    And Larry finished by once again repeating, without documentation, a false claim about UC, namely, “UC never argued that students who used the textbooks in question are poorly prepared to study science in college.”

    I cited a source for this claim, a report of a meeting between UC officials, Christian-school officials, and attorneys.

    UC argued just that in their widely quoted position statement on the lawsuit, “UC Policies for High School Course Approval”. I expect you haven’t ever read it, have you?

    How could I have read it if I did not even know about it? And I was able to google it quickly only because I had the exact title. With just some keywords, a lot of things are very hard to find on the Internet.

    This position statement does not claim that students who took courses using the rejected textbooks are not adequately prepared to study biology at the college level.

    Also, UC did not claim that any of the science in the rejected textbooks is actually wrong.

  96. #96 Larry Fafarnan
    September 6, 2006

    Flex said –

    Larry Fafarman wrote (in his second post on this thread), “I assert that evolution theory is not necessary in the study of biology.”

    Then, recently, Larry Fafarman wrote, “My argument is not based on what I believe should be taught in biology class.”

    Okay, good to see that you have changed your mind, or at least the goalposts.

    There is no change of mind or the goalposts — I am just saying that this is something I believe but I am not using it as an argument here.

    BTW, I believe that a knowledge of evolution theory is helpful for professional biologists because the scientific literature is often written in terms of evolution theory — but otherwise, no.

    There doesn’t seem to have been any secrecy here. It seems very open and above board.

    Something can be very open and above board and still be unconstitutional.

    Your sole complaint seems to be that a non-certified course taught at Calvary Chapel should be certified because, in your opinion, the textbooks they use cover the material properly.

    I have not even read or skimmed the whole textbooks (only Chapter 4 is available on the BJU website and nothing is available on the A Beka Book website) and as you note I have admitted that I am not qualified to judge the contents. All I am saying is that UC has not complained that the books do not present the core science completely and correctly.

    Who judges whether the core material is presented correctly? The biologists or the religious? In this case, it seems that UC judged that the core material was inadequate to meet their requirements for certification.

    UC never said that the core material is inadequate. UC only complained that the textbooks add a religious viewpoint.

    UC does have one point in regard to the BJU textbook — the introduction says that all the science presented is consistent with scripture. But UC does not point out anywhere that the science that is presented is actually wrong.

  97. #97 Mary
    September 6, 2006

    Larry was in full denial mode when he declared, “I don’t need to know this “detailed information.” All I need to know is that the students who took or who are going to take the science courses that use the rejected textbooks will likely not be eligible for regular UC admission.”

    But Larry, the point of the detailed information available on the UC admissions website is that what you claim to “know” is dead wrong. Taking an uncertified course in any subject whatsoever, using any textbook whatsoever, doesn’t affect eligibility for regular admissions. UC ignores uncertified coursework completely when determining eligbility. Only the certified courses taken count.

    What is so difficult for you to understand about this? Do you really believe that a Calvary Chapel student who took a course in Young Earth Creationism would be somehow forbidden from taking two of the seven certified college-prep chemistry, physics, or biology courses offered at the school? By whom?

    Larry’s reading comprehension problems surfaced again as he claimed, “You didn’t mention denominations before, and it doesn’t matter.”

    What I actually said was, “Otero was basing his skepticism on the demonstrated fact that no other Christian parocial school systems appear to feel that UC discriminates against their coursework on the basis of religion.” A “parocial school system” is a group of private schools from a single denomination. ASCI for the evangelical schools, for instance, or the Catholic school system.

    This matters because if UC were systematically discriminating against parochial schools’ coursework because the schools have a religious viewpoint, it ought to be affecting schools from many denominations, rather than just evangelical schools.

    Larry finally got way out in left field when he claimed, “I cited a source for this claim, a report of a meeting between UC officials, Christian-school officials, and attorneys.”

    Larry, you have heard that UC is ten-campus university system employing thousands of faculty and staff, haven’t you? And you do know that a one-paragraph account of even a short meeting can’t possibly cover all that was said? And that even if UC didn’t go into the specifics of why the textbooks were rejected during that one meeting (something we don’t know), that doesn’t prohibit UC from stating its reasons elsewhere? Like perhaps in its position paper on the lawsuit? Which coupled with the detailed explanation on the admissions website of what the admissions committee is looking for in applicants, and why, gives a very clear picture of exactly why UC rejected those courses on the basis of inadequate texts?

  98. #98 Larry Fafarman
    September 6, 2006

    Mary said –
    Taking an uncertified course in any subject whatsoever, using any textbook whatsoever, doesn’t affect eligibility for regular admissions. UC ignores uncertified coursework completely when determining eligbility. Only the certified courses taken count.

    I KNOW that. I never said otherwise. But students who take the uncertified courses are not likely to be able to meet the course requirements for UC regular admission. The plaintiffs are complaining that the denial of certification for those courses was improper, so they are suing. Why is this so hard for you to understand? I am getting tired of your “let them eat cake” arguments.

    Do you really believe that a Calvary Chapel student who took a course in Young Earth Creationism

    Another straw man argument. These are not YEC courses. UC never claimed that they are.

    This matters because if UC were systematically discriminating against parochial schools’ coursework because the schools have a religious viewpoint, it ought to be affecting schools from many denominations, rather than just evangelical schools.

    Wrong. If only one school is affected, that is enough. But hundreds or even thousands of schools may be affected.

    Larry finally got way out in left field when he claimed, “I cited a source for this claim, a report of a meeting between UC officials, Christian-school officials, and attorneys.”
    Larry, you have heard that UC is ten-campus university system employing thousands of faculty and staff, haven’t you?

    I presumed that the UC officials at the meeting were authorized to represent UC in this matter. Sheeesh.

    And you do know that a one-paragraph account of even a short meeting can’t possibly cover all that was said?

    It is all I have available to go by in regard to UC’s answer to the question of whether poor performance by the Christian school graduates prompted rejection of the textbooks. More sheeesh.

    And that even if UC didn’t go into the specifics of why the textbooks were rejected during that one meeting (something we don’t know), that doesn’t prohibit UC from stating its reasons elsewhere? Like perhaps in its position paper on the lawsuit?

    Nothing in that position paper said that students who used the rejected textbooks are inadequately prepared to study biology at the college level. Still more sheeesh.

    Anyway, it is clear that I am wasting my time here with this asinine discussion. I said some time ago that I was going to quit this discussion, and I should have done it then. Goodbye.

  99. #99 Mary
    September 6, 2006

    Larry showed he is mathematically challenged when he claimed, “But students who take the uncertified courses are not likely to be able to meet the course requirements for UC regular admission.”

    Whyever not? As I’ve pointed out, a student can easily fit in a dozen or more uncertified courses and still be a top candidate for UC general admissions.

    Larry was grasping at straws when he said, “These are not YEC courses. UC never claimed that they are.”

    The textbook has a chapter explicitly teaching young earth creationism, as you’ve pointed out, and the preface and introduction are pretty clear that the purpose of the rest of the text is to teach students to reject any scientific findings that might make them less receptive to that core chapter. If it quacks like a duck…

    UC’s claim is that the textbook is unsuitable as a primary text for the sort of rigorous, college-prep biology class that it wants incoming freshmen to have taken. It’s the two of us who agree that Young Earth Creationism is a prominant feature of the course.

    Larry seemed to be terminally confused when he said, “It is all I have available to go by in regard to UC’s answer to the question of whether poor performance by the Christian school graduates prompted rejection of the textbooks.”

    This is a total non sequitur. We were discussing why UC found the textbooks unacceptable. And since the vast majority of the Christian school graduates attending UC got in through general admissions after taking the appropriate certified courses, tracking their performance would reveal nothing about what you seem to be asking, which is whether students who have taken the appropriate coursework do better than those who do not.

    I ask again: why do you feel that it is not fair for UC to hold Christian school students and courses to exactly the same standards as public school students and courses?

  100. #100 Larry Fafarman
    September 6, 2006

    I’m outta here.

  101. #101 Mary
    September 7, 2006

    Hmm, I guess Larry doesn’t have a good reason why UC should make a special exception to its course requirements for Christian schools and their students. I’m not surprised; Wendell Bird’s attempt was pretty lame, too.

    It’s been fun.

  102. #102 Larry Fafarman
    September 7, 2006

    Mary said –

    Hmm, I guess Larry doesn’t have a good reason why UC should make a special exception to its course requirements for Christian schools and their students.

    No, you are the one who doesn’t have a good reason why UC should not make an exception for Christian schools. And it is not a “special” exception — it is just the same exception that UC has granted other groups with particular viewpoints.

    It’s been fun.

    It has not been fun for me. It has been boring and a waste of time.

  103. #103 Josh
    September 7, 2006

    “I’m outta here.”

    Hallelujah!

    And then:

    “it is just the same exception that UC has granted other groups with particular viewpoints.”

    Like?

    Buried somewhere in the silliness is this passage:

    “You keep expecting me to spend a lot of time and effort researching things that I believe I do not need to know,”

    Yeah, horrors. You keep spouting off about things you don’t know enough about. You haven’t read the textbooks, so you don’t know that they present good science. Nor are you well enough informed about the science to tell in the first place. Heck, your reading skills seem to leave you ill-equipped to interpret what you were reading anyway.

    But you are certain that UC will lose. Why? Because they didn’t win the motion to dismiss. Why bother with trials at all?

  104. #104 Mary
    September 7, 2006

    Larry pulled another whopper out of thin air when he said, “And it is not a “special” exception — it is just the same exception that UC has granted other groups with particular viewpoints.”

    What other groups would those be? The ones you wish were out there, because otherwise Calvary Chapel’s case doesn’t look so good?

    The section of the UC admissions page that deals with course approval makes no exceptions in its standards for any school. All courses must be of sufficient rigor and reflect “material generally accepted in the academic community.” Unless you mean unaccredited and home schools, which are not allowed to participate in the certification process at all, and whose students are only allowed to apply by special admissions?

    Josh expressed bewilderment at Larry’s failure to see the weakness of Calvary Chapel’s case when he asked, “But you are certain that UC will lose. Why? Because they didn’t win the motion to dismiss. Why bother with trials at all?”

    Josh, I expect Larry got his initial information from some of the conservative religious blogs, which in turn got it from Calvary Chapel’s press release. At least, the ridiculous notion that UC would ban a student for life for using the wrong textbook was prominant on a lot of homeschool blogs, as was the idea that students had to choose between taking the uncertified courses and attending UC.

    So it appears that Larry reads well enough, as long as it’s something that agrees with his preconceptions.

  105. #105 Larry Fafarman
    September 8, 2006

    I said that I was leaving, but I will just restrict myself to short answers so I do not have to waste a lot of time here.

    Josh said,

    You haven’t read the textbooks, so you don’t know that they present good science.

    A lot of people who condemn the textbooks have not read them. There is no need to read them because UC does not say the science is bad but only says that the religious viewpoint is bad.

    Nor are you well enough informed about the science to tell in the first place.

    I’ll bet that I know as much or more about science than you do except in biology. I’ll bet that I can run circles around you in physics.

  106. #106 Larry Fafarman
    September 8, 2006

    Mary said –

    The section of the UC admissions page that deals with course approval makes no exceptions in its standards for any school. All courses must be of sufficient rigor and reflect “material generally accepted in the academic community.”

    Charles Haynes said in the Decatur Daily,

    Until we know all of the facts behind UC’s decision-making, it’s hard to sort out why some of these Calvary courses were rejected. But past approval of courses with a viewpoint such as “Feminist Issues throughout U.S. History” lends credence to ACSI’s contention that the university is targeting textbooks and courses with an evangelical perspective. If true (and that’s what trials are for), that would be a form of viewpoint discrimination prohibited by the First Amendment.

  107. #107 Josh
    September 8, 2006

    Too bad these aren’t physics textbooks. Since they are biology books, it doesn’t matter that I expect I’d best you in the rest of the sciences, too.

  108. #108 Flex
    September 8, 2006

    Of course, Larry must have done the five minutes of research to find this position paper:
    http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/factsheets/courseapproval.pdf#search=%22UC%20Calvary%22

    And found the following statement directly addressing the textbooks in question:

    The University has declined to approve courses that use as their primary source the books named in the case, not because they have religious content, but because they fail to meet the University’s standards for effectively teaching the required subject matter.

    and maybe this one:

    Had the courses at issue used these textbooks as supplementary, rather than primary, texts, it is likely they would have been approved.

    However, Larry wrote, apparently without reading anything by UC, “UC never said that the core material is inadequate. UC only complained that the textbooks add a religious viewpoint.”

    So, Larry, your claim that the only reason UC didn’t approve the course because of religious reasons is bunk. The texts did not meet the UC standards for science.

    And before you claim that this is a cover-up, let’s find another course the UC has not accepted. How about this one?

    In one case, a literature course was rejected because the use of an anthology as the only textbook was in direct conflict with UC’s policy that students read assigned works in their entirety, meaning anthologies may not be the only texts required in literature courses.

    Let’s try a quote from Larry again, “All I am saying is that UC has not complained that the books do not present the core science completely and correctly.”

    Wrong. UC has publicly stated that the books do not present the core science to the level UC requires in an approved college prepatory course. Read the above block-quotes from their position paper again.

    Oh, and one more thought, from the same paper, “More than 80 percent of courses submitted to UC are approved.” Which means that about 20% are not approved. That means around 1 in every 5 courses submitted for approval by UC fail to get approval. It doesn’t appear that Calvary Chapel is being singled out for special treatment.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  109. #109 Mary
    September 8, 2006

    So, Larry, you are still taking a quotation from a guy who admits that he, like you, has done no background reasearch beyond the ASCI press release? And you’re offering it as definitive evidence that UC’s policies, which the guy hasn’t read any more than you have, are disciminitory? I guess you still haven’t gotten the hang of this research business.

    The a-g requirements are called a-g requirements in the first place because certified courses come under seven categories, grouped loosely by subject matter. There are different requirements for each category. English courses must read some complete novels, for instance, while science courses must include a hands-on lab.

    Courses in the “g” category, electives, may have a narrower focus and teach from a particular viewpoint, as long as that viewpoint is academically sound. I expect that the Feminist History course was approved for this category, not as a history course. On the other hand, it appears that one of the other courses ASCI cites, “Western Civilization: the Jewish Experience” is in fact a standard Western History course, using a standard primary text, with supplimentary material added. It fits UC rules for courses in the history/social science category, and was approved as such. As Flex pointed out, UC says that the Calvary Chapel biology course would probably have been approved in the science category if they had taken the same approach: used a standard primary text to teach the biology and the creationist text in a short supplimentary unit on creationism.

    I notice that you still haven’t explained why it is discrimination for UC to hold religious school students and coursework to exactly the same standards to which it holds public school students. All you’ve done so far is speculate that taking UC-approved college-prep coursework might not allow a Calvary Chapel student to take all the uncertified electives he or she might take if there were no requirements for UC. However, public school students also take uncertified electives, and also must fit such courses in around the required coursework if they wish to attend UC.

    So where’s the discrimination?

  110. #110 Larry Fafarman
    September 8, 2006

    Flex said,

    And found the following statement directly addressing the textbooks in question:

    The University has declined to approve courses that use as their primary source the books named in the case, not because they have religious content, but because they fail to meet the University’s standards for effectively teaching the required subject matter.

    But other statements by UC show that the textbooks’ religious content was a factor in their rejection:

    A description of a 2004 meeting between UC personnel, Christian school personnel, and attorneys from both sides said the following:

    As the discussion continued about the biology books, it became evident that they were rejected because they appeared to state the perspective that the Bible is revelation and along with faith is more authoritative than the observations of science, especially if there were a conflict over a “factual scientific issue.” — from “Should Some Students Be Denied College Entrance Because They Used These Textbooks?”, page 3

    The lawsuit’s official complaint says that the UC rejected high-school biology textbooks from two Christian-textbook publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, on the basis of “both the ‘way in which these texts address the topics of evolution and creationism’ and ‘their general approach to science’ in relation to the Bible.” (page 23 of the complaint).

    Anyway, UC has to be specific about describing any scientific errors in the textbooks.

    And before you claim that this is a cover-up, let’s find another course the UC has not accepted. How about this one?

    In one case, a literature course was rejected because the use of an anthology as the only textbook was in direct conflict with UC’s policy that students read assigned works in their entirety, meaning anthologies may not be the only texts required in literature courses.

    Has nothing to do with the science courses.

    That means around 1 in every 5 courses submitted for approval by UC fail to get approval.

    Irrelevant.

  111. #111 Mary
    September 8, 2006

    Larry complained, “Anyway, UC has to be specific about describing any scientific errors in the textbooks.”

    UC pointed out at least one: one book says scientific theories and data must be rejected out of hand if they contrast with a literal interpretation of the Bible. That is a scientific error of stupendous magintude, which in itself is enough to make the book unsuitable as a primary text.

    UC is not under any obligation to offer a page-by-page critique of the books, if that’s what you’re after. All they have to do is determine whether or not the books meet UC’s objective standards for a college-prep course. In this case, they flunked because of “material not generally accepted in the academic community.”

    According to the UC guidelines–I don’t suppose you’ve finally gotten around to reading them, have you?– supplimentary texts can contain alternative viewpoints, including religious viewpoints, but primary texts must present only mainstream findings in a mainstream fashion.

    I don’t think there’s any question that creationism is not a mainstream scientific theory.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for you to tell me why it’s unfair of UC to judge Calvary Chapel’s students and courses by exactly the same standards used to judge public school students and courses.

  112. #112 Josh
    September 8, 2006

    Larry, books that “state the perspective that the Bible is revelation and along with faith is more authoritative than the observations of science” are misrepresenting science. These books teach bad science, and don’t belong as the sole texts in a class meant to teach science. That sort of discussion belongs elsewhere.

  113. #113 Larry Fafarman
    September 8, 2006

    Mary said,

    So, Larry, you are still taking a quotation from a guy who admits that he, like you, has done no background reasearch beyond the ASCI press release? And you’re offering it as definitive evidence that UC’s policies, which the guy hasn’t read any more than you have, are disciminitory?

    Charles Haynes said, “Until we know all of the facts behind UC’s decision-making, it’s hard to sort out why some of these Calvary courses were rejected.” He is just taking a wait-and-see attitude. It is possible that some of UC’s defenses have not even been made public yet. He is just saying that based on what he knows now, it looks like UC may have a weak case.

    To judge the textbooks for myself I would have to buy them all, something that I am not going to do.

  114. #114 Larry Fafarman
    September 8, 2006

    Mary said –
    . . . . one book says scientific theories and data must be rejected out of hand if they contrast with a literal interpretation of the Bible. That is a scientific error of stupendous magintude, which in itself is enough to make the book unsuitable as a primary text.

    Josh agreed –

    Larry, books that “state the perspective that the Bible is revelation and along with faith is more authoritative than the observations of science” are misrepresenting science. These books teach bad science, and don’t belong as the sole texts in a class meant to teach science.

    If these Christian school graduates later become professional biologists and/or major in biology in college, the attitude that the Bible comes first could later cause them problems and they may have to change that attitude (assuming that they even adopted this attitude in the first place). But they can cross that bridge when they come to it. Right now the important question is whether or not they learned the core material correctly.

  115. #115 Dave S.
    September 9, 2006

    Larry Says:

    Right now the important question is whether or not they learned the core material correctly.

    And how would we (and by ‘we’ I mean the university) determine that? If the students could recite the textbooks in question word-for-word in their entirety, would that show that they knew the “core material”? Should universities require entry exams on every subject before letting new students take them?

  116. #116 Larry Fafarman
    September 9, 2006

    Dave S. said —

    Should universities require entry exams on every subject before letting new students take them?

    An article titled “Should Some Students Be Denied College Entrance Because They Used These Textbooks?”, by the Association of Christian Schools International, said the following about a meeting between UC personnel, Christian school personnel, and attorneys on both sides of the issue (page 3):

    When asked whether poor college performance by students from religious schools prompted the rejection of the textbooks, UC representatives responded negatively. They also acknowledged that UC did not have any objective evidence that students from religious schools are deficient in science when they arrive for their freshman year of college …..

    See? I have an answer for everything.

    BTW, the SAT Exam offers (or at least once did) achievenment tests in various subjects.

  117. #117 Mary
    September 9, 2006

    Larry finally said something which which I can fully agree, to wit, “Right now the important question is whether or not they learned the core material correctly.”

    The most basic core principle of all the sciences is that science builds its data and the theoretical structure that explains them without appealing to supernatural causes, faith, revelation, or ancient religious texts. If a scientist’s long-cherished religious beliefs contradict what the data is saying, that scientist must set aside her religious beliefs and examine the data objectively.

    This is the exact opposite of what the creationist books teach, and so they can not properly be referred to as textbooks in science at all. Add to that the chapter which presents scientifically inaccurate Bible stories as valid scientific findings, and what you’ve got is a textbook in anti-science.

    Why should a top secular university famous for its contributions to biological research accept an anti-science religious tract as appropriate for a college-prep biology class?

    Dave S. asked, “Should universities require entry exams on every subject before letting new students take them?”

    This is pretty much what the a-g certified coursework is designed to do. UC determines that a particular course covers an area in which it wants students to be prepared, in appropriate depth. Then it can use the student’s grade in that class to determine whether or not the student learned the important material.

    To my mind, this is a much better situation for everyone than expecting students to take a battery of SAT subject tests. A year-long course allows the student to be tested on a broader range of material, which is good for UC, and at the same time it gives the student a better chance to demonstrate proficiency because one “off” day won’t ruin the grade.

    The system only works, though, if the content of the course really does allow UC to use the applicant’s grade as a demonstration of proficiency in the material.

    Larry displayed a lack of understanding of the philosophy behind the sort of liberal arts education that UC provides (and which is explained in detail on that UC admissions web site he refuses to visit) when he maintained, “If these Christian school graduates later become professional biologists and/or major in biology in college, the attitude that the Bible comes first could later cause them problems and they may have to change that attitude (assuming that they even adopted this attitude in the first place).”

    It is arguably more important for the student who is not going to become a biologist to have a high school class that teaches science properly, including the core principle that scientific research does not rely on revelation, faith, the Bible, or any supernatural explanations. A student who majors in biology–at least at a reputable university–will have ample opportunity to learn how science works. A student whose sole exposure to science is one high school class and perhaps one introductory college-level class won’t.

    Larry quipped, “See? I have an answer for everything.”

    No you don’t, Larry. You still haven’t explained why it’s not fair for UC to judge Calvary Chapel students and courses by exactly the same standards it uses to judge public school students and courses.

  118. #118 Josh
    September 9, 2006

    One thing people tend not to understand is that science is not an encyclopedia. Memorizing a bunch of facts isn’t science. Science is a process, and you aren’t teaching an adequate science class if you aren’t teaching the process correctly. What Larry is describing above is a textbook that misrepresents science in the most fundamental way possible.

    It is inadequate and his defense is laughable. In a highly technical age, we need everyone to have adequate understanding of the scientific process, not just people who choose a scientific career. Non-scientists must still assess the effectiveness of medical treatments, must still make choices at the ballot box or in the grocery store, and understanding the scientific process is important to all of those.

    That is the core material of any science class. And the textbook doesn’t cover it.

  119. #119 Larry Fafarman
    September 9, 2006

    Josh said –

    In a highly technical age, we need everyone to have adequate understanding of the scientific process, not just people who choose a scientific career. Non-scientists must still assess the effectiveness of medical treatments, must still make choices at the ballot box or in the grocery store, and understanding the scientific process is important to all of those.

    So far as I know, UC has not provided evidence that these Christian school students do not have an understanding of the scientific process — UC has only provided evidence that these students have been taught that this process is wrong if it leads to a result that conflicts with the bible.

    And shouldn’t UC see this as an opportunity to straighten out these misguided people? LOL

    Anyway, we can’t control the way that people think. For example, I think that people who oppose stem-cell research are nuts, but no amount of correct science education could have changed their thinking.

    We shall see what the courts decide. As Thomas More said in the play “A Man for All Seasons,” “the world must construe according to its wits. This court must construe according to the law.”

  120. #120 Mary
    September 9, 2006

    Larry obfuscated, ” So far as I know, UC has not provided evidence that these Christian school students do not have an understanding of the scientific process.”

    No, all UC has is evidence that one particular course offered at this school would not have taught the scientific process accurately. Which is why even an A in that one particular course would not have provided UC with evidence that a student knows how science works.

    Calvary Chapel students who want to apply to UC by general admissions must demonstrate, among other things, that they understand some of the basics of the scientific process. They can do this by getting an A or B in one of the seven science courses offered at their school which were judged to teach it properly.

    Public school students wanting to apply to UC by general admissions must demonstrate exactly the same knowledge in exactly the same fashion, by taking at least two of the certified science courses at _their_ school.

    Where’s the discrimination? I’m still waiting for you to answer that question.

    Larry then asked flippantly, “And shouldn’t UC see this as an opportunity to straighten out these misguided people?

    UC is the top tier of a three-tier higher education system. It doesn’t offer remedial classes. Nor can a professor who’s teaching a big introductory class spare the time to spoon-feed the material to an ill-prepared student. That’s why UC demands that incoming students demonstrate a good grasp of the basics: a student who doesn’t is going to have a very difficult time passing a typical UC freshman courseload.

    Some of them might manage to beat the odds, of course. But why should UC give an ill-prepared student a chance, when to do so means turning away a student who is demonstrably more qualified? If the ill-prepared student does have the aptitude for college-level work, he or she can demonstrate that by making up the deficiencies at a lower-tier institution and then transferring to UC.

  121. #121 Larry Fafarman
    September 9, 2006

    Mary said –

    No, all UC has is evidence that one particular course offered at this school would not have taught the scientific process accurately.

    Well, we don’t know that. As I said, maybe the students were taught the scientific method and were then told that it does not apply if the results conflict with the bible.

    Anyway, the scientific method can be taught to them in a few minutes. For this they should be denied admission to college?

  122. #122 Mary
    September 9, 2006

    Larry speculated without offering evidence, “Well, we don’t know that. As I said, maybe the students were taught the scientific method and were then told that it does not apply if the results conflict with the bible.”

    Maybe they would have been. On the other hand, maybe they wouldn’t have been.

    If the primary textbook for the class taught that religious doctrine trumps empirically-based scientific conclusions, the class wasn’t a science class. Particularly when the same primary text has a chapter presenting Bible stories as legitimate science. The preface for the BJU text makes clear that the book presents no science which might challenge this religious indoctrination.

    UC must decide whether or not to certify thousands of courses each year. They can’t send observers to every classroom, and most schools asking for certification want the decision to be made before the class is offered anyway, so that students know whether it will count. So, UC bases its decisions on the instructional materials such as lesson plans, proposed laboratory exercises and textbooks.

    Apparently the course’s application for certification omitted the lesson plan where the teacher is to tell the students that much of the material in their “science” textbook is unscientific nonsense.

    Larry then showed that he is pedogogically challenged when he asserted, “Anyway, the scientific method can be taught to them in a few minutes.”

    No, it can’t. Particularly not if the student is accustomed to being rewarded for proposing supernatural causes for natural events. It takes time and practice to learn skepticism. It takes more time to understand why rejecting supernatural causes allows science to find answers that are both more accurate and less certain than those provided by religion.

    It’s hard enough to learn a new way of thinking when you have an hour a day to practice it. A few minutes of explanation followed by a year-long disclalimer isn’t adequate.

    Larry apparently still hasn’t read up on UC’s actual admissions policy, because he once more put forth his claim, “For this they should be denied admission to college?”

    No student needs to fear being denied admission to UC because they took a course in creationism. UC ignores all religious and nonreligious uncertified classes when evaluating a student’s transcript.

    A student does have to demonstrate that he or she knows how science works, by taking two certified science classes with primary texts that teach the scientific method and its findings accurately and without disclaimers. Or by scoring a high grade on the SATII subject test, although a student who has no classroom science time would be at a disadvantage compared with equally qualified applicants who have taken such coursework.

    You know this, because I’ve explained it to you before. I’ve told you where I got the information, so that you could look it up yourself if you don’t want to take my word for it. You haven’t bothered to do so, nor have you explained why you think your view of UC’s policies is more accurate than UC’s view.

    That you continue to advance your bogus “UC intended to deny admissions to students who took the creationist course” hypothesis shows that you, at least, never learned an important principle of doing science: if the data conflict with your pet idea, it’s your idea that’s wrong. Toss it out and find a new one that fits the data.

    Don’t you think it’s time to toss out that “ban for life” bit? Or at least to stop embarassing yourself by repeating it over and over to people who know what UC’s real policy is?

  123. #123 Albatrossity
    September 9, 2006

    Who can read this argument by Larry

    “So far as I know, UC has not provided evidence that these Christian school students do not have an understanding of the scientific process — UC has only provided evidence that these students have been taught that this process is wrong if it leads to a result that conflicts with the bible.”

    and refrain from beating their head on the table?

    Science allows us to use our senses and our brain to look at the evidence. Once we do that, if the evidence conflicts with the bible (or any other sacred writ), the response of a scientist (or a student learning the scientific method) is to go with the facts, and ignore the religious revelations.

    No less a theological authority than Thomas Aquinas understood this, in the 13th centuty no less. Why are we still debating this point? Does Larry truly believe that one’s religion can require you to ignore facts? If that is what those students were taught in their “science” classes, the UC system is correct to argue that their science education is woefully inadequate.

  124. #124 Larry Fafarman
    September 10, 2006

    Mary,

    The BJU biology textbooks’ chapter on the “History of Life” covers only about 40 pages in a two-volume set of about 1100 pages. This chapter has sections on both biological evolution and biblical creationism. UC is making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Also, Charles Haynes said in the Decatur Daily op-ed,

    This high-profile fight over courses taught in Christian schools has already sent a chilling message to other religious schools. They worry that if these courses can be rejected, what’s next? After all, most subjects in religious schools are taught from a faith perspective and may well include religious viewpoints of science, literature or history that the university could deem not “generally accepted” in the secular scientific and educational communities.

    Mary said —
    A student does have to demonstrate that he or she knows how science works, by taking two certified science classes with primary texts that teach the scientific method and its findings accurately and without disclaimers. Or by scoring a high grade on the SATII subject test,

    I could find nothing in the regular admission requirements that allows a good score on a subject test to be substituted for one of the course requirements. Also, requiring such a test of the Christian school students would be justified only if it were shown that their courses do not cover all of the core material (an added religious viewpoint doesn’t count).

    Also, you are wrong in expecting me to do research to support your position — I don’t expect you to do research to support my position.

  125. #125 Josh
    September 10, 2006

    “maybe the students were taught the scientific method and were then told that it does not apply if the results conflict with the bible.”

    In which case they were not taught how the scientific method works. They were lied to.

    “Anyway, the scientific method can be taught to them in a few minutes.”

    No, no, no. The scientific method is one of the hardest things to get people to appreciate.

    “Also, you are wrong in expecting me to do research to support your position — I don’t expect you to do research to support my position.”

    It would be nice if you did research in support of your own though.

  126. #126 Mary
    September 10, 2006

    Larry complained, “The BJU biology textbooks’ chapter on the “History of Life” covers only about 40 pages in a two-volume set of about 1100 pages. This chapter has sections on both biological evolution and biblical creationism. UC is making a mountain out of a molehill.”

    The primary text for a UC-certified course must present mainstream material in a mainstream, secular fashion, and with sufficient rigor. A religious viewpoint can be added, but only in the supplimental materials. Not in the primary text.

    Creationism is not mainstream science. It’s not science at all. The approach to science in the book mangles it beyond recognition for the sake of religious advocacy.

    There is no way that the BJU and A. Beka books qualify as primary texts for a certified science class by UC guidelines. So the class was rejected for having an inadequate text, just like the English class that only read short exceprts instead of complete works, or the history class that taught bogus history. I bet UC would also reject a World History and Geography course if the primary text claimed that the earth was flat.

    What’s unfair about this? The course Calvary Chapel wanted to teach from the BJU text was one of religious advocacy, which sought to instruct students in the reasons why their faith rejects evolution. Those reasons aren’t scientific or academic, so why in the world would a secular university like UC accept such a class as one which teaches academic science?

    You do realize, don’t you, that it’s the high school which has the burden of proof during the certification process? UC has a list of areas that it wants incoming freshmen to have studied at a particular level. The high school is petitioning UC to certify that a particular course covers one of these areas in an appropriate fashion. If it provides UC with adequate evidence to evaluate the petition, UC will examine that evidence and make a decision. To avoid wasting everybody’s time, UC has set up extensive guidelines to tell high schools exactly what it’s looking for in each category.

    If whoever submitted those four courses to UC on Calvary Chapel’s behalf had bothered to read those guidelines, the courses would probably never have been submitted.

    As far as Charles Haynes goes, we’ve been over that before, too. He appears to have been basing his op-ed piece on ASCI’s original press release, which was long on wild accusations of large-scale persecution and very short on facts. He certainly didn’t bother to look up UC’s actual policies, or he would not have been so easily persuaded.

    Instead, he took the easy way out and pointed out that if UC really were systematically discriminating against Christian school students because of the religious viewpoints expressed at their schools (rather than because of poor academic quality), it would be unconstitutional.

    That’s the equivalent of saying that if the earth really was flat, the flat earthers would be right. It’s a meaningless statement. The issue is whether or not UC’s policy that primary texts for certified college-prep courses meet secular standards for rigor and accuracy constitutes unconstitutional discrimination, or whether UC’s secular interest in determining whether applicants are qualified is sufficient to justify requiring that prospective students demonstrate that they’re educated in something besides their own religion.

    Larry once again showed complete lack of understanding of the word “research” when he complained, “Also, you are wrong in expecting me to do research to support your position — I don’t expect you to do research to support my position.”

    In a debate, when I dispute your facts, I tell you where I get my information. You then have three choices: you can take my word that my information is correct and yours isn’t, you can show that your information comes from a more definitive source, or you can go back to my source and show how I have misread or misinterpreted the information there.

    In this case, I have offered information on UC’s policies as actually published by UC, and you are trying to oppose it with a poorly researched op-ed piece based on a highly inflammatory and not particularly accurate press release. I think there’s no question that my source is more definitive than yours, and so you’re left with either conceeding that my information is better than yours, or showing how I’ve misread or misinterpreted the information on UC’s policies.

    If you can figure out a way to do that without actually reading UC’s policies, you will have discovered the most exciting advance in education since the invention of the alphabet.

    Oh, and Larry…you still haven’t explained why it’s unfair for UC to judge Christian school courses and students by exactly the same standards used to judge public school courses and students.

  127. #127 Larry Fafarman
    September 10, 2006

    Josh said,

    “maybe the students were taught the scientific method and were then told that it does not apply if the results conflict with the bible.”

    In which case they were not taught how the scientific method works. They were lied to.

    What’s the difference between being lied to inside of science class and being lied to outside of science class? You may see a big difference, but I don’t.

    Mary said,

    The primary text for a UC-certified course must present mainstream material in a mainstream, secular fashion, and with sufficient rigor. A religious viewpoint can be added, but only in the supplimental materials. Not in the primary text.

    You are really getting nitpicking. What is to prevent UC from rejecting a course because the supplemental material presents a religious viewpoint?

    .. you still haven’t explained why it’s unfair for UC to judge Christian school courses and students by exactly the same standards used to judge public school courses and students.

    – because the standards should be based on whether or not the students learn the core material correctly regardless of whether a religious viewpoint is added.

  128. #128 Albatrossity
    September 10, 2006

    Larry opined

    “– because the standards should be based on whether or not the students learn the core material correctly regardless of whether a religious viewpoint is added.”

    Again, that is exactly the point. If they were taught that they have to ignore facts and evidence which conflict with their religious beliefs, they have not learned the “core material” of a science course correctly. They have not been taught the scientific method, and no amount of obfuscation will allow you to hide the fact that you have already admitted this.

  129. #129 Josh
    September 10, 2006

    I’ll just say that Albatrossity is exactly right. This is the core material, and it is obviously inadequate. Not because it adds a religious perspective, but because it substitutes a religious perspective for core scientific content.

    I’ll also echo Mary’s worthy question about “why it’s unfair for UC to judge Christian school courses and students by exactly the same standards used to judge public school courses and students.”

  130. #130 Mary
    September 10, 2006

    Larry asked Josh, “What’s the difference between being lied to inside of science class and being lied to outside of science class? You may see a big difference, but I don’t.”

    The difference is that UC doesn’t run a quality-control check on any courses that have not been proposed by the high school as possibly filling one of the a-g requirements. It might well have some interesting things to say about Calvary Chapel’s other offerings if it did, but that’s beside the point.

    Larry complained, “You are really getting nitpicking.”

    No, I am really not, and UC is not. Alternative religious viewpoints taught using supplimentary materials allow the student to clearly distinguish what materials are standard science and what materials are religious dogma. A primary text that teaches alternative viewpoints gives students the impression that the alternative viewpoint is a standard one. In addition, books that advocate viewpoints rejected as bogus by the vast majority of people working in the field usually make their case by leaving out inconvenient information that might lead a reader to agree with the mainstream view. The available exceprts from the BJU text appear to have taken this approach.

    I suspect that it’s precisely this opportunity for confusion that led Calvary Chapel to select the disputed texts for the course in the first place. If the purpose of the course is indeed religious advocacy rather than science instruction, as appears to be the case, than using a pimary text which teaches sound science would be counterproductive. There’s too much danger that the students might notice that creationism is crackpot science.

    Then Larry professed ignorance of how a bureaucracy works when he wonderd, “What is to prevent UC from rejecting a course because the supplemental material presents a religious viewpoint?”

    What prevents UC from doing so is the same policy that requires UC to reject courses which have religious advocacy as their primary purpose. You know, the policy that you keep refusing to read? The one that’s explained in detail on the UC admssions page?

    The guidelines for course evaluation listed there are exactly the same guidelines used by the actual people doing the course evaluations. There are no hidden surprises waiting to trip up unwary applicants, and the decisions to accept or reject a course are not arbitrary.

  131. #131 Larry Fafarman
    September 10, 2006

    Josh said,

    I’ll just say that Albatrossity is exactly right. This is the core material, and it is obviously inadequate. Not because it adds a religious perspective, but because it substitutes a religious perspective for core scientific content.

    So far as I can see, the issue is not that the textbooks “substitute” religious perspective for core scientific content — the issue is that the textbooks add religious perspective to core scientific content. The courts may very well agree that it is OK to add religious perspective so long as the core science is completely and correctly taught.

    Mary said,
    In addition, books that advocate viewpoints rejected as bogus by the vast majority of people working in the field usually make their case by leaving out inconvenient information that might lead a reader to agree with the mainstream view.

    UC has not specified what “inconvenient information” was left out.

    Darwinists were able to use the church-state separation issue to get creationism and ID banned from public-school science classes — but it won’t be so easy in the case of religious-school science classes.

  132. #132 Albatrossity
    September 10, 2006

    Larry red-herringed:

    “The courts may very well agree that it is OK to add religious perspective so long as the core science is completely and correctly taught.”

    But not in this case, since, by his own admission, the core science is neither completely nor correctly taught. The “science” course in question teaches that facts and evidence should be ignored when they conflict with doctrine; this “science” is neither complete nor correct. If other “religious-school science classes” do manage to teach the scientific method properly, then perhaps Larry’s prophesy will be fulfilled. But not this time…

  133. #133 Larry Fafarman
    September 10, 2006

    Albatrossity said,
    The “science” course in question teaches that facts and evidence should be ignored when they conflict with doctrine

    But that is a religious viewpoint, not science. What I am asking is whether the science is taught correctly.

    In fact, the BJU textbook appears to keep the scientific and religious viewpoints separate. In the chapter titled “History of Life,” there are separate sections with the titles “A Biblical Viewpoint,” “Biblical Creationism,” and “Biological Evolution.”

  134. #134 Albatrossity
    September 11, 2006

    Larry

    The organization of the book chapters is irrelevant. If these kids are taught some deviant version of the scientific method (whether in that chapter or another one), the answer to your question is “No, the science has not been taught correctly.” Since you yourself agree that this particular deviant version of the scientific method is “a regligious viewpoint, not science”, that admission alone should end this discussion.

  135. #135 Dave S.
    September 11, 2006

    Albatrossity says:

    The organization of the book chapters is irrelevant. If these kids are taught some deviant version of the scientific method (whether in that chapter or another one), the answer to your question is “No, the science has not been taught correctly.”

    Indeed. The scientific method is not just a few lines of text that students should be required to memorize and then to regurgitate when asked – then to be promptly ignored thereafter. It’s the very basis of understanding science itself. To not be taught science using that as a basis, but to exclaim that when the findings of science conflict with faith that the science will be rejected, is the very antithesis of a good scientific education.

    Since you yourself agree that this particular deviant version of the scientific method is “a regligious viewpoint, not science”, that admission alone should end this discussion.

    Should for most people, but for Larry it probably won’t.

  136. #136 Flex
    September 11, 2006

    Larry wrote:

    The lawsuit’s official complaint says that the UC rejected high-school biology textbooks from two Christian-textbook publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, on the basis of “both the ‘way in which these texts address the topics of evolution and creationism’ and ‘their general approach to science’ in relation to the Bible.” (page 23 of the complaint).

    Let’s see, you wouldn’t suspect the lawyers suing UC to stress this point in their complaint would you? After all, this is the point of contention in the case. In the same vein, UC is going to put their position as having rejected the course due to the lack of science content. Understood.

    However, your claim was that UC indictated that they rejected the course solely because of the religious nature, not because of inadequate science. A very short web search shows that UC does claim to have refused accreditation because of the poor science.

    Larry then wrote, “Anyway, UC has to be specific about describing any scientific errors in the textbooks.”

    Why? Maybe there are so many errors in the texts that it is not worth their while to list them individually. Further, to whom should this list of errors be submitted? Larry Farafman? Calvary Chapel? How do you know they didn’t, and why would you think they need to now that a lawsuit has been filed?

    I wrote, “That means around 1 in every 5 courses submitted for approval by UC fail to get approval.”

    To which Larry replied, “Irrelevant.”

    Larry is once again revealing his lack of reading comprehension, or deliberatly trying to miss-understand my point. For my next sentance reads “It doesn’t appear that Calvary Chapel is being singled out for special treatment.”

    As I understood it, one of your claims from way, way, back was that UC was singling out Calvary Chapel for special treatment in rejecting their application to get this course approved. Which makes my point relevant. UC is not singling out Calvary Chapel, or religion, if almost 20% of courses applying for approval are rejected.

    But I really love this comment from Larry, “Darwinists were able to use the church-state separation issue to get creationism and ID banned from public-school science classes — but it won’t be so easy in the case of religious-school science classes.”

    No one is trying to ban creationism and ID from religious-school classes. Not UC, not myself, not Mary or Josh (if I’m reading their opinions properly). The courts won’t prevent religous schools from teaching creationism or ID.

    My opinion is that it’s a shame that private religious schools are doing a disservice to their pupils by teaching creationism and ID in a science class.

    However, that doesn’t mean that other educational institutions have to accredit courses which do not meet the educational standards they expect in incoming students.

    Among questions you have yet to answer:

    1. Why should religious dogma trump the experts in biology when deciding what is important to teach about biology?

    2. From Mary, “why is it unfair for UC to judge Christian school courses and students by exactly the same standards used to judge public school courses and students?”

    3. Why should something like creationism or ID, which is not science, be taught in a science class? In fact, what subject should it be taught in other than a religion class?

    4. Why should UC be required to accredit a course which doesn’t meet it’s educational standards?

    Oh, and I loved this statement too, Larry wrote, “See? I have an answer for everything.”

    No Larry, you have a response for everything, not an answer. That entire post was amusing because none of the questions which were asked got an answer.

    Dave S. asked a question about university policy and entrance exams, which wasn’t answered. The title of the paper in the blockquote asked a question about whether students should be denied entrance into college because of using the textbooks, which wasn’t answered by the quote you provided from the paper in question.

    A response is not an answer.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  137. #137 Mary
    September 11, 2006

    Larry showed that he has still not bothered to learn what the disupte between UC and Calvary Chapel is all about when he blustered, “Darwinists were able to use the church-state separation issue to get creationism and ID banned from public-school science classes — but it won’t be so easy in the case of religious-school science classes.”

    First of all, as Josh pointed out above, “Darwinism” is a subspecialty in the field of history: a Darwinist is an historian who studies the life of Charles Darwin. Since UC uses biological scientists to evaluate biology courses, rather than historians, Calvary Chapel need not fear that nefarious Darwinists will arbitrarily veto their biology courses.

    Second, UC’s interest in Calvary Chapel and its coursework is much more limited than you’re implying. UC doesn’t care if Calvary Chapel offers any certified courses at all; it already has far more applicants than it can accomodate. There are plenty of Christian schools which have chosen to maintain doctrinal purity in their classrooms, and which do not seek UC certification for their coursework. Their students go to Bible and community colleges.

    Instead, Calvary Chapel made a business decision to become a school whose graduates could get into good secular universities. To do this in California, they pretty much had to commit to offering enough UC-certified courses in each category to offer their students some selection. They knew going in that the UC-certified courses would have to be built around sold academics, not Bible stories.

    If Calvary Chapel has changed its mind, and decided that it can no longer in conscience offer science classes which teach science to UC standards, it is free to drop out of the certification program. Only about 1% of its students apply to UC each year. The loss in business wouldn’t be crippling if UC-bound students went elsewhere.

    But Calvary Chapel can’t expect to have it all: it can’t get UC certification for coursework that substitutes Bible stories for academics. It can’t teach creationism as valid science in a certified science class, nor can it alter the scientific method to reinforce its religious message. It has complete freedom to design and offer any uncertified courses it wants, but its UC-certified courses must meet the same standards for rigor and academics as UC-certified public school science classes, and its UC-bound students must take the same number and kinds of UC-certified courses as a public school student.

    What’s unfair about that?

  138. #138 Larry Fafarman
    September 11, 2006

    Wow — I am under attack from five commenters here — Josh, Mary, Flex, Albatrossity, and Dave S..

    Albatrossity said,
    The organization of the book chapters is irrelevant. If these kids are taught some deviant version of the scientific method (whether in that chapter or another one), the answer to your question is “No, the science has not been taught correctly.”

    We are just going in circles here. For the umpteenth time, my answer is that in IMO it does not matter much whether the students are told inside of science class or outside of science class that the scientific method is wrong if the results conflict with the bible.

    Flex said,
    Why? Maybe there are so many errors in the texts that it is not worth their while to list them individually.

    They could at least give some examples.

    Further, to whom should this list of errors be submitted? Larry Farafman?

    Why me? I never asked them for a list of the errors. And after I have spelled my last name umpteen times on this thread, maybe you could get the spelling right. Maybe I will just start posting under my first name or my first name and initial.

    How do you know they didn’t, and why would you think they need to now that a lawsuit has been filed?

    People who have independently reviewed the book have not pointed out any specific errors other than the “error” of saying that the scientific method is wrong if the results conflict with the bible. Anyway, as Charles Haynes said, we might not yet know all the reasons why UC rejected the textbooks.

    Mary said,
    First of all, as Josh pointed out above, “Darwinism” is a subspecialty in the field of history: a Darwinist is an historian who studies the life of Charles Darwin.

    No — “Darwinist” is usually synonymous with “evolutionist.”

    Only about 1% of its students apply to UC each year.

    UC accepts the top 10-15% of high school grads in the state, so it would very much surprise me if only 1% of graduating Calvary Chapel students apply each year.

    Anyway, the matter is now in the hands of the courts and we shall see what the courts decide. The fact that you Darwinists have not been defeated in court since the 1925 Scopes trial does not mean that it can’t happen. You were nearly defeated in the Freiler v.Tangipahoa evolution-disclaimer case (came within one vote of a full appeals court rehearing and within one vote of review by the Supreme Court) and may yet be defeated in the Selman v. Cobb County textbook sticker case as well as the Calvary Chapel v. UC case.

  139. #139 Albatrossity
    September 11, 2006

    Larry opined:

    For the umpteenth time, my answer is that in IMO it does not matter much whether the students are told inside of science class or outside of science class that the scientific method is wrong if the results conflict with the bible.

    Well, I guess you are entitled to that (totally illogical and inconsistent) opinion. IMO, students who have been taught a bogus version of the scientific method should not be admitted to a secular university, regardless of which class (or which chapter) where that lesson was delivered. If they want to persist in their delusions, they can go to Bob Jones U, where such learning won’t require remedial education.

    Similarly, students who have been taught the value of pi that can be derived from a literal interpretation of the Bible (1 Kings 7:23) should not be admitted to a university where they might get degrees in civil engineering and be responsible for building roads, bridges, or even sewage systems. Facts are important in the real world, and ignoring facts because your religion requires it is not a ticket to the real world, or a respected university degree.

  140. #140 Mary
    September 11, 2006

    Larry complained, “Wow — I am under attack from five commenters here — Josh, Mary, Flex, Albatrossity, and Dave S..”

    Maybe that should tell you something? Like, that you just might be wrong about UC’s policies? And that it might be worth while to look up the actual policies and see if you really are wrong, rather than continuing to embarass yourself by looking ignorant in public?

    Larry showed that he has not been following the news coverage of the Calvary Chapel case, either, when he said, “UC accepts the top 10-15% of high school grads in the state, so it would very much surprise me if only 1% of graduating Calvary Chapel students apply each year.”

    News reports state that Calvary Chapel has around 700 students, nine of whom applied (and were accepted) to UC for the coming academic year. This appears to be a little more than their average, if there have been 32 applicants over the past four years.

    Either Calvary Chapel attracts students who always intended to go to Bible colleges, or its academics are such that only a few percent of its students score among the top 10%-15% statewide.

    Larry showed that he does not hang out with scientists when he claimed, “”Darwinist” is usually synonymous with “evolutionist.””

    “Darwinist” and “evolutionist” are seldom used as synonyms outside of the creationism/ID community, or by journalists reporting on them. Everyone else refers to a scientist whose research involves the implications of the modern descendent of Darwin’s theory as a “biologist”.

    I notice you still haven’t answered any of the questions Flex listed. Most particularly, you haven’t given any reason why Calvary Chapel’s students and courses should be held to a less stringent standard than public school students and courses.

  141. #141 Larry Fafarman
    September 11, 2006

    Mary said,

    Larry complained, “Wow — I am under attack from five commenters here — Josh, Mary, Flex, Albatrossity, and Dave S..”
    Maybe that should tell you something?

    What that tells me is that the commenters on this blog tend to be very narrow-minded.

    News reports state that Calvary Chapel has around 700 students, nine of whom applied (and were accepted) to UC for the coming academic year.

    What “news reports”? Where? And what does this information have to do with this lawsuit? You keep citing all sorts of irrelevant statistics.

    “Darwinist” and “evolutionist” are seldom used as synonyms outside of the creationism/ID community, or by journalists reporting on them.

    Wikipedia says, ” ‘Darwinism’ is also used without derogatory connotations by evolutionary scientists in countries such as the UK. A notable example of a scientist who uses the term in a positive sense is Richard Dawkins.”

    I notice you still haven’t answered any of the questions Flex listed.

    I’ve already answered the questions several times over — you’ve just been ignoring the answers.

  142. #142 Mary
    September 12, 2006

    Larry complained, “What that tells me is that the commenters on this blog tend to be very narrow-minded.”

    Or perhaps, that we are better informed than you are?

    Being openminded doesn’t mean accepting every claim presented to you uncritically. It means being open enough to the possibility that you might be wrong that you take the time to actually determine the facts. From the best source available, whether that’s primary documents or a lab bench.

    The narrow-minded person is one who comes to a conclusion based on preliminary information, and refuses to change it when better information is available.

    Sound familiar?

    Larry then confirmed his aversion to becoming an informed debater when he whined, “You keep citing all sorts of irrelevant statistics.”

    You were the one who expressed surprise when I said that only about 1% of Calvary Chapel students are applying to UC. Calculating that percentage is a simple matter of taking the average number of students applying each year and dividing by the total enrollment, then multiplying by 100. You do know how to multiply and divide, don’t you?

    I admit, I did round the results off.

    Either Calvary Chapel doesn’t attract many students who are interested in a secular education, or its academics are such that a disproportionately small percentage of its students make the cut.

    Larry then made another questionable statement when he claimed, “‘I’ve already answered the questions several times over — you’ve just been ignoring the answers.”

    No, Larry, you haven’t answered them. You’ve weaved, bobbed, and obfuscated, but you haven’t presented evidence to support your “facts” or logic to support your opinions.

    For instance, your statement that taking the necessary UC-certified classes would leave Calvary Chapel students less time to pursue other interests is true, as far as it goes. But since public school students wanting to go to UC are equally likely to have outside interests they wish to pursue, this does not answer the central question of discrimination which I raised.

    Perhaps you’d like another go at it. Just why IS it unfair for UC to judge Calvary Chapel courses and students by exactly the same standards by which public school courses and students are judged? Are devotional religious classes so much more important than the electives offered in a public school that a secular university should make a special exception for them?

  143. #143 Larry Fafarman
    September 12, 2006

    Mary moaned,

    Larry then confirmed his aversion to becoming an informed debater when he whined, “You keep citing all sorts of irrelevant statistics.” You were the one who expressed surprise when I said that only about 1% of Calvary Chapel students are applying to UC.

    You were the one who introduced this irrelevant statistic in the first place! And no, introducing irrelevant facts does not mark one as an “informed debater.”

    For instance, your statement that taking the necessary UC-certified classes would leave Calvary Chapel students less time to pursue other interests is true, as far as it goes.

    Another irrelevancy. Whether the Calvary Chapel students have “less time to pursue other interests” is not an issue. The issue is whether or not it was constitutional for UC to deny certification of the courses.

  144. #144 Dave S.
    September 12, 2006

    Hi Larry.

    Could you answer this question of Mary’s please. You seem to have forgotten to do so in your last posting.

    Just why IS it unfair for UC to judge Calvary Chapel courses and students by exactly the same standards by which public school courses and students are judged?

  145. #145 Mary
    September 12, 2006

    Larry is now unclear about his own previous arguments in this discussion, which might account for why instead of answering the key he question he said, “Another irrelevancy. Whether the Calvary Chapel students have “less time to pursue other interests” is not an issue. ”

    The closest you have come to advancing a coherent argument as to why Calvary Chapel deserves a special exemption from UC’s science-classs standards for their creationism class was when you claimed that it would be an undue hardship for UC-bound Calvary Chapel students to have to take two real science classes in addition to the creationism class.

    I pointed out that Calvary Chapel students are in exactly the same position as public-school students who also might want to take certain uncertified classes offered at their schools.

    Then I asked why the Calvary Chapel student’s desire to take an uncertified religious class is so much more important than a public school student’s desire to take, say, an uncertified astronomy class that the former, but not the latter, qualifies as discrimination.

    See the connection now?

  146. #146 Albatrossity
    September 12, 2006

    Wow! When five different people question your arguments and opinions, is it a reasonable response to say that the only thing that means is that “commenters on this blog tend to be very narrow-minded”? What are the odds that five different people, probably with very different backgrounds and experiences, are the narrow-minded half of this discussion?

    But that is irrelevant as well. Larry, I too would be interested in your response to Mary’s key question.

    Just why IS it unfair for UC to judge Calvary Chapel courses and students by exactly the same standards by which public school courses and students are judged?

    If indeed you have answered this before, please point me to the message where that answer appears. This has been a long thread, and I couldn’t find it in any of the messages above.

    thanks in advance

  147. #147 Flex
    September 12, 2006

    Larry continues to provide amusement with this statement, “Wow — I am under attack from five commenters here — Josh, Mary, Flex, Albatrossity, and Dave S..”

    It’s a funny sort of attack where no harsh words are being said and for the most part we are asking you questions trying to understand why you think the way you do.

    The responses you provide typically do not answer our questions, or are based on incorrect information. Mary in particular has shown tremendous patience in pointing out to you how the UC course certification and UC admissions policies actually work.

    By the way, based on your writing, I could make a stab at what your answers to my questions would be:

    1. Why should religious dogma trump the experts in biology when deciding what is important to teach about biology?

    Because, in your opinion, evolutionary biology is not required to teach biology. Although you admit that your opinion is not an informed one.

    2. From Mary, “why is it unfair for UC to judge Christian school courses and students by exactly the same standards used to judge public school courses and students?”

    Because, in your opinion, public schools are not relevant to the discussion.

    3. Why should something like creationism or ID, which is not science, be taught in a science class? In fact, what subject should it be taught in other than a religion class?

    Because, in your opinion, Calvary Chapel needs to teach it someplace, and there is a textbook available. So the science classroom is no worse than anyplace else.

    4. Why should UC be required to accredit a course which doesn’t meet it’s educational standards?

    Because, in your opinion, the only reason the course was not accredited was because of the religious content. Thus it’s a case where the exclusionary clause applies because UC is a publicly funded educational institution, and thus in your opinion a branch of the government. So UC rejecting the course is tantamount to the government making a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

    If these responses do not accurately reflect your views, please answer the questions again because obviously I made a mistake in understanding your viewpoint.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  148. #148 Larry Fafarman
    September 12, 2006

    Dave S. said,

    Could you answer this question of Mary’s please. You seem to have forgotten to do so in your last posting.

    Just why IS it unfair for UC to judge Calvary Chapel courses and students by exactly the same standards by which public school courses and students are judged?

    I have answered this question a zillion times already, and this is the last time. If the standards are what they should be — i.e., whether the students are taught the core science correctly and completely, regardless of whether a religious viewpoint is added — then the Christian-school students should be able to meet the same standards as the public-school students. UC cannot prevent the Christian-school students or even the public-school students from being given a religious viewpoint outside of science class.

    Mary said,
    The closest you have come to advancing a coherent argument as to why Calvary Chapel deserves a special exemption from UC’s science-classs standards for their creationism class was when you claimed that it would be an undue hardship for UC-bound Calvary Chapel students to have to take two real science classes in addition to the creationism class.

    It is not a “creationism class” just because creationism is taught for maybe a few days at most.

    Hardship is one reason but not the only reason. Constitutional rights are not just matters of convenience.

  149. #149 Albatrossity
    September 12, 2006

    Larry,

    Despite the garbled syntax of this sentence

    If the standards are what they should be — i.e., whether the students are taught the core science correctly and completely, regardless of whether a religious viewpoint is added — then the Christian-school students should be able to meet the same standards as the public-school students.

    I think we all can agree on the sentiments. And I think I’ve said this before as well (maybe not a zillion times). Students who have been taught this particular religious viewpoint, i.e. that facts and evidence can be ignored and replaced with revelation, have not been “taught the core science correctly and completely”. Hopefully we all can agree that is simply not how science works. Ergo, these students cannot “meet the same standards”, by your logic above, and should not be admitted.

    I agree that just adding a religious perspective does not necessarily negate the science, but this particular religious perspective certainly does.

  150. #150 Mary
    September 12, 2006

    Larry,

    I’m afraid Albatrossity is right. If the religious viewpoint is allowed to warp the science content beyond recognition–as in redefining the scientific method to allow revelation and scripture as the final authority, or claiming that the Earth is only 6-10,000 years old–then the issue becomes the warped science curriculum, not the religious viewpoint that caused it. Likewise, for the history text that viewed historical events as caused primarily by supernatural fiat, rather than by the social and political forces accepted by historians, the issue was that the religious viewpoint had been allowed to alter the academic content.

    UC doesn’t penalize a course for offering a religious perspective on the secular material. Catholic school biology classes do this routinely when they present the Catholic doctrine that evolution is directed by God as part of his creation. However, what the BJU and A. Beka texts do goes far beyond this, and in the process fails to present the methods, findings, and theoretical structure of the science of biology accurately. The texts are not academically sound, if the goal is to provide students with a good introduction to modern biology. (Their soundness for the purpose of indoctrinating students in Fundamentalist theology is of no interest to UC.)

    It may be true that Catholic doctrine is more compatible with the science of biology than Calvary Chapel’s rather extreme version of Protestant Fundamentalism. As a public institution, however, UC can’t make an exception to its science requirement because a particular parocial school’s doctrine rejects much of modern science. All it is allowed to do is judge whether or not a particular course is rigorous and academically sound, by the same standards used to judge all public and private school classes in that area.

    I can’t think of any other way UC could handle its course approval process that would both avoid illegal discrimination and allow it to determine whether incoming students have an adequate background in the appropriate areas.

  151. #151 Larry Fafarman
    September 12, 2006

    Albatrossity said,

    Larry,

    Despite the garbled syntax of this sentence

    If the standards are what they should be — i.e., whether the students are taught the core science correctly and completely, regardless of whether a religious viewpoint is added — then the Christian-school students should be able to meet the same standards as the public-school students.

    What is garbled? My sentence looks perfectly clear to me.

  152. #152 Albatrossity
    September 12, 2006

    Larry

    “If the standards are what they should be — i.e., whether the students are taught the core science correctly and completely, regardless of whether a religious viewpoint is added — then the Christian-school students should be able to meet the same standards as the public-school students.”

    The sentence is just overly complicated, from my perspective. Your grammar mileage may (and obviously does) vary. I understand the sentence (or at least you haven’t told me that I obviously misunderstood it). Don’t sweat it.

  153. #153 Larry Fafarman
    September 13, 2006

    Albatrossity wrote,
    I agree that just adding a religious perspective does not necessarily negate the science, but this particular religious perspective certainly does.

    You folks are only concerned with whether UC’s denial of certification is right in a general sense and not with whether it is constitutional. UC’s actions could be right in a general sense but still be unconstitutional. As Sir Thomas More said in a “Man for All Seasons,” “the world must construe according to its wits. This court must construe according to the law.”

  154. #154 Mary
    September 13, 2006

    Larry demonstrated a tendency towards wishful thinking when he said, “You folks are only concerned with whether UC’s denial of certification is right in a general sense and not with whether it is constitutional. UC’s actions could be right in a general sense but still be unconstitutional.”

    The constitutionality issue hinges on whether the courses were rejected due to religious-based (illegal) discrimination, or whether the rejection was due to academic quality issues, a form of discrimination which is completely legal as long as it’s applied in a consistent fashion to all courses from all schools.

    Even Larry has admitted that the rejected biology books misrepresent what is arguably the core material in any science class, the scientific method. They also get facts such as the age of the earth wrong. Their academic quality as science texts is well down into the “garbage” range, which is why UC won’t accept them as primary texts for college-prep classes. The same can be said for the rejected history text.

    The other two classes flunked certification on structural issues: incomplete applications, failure to have at least a few complete works on the reading list for the English class, and a government class that would have ran all year instead of half a year. (This was an issue because UC generally only allows a half-year credit for government classes.)

    The fact that all four class outlines were permeated with religious concepts doesn’t automatically make UC’s rejection of them unconstitutional religious discrimination. Nor does the fact that the biology and history classes warped the core concepts and facts for religious reasons. To prove unconstitutional religious discrimination, Calvary Chapel would have to prove that UC is applying one set of standards and requirements to Fundamentalist schools and another, easier set of requirements to everybody else. If they had such evidence, it would have been mentioned in their brief, so we must assume that they do not.

    Instead, Wendell Bird appears to be arguing in his brief that it’s unconstitutional for UC to have standards at all, if they prevent Christian schools from getting whatever courses they want approved as college-prep material. I don’t think that’s going to impress the judge very much, especially when UC’s lawyers are able to demonstrate exactly why those textbooks don’t meet UC’s clearly described requirements for rigor and quality.

  155. #155 Albatrossity
    September 13, 2006

    “You folks are only concerned with whether UC’s denial of certification is right in a general sense and not with whether it is constitutional.”

    That might be a tad presumptuous; I have lots of concerns about this case, and about science and religion in general. But even sticking to this case, and speaking only for myself, I am certainly concerned about whether the UC policy is constitutionally correct. I think it is. In fact, it is a bit insulting to hear that I (and others) might be willing to ignore the constitution for some personal sense of righteousness. For the record, I’m a “card-carrying member of the ACLU”, and thus pretty much in favor of all of the provisions in the constitution. But the establishment clause is, I admit, a particular favorite.

  156. #156 Larry Fafarman
    September 13, 2006

    Mary said,

    Even Larry has admitted that the rejected biology books misrepresent what is arguably the core material in any science class, the scientific method.

    No, I never admitted that. I have not seen the books (except for what is shown on the publishers’ websites), so for all I know the books may present the scientific method correctly and then add the religious viewpoint that the method is invalid when the results conflict with the Bible. Furthermore, the argument that the scientific method is the core material in any science class is absurd — the scientific method can be covered in just a few minutes of class time.

    They also get facts such as the age of the earth wrong.

    I suspect that the BJU biology textbook set (there are 2 volumes) presents evolution theory correctly in the section titled “Biological Evolution” but attacks it in the sections titled “A Biblical Viewpoint” and “Biblical Creationism.” But only a few pages are affected. Practically all of the conflict between the Bible and modern biology is in evolution theory and paleontology.

    The fact that all four class outlines were permeated with religious concepts doesn’t automatically make UC’s rejection of them unconstitutional religious discrimination.

    I went through the online copy of a sample chapter of the BJU biology textbooks and it is not “permeated” with religious concepts.

  157. #157 Flex
    September 14, 2006

    Larry,

    Apparently my understanding of your opinions is accurate. At least you didn’t say I was incorrect.

    But, you’re back to the point of saying that the textbooks used present the state of evolutionary biology properly.

    You have also frequently admitted that you don’t know if they do or not.

    Which means you are speculating.

    Your speculative chain of reasoning appears to be:

    1. The textbooks in question teaches biology sufficient for a high school education.
    2. UC wouldn’t accredit the course the textbooks were used in for strictly religious reasons.
    3. UC is forbidden by the federal constitution from not accrediting a course for religious reasons.
    4. Thus UC will loose this lawsuit.

    Three claims.

    Your evidence for the first claim is non-existant. You rely on other authorities, and make a judgement based on a fraction of text, on a subject you admit you don’t have an expert’s level of knowledge in.

    Your second claim has been completely dismantled by Mary’s explaination of how UC’s accreditation policy works, as well as documents from UC themselves. The course was refused accreditation for more than religious reasons.

    Your third claim, that the first admendment to the federal constitution which bars government from prohibiting the worship of a religion is non-sensical if religion was not the sole reason for the lack of accreditation.

    So we are back to arguing about the text.

    So, once again, why does Larry Fafarman think that the biologists, who teach biology at UC, who reviewed and rejected the textbooks as a primary source of biological science, are less expert in biology than Larry Fafarman or the theists who included religious dogma in the textbooks?

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  158. #158 Mary
    September 14, 2006

    Larry claimed, “No, I never admitted that.”

    Actually, Larry, you have admitted that the textbooks teach both the scientific method and the facts of science wrong, and that they don’t meet your own standards for an acceptable course that should be accredited, although you may not realize it.

    Let’s take the third part first. You’ve repeatedly said that if a course teaches the normal science content and then adds a religious viewpoint, it ought to be acceptable. The logical converse of this statement is that if a course or textbook does not teach the normal science content, with or without a religious viewpoint, it should not be acceptable.

    It may surprise you to find that I agree with your position, as does UC. Catholic schools take the first approach: they teach a normal biology course and then add the Catholic doctrine that God directs the evolutionary process.

    If Calvary Chapel had taken this approach– if it had chosen a textbook which taught the normal science content, and then presented the religious viewpoint that students should reject what they have learned in favor of a literal interpretation of Genesis–UC would have accepted the course.

    What Calvary Chapel did instead was select a primary textbook which presented the religious viewpoint AS SCIENCE, rather than as a religious viewpoint with no scientific significance. (That chapter section which presents creationism as an alternative theory to evolution, which you admit is there in the BJU text.) Anything presented _as science_ at the high school level must reflect the consensus of the relevant scientific community, or by your own standard UC is fully justified in nixing the textbook and the course as suitable preparation for college-level biology classes.

    I think we can agree that creationism is not the consensus science of the biological research community. As science, it’s well into the “crackpot science” category. By presenting creationism as an alternative scientific theory, which you agree it does, the book failed to get the facts of science correct.

    And, by setting up revelation and the Bible as the final authority in scientific matters, the book fails to teach the scientific method properly.

    By your own standards, the book and course should not be eligible for UC certification.

    You’ve also claimed repeatedly that evolution and the scientific method aren’t core concepts of the science of biology, to the point where omitting or altering them should not severely compromise a student’s education.

    It might interest you to know that according to the College Board, which sets standards for Advanced Placement courses nationwide, “The two main goals of AP Biology are to help students develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and to help students gain an appreciation of science as a process. The ongoing information explosion in biology makes these goals even more challenging. Primary emphasis in an AP Biology course should be on developing an understanding of concepts rather than on memorizing terms and technical details. Essential to this conceptual understanding are the following: a grasp of science as a process rather than as an accumulation of facts; personal experience in scientific inquiry; recognition of unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.”

    Later on in the AP Biology curriculum, the first two of the eight “major themes” of biology are: “I. SCIENCE AS A PROCESS–Science is a way of knowing. It can involve a discovery process using inductive reasoning, or it can be a process of hypothesis testing. Example: The theory of evolution was developed based on observation and experimentation. II. EVOLUTION–Evolution is the biological change of organisms that occurs over time and is driven by the process of natural selection. Evolution accounts for the diversity of life on Earth. Example: Widespread use of antibiotics has selected for antibiotic resistance in disease-causing bacteria.”

    As you see, the College Board agrees with UC that understanding the theoretical structure underlying modern biology (especially evolution and the scientific method) is more important for a college-prep biology course than memorizing a vocabulary list.

    You might also find it of interest to check out the specific benchmarks students taking the AP biology exam are expected to master. The AP Biology course outline is a largeish pdf file, which you say you have trouble downloading, but the University of Georgia has a very readable and concise annotated version of topics to be covered at http://apbio.biosci.uga.edu/course/course_out.html

    You will note that the central third of the outline is devoted to concepts in “Heredity and Evolution”. Evolutionary concepts are also prominantly addressed in the other two sections: students are required to understand how each area of biology is impacted by evolution.

    This is the conceptual framework that is completely missing from the BJU chapter on cell biology. There is nothing in that chapter to tie the material together and make sense of it; the content has deliberately been reduced to a list of vocabulary words and factoids. In its attempt to prevent students from learning anything that might contradict a literal interpretation of Genesis, the BJU text fails to offer any substantial treatment of the science at all.

    As a science textbook, it’s so far below minimal standards that UC is fully justified in rejecting out of hand any course which uses it as the primary text.

  159. #159 Albatrossity
    September 14, 2006

    Larry opined:

    Furthermore, the argument that the scientific method is the core material in any science class is absurd — the scientific method can be covered in just a few minutes of class time.

    Although I hate to give the impression that I am “piling on”, after the detailed dismantling of your arguments by Mary and Flex above, I can’t let this one go. I teach introductory biology to university students. It is neither trivial nor brief to teach the scientific method to students at this level. One can assume that it is proportionally more difficult to teach it at the high-school level. You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but please do know that in this particular instance, your opinion has no basis in fact.

  160. #160 Larry Fafarman
    September 14, 2006

    Flex said,

    Your speculative chain of reasoning appears to be:
    (first link of alleged chain of reasoning)
    1. The textbooks in question teaches biology sufficient for a high school education.

    To my knowledge, UC has never specifically said otherwise. As I pointed out before, the lawsuit’s official complaint says that UC rejected high-school biology textbooks from two Christian-textbook publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, on the basis of “both the ‘way in which these texts address the topics of evolution and creationism’ and ‘their general approach to science’ in relation to the Bible.”

    (second link of alleged chain of reasoning)
    2. UC wouldn’t accredit the course the textbooks were used in for strictly religious reasons.

    No, I never made any such assumption. UC might not have intentionally targeted Christianity at all — the effect on religion might just be incidental.

    (third link of alleged chain of reasoning)
    3. UC is forbidden by the federal constitution from not accrediting a course for religious reasons.

    The courts might rule against UC even if the courts decide that UC’s reasons for not accrediting course were not religious at all — or even if the courts do not decide whether or not UC had any religious reasons for not accrediting the course. The courts might just decide that UC loses because it had no truly compelling reasons for violating the religious and free-speech rights of the school and the students, even if the courts decide that those violations were unintentional and just incidental. That is just the way courts often think — for example, the judicial Lemon Test that is often used for judging alleged violations of the Constitution’s establishment clause is now usually divided into two “prongs” (a third prong has been largely incorporated into the second): there is the “purpose” prong, which examines the intended purpose of the government, and the “effect” prong, which examines the effect of the government’s actions.

    So, once again, why does Larry Fafarman think that the biologists, who teach biology at UC, who reviewed and rejected the textbooks as a primary source of biological science, are less expert in biology than Larry Fafarman or the theists who included religious dogma in the textbooks?

    Nope — I never said that. Also, bureaucrats rather than biologists might have been the ones who made the final decision to reject the textbooks, even if those bureaucrats were advised by biologists (e.g., the biologists might have told the bureaucrats that the textbooks’ science minus the religious viewpoints is OK).

    I agree with Charles Haynes’ article in the Decatur Daily.

  161. #161 Albatrossity
    September 14, 2006

    Larry,

    There are some seriously moving goalposts in the thread above. So let’s see if we can’t move this discussion to a place where we all know where you stand.

    Do you believe that religious viewpoints (either yours or those espoused by Calvary Chapel) “trump science” when it comes to education of high school students? If so, please justify this perspective.

    Before you move that goalpost again, here is a quote from one of your mobile posts above:

    “If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.” Those are hardly sufficient reasons to junk the whole course and deny students credit for it.

  162. #162 Mary
    September 14, 2006

    Larry claimed, “To my knowledge, UC has never specifically said otherwise.”

    This is disingenuous, Larry. Your alleged lack of knowledge on this point is due entirely to your adament refusal to read UC’s legal briefs, position paper on the lawsuit, or the actual standards used by UC to judge courses and textbooks. It’s about as credible as telling the highway patrol that you had no idea your car was going 80, when the spedometer was right in front of you.

    Larry’s willful ignorance was even more glaringly apparent when he speculated, “Also, bureaucrats rather than biologists might have been the ones who made the final decision to reject the textbooks, even if those bureaucrats were advised by biologists (e.g., the biologists might have told the bureaucrats that the textbooks’ science minus the religious viewpoints is OK).”

    Ah, yes, those faceless “guvmint bureaucrats” everybody loves to hate, overruling the creationism-friendly recommondations of the real scientists. It would certainly make Calvary Chapel’s case easier to win if it were true, but it isn’t.

    I give you credit for a decent try at an appeal to emotion, but you’ve forgotten that the rest of us don’t share your aversion to doing the minimal work necessary to determine the actual facts.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but the composition and membership of the BOARS board is as transparent as the rest of the course-accreditation process. It is a committee of the UC Academic Senate made up largely of professors, with a few administrative types from Admissions thrown in. There was no lack of science expertise among the people who took the unusual step of refusing to allow the BJU and A. Beka texts as primary texts in accredited biology courses. They did so because the books don’t cover the science properly. Compare the material in the posted BJU text excerpts to the relevant portions of the California biology standards and the AP standards. It isn’t even close.

  163. #163 Larry Fafarman
    September 14, 2006

    Mary said,

    . . . .your adament refusal to read UC’s legal briefs, position paper on the lawsuit . . .

    Wrong. I read the UC position paper you told me about, “UC Policies for High School Course Approval”. This position statement does not claim that students who took courses using the rejected textbooks are not adequately prepared to study biology at the college level. Also, UC did not claim that any of the science (as opposed to the religious viewpoints) in the rejected textbooks is actually wrong. UC has yet to describe any specific errors in the section on biological evolution in the BJU textbooks.

    Ah, yes, those faceless “guvmint bureaucrats” everybody loves to hate, overruling the creationism-friendly recommondations of the real scientists

    I am just saying that it is wrong to assume that the scientists made the final decision to reject the textbooks.

    the composition and membership of the BOARS board is as transparent as the rest of the course-accreditation process. It is a committee of the UC Academic Senate made up largely of professors, with a few administrative types from Admissions thrown in.

    As I remember, these science professors were not named as individual defendants in the lawsuit. The top administrators who were the named individual defendants (later granted immunity by the court) chose to not overrule the science professors, if the initial decision to reject the textbooks was in fact made by the science professors. If Judge Jones is qualified to make an informed decision on the scientific merits of ID, then the top UC administrators are qualified to make an informed decision on the scientific merits of the Christian-school biology textbooks.

    Albatrossity said,
    Before you move that goalpost again, here is a quote from one of your mobile posts above:

    I haven’t moved any goalposts. My goalposts have been in the same place from the beginning.

  164. #164 Albatrossity
    September 14, 2006

    Larry wrote:

    I haven’t moved any goalposts. My goalposts have been in the same place from the beginning.

    Riiiiight. I guess we just haven’t figured out that location yet.

    So answer the question, previously posed for you:

    Do you believe that religious viewpoints (either yours or those espoused by Calvary Chapel) “trump science” when it comes to education of high school students? If so, please justify this perspective.

    Thanks in advance.

  165. #165 Mary
    September 14, 2006

    Larry,

    Your claim that UC doesn’t object to how the science is presented in the BJU and A. Beka textbooks is false. You have been provided with voluminous evidence to the contrary from the only source which can offer a definitive view on UC’s admissions and certification policies: the UC admissions department. You keep countering with selective quotes from an op-ed piece in an Alabama newspaper.

    So tell me, what makes some guy in a Northern Virginia conservative think tank such an expert on UC’s reasons for doing anything? Why should we take Charles Haynes’s word for anything connected to UC? He didn’t study there, and there’s no indication that he’s ever worked for UC.

    Is it just that the bits you like to quote from the piece are saying what you want to hear? I’ve noticed that you never get around to quoting the section that says, “UC claims that these courses can’t be counted because they don’t meet the university’s academic standards.”

    So it appears that Charles Haynes has a bit more scholastic integrity than you do. He is honest enough to admit that UC did have academic issues with the science, even if he doesn’t believe that they are justified. Since he’s a theologian, not a biologist, his opinion on whether the biology presented in the texts is accurate is as uneducated as yours.

    Larry then showed more scholatic weakness by asserting, “I am just saying that it is wrong to assume that the scientists made the final decision to reject the textbooks. ”

    I’m not assuming anything. I looked it up. The entire process of course approval is spelled out in nauseating detail on the UC admissions site. As I’ve said before. And you still haven’t looked at it, have you?

  166. #166 Larry Fafarman
    September 14, 2006

    Mary said,

    Your claim that UC doesn’t object to how the science is presented in the BJU and A. Beka textbooks is false.

    I have not be shown a single example of how the section titled “biological evolution” in the BJU textbook presents the subject incorrectly. NOT ONE.

    You have been provided with voluminous evidence to the contrary from the only source which can offer a definitive view on UC’s admissions and certification policies: the UC admissions department.

    I don’t ask a fox for advice on how to protect a chicken coop.

    Why should we take Charles Haynes’s word for anything connected to UC?

    Because he talks sense.

    He didn’t study there, and there’s no indication that he’s ever worked for UC.

    How do you know? He may be a UC grad. He may have even worked there. But that has nothing to do with it. . Maybe the judge (or future judges if the case is appealed) didn’t go to UC, either.

    So it appears that Charles Haynes has a bit more scholastic integrity than you do. He is honest enough to admit that UC did have academic issues with the science, even if he doesn’t believe that they are justified.

    I said that I agree with his op-ed piece, so how could he have more “scholastic integrity” than I do in regard to his being “honest enough to admit that UC did have academic issues with the science”?

    Since he’s a theologian, not a biologist,

    The Decatur Daily op-ed does not say he is a theologian — it only says that he is a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va.

    his opinion on whether the biology presented in the texts is accurate is as uneducated as yours.

    He doesn’t express any opinion about that — he said, “Until we know all of the facts behind UC’s decision-making, it’s hard to sort out why some of these Calvary courses were rejected.” I go beyond that statement by saying that UC has given no specific example of how the chapter “biological evolution” presents the subject incorrectly.

    The entire process of course approval is spelled out in nauseating detail on the UC admissions site.
    No it isn’t — the details of the procedure for approving or rejecting courses is not described.

    Anyway, the issue here is not whether UC’s procedure for approving courses is good or bad — the issue is whether UC violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs.

  167. #167 Albatrossity
    September 15, 2006

    Larry

    There is certainly more evidence of goal-post-moving in the post above, but I’ll let Mary deal with it, since she seems more than capable of doing that. It seems that soon the goal posts will have moved to a place where I would have thought it biologically impossible for them to fit… Thank goodness for miracles; there certainly do seem to be some situations where theology is better than biology for explaining things!

    But that brings me back to the question, so far unanswered. This is strike three; if you want to ignore it this time I won’t ask again.

    Do you believe that religious viewpoints (either yours or those espoused by Calvary Chapel) “trump science” when it comes to education of high school students? If so, please justify this perspective.

  168. #168 Mary
    September 15, 2006

    Larry shifted the goalposts again when he asserted, “I have not be shown a single example of how the section titled “biological evolution” in the BJU textbook presents the subject incorrectly. NOT ONE.

    You have been shown plenty of statements from UC that show it rejected the textbooks for unsound academics, however. Even Charles Haynes agrees that UC’s position is that the academics were lousy. That was the point under discussion, not whether there was a point-by-point critique of a particular chapter available.

    Larry then went over the top when he said, “I don’t ask a fox for advice on how to protect a chicken coop.”

    So UC’s position somehow isn’t UC’s position because you don’t trust them? I’m sorry, I don’t see the logic here.

    Charles Haynes’s biography is available online. You can find it in two clicks of a mouse. Hint: the first click should be “www.google.com”.

    He studied theology at Harverd Divinity School and Emory University and works in the field of religious education. He lists no background in the biological sciences, and no connections with UC. He apparently believes that public education should accomodate religious views more than it does. He does seem to oppose teaching creationism in public school science classrooms, but mostly because he doesn’t think that science teachers have the training to present it plausably without making its religious origins unconstitutionally apparent.

    So, he has an agenda that puts him squarely in Calvary Chapel’s camp in this dispute, and he does not have the educational background to evaluate whether or not creationism is acceptable as science. Actually, he appears not to care whether students learn good science at all, as long as they are exposed to the appropriate religious concepts.

    Larry showed a tendency towards sloth when he complained, “No it isn’t — the details of the procedure for approving or rejecting courses is not described.”

    Yes, it is. You have to pull bits and pieces from all those essays on UC’s philosophy of education, and examine the details of those pages of instructions, application forms, and examples, but it’s there. It also helps if you check out the California public school standards and AP standards for the subjects, so you can get some idea of how UC defines an “academically rigorous” course. In addition, the UC course listings for introductory freshman classes give a clear picture of what freshmen will be studying, and therefore what UC faculty think is important in various areas.

    If this sounds like too much work for you, you have the option of accepting my findings, reached after doing just such an investigation.

  169. #169 Larry Fafarman
    September 15, 2006

    Mary said,

    You have been shown plenty of statements from UC that show it rejected the textbooks for unsound academics,

    I am not interested in broad, general statements. I asked for specific examples of where the science was presented incorrectly in the section on biological evolution in the BJU textbook set. Please note the title of my blog: “I’m from Missouri.” It comes from the quote, “I’m from Missouri — you’ll have to show me.” I don’t accept just-so stories.

    Even Charles Haynes agrees that UC’s position is that the academics were lousy.

    He never agreed to any such thing — in fact, he said that UC would have good grounds for rejecting the textbooks if the academics are lousy (not counting added religious viewpoints, of course).

    So UC’s position somehow isn’t UC’s position because you don’t trust them?

    UC is obviously biased because it is a party to the lawsuit.

    Charles Haynes’s biography is available online. You can find it in two clicks of a mouse.

    I don’t go on witch hunts into people’s backgrounds to check for signs of bias. I only notice reasons for bias when they are obvious, as in the case of UC — UC is biased because it is a party to the lawsuit.

    Larry showed a tendency towards sloth when he complained, “No it isn’t — the details of the procedure for approving or rejecting courses is not described.”Yes, it is. You have to pull bits and pieces from all those essays on UC’s philosophy of education, and examine the details of those pages of instructions, application forms, and examples, but it’s there

    Those instructions, application forms, etc. are just for outsiders. I was talking about details of the internal UC procedures for course certification — e.g., the composition of the certification committees and whether and when administrators can override the decisions of the experts.

  170. #170 Mary
    September 15, 2006

    Larry whined, “I am not interested in broad, general statements.”

    It is unfortunate that UC doesn’t see fit to consult you about phrasing before it issues its policy statements. Nonetheless, that doesn’t change the fact that UC’s position on the case is that the BJU and A. Beka texts were rejected because they were not academically sound, not because they added Christian viewpoints to otherwise standard material.

    Charles Haynes’s editorial does indeed say that UC’s position is that it rejected the courses due to lousy academics. See my quote from it above. It’s clear that Haynes doesn’t agree with UC’s position, but he isn’t trying to pretend that it’s something other than what it is. That’s what makes him a more honest scholar than you.

    Larry complained, “I don’t go on witch hunts into people’s backgrounds to check for signs of bias.”

    Maybe if you did a little more background checking, on facts and people, you wouldn’t be caught out looking foolishly uninformed so often.

    Unlike news reporters, who are supposed to be fair and impartial in reporting the facts, columnists are supposed to take sides. Guest columnists especially are usually picked because they have a history of passionately advocating for one side of a controversy. So, it is quite fair when reading such a column to ask questions about the writer’s qualifications, biases, and agenda.

    In this case, Charles Haynes turns out to be a theologian working for an East Coast conservative think tank that among other things seeks to overturn a series of Supreme Court cases enforcing strict church-state separation.

    Larry showed he’s never delt with a public bureaucracy before when he complained, “Those instructions, application forms, etc. are just for outsiders. I was talking about details of the internal UC procedures for course certification — e.g., the composition of the certification committees and whether and when administrators can override the decisions of the experts.”

    UC doesn’t have one set of instructions for insiders and another for outsiders. The policies, rules and requirements listed on the admissions web page are the same ones used by the admissions staff to make decisions. They are worked out by the BOARS subcommittee of the Academic Senate, and any changes are reported to the Senate for debate. Since the minutes of UC Academic Senate are also public documents, you can even look up what changes are being proposed from month to month. You can also find out committee memberships.

    The bottom line is that UC is a highly respected university, and as with most top colleges and universities, academic matters remain firmly under the control of the faculty. Admissions standards, including standards for required coursework, fall firmly into that domain where unqualified administrators fear to tread.

  171. #171 Larry Fafarman
    September 15, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    But that brings me back to the question, so far unanswered. This is strike three; if you want to ignore it this time I won’t ask again.
    Do you believe that religious viewpoints (either yours or those espoused by Calvary Chapel) “trump science” when it comes to education of high school students?

    The textbooks selected by Calvary Chapel teach that religious viewpoints “trump science” — but is that justification for discriminating against the Calvary Chapel students who used the textbooks? Here is what my blog says –

    Judge John “I am not an activist judge” Jones tried to dissociate Darwinism from atheism by pontificating in the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion,

    Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator. (page 136)

    But the religious beliefs of some people are irreconcilable with evolution theory. Basically, Jones is telling people what their religious beliefs are supposed to be. Yet Darwinists see nothing wrong in this. To Judge Jones and many other Darwinists, people who reject or doubt Darwinism because of religious beliefs are crackpots, but the Supreme Court said that the courts have no right to sit in judgment of people’s religious views: ” The religious views espoused by respondents might seem incredible, if not preposterous, to most people. But if those doctrines are subject to trial before a jury charged with finding their truth or falsity, then the same can be done with the religious beliefs of any sect.” U.S. v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78, at 86?7 (1944)

  172. #172 Larry Fafarman
    September 15, 2006

    Mary moaned,

    Larry whined, “I am not interested in broad, general statements.”
    It is unfortunate that UC doesn’t see fit to consult you about phrasing before it issues its policy statements.

    Then I have no reason to believe that the section on biological evolution does not present the subject correctly.

    Charles Haynes’s editorial does indeed say that UC’s position is that it rejected the courses due to lousy academics.

    Wrong. Here was what his op-ed piece said,

    Solely on academic grounds, the most problematic textbook may be the one used in biology. If UC can show that the text presents inaccurate or misleading science, then the university may have a legitimate basis for not accepting the course. If, however, the textbook presents the core information students need to know about biology, then the additional religious content should not disqualify the course. — from http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/opinion/other/060312a.shtml

    The policies, rules and requirements listed on the admissions web page are the same ones used by the admissions staff to make decisions.

    Wrong. As I said, internal rules and procedures are not discussed.

    The bottom line is that UC is a highly respected university, and as with most top colleges and universities, academic matters remain firmly under the control of the faculty. Admissions standards, including standards for required coursework, fall firmly into that domain where unqualified administrators fear to tread.

    Except that administrators may have the authority to overrule the faculty when non-academic matters — e.g., constitutional matters — are involved. Anyway, we don’t even know who made the final decision to reject the textbooks. For all we know, the biologists might have said that the science in the book is OK and that the religious stuff should just be ignored.

    Anyway, it is impossible to carry on any kind of discussion with you when you repeatedly misrepresent references.

  173. #173 Albatrossity
    September 16, 2006

    Larry

    Strike three – you still didn’t answer the question. A simple yes or no would do, not some prepackaged irrelevant rant about Judge Jones that you just happened to have on your blog. In case you didn’t notice, this latest whipping boy of yours was not mentioned in my question. I was asking a simple question, answerable by a simple yes or no response.

    And incidentally, as you have been told before, “Darwinist” is not a term that has much use among scientists. I don’t care if you hve found a few usages by Dawkins and other whipping boys, I am a working scientist and I can tell you that it is not a useful term. Similarly, I happen to think that Schleiden and Schwann were right about the cell theory, but I am not described as a Schleidenist or Schwannist. Neiher am I a Watsonist or Crickist, even though their contributions to modern biology are as important as Darwin’s. It is important, during a debate, to use terms correctly; otherwise you appear to be an ignoramus. Or, to put it another way, I don’t want to appear ignorant, so I don’t refer to the Calavary Chapel folks as “Christists” or “Bibleists”. Perhaps, if you don’t want to appear to be an ignoramus, you can try substituting the word “scientist” for the pejorative “Darwinist”.

    And you can try to answer questions, rather than dance around them with a well-practiced but irrelevant tiptoe.

  174. #174 Mary
    September 16, 2006

    Larry grasped at straws when he said, “Then I have no reason to believe that the section on biological evolution does not present the subject correctly.”

    That’s true, technically. It’s a pretty fair bet that it doesn’t, however.

    We do know that one of the nation’s top universities, which makes billions every year off of patents and research grants in the field of biology, has had some of those remarkably successful biology faculty examine the books. Furthermore, we know that those same experts ruled that the science in the books was so bad that it was not appropriate to use them as a primary text in a college-prep class.

    We also have excerpts from one book that openly declare the primary purpose of the book is religious advocacy, rather than science education. The chapter on cell biology does not integrate the concepts of deep time, relatedness of all organisms, or even adaptation to ecological niches where it would be appropriate to do so. These concepts, of course, if fully integrated the way they are in the AP Biology curriculum, would make the chapter section on creationism look pretty silly.

    Larry’s inability to read was glaringly apparent when he said, “Wrong. Here was what his op-ed piece said”

    The section I quoted, where Haynes says, “UC claims that these courses can’t be counted because they don’t meet the university’s academic standards.” is the first sentence, two paragraphs up from the spot you’re quoting. I’m sure you can find it if you try.

    Larry put his fingers in his ears and chanted, “I can’t hear you” when he said, “Wrong. As I said, internal rules and procedures are not discussed.”

    Larry, I’ve worked for UC for most of the past 17 years. There are a few kinds of official records at UC which are not in the public domain: payroll information with exact salaries, private emails, medical records, and so on. There are also some paper records that don’t make it onto the Internet, and are therefore a little harder to search. However, if they law doesn’t require a particular piece of information to be kept private, it usually isn’t. The only way a large institution like UC can function at all is if everybody knows and plays by the same rules.

    Admissions and Human Resources are the two departments which routinely have to turn down people who very much want to join UC as students or employees or both. Because of this, they are also the departments most likely to get UC sued if they don’t have and follow clearly stated rules, procedures, and policies.

    There is no set of “secret internal instructions” telling UC course evaluaters to nix any course taught from a Christian viewpoint, much as you wish there were. Instead, there’s a checklist of very clear criteria that each kind of course must meet, and a similar checklist of valid reasons for turning down a course if it fails to meet them.

    Larry was also grasping at straws when he fantasized, “Except that administrators may have the authority to overrule the faculty when non-academic matters — e.g., constitutional matters — are involved.”

    Larry, I realize that you would love to believe that the science faculty accepted the texts as valid, and were overruled. However, the group with final oversight authority over admissions and course approval is the Faculty Senate, which is made up of the collected faculty members.

    UC administrators certainly don’t have the authority to overrule the Faculty Senate for the express purpose of violating the US Constitution. That is one of the silliest ideas you’ve come up with yet. Besides, UC doesn’t view this as a constitutional issue at all, but one of shoddy academics. That falls squarely in the purview of the faculty, not administration.

    I’m afraid there’s no way around it: the people who rejected Calvary Chapel’s courses and the BJU and A. Beka textbooks were highly trained experts and educators in the relevant academic areas. Calvary Chapel is going to have a very hard time convincing the judge that he should overrule their expert opinions on the academic quality of the courses and textbooks.

    And what in the world do you mean by “misusing references”? Are you now claiming that it’s a misuse of references to cite them in support of points that you don’t like?

  175. #175 Larry Fafarman
    September 16, 2006

    Albatrossity said,

    Larry

    Strike three — you still didn’t answer the question. A simple yes or no would do, not some prepackaged irrelevant rant about Judge Jones that you just happened to have on your blog. In case you didn’t notice, this latest whipping boy of yours was not mentioned in my question. I was asking a simple question, answerable by a simple yes or no response.

    How can I have three strikes when I didn’t even swing on the first two pitches? Were those “call strikes”?

    Sheesh — how would you like to answer all of my questions with just a “yes” or “no,” or just answer all of my statements with just an “I agree” or “I disagree”?

    Judge Jones is relevant because he — like UC — is trying to tell people what their religious beliefs are supposed to be. Including Jones was also necessary as part of the context for the following statement from a Supreme Court opinion: ” The religious views espoused by respondents might seem incredible, if not preposterous, to most people. But if those doctrines are subject to trial before a jury charged with finding their truth or falsity, then the same can be done with the religious beliefs of any sect.” U.S. v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78, at 86-7 (1944)

    And incidentally, as you have been told before, “Darwinist” is not a term that has much use among scientists.

    I use the term to distinguish between those who believe in random mutation & natural selection and those who just believe in changes through time and/or common descent.

    Similarly, I happen to think that Schleiden and Schwann were right about the cell theory, but I am not described as a Schleidenist or Schwannist.

    Is there a more concise way of showing that you support their theories?

    Or, to put it another way, I don’t want to appear ignorant, so I don’t refer to the Calavary Chapel folks as “Christists” or “Bibleists”.

    Is it OK, then, if I just call you a “Darwinian”?

    And you can try to answer questions, rather than dance around them with a well-practiced but irrelevant tiptoe.

    I am not dancing around anything. You said that I could choose to discuss either my own religious viewpoints or Calvary Chapel’s (“either yours or those espoused by Calvary Chapel”), so I chose Calvary Chapel’s. My answer was basically that Calvary Chapel is entitled to its opinion.

  176. #176 Albatrossity
    September 16, 2006

    Larry

    You really are a literalist, arent’t you? When give you examples to prove a point (e.g. Schleidenist), you fail to see them as examples, but instead try to argue with them. The point of that part of the message, just because you didn’t see it the first time, is not that one example is better or worse. It is merely that arguments proceed best, and respondents don’t seem to be ignoramuses, if terms are used properly. It is becoming more apparent that you would prefer to not have the argument proceed (because you have lost it), and don’t mind being viewed as an ignoramus. I can’t help you any more with either of those.

    As for Judge Jones “trying to tell people what their religious beliefs are supposed to be”, that is simply not true. Judge Jones is merely telling folks that if they call their religious beliefs “science”, that there is a problem with that. “Science” (like lots of words) has a specific meaning. You can believe whatever poppycock you want to belive, but just don’t rename it and expect those mistaken definitions to convince either a scientist or a jurist.

  177. #177 Mary
    September 16, 2006

    Larry showed a basic misunderstanding of the issue when he claimed, “Judge Jones is relevant because he — like UC — is trying to tell people what their religious beliefs are supposed to be.”

    No, Larry. Neither UC nor the Dover ruling tells anybody what their religious beliefs ought to be.

    Judge Jones followed a long series of legal precidents when he ruled that it’s unconstitutional to teach or promote religious beliefs in public school science classes. In intent and effect, Judge Jones’s ruling prevented the Dover School Board from dictating to the school children in their care what their religious beliefs should be.

    UC is insisting that courses accepted as fulfiling a science requirement teach actual science, fully and correctly. Religious beliefs can be taught using supplimentary material, but they can’t be taught in place of the science. What’s unfair about that? It’s a truth-in-labeling issue. UC doesn’t require students wishing to attend UC to adopt any religious belief; it just requires them to learn some fundamental things about science.

    Larry tried to define a difference that isn’t when he said, “I use the term to distinguish between those who believe in random mutation & natural selection and those who just believe in changes through time and/or common descent.”

    After working in the field for almost 20 years, I think I can safely state that I have never met a person working in the field of biology who doesn’t use all four of these concepts routinely. The distinction you’re trying to make doesn’t exist in the real world of biological research.

    The proper term for a person who does research in biology is “biologist”.

    Larry red-herringed, “My answer was basically that Calvary Chapel is entitled to its opinion.”

    Of course it is. Calvary Chapel also has the right, as a private school, to teach what it likes in its courses. On the other hand, it isn’t entitled to have its coursework certified by UC if UC doesn’t think what’s being taught is appropriate college-prep work.

  178. #178 Larry Fafarman
    September 16, 2006

    Mary moaned ( September 16, 2006 10:27 AM ) –

    Larry grasped at straws when he said, “Then I have no reason to believe that the section on biological evolution does not present the subject correctly.”
    That’s true, technically. It’s a pretty fair bet that it doesn’t, however.

    So you don’t really know, either. But I have good reason to believe that the section presents evolution correctly, because:

    (1) UC has not presented any specific examples of how it does not.

    (2) The publisher would have no reason to risk the book’s reputation by presenting evolution incorrectly. Evolution theory has so many holes that it looks bad enough even when presented correctly.

    The chapter on cell biology does not integrate the concepts of deep time, relatedness of all organisms, or even adaptation to ecological niches where it would be appropriate to do so.

    What in the hell does cell biology have to do with deep time? And of course the chapter presents the relatedness of different organisms — cell biology is presented in general terms. And you have not presented any example of where the chapter did not discuss adaptation to ecological niches where it would be appropriate to do so. You just bluster in vague generalities without getting down to specifics. You Darwinists are much worse than the fundies — you want your religion of Darwinism to be mentioned on every page.

    . . . Haynes says, “UC claims that these courses can’t be counted because they don’t meet the university’s academic standards.”

    But contrary to your claim, he didn’t say that he agrees with UC. Sheeesh.

    There are a few kinds of official records at UC which are not in the public domain: payroll information with exact salaries, private emails, medical records, and so on

    I didn’t say that the internal procedures for course certification are not available to the public — I only said that they are not where you told me to look for them. You are just sending me on wild goose chases and playing keep away.

    Larry, I realize that you would love to believe that the science faculty accepted the texts as valid, and were overruled.

    Yes, I think that would be very nice.

    UC administrators certainly don’t have the authority to overrule the Faculty Senate for the express purpose of violating the US Constitution.

    You have it backwards — I was talking about the administrators overruling the faculty in order to prevent violation of the Constitution.

    I’m afraid there’s no way around it: the people who rejected Calvary Chapel’s courses and the BJU and A. Beka textbooks were highly trained experts and educators in the relevant academic areas.

    A lot of “highly trained experts and educators” commit constitutional violations.

    Calvary Chapel is going to have a very hard time convincing the judge that he should overrule their expert opinions on the academic quality of the courses and textbooks.

    As I said a googolplex number of times already: UC has not presented any examples of where the science — as opposed to the religious perspective — is bad.

    And what in the world do you mean by “misusing references”?

    I mean misrepresenting the contents of the references. It would help if you made more quotations of the references.

  179. #179 Mary
    September 16, 2006

    Larry, I see that you’re still in denial that biology is an integrated science, with each aspect having an impact on the rest. I suggest once more that you read over the AP Biology curriculum, either from the AP site or the expanded version at the University of Georgia–I posted that link in one of my previous posts.

    Read carefully, and notice how the concepts from each chapter, and particularly the one on evolution, are integrated into chapters that focus primarily on other topics.

    That’s the approach used by real biologists doing research, it’s central to understanding science as a way of knowing, and by omitting it the BJU textbook fails to adequately teach a student what science is all about.

    Larry displays his misunderstanding of BJU’s niche in the textbook marketplace when he said, “The publisher would have no reason to risk the book’s reputation by presenting evolution incorrectly.”

    Both Bob Jones University Press and A. Beka cater almost exclusively to Fundamentalist Christian schools and homeschooling parents who are more concerned with doctrinal correctness than academic rigor and accuracy. That is why the BJU book has that interesting preface where it reassures that no science will be allowed to trump scripture in factual matters. For these publishers, failing to present evolution in an academically appropriate way is a selling point.

    And that is why UC won’t accept the textbooks as primary texts for a certified biology course.

    Larry still has his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears, as demonstrated by his claim, “But contrary to your claim, he didn’t say that he agrees with UC.”

    I didn’t say he agrees with UC. I specifically said that he disagrees with UC, but that he’s more honest than you are, because at least he isn’t trying to pretend that UC’s position is other than it is.

    Larry protested, “A lot of “highly trained experts and educators” commit constitutional violations.”

    In this instance, the academic rigor and accuracy of a course is not a matter that touches on the Constitution. Neither freedom of speech nor freedom of religion allows Calvary Chapel to force an outside institution like UC to accept instruction in its religious doctrines as science. Nor can Calvary Chapel force UC to accept students who have not taken classes which UC considers adequate preparation in science.

    As I’ve said before, the only way Calvary Chapel can even get to the point of arguing that religious discrimination might have occurred is if they can first demonstrate that the courses were academically sound and suitably rigorous according to UC’s own standards. UC has very clear guidelines as to what constitutes a certified class, however, and Calvary Chapel’s classes pretty clearly failed to meet those guidelines.

    That leaves Calvary Chapel trying to prove that either the guidelines are unreasonable (which is nearly impossible, because with a few narrow exceptions a university can use any criteria for admissions that it pleases) or that the books are in fact accurate, Noah’s Ark and demon-worshipping Salem witches included.

    The root of the problem seems to be that Calvary Chapel has deep-seated religious objections to much of what higher education is all about. In which case, they might be better off just eliminating their UC-certified college-prep track altogether, teaching what they please, and sending their graduates on to religious colleges like BJU which share their educational philosophy.

  180. #180 Larry Fafarman
    September 16, 2006

    Albatrossity said,

    As for Judge Jones “trying to tell people what their religious beliefs are supposed to be”, that is simply not true. Judge Jones is merely telling folks that if they call their religious beliefs “science”, that there is a problem with that.

    – and Mary said,
    Neither UC nor the Dover ruling tells anybody what their religious beliefs ought to be.

    Wrong. Jones said that it is wrong for people to believe that there is a conflict between their religious beliefs and Darwinism. Here again is what he said in the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion:

    Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

    Remaining quotes are from Mary –

    Judge Jones followed a long series of legal precidents when he ruled that it’s unconstitutional to teach or promote religious beliefs in public school science classes

    None of the precedents said that it is wrong for people to believe that there is a conflict between their religious beliefs and Darwinism.

    In intent and effect, Judge Jones’s ruling prevented the Dover School Board from dictating to the school children in their care what their religious beliefs should be.

    The school district did not tell the students that it was wrong for any of them to believe that there was no conflict between their religious beliefs and Darwinism.

    UC is insisting that courses accepted as fulfiling a science requirement teach actual science, fully and correctly.

    And as I have stated a googolplex number of times already, UC apparently never claimed otherwise in the case of the Calvary Chapel texts. UC apparently only complained about the religious viewpoint.

    For these publishers, failing to present evolution in an academically appropriate way is a selling point.

    For the zillionth time, I have seen or heard no evidence that the section titled “biological evolution” does not present the subject correctly. There were separate sections titled “biblical creationism” and “a biblical viewpoint.” The authors apparently tried to keep the science and the religious views separate.

    I didn’t say he agrees with UC.

    Here is what you said, “Even Charles Haynes agrees that UC’s position is that the academics were lousy,” and “Charles Haynes’s editorial does indeed say that UC’s position is that it rejected the courses due to lousy academics.” Now if you intended “lousy academics” to mean “bad science,” even UC does not clearly say that the science is bad — UC is just complaining that the religious viewpoints are bad.

    Neither freedom of speech nor freedom of religion allows Calvary Chapel to force an outside institution like UC to accept instruction in its religious doctrines as science.

    The difference is that Calvary Chapel is private whereas UC is a public tax-supported institution, so Calvary Chapel has more freedom to get away with stuff than UC has.

    From previous post of Mary (September 16, 2006 02:35 PM ) — I meant to respond to this point but I forgot –
    Religious beliefs can be taught using supplimentary material, but they can’t be taught in place of the science. What’s unfair about that?

    How do we know that UC would not have rejected the course if the religious viewpoint had been presented in supplemental material?

  181. #181 Mary
    September 17, 2006

    Larry,

    You’ve gone for a lot of red herrings, dead horses, and moving goalpoasts in this discussion, but I think your most recent post takes the prize.

    Larry went fishing when he said, “The school district did not tell the students that it was wrong for any of them to believe that there was no conflict between their religious beliefs and Darwinism.”

    The Dover school board was trying to sell students their religious view that there IS a necessary conflict between religion and biology. A public school must teach biology, including evolution, without adding any religious content or viewpoints whatsoever, pro or con.

    Larry lashed a dead equine when he stated, “UC apparently only complained about the religious viewpoint.”

    UC says that it rejected the courses for inadequate academics, not because there was a religious viewpoint added to otherwise sound material. This has been UC’s position from the very beginning–check out the actual rejected applications for three of the courses which were attached to Calvary Chapel’s complaint. Check out UC’s position statement. Check out its briefs. Check out Charles Haynes’s op-ed piece, for that matter.

    I know it would be very convenient for you and Calvary Chapel if UC had not had issues with the academics, but wishing doesn’t make it so. Calvary Chapel will have to address the academic quality issues before it can make its case for religious discrimination, and it doesn’t have much going for it there.

    Larry moved goalposts when said, “For the zillionth time, I have seen or heard no evidence that the section titled “biological evolution” does not present the subject correctly. There were separate sections titled “biblical creationism” and “a biblical viewpoint.” The authors apparently tried to keep the science and the religious views separate.”

    Hmm, so now you’ve given up trying to defend the portions of the BJU text that are available for scrutiny, and are left speculating about a portion that is not, apparently in hopes that it will be radically different from the parts that we can read.

    Unfortunately, the parts we can read already present the scientific method incorrectly, commit the book to supporting an extreme version of biblical literalism over any possible scientific evidence, and fail to present cell biology using the integrated approach required of a college-prep course. The book should properly be rejected as a primary text on the basis of the parts we can see, even if the rest of it was copied word for word from a standard biology text.

    Larry then asked disingenuously, “How do we know that UC would not have rejected the course if the religious viewpoint had been presented in supplemental material?”

    We know that because UC said as much in its position paper.

    Larry finished by flailing in the wind when he said, “The difference is that Calvary Chapel is private whereas UC is a public tax-supported institution, so Calvary Chapel has more freedom to get away with stuff than UC has.”

    Calvary Chapel has some freedoms UC doesn’t have, like the right to discriminate on the basis of religion in employment or admissions. It doesn’t have the right to dictate the admissions policies of another, secular institution. If it wants the prestige and money that having a UC-certified college track brings, it’s going to have to offer courses that meet UC’s academic standards.

  182. #182 Albatrossity
    September 17, 2006

    Larry

    Actually, what is really said in that passage from the Dover decision is this: The notion that evolutionary theory and religion are in conflict is not correct; the doctrine itself is not addressed. That notion (evolutionary theory is at odds with my religion) is not a religious doctrine, it is a consequence of religious doctrine (and there is a difference between those two). Put another way, hopefully your religion’s doctrine does not require you to ignore scientific facts. If that is the case you should probably turn off your computer now and sell it. There is no conflict, and should be no conflict between religion and factual reality.

    Furthermore, that decision said that those religious folks who do deny reality have no business foisting that viewpoint on public school students. I presume that you would not like to have Moonie, Scientology or other reality-denying doctrines taught to your kids; why do you deny other parents this right?

    I do find it amusing that in lots of cases (including this current UC case) the fundamentalists are just itching for a court or judge to address a constitutional question. And yet, when Judge Jones actually did that, West and Luskin (parroted by the likes of you) excoriate him for “going too far” and not restricting himself to the narrow question of school board policy. You are hoping to have it both ways (perhaps more evidence of denial of reality, by the way). I suspect that when a court rules that UC is right, and if that court addresses a constituional question, there will be another outcry about an activist judge going to far and ruling on a constitutional question when he/she didn’t really need to.

    PS to Mary – I don’t know who you are, but your attention to detail and your dogged attempts to drag this discussion back towards reality are very much appreciated! Bravo!

  183. #183 Larry Fafarman
    September 17, 2006

    Mary said,

    UC says that it rejected the courses for inadequate academics, not because there was a religious viewpoint added to otherwise sound material. This has been UC’s position from the very beginning–check out the actual rejected applications for three of the courses which were attached to Calvary Chapel’s complaint. Check out UC’s position statement. Check out its briefs. Check out Charles Haynes’s op-ed piece, for that matter.

    As I have said many times over, none of these references give any specific examples of bad science in the section on biological evolution. I am just wasting my time discussing this issue with you. Crow all you want about how you won the debate, but the fact is that you are just a big bag of hot air.

  184. #184 Mary
    September 17, 2006

    Albatrossity,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I admit that I do have a personal stake both in UC’s reputation as an institution with high academic standards and in the quality of undergraduates admitted. For obvious reasons, I don’t want students who learned their science from BJU texts mucking around with my experiments.

    I’ve also been waiting for Larry to bite the bullet and start checking his facts before he writes. No luck there so far, but I keep hoping.

    For some reason, this particular lawsuit seems to be attracting more than its share of nonsense, speculation, and rumors. Most of it appears to be traceable to some early press releases by Calvary Chapel and ASCI that were long on innuendo and dramatic accusations and short on facts.

    Anyway, I hope you are finding the discussion both educational and entertaining.

  185. #185 Larry Fafarman
    September 17, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    That notion (evolutionary theory is at odds with my religion) is not a religious doctrine, it is a consequence of religious doctrine (and there is a difference between those two).

    There is a difference between the two only in your nitpicking mind. The fact is that literal interpretation of the bible is actually part of the religious beliefs of some people. Remember what the Supreme Court said:

    ” The religious views espoused by respondents might seem incredible, if not preposterous, to most people. But if those doctrines are subject to trial before a jury charged with finding their truth or falsity, then the same can be done with the religious beliefs of any sect.” U.S. v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78, at 86?7 (1944)

    I suspect that when a court rules that UC is right, and if that court addresses a constituional question, there will be another outcry about an activist judge going to far and ruling on a constitutional question when he/she didn’t really need to.

    Never having lost a case has made you Darwinists overconfident. You have come much closer to losing than many of you realize. The Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish evolution disclaimer case came within one vote of being granted an en banc (full court) appeals court rehearing and within one vote of being granted certiorari by the Supreme Court. And the remanded Selman v. Cobb County textbook sticker case has an excellent chance of being reversed. See http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/05/close-votes-in-freiler-case-show.html

    PS to Mary – I don’t know who you are, but your attention to detail . . .

    What “attention to detail”? She has failed to substantiate most of her assertions.

  186. #186 Dave S.
    September 18, 2006

    Mary says:

    Albatrossity,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I admit that I do have a personal stake both in UC’s reputation as an institution with high academic standards and in the quality of undergraduates admitted. For obvious reasons, I don’t want students who learned their science from BJU texts mucking around with my experiments.

    I’ve also been waiting for Larry to bite the bullet and start checking his facts before he writes. No luck there so far, but I keep hoping.

    For some reason, this particular lawsuit seems to be attracting more than its share of nonsense, speculation, and rumors. Most of it appears to be traceable to some early press releases by Calvary Chapel and ASCI that were long on innuendo and dramatic accusations and short on facts.

    Anyway, I hope you are finding the discussion both educational and entertaining.

    I heartily agree with Albatrossity here, that you have done us all a terrific service in this thread, discussing this case. As for Larry, if he doesn’t look at the facts, then obviously they don’t exist. His hypothetical situations then take the place of reality in his mind. At least he serves as a catalyst for finding new info from people who actually know.

    Anyway, thanks again.

  187. #187 Mary
    September 18, 2006

    Larry danced around goalpoasts that have been moved so far off the playing field that they’re out of sight when he said, “As I have said many times over, none of these references give any specific examples of bad science in the section on biological evolution.”

    Larry, give up. You’ve lost this one. UC has been saying from the beginning that the science in the BJU and A. Beka texts was inadequate. We happen to be able to see the preface, the introduction, and one chapter of the BJU text for free. In those short excerpts, the scientific method is mangled beyond recognition and cell biology is taught without the integrated approach UC requires.

    It is plain that this textbook does not teach standard science at a college-prep level, which is UC’s requirement for primary textbooks. It doesn’t matter what is or isn’t in the chapter portion on biological evolution. The book would have been justifiably rejected as a primary text based on the portions we can see alone.

    Larry finally said something accurate, to wit, “The fact is that literal interpretation of the bible is actually part of the religious beliefs of some people. ”

    It’s true that individual people and private institutions are allowed to reject science as part of a religious doctrine. Calvary Chapel has an absolute right to teach creationism in its biology classes if it wants to.

    On the other hand, if UC thinks Calvary Chapel isn’t teaching biology accurately, it doesn’t have to certify its classes as college-prep material, or accept students who haven’t had a secular biology class as candidates for admission.

    It doesn’t matter that the students failed to learn secular science because they had religious objections to any field of study that conflicts with a literal interpretation of Genesis. The First Ammendment does not protect a person from the secular consequences of religiously-motivated actions. If you break the law for religious reasons, you still must pay the penalty. If you fail to meet a secular university’s admissions standards for religious reasons, you’re still not going to be admitted. If Calvary Chapel mangled its curriculum for religious reasons, UC can still reject its coursework as not meeting secular standards.

    There are some situations where secular institutions must accomodate religious practices, but that exception is pretty much limited to the minimum accomdation required for a religious group to engage in its primary religious ceremonies. Members of Native American churches which smoke peyote can avoid being fired as drug users, for instance, as long as they can prove that they were not smoking recreationally.

    Calvary Chapel is not claiming that attending UC is a primary religious ceremony central to the practice of its religion, however. It’s not likely it can convince a judge that UC’s requirement that all candidates for admissions know something about science is both unreasonable and instituted for the specific purpose of justifying rejection of Fundamentalist Christian students, either.

    I simply don’t see any way for Calvary Chapel to successfully argue either that it is a victim of arbitrary religious discrimination or that it qualifies for a religious exemption from UC’s admissions and certification requirements.

  188. #188 Albatrossity
    September 18, 2006

    Larry

    There is nothing in the U.S. v Ballard ruling that is contradicted by the Dover ruling. And there is a (non-nitpicking) difference between religious belief and its consequences. The believer is the one who has to deal with the consequences; these cannot be imposed on other non-beleivers. Although you seem to be impervious to the use of examples as argument, I’ll try another anyway. If you are a Christian Scientist, and get appendicitis, you can, as a believer in that doctrine, accept the consequence of your belief and forego medical treatment. You cannot, as a consequence of that belief, make me or anyone else do the same thing.

    And thank you, sincerely, for that absurd projective comment that Mary has “failed to substantiate most of her assertions.” That was the best laugh I had in a long time!

    Apropos of your failure to understand or appreciate how to substantiate your assertions, however, you might take a clue from the fact that the “bibleists” have failed in all court cases so far. Unlike comments in a blog, arguments in a court case need to be substantiated, and mistakes in those arguments will be ruthlessly exposed. Unlike a blog comment thread, rules of evidence apply in court, and you cannot get by with goal-post moving, back-filling, or bogus assertions. That is why you lose in court. When it counts.

  189. #189 Larry Fafarman
    September 18, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    There is nothing in the U.S. v Ballard ruling that is contradicted by the Dover ruling. And there is a (non-nitpicking) difference between religious belief and its consequences. The believer is the one who has to deal with the consequences; these cannot be imposed on other non-beleivers.

    The Dover ruling’s finding that those who believe that Darwinism is incompatible with their religious beliefs are wrong does contradict the U.S. v. Ballard ruling — whether, when and how the “consequences” of those beliefs may be “imposed” on others is another issue.

    Also, in regard to the idea that the Dover school district’s ID statement imposed religious beliefs on the students –

    (1) The statement was not expressly or overtly religious.

    (2) I think that the key to evolution disclaimer cases is the “political insider-outsider” principle of the judicial “endorsement test.” Under this principle, the government should be allowed to make statements of a possibly religious nature if doing so is necessary to prevent particular religious groups from feeling like political “outsiders.” Right now, the atheists and those who believe that Darwinism is compatible with religion are definitely the ones who feel like the political “insiders.” Not only is Darwinism the only explanation of life origins that is actually being taught, but any mention of criticism of Darwinism — whether the criticism is religious or not — has been banned by some court decisions! Since teaching evolution promotes atheism and/or the belief that evolution is compatible with religion, those who believe that evolution is incompatible with religion are entitled to an evolution disclaimer statement as a concession to their religious beliefs. This point was made by attorney Edward Sisson in an open letter about the Selman v. Cobb County textbook sticker case — see http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/06/attorneys-open-letter-on-selman-v-cobb.html

    And thank you, sincerely, for that absurd projective comment that Mary has “failed to substantiate most of her assertions.” That was the best laugh I had in a long time!

    The laugh is on you and Mary. She said, “It doesn’t matter what is or isn’t in the chapter portion on biological evolution,” even though this chapter portion is the part of the book where any religion-based distortions of science would by far be most likely to be found. She said, “The book would have been justifiably rejected as a primary text based on the portions we can see alone.” She moaned that the chapter on cell biology did not discuss “deep time,” the interrelatedness of living things, and adaptation to ecological niches — not especially important topics for a chapter on cell biology.

    you might take a clue from the fact that the “bibleists” have failed in all court cases so far.

    The “bibleists” — as you call them — came close to winning in Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish (the case came within single votes of getting review by the full appeals court and/or the Supreme Court) and may yet win the remanded Selman v. Cobb County textbook sticker case.

    Unlike comments in a blog, arguments in a court case need to be substantiated

    Yes — your and Mary’s unsubstantiated comments here would carry no weight in a court of law.

  190. #190 Albatrossity
    September 18, 2006

    I’ll give you credit for one thing, Larry. You sure don’t seem to mind the smell of dead horses…

    Good night.

  191. #191 Mary
    September 18, 2006

    Larry, while I expect that the evolution section of the BJU text is a doozy when it comes to scientific inaccuracy, and that the creationism section is even worse, the preface, introduction, and Chapter 4 have plenty of problems of their own. More than enough to disprove your claim that the science content was not substantially altered from a standard approach.

    As far as the relationship of cell biology to concepts like deep time, evolution, ecology, and so on goes…

    I happen to have sitting beside me at the moment the September 1 issue of SCIENCE, one of the two most venerated science journals in the world. (The other is NATURE.) On page 1229, there is an interesting news item about sea slugs capturing chloroplasts and maintaining them over a period of months, allowing the slugs to derive benefit from photosynthesis just like a plant. During the course of describing this process, the one-page article used concepts from cell biology, genetics, phylogeny, evolution, deep time, ecology, and physiology.

    And that’s just a random example that happened to catch my eye because it had some good photos. I could have used any of the biological articles in any issue.

    Biologists have areas in which we specialize, but you can’t do meaningful research if you don’t put your specialty in proper context with the big picture. That is the approach mandated by the College Board for AP Biology classes, it appears in the California Biology Standards, and it’s the gold standard for high school biology texts.

    Chapter 4 of the BJU text doesn’t take this approach, and the preface and introduction strongly imply that this is no oversight, but a deliberate attempt to isolate any remotely evolutionary concept in one small section where it can be ignored. Unfortunately, when you take out everything related to evolution, you also take out most of the theoretical infrastructure of the discipline. You’re left with a chapter of random vocabulary words and factoids that don’t have any obvious importance or relation to each other.

    That’s not acceptable in a college-prep biology class, where it is particularly important that students learn the theoretical underpinning of the discipline. UC has every right to insist that textbooks accurately reflect academic disciplines before it gives courses using them its stamp of approval.

  192. #192 Larry Fafarman
    September 19, 2006

    Mary said –

    Larry, while I expect that the evolution section of the BJU text is a doozy when it comes to scientific inaccuracy,

    You have no idea of what the evolution section is like. Your blatant prejudice disqualifies you as an evaluator of the textbooks.

    and that the creationism section is even worse,

    Of course! The section on “biblical creationism” does not pretend to be modern science.

    Biologists have areas in which we specialize, but you can’t do meaningful research if you don’t put your specialty in proper context with the big picture . . . . Chapter 4 of the BJU text doesn’t take this approach

    Some areas of biology don’t lend themselves to an “integrated” approach.

    Have you evaluated regular public-school biology textbooks? How can you be sure that all of them meet your high, probably unrealistic expectations? Why should the Christian-school students be denied admission just on the basis of the nitpicking prejudices of you and the UC course accreditation department?

    Here is what Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute says about the supposed importance of an “integrated” approach that includes evolution in all areas of biology:

    – from http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=3739&program=DI%20Main%20Page%20-%20Article&callingPage=discoMainPage

    It is a simple task to find quotes from scientists or scientific organizations saying evolution is crucial or key to all of modern biology. Over twenty years ago an Australian anthropologist explained in a secular journal why he thinks this is true:

    [M]any scientists and technologists pay lip-service to Darwinian Theory only because it supposedly excludes a Creator from yet another area of material phenomena, and not because it has been paradigmatic in establishing the canons of research in the life sciences and the earth sciences.

    This explains why Mr. Mooney?s statements about the grandeur of evolution are unlikely to impress those who are not already convinced of the accuracy of Neo-Darwinism. More recently, some eminent scientists — including some evolutionary biologists — are taking a different view. Writing in The Scientist, Philip S. Skell, member of the National Academy of Science and Emeritus Professor at Pennsylvania State University stated that, ?my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution ?. [and] [n]or did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin.?Skell goes on to report his experiences with evolution in empirical research:

    I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.”

    Skell finds many major discoveries in experimental biology were not aided by evolution. These include the discovery of the DNA double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries. If evolution won?t save the world, can it yield commercial benefits? In August, 2006, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne wrote in an article entitled ?Selling Darwin? in Nature, explaining that the answer is again, ?No?:

    [I]f truth be told, evolution hasn?t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn?t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of “like begets like”. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.

    One of the two commercial uses Coyne does find for evolution includes the use of “directed evolution” to produce commercial products (such as enzymes to protect crop plants from herbicides). “Directed evolution” is otherwise known as intelligent design.

  193. #193 Albatrossity
    September 19, 2006

    Larry

    What are your qualifications for judging biology textbooks? Mary is a biologist. I am a biologist, with a PhD from Stanford (ironically, Cal’s arch-rival in sports. I teach intro biology to university students. I regularly review textbooks. I suspect that what you call “prejudice” is actually expertise. Which is much better than the deep-seated ignorance you apparently view as a qualification.

    As for Casey Luskin, he is a lawyer. His expertise was on display in a recent CSPAN video, wherein he actually conflated a conclusion with an hypothesis. His ignorance may (or may not) be deeper than yours, but I have no delusions that he is qualified to judge biology textbooks either.

    And finally, if you really find those arguments from Mooney and Skell to be convincing, please make sure that you do not take any medicines the next time that you fall ill, and please travel to parts of the world where the insect vectors have evolved resistance to DDT. In other words, please practice what you preach. Otherwise you are just another hypocrite, taking advantage of scientific advances while pretending to believe only the parts of it that don’t personally offend you, and that you don’t really understand.

  194. #194 Dave S.
    September 19, 2006

    Albatrossity writes:

    What are your qualifications for judging biology textbooks? Mary is a biologist. I am a biologist, with a PhD from Stanford (ironically, Cal’s arch-rival in sports. I teach intro biology to university students. I regularly review textbooks. I suspect that what you call “prejudice” is actually expertise. Which is much better than the deep-seated ignorance you apparently view as a qualification.

    Larry pontificates in many fields where he has not the slightest background. For instance he considers biology mostly just philosophy and really anyone can talk about it and all those details like the facts are just nitpicking.

    As for Casey Luskin, he is a lawyer. His expertise was on display in a recent CSPAN video, wherein he actually conflated a conclusion with an hypothesis. His ignorance may (or may not) be deeper than yours, but I have no delusions that he is qualified to judge biology textbooks either.

    He is a lawyer, but he also likes to flaunt his awesome scientific background around…I think he has a masters in geology or something like that. In any event, his arguments themselves have been extensively refuted, whatever his claims to scientific authority.

    And finally, if you really find those arguments from Mooney and Skell to be convincing, please make sure that you do not take any medicines the next time that you fall ill, and please travel to parts of the world where the insect vectors have evolved resistance to DDT. In other words, please practice what you preach. Otherwise you are just another hypocrite, taking advantage of scientific advances while pretending to believe only the parts of it that don’t personally offend you, and that you don’t really understand.

    To be clear, these are Skell’s arguments, not Moony’s. Moony is the one Luskin is arguing against. And reading the Luskin quote posted you’d think for all the world Skell was an evolutionary biologist. In fact, he’s not a biologist of any kind, he’s a retired chemist. And Luskin also forgets to mention that virtually every biologist who’s had the pleasure of being innundated with Skells pet ‘biologists don’t need evolution’ schtick have vehemently disagreed with his simple-minded arguments. For instance Skell seems to think that since Fleming discovered bacterial inhibition by penicillin by accident, that all antibiotics were discovered that way. In fact, evolution has elucidated every single one of the points listed as not aided by evolution.

  195. #195 Flex
    September 19, 2006

    Larry wrote: “Your blatant prejudice disqualifies you as an evaluator of the textbooks.”

    Hahahahaaha

    Again Larry, your comments are very, very funny.

    Mary, has clearly stated, many times, the UC position that the textbooks do not meet UC standards for scientific accuracy. Mary, has researched for your benefit the course acceptance criteria, as well as the details of how UC expert biologists were used to evaluate the text. Mary, has clearly stated that she has no objection to the text being used in a private college.

    The only objection Mary has made is that based on her reading of the text, she agrees with UC’s evaluation that a course which uses those textbooks as a sole text in a biology course does not meet the educational requirements for university level biology accreditation.

    Even without reading the text I agree with the UC’s evaluation because that is part of their job, to evaluate texts for accuracy. Their job. Not mine. Not your’s. Not Mary’s.

    Mary has been restrained, understanding, and very, very patient with your inability to research, read or think. You have avoided answering straightforward questions from many people. You make accusitions of bias without evidence. You are unwilling to admit factual and analytical errors you have made in your arguments.

    So you fall back on the final dismissive ad hominen argument: “blatant prejudice”. Don’t listen to Mary, she has “blatant prejudice”!

    Nope, you won’t consider that you may be mistaken, and if someone calls you on a mistake, takes the time to point out your errors, reasons with you; they are guilty of “blatant prejudice”.

    I find it funny that patience, rationality, and open-mindedness are now synonymous with prejudice. Sad too.

    My friend, you see someone with a closed mind in every mirror.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  196. #196 Mary
    September 19, 2006

    Let’s see: every person in this discussion who’s got some expertise in biology and biology textbooks agrees with UC that the approach in the BJU texts is academically worthless, and against that Larry pits a quote from a lawyer who don’t know anything about either biology or teaching.

    Better try again, Larry; that was a pretty weak effort.

    Hint: look for someone who has both an advanced degree in biology from a reputable institution of higher learning and teaching experience. Lawyers, engineers, and other non-biologists don’t have the specialized knowledge of the subject required to judge what is and is not appropriate material and approaches for teaching biology.

    Larry tried to salvage his out-of-sight goalposts when he said, “You have no idea of what the evolution section is like.”

    Although I can’t easily lay my hands on a copy of the textbook, the introductory material makes it very clear that the book puts Biblical literalism ahead of science, and the available chapter confirms that this religious viewpoint has been allowed to alter the science presented. BJU Press’s other biology textbooks are advertised as “totally non-evolutionary”, and reviews confirm that their presentation of evolution consists mainly of a rehash of long-disproved Creationist “evidences against evolution”.

    To summarize, we have a publisher that’s committed to teaching bad science as part of its religious mission, and that has issued a textbook that has a preface and introduction which openly state the particular text in question is part of that mission. The cell biology chapter confirms that the science has been altered to reinforce the religious message, and one of the nation’s premier university systems has rejected the text as inadequate for college-prep classes.

    Somehow, that doesn’t add up to an accurate evolution chapter to me.

    Larry bluffed, “Some areas of biology don’t lend themselves to an “integrated” approach.”

    Such as? I can’t think of any, off hand.

    Cell biology is certainly not such an area, which is why the lack of integration in the BJU textbook chapter is so telling.

  197. #197 Larry Fafarman
    September 19, 2006

    Albatrossity said –
    What are your qualifications for judging biology textbooks?

    I may not be an expert on biology, but at least I have common sense.

    Mary is a biologist. I am a biologist, with a PhD from Stanford

    Whoopee. What good are your lousy credentials if you judge the book’s section on evolution without having seen it? Please send me your diplomas — I am short of toilet paper.

    Dave S. said –
    As for Casey Luskin, he is a lawyer.

    He is not just stating his own opinions — he is citing opinions stated in reputable scientific journals.

    Flex said –
    The only objection Mary has made is that based on her reading of the text

    She has only read a single chapter and the introduction.

    Even without reading the text I agree with the UC’s evaluation because that is part of their job, to evaluate texts for accuracy. Their job. Not mine. Not your’s. Not Mary’s.

    Obviously the judge did not agree — he allowed the suit to move forward. And why is Mary evaluating this text if, as you say, that is not her job?

    Mary has been restrained, understanding, and very, very patient with your inability to research, read or think.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I am the one who has been restrained.

    Here is a statement from a biologist who evaluated a lot of science texts –

    Judging by these textbooks, Darwinism is often totally ignored in most science classes. Judging by my review of new textbooks, the content in especially introductory textbooks is increasing, probably in response to the intelligent design and creationist movements. Because I have much interest in the subject, I usually cover it in more depth than, in my experience, is usual. Many of the instructors at the colleges where I have taught totally ignore the sections on evolution, partly because there is too much other material that must be covered and something has to be cut and most elect to skip evolution because it is one of the least-important subjects in most majors. How many health care workers need to understand Darwin theories? (No concern exists over development of antibody resistance, something I stress in my microbiology class.) In short, at least judging by the major textbooks used, the often repeated claim about Darwinism being central to natural science is not true.

    – from http://www.rae.org/nothing.html

    A lot of students in public K-12 schools don’t study evolution in biology classes. I went to a high-quality urban high school in the early 1960′s and I didn’t study evolution in biology class — it was just sort of something that we took for granted.

    I cannot believe the breathtaking inanity of the other participants in this discussion.

  198. #198 Albatrossity
    September 19, 2006

    Larry wrote, maniacally

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I am the one who has been restrained.

    There is a verb tense problem with that sentence, Larry. You should be restrained, and I recommend a straitjacket.

    As for your quote from the “expert”, anyone who uses the word “Darwinism” in a sentence is automatically disqualified in my book, because that usage (as flogged here before) indicates a serious lack of understanding of modern biology or science. A little google research vindicated that disqualification, since the author (Jerry Bergman) was apparently dismissed from his academic job, and one of his degrees is from a diploma mill (Columbia Pacific University). This is your weakest effort yet. Got any more?

  199. #199 Dave S.
    September 19, 2006

    Larry says:

    He is not just stating his own opinions — he is citing opinions stated in reputable scientific journals.

    He doesn’t appear to have much ability to accurately cite the relevant scientific literature.

  200. #200 Flex
    September 19, 2006

    Larry wrote, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I am the one who has been restrained.

    Hahaha,

    I see that. You’ve restrained yourself from reading and understanding. You’ve restrained youself from researching the academic standards. And you’ve restrained yourself from answering direct questions concerning your point of view.

    No hard feelings though. If you are content with quoting a couple of lawyers and a teacher (whom I consider Dr. Bergman to be), as representative of the state of modern biology, go right ahead.

    By the way, why didn’t you put in the attribution for your quote? Your quote is from Dr. Jerry Bergman who has also argued that, “The reason God created toxins is because they are necessary for life, especially in a post-Fall world.” (http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v11/i3/poison.asp)
    and, “Firmly convinced that Darwinian evolution was true, Hitler saw himself as the modern saviour of mankind.” (http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v13/i2/nazi.asp)

    Maybe because his major training, juding by the transcript in the essay you linked to, seems to be in psychology, sociology and behavioral science? Maybe because he is well known as a creationist apologist?

    But the core argument you are making is that none of us are qualified to judge the textbooks as adequate to meet the UC acceptance standards. I can accept that. I’m willing to abide by the experts at UC who did judge the book didn’t meet the UC criteria. There is no evidence that Dr. Bergman evaluated the textbooks, so why bring him up?

    Of course you didn’t mention that in that same essay he reviews a total of three basic biology course testbooks. He finds that the 1998 text devotes 9% of the text to an evolution section, with mention in other chapters. The 2002 text devotes 11% of the text to evolution, which is also mentioned in other chapters. Further the 2004 text discusses evolution in every chapter. Do you see a progression here? The more recent texts have a more comprehensive coverage of evolutionary theory.

    But even though you admit you are not competant to judge these textbooks, you also want to claim that the UC experts are not competant to judge these textbooks.

    That’s wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

    Good health,

    -Flex

  201. #201 Larry Fafarman
    September 19, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    As for your quote from the “expert”, anyone who uses the word “Darwinism” in a sentence is automatically disqualified in my book,

    In my book, that is a darn sight better than judging things without having seen them! Is this the way you perform your scientific research?

    one of his degrees is from a diploma mill (Columbia Pacific University).

    But apparently he has advanced degrees and graduate credits from accredited universities. And I have yet to see him judging things that he hasn’t seen.

    No matter what I present here, you will always say that it is “not good enough.”

    Flex said –
    But the core argument you are making is that none of us are qualified to judge the textbooks as adequate to meet the UC acceptance standards. I can accept that.

    Accept what? I never said that none of you are qualified to judge the textbooks — you are putting words in my mouth. You are certainly not qualified to judge what you have not seen. Also, I think that your judgment is biased and bad. Also, I can say that you are not well-qualified to judge these textbooks if you have not reviewed a lot of other textbooks for comparison.

    I’m willing to abide by the experts at UC who did judge the book didn’t meet the UC criteria.

    A lot of judgments of “experts” have been overturned by the courts. Often there are experts on both sides and the courts must decide which side to accept.

    There is no evidence that Dr. Bergman evaluated the textbooks, so why bring him up?

    Sheeeesh. What is the matter with you? I brought him up because I felt he had something to say that is relevant to the discussion.

    Of course you didn’t mention that in that same essay he reviews a total of three basic biology course testbooks. He finds that the 1998 text devotes 9% of the text to an evolution section, with mention in other chapters. The 2002 text devotes 11% of the text to evolution, which is also mentioned in other chapters. Further the 2004 text discusses evolution in every chapter. Do you see a progression here?

    There is no “progression” here — these are books from different authors.

    Mary concluded that the whole BJU textbook set was bad because the only chapter she saw — the chapter on cell biology — did not discuss evolution or subjects related to evolution. She never explained why evolution’s connection to cell biology is so important that it could not be discussed instead in the book’s section on evolution.

    I suspect that most standard high-school biology textbooks would be disqualified according to your unreasonable standards.

    You people are obsessed with Darwinism to the point of religious fanaticism. You are worse than the fundies.

  202. #202 Albatrossity
    September 19, 2006

    Larry opined (without reflecting on his previous words)

    In my book, that is a darn sight better than judging things without having seen them!

    Absolutely. Unfortunately for your argument, when you search through this thread, you will note that I have not passed judgement on these textbooks without seeing them. On the other hand, you have repeatedly defended them, while admitting that you haven’t read them either…

    I am comfortable with the processes by which public universities accredit high school courses and courses from other community colleges or universities, because I have been involved in that process at my own institution. You, besides judging books that you have admittedly not read, also feel qualified to pass judgement on those processes, even though it has been explained to you in excruciating detail that the process is open, fair, and unbiased.

    You also feel correct in your opinion that biology doesn’t have to be taught in an integrated way, even though your credentials as a biologist, or an educator, are non-existent.

    It appears that the opinions you hold most strongly are precisely in the areas where you know nothing. Can you see the problem with that?

  203. #203 Flex
    September 19, 2006

    I’ll try again.

    I fully acknowledge that I am not qualified to judge if these textbooks are acceptable for accreditation. I didn’t mean to appear to put words into your mouth.

    However, you still have not acknowledged the other part of the statement. YOU are not qualified to judge whether those textbooks are acceptable to be used as a primary source for an accredited course from UC.

    So, which experts are qualified to judge? Funny, but I trust UC biologists.

    Let’s see, UC is apparently willing to negotiate about the couse and allow accreditation of the course if a different text was selected as the primary text. This is from their position paper.

    Yet, Calvary Chapel still filed suit. To me this suggests that Calvary Chapel is unwilling to negotiate. And unwilling to accept that their course does not prepare their student to study the subject of biology at a college level.

    What was the justification for the lawsuit? Religous discrimination? It’s almost as funny as you are.

    I’m sorry, but Calvary Chapel has an uphill battle ahead of it. Calvary Chapel not only has to show that the UC accreditation process is too difficult to meet. Calvary Chapel also has to show that the primary reason for rejecting the course was due to it’s religious content.

    The final straw of your argument is that experts will disagree on the level of science necessary to teach biology to high school students to prepare them for college. Even if the courts rule in your favor on this issue, I can’t possibly see them finding that the primary reason for rejecting the course was due to it’s religious content.

    Do you want my prediction on the case, non-lawyer that I am? Probably not, but I’ll give it anyway. The court will assign a mediator to attempt a reconciliation between the parties. Give them 3-6 months to meet and discuss. Then review the results of the mediation. If no agreement has been reached, the court will hear the case, listen to the various experts, and find for UC.

    I’m sure you think I’m wrong, but I’m not going to worry too much about it.

    Oh, and since you seem to have trouble reading complete paragraphs, I’ll try this one again…

    I wrote,

    Of course you didn’t mention that in that same essay he reviews a total of three basic biology course testbooks. He finds that the 1998 text devotes 9% of the text to an evolution section, with mention in other chapters. The 2002 text devotes 11% of the text to evolution, which is also mentioned in other chapters. Further the 2004 text discusses evolution in every chapter. Do you see a progression here?

    Larry replied, “There is no “progression” here — these are books from different authors.”

    Curious how you left off the last sentance of my paragraph. You quoted the rest. Here it is again, “The more recent texts have a more comprehensive coverage of evolutionary theory.”

    Over the six years of the different publishing dates of these textbooks, a steadily increasing level of integration of evolutionary theory. And these are the textbooks Dr. Bergman chose to use to teach. I assume he surveyed the field to find the best books he could?

    As far as our obsession with ‘Darwinism’? P’shaw! We are obsessed with accurate science education.

    We are obsessed with showing students the difference between empirical and revealed knowledge. Not to inndoctrinate them, but to allow them to choose for themselves. And we are obsessed with keeping astrology out of astronomy course, graphology out of English course, alchemy out of chemistry courses, homeopathy out of medicine, geomancy out of geology, and gematria out of mathematics.

    We are rationalists. What are you?

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  204. #204 Mary
    September 19, 2006

    Flex observed, “Over the six years of the different publishing dates of these textbooks, a steadily increasing level of integration of evolutionary theory.”

    This coincides with a reorganization of the College Board’s AP Biology curriculum. AP courses are supposed to duplicate the material found in introductory college-level classes at good universities: the AP Biology curriculum is actually a composite of most-frequently taught material in some 15,000 college and university-level freshman biology courses.

    Not surprisingly, the resulting curriculum requires that the course spend 25% of its time on “Heredity and Evolution”, and evolution is also prominantly integrated into other sections. The AP curriculum is the basis for the AP subject test in biology, which also emphasizes a student’s knowledge of evolution and how to applied to other areas in biology.

    Most universities will give students extra points towards admissions for doing well in AP classes and subject tests. Many also give actual college credit, and/or allow students to place out of introductory classes. So, offering AP classes is a relatively big deal for private high schools who want to attract college-bound students.

    Schools wanting to offer courses with the “AP” designation must have them certified by the College Board, to determine that the material being taught conforms tightly to the required curriculum. The process is very similar to UC’s certification procedure for the a-g requirements. In fact, the two are similar enough that UC will automatically accept AP courses as certified for admissions purposes in the appropriate category.

    Like UC, the College Board takes a close look at the textbooks used in certified AP classes. There is a list of acceptable texts on their site. (Hint to research-challenged Larry: try googling on “AP biology textbooks” and looking for hits on the College Board site.)

    Strangely enough, neither BJU Press nor A. Beka has a textbook on the list, although most of the big players in the textbook industry are well represented. It appears the College Board share’s UC’s opinion of their quality.

    I agree that Calvary Chapel is in trouble with this lawsuit. Getting creationism/ID into public and private high schools is relatively easy, because few school board members and administrators know or care anything about biology. High school biology teachers tend to be isolated and can be intimidated by angry parents or bosses, and most of them have never done actual biological research.

    Getting similar material to pass inspection at the university level is pretty much impossible. There, the decisions as to what is or is not appropriate are set by research biologists. People who use evolution daily in the lab aren’t going to be convinced by some lawyer’s confused babblings that somehow it doesn’t work and they should use the Bible instead.

    Oh, and Larry, you’re right, some high schools in some backwards areas omit or downplay evolution in their biology classes. I’d be willing to bet quite a bit that such courses aren’t winning certification from either UC or the College Board, however.

  205. #205 Larry Fafarman
    September 19, 2006

    Albatrossity said,

    Unfortunately for your argument, when you search through this thread, you will note that I have not passed judgement on these textbooks without seeing them.

    Baloney — if you hadn’t already passed judgment on them, you would not be arguing here.

    On the other hand, you have repeatedly defended them, while admitting that you haven’t read them either

    All I know is that (1) no one has presented any specific examples of bad science in the textbooks and (2) Darwinism has so many holes that it is not necessary to distort it to make it look bad (even your big hero Judge Jones has admitted that).

    It appears that the opinions you hold most strongly are precisely in the areas where you know nothing.

    What is this? You don’t even know what opinions I hold in other areas or how strongly I hold them. Not being an expert does not mean that I know nothing. And though I admit that I am not qualified to independently review the texts, I am qualified in many cases to judge when others are not reviewing them fairly — like not giving specific examples of errors.

    Flex said –

    So, which experts are qualified to judge? Funny, but I trust UC biologists.

    You are very naive. I don’t trust anyone — not even the courts. But the courts do offer an opportunity for second opinions.

    Larry replied, “There is no “progression” here — these are books from different authors.”
    Curious how you left off the last sentance of my paragraph. You quoted the rest. Here it is again, “The more recent texts have a more comprehensive coverage of evolutionary theory.”

    Only three texts were studied. That is not enough to establish any correlation between the edition year and the treatment of evolution. Even if there were such a correlation, you are saying that in general only texts of an edition year around 2004 and later would be acceptable. That is absurd.

    Mary said,

    Not surprisingly, the resulting curriculum requires that the course spend 25% of its time on “Heredity and Evolution”, and evolution is also prominantly integrated into other sections.

    These are AP courses, not regular courses. And an AP biology course could spend 25% of the time on heredity (genetics) and 0% of the time on evolution and still qualify. Also, Jerry Bergman said, ” Many of the instructors at the colleges where I have taught totally ignore the sections on evolution, partly because there is too much other material that must be covered and something has to be cut and most elect to skip evolution because it is one of the least-important subjects in most majors.”

    Also, suppose that someone who went to high school many years ago applies for UC admission. Should that person be denied admission just because that person’s high school courses did not follow the latest standards?

    (Hint to research-challenged Larry: try googling on “AP biology textbooks” and looking for hits on the College Board site.)

    “Research-challenged”? Look in the mirror.

    Strangely enough, neither BJU Press nor A. Beka has a textbook on the list, although most of the big players in the textbook industry are well represented..

    That’s ridiculous. That proves nothing — absolutely nothing. We have no idea why BJU and A. Beka are not represented. You said that the AP courses require a lot of heredity and evolution (without saying how much of each), and maybe these publishers decided that the Christian-school market for AP texts was just too small to justify the effort required to publish such texts.

    Oh, and Larry, you’re right, some high schools in some backwards areas omit or downplay evolution in their biology classes.

    I didn’t go to high school in some “backwards” area — my high school at the time was one of the best in the Los Angeles city school district. But we did not cover evolution in biology — it was just sort of something that we took for granted.

  206. #206 Larry Fafarman
    September 19, 2006

    Albatrossity said,

    Unfortunately for your argument, when you search through this thread, you will note that I have not passed judgement on these textbooks without seeing them.

    Baloney — if you hadn’t already passed judgment on them, you would not be arguing here.

    On the other hand, you have repeatedly defended them, while admitting that you haven’t read them either

    All I know is that (1) no one has presented any specific examples of bad science in the textbooks and (2) Darwinism has so many holes that it is not necessary to distort it to make it look bad (even your big hero Judge Jones has admitted that).

    It appears that the opinions you hold most strongly are precisely in the areas where you know nothing.

    What is this? You don’t even know what opinions I hold in other areas or how strongly I hold them. Not being an expert does not mean that I know nothing. And though I admit that I am not qualified to independently review the texts, I am qualified in many cases to judge when others are not reviewing them fairly — like not giving specific examples of errors.

    Flex said –

    So, which experts are qualified to judge? Funny, but I trust UC biologists.

    You are very naive. I don’t trust anyone — not even the courts. But the courts do offer an opportunity for second opinions.

    Larry replied, “There is no “progression” here — these are books from different authors.”
    Curious how you left off the last sentance of my paragraph. You quoted the rest. Here it is again, “The more recent texts have a more comprehensive coverage of evolutionary theory.”

    Only three texts were studied. That is not enough to establish any correlation between the edition year and the treatment of evolution. Even if there were such a correlation, you are saying that in general only texts of an edition year around 2004 and later would be acceptable. That is absurd.

    Mary said,

    Not surprisingly, the resulting curriculum requires that the course spend 25% of its time on “Heredity and Evolution”, and evolution is also prominantly integrated into other sections.

    These are AP courses, not regular courses. And an AP biology course could spend 25% of the time on heredity (genetics) and 0% of the time on evolution and still qualify. Also, Jerry Bergman said, ” Many of the instructors at the colleges where I have taught totally ignore the sections on evolution, partly because there is too much other material that must be covered and something has to be cut and most elect to skip evolution because it is one of the least-important subjects in most majors.”

    Also, suppose that someone who went to high school many years ago applies for UC admission. Should that person be denied admission just because that person’s high school courses did not follow the latest standards?

    (Hint to research-challenged Larry: try googling on “AP biology textbooks” and looking for hits on the College Board site.)

    “Research-challenged”? Look in the mirror.

    Strangely enough, neither BJU Press nor A. Beka has a textbook on the list, although most of the big players in the textbook industry are well represented..

    That’s ridiculous. That proves nothing — absolutely nothing. We have no idea why BJU and A. Beka are not represented. You said that the AP courses require a lot of heredity and evolution (without saying how much of each), and maybe these publishers decided that the Christian-school market for AP texts was just too small to justify the effort required to publish such texts.

    Oh, and Larry, you’re right, some high schools in some backwards areas omit or downplay evolution in their biology classes.

    I didn’t go to high school in some “backwards” area — my high school at the time was one of the best in the Los Angeles city school district. But we did not cover evolution in biology — it was just sort of something that we took for granted.

  207. #207 Larry Fafarman
    September 19, 2006

    Sorry for the accidental double posting.

  208. #208 Mary
    September 19, 2006

    Larry indulged in wishful thinking when he said, “But the courts do offer an opportunity for second opinions.”

    Is it just me, or does Larry view ignorance of biology as the primary qualification for reviewing biology textbooks? To me, that sounds a lot like someone who is trying to sneak questionable science into the curriculum, and is desperately shopping around for an authority who doesn’t know the subject well enough to identify it as such.

    Unfortunately, judges tend to accept expert opinions on matters which are outside their expertise, and they are also usually intelligent enough to credit only experts with relevant experience in their supposed field of expertise. Judge Ortega is not likely to overrule the UC biology faculty on the issue of whether or not the BJU and A. Beka textbooks are adequate for college-prep classes.

    Larry showed he has not bothered to check out the College Board regulations for AP classes when he speculated from a position of total ignorance, “And an AP biology course could spend 25% of the time on heredity (genetics) and 0% of the time on evolution and still qualify.”

    No, it could not. AP biology classes must follow the detailed AP curriculum, which views heredity as an aspect of evolution (which it is). Evolution is also covered in almost every other section. The course must be taught out of an approved AP text, which also follows the curriculum closely, including the integration of evolution into all chapters.

    Any significant deviation from the AP curriculum as it is presented (and downplaying evolution would qualify) loses the course its certification.

    UC will certify non-AP biology courses, but they have to be almost up to AP standards in rigor and content. Courses which omit or downplay a central tenet of the science don’t qualify.

    Larry showed that he doesn’t understand the concept of keeping up to date when he complained, “Even if there were such a correlation, you are saying that in general only texts of an edition year around 2004 and later would be acceptable. That is absurd.”

    No, that’s pretty standard in a robust academic field where advances are common. The College Board won’t accept any textbook older than eight years, period. Most school districts buy new textbooks every four to five years, because the standards keep changing and the information in the old books is no longer up to date.

    As Flex pointed out, Jerry Bergman is not exactly an authority on how biology ought to be taught, or indeed how it is taught, at good universities like UC. His experience and education appears to be almost exclusively at the state college and community college levels, which are much less rigorous.

    Oh, and Larry, your fantasy about the poor abused nontraditional student trying to get into UC without a recent high school diploma proves nothing except that you still haven’t checked out what UC’s real admissions policies are. There are specific instructions for such students.

  209. #209 Albatrossity
    September 19, 2006

    Larry

    Putting my money where my mouth is, I have today ordered a copy of the latest edition of the BJU “Biology for Christian Schools”, Porch and Batdorf, 2005 (ISBN 1579249329). When it arrives, I will look at it carefully. I regularly review college biology textbooks for use in my introductory biology class; I am also a primary reviewer for the next edition of Starr’s “Biology: Concepts and Applications” (Thomson/Brooks Cole). Once I have formed an opinion about it, I’ll pass it along to the readers of this thread, even though my expertise in this area clearly is inferior to your opinion of your own expertise.

    More later.

  210. #210 Larry Fafarman
    September 19, 2006

    Mary said,

    Larry indulged in wishful thinking when he said, “But the courts do offer an opportunity for second opinions.”
    Is it just me, or does Larry view ignorance of biology as the primary qualification for reviewing biology textbooks?

    Then how was Judge Jones (or anyone, for that matter) qualified to be the final judge of the scientific merits of ID and irreducible complexity?

    AP biology classes must follow the detailed AP curriculum, which views heredity as an aspect of evolution (which it is).

    Heredity is just another name for genetics — the inheritance of genes and genetic traits. Yes, I know that everything is tied together — genetics concerns the natural genetic variation in evolution — but you are just carrying this interrelatedness thing too far. Not everyone has these obsessions with evolution and interrelatedness that you do. All this interrelatedness stuff does not make learning any easier. As an engineer, I know that Newton’s Laws of Motion are the “glue” that ties things together in engineering mechanics, but having these laws mentioned on every page of a textbook would not make the learning any easier.

    The College Board won’t accept any textbook older than eight years, period.

    That’s ridiculous — in most of high school mathematics, a 200-year-old textbook would do just fine — even much older in some branches of mathematics.

    I have looked at recent textbooks in my own field of mechanical engineering and I saw that except for increased use of computer solutions, virtually nothing has changed in basic mechanical engineering since I graduated in 1968. On the other hand, the use of integrated circuits has exploded in electrical engineering since 1968.

    Anyway, it looks like there may be a mismatch between UC’s expectations and the biology educations of many UC entrants. Many graduates of public high schools studied little or no evolution in biology classes. If UC wants to emphasize the evolution thing, maybe UC should just resign itself to giving students a little “remedial” education in evolution.

    His experience and education appears to be almost exclusively at the state college and community college levels, which are much less rigorous.

    Many community college students transfer to UC, and state colleges (now called state universities in California) are often as rigorous as UC — they are just less selective.

    Albatrossity said –
    Once I have formed an opinion about it, I’ll pass it along to the readers of this thread, even though my expertise in this area clearly is inferior to your opinion of your own expertise

    As I said, I never claimed to be qualified to independently evaluate biology texts. But I am qualified in many cases to judge when someone else has made an unreasonable evaluation.

  211. #211 Albatrossity
    September 20, 2006

    Larry

    Do you even think about the things you write before you hit that “post” button?

    In your latest message, you state that

    I never claimed to be qualified to independently evaluate biology texts.

    Technically true; you never “claimed” to be qualified. But you have been doing it regardless, based on your (self-described but not apparent to others) “common sense”. In that same message, you wonder why engineering textbooks can’t be a model for biology textbooks in their sparing coverage of a unifying principle (Newtonian mechanics). So if you are not claiming to be qualified, and indeed you are not qualified, why don’t you stop evaluating and comparing books you have never seen?

    As for the point about Newtonian mechanics, and the notion that Mary is “just carrying this interrelatedness thing too far,” here’s something to think about. Evolutionary theory explains not only the unity of life (common descent) but the diversity of life. It is thus incredibly important as a framework in all areas of biology, and evidence for evolution can be found in all areas of biology.

    In other words, physics is not biology. Based on these discussions with you, I’d say that biology might be more difficult to learn, and based on my teaching experiences, it might be more difficult to teach. Repetition of key concepts is a useful pedagogical tool. One would hope that you might be able to understand that biologists, educators, the College Board, textbook writers, textbook reviewers, and lots of others might be right, and you might be wrong (or at least uninformed) about this.

    Finally, in your post-before-last, you said that I was passing judgment on this textbook merely by arguing about it on this forum. In the next sentence you claimed that you had not passed judgment on this text. Yet you also are arguing about it on this forum… Does that make sense when you read it again?

  212. #212 Mary
    September 20, 2006

    Larry displayed his ignorance of both biology and mathematics when he exclaimed, “That’s ridiculous — in most of high school mathematics, a 200-year-old textbook would do just fine — even much older in some branches of mathematics.”

    I expect many mathematicians would dispute this. Even in fields where the basic material has not changed over the past 200 years, there have been significant changes in which areas students need to master (because applications have changed). There have also been advances in pedagogy, improvements in illustration, and so on, which make an old textbook inappropriate.

    In biology, being up to date is even more critical, because the field is growing more quickly. Information from even ten years back is outdated and incomplete, even at the high school level. The examples used to show students how biology impacts their daily lives are particularly important to update: to be effective, they must involve biological issues that regularly make news headlines.

    Larry showed he has not read either the California public school biology standards or the AP biology standards by saying, “Anyway, it looks like there may be a mismatch between UC’s expectations and the biology educations of many UC entrants. Many graduates of public high schools studied little or no evolution in biology classes.”

    Larry, you’ve asserted this nonsensical claim before, and I pointed out that the shortcomings in other states’ biology standards do not affect what California public school students learn. In California public schools, the standards do require that evolution be taught in the integrated matter required by UC, and the textbooks reflect this even for non-AP classes. This isn’t an accident–UC faculty were active in getting those biology standards written and approved in the first place.

    So UC, unlike some other state university systems, is able to require that its students be able to handle college-level biology without remedial education. Why should it make an exception for Calvary Chapel students when it already has a huge excess of applicants who have managed to meet its requirements?

    Albatrossity, thank you for ordering the book. I’m looking forward to your findings.

  213. #213 Larry Fafarman
    September 20, 2006

    Mary said,
    Larry displayed his ignorance of both biology and mathematics when he exclaimed, “That’s ridiculous — in most of high school mathematics, a 200-year-old textbook would do just fine — even much older in some branches of mathematics.”

    For you to call me ignorant of mathematics is like me calling you ignorant of biology. As an engineer with graduate degrees, I have had math and math applications coming out of the ears.

    Even in fields where the basic material has not changed over the past 200 years, there have been significant changes in which areas students need to master (because applications have changed).

    In most areas of mathematics, 200-year-old applications are fine for illustrating the concepts. In a few areas, applications developed later — e.g., applications for complex numbers, notably AC circuit analysis and aerodynamics’ conformal mapping — came later. But some math subjects can be taught without going into the applications — indeed, there is often no time to go into some of the applications except to mention them in passing. Indeed, I was very annoyed that two of my university math courses were classified as engineering courses instead of math courses, even though their content was all pure math with no applications. If they had been classified as math courses, I might have qualified for a math minor.

    There have also been advances in pedagogy, improvements in illustration, and so on, which make an old textbook inappropriate.

    Who cares about pedagogy if the students learn the subject? And illustration is just a frill. Anyway, none of this justifies automatically rejecting any textbook over 8 years old. That is ridiculous.

    Larry, you’ve asserted this nonsensical claim before, and I pointed out that the shortcomings in other states’ biology standards do not affect what California public school students learn.

    I have not heard of UC disqualifying out-of-state graduates of public schools on the basis that the educational standards of their states are not as good as California’s.

    So UC, unlike some other state university systems, is able to require that its students be able to handle college-level biology without remedial education.

    UC is a particularly prestigious public university system, but that doesn’t mean that the public universities of other states are substandard. Also, for all I know, evolution might be skipped or skimmed in many California public high-school biology courses.

    Albatrossity said,
    Evolutionary theory explains not only the unity of life (common descent) but the diversity of life. It is thus incredibly important as a framework in all areas of biology, and evidence for evolution can be found in all areas of biology.

    Other biologists disagree. I have cited biologists’ statements that evolution is not important in learning or applying biology.

    Albatrossity said,
    In other words, physics is not biology. Based on these discussions with you, I’d say that biology might be more difficult to learn, and based on my teaching experiences, it might be more difficult to teach.

    I am aware that math is often very important in biology, but the particularly heavy math content of physics makes it a much harder subject for a lot of people.

  214. #214 Albatrossity
    September 20, 2006

    Larry alleged, re his understanding of the centrality of evolutionary theory in biology pedagogy or application

    Other biologists disagree. I have cited biologists’ statements that evolution is not important in learning or applying biology.

    Wrong. You cited Jerry Bergman, who

    a) is not a research biologist, and, as noted by Flex, may not be a biologist at all,

    b) is not teaching biology anywhere after he got sacked from his academic job,

    c) really only said that “Darwinism”, a nonsense word, is not mentioned in many biology textbooks, and finally

    d) engaged in egregious quote-mining to come to his predestined conclusions, as documented elsewhere

    You cited Skell, who is a chemist.

    And, as frosting on this pile of crap, if evolutionary biology is as irrelevant as you allege, can you give me any reason why the Porch and Batdorf text published by BJU has a chapter on evolution? Surely those folks must think (loosely defined here) as you do, and would be happy to leave any discussion of evolutionary biology out of this sacred text?

  215. #215 Dave S.
    September 20, 2006

    Albatrossity -

    Don’t forget he also cites Casey Luskin, who is a lawyer and one time geology student.

  216. #216 Flex
    September 20, 2006

    Larry wrote, “But some math subjects can be taught without going into the applications.”

    Ah, now your getting into an area which I enjoy.

    Among the areas of math which were not around 200 years ago, and in some cases not even 20 years ago are the following:

    Topology and manifold analysis
    Packing theories
    Boolean algebra (first developed by G. Boole as an aide for symbolic logic)
    Statistical analysis, Bayesian analysis in particular
    Phaser therom
    Control theory (root analysis)
    Algorythmic testing
    Power law analysis, related to catastrophy or chaos theory
    linear algebra
    Trans-infinite number theory
    Surreal number theory

    This list is just off the top of my head. I’m certain that with a little research, we could come up with many more examples. Sure, some of these topics are fairly advanced, but based on the common statistical missunderstands I see about statistical analysis, I think statistics should be taught to high school students.

    But maybe you think teaching high school students a little statistics or boolean logic is unnecessary?

    Poor example I’m afraid.

    However, this quote of yours really explains the problem: Larry wrote, when asked who he trusts to judge the quality of a textbook, “I don’t trust anyone”.

    You have no evidence suggesting the texts teach science appropriately, although you are arguing that point. You admit that you are not qualified to evaluate the text yourself. You don’t even have the texts to review. And there is no one will trust to judge the accuracy of the science content of the texts.

    Hahahaha. You have no ground left to stand on. No evidence for your position whatsoever. Your claim that the science is, or even may be, accurately discussed in the text has absolutely no foundation. It can’t have any foundation because you don’t trust anyone, even yourself, to determine if the text does accurately represent the state of biology.

    On the other hand, the few bits of the text we can view, clearly state that the science in the text is subordinate to the religious veiwpoint. Add to this that the UC position statement publicaly indicates that the text does not meet their standards for science.

    But I’ll give you a way to escape from your corner. You write, “But I am qualified in many cases to judge when someone else has made an unreasonable evaluation.”

    How? What makes you competant to judge that someone else has made an unreasonable evalutation in a field of knowledge you admit to be ignorant of? In detail, please.

    It’s a skill I’d like to know. It could be very handy at times to detect falsity in the numerous areas which I am not an expert in.

    Or is this claim pure hubris?

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  217. #217 Mary
    September 20, 2006

    Larry obfuscated, “I have not heard of UC disqualifying out-of-state graduates of public schools on the basis that the educational standards of their states are not as good as California’s.”

    Out-of-state students must meet the same standards for general admissions as in-state students, including taking two years of science that pass UC standards. In states with poor science programs this can be done by taking AP classes, which use the AP standards instead of the state’s science standards, and which UC automatically considers certified for UC admissions purposes.

    Larry continued to display his ignorance of teaching when he complained, “Who cares about pedagogy if the students learn the subject? And illustration is just a frill. Anyway, none of this justifies automatically rejecting any textbook over 8 years old. That is ridiculous. ”

    Larry, how a class is taught and how information is illustrated makes a huge practical difference in how well students learn. Also, in a rapidly expanding field like biology, having a book that reflects the current state-of-the-art knowledge in areas like genetics and evolution is critical. In the past eight years, for one small example, complete DNA sequences for a number of organisms have become available, with huge implications for the history of life on this planet.

    The major textbook publishers update their offerings every few years. State academic standards are also updated on much the same schedule, and schools replace textbooks as often as they can afford it. Do you really think that publishers, states, and school boards would be spending that kind of time and money on updating their offerings if there was no academic reason to do so?

  218. #218 Larry Fafarman
    September 21, 2006

    Albatrossity said,
    You cited Skell, who is a chemist.

    So? Skell is apparently a biochemist, and he interviewed colleagues who were reportedly researchers in biology and he found that a large number of them said that they would not have done their work any differently if they believed that Darwin was wrong.

    Also, PZ posted the following quotation from Adam Wilkins:

    Yet, the marginality of evolutionary biology may be changing. More and more issues in biology, from diverse questions about human nature to the vulnerability of ecosystems, are increasingly seen as reflecting evolutionary events. A spate of popular books on evolution testifies to the development. (emphasis added)

    – from http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/print/811/

    Note the phrase “a spate of popular books” — this implies that the relevance of evolution is philosophical rather than scientific.

    if evolutionary biology is as irrelevant as you allege, can you give me any reason why the Porch and Batdorf text published by BJU has a chapter on evolution?

    They may have added the chapter just for the purpose of trying to prevent the texts from being rejected by such schools as UC. They failed.

    Flex said,
    Among the areas of math which were not around 200 years ago, and in some cases not even 20 years ago are the following:

    Why do you keep introducing all of this extraneous crap? Of course I know that there are many mathematical ideas that are less than 200 years old — how dumb do you think I am? But most of this newer stuff is not high-school level. For most high-school level math — algebra, Euclidean geometry, analytic geometry, trig, and calculus (considered advanced math for high school level) — 200 year old math — or even older — is fine.

    But maybe you think teaching high school students a little statistics or boolean logic is unnecessary?

    Even Boolean algebra is 19th century stuff. And basic statistics is pretty old. And I said most — not all — high school math can be taught from a 200-year-old text. Math is just an extreme example of a technical field where there are oldies but goodies.

    What makes you competant to judge that someone else has made an unreasonable evalutation in a field of knowledge you admit to be ignorant of? In detail, please.

    When they don’t give specific examples of scientific errors in the book.

    Mary said,
    Out-of-state students must meet the same standards for general admissions as in-state students, including taking two years of science that pass UC standards.

    UC probably lets other states — and even foreign countries — do their own accrediting. With 49 other states out there and many foreign countries, there is just too much for UC to worry about. Also, California risks retaliation if it discriminates against out-of-state students.

    Also, in a rapidly expanding field like biology, having a book that reflects the current state-of-the-art knowledge in areas like genetics and evolution is critical.

    High school is just supposed to teach the basics. High school need not teach state-of-the-art stuff. There is not enough time for that stuff, the stuff is often too advanced for the students to understand, and often the teachers just don’t have the expertise. I doubt, for example, that high-school physics courses teach string theory.

    There are now a lot of older college students who entered college late. Should these students have been denied admission just because their high school courses were not completely up-to-date?

    The major textbook publishers update their offerings every few years. State academic standards are also updated on much the same schedule, and schools replace textbooks as often as they can afford it. Do you really think that publishers, states, and school boards would be spending that kind of time and money on updating their offerings if there was no academic reason to do so?

    Sometimes, but not always, there is some new stuff that should be included. But that is not the issue here — UC never claimed that the Christian-school textbooks are old-fashioned.

  219. #219 Albatrossity
    September 21, 2006

    In the midst of a lot of extraneous blather, Larry wrote:

    What makes you competant to judge that someone else has made an unreasonable evalutation in a field of knowledge you admit to be ignorant of? In detail, please.

    When they don’t give specific examples of scientific errors in the book.

    First, note the detailed exposition of this argument…

    Second, I presume that this means that since Larry believes evolutionary theory to be a “scientific error”, he would automatically blast any book that deals with it in a positive way. We aren’t going to change his mind about that basic misconception, but it is interesting to note that in this thread he admits that he is not a biologist, and yet he is pretty certain that a major tenet of modern biological research and education is a “scientific error.” Another example of “common sense”, no doubt, which is somehow not shared by the hundreds of thousands of working biologists around the globe. And somehow his error detector has’t kicked in when he reads the books of Luskin, West, Wells and Dembski, whose bokks are replete with errors.

    As for the argument that a spate of popular books is evidence that evolution is philosophical rather than scientific, it is (besides being a red herring) bogus. Other hypotheses include:

    1) popular books are needed to combat scientific (and in Larry’s case, willful) ignorance

    2) it is possible to have both scientific and popular books on the same subject.

  220. #220 Larry Fafarman
    September 21, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    What makes you competant to judge that someone else has made an unreasonable evalutation in a field of knowledge you admit to be ignorant of? In detail, please.
    “When they don’t give specific examples of scientific errors in the book.”

    I presume that this means that since Larry believes evolutionary theory to be a “scientific error”, he would automatically blast any book that deals with it in a positive way.

    I never imagined that anyone could so completely misinterpret what I said. I meant that if someone is condemning a scientific textbook as inaccurate, that person should give some examples of supposed scientific errors in the book.

    it is possible to have both scientific and popular books on the same subject.

    Yes, but Wilkins mentioned only the popular publications.

  221. #221 Albatrossity
    September 21, 2006

    Larry

    Sorry if I misinterpreted that incredibly brief exposition of your position. I hope you can understand that it was inadvertent, and possibly due to the fact that your response was so succinct.

    But again, there is a logical problem with your position. You haven’t read the textbook either, yet you think that it is valid, should be accepted by the UC system, etc. Pointing out errors without reading the book is something that you condemn, yet accepting the book without reading it is something that you heartily endorse. Ain’t much difference in my book, really. And it ignores the fact, as Mary has pointed out repeatedly, that responsible people who did read the book have disallowed it. Your protestations about those people and that process have not been convincing. So unless you have some valid reason to believe in this book without reading it, you have to face the fact that there might be more reasons to disallow this book (and the concomitant high-school course) than to allow it.

  222. #222 Mary
    September 21, 2006

    Larry blathered on from his unassailable position of complete ignorance, “UC probably lets other states — and even foreign countries — do their own accrediting.”

    Larry, just what do you think you’re accomplishing by making up random nonsense? You know that I, unlike you, have actually read through the UC admissions page. Thus, your nonsense will be exposed as such promptly, and you will look like an ignorant fool. So why do you keep doing it? I’d really like to know.

    UC has evaluated a number of foreign educational systems, and come up with what it considers to be a fair equivalent of its standards. There are also additional requirements, such as proof of English proficiency, that such students must meet.

    Out-of-state students must demonstrate a significantly higher GPA over the a-g subjects than in-state students. The only practical way to meet this requirement is to take liberal advantage of the extra points given for AP and certified honors courses. (Yes, some out-of-state high schools do participate in UC certification, because a lot of private universities view it as a mark of quality.)

    Since AP courses use the AP curriculum, not the state standards, UC is assured that out-of-state students meet UC standards.

    Larry continued to demonstrate his areas of ignorance by saying, contrary to voluminous evidence, “Note the phrase “a spate of popular books” — this implies that the relevance of evolution is philosophical rather than scientific.”

    Note that searching any database of scientific journals with the keyword “evolution” brings up thousands of hits. In fact, if you make the search during peak hours, the search engine may well give you an error message that there are too many hits to process, and you should be more specific.

    As usual in science, the popular literature explores areas of particular interest to active scientific research.

    That quote mine was not even a good try, Larry.

  223. #223 Larry Fafarman
    September 21, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    Pointing out errors without reading the book is something that you condemn, yet accepting the book without reading it is something that you heartily endorse.

    Until specific scientific errors in the books are pointed out, I have no reason to believe that the science in the books is not sound. The BJU book’s introduction says that the book gives the bible priority over science, but in the area where the conflict is greatest, evolution, the book appears to keep science and religion separate by having separate sections for evolution and creationism. Also, after specific errors are pointed out, I can do my own research to decide for myself if the findings of error are reasonable, even though I may initially know little or nothing about the subject. I did this in the case of PZ Myers’ criticisms of Chapter 3 of Jonathan Wells’ new book titled “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.” I concluded that some of PZ’s criticisms of the chapter were fair — see http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/08/review-of-pz-myers-review-of-chapter-3.html

    Anyway, according to you, I am not qualified to do an independent evaluation of the books, and I agree with that.

    Mary said,
    UC has evaluated a number of foreign educational systems, and come up with what it considers to be a fair equivalent of its standards.

    Why should UC bear the expense of evaluating foreign schools when other US universities can get a free ride just by using the UC evaluations? The evaluations should be done by a consortium of universities.

    Out-of-state students must demonstrate a significantly higher GPA over the a-g subjects than in-state students. The only practical way to meet this requirement is to take liberal advantage of the extra points given for AP and certified honors courses . . . . . Since AP courses use the AP curriculum, not the state standards, UC is assured that out-of-state students meet UC standards.

    So by having higher requirements for out-of-state students, UC is compensating for the fact that it does not do detailed evaluations of high school courses in other states.

    Note that searching any database of scientific journals with the keyword “evolution” brings up thousands of hits.

    Of course — what do you expect? But which of these hits discusses evolution in the context of Adam Wilkins’ following statement: “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas”?

    That quote mine was not even a good try, Larry.

    Whaddya mean, “quote mine”? Sheeesh, you don’t even know what a quote mine is! A quote mine is an out-of-context or cherry-picked quote made for the purpose of misrepresentation. But the quote was PZ’s, not mine.

  224. #224 Albatrossity
    September 21, 2006

    Larry

    You missed the point.

    My point was “You are condemning others for doing exactly what you are doing, i.e. judging a book without reading it”. I don’t give a rodent’s rectum about your previous interactions with others like PZ Myers, we’re talking about your comments on this thread. So here it is again. You are condemning others for doing exactly what you are doing, i.e. judging a book without reading it. The inability to admit that is prideful. Pride is a sin. How about this for more reasonable response? “I made a mistake. I won’t do it again.”

    As for the notion that one needs to be aware of “specific scientific errors” in the book before judging it, I have two comments. One was in my previous message; I have some confidence in the UC folks who reviewed the book. Secondly, any mention of creationism as a viable explanation, or as an alternative to evolutionary theory, is not just a specific error, it is general. And I suspect we are both pretty certain that the textbook does that.

    Finally, before you say something that you will have to retract later re the paragraph above, you need to know that I got my copy of the book today. I’m looking forward to reading it, but it will take a while, since it is over 1100 pages long.

    More later

  225. #225 Mary
    September 21, 2006

    Larry asked, “Why should UC bear the expense of evaluating foreign schools when other US universities can get a free ride just by using the UC evaluations? The evaluations should be done by a consortium of universities.”

    The evalutions of AP coursework are; that’s the College Board. As far as the rest, UC is big enough that it can afford to run the program itself.

    Larry red-herringed, “Of course — what do you expect? But which of these hits discusses evolution in the context of Adam Wilkins’ following statement: ”

    They’re research papers. They discuss evolution in the context of particular research results. The point is that evolution is relevant to a huge variety of biological research topics in a large number of subfields. So relevant that it turns up in the titles and key words used by search engines of academic papers.

    Albatrossity, I’m looking forward to seeing your evaluation of the text. As an expansion of your second point, I would consider a section on creationism (in a parochial school text) appropriate if it met the following conditions:

    1. the section was very clear that creationism is a religious viewpoint, not a scientific theory,

    2. the section does not claim that the empirical evidence supports creationism,

    3. the section clearly states that the vast majoritiy of biologists reject creationism,

    and 4. the book does not present long-disproved “arguments against evolution”, either in the creationism section or the evolution section.

  226. #226 Larry Fafarman
    September 22, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    You are condemning others for doing exactly what you are doing, i.e. judging a book without reading it.

    Wrong. The people I am condemning are those who accept UC’s rejection of the books when UC has not even presented any specific examples of scientific errors.

    I have some confidence in the UC folks who reviewed the book.

    You are very naive if you put your confidence in anyone. I know through personal experience that the courts cannot be trusted, particularly when a case does not get enough publicity to help keep the judges and the court clerks honest. For example, there was one case where I sued Los Angeles County as a pro se plaintiff and the county attorney’s repeated sole defense was that I failed to give the county advance notice of the suit even though advance notice was required only for a monetary suit, which my suit was not, and the judge never reprimanded the attorney for repeatedly making a frivolous defense. Then the judge ruled against me on the basis of a defense that the attorney had never raised. The judge and the county attorney were in cahoots from the beginning. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Secondly, any mention of creationism as a viable explanation, or as an alternative to evolutionary theory, is not just a specific error, it is general.

    Mentioning biblical creationism as a viable explanation is presenting a religious viewpoint, not a scientific one.

    Mary said,
    The evalutions of AP coursework are; that’s the College Board. As far as the rest, UC is big enough that it can afford to run the program itself.

    Why should UC give other universities a free ride? I presume that a lot of private universities and out-of-state public universities use UC’s evaluations.

    But which of these hits discusses evolution in the context of Adam Wilkins’ following statement: “
    They’re research papers. They discuss evolution in the context of particular research results. The point is that evolution is relevant to a huge variety of biological research topics in a large number of subfields. So relevant that it turns up in the titles and key words used by search engines of academic papers.

    Many of those papers are just paying lip-service to Darwinism. As Casey Luskin pointed out,

    It is a simple task to find quotes from scientists or scientific organizations saying evolution is crucial or key to all of modern biology. Over twenty years ago an Australian anthropologist explained in a secular journal why he thinks this is true:

    [M]any scientists and technologists pay lip-service to Darwinian Theory only because it supposedly excludes a Creator from yet another area of material phenomena, and not because it has been paradigmatic in establishing the canons of research in the life sciences and the earth sciences.

    Anyway, Wilkins did not mention the research papers but only mentioned the popular books.

  227. #227 Albatrossity
    September 22, 2006

    In a brilliant flash of insight (after refusing to admit previous errors) Larry wrote:

    Mentioning biblical creationism as a viable explanation is presenting a religious viewpoint, not a scientific one.

    Exactly. And this is not a religion book. It is a science book. UC is not judging it as a religion book; it is being judged as a science book. Inclusion of irrelevant material is at least one strike against it. Mentioning of irrelevant material as a viable explanation is even more egregious. Mentioning irrelevant material as a viable explanation, when it has been shown to be wrong, is even more egregious.

    As an example, Larry, how would you judge a chemistry book that included phlogiston as a viable explanation for combusion?

  228. #228 Albatrossity
    September 22, 2006

    Err, the last word in my last comment should be “combustion.” I hadn’t had my coffee yet…

    Which might also explain how I missed the best-ever example of Larry not thinking about the ramifications of his arguments from one minute to the next.

    He wrote:

    You are very naive if you put your confidence in anyone.

    and then proceeded into a wandering rant about courts and lawyers and why he didn’t trust them. A few paragraphs down, however, he quoted Casey Luskin. A lawyer…

    Larry, did you quote Luskin just to show how wrong he was in that statement? Do you trust Bergman, and Skell, whom you previously quoted? Who do you trust, and why?

    Most importantly, is Fafarman etymologically derived from some ancient Indo-European word for “cognitive dissonance”?

  229. #229 Mary
    September 22, 2006

    Larry asked, “Why should UC give other universities a free ride? I presume that a lot of private universities and out-of-state public universities use UC’s evaluations.”

    They do, although the emphasis of UC’s certification program is on California high schools. Outside of Stanford, there aren’t too many other really top private universities that admit mostly California students.

    Besides, any financial benefit UC might gain from collaboration with smaller schools would be counterbalanced by the additional expenses and confusion of coordinating with other, independent entities. Other schools, obviously, may not have the same standards UC does.

    This way, UC is able to make sure that the standards used to evaluate coursework really do reflect what its own faculty considers most important for high school students to learn.

    Larry demonstrated total cluelessness by trying to rescue his quote mine when he objected, “Many of those papers are just paying lip-service to Darwinism.”

    You know this how? How many peer-reviewed biology journal articles have you read? Have you ever written any? Did you even look through any abstracts, before you came to this less-than-brilliant conclusion? Do you even know enough about evolution to spot whether or not the citation is “only lip service”? What criteria would you use to make such a distinction?

    And what in the world does evolution coverage in popular books twenty years ago have to do with anything? If you want to figure out if evolution is central to current biological research, you have to look at the product of that research: peer-reviewed journal articles published in the last few years. No other source is relevant. Not popular books, and not the judgements of people who are not working in the field.

    Before you blather nonsense, in other words, you ought to check out the relevant evidence.

  230. #230 Larry Fafarman
    September 22, 2006

    Albatrossity said –
    Inclusion of irrelevant material is at least one strike against it.

    Irrelevant to you.

    As Charles Haynes pointed out, a lot of courses in religious schools are taught from a religious perspective.

    Do you trust Bergman, and Skell, whom you previously quoted? Who do you trust, and why?

    Why do you not trust them, whereas you so readily trust the UC administration?

    Mary said –
    Outside of Stanford, there aren’t too many other really top private universities that admit mostly California students.

    There are lots of really top private universities that admit a lot of California students and which therefore need to have a means of evaluating them.

    Other schools, obviously, may not have the same standards UC does.

    You seem to have this idea that UC is in a class by itself. Certainly it is one of the most selective state university systems, but other state universities, e.g., the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan, are also highly selective.

    Larry demonstrated total cluelessness by trying to rescue his quote mine when he objected, “Many of those papers are just paying lip-service to Darwinism.” You know this how? How many peer-reviewed biology journal articles have you read? Have you ever written any?

    If the authors of the articles are like you and Alabatrossity, it is a safe bet to say that many of the articles pay lip service to Darwinism. You Darwinists think that Darwinism should be on every page of biology textbooks. You make a big celebration out of Darwin’s birthday. You have made a religion out of Darwinism. You are worse than the fundies.

    And what in the world does evolution coverage in popular books twenty years ago have to do with anything?

    The mention of popular books was in a 6-year-old article. See http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/print/811/

  231. #231 Mary
    September 22, 2006

    Larry showed that he is geographically challenged when he said, “You seem to have this idea that UC is in a class by itself. Certainly it is one of the most selective state university systems, but other state universities, e.g., the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan, are also highly selective.”

    True, but they admit mostly students from Virginia and Michigan. They have standards and admissions procedures designed to select the best Virginia and Michigan public school students, respectively. I’m sure they’re aware of the UC system of course accreditation, but it doesn’t do them a whole lot of good in selecting their student bodies. Nor do the systems used by UVa and the University of Michigan do UC much good.

    Larry refused to address the issue when he asked, “Why do you not trust them, whereas you so readily trust the UC administration?”

    Larry, we’ve been over this before. The UC administration does not make the judgement call on what belongs and doesn’t belong in biology classes. It’s the biology faculty that does so. You know, those folks who spend lots of time in labs actually doing science, and who therefore know which concepts are useful in making sense of data, and which are not.

    They’re the ones who decided the BJU and A. Beka texts were garbage, not the administration.

    Why do you keep trying to pretend that the decision was made by someone who doesn’t know any more biology than you do? Is it because you know that the more actual biology a person knows, the easier they can see through the pseudoscientific babble that’s creationism? It’s certainly true that any working biologist is going to get a good laugh out of your statements that biologists somehow aren’t really using evolution in all those papers brought up by a PubMed search on “evolution”.

    Larry showed he hasn’t actually tried that experiment when he said, “If the authors of the articles are like you and Alabatrossity, it is a safe bet to say that many of the articles pay lip service to Darwinism.”

    Quite apart from the misuse of the non-term “Darwinism”, which we have discussed before, it looks like you don’t know what “paying lip service” means. That’s a term implying hypocrisy: saying one thing while acting in a contradictory manner.

    You can, I trust, provide evidence for this interesting statement? Say, ten abstracts of research papers from peer-reviewed biological journals which have “evolution” as a title word or key word, but which do not in fact use evolutionary concepts in interpreting the data presented?

    Because if you can’t, you’ve shown once more that you can’t distinguish between how biologists actually do science, and how you wish we did science.

  232. #232 Larry Fafarman
    September 22, 2006

    Mary said –

    The UC administration does not make the judgement call on what belongs and doesn’t belong in biology classes. It’s the biology faculty that does so.

    By “administration,” I meant to include the accreditation committees, or the “faculty senate,” or whatever you call them, whatever their composition. I have no reason to trust them.

    . . . .it looks like you don’t know what “paying lip service” means. That’s a term implying hypocrisy: saying one thing while acting in a contradictory manner.

    It does not necessarily mean acting in a contradictory manner — it could also mean insincerity, not backing words with deeds, conformity, doing something routine or perfunctory, etc..

    You can, I trust, provide evidence for this interesting statement? Say, ten abstracts of research papers from peer-reviewed biological journals which have “evolution” as a title word or key word, but which do not in fact use evolutionary concepts in interpreting the data presented?

    The bottom of my following blog article has links to three articles on co-dependence (mutualism) that mention co-evolution or evolution when there is no need to do so:

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/09/co-evolution-redux.html

  233. #233 Mary
    September 22, 2006

    Larry showed that he’s still clueless when he said, “By “administration,” I meant to include the accreditation committees, or the “faculty senate,” or whatever you call them, whatever their composition.”

    In academia, there is a huge difference between administrators and faculty. Only faculty teach, do research, and set curricula and admissions criteria. Administrators do not perform any of these functions. They handle fund raising, infrastructure management, and politics.

    The people who reviewed and rejected Calvary Chapel’s courses, and the BJU and A. Beka texts, were faculty. People with actual academic expertise in the relevant fields, who were therefore in a good position to know whether the material being taught was appropriate for college-prep credit.

    Larry decided to demonstrate some competence in the English language, at least momentarily, when he said, “It does not necessarily mean acting in a contradictory manner — it could also mean insincerity, not backing words with deeds, conformity, doing something routine or perfunctory, etc..”

    In other words, you are accusing biologists of publishing articles in professional journals that reference evolution in the title or key words, but do not in fact use evolution as a tool to understand the data being presented in those papers.

    Larry showed that he doesn’t understand what a “peer-reviewed research article in a professional journal” is when he said, “The bottom of my following blog article has links to three articles on co-dependence (mutualism) that mention co-evolution or evolution when there is no need to do so: ”

    Larry, for your information, Wikipedia is not a peer-reviewed professional journal. Neither is Natural History magazine, or the course notes for a biology class. None of these sources presents research data, and none are peer-reviewed.

    Here’s a partial list of peer-reviewed journals for you to check out: Science, Nature, PNAS, Plant Physiology, Genome, Methods in Molecular Biology, EMBO Journal, Advances in Cancer Research, American Journal of Pathology, Gene, Environmental Technology, Cell, Methods in Enzymology, Nature Genetics, Microbiology, Phytochemistry, Planta, Pharmacology, Peptides, Soil Science, Virology, Weed Science, Yeast, and so on.

    Do you see the difference between this kind of publication and Wikipedia? Or popular science magazines like Natural History? Or class notes posted to the Internet? The latter three may or may not present the science appropriately (and certainly evolution is an appropriate subject to explore in an article on co-dependent species).

    They don’t come close to being evidence in support of your laughable claim that all those peer-reviewed journal articles with “evolution” in the title or key words are “just paying lip service”.

  234. #234 Albatrossity
    September 22, 2006

    Larry

    Re “who do you trust” – the question is WHY do you say that you mistrust lawyers and then quote one approvingly a paragraph or so later. The question is not why I think that public processes and open policies might lead to a valid outcome; the question is how can you be so clueless about what you say one minute and negate your own words the next minute. Don’t deflect that question again. or we’ll know you have no real answer.

    As for the “three articles on co-dependence (mutualism)” mentioned on your blog where evolution is gratuitously invoked, there are several problems with that claim.

    1) One is a wikipedia reference – not exactly the “research papers from peer-reviewed biological journals” that Mary requested (actually, she asked for ten).

    2) One is a web page for a biology course – ditto

    3) The final one is an article from Natural History – ditto

    4) And finally, although I hate to bring this up to an alleged engineer and math genius, three does not equal ten. And since not one of these articles qualifies under Mary’s definition, zero does not equal ten either.

    Try again, please.

  235. #235 LarryFarma@aol.com
    September 22, 2006

    Mary said,
    In academia, there is a huge difference between administrators and faculty.

    Wrong. At many colleges and universities, the differences between administration and faculty are blurred. Many active faculty members have administrative duties as deans and department heads. Top administrators are often drawn from the faculty. And you say that administrators serve on these accreditation committees. Anyway, I referred to high-school course accreditation as administrative because it is not part of college teaching or research. The task of reviewing high-school texts would in many cases be underutilization of faculty members and I would not be surprised if much of this review is done by graduate assistants. If graduate assistants are good enough to teach classes — which many of them do — then they are good enough to review high-school texts.

    In other words, you are accusing biologists of publishing articles in professional journals that reference evolution in the title or key words, but do not in fact use evolution as a tool to understand the data being presented in those papers.

    That is correct. Philip Skell reported, “I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.”
    Wikipedia is not a peer-reviewed professional journal. Neither is Natural History magazine, or the course notes for a biology class. None of these sources presents research data, and none are peer-reviewed.

    Peer-reviewed or not, these were the best articles I could find on the Internet about flower-pollinator co-dependence. A lot of those scientific journals do not publish complete articles on the Internet but just publish abstracts. Anyway, I would have to read through long articles to see how they use Darwinism, if they use Darwinism at all. And then there would be a big debate as to whether using Darwinism was really necessary. It is completely impractical here. BTW, I made a mistake — the Wikipedia article does not mention evolution at all.

    Albatrossity said –
    Re “who do you trust” – the question is WHY do you say that you mistrust lawyers and then quote one approvingly a paragraph or so later.

    Let’s put it this way — I put the most trust in whoever makes the most sense. I don’t trust UC because UC rejected the texts without giving specific examples of scientific errors.

  236. #236 Larry Fafarman
    September 22, 2006

    Sorry, I gave my email address by mistake in my last comment. I did not intend to suggest that I want anyone to send me an email.

  237. #237 Josh
    September 23, 2006

    “A lot of those scientific journals do not publish complete articles on the Internet but just publish abstracts. Anyway, I would have to read through long articles to see how they use Darwinism, if they use Darwinism at all. And then there would be a big debate as to whether using Darwinism was really necessary. It is completely impractical here.

    Let’s put it this way — I put the most trust in whoever makes the most sense. I don’t trust UC because UC rejected the texts without giving specific examples of scientific errors.”

    Maybe UC just didn’t put that assessment in their abstract. How can you judge what makes sense if you don’t actually read the work people do? This whole conversation is built around this absurdity. UC read the textbooks and judged them inadequate. Larry hasn’t read them, but judges them adequate. He hasn’t read the articles he claims didn’t need to use evolution.

  238. #238 Albatrossity
    September 23, 2006

    I previously wrote that “Inclusion of irrelevant material is at least one strike against it.”

    to which Larry replied

    “Irrelevant to you.”

    No, Larry, not just me. Creationism is irrelevant to science, and science education. Which is what we are talking about here. Creationism is to biology as phlogiston is to chemistry.

    Again, please answer the question, how would you judge a chemistry book that included phlogiston as a viable explanation for combustion?

  239. #239 Mary
    September 23, 2006

    Larry tried a string of poor excuses to talk his way out of backing his wild and inaccurate claims with actual evidence, to wit, “Peer-reviewed or not, these were the best articles I could find on the Internet about flower-pollinator co-dependence. A lot of those scientific journals do not publish complete articles on the Internet but just publish abstracts. Anyway, I would have to read through long articles to see how they use Darwinism, if they use Darwinism at all. And then there would be a big debate as to whether using Darwinism was really necessary.”

    To help you out, here is my challenge again, clairified and expanded.

    You have stated that “”Many of those papers [peer-reviewed journal articles citing evolution in their title or key words] are just paying lip-service to Darwinism.” In other words, they do not in fact use evolutionary principles to interpret the data presented.

    I have challenged you to cite ten such articles, which should be an easy task if they are as common as you claim.

    To do this, you need to visit PubMed at http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/ and run a search on “evolution”. You will get over 66,000 citations to choose from. All but a few hundred of them are free, again giving you plenty to choose from. If you want to focus on an area of interest to you, there are 14 free articles which come up on a search of “flower evolution mutualism”, which kind of gives the lie to your claim that there were no peer-reviewed materials available when you wrote your blog article.

    Once you have the listings, I suggest you start by reading through the abstracts. Once you think you have some candidates, it’s time to inspect them more closely, according to the following standards:

    1. Check that the word “evolution” occuring in the title or key words is referring to “genetic change through time” and not some other common usage, like “giving off a gas”. The latter does not qualify.

    2. Bear in mind that while mention of the word “evolution” in the abstract (in the non-gaseous sense) means that the article probably does interpret the data in light of evolution-the-theory, the absence of the word doesn’t mean that the theory is not being used. You’re going to have to actually read the abstract, and determine if they are talking about evolutionary concepts such as how groups of organisms are related to each other, genetic change, adaptation, and so on.

    3. Also bear in mind that this is not about whether YOU think it was necessary or appropriate to use evolution to explain the research results. It’s about whether THE AUTHORS OF THE PAPER YOU’RE CITING did not actually use evolutionary thinking to put their data in context, after citing the theory in the title or key words.

    I’m looking forward to the results of your search.

  240. #240 Albatrossity
    September 23, 2006

    Book Review

    Mary wrote:

    I would consider a section on creationism (in a parochial school text) appropriate if it met the following conditions:

    1. the section was very clear that creationism is a religious viewpoint, not a scientific theory,

    2. the section does not claim that the empirical evidence supports creationism,

    3. the section clearly states that the vast majority of biologists reject creationism,

    and 4. the book does not present long-disproved “arguments against evolution”, either in the creationism section or the evolution section.

    Well, here are my impressions after reviewing Porch and Batdorf’s “Biology for Christian Schools”, third edition (2005), Bob Jones University Press, ISBN (2-vol set) 1-57924-932-9.

    First, some quick descriptive impressions, and then some specific comments.

    First, this is a large work, two volumes, each about 1.25” thick, with about 830 pages of text and 227 pages of “laboratory exercises”. There are 14 chapters in volume A and 11 chapters in volume B. The covers are very dark illustrations of creatures and plants in a “Bornean rain forest”, very spooky-looking. It does seem to be, on the outside at least, a reasonable biology textbook. Intriguingly, the phrase “for Christian Schools”, even though it is apparently a registered trademark of BJU press, is in a very small and nearly transparent font underneath the much larger and bolder “Biology” on the cover. I’ll let others speculate on the basis of that particular design decision.

    Immediately in the introduction (p. xi) one gets the first evidence that this is NOT your standard science textbook. It baldly states that:

    “If your teacher assigns a report on grasshoppers, an encyclopedia would be a logical place to begin. As you find out about the legs and wings of grasshoppers, how far these insects jump, their life cycle, how much damage they cause each year, and what types of insecticides are used to control them, you are gleaning scientific material. The same encyclopedia article may state that the grasshopper evolved 300 million years ago. You may find a description of some insect that the grasshopper supposedly evolved from, and a description of the insects that scientists say evolved from the grasshopper. You may even find a ‘scientific’ explanation of the biblical locust (grasshopper) plague in Egypt. These statements are conclusions based on ‘supposed science’. If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.”

    followed on the same page by

    “The Christian must evaluate the source of a statement. Scientific statements must be based on observation or else they are mere guesses. There is nothing wrong with a guess, as long as it is clearly labeled a guess or a belief. But Christians must disregard those guesses and beliefs that contradict the Bible.”

    So right in the introduction, the scientific method goes out the window, replaced, as needed, by “the Word of God.”.

    The first chapter is a bit unusual for a science textbook. Entitled “The Science of Life and the God of Life”, it contains many scriptural citations, some interesting sidebars about things like “How God Communicates to Man” (p. 9), and the statement that “If it is in the Bible, it is already true without requiring additional proof.” (p. 11). It also has some very interesting sections on “Some Improper Attitudes of Christians Toward Science” (p. 23) and “A Proper Christian Attitude Toward Science”> (p. 24). The standard section on “what is life” includes the standard definitions and characteristics, but then also discusses something that may not belong in a science book, “Spiritual Life” (p. 28).

    Then the book chapters become more standard. The second chapter on the chemistry of life is adequate, with few scriptural citations (obviously the Bible is silent about enzymes, diffusion, and pH). There are, however, some interesting “thought questions”, such as this one from p. 67 – “If a scientist were to assemble a living thing from nonliving parts, would this disprove the Bible? Why or why not?”

    But the heart of the book, for the purpose of discerning its suitability as a science textbook using Mary’s standards above, is chapter 8, “The History of Life”. Immediately the Biblical worldview is re-emphasized (p. 197) – “Anything that contradicts God’s Word is in error or has been misunderstood.” Evolutionary theory is presented as a “non-Christian worldview” (p. 199). Indeed, this section contains the bizarre statement that “A non-Christian worldview will almost inevitably lead to belief in evolution.” The conclusions that flow from “believing in evolutionary theory” are presented on p 200, and include:
    1) Man is not responsible to God.
    2) Man no longer needs a savior.
    3) Man is a highly evolved animal.
    4) Man’s religion should be scientism (Scientism claims that science is the only path to truth)

    Furthermore, the authors assert (p. 200) that “Those who reject the Christian worldview offered by the Creator God in His Word can never come to a true understanding of reality”.

    The section on creationism (pp 203-218) seems to argue that a literal interpretation of Genesis is the only possible conclusion that a Christian can hold (see p. 204). Six 24-hour days, no more, no less. Any person who doesn’t believe this has “placed himself above God’s Word.” Furthermore: “Primary allegiance in Scientific study should be to the unaltering standard of God’s Word… All scientific facts and the interpretation of those facts, therefore, must fit into the model prescribed by the Word of God.”

    The Flood of Noah is described as if it was a real event (p. 206). It is asserted that “there was no rainfall before the flood, plants being watered by a mist that rose from the earth (Gen 2:5-6)”. A post-diluvian decrease in lifespan from 912 years to the current 100 years or so is asserted to be the “result of sin and its effect on the human gene pool (p. 207). The Deluge formed the fossils (p. 209). Noah’s Ark is described in great detail (p. 211), and it is noted that some dinosaur-like reptiles were included on the Ark to satisfy the biblical phrase that “two of every sort” were aboard. The age of the earth is that calculated by Bishop Ussher, about 6000 years old (p. 212). Radiometric dating methods “are losing scientific credibility because of faulty assumptions and measurement problems” (p. 215). Standard creationist canards about radiocarbon dating are repeated (p. 216), and other canards about scientific “evidence” for a young earth are suggested to be true (p. 217). This page also contains the statement that “the scriptural concept of a young earth is actually verified by science”. A “self quiz” question over this section (p. 219) reads

    Evolutionists believe that the earth is old because of physical evidence found in the earth. This is an example of
    A. a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2.
    B. unbiased interpretation of the evidence.
    C. a nonbiblical worldview.
    D. proven scientific facts.

    Surprisingly, the correct answer (given in the appendix on p 393) is said to be C.

    The section on evolutionary theory (pp. 219-232) has errors too numerous to mention. A few examples should suffice. On p 222 we find the statements “That there is no factual evidence to support a common ancestor does not disturb most evolutionists because they believe that Darwin’s theories form the best model of how evolution took place.” and “Similarities and differences come from God’s design, not from a common ancestor.” The section on the evolution of the horse (p 223) indicates that the model accepted by evolutionists cannot be correct, because there are too many missing links between the fossil forms. Peppered moths and Haeckel’s embryos make their expected appearances (p. 224 and 230 respectively). Evolution is defined as being completely random, compared to the “possibility of a printed, bound dictionary resulting from an explosion in a print shop” (p. 227). Mutations are always harmful, and cannot give rise to new information (p. 229). Morphological and molecular homology is dismissed with this sentence: “Rather than being evidence for a common ancestor, this is evidence of the God-directed design in his creation” (p. 231). In all of these cases, no evidence is given, and none is needed, since the primary source of factual knowledge is the “Word of God.” And, best of all, “there is increasing interest in the scientific community regarding the idea of intelligent design” (p. 232).

    Chapter 9 (The Classification of Organisms) is also heavy on biblical citations, and the concept of a species is deemed inferior to the biblical “kind” because the Linnean system is “artificial”, not God-given (p. 250). I’ll leave it to my systematist colleagues to find all of the other errors in this chapter, which is mercifully short (17 pages).

    The remainder of the book, outside of these chapters, is not as full of scriptural citations. As expected, the authors do not cite any evolutionary aspects to help tie the material together, but Satan is invoked regularly as a cause of evil pathogens, or death, or cancer etc. The chapters on human physiology and reproduction 24 and 25 are also heavy with standard-issue biblical literacy interpretations and conclusions, especially the sections on STDs, birth, and drug use.

    Finally, the lab exercises merit some mention. Most are typical biology lab exercises that could be found in many a textbook for high school or college, and using plants, animals, microscopes, petri plates etc. One is atypical. Laboratory Exercise 8 is entitled “Creationism: My Beliefs and Their Defense”, and the single item in the list of materials needed is “a Bible”. There are 4 “Evolutionist Statements” that the student is asked to rebut, using only the Bible. All are standard creationist canards (e.g. Common ancestry cannot be proven, Evolutionists disregard the fact that there is no fossil evidence of chemical similarity between bird feathers and reptile scales, “they claim that fossils of feather evolution simply have not been located” etc.).

    So how does the book stack up vis-a-vis Mary’s standards? Here they are again.

    1) the section was very clear that creationism is a religious viewpoint, not a scientific theory. FAILED

    2. the section does not claim that the empirical evidence supports creationism. FAILED

    3. the section clearly states that the vast majority of biologists reject creationism. FAILED

    and 4. the book does not present long-disproved “arguments against evolution”, either in the creationism section or the evolution section. FAILED

  241. #241 Larry Fafarman
    September 23, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    Again, please answer the question, how would you judge a chemistry book that included phlogiston as a viable explanation for combustion?

    The important thing is whether the students learn the core science correctly. If they pick up some bad or harmful ideas along the way, they can always later drop those ideas if necessary. Also, IMO it is important that the students be taught what is and what is not generally accepted in the scientific immunity, and the BJU textbooks appear to do this by having separate sections for “biological evolution” and “biblical creationism.” There is a also another section titled “A Biblical Viewpoint.”

    Mary said –

    You have stated that “”Many of those papers [peer-reviewed journal articles citing evolution in their title or key words] are just paying lip-service to Darwinism.”

    I was partly just repeating the following quotation from http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=3739&program=DI%20Main%20Page%20-%20Article&callingPage=discoMainPage

    It is a simple task to find quotes from scientists or scientific organizations saying evolution is crucial or key to all of modern biology. Over twenty years ago an Australian anthropologist explained in a secular journal why he thinks this is true:

    [M]any scientists and technologists pay lip-service to Darwinian Theory only because it supposedly excludes a Creator from yet another area of material phenomena, and not because it has been paradigmatic in establishing the canons of research in the life sciences and the earth sciences.

    And the statement makes sense to me because of what I have heard from Darwinist scientists like yourself and Albatrossity.
    .
    I have challenged you to cite ten such articles, which should be an easy task if they are as common as you claim.

    Look, you know that this is not a reasonable task here — that is why you asked me to do it so that you could pretend that I am unable to defend my position. You are asking me to go through a lot of long, abstruse scientific papers, find the ones that use Darwinism, decide whether the use of Darwinism was necessary or even helpful, and then discuss each of the papers in this thread. I never asked you to find a bunch of scientific papers that use Darwinism and then explain why you think that using Darwinism was necessary in each of them.

  242. #242 Albatrossity
    September 23, 2006

    Crikey.

    I asked (again): “how would you judge a chemistry book that included phlogiston as a viable explanation for combustion?”

    Larry avoided answering that question (again) but did state:

    The important thing is whether the students learn the core science correctly. If they pick up some bad or harmful ideas along the way, they can always later drop those ideas if necessary.

    Larry, does this mean that a textbook that included phlogiston as a viable explanation for combustion would be OK with you? Can you answer a simple question just once?

    Then you wrote, re a statement from Casey Luskin, an attorney (who shouldn’t be trusted, according to previous comments by you)

    And the statement makes sense to me because of what I have heard from Darwinist scientists like yourself and Albatrossity.

    What, exactly, did I say that gave you the impression that Casey Luskin could be right about this? That is breathtaking inanity, for sure!

    And finally, Larry wrote:

    Look, you know that this is not a reasonable task here — that is why you asked me to do it so that you could pretend that I am unable to defend my position. You are asking me to go through a lot of long, abstruse scientific papers, find the ones that use Darwinism, decide whether the use of Darwinism was necessary or even helpful, and then discuss each of the papers in this thread.

    All Mary is asking you to do is PROVE the things you assert. If that is too much work for you, then don’t assert them in the first place. Your blog says that you are from Missouri, so SHOW ME. Put up, or shut up.

  243. #243 Mary
    September 23, 2006

    Albatrossity,

    Thank you for the detailed description of the actual contents of the BJU text. Your findings are very consistent with other reviews I’ve seen of BJU materials.

    There is certainly no mystery as to why UC won’t accept this book as a primary textbook for a college-prep biology text. It does far more than “add a religious viewpoint to standard material”; it distorts the science in service to religious doctrines.

    Just out of curiosity, among the standard fallacious “arguments against evolution”, does the book use that hoary old chestnut, “No person has ever seen a new species evolve”? As a plant biologist who has worked on one such newly evolved species, and who grows quite a few more in my vegetable garden, I always find that claim particularly amusing.

    Larry, after admitting that he was just recirculating a random quote from the Discovery institute without checking it for accuracy, expressed his own doubts as its accuracy when he said, “Look, you know that this is not a reasonable task here — that is why you asked me to do it so that you could pretend that I am unable to defend my position.”

    First of all, Larry, if you can’t defend a statement of fact, you shouldn’t make it. Or copy it from someone else’s essay, either.

    Second, you claim to have some expertise in math. If “many” of the 66,000-odd articles listed by PubMed do, in fact, only “pay lip service” to evolution, you shouldn’t have to read very many articles before you start finding some. Even if as few as half of the papers qualify, you’ll only have to sort through 20-30 abstracts to find ten examples. Since you’ll be able to identify most of the papers which do have an explicitly evolutionary approach from the title alone, it’s not an unreasonable task–IF your quote has any basis in reality.

    If you are just blowing hot air by quoting some idiot who was doing the same, as I admit I believe to be the case, then you’ll end up searching through a lot more than 30 abstracts before you find 10 that fit my criteria, if you can do it at all.

    Your reluctance to even begin the task is a tacit admission on your part that you believe that your statements are wrong, and that biologists actually do use evolution as a central concept that guides research.

  244. #244 Albatrossity
    September 23, 2006

    Mary asked:

    Just out of curiosity, among the standard fallacious “arguments against evolution”, does the book use that hoary old chestnut, “No person has ever seen a new species evolve”?

    Yes, but it is an interesting variant. On p. 232, in the section on punctuated equilibrium, is this statement: “Even when scientists have tried to make evolution happen in a laboratory by increasing the mutation rate (as they assume must have happened during the evolutionary periods), there has been no observable evolution.” (emphasis added)

    There aren’t very many hoary old chestnuts left unsprouted in this book (survival of the fittest is a tautology, Hitler was greatly influenced by “Darwinism”, evolutionists admit that many hominid fossils are not human ancestors, but are only apes, etc.).

  245. #245 Larry Fafarman
    September 23, 2006

    Albatrossity said ( September 23, 2006 12:03 PM ) –

    Larry, does this mean that a textbook that included phlogiston as a viable explanation for combustion would be OK with you? Can you answer a simple question just once?

    What is the matter with you? I have answered a lot of simple questions here.

    Some questions cannot be answered with a simple yes or no answer. As for your above question, the answer is yes, provided that the book (1) says that the phlogiston theory is not accepted by the general scientific community and (2) states the evidence against phlogiston theory. I think that the question is unrealistic because I could not imagine such a textbook. Here is what Wikipedia gives as the evidence against phlogiston theory –

    Eventually, quantitative experiments revealed problems, including the fact that some metals, such as magnesium, gained weight when they burned, even though they were supposed to have lost phlogiston. Mikhail Lomonosov attempted to reiterate Robert Boyle’s celebrated experiment in 1753 and concluded that the phlogiston theory was false. He wrote in his diary: “Today I made an experiment in hermetic glass vessels in order to determine whether the mass of metals increases from the action of pure heat. The experiment demonstrated that the famous Robert Boyle was deluded, for without access of air from outside, the mass of the burnt metal remains the same.”
    Some phlogiston proponents explained this by concluding that phlogiston had “negative weight”; others, such as Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau, gave the more conventional argument that it was lighter than air. However, a more detailed analysis based on the Archimedean principle and the densities of magnesium and its combustion product shows that just being lighter than air cannot account for the increase in mass.
    Still, phlogiston remained the dominant theory until Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier showed that combustion requires oxygen, solving the weight paradox and setting the stage for the new caloric theory of combustion.

    What, exactly, did I say that gave you the impression that Casey Luskin could be right about this?

    Plenty.

    All Mary is asking you to do is PROVE the things you assert.

    I never asked you or Mary to discuss several scientific papers as examples of where you think Darwinism is necessary. To read and discuss even one of these papers would be very time-consuming. We all have priorities and complying with your unreasonable request is not one of mine.

    Albatrossity said ( September 23, 2006 11:23 AM ) –

    . . .here are my impressions after reviewing Porch and Batdorf’s “Biology for Christian Schools,” third edition (2005), Bob Jones University Press,

    So instead of beating around the bush, why didn’t UC present specific examples of supposed errors in the texts? The courts’ decisions can only be based on criticisms that UC has already made — the 9th circuit federal court of appeals (the 9th circuit includes California) has said that the judicial principle of favoring deference towards administrative decisions does not go so far as to allow a court to give justifications for an administrative decision that were not given by the administrators.

    I agree that the BJU textbook section on “biological evolution” has more criticism of Darwinism than is prudent. One of the problems is that a few pages does not allow enough space to go into a detailed defense of the criticisms.

    On p 222 we find the statements ?That there is no factual evidence to support a common ancestor does not disturb most evolutionists. . .

    IMO, common ancestry for hominids is well supported but there are many cases where common ancestry is not well supported.

    The section on the evolution of the horse (p 223) indicates that the model accepted by evolutionists cannot be correct, because there are too many missing links between the fossil forms.

    Criticism of horse evolution is given at —
    http://darwinianfundamentalism.blogspot.com/2006/08/amnh-darwin-exhibit-going-back-to.html

    Peppered moths and Haeckel?s embryos make their expected appearances (p. 224 and 230 respectively).

    I don’t know much about the peppered moth controversy but I think that it is generally agreed that Haeckel’s embryo drawings were faked.

    Chapter 9 (The Classification of Organisms) is also heavy on biblical citations, and the concept of a species is deemed inferior to the biblical ?kind? because the Linnean system is ?artificial?, not God-given (p. 250).

    Well, IMO, that’s just plain stupid. The Linnean system was developed long before Darwinism. It is just a classification system. Anyway, the book’s position here is just a religious point of view — it is neither right nor wrong.

    The remainder of the book, outside of these chapters, is not as full of scriptural citations. . . . . . .The chapters on human physiology and reproduction 24 and 25 are also heavy with standard-issue biblical literacy interpretations and conclusions, especially the sections on STDs, birth, and drug use.

    OK, but I can’t judge chapters 24 and 25 when you have not presented any specific examples of what you consider to be scientific errors or inaccuracies in those chapters.

  246. #246 Albatrossity
    September 24, 2006

    Larry whined

    I never asked you or Mary to discuss several scientific papers as examples of where you think Darwinism is necessary. To read and discuss even one of these papers would be very time-consuming.

    and then contradicted that

    OK, but I can’t judge chapters 24 and 25 when you have not presented any specific examples of what you consider to be scientific errors or inaccuracies in those chapters.

    which seems like a request for me to bludgeon that dead horse and provide even more documentation for fallacies in Porch and Batdorf.

    The difference between you and me, Larry, is that I can make an effort, and take some time, to back up my assertions. I paid my own money for the book that I reviewed. And perhaps you think that reading a two-volume biology textbook, as I just did, wasn’t “time-consuming”. I have other things to do as well, but if I actually say something as if I believe it, I think it is incumbent on me to have the facts to back it up. Again, this is why science wins in court, and IDiots lose.

    As for getting Mary or me to go through peer-reviewed papers and prove that mention of evolutionary theory (not “Darwinism”) is not just “lip service”, that is asking us to prove a negative. Casey Luskin (not a practicing biologist), parroted by yourself (ditto) made a provable asertion. Prove it. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think you can, because I am a practicing biologist, and I have never seen even one example of what Luskin and you claim to be commonplace. Not one. Ever. And I’ve read thousands of papers and abstracts.

    In a week or so I will be presenting a paper at a symposium at an international scientific congress. There will be thousands of practicing biologists at this meeting. Evolutionary theory will inform and shape many of these papers, including mine. If I hear the words “creationism” or “intelligent design” or even “Darwinism” in a scientific context, I will be amazed, and I’ll let you know about it, for sure. I promise you I will hear those words, in non-scientific contexts, in bar conversations after the sessions, when I try to explain to my incredulous international colleagues that not everyone in America is an idiot.

  247. #247 Mary
    September 24, 2006

    Larry said both “yes” and “no” when he danced around the accuracy-in-textbooks question, rather than answering it, as follows, “Some questions cannot be answered with a simple yes or no answer. As for your above question, the answer is yes, provided that the book (1) says that the phlogiston theory is not accepted by the general scientific community and (2) states the evidence against phlogiston theory. I think that the question is unrealistic because I could not imagine such a textbook.”

    So, Larry, you aren’t willing to just come out and say that a textbook ought to be accurate, and not waste space in serious discussions of long-disproved medevil nonsense (except perhaps in a short historical note). But, aside from your hobbyhorse creationism, you also can’t imagine why in the world a textbook _would_ teach long-disproved nonsense.

    Sounds like a double standard, to me. Frankly, there’s more and better evidence against creationism than there ever was against phlogiston.

    Larry admitted that he knows his “scientists are only playing lip service to evolution” quote is nonsense when he complained, “I never asked you or Mary to discuss several scientific papers as examples of where you think Darwinism is necessary. To read and discuss even one of these papers would be very time-consuming.”

    First of all, the issue wasn’t whether you or I think the data in the papers ought to be viewed in an evolutionary context, it was whether or not the authors of the paper viewed it in such a context. That’s a relatively simple matter to determine, even for someone like you who doesn’t know any biology.

    Second, by refusing to make the effort to back up your incredible statements–again–you are showing that you apply your blog’s motto “show me” only to other people, not to your own assertions. That doesn’t say much for your honesty or integrity, does it?

    Third, you once again failed to answer a question, to wit, what Albatrossity and I have said that leads you to believe that (the untrustworthy) lawyer Casey Luskin was right.

    And fourth, you do realize, don’t you, that the BJU textbook flunked your own guidelines for presenting long-disproved scientific theories? It failed to state clearly that essentially all biologists working in the field reject creationism, and that those few hundred who don’t are basing their acceptance on religious, not scientific grounds. It also fails to present the scientific case against creationism.

    The textbook is garbage, as a science book. You can’t teach a college-prep biology class out of it, and UC was completely justified in refusing to give Calvary Chapel students college-prep biology credit for studying it.

  248. #248 Larry Fafarman
    September 24, 2006

    Albatrocity said,

    and then contradicted that

    OK, but I can’t judge chapters 24 and 25 when you have not presented any specific examples of what you consider to be scientific errors or inaccuracies in those chapters.
    which seems like a request for me to bludgeon that dead horse and provide even more documentation for fallacies in Porch and Batdorf.

    I didn’t ask you to do anything — I was just stating a fact. Buying and reviewing the books was strictly your idea. You’ve already read Chapters 24 and 25 anyway, so it would not have taken that long to describe a few specific faults in those chapters. So far you have described specific alleged faults in only two chapters, which total less than 60 pages out of 1100. The only fault you mentioned for Chapter 9 (you incorrectly labeled this fault an “error” when it was nothing but a statement of opinion) was the statement that the scientific names of species are inferior to the common names because the latter are “God-given.”

    The difference between you and me, Larry, is that I can make an effort, and take some time, to back up my assertions.

    It is a matter of priorities. I realize that what you, I or anyone else says about the textbooks doesn’t matter because the courts can only go by what UC has said about the textbooks, which apparently has not been much.

    As for getting Mary or me to go through peer-reviewed papers and prove that mention of evolutionary theory (not “Darwinism”) is not just “lip service”, that is asking us to prove a negative.

    Showing that the papers pay lip service to Darwinism is as difficult as showing that they do not just pay lip service to Darwinism. Anyway, I have already pointed out that Philip Skell asked more than 70 “eminent” researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong, and they all said no. Asking the scientists directly is much better than trying to figure out their intentions by reading their papers.

    Mary moans,

    Frankly, there’s more and better evidence against creationism than there ever was against phlogiston.

    Wrong. My quotation from Wikipedia showed that the phlogiston theory was disproved by actual experiment.

    First of all, the issue wasn’t whether you or I think the data in the papers ought to be viewed in an evolutionary context, it was whether or not the authors of the paper viewed it in such a context. That’s a relatively simple matter to determine, even for someone like you who doesn’t know any biology.

    I know some biology — it is blatantly wrong to say that I don’t know any biology, and you know it.

    As I pointed out in my response to Albatrocity, Philip Skell has already performed the task of interviewing researchers to determine how they viewed their papers in an evolutionary context.

    Third, you once again failed to answer a question, to wit, what Albatrossity and I have said that leads you to believe that (the untrustworthy) lawyer Casey Luskin was right.

    What Casey said makes sense to me. Also, my quotes did not only contain his ideas but also contained the ideas of knowledgeable people whom he quoted.

    I can’t understand why you Darwinists have this fetish about having a single overarching unifying theory for biology. In mechanical engineering, I studied engineering mechanics (statics and dynamics), thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, strength of materials, heat transfer, etc., and there was no single unifying principle for most of these individual subjects, let alone a single unifying principle for all of them. The string theory of physics is another grand unifying principle that appears to be falling flat on its face.

    Anyway, you can rant from now until doomsday about how bad the books are but what matters to the courts is what UC has said about the books.

  249. #249 Albatrossity
    September 24, 2006

    Larry backpedaled

    So far you have described specific alleged faults in only two chapters, which total less than 60 pages out of 1100.

    So, even though a sure sign of insanity is repeating actions that don’t yield the desired result, I’ll plead insanity and try again to see if you can answer a simple question. Do you think that the errors I pointed out in the chapters that I critiqued in detail are enough to disqualify this book as a bona-fide science textbook that should not be accepted by the UC faculty and administration? And to show you how easy it is to do this, I’ll answer it for myself with a single word. YES. How about you?

    Then you wrote re the comparison between creationism and phlogiston

    My quotation from Wikipedia showed that the phlogiston theory was disproved by actual experiment.

    And young-earth creationism, the dogma espoused by the Porch and Batdorf text, has been disproved by literally thousands, if not millions, of actual experiments. Unless you have evidence for Noah’s Ark, or can prove any of the ridiculous assertions re radiometric dating that appear in this book and in the websites that you favor, etc., you lose this one too.

    Then, finally, Larry weaseled

    Showing that the papers pay lip service to Darwinism is as difficult as showing that they do not just pay lip service to Darwinism.

    .

    Then how did young Luskin get the facts to back up his assertion? And why do you still think it has the ring of “common sense” now that you have figured out how hard it might be to gather such evidence? Invoking Skell’s “70 eminent researchers” is not very convincing, when you consider

    1) we don’t even know their names, or even if all of them are really biologists. Creationists are notorious for adding names of “eminent scientists” to petitions and other publicity, but upon closer inspection it turns out that few if any of them work in the appropriate field. And yes, if you demand proof for that assertion, I would be more than happy to provide it.

    2) even if all 70 were biologists, this is not a random sample, and it is also pitiably small. The NSF calculates that there are over 20,000 doctoral degrees awarded annually in the sciences in this country alone. If only 10% of those are biologically related, and if the average scientist has a career that lasts 35 years after the doctorate, there are a lot of folks out there who Skell didn’t importune. You can do the math, you claim to be good at it.

    So unless you can provide actual evidence to back up that assertion you picked from Luskin, you lose this one too.

  250. #250 Albatrossity
    September 24, 2006

    While I was preparing for class tomorrow, I was thinking about Larry’s statement:

    I can’t understand why you Darwinists have this fetish about having a single overarching unifying theory for biology.

    I’ll accept this statement at face value, and presume that this is really a thing that Larry wants to understand. As I thought about it, I realized that this is a deep philosophical divide, and that helping to bridge that divide with some understanding might be useful.

    I think that biologists (not “Darwinists”) and lots of other scientists pursue unifying theories, whether successfully or not, because we seek to understand the world around us. We think that knowledge is not finite, and that any mechanism that helps us add to that knowledge is valuable. So we are constantly on the edge of knowledge, and occasionally we are fortunate enough to be able to extend that edge a little bit more. We know that understanding the world is probably a task without end, but that does not deter us from trying to add our little brick to the structure. Unifying theories are part of that search for knowledge.

    This viewpoint is alien to Larry, and other bibleists, because in their worldview, all knowledge has already been revealed, and is contained in a book written in the Bronze Age. They already have a unifying theory. But it will never change, and it cannot help add bricks to the structure of knowledge.

  251. #251 Larry Fafarman
    September 24, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    Do you think that the errors I pointed out in the chapters that I critiqued in detail are enough to disqualify this book as a bona-fide science textbook that should not be accepted by the UC faculty and administration? And to show you how easy it is to do this, I’ll answer it for myself with a single word. YES. How about you?

    I was disturbed by the book’s overzealous statements that there is no evidence for common descent (that depends) and that mutations are always harmful (they are just usually harmful). I think that the some of the other statements — e.g., about Haeckel’s embryos and horse evolution — are defensible. Some of the issues I have not investigated. Some of the statements merely express a religious viewpoint. There was some effort to keep the science and religion separate by having separate sections for biological evolution and biblical creationism (there was also a separate section titled “A Biblical Viewpoint”). Apparently only a relatively small part of the textbook set is seriously affected by a religious viewpoint.

    Are these books any worse than standard public-school biology texts that do not teach the weaknesses of Darwinism? Supposedly around 30-40% of biology texts in US public schools were written by arch-Darwinist Kenneth Miller and I presume that these texts do not cover the weaknesses of Darwinism. Miller testified against the Cobb County textbook stickers that called for critical thinking about evolution. Many Darwinists agree that Darwinism has weaknesses — does UC inspect public-school biology texts to make sure that these weaknesses are included?

    As for the issue of the radiometric dating, I have not studied that issue and therefore cannot comment on it.

    Although there are some things that I don’t like about the textbooks, it appears to me that the textbooks are probably OK.

    Also, so far as this court case is concerned, it appears that your specific criticisms of the book are largely moot because those criticisms apparently were never made by UC.

    Invoking Skell’s “70 eminent researchers” is not very convincing, when you consider . . .

    Skell’s study is the best thing I have to go by now. I would like to see more frequent formal polls of biologists opinions about evolution, but unfortunately such polls are as rare as ivory-billed woodpeckers. However, a recent poll of physicians — who get above-average training in biology — showed that a large percentage of them question or doubt Darwinism — see http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/06/many-physicians-skeptical-of-darwinism.html

  252. #252 Mary
    September 24, 2006

    Albatrossity,

    That’s an interesting observation about unifying theories.

    I think perhaps the worldview difference you describe may be at the heart of Larry’s bad habit of fielding random quotes from people whose only claim to expertise is that they happen to agree with him. If one is used to settling issues by selective scriptural quotation, even if scripture fails to voice an opinion on many issues critical to modern life, then accuracy and context aren’t relevant. On the contrary, checking the revealed “facts” against the outside world might be considered in bad taste, because it implies that there is a truth outside and independent of any truths found in scripture.

    Science has been doing an increasingly good job of supplying such an independent source of truth, at least in the areas that fall within its purview. It also has a better track record of discovering useful facts about the universe than any religion, which has earned it a common respect from people of almost all religious persuasions. The temptation to capitalize on that respect by claiming that your religious scriptures are scientifically accurate must be intense.

    Unfortunately for religious fundamentalism, religious scriptures tend to make testable statements about the physical world that conflict with scientific findings. The believer is then left trying to find some way to convince others that up is down, left is right, and never mind the man behind the curtain.

    It’s not a bad approach, if you’re talking with people who are ignorant of science. It’s useless against people who are in the habit of asking for evidence before they accept bald assertions as factual. Unfortunately for Larry, and Calvary Chapel, a court of law falls firmly into the second category.

  253. #253 Mary
    September 24, 2006

    Larry,

    In your zeal to justify Calvary Chapel’s choice of the BJU text, you are forgetting one important thing. There are plenty of significantly better textbooks from secular publishers out there that don’t twist and distort any of the science in service to religious doctrines. There is no valid academic reason to settle for a book that’s 30% inaccurate when the industry standard is much, much better. That Calvary Chapel deliberately chose to teach a “science” course from a “science textbook” that has such major problems suggests that they, like BJU, sought to teach a course in religious apologetics, not science.

    And why in the world should a top secular university give college-prep biology certification for a class in religious apologetics?

    As far as Skell’s poll being “the best thing you have to go on”, there is nothing in what you’re quoting of it to establish that even one of the people he asked was a biologist, or works at a secular research institution. For all we know, this is a survey of science teachers at Bible colleges which only hire people who sign a statement of faith in the literal truth of the Bible.

    Given creationism/ID’s history of bogus surveys on this issue, I seriously doubt whether many, if any, are in fact “eminant researchers” in the field of biology. Or perhaps the actual question Skell asked was somewhat different than his paraphrase in important respects.

    As far as there not being any better sources for such information, NCSE’s Project Steve is a good place to start. It is honest about the exact statement that is being supported, and lists names, affiliations, and fields of study of the signers. It doesn’t pad its list with speechwriters and other nonscientists. At last count, over 750 Steves had signed, representing about 75,000 biologists of all names. That’s 1000 actual scientists for each of Skell’s 70. If there were that many, which we don’t know since he didn’t name them.

    It seems to me that your much-touted “common sense” ought to tell you that Skell’s poll is fishy at best, and intended to deceive at worst.

  254. #254 Larry Fafarman
    September 24, 2006

    Mary said,
    There are plenty of significantly better textbooks from secular publishers out there that don’t twist and distort any of the science in service to religious doctrines.

    For all I know, those textbooks from “secular publishers” might twist and distort science in service to the religion of Darwinism. How do I know that those other textbooks cover the weaknesses of Darwinism? The BJU textbooks may exaggerate the weaknesses of Darwinism but at least they cover them.

    If the BJU texts are so bad, why didn’t UC make specific criticisms? Was UC afraid that specific criticisms of the book could be successfully countered? UC just made broad, vague criticisms of the books so that there could be no defense.

    It seems to me that your much-touted “common sense” ought to tell you that Skell’s poll is fishy at best, and intended to deceive at worst.

    You think that “Project Steve” isn’t fishy? Who are these “Steves”? What are their qualifications? And why just “Steves”? Isn’t that discriminatory? Project Steve is about the dumbest idea I ever heard of. What a joke.

    At last count, over 750 Steves had signed, representing about 75,000 biologists of all names.

    I thought that you were supposed to be a great big grownup scientist — yet you have come to a very unscientific conclusion.

    What I really want to see is a recent formal poll of biologists’ opinions about evolution, but as I said, such polls are as rare as ivory-billed woodpeckers.

  255. #255 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 25, 2006

    What I really want to see is a recent formal poll of biologists’ opinions about evolution, but as I said, such polls are as rare as ivory-billed woodpeckers.

    Anyone can commission such a poll. So what’s stopping you, Larry? Of course, as you recently found out, slight variations in how questions are worded can give drastically different results, which is why a lot of social scientists disfavor them. Qualitative (e.g., interviews) vs. quantitative (e.g., polls) research is a major area of controversy among anthropologists, for example. (That said, most use both forms of reearch, but the emphasis is usually heavily in favor of one or the other) What Larry is doing is requesting something irrelevant to the issue because he knows no-one is going to waste the money to demonstrate what everyone on both sides of this contived controversy already knows.

    It should also be noted that the quotes he attributes to UC are actually quotes from Calvary Chapel, condensing what they claimed was said in the meeting.

  256. #256 Albatrossity
    September 25, 2006

    Larry

    Two quick points

    A) Re a poll of physicians and the finding that some percentage of them had problems with “Darwinism”:

    1) science is not a democracy, polls are meaningless and cannot change reality, no matter how many people wish it to be so.

    2) physicians need a fair amount of training in biology, but they are not research biologists. Medicine is applied biology, and I’d be more impressed if this was a poll of medical researchers, all of whom should recognize the power of evolutionary theory.

    3) do you have any data on how many of these physicians express doubts about bibleism?

    B) Re your repeated whine about “why didn’t UC list specific criticisms in its court documents”:

    1) What good would it do if they did that, since you are now on record as thinking that the BJU text is “probably OK”, even after hearing the specific criticisms?

    2) Have you seen all of the court documents? Maybe you missed something…

    3) Maybe the UC administration thinks it has a strong enough case without even blasting the textbook itself.

    Personally, I favor #3 in this latter series of hypotheses

  257. #257 Mary
    September 25, 2006

    Larry refused even to check out Wikipedia, probably because he knows full well it won’t tell him what he wants to hear, when he said, “You think that “Project Steve” isn’t fishy? Who are these “Steves”? What are their qualifications? And why just “Steves”? Isn’t that discriminatory? Project Steve is about the dumbest idea I ever heard of. What a joke”

    Yes, Project Steve is a joke. It is a parody of creationist “lists of scientists who doubt evolution”, and a tribute to the late Steven J. Gould.

    It is also a bone fide list of scientists named some varient of “Steve”, who have Ph.D.s in relevant fields, who agree that evolution is a vital unifying principle of biology and who reject creationism and intelligent design as _scientific_ explanations for anything.

    Unlike creationist lists, the “Steves list” cites the institution at which the signee got his or her Ph.D., the field in which that degree was granted, and the current affiliation, so one can confirm that each signee is still working as an active scientist.

    Among the signees are both eligible Nobel Laurates and seven members of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Since only about 1% of the Western World population is named “Steve” or a varient thereof (according to the Census Bureau), the 761 signatories represent some 76, 100 scientists working in relevant fields who would have signed if the statement included other names.

    But even the Steves alone swamp any collection of scientists in relevant fields that the Discovery Institute has ever managed to get together.

    So Skell’s anonymous 70 signitures are worthless as an indication that any significant proportion of scientists don’t use evolution in research, or only pay it “lip service”.

    As for there being more accurate biology textbooks out there than the BJU effort, the only reason you “don’t know of any” is that you haven’t examined any. You can remedy that for free by checking out the bookstores close to any institution of higher learning, particularly at this time of year. Since you claim to live in Los Angeles, that shouldn’t be a problem.

    You can also follow the links to textbooks and publishers from the AP Biology page; all the texts listed meet both AP and UC standards.

  258. #258 Josh
    September 25, 2006

    If we examine the poll that Larry linked to about physicians and evolution, we find that only 15% reject evolution. I don’t know what that was supposed to prove, but there it is.

    As for whether evolution is useful to biologists, Larry quotes Luskin citing the mendacious Skell claiming that evolution is useless to “the discovery of the DNA double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries.”

    Except that’s wrong. Common descent is why all life has a DNA double helix, why we don’t have to look for ad hoc explanations for every species’ genetic code. Besides which, the process of reproduction was a driving question behind Watson and Crick’s investigations. Why is it “the” ribosome? Because all life shares an ancestor that had a ribosome; evidence suggests that the ribosome is one of the earliest organelles, possibly a relic from the RNA world. Mapping genomes relies on common descent as well. We understand which DNA is a gene based on knowledge about evolutionarily conserved patterns, and we are able to use the same basic technology to sequence genes because all life shares an ancestor. The enzyme used to break down DNA for sequencing in PCR was found in hot springs bacteria, based on a prediction about what sorts of molecules would evolve in that setting.

    Medical research, whether for new surgeries or new pharmaceuticals all begins in animal testing. Why is it we think animal tests should tell us anything about effects in humans? Because the biochemical pathways are shared, a consequence of common descent. Common descent guides drug discovery, too. We know which plant species and which fungi are most likely to yield interesting new compounds because we know which lineages tend to have interesting compounds, and we understand that evolution of resistance is likely to drive those species towards divergent compounds.

    This is why a unifying theory is useful. The details are still variable, but knowing something about statistical dynamics of atoms and molecules gives engineers a common framework within which to understand thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, strength of materials, heat transfer, etc., just as evolution makes biology make sense from the scale of molecules to the scale of the planet.

    Evolution is useful, indeed vital, for biology. And UC is entitled to judge a curriculum inadequate if it doesn’t present that fact.

  259. #259 Larry Fafarman
    September 25, 2006

    W. Kevin Vicklund said –

    Anyone can commission such a poll. So what’s stopping you, Larry?

    I don’t want to spend a lot of my own money to give a free ride to the big, fat well-funded organizations that should be doing this. Is that reason enough?

    Of course, as you recently found out, slight variations in how questions are worded can give drastically different results, which is why a lot of social scientists disfavor them.

    So you think that Project Steve is OK but a scientifically-conducted opinion poll is not? You’re nuts.

    The problem of bias and ambiguity in the questions can be reduced by: (1) giving a large number of alternatives in each set of questions and (2) asking the questions in several different ways in the same poll (this was done in the poll of physicians that I cited)

    no-one is going to waste the money to demonstrate what everyone on both sides of this contived controversy already knows.

    Your probing, inquisitive scientific mind is admirable.

    Albatrossity said –
    1) science is not a democracy

    You are moving the goalposts. When the public is polled, you say that most people have no expertise in biology. So what is wrong with polling biologists? Is that too democratic for you?

    Medicine is applied biology, and I’d be more impressed if this was a poll of medical researchers, all of whom should recognize the power of evolutionary theory.

    The “power” of evolutionary theory! LOL What a joke. Jonathan Wells aptly accused Darwinists of “intellectual larceny” — see http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/09/jonathan-wells-accuses-darwinists-of.html

    3) do you have any data on how many of these physicians express doubts about bibleism?

    Well, as Kevin Vicklund suggested: if you want to know, why don’t you commission your own poll and find out?

    B) Re your repeated whine about “why didn’t UC list specific criticisms in its court documents”:
    1) What good would it do if they did that, since you are now on record as thinking that the BJU text is “probably OK”, even after hearing the specific criticisms?

    So you are saying that expecting UC to give specific criticisms is justified only if I agree with the criticisms.

    Have you seen all of the court documents? Maybe you missed something

    So what did I miss? Where?

    Maybe the UC administration thinks it has a strong enough case without even blasting the textbook itself.

    What are you saying? Are you saying that the textbook should be rejected just because of the religious viewpoints stated in the introduction? And what do you mean by “strong enough case”? If UC seriously wants to win the case, why wouldn’t UC make the best case possible?

    Mary said,

    Larry refused even to check out Wikipedia, probably because he knows full well it won’t tell him what he wants to hear, when he said, “You think that “Project Steve” isn’t fishy?

    Whaddya mean, I “refused even to check out Wikipedia”? No one even suggested that I check out Wikipedia’s article about Project Steve — and the article does not change my negative opinion about the project.

    Yes, Project Steve is a joke.

    So if it’s a joke, why are you taking it seriously?

    As for there being more accurate biology textbooks out there than the BJU effort, the only reason you “don’t know of any” is that you haven’t examined any. You can remedy that for free by checking out the bookstores close to any institution of higher learning, particularly at this time of year.

    High school texts are normally not sold in stores — or only very specialized stores carry them.

    I strongly suspect that many standard high school biology texts are not candid about the weaknesses of evolution theory. Ken Miller is the author of about 38% of high school biology texts (as I remember from his Dover testimony), and he testified against the Cobb County textbook stickers that called for a critical analysis of evolution theory.

  260. #260 Albatrossity
    September 25, 2006

    If you look through Larry’s latest litany of lame and laughable excuses, there are some common unifying themes.

    1 – Put words in somebody else’s mouth. He wrote “So you are saying that expecting UC to give specific criticisms is justified only if I agree with the criticisms.” But if he could read and understand, it is pretty clear that is not what I was saying.

    2 – Projection. He wrote “Your probing, inquisitive scientific mind is admirable.” But in reality, his sarcasm should be directed entirely at himself, since he is also refusing to gather facts to back his assertions (for the nth time).

    3 – Red herrings. Re my comment on the power of evolutionary theory, he points to his blog article quoting Jonathan Wells accusing evolutionary biologists as being guilty of “intellectual larceny”. Besides reminding us (for the nth time) that he seems to be incapable of thinking for himself but would rather quote a like-mined IDiot (actually a great example of intellectual larceny, y’ know), this response makes no sense. Evolution is powerful and predictive, as evidenced by it’s everyday use in thousands of labs across the globe. Argue against that, please.

    4 – “Breathtaking inanity” – When I suggest (as one of several non-exclusive hypotheses that he might have missed something in his poring over UC documents (which, as Mary pointed out many times, he actually refused to do), he responds like a petulant child, “So what did I miss? Where?” To which the only possible response is “Just about everything so far”.

    My tentative Unifying Theory of Larryism, based on numerous observations and experiments in this thread and elsewhere, is that Larry is not just a complete IDiot, but is perhaps the type specimen of the bibleist form of the IDiot. The inability to argue, coupled with an inability to generate an original thought, defines the type. I even have scriptural verification for this, which should prove it once and for all – The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. (Proverbs 14:8)

  261. #261 Mary
    September 25, 2006

    So, Larry, you’re citing a poll where 85% of physicians accept evolution as a useful unifying principle of biology as evidence that it isn’t? The mind boggles.

    And we don’t know if any of these physicians are actually involved in medical research.

    As to what you missed in the court documents, I’d have to say plenty, since you’ve already demonstrated that you haven’t actually read any of them, not even Calvary Chapel’s complaint. If you want to remedy that deficiency, the briefs from both sides are available online.

    Larry developed selective amnesia as to the contents of the BJU textbooks when he asked, “Are you saying that the textbook should be rejected just because of the religious viewpoints stated in the introduction?’

    As Albatrossity’s review made plain, the books have many, many factual errors of science throughout the text. Long-disproved notions are presented as fact, as is equally bogus “evidence against evolution”.

    The books don’t present biology as biologists use it, and therefore no course using it as a primary text will conform to UC’s standards for college-prep classes.

    Larry continued to find excuses for not supporting his claim that most high school biology textbooks are as inaccurate as the BJU text when he claimed, “High school texts are normally not sold in stores — or only very specialized stores carry them.”

    Larry, AP biology classes must use one of the standard college-level biology textbooks. You can find those at any college or university bookstore, and most campuses have several used bookstores nearby which also sell textbooks. The high school texts in UC-certified courses are quite similar in topics covered and general approach, although they don’t cover the topics in quite as much depth. You can get a good idea what they cover by reading the California biology standards, because the books used in California public schools were specifically written to conform to those standards.

    You are correct in that no textbook acceptable to UC as a primary text for biology courses will contain the long-disproved and entirely bogus “evidence against evolution” that is promoted by creationists.

  262. #262 Larry Fafarman
    September 25, 2006

    Josh said –

    Common descent is why all life has a DNA double helix, why we don’t have to look for ad hoc explanations for every species’ genetic code . . . Mapping genomes relies on common descent as well . . . .Why is it we think animal tests should tell us anything about effects in humans? Because the biochemical pathways are shared, a consequence of common descent. Common descent guides drug discovery, too.

    Why this big emphasis on common descent? ID advocates Michael Behe and William Dembski accept common descent. And common descent did not necessarily cause all those things just because it is consistent with all those things.

    This is why a unifying theory is useful. The details are still variable, but knowing something about statistical dynamics of atoms and molecules gives engineers a common framework within which to understand thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, strength of materials, heat transfer, etc.,

    At the undergraduate level in mechanical engineering, we rarely studied engineering principles at the atomic or molecular level. And even within individual major engineering subjects, there were generally no single unifying principles. For example, there are three modes of heat transfer — conduction, convection, and radiation — and each mode is governed by its own principles.

    Also, biologists can use the concepts and tools of evolution theory even while believing that all or part of the theory is untrue, in the same way that engineers use complex-number math in the analysis of AC circuits and aerodynamics while being aware that the math has little or no connection to reality — for example, in the Joukowski transformation of conformal mapping, the aerodynamics of a rotating cylinder is used to solve the aerodynamics of wing airfoils! See http://www.lerc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/map.html

  263. #263 Albatrossity
    September 25, 2006

    Larry re-whined

    Why this big emphasis on common descent? ID advocates Michael Behe and William Dembski accept common descent.

    Again Larry quotes irrelevant others as if that proves any point at all. In this case it is particularly hilarious because he is quoting folks as if he agrees with them, when he doesn’t! Remember that Larry doesn’t accept commen descent, if we are to believe the words he wrote in a previous comment. And the Porch and Batdorf text dismisses it.

    So why is that important? Because common descent is not only

    1) consistent with most if not all scientific observations, and

    2) supported by results obtained daily in thousands of labs around the globe, it is also

    2) incredibly useful in a predictive way.

    Bibleists like Larry would have us believe that some organisms are not related by common descent, solely because a Bronze Age myth can be interpreted that way. Genesis 1 may be a Unifying Theory in their heads, but it has no experimental support, and predictions based on it have not been supported by experiments or observations. Based on that track record, I think common descent is a better bet for inclusion in a science textbook.

  264. #264 Larry Fafarman
    September 26, 2006

    Albatrocity said —
    - Put words in somebody else’s mouth. He wrote “So you are saying that expecting UC to give specific criticisms is justified only if I agree with the criticisms.” But if he could read and understand, it is pretty clear that is not what I was saying.

    Here is what you said –

    B) Re your repeated whine about “why didn’t UC list specific criticisms in its court documents”:1) What good would it do if they did that, since you are now on record as thinking that the BJU text is “probably OK”, even after hearing the specific criticisms?

    Besides reminding us (for the nth time) that he seems to be incapable of thinking for himself but would rather quote a like-mined IDiot

    Giving Wells credit for the idea was the courteous thing to do.

    When I suggest (as one of several non-exclusive hypotheses that he might have missed something in his poring over UC documents (which, as Mary pointed out many times)

    Why don’t you either quote the UC document or give a link to it?

    Mary said –
    So, Larry, you’re citing a poll where 85% of physicians accept evolution as a useful unifying principle of biology as evidence that it isn’t?

    Here are the results as reported on my blog —

    . . .when asked, “What are your views on evolution — accept, reject, or undecided,” 78% responded, “accept”; when asked “do you agree more with evolution or more with intelligent design — evolution, intelligent design, or no opinion,” 63% responded “evolution,” and when asked, “What are your views on the origin and development of human beings?”, only 38% said, “humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement” (the other choices were guided evolution, were created in present form, and “I don’t like to think about such matters”).

    – from http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/06/many-physicians-skeptical-of-darwinism.html

    And we don’t know if any of these physicians are actually involved in medical research.

    It’s the best I’ve got.

    As to what you missed in the court documents, I’d have to say plenty, since you’ve already demonstrated that you haven’t actually read any of them, not even Calvary Chapel’s complaint. If you want to remedy that deficiency, the briefs from both sides are available online.

    A lot of court documents are not published online! Even when they are, they are often difficult to find. I have a slow dial-up connection, so it takes me an especially long time to find stuff. I was able to find a link to Calvary Chapel’s complaint through the National Center for Science Education website. If you know of some links to other court documents, why don’t you give them to me instead of beating around the bush? Also, most of these documents are on PDF files, which give my computer a lot of trouble — often they don’t appear or they cause my computer to freeze up.

    As Albatrossity’s review made plain, the books have many, many factual errors of science throughout the text.

    Are standard texts any better? Maybe they fail to discuss the weaknesses of Darwinism.

    AP biology classes must use one of the standard college-level biology textbooks. You can find those at any college or university bookstore, . . . .The high school texts in UC-certified courses are quite similar in topics covered and general approach, although they don’t cover the topics in quite as much depth.

    I want to see the actual texts, not something similar.

    You are correct in that no textbook acceptable to UC as a primary text for biology courses will contain the long-disproved and entirely bogus “evidence against evolution” that is promoted by creationists.

    What do you mean, I am correct? I don’t know. Maybe UC has accepted some public-school biology texts that discuss some of the evidence against evolution.
    .
    Albatrocity again –
    he is quoting folks as if he agrees with them, when he doesn’t! Remember that Larry doesn’t accept commen descent

    I was only pointing out their positions. What does that have to do with my own position?

    For all I know, common descent could be true.

  265. #265 Josh
    September 26, 2006

    Larry, what I was offering were not results consistent with evolution, but results predicted by evolution. That’s how science works. You make a hypothesis, you make a prediction, and you test it. Creationism doesn’t do that, indeed it can’t. That’s why it isn’t science, and that textbooks that teach creationism as science are wrong.

  266. #266 Larry Fafarman
    September 26, 2006

    Josh said –

    what I was offering were not results consistent with evolution, but results predicted by evolution.

    That’s not prediction — that’s serendipity. It can just as easily be claimed that ID “predicts” those things because the organisms were “designed” that way.

  267. #267 Albatrossity
    September 26, 2006

    Larry’s latest

    That’s not prediction — that’s serendipity. It can just as easily be claimed that ID “predicts” those things because the organisms were “designed” that way.

    is the most remarkable bit of whimsy he has written to date.

    Yep, it’s all pure dumb luck. I guess scientists should just buy lottery tickets rather than apply for grants; they seem to be much luckier than the average person. And way luckier than the average IDiot, since those guys haven’t produced one scientific outcome, or even one real hypothesis.

  268. #268 Josh
    September 26, 2006

    Larry, if ID were true, should I expect a new species that gets discovered on the seafloor to have ribosomes? Why or why not?

    IDC doesn’t predict anything. That’s why it isn’t science. Nothing is impossible for an omnipotent “designer,” so IDC can’t say what will or won’t happen. Someone who doesn’t understand that basic point about philosophy of science is not a competent judge of the quality of science classes or textbooks.

  269. #269 Larry Fafarman
    September 26, 2006

    Josh said,

    if ID were true, should I expect a new species that gets discovered on the seafloor to have ribosomes? Why or why not?

    If ribosomes are a normal part of living things, should it be surprising to find ribosomes in a newly discovered species?

    A lot of these “predictions” that evolution supposedly makes are just after-the-fact observations that say, “well, well, well, lookie here! Just what evolution would have predicted!” (I sarcastically called this “serendipity”).

    Probably the biggest failure of evolution theory was its prediction that large numbers of transitional fossils would be found. Instead it has been found that species have generally appeared suddenly in the fossil record without precursors and then continued unchanged for millions of years until the present day or until extinction.

  270. #270 Albatrossity
    September 26, 2006

    Larry

    Here is a thought question for you. Perhaps it will illustrate the difference between ID and evolutionary theory.

    A team of researchers serendipitously discovers a potent anticancer drug, which they have isolated from the bark of a tree. The structure of the drug is too complicated for organic chemists to synthesize, so the only source of the drug is the tree bark. Removing the bark kills the tree. Unfortunately it is a very uncommon and slow-growing tree, and it is calculated that the total number of trees available will only yield enough drug for 1000 patients. Then the trees will be extinct.

    Your task, as a person with some common sense who doesn’t believe in evolution or common descent, is to figure out a way to make more of this drug available before the trees go extinct.

    How would you do that?

  271. #271 Larry Fafarman
    September 26, 2006

    Albatrossity said,

    Your task, as a person with some common sense who doesn’t believe in evolution or common descent, is to figure out a way to make more of this drug available before the trees go extinct.
    How would you do that?

    How would you make more powdered rhino horn available before rhinos go extinct?

  272. #272 Josh
    September 26, 2006

    “Probably the biggest failure of evolution theory was its prediction that large numbers of transitional fossils would be found. Instead it has been found that species have generally appeared suddenly in the fossil record without precursors and then continued unchanged for millions of years until the present day or until extinction.”

    Bullshit. Transitional fossils are found all the time.

    And you didn’t answer my question about predictions from ID. Evolution imposes a hierarchy on organisms. Ribosomes are from so early in life’s history that you predict all life will have them. DNA comes from later, so RNA life forms are less inconceivable. The nucleus is a later addition, so a mammals without a nucleus would be surprising, though less so than a mammal without ribosomes.

    This pattern of shared, derived characteristics, is an organizing theme of biology. It’s why you expect to find that drugs that work in rabbits will work in humans. If they don’t, it’s surprising and tells you something unexpected. By contrast, there’s no reason in ID that anything about rabbits should match what you find in humans.

    But it does. The same bones exist in all mammals, just reshaped (with minor and predictable variations). The same genes exist, with minor and predictable differences. Evolutionary hypotheses built on one of those datasets successfully predict the nature of the other. And that’s unexpected in the framework of design.

  273. #273 Albatrossity
    September 26, 2006

    Larry evaded:

    How would you make more powdered rhino horn available before rhinos go extinct?

    I assume from that non-answer that you have no predictive hypothesis, derived from “ID theory”, that will allow you to proceed.

    Would it help provide some incentive if I told you that there are not just one, but actually several hypotheses available to anyone who is conversant with evolutionary theory and common descent? Maybe you can ask one of your ID colleagues to help you with this experiment…

  274. #274 Mary
    September 26, 2006

    Larry touted the poll showing that most physcians reject creationism/ID and accept evolution by claiming, “It’s the best I’ve got.”

    Yes. That poll is the most favorable show of support for creationism/ID among professionals with some biology training that’s out there. As a show of support, however, it’s pretty pitiful.

    The only valid conclusion one can draw from it is that people who know something about biology are far more likely to reject creationism/ID than the general public. Which kind of invalidates any claim creationism/ID has to being an actual scientific theory.

    Then Larry said, “A lot of court documents are not published online! Even when they are, they are often difficult to find. I have a slow dial-up connection, so it takes me an especially long time to find stuff. I was able to find a link to Calvary Chapel’s complaint through the National Center for Science Education website. If you know of some links to other court documents, why don’t you give them to me instead of beating around the bush? Also, most of these documents are on PDF files, which give my computer a lot of trouble — often they don’t appear or they cause my computer to freeze up.”

    Do you notice how Larry is already coming up with excuses not to read any actual documents relevant to the case, even if we should spoon-feed them to him? The only thing he will accept is small quotations taken out of context, after which he comes up with multiple fantasies about what “might” be in the rest of the document.

    This absolute refusal to look at contrary evidence, as if that will make it go away, ought to be added to your type description of IDiots, Albatrossity.

    Larry was true to type when he came up with another excuse as to why reading the California biology standards to see what California biology textbooks must cover is impossible, to wit, “I want to see the actual texts, not something similar.”

    Larry, you can do this by going to one of your local high schools, finding the biology teacher, and asking if you can look over the textbooks used for UC-certified biology classes.

    And no, you won’t find spurious “evidence against evolution” in them, or religious ideas presented as science.

  275. #275 Larry Fafarman
    September 26, 2006

    Albatrocity said,

    Would it help provide some incentive if I told you that there are not just one, but actually several hypotheses available to anyone who is conversant with evolutionary theory and common descent?

    So why don’t you stop beating around the bush and tell us your magic formula for saving species from extinction, so you can win your Nobel prize?

    I heard that the cost of saving the California condor was $1 million per bird.

    Mary moaned,

    Yes. That poll is the most favorable show of support for creationism/ID among professionals with some biology training that’s out there. As a show of support, however, it’s pretty pitiful.

    I would say that it’s pretty good. These are, after all, physicians who are fairly well trained in biology — they are not hand-picked fundies. I thought you said that college biology courses are supposed to teach people the importance of evolution. You just keep moving the goalposts.

    Do you notice how Larry is already coming up with excuses not to read any actual documents relevant to the case, even if we should spoon-feed them to him?

    Spoon-feed me? HAHAHAHAHA I cannot recall you ever giving me a single direct link to anything.

    you can do this by going to one of your local high schools, finding the biology teacher, and asking if you can look over the textbooks used for UC-certified biology classes.

    OK, but you originally told me that I could find the books in a college bookstore.

    And no, you won’t find spurious “evidence against evolution” in them,

    If they have no evidence against evolution, then they are just not accurate. Even Judge Jones admitted that evolution has weaknesses.

  276. #276 Albatrossity
    September 26, 2006

    Larry whimpered

    So why don’t you stop beating around the bush and tell us your magic formula for saving species from extinction, so you can win your Nobel prize?

    No, IDiot. That’s not the point. Saving species from extinction is your red herring. Stick to the problem at hand, which is, as I apparently must remind you, saving the lives of human cancer patients.

    How can you use “ID theory” to solve the problem posed in my question? Rare and slow-growing tree, life-saving compound isolated from said tree, compound is much too difficult to synthesize by organic chemical methods. Give me a testable hypothesis based on the predictions you (or Behe or Wells or Luskin or West or Dembski or Calvert or Johnson or any source you care to consult) can make from your common-descent-denying creationist perspective, or admit that you don’t have a frigging clue.

  277. #277 Larry Fafarnan
    September 26, 2006

    Albatrocity said,

    How can you use “ID theory” to solve the problem posed in my question? Rare and slow-growing tree, life-saving compound isolated from said tree, compound is much too difficult to synthesize by organic chemical methods.

    So how does Darwinism solve this problem?

  278. #278 Albatrossity
    September 27, 2006

    Larry pleaded

    So how does Darwinism solve this problem?

    Not so fast. I’d like to know if you comprehend something important. Here it is.

    ID/creationism is useless scientifically. When your only hypothesis is “God/a designer did it”, and that is also, by definition, your only possible conclusion, you have no way to generate other hypotheses and do useful experiments. And you certainly have no way to get useful results. You have demonstrated that for all the readers of this thread; I sincerely hope that you have demonstrated it to yourself as well.

    You have parroted Skell and Luskin, and apparently believe that “Darwinism” is not used in everyday biology, and has had no part in medical advances of recent years. When you get the answer to this problem, will it make a difference in how you think about that crock of lies, or at least make you understand how ID/creationism is not scientifically useful at all?

  279. #279 Flex
    September 27, 2006

    Such fun, I’m sent to Mexico for a week for work, and a lot of great stuff was posted.

    Thanks Albatrossity for reviewing the textbooks.

    I’ll try to restrict myself to only a few comments as catch-up.

    Larry wrote, “My quotation from Wikipedia showed that the phlogiston theory was disproved by actual experiment.”

    Okay, This is a great chance to give us the experiment that would disprove ID or Creationism. What? There isn’t one? Then those beliefs are not science. Oh, and before you make a claim that evolutionary theory can’t be disproved either, there are several observations or experiments that could.

    Mary wrote, “Yes, Project Steve is a joke.
    To which Larry replied, “So if it’s a joke, why are you taking it seriously?”

    This is a little more subtle than a knock-knock joke, but Project Steve is both a joke poking fun at the inane lists of scientists who agree with ID and a powerful statement showing that ID is rejected by the majority of scientists. It is funny and worth taking seriously at the same time.

    I loved this tidbit from Larry, “OK, but you originally told me that I could find the books in a college bookstore.”

    Hahahahahha!!! Larry, maybe that’s one of your problems, you want a single place for knowledge to reside. You can find high-school and college level textbooks in college bookstores, used bookstores, on-line bookstores (new and used), in the offices of high school teachers, in the offices of university professors, plenty of students carry them around, university libraries, through inter-library loan at public libraries, I have a few in my library. There is a plethora of sources.

    As for having a slow dial-up connection, and so being unable to read files, go to your local library. Spend an afternoon on their high-speed connection. If you have trouble, ask a librarian. That’s what they are there for.

    After all this blather, I’m not certain why you want to read the biology texts, but I suggest that you do so. You do realize that your admission that you haven’t tried to find out what an AP biology course teaches seriously weakens your credibility?

    I did manage to read the Calvary Chapel court documents. I haven’t found the UC filings yet, so I won’t comment on them. I found the various Calvary Chapel documents interesting. As far as I can determine, their entire case rests on a single word used by UC. That word is ‘viewpoint’. It does appear in the UC letters to Calvary Chapel as part of the justification for not certifying the courses. If the word ‘viewpoint’ wasn’t used by UC, there wouldn’t be a case.

    Even if UC loses the case because they used the word ‘viewpoint’ in their reasons for rejecting the courses, UC simply will have to eliminate that word from their accreditation letters and reject the courses anyway because the content does not represent the current state of knowledge. They are not required to give examples to do this either. But thanks again to Albatrossity who has done so on this thread.

    What a waste of money.

    Larry, I don’t really expect a response to my comments. I’m far more curious about your answer to Albatrossity’s scenario. While I’m not a biologist, and thus I’m far more likely to be wrong than right, I can think of two suggestions evolutionary theory makes to solve Albatrossity’s problem. But what are your answers?

  280. #280 Josh
    September 27, 2006

    “Even Judge Jones admitted that evolution has weaknesses.”

    Actually, having just met Judge Jones and discussed this with him, that isn’t what he thinks. He was impressed by how strong the evidence for evolution is and quoted his decision (and a witness) that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” That is, the fact that we have imperfect knowledge is not a weakness.

    One idea that evolution gives us for Albatrossity’s query would be to look for a closely related tree species. Since we understand the evolutionary process, we have a good sense of where those sorts of species ought to exist. And if we want to clone the genes that produce the compound, common descent can tell us where to look for the gene.

    ID can’t tell us anything. It can accept commonalities, but gives us no reason to think that they are likely or unlikely. Maybe that compound was magically “designed” appearing de novo in the tree. Evolution does not predict that. That’s why evolution is science and creationism isn’t.

    And Larry, I’m going to ask you once and only once to stop misspelling people’s names, and to stop saying that people are whining or moaning. We’re having a polite discussion here, and that behavior isn’t acceptable.

  281. #281 Albatrossity
    September 27, 2006

    Josh, et al.

    Actually, I am also guilty of the characterization of Larry’s comments as “whining”, “pleading”, “evading”, etc. I apologize for that behavior, and will attempt to be more polite in the future.

  282. #282 Albatrossity
    September 27, 2006

    Well, time’s a wasting. Larry is apparently unable to come up with a testable hypothesis, and also incapable of admitting that his worldview will never allow him to come up with a testable hypothesis. That is a bad corner to be in. But, in the meantime, I am going to be out of the country for the next week or so, so I might not be able to participate here for a while.

    Thus, I will answer Larry’s question for him, and you can all await his inevitable whimsical rantings and/or excuses. Since this particular problem/question has made Larry be quiet for nearly a whole day, I probably should just wait and see how long he can go without commenting, so accept my apologies for giving him an opportunity to post again without having to “say uncle”.

    Here is the problem: Rare and slow-growing tree, life-saving compound isolated from said tree, compound is much too difficult to synthesize by organic chemical methods.Clearly, as others have noted, the solution is to find another source for the compound. But where?

    If you are an IDiot/creationist, your hypotheses are pretty slim. The only possible hypothesis is that the tree was created/designed that way, and that the desired compound was part of the design/creation. So if you want to find it elsewhere, you will need to take the brute force approach. This requires extensive searching for other organisms that were similarly designed. But who knows the mind of the unnamed designer? It could be anywhere. In a clam, a bacteria, a wombat, a redwood tree, a mushroom, a newt…

    However, someone armed with the unifying theory of biology could take a more reasonable approach.

    Hypothesis? Common plants which are evolutionarily related should contain similar compounds, which may also be efficacious, or may serve as precursors for a semi-synthesis.

    Experiment� Screen close relatives of the plant for identical or related compounds.

    Indeed, this is what happened. The rare tree is the Western Yew (Taxus brevifolia). The desired chemotherapeutic compound is Taxol. The related plant is the COmmon Yew (Taxus baccata). A precursor compound found in the leaves (which can be trimmed without killing the tree) of the Common Yew is used in synthesis of the Taxol on the market today.

    It is effective against at least two human cancers, ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Ovarian cancer kills 16,000 people in the USA annually � Taxol is an important front-line drug for treatment of patients with advanced ovarian cancer. Breast cancer kills 40,000 people in the USA annually – Taxol and recent less-toxic derivatives are important front-line drugs in treatment of patients with advanced breast cancer. Recent reports indicate that these drugs also may have efficacy in treatment of polycystic kidney disease, which affects over 600,000 Americans.

    If you are afflicted with one of these diseases, or have a relative afflicted with one of these diseases, you owe a big debt to Darwin and the thousands of other scientists who don’t just rely on serendipity (what an insult!) to get results and move science forward.

    Feel free to comment among yourselves!

  283. #283 Larry Fafarman
    September 28, 2006

    Flex said (September 27, 2006 07:48 AM) –
    before you make a claim that evolutionary theory can’t be disproved either, there are several observations or experiments that could.

    Like what?

    You can find high-school and college level textbooks in college bookstores, used bookstores, (etc., etc/)

    They are just not as easy to find as Mary pretended.

    As for having a slow dial-up connection, and so being unable to read files, go to your local library. Spend an afternoon on their high-speed connection.

    “Spend an afternoon”? I would have to sign up in advance for an hour’s time — and would be lucky to get it.

    You do realize that your admission that you haven’t tried to find out what an AP biology course teaches seriously weakens your credibility?

    I thought that these Christian-school biology texts were not intended for AP courses. Why do you keep changing the subject?

    I did manage to read the Calvary Chapel court documents. I haven’t found the UC filings yet, so I won’t comment on them.

    Mary said that the UC filings were easy to find.

    Even if UC loses the case because they used the word ‘viewpoint’ in their reasons for rejecting the courses, UC simply will have to eliminate that word from their accreditation letters and reject the courses anyway because the content does not represent the current state of knowledge. They are not required to give examples to do this either.

    If UC does not give examples, then the plaintiffs cannot defend the texts.

    Josh said ( September 27, 2006 09:44 AM ) –
    That is, the fact that we have imperfect knowledge is not a weakness.

    It looks like a BIG weakness to me.

    One idea that evolution gives us for Albatrossity’s query would be to look for a closely related tree species. Since we understand the evolutionary process, we have a good sense of where those sorts of species ought to exist.

    Well, I was once taught to believe that marsupials survived only in Australia and neighboring islands because of those islands’ isolation. But now I know that there are also many species of marsupials in South America and there is one North American species, the opossum. So evolution theory does not teach us everything.

    Anyway, it is possible to relate different species to each other without assuming that one species evolved into another and without assuming that evolution was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection. And even if it helps to think in terms of evolution, that can be done without assuming that evolution is entirely true.

    And Larry, I’m going to ask you once and only once to stop misspelling people’s names, and to stop saying that people are whining or moaning. We’re having a polite discussion here, and that behavior isn’t acceptable.

    No problem. I am just wondering why you singled me out for criticism when Albatrossity was obviously doing some of the same stuff (he wasn’t misspelling my name, though).

  284. #284 Mary
    September 28, 2006

    Larry asked a relevant question, perhaps accidently, when he asked, “Like what?”, referring to the falisfiability of evolution.

    Larry, if you’d ever read “Origin of Species”, which I expect you haven’t, you’d know that the last third or so of the book addresses predictions of then-unknown scientific principles that would have to work in certain ways for evolution to reflect a true history of life on earth.

    The most serious hole in evolution was in genetics: Darwin predicted that inheritance would have to work in certain ways in order for variation to be generated, maintained, and spread.

    He also predicted that discoveries of new fossils and species would continue to be compatible with the patterns of shared inheritance and change over time that he proposed.

    If either of these predictions had proved wrong, evolution would have been rejected by the biological community as useless. As it turns out, research in the past 150 years has been remarkably consistant with Darwin’s predictions, and so we continue to use evolution to guide further research.

    Being able to predict research results that would, if they happened, disprove a theory is a hallmark of science. So, what physical evidence, if found, would disprove creationism/ID? What does it predict about the physical world that makes sense of past experiments and guides future ones? How do you know it has any truth to it at all?

    The Bible and other sacred texts have many statements that either contradict known facts, or contradict other internal statements in the same document. So, they can’t be used as factual proof of anything. Without the Bible, what does creationism/ID have left that can be proved by reference to the natural world only? Irreducible complexity? I think Behe’s cross-examination at Dover showed just how flimsy and ill-supported that concept is.

    As for defending the BJU textbooks, Calvary Chapel couldn’t do that no matter how many specific examples UC gave. UC demands that all primary texts reflect the state of academic knowledge in the relevant field. The BJU texts are full of material that directly conflicts with academic knowledge in the relevant fields. They don’t qualify as primary texts for UC-certified courses. It’s as simple as that.

    Oh, and Larry, your web site says that you live in Los Angeles. It’s a big city. There are plenty of libraries and Internet cafes around where you can use a high-speed Internet connection. For that matter, you could go to UCLA’s campus and check out all the textbooks in the library and bookstore while you’re using the high-speed connection there. For you to keep asserting that neither science textbooks nor a high-speed Internet connection is available to you is disingenuous.

  285. #285 Flex
    September 28, 2006

    I previously wrote, “before you make a claim that evolutionary theory can’t be disproved either, there are several observations or experiments that could.”

    To which Larry replied, “Like what?”

    One of the more famous replies to this question was, “A rabbit skeleton in precambrian strata.” I apologise to the originator, a quick google didn’t find him for me, but I know I have the source of the quote at home.

    As Mary wrote, even Darwin indicated what evidence would require his theory to be re-considered. That’s one of the hall-marks of a good thinker, not only acknowledging where the weaknesses in a theory are, but pointing them out for others to consider.

    However, out modern understanding of genetics along with a better understanding of fossilization and strata has addressed those particular weaknesses.

    In fact, our understanding of genetics is now often considered stronger evidence than simply organizing fossils. Several proposed linages have been revised based on genetic evidence. Of course, my understanding is that revisions are acceptable because sometimes the original classication could have gone either way based on the fossil evidence and occasionally the researchers picked the wrong relationship.

    (And as a non-biologist I may need correction here. So Mary, Josh, or Albarossity feel free to correct me if necessary.)

    But the process is self-correcting. That’s one of the amazing, and beautiful, aspects of science. That’s why to claim Haeckel’s illustrations or Piltdown Man as a failure of evolutionary theory is laughable, the science has advanced far beyond those examples.

    If ID/Creationism was science, the theory of ID/Creationism would not only suggests tests to prove it right, but tests to prove it wrong. What tests do you propose to prove that ID/Creationism is false?

    Larry then wrote, “I thought that these Christian-school biology texts were not intended for AP courses. Why do you keep changing the subject?”

    I’m sorry, I was just pointing out that your claim that the Christian school biology texts may teach biology just as well secular biology texts suggests that you have some familiarity with secular biology texts. Since you apparently have not examined either Christian or secular biology texts your arguments are discounted even further.

    Next, in response to my own failure to discover the UC filings, Larry wrote, “Mary said that the UC filings were easy to find.”

    They probably are, I just haven’t found them yet. Since they appear to be in L.A., you could just go over the the Federal Courthouse and read them yourself. I don’t have that luxury, Michigan to L.A. is a bit of a communte. Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, I don’t know about UCLA, but the U of Michigan graduate library is open to the public and not only has a floor devoted to biology, but plenty of computer terminals for anyone to use without signing up for them.

    Next, based on my comment that the entire lawsuit seems to rest on a single word, and that UC doesn’t appear to need to give examples to reject a course, Larry wrote, “If UC does not give examples, then the plaintiffs cannot defend the texts.”

    Then, if UC refuses to explain why, the plaintiff’s can sue again to attempt to show that the texts do represent the current state of knowledge of biology.

    However, as Mary has pointed out, and I’ve confirmed independantly for myself, UC is willing to meet and discuss the problems with accreditation with a school.

    In fact, in the Calvary Chapel court documents I was interested to read of a meeting between UC and Calvary Chapel in order to work the issues out. While I didn’t find a complete transcript of the meeting, I suggest that the appropriate time to discuss the errors in the text would have been at this meeting.

    Based on Albatrossity’s review of the text, this shouldn’t be difficult.

    Mind you, there are a number of courses that UC rejected from Calvary College, so it’s hard to say how much this particular issue was discussed at any meetings.

    Finally, after Josh wrote concerning the nature of science, “That is, the fact that we have imperfect knowledge is not a weakness.

    Larry’s response is particularly interesting, “It looks like a BIG weakness to me.”

    I’m not particularly certain what Larry means with that statement. It could be that he thinks that until any area of knowledge is completely known, and all aspects are accounted for, that area of knowledge is ‘weak’.

    But I can’t believe that. Larry indicates that he has taken many mathematics courses, so he should understand that a key aspect of, say, calculus is that it allows us to make testable predictions to a certain level of accuracy while ignoring the fluctuations which occur below that arbitrary threshold. That’s the key insight to a Delta-Epsilon proof. The sampling delta is chosen such that the resultant epsilon is below the error rate required. This allows you to use line geometry to approximate discrete observations. It’s a beautiful insight, but it relies on acknowledging that our knowledge of an event is imperfect.

    Statistical analysis also deals with how to extract useful information from imperfect knowledge.

    Control theory also accounts for imperfect knowledge by defining exactly how much variation is acceptable, and at what point the variation becomes a problem.

    As an engineer, Larry must have met calculus and delta-epsilon proofs. He may not have much experiance with the other examples, but I’m still at a loss as to why he thinks that imperfect knowledge is a weakness?

    Acknowledging the limitations of our knowledge and looking to increase it is one of the strengths of scientific curiousity.

    Is there even a field of study aside from theology which claims to have perfect and complete knowledge?

    Now I’d better take a stab at my capital financing homework. Bleh!

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  286. #286 Josh
    September 28, 2006

    “Well, I was once taught to believe that marsupials survived only in Australia and neighboring islands because of those islands’ isolation. But now I know that there are also many species of marsupials in South America and there is one North American species, the opossum. So evolution theory does not teach us everything.”

    Don’t blame evolution for your ignorance about basic biology. People knew about American marsupials for longer than they have known about Australia. What is the case is that the relative paucity of placental mammals in Australia is a consequence of its isolation. And if you look at South America’s fossil record, it too had a vast marsupial radiation before the Central American isthmus formed. The Virginia opossum is one of the few species to successfully invade northward, while lots of northern species spread south, driving many marsupials and xenarthrans extinct.

    And Larry, what is your opinion about gravity? There are some pretty fundamental holes in that theory, but no one spends any effort on my theory of “intelligent falling.” Look up quantum gravity for more information on the problems gravity faces.

    Yes, it’s hard to do research, which is why it behooves you to treat people who bothered to do that research with some respect.

  287. #287 Larry Fafarman
    September 29, 2006

    Josh said –

    People knew about American marsupials for longer than they have known about Australia. What is the case is that the relative paucity of placental mammals in Australia is a consequence of its isolation.

    Yes, but I think that a lot of people share my misconception. When most people think of marsupials, they usually think of Australia. I was really surprised to find out that there are so many species of marsupials in South America.

    One of your claims about evolution theory is that it predicts where related species are likely to be found. You said earlier,

    One idea that evolution gives us for Albatrossity’s query would be to look for a closely related tree species. Since we understand the evolutionary process, we have a good sense of where those sorts of species ought to exist.

    However, evolution theory does not tell us that the relatives of the Australian marsupials are found only in the Americas and that none are found in Asia, Africa, or Europe. I think that many Darwinists practice what I would call “contrived serendipity” — you cherry-pick facts and then claim that those facts are what evolution theory would have predicted.

  288. #288 Josh
    September 29, 2006

    Larry, in between bouts of embarassing yourself, Google “Gondawanaland.” Historical biogeography, combined with plate tectonics, are quite informative.

  289. #289 Flex
    September 29, 2006

    Larry wrote, “However, evolution theory does not tell us that the relatives of the Australian marsupials are found only in the Americas and that none are found in Asia, Africa, or Europe.”

    Well, by now you may have gathered some more information about how our understanding of continental drift, independant of evolutionary theory, allows evolutionary theory to predict that the closest relatives to Australian marsupials are in South America.

    That’s not exactly cherry-picking, it’s applying evolutionary theory to the knowledge gained from a different scientific discipline. That’s another one of the amazing aspects of science (as opposed to theology). Science isn’t only self-correcting, it looks at alternative fields for insights and knowledge. George Boole developed his logic as an attempt to symplify philosophy problems. It has been co-opted by mathematicians and engineers to become intregal to computers.

    Are there any other examples of “contrived serendipity” or “cherry-pick[ing]“ you would like to bring up?

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  290. #290 Larry Fafarman
    September 29, 2006

    Flex said,

    Well, by now you may have gathered some more information about how our understanding of continental drift, independant of evolutionary theory, allows evolutionary theory to predict that the closest relatives to Australian marsupials are in South America.

    Like I said, evolution theory told us nothing. So you are saying that it was the theory of continental drift — and not evolution theory — that told us that the closest relatives of Australian marsupials are in South America. So continental drift would supposedly have told us that if evolution theory had never existed.

    I have noticed that there are often similar species in different continents where there is no claim that the continents were ever joined. In fact, I have often heard of some similar species referred to as “New World” and “Old World” counterparts.

  291. #291 Mary
    September 29, 2006

    Larry chose to embarass himself rather than google “Gondwanaland” when he said, “I have noticed that there are often similar species in different continents where there is no claim that the continents were ever joined. In fact, I have often heard of some similar species referred to as “New World” and “Old World” counterparts.”

    Larry, do you even know what “continental drift” means? That the breakup of the continents took place OVER TIME, with various connections being severed at very different times? I suggest you take a moment to remedy your earlier omission (the fourth link down has a nice animation) and think about what it means. In particular, notice how much closer South America and Austrailia remain while Africa separates from them.

    Groups of plants or animals that existed before a breakup event will leave descendents on both halves, while groups that evolved later will be unique to one half or the other.

    This is heavily supported by three completely independent lines of evidence: genetic phylogenies, fossil phylogenies and geological information on the nature and timing of continental splits. That’s an extraordinary level of proof, far beyond that required of most well-accepted scientific theories.

    The UCLA library will have books with a much more detailed treatment, of course. You can check it out while you’re looking at textbooks and using the free high-speed Internet connection. There are several parking options within half a block of the undergraduate library, which has hours of 9-5 on Saturday and 1-10 on Sunday.

    All of which I managed to find out in ten minutes or so of Internet research, using a slow dial-up connection. In fact, all the on-line research I’ve done during this discussion has been done using my dial-up connection from home; I’ve got work to do when I’m on campus.

    So, Larry, don’t you think it’s time to stop pretending that your dial-up connection makes it impossible for you to find documents, check your facts, or support your outrageous statements with evidence?

  292. #292 Josh
    September 29, 2006

    People sometimes refer to ecologically similar species on different continents as “counterparts.” A marsupial mole and a placental mole, for instance. And this shows what we mean by evolutionary predictions. A marsupial mole has a similar “design” to a placental mole. Introduce a placental mole to Australia, and it’ll do fine, perhaps even outcompeting the marsupial. Ignoring evolutionary history might lead you to link the ecological adaptations rather than shared derived characters, linking moles, marsupial moles and African golden moles. But when you look at the details, the marsupials share an evolutionary history and various specific traits that link them, while moles link with shrews. And that matches the geographic ranges of the groups now and through geological history. Evolution predicted these linkages before continental drift was even hypothesized. It is an evolutionary prediction verified by continental drift.

  293. #293 Larry Fafarman
    September 30, 2006

    Josh said,

    Evolution predicted these linkages before continental drift was even hypothesized. It is an evolutionary prediction verified by continental drift.

    I disagree. These linkages between species on continents isolated from each other may be consistent with evolution but evolution did not predict these linkages. You said that evolution predicts where related species are likely to be found and that simply isn’t true. As Jonathan Wells says of evolution, “evidence is brought in afterwards, as window dressing.”

  294. #294 Josh
    September 30, 2006

    Your disagreement is inaccurate and therefore irrelevant. The evolutionary unity of the marsupials was understood long before any theory of continental drift existed. Continental drift was an independent hypothesis which validated the evolutionary prediction.

    I don’t see what’s so hard to understand.

  295. #295 Flex
    October 2, 2006

    Larry wrote, “evolution theory told us nothing.”

    This is a classic. Two areas of science which developed somewhat independantly both leading to the same conclusions. The marsupials of South America and Australia share common ancestors.

    And yet, Larry can deny that one entire area of study has any validity while apparently accepting the other.

    So, Larry, if continental drift can explain why the marsupials of South America and Australia are related. Why are there no opposums in Australia or wombats in Virginia?

    If evolution didn’t occur, and at one point Australia and South America were part of one land mass, shouldn’t we see koalas in South America? Or possibly the 30 million years since their seperation was enough time for evolution to act.

    Unless you have a better reason than evolution to explain the differences in populations of the Australian and South American marsupials, you are going to have to stop accepting continental drift as well.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  296. #296 Mary
    October 2, 2006

    Flex,

    I think you and Josh might have discovered another fundamental characteristic of “cdesign proponentsists”: the ability to compartmentalize so completely that no natural connection between scientific disciplines can be acknowleged. This not only allows the cdesign proponentist to use at least some odd bits of scientific knowledge that aren’t specifically contradicted in the Bible, it has the side benefit of providing “miraculous” coincidences whenever two “unconnected” (in the cdesign proponentist’s mind) subdiscipines give similar results.

    Our type specimin Larry shows evidence of this, both in his treatment of evolution and continental drift as entirely unrelated things, and in his insistance that mixing religious statements with scientific ones in the BJU textbook doesn’t make the whole book inadequate for learning science.

    Unfortunately for Larry, a person evaluating the adequacy of a textbook must evaluate the book as a whole. It doesn’t matter to UC if some small sections present some scientific findings accurately, if the presentation as a whole gives a distorted view of science. No student using the BJU book as a primary text is going to come away from the class with a view of science as a naturalistic process that doesn’t allow supernatural explanations, nor will such a student understand the interconnected, mutually reinforcing nature of the various biological disciplines.

  297. #297 Larry Fafarman
    October 2, 2006

    Flex said –

    If evolution didn’t occur, and at one point Australia and South America were part of one land mass, shouldn’t we see koalas in South America?

    Well, maybe there were koalas in South America at one time and they became extinct and their fossils were never found. Who knows?

    Anyway, none of this stuff proves that evolution was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection.

    Mary said –

    No student using the BJU book as a primary text is going to come away from the class with a view of science as a naturalistic process that doesn’t allow supernatural explanations, nor will such a student understand the interconnected, mutually reinforcing nature of the various biological disciplines.

    As I have asked a zillion times already, so long as the students learn the core material correctly, what difference does it make whether they are brainwashed inside science class or outside science class?

  298. #298 Flex
    October 2, 2006

    Larry wrote, “Anyway, none of this stuff proves that evolution was driven solely by natural genetic variation and natural selection.”

    So you feel the need to multiply causes without evidence?

    You want to make:

    evolution = genetic variation + natural selection + supernatural intervention?

    Just as an aside, and the biologists here can correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding of evolution is a little more complex than genetic variation and natural selection.

    As I understand it, genetic and environmental variation cause variation in an organism’s development to a reproductive age. So genetic clones can have different traits expressed during development, leading to a different level of reproductive success. Conversely, organisms with widely divergant (relatively speaking) genetic information can express very similar adult traits because of the similarities of the environment on the development of the organism.

    The only way to properly look at an organism is to also closely examine it’s environment throughout it’s life cycle. We are speaking of systems engineering here, of a complexity far greater than any man-made system.

    But there is no evidence suggesting that supernatural intervention is necessary for this system to develop.

    I prefer the idea that:

    developmental variation = genetic variation ∩ environmental variation

    and

    evolution = developmental variation ∩ reproductive fitness

    But I’m no expert in this field. ;)

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  299. #299 Flex
    October 2, 2006

    Drat, the symbols I used looked fine in preview, but became garbage when I see the post.

    That funny looking a-hat/caret/copyright symbol should be a logical intrasection symbol.

    Sorry for any confusion.

    -Flex

  300. #300 Mary
    October 2, 2006

    Larry showed that he is still confused about what the “core material” in biology is when he said, “As I have asked a zillion times already, so long as the students learn the core material correctly, what difference does it make whether they are brainwashed inside science class or outside science class?”

    The core material in a biology class IS “a view of science as a naturalistic process that doesn’t allow supernatural explanations”, closely followed by “the interconnected, mutually reinforcing nature of the various biological disciplines”, starting with evolution. That’s why the scientific method is #1 and evolution is #2 on the AP biology curriculum’s priorities, and why AP courses must use an intergrated approach.

    As Albatrossity has pointed out, teaching the scientific method to students is not a trivial task, nor can it be done successfully using a textbook that presents non-scientific religious doctrines as science. Likewise, a textbook that presents various biological information and disciplines as unrelated to each other is of little help to students who must understand how these disciplines and findings reinforce each other to form a coherent whole.

    The BJU textbook doesn’t adequately address the two most important, fundamental core concepts of biology, which is why UC properly refuses to certify courses that use it as a primary text for science credit.

    UC does not ask students which religious doctrines they accept or whether those doctrines happen to conflict with the information and concepts presented in their certified coursework. That really would be religious discrimination. It does, however, insist that students understand and be able to use the naturalistic process of science, whether or not they choose to do so outside of the science classroom.

    The scientific method is arguably one of the most valuable philosopical contributions of Western civilization. Its findings are central to the technology that sustains that civilization. It’s hardly unreasonable for an institiution of higher learning to require that incoming students be thoroughly familiar with it, just as they ought to have read some important English literature and know something about history and the arts.

    You never did say, Larry: why is it discrimination for UC to judge Calvary Chapel’s courses by exactly the same standards it uses to evaluate other public and private school courses?

  301. #301 Larry Fafarman
    October 3, 2006

    Mary said –

    That’s why the scientific method is #1 and evolution is #2 on the AP biology curriculum’s priorities, and why AP courses must use an intergrated approach.

    The Christian-school biology texts are not intended for AP courses — you are comparing apples and oranges.

    And you are really hung up badly on this “integrated approach” idea in biology education. I have never seen such an overemphasis on this idea in any other scientific field — not even in physics, where many physicists are searching for a “theory of everything.”

    Flex said –
    Just as an aside, and the biologists here can correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding of evolution is a little more complex than genetic variation and natural selection.

    “Natural” genetic variation (not just genetic variation) and natural selection are the driving forces in evolution theory.

  302. #302 Mary
    October 3, 2006

    Larry,

    If you had ever bothered to read the AP standards and compare them with the California standards for non-AP biology classes, you would know that the two curricula are quite similar in the material covered and the mandatory integrated approach, although the non-AP classes don’t cover the material in quite as much depth.

    So, the BJU textbook flunks UC standards for primary texts in both AP and non-AP biology classes.

    The integrated approach tends to be a make-or-break standard that separates good textbooks from poor ones, because avoiding it is the standard way in which textbook publishers water down evolution coverage for the Bible-belt market. By mandating that the evolutionary implications be presented in chapters on cell biology, genetics, ecology, and other topics, UC and the College Board are ensuring that their stamp of approval only goes to texts and classes that present biology as real biologists use it.

    I realize that it would help Calvary Chapel’s case for religious discrimination a great deal if the BJU textbook presented the science in an adequate fashion. However, as Albatrossity explained at great length, it does not. Neither evolution nor the scientific method is presented accurately, and bogus “scientific facts” and “criticisms of evolution” are advanced to support religious dogma.

    It would also help Calvary Chapel’s case for religious discrimination if UC’s standards for biology classes were less rigorous and comprehensive than they are. If California’s public school biology standards were not among the best in the nation, UC might have to compromise. However, the California standards are among the best, and so UC is free to demand that all certified biology classes cover the subject at least as well as the public schools.

    Neither the BJU textbook nor the class that would have been taught from it came anywhere close to meeting UC standards. It’s as simple as that.

    And if a class doesn’t meet UC standards for biology classes, it doesn’t get certified.

    That’s completely fair and non-discriminatory, as long as all biology classes in all public and private schools must meet the same standard.

  303. #303 Albatrossity
    October 3, 2006

    Well, I have been away for several days, and nothing has changed. Larry is still incapable of moving past his standard (discredited) arguments. It seems Mary has told him countless times why AP courses and textbooks are a good standard, and why the bibleist course and textbook is not good enough. Larry still can’t get over the fact that evolution IS integrated into all of biology, but instead keeps repeating himself about how that is not the case in engineering, or physics, or any other area that his randomly-firing synapses can conjure up. Larry can’t be bothered to read the standards, or even do a bit of Google research that might threaten his preconceived notions about how the world ought to work. The only thing that hasn’t come up recently is the lame excuse about dialup connections; I’d be willing to bet it also resurfaces in the next day or so.

    In other words, this conversation is going in a seemingly endless circle. Larry, do you have anything new to say, or can we end the circus now?

    Oh, by the way. I am still at a scientific meeting in Mexico, and nobody has mentioned Genesis or its porcine-lipsticked offspring Intelligent Design, even once yet. There’s still hope, of course, and I will be sure to pass the word along if those two bogus notions make an appearance in any scientific context here.

  304. #304 Larry Fafarman
    October 3, 2006

    Mary said –
    If you had ever bothered to read the AP standards and compare them with the California standards for non-AP biology classes, you would know that the two curricula are quite similar in the material covered and the mandatory integrated approach …. If California’s public school biology standards were not among the best in the nation, UC might have to compromise. However, the California standards are among the best, and so UC is free to demand that all certified biology classes cover the subject at least as well as the public schools.

    And if you had ever bothered to read the Constitution, you would know that the states are supposed to give full faith and credit to the official acts of other states. So if another state does not require regular biology courses to be AP-level, then California is supposed to respect that, and if California cannot treat all students from other states in the same way, then UC should not accept any students from other states at all.

    This “integrated approach” stuff is just a prestige war that biologists are waging against scientists in other fields.

    Albatrossity said –
    Larry, do you have anything new to say, or can we end the circus now?

    You people are the ones who are making it a circus.

  305. #305 Flex
    October 4, 2006

    Hahahaha

    Larry wrote, “Natural” genetic variation (not just genetic variation) and natural selection are the driving forces in evolution theory.”

    Maybe you didn’t read correctly Larry, I wrote (and you even quoted), “…,and the biologists here can correct me if I’m wrong….”

    I didn’t really expect you to try to correct me, Larry. Instead I expected that the practising biologists reading these comments would mention it if I made a stupid mistake.

    Apparently you consider yourself a biologist? That’s news to me. What’s the title of your latest peer-reviewed paper in biology? You are also using a word in a way I don’t understand. What does “Natural” mean in the phrase “Natural” genetic variation (not just genetic variation)….”? Are you suggesting that the phenotype is included with that phrase?

    To be honest Larry, your continually refering to biologists as ‘Darwinists’ prevents me from taking anything you say about biology seriously.

    But then you go into the deep end…

    How are UC admission standards official acts of the California legislature? After all, the federal constitution is referring to offical acts of the state. Further, if you read article IV, section 1, you will find that the federal congress decides how the faith and credit requirement will be implemented. Or do you have court cases showing that admission standards are considered offical acts of the state?

    You make a another new claim when you wrote, “This “integrated approach” stuff is just a prestige war that biologists are waging against scientists in other fields.”

    Do you have any evidence for this claim? That is, practising scientists in other fields saying that biologists are trying to make their field of study more prestigious? That’s kind of a humorus image, a group of theoretical physicists standing in front of a blackboard covered with equations muttering to each other, ‘Those blasted biologists, with their overarching theory, they’re making us look bad.’

    Do you really believe that if the physicists had a general theory of everything they wouldn’t want to teach everyone, including high school students, at least the basics of this theory?

    For someone who claims to require to be shown something before you believe it, you sure make plenty of claims without providing any evidence.

    I must be in good humor this morning because I can’t let this slip by. Larry wrote, “You people are the ones who are making it a circus.”

    In the immortal words of children everywhere, “I know you are, but what am I?”

    To be immediately followed with, “But he started it!”

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  306. #306 Mary
    October 4, 2006

    Larry recycles another fallacious argument when he said, “And if you had ever bothered to read the Constitution, you would know that the states are supposed to give full faith and credit to the official acts of other states. So if another state does not require regular biology courses to be AP-level, then California is supposed to respect that, and if California cannot treat all students from other states in the same way, then UC should not accept any students from other states at all.”

    First of all, as I’ve pointed before, the “full faith and credit” provision of the Constitution applies to public and private legal contracts: marriage licenses, bills of sale, child support agreements, and that sort of thing. It simply doesn’t apply to policies and guidelines like school curriculum standards.

    Second, no school is obligated to blindly accept any other school’s courses or curricula. That’s why transferring credits between school A and school B is always a hassle. To get credit for taking a class at school A, the burden of proof is on you to show why the course you took taught you the same things you would have learned if you had taken the course at school B. The obvious way to do this is to compare the curriculum of the class at school A and see if it meets the academic goals of school B’s course in regards to material and rigor.

    Sound familar? This is exactly what UC’s course certification is all about. It’s what the AP course certification program is all about. And there’s nothing in the least unconstitutional about it.

    So, Calvary Chapel isn’t going to get around UC’s standards, which take advantage of Calfornia’s excellent public school biology standards, by arguing that its biology class isn’t all that much worse than what students from Oklahoma or Alabama take in non-AP biology classes.

    Calvary Chapel also can’t get around UC’s standards by showing that its class would be considered an acceptable college-prep class at the University of Kentucky, or Bob Jones University, or any other institution of higher learning.

    The only way Calvary Chapel can argue that its biology course should have been certified by UC is to prove that it meets _UC’s_ standards. Or the College Board’s, since UC automatically certifies courses that meet AP standards.

    It can’t do that using the BJU textbook, no matter how much you wish it could.

    UC has said all along that it rejected the course and the textbooks for unsound academics, which is completely constitutional. The burden of proof is on Calvary Chapel to prove that its classes did meet UC’s standards for academics and rigor, and therefore that the rejection was based on unconstitutional religious discrimination.

    If Calvary Chapel can’t provide evidence in court that the course’s academics meet UC’s standards, or at least the standards of other biology courses that have been certified by UC for science credit, then it loses the case.

    It all hinges on UC’s standards and their uniform application across public and private schools. Calvary Chapel wants a special exception to teach bad biology on religious grounds, without sacrificing the UC eligibility of its students. UC claims that science is a secular subject, and therefore it’s quite constitutional to demand that incoming freshmen have taken two classes that treat it rigorously.

    There’s a long series of court precidents establishing that science is, in fact, a secular subject. Therefore, it violate nobody’s religious freedom for UC to demand that all students take two science classes. Why should Calvary Chapel’s students be granted an exception to a secular requirement for religious reasons? Why is it unconstitutional discrimination for UC to judge Calvary Chapel’s classes by exactly the same standards it uses on every other school?

  307. #307 Larry Fafarman
    October 4, 2006

    Mary said,

    First of all, as I’ve pointed before, the “full faith and credit” provision of the Constitution applies to public and private legal contracts: marriage licenses, bills of sale, child support agreements, and that sort of thing. It simply doesn’t apply to policies and guidelines like school curriculum standards.

    Wrong — the full faith and credit clause has no such restrictions.

    Second, no school is obligated to blindly accept any other school’s courses or curricula. That’s why transferring credits between school A and school B is always a hassle.

    State universities — particularly prestigious ones like UC, U.Va., and U. of Mich. — have lots of out-of-state students. If UC started denying credit for regular out-of-state biology courses that do not meet the AP standards, chaos would result.

    Flex said –

    How are UC admission standards official acts of the California legislature? After all, the federal constitution is referring to offical acts of the state.

    The Constitution does not restrict “official acts” to legislative acts.

    That’s kind of a humorus image, a group of theoretical physicists standing in front of a blackboard covered with equations muttering to each other, ‘Those blasted biologists, with their overarching theory, they’re making us look bad.’

    No — the humorous image is biologists telling each other, “we have an integrated approach which makes other fields look bad.”

  308. #308 Albatrossity
    October 5, 2006

    Larry’s latest litany of “rebuttals” is priceless! After being told how and why his constitutional argument is bogus, he merely declares that his opponents are “Wrong!” No evidence, just delusions.

    But the best one is this strawman

    If UC started denying credit for regular out-of-state biology courses that do not meet the AP standards, chaos would result.

    Yeah. That’s right, and thankfully they are not doing that, nor does it seem likely that they will. But the relevant argument, which he has never rebutted, is that if UC started allowing credit for biology courses like those of Calvary Chapel’s, stupidity would result.

  309. #309 Larry Fafarman
    October 5, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    But the best one is this strawman

    “If UC started denying credit for regular out-of-state biology courses that do not meet the AP standards, chaos would result.”
    Yeah. That’s right, and thankfully they are not doing that, nor does it seem likely that they will. But the relevant argument, which he has never rebutted, is that if UC started allowing credit for biology courses like those of Calvary Chapel’s, stupidity would result.

    Mary’s latest argument is that UC rightly rejected the BJU textbooks because they don’t meet the AP standards. She wrote,

    So, Calvary Chapel isn’t going to get around UC’s standards, which take advantage of Calfornia’s excellent public school biology standards, by arguing that its biology class isn’t all that much worse than what students from Oklahoma or Alabama take in non-AP biology classes.

    Calvary Chapel also can’t get around UC’s standards by showing that its class would be considered an acceptable college-prep class at the University of Kentucky, or Bob Jones University, or any other institution of higher learning.

    The only way Calvary Chapel can argue that its biology course should have been certified by UC is to prove that it meets _UC’s_ standards. Or the College Board’s, since UC automatically certifies courses that meet AP standards.

    It can’t do that using the BJU textbook, no matter how much you wish it could.

    That’s ridiculous.

    Also, Mary is showing great snobbery about California public high schools. They are not all that great.

  310. #310 Mary
    October 5, 2006

    Larry baldly asserted, “Wrong — the full faith and credit clause has no such restrictions.”

    And your evidence that the full faith and credit clause has been successfully used to challenge the right of a school to refuse credit for out-of-state classes it deems academically inadequate is…?

    Please give me the complete citation from the relevant legal case, so I can look up the opinion and confirm that it actually does say what you are claiming. References to op-ed pieces, speculative law review articles, or Wikipedia entries are not adequate confirmation of this claim.

    If you can’t provide such documentation, you will once again have made yourself appear uninformed and ridiculous, a person whose “arguments” are random fantasies rather than factual.

    Larry wandered into irrelevancy again when he said, “No — the humorous image is biologists telling each other, ‘we have an integrated approach which makes other fields look bad.’”

    This is relevant how? Except as a badly-informed bit of graveside humor from a proponent of a long-lost cause?

    Biologists don’t insist that an adequate biology curriculum is one that has evolution integrated throughout because it makes physics look bad. The integrated approach is necessary because it reflectes the way actual biologists do research. The point of a biology class is to inform the student what biology is all about, after all.

    You were given the opportunity to demonstrate that evolution is not, in fact, central to biological research, but was instead (as you claimed on an untrustworthy lawyer’s word) “given lip service”. You declined to accept the challenge of providing ten articles with the word “evolution” in the title or key words, and which gave lip service to evolution rather than using it as a central explanatory principle. By refusing to accept the challenge, you effectively admitted that Luskin is wrong, and that real biologists really do use evolution as a central organizing principle to guide research.

    So, if you accept the obvious premise that a biology class ought to teach a student something about how the science of biology works, you have also accepted that evolution should be integrated throughout the curriculum.

    The BJU text failed to do this, among other problems, and so it clearly doesn’t meet UC’s standard that primary textbooks reflect “material generally accepted in the relevant academic community”. The text, and the course that would have been taught from it, flunked UC standards, and was correctly rejected.

    Instead of rehashing more long-disproved “arguments” based on false assumptions about UC’s standards and the BJU textbook’s contents, how about doing something new, and actually addressing the central issue in the case?

    How about explaining why it is religious discrimination for UC to judge Calvary Chapel’s coursework in secular subjects by exactly the same standards as it judges coursework from every other public and private school in California?

  311. #311 Mary
    October 5, 2006

    Larry, you really should read carefully before you comment. That would prevent you from offering as evidence for your outlandish claims quotations that take the opposite position. In this case, I said that UC demands that primary textbooks meet EITHER its own standards for non-AP texts (based on California’s public school science standards) OR the AP standards for textbooks.

    Unfortunately for Calvary Chapel, the BJU textbook doesn’t come close to qualifying under either standard.

    As far as the quality of California public schools go, the Fordham Foundation released a “State of State Standards” report earlier this year, which evaluates the public school standards for English, Math, Science, U.S. History, and World History in 49 states. California, Indiana, and Massachusetts were the only states that received an “A” grade for all five standards, and of these three, California ranked highest.

    Public school classes and textbooks are very closely based on the standards, so it is fair to say that the top 15% of California public school students who are eligible for UC general admissions have gotten a very good education.

    It’s Calvary Chapel’s misfortune that it happens to be located in a state with very good public schools. In a state like Wyoming, which earned straight “F”s for its standards, the irregularities Calvary Chapel introduced into its curriculum for religious purposes might not have attracted much notice. In California, however, they were sufficient to make the proposed classes obviously inferior to the classes public school applicants were taking.

    So inferior that UC decided not to count them as adequate at all.

    The admissions committee, after all, is supposed to admit the most qualified, best educated high school students it can. Why should it settle for a kid who took a lousy “biology” class that advocated Young Earth Creationism, or an English class that never read a complete book? There are more than enough other applicants who did take a good, rigorous science class, and read whole books in English class.

  312. #312 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 5, 2006

    Larry’s “full faith and credit” argument is a red herring. Aside from the requirement that a freshman applicant needs a high school diploma (or equivalency) to enroll, there is no reference to state standards, California or out-of-state, in the eligibility requirements. Since the diploma requirement is applied equally across the board, there is no violation of the “full faith and credit” clause, even if it were applicable.

    The only other eligibility requirements exclusively consider performance in UC-approved classes and on ACT and SAT standardized tests. There are three ways to become eligible for freshman admission (excluding international and by exception). The first, Statewide Context, requires a minimum combined standardized test score, with the minimum score determined by an adjusted GPA (the higher the GPA, the lower the minimum test score). This GPA only takes into consideration UC-approved courses – a non-approved course is not part of the calculation. This option requires a minimum number and distribution of UC-approved courses. This is the primary way students apply, and is available to California and out-of-state students (though the minimum GPA is 3.0 and 3.4, respectively). Note that out-of-state high schools can get their courses UC-approved so that their students can apply in this context.

    The second option is Local Context. It is only available to California residents. If, by the end of her junior year, a student has a) taken a specific distribution of 11 UC-approved courses, and b) earns in the top 4% of GPA for UC-approved classes taken during 10th and 11th grade in her high school, she will be guaranteed admission provided she meets the rest of the eligibility criteria for the statewide context. This context requires the school to participate in the program.

    The third method is by Examination Alone. Students must get a certain minimum score on the standardized tests. Grades and courses are not considered in this context. Any student can apply in this context, regardless of her residency or whether her high school offers UC-approved courses. This is the only method by which students (in-state or out-of-state) whose high schools do not offer UC-approved courses can apply. Note, however, that out-of-state students have somewhat more stringent requirements.

    Again, I emphasize that state curriculum standards and non-approved courses are not considered at all, neither positively nor negatively.

    As an experiment, I checked to see whether I would have been eligible under the current standards. Under Examination Alone, I am relatively certain that I would have been eligible as a non-resident – it depends on exactly how the scores translate to the new SAT Subject Test scoring.

  313. #313 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 5, 2006

    Compare these two statements, the first from the introduction to the BJU Biology book and the second from the UC “a-g” requirements guide. (Sorry, Larry, it’s a pdf)

    The people who have 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.

    Certification Criteria. To be considered for certification in the “d” subject area, a course must:

    * specify, at a minimum, elementary algebra as a prerequisite or co-requisite;

    * take an approach consistent with the scientific method in relation to observing, forming hypotheses, testing hypotheses through experimentation and/or further observation, and forming objective conclusions; and

    * include hands-on scientific activities that are directly related to and support the other classwork, and that involve inquiry, observation, analysis, and write-up. These hands-on activities should account for at least 20% of class time, and should be itemized and described in the course description.

    The introduction to the BJU text is clearly in direct and flagrant violation of the second (bolding mine) criterion from UC. That means it doesn’t even merit consideration for certification. It fails even before the subject specific content is considered. The fact that it does not accurately present the subject matter is merely extra ammunition for rejecting the text.

    By the way, I forgot to provide the reference to the admission standards in my previous post. See pages 7-9 (Sorry, Larry, this too is a pdf).

  314. #314 Larry Fafarman
    October 5, 2006

    W. Kevin Vicklund said,

    Larry’s “full faith and credit” argument is a red herring. Aside from the requirement that a freshman applicant needs a high school diploma (or equivalency) to enroll, there is no reference to state standards, California or out-of-state, in the eligibility requirements.

    That is exactly my point. Mary, by expecting the Calvary Chapel biology course to meet the AP standard, is trying to impose a condition not imposed on out-of-state public-school biology courses.

    Mary said –

    If you can’t provide such documentation, you will once again have made yourself appear uninformed and ridiculous, a person whose “arguments” are random fantasies rather than factual.

    You are the one who is ridiculous. Law students argue about hypothetical cases all the time. It is called “moot court.”

    You declined to accept the challenge of providing ten articles with the word “evolution” in the title or key words, and which gave lip service to evolution rather than using it as a central explanatory principle.

    That is ridiculous, too. No one ever asked you to discuss ten articles to support your position.

    So, if you accept the obvious premise that a biology class ought to teach a student something about how the science of biology works, you have also accepted that evolution should be integrated throughout the curriculum.

    I will never accept that, because it simply isn’t true.

    As far as the quality of California public schools go, the Fordham Foundation released a “State of State Standards” report earlier this year, which evaluates the public school standards for English, Math, Science, U.S. History, and World History in 49 states.

    The Fordham Foundation report is not worth the paper it is printed on. It is arbitrary and highly subjective. It has no correlation to student performance.

  315. #315 Albatrossity
    October 5, 2006

    Well, after sitting through a morning of presentations on systematics of birds, including an excellent one showing how molecular phylogenetic data elegantly support and extend an older phylogeny of the Aimophila sparrows, I have to report (alas) that no one has yet mentioned intelligent design or bibleism as a possible explanation of their data. It sure gets boring waiting for that to happen.

    But not as boring as this thread. On another blog you can find a perfect description of what is happening here. The commenter describes it as a strategy of “wearing out” the opposition. It’d be funnier if it wasn’t so true…

  316. #316 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 5, 2006

    Larry lies:

    That is exactly my point. Mary, by expecting the Calvary Chapel biology course to meet the AP standard, is trying to impose a condition not imposed on out-of-state public-school biology courses.

    Mary quite clearly states, several times in fact, that Calvary Chapel must either meet the basic UC standards OR the basic AP standards (NB: or IB honors course) to be certified by UC. This is a condition that is imposed on any school, public or private, in-state or out-of-state, regardless of any other standard to which that school is subject. It happens that the UC standards are at least as stringent as California standards. If an out-of-state school’s biology class does not meet that standard – even if it meets its own state standards – it does not get certified. Just like Calvary Chapel. Just like any public California school that doesn’t meet the standard.

    I repeat:
    The only standards that matter for UC-approval are the UC standards. Either a class is UC-approved or it doesn’t count towards (or against) eligibility. It’s as simple as that.

  317. #317 Larry Fafarman
    October 5, 2006

    Kevin Vicklund said –

    If an out-of-state school’s biology class does not meet that standard – even if it meets its own state standards – it does not get certified.

    But you just told me that UC accepts the standards of other states — you said, “Aside from the requirement that a freshman applicant needs a high school diploma (or equivalency) to enroll, there is no reference to state standards, California or out-of-state, in the eligibility requirements.” Sheeeesh.

  318. #318 Mary
    October 5, 2006

    Larry’s reading comprehension problems surfaced again when he said, “But you just told me that UC accepts the standards of other states — you said, “Aside from the requirement that a freshman applicant needs a high school diploma (or equivalency) to enroll, there is no reference to state standards, California or out-of-state, in the eligibility requirements.”

    Larry, Kevin’s overview of the UC admissions process is correct. So is my statement about why California’s high public school standards matter in this case.

    UC considers only coursework that meets its own standards, or the AP standards, or the standards of IB Honors courses. Kevin is right that a course can’t automatically win UC approval by meeting any other standards: not California public school standards, and not the standards of other states.

    The key to the apparent contradiction is UC’s obligation to select the majority of its student body from among California’s public school graduates. So, for practical reasons, UC can’t set standards that the better California public school classes can’t meet.

    On the other hand, UC doesn’t have to accept any classes or textbooks that are _inferior_ to those offered in a good California public school. The BJU textbook that Calvary Chapel wanted to use to teach biology has significant problems, as Albatrossity pointed out. It isn’t as accurate or comprehensive as the textbooks commonly used in California public schools, and so UC quite properly rejected it, and the associated course, as being below acceptable standards.

    Calvary Chapel has the choice of changing its rejected classes to meet UC’s standards, or offering them as uncertified electives that don’t count towards UC admissions. It doesn’t have the option of changing UC’s standards to fit its classes.

    And by the way, Larry, did you notice that Kevin actually read up on UC’s admissions policies before expressing an opinion on them?

  319. #319 Larry Fafarman
    October 5, 2006

    Mary said –

    Larry’s reading comprehension problems surfaced again when he said, “But you just told me that UC accepts the standards of other states — you said, “Aside from the requirement that a freshman applicant needs a high school diploma (or equivalency) to enroll, there is no reference to state standards, California or out-of-state, in the eligibility requirements.”

    Larry, Kevin’s overview of the UC admissions process is correct. So is my statement about why California’s high public school standards matter in this case.

    UC considers only coursework that meets its own standards, or the AP standards, or the standards of IB Honors courses.

    Now you are really talking through your hat! First you say that Kevin was correct when he said that “there is no reference to state standards, California or out-of-state, in the eligibility requirements,” and next you say that state standards that do not meet the Calif. standards, the AP, standards, or the “IB Honors” (whatever that is) standards are not accepted by UC! SHEEEEESH! Your ridiculous statements sure make winning arguments easy. I don’t even have to work at it!

  320. #320 Mary
    October 5, 2006

    Larry,

    I suggest you go back and read the paragraphs under the two you quoted, which resolve the apparent contradiction.

    By selecting the first two paragraphs I wrote, but ignoring what was written under them, you didn’t win any argument. You just looked like someone who’s too lazy or too illiterate to read and understand a few paragraphs of straightforward English.

    Your earlier selective quotation from Charles Haynes’s op-ed piece, where you ignored the paragraph where he correctly described UC’s position that it rejected the courses for academic reasons, is another example of the same thing. That didn’t win you the argument, either.

    Selective quotation might be appropriate in some Bible study classes, but it doesn’t work in this kind of discussion, where the overall meaning and context of the argument is what matters.

    So go back, and this time try to respond to the complete argument I made, not just the first half of it.

    Better yet, bite the bullet and explain why you think it’s unconstitutional religious discrimination for UC to judge the academic rigor of Calvary Chapel’s biology class by exactly the same standards it uses to judge the academic rigor of every other biology class in every other high school, public or private, that participates in its course certification program.

  321. #321 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 6, 2006

    Now you are really talking through your hat! First you say that Kevin was correct when he said that “there is no reference to state standards, California or out-of-state, in the eligibility requirements,” and next you say that state standards that do not meet the Calif. standards, the AP, standards, or the “IB Honors” (whatever that is) standards are not accepted by UC! SHEEEEESH! Your ridiculous statements sure make winning arguments easy. I don’t even have to work at it!

    Read, moron. Other state standards aren’t considered AT ALL when it comes to courses. Each individual course, from each individual high school, is evaluated WITHOUT REGARD to any standard other than UC’s standards. State standards simply do not enter the picture. UC simply doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether a certain class meets its own state’s standards. In fact, it could hypothetically approve an out-of-state course that didn’t meet it’s own state’s standards, as long as it met UC standards. The only restriction on the UC standards is that 1/8th of the total student body has to be admitted each year, so it can’t be too much stricter than the California state standards.

    The simple fact is, earning a high school diploma is not sufficient to get in to UC. You must be able to meet additional criteria, and UC gets to set the standards for that additional criteria without regard to any other standard.

    Here’s a narrative of the checklist (App refers to applicant):

    1. Did App earn (or is expected to earn) diploma or equivalent, according to local standards?

    2. Did App complete 15 courses in approved “a-g” course distribution?

    3. Did App earn minimum adjusted GPA, calculated only from grades in all approved “a-g” courses taken during 10th-11th grade (courses in 9th grade and non-approved courses do not count towards or against this GPA)?

    4. Did App earn minimum standardized test scores (minimum adjusted according to GPA determined in step 3)?

    Alternatively, a student can skip steps 2 and 3, and raise the minimum in step 4 accordingly.

    Also, notice that the minimum requirements for out-of-state students are stricter than they are for in-state students (minimum adjusted GPA 3.4 and 3.0, respectively). So even if I’m wrong about out-of-state courses needing to be approved (which I admit is a possibility – I do know that out-of-state schools seek UC approval), the stricter requirements tend to off-set the uncertainty of whether an out-of-state course would meet UC standards. Also note that there is absolutely no guarantee that an out-of-state biology course would meet its own state’s standards – many, if not most, states do not review individual courses to determine whether they meet the state standards, leaving that determination to the high school or district.

  322. #322 Larry Fafarman
    October 6, 2006

    Mary said –
    By selecting the first two paragraphs I wrote, but ignoring what was written under them, you didn’t win any argument.

    The first two paragraphs were not explained by what you wrote under them: “The key to the apparent contradiction is UC’s obligation to select the majority of its student body from among California’s public school graduates. So, for practical reasons, UC can’t set standards that the better California public school classes can’t meet.”

    Better yet, bite the bullet and explain why you think it’s unconstitutional religious discrimination for UC to judge the academic rigor of Calvary Chapel’s biology class ………

    After you dig yourself out of the hole that you’ve dug for yourself here.

    Kevin Vicklund said –
    Other state standards aren’t considered AT ALL when it comes to courses. Each individual course, from each individual high school, is evaluated WITHOUT REGARD to any standard other than UC’s standards.

    UC simply cannot afford to evaluate the individual courses of the individual high school of every out-of-state applicant. UC could hardly afford to evaluate the state standards of other states.

  323. #323 Flex
    October 6, 2006

    Larry wrote, “UC simply cannot afford to evaluate the individual courses of the individual high school of every out-of-state applicant. UC could hardly afford to evaluate the state standards of other states.”

    Red herring again.

    Why does it matter if UC doesn’t review every course? (And I’m not saying they don’t.) Calvary Chapel asked UC to review their courses for approval, UC did review those courses, and found those courses insufficient to prepare students to study at a college level.

    That doesn’t stop UC from admitting students from Calvary Chapel. It may mean that some students don’t meet the fifteen “a-g” approved courses required for admission. But, as Mary has been saying all along, that fifteen “a-g” approved course requirement applies to everyone, not just Calvary Chapel students.

    As Mary has been asking, why should students from Calvary Chapel have an easier time getting admitted to UC than other applicants?

    You haven’t answered that question yet Larry. Do you think the question itself should be unasked? If you think the question is a poor one, please explain why.

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  324. #324 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 6, 2006

    UC simply cannot afford to evaluate the individual courses of the individual high school of every out-of-state applicant. UC could hardly afford to evaluate the state standards of other states.

    Agreed. Which is why there is a pre-approval process – if your high school doesn’t participate in that process, you don’t get to participate in the Statewide Context, but still have the option to rely on just your test scores.

    UC is required, by law, to evaluate its California applicants by the same set of standards, regardless of the type of school attended. Just like any other public university, it is not required to evaluate out-of-state applicants by the same standards as the in-state applicants. Since Calvary Chapel is located in California, it is evaluated according to the in-state requirements. It simply does not matter whether it might qualify uder another state’s standards – by law, it must qualify under UC standards. If the UC biology course does not meet the standards expected of in-state biology courses, it doen’t qualify. There is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about that; conversely, if Calvary Chapel were given a special exemption because of its status as a religious school, that would be both illegal and unconstitutional.

    Luckily for Calvary Chapel students, 43 out of 51 courses have been approved (amazingly enough, that’s spot on the normal acceptance ratio), with sufficient courses in each of the “a-g” categories for students to qualify for the Statewide Context. Yes, that includes the lab science category. Remember, Calvary Chapel only needs 15 courses, in the right distribution, in order to have a UC prep curriculum.

    Admit it. You don’t have a clue as to how the UC admissions process works, nor have you attempted to find out for yourself. It quite evident in your blunderous attempts to denigrate and disparage the process.

  325. #325 Mary
    October 6, 2006

    Kevin,

    Larry knows full well that he won’t find evidence that supports Calvary Chapel’s case on the UC admissions page, because I’ve already explained the admissions and course-approval process to him in detail, several times. That’s why he so assiduously finds excuses to avoid actually reading up on it. He seems to work on the peculiar assumption that if he never looks at contradictory evidence, it doesn’t exist.

    He also seems to believe that if he repeats a disproved statement a second time, it will somehow become supported by evidence and become acceptable. I guess that works in some situations, but not where the people whom he’s trying to con are the ones who disproved the false statement the first time.

    I guess we have a few more traits to add to the type specimin of IDiotry.

    Larry, since it looks like a simple syllogism in paragraph form is beyond your reading comprehension, here’s a more diagramatic version:

    1. Thesis: UC sets its own standards, and relies exclusively on those standards when examining all coursework. (Those standards do include accepting courses approved as AP or IB Honors courses.)

    2. Antithesis: UC must nevertheless, by law, select the majority of its student body from the California public schools, which use the California state standards as the basis for their coursework.

    3. Synthesis: Therefore, UC can’t set its standards so high that students in good California public schools can’t routinely qualify, but it is free to reject all courses that are inferior to those offered in a good California public school.

    In this case, Calvary Chapel offered a course based on the inferior BJU textbook. UC rightly concluded that a course taught using that text wouldn’t be up to the quality it finds in good public schools, so it rejected the course.

    IF California had bad standards instead of good standards (which it doesn’t), then Calvary Chapel might have been able to slip its creationism course in under the radar. However, as it was, there wasn’t a chance that UC would accept the class for biology credit.

    Is that clearer, now?

  326. #326 Josh
    October 6, 2006

    Let’s avoid calling people “morons.” Even if they are.

    Larry, did you try searching for “IB Honors” before just waving it off as if it were irrelevant? It’s a small point, but goes to the larger issue that you tend to talk about things you haven’t actually researched.

    Consider: your response to Mary’s statement that “So, if you accept the obvious premise that a biology class ought to teach a student something about how the science of biology works, you have also accepted that evolution should be integrated throughout the curriculum” was “I will never accept that, because it simply isn’t true.” Why not? Why shouldn’t a biology class teach a student about how biology works? You just say it isn’t true, but offer no evidence, and fly in the face of the thousands of scientists who’ve actually investigated the matter. Even after several of us have explained it to you.

  327. #327 Larry Fafarman
    October 6, 2006

    Flex said –

    As Mary has been asking, why should students from Calvary Chapel have an easier time getting admitted to UC than other applicants?

    No one has claimed that the Calvary Chapel courses are “easier.”

    Kevin Vicklund said –
    Since Calvary Chapel is located in California, it is evaluated according to the in-state requirements.

    I presume that any private school anywhere is evaluated according to the in-state requirements. I presume that under the principle of reciprocity, out-of-state public schools are evaluated according to their own states’ standards. That is a perfectly reasonable assumption to make, and I think that anyone who claims otherwise has the burden of proof.

    Mary said –
    That’s why he so assiduously finds excuses to avoid actually reading up on it.

    Because I know that a lot of the information is not published on the Internet and would be hard to find if it is. Anyone who wants to make a point that is contrary to common sense has the burden of backing up that point with a reference. It is not common sense to claim that UC evaluates the curriculum of every public high school or every state in America.

    I don’t believe in going on wild goose chases.

    Josh said –
    Consider: your response to Mary’s statement that “So, if you accept the obvious premise that a biology class ought to teach a student something about how the science of biology works, you have also accepted that evolution should be integrated throughout the curriculum” was “I will never accept that, because it simply isn’t true.”

    I never said that students should not be taught about evolution. What I am saying is that it is not necessary to discuss evolution in every chapter of a biology text — that much should be obvious.

  328. #328 Josh
    October 6, 2006

    “What I am saying is that it is not necessary to discuss evolution in every chapter of a biology text — that much should be obvious.”

    No. It is not obvious that you meant that, nor that you are correct. You rejected the statement that “if you accept the obvious premise that a biology class ought to teach a student something about how the science of biology works, you have also accepted that evolution should be integrated throughout the curriculum.” To reject the antecedent, you must refute the claim that a biology class ought to teach biology as biologists practice it. Which you haven’t done. Still.

    “I presume that any private school anywhere is evaluated according to the in-state requirements. I presume that under the principle of reciprocity, out-of-state public schools are evaluated according to their own states’ standards.”

    Why? Why should an out-of-state private school be treated under in-state standards? Should Harvard treat applicants according to their local standards, or according to Harvard’s standards? Why should UC be required to hobble itself relative to other schools?

  329. #329 Mary
    October 6, 2006

    Larry fell victim to the old adage that “to assume makes an ass out of u and me” when he fantasized, “I presume that any private school anywhere is evaluated according to the in-state requirements. I presume that under the principle of reciprocity, out-of-state public schools are evaluated according to their own states’ standards.

    Wrong, on both counts.

    Accredited private schools are evaluated by at least one of several private national or regional accrediting organizations. Some of these organizations hold schools to high standards, and some have standards so low that they are commonly used to rubber-stamp worthless diploma mills. UC only accepts high school diplomas from private high schools that are accredited by the first type of organization. The others aren’t eligible to participate in UC course certification, and their students aren’t eligible for general admissions.

    So, private schools are not evaluated according to public school standards, from their state of residence or from any other state.

    As far as out-of-state public high schools go, they are accredited by their state of residence, according to that state’s standards. They can also ask UC, or the College Board, to accredit certain classes as college-prep material. This second accreditation is completely independent of any state standards, but it’s worth the trouble for the schools because most colleges and universities give special attention to courses which have UC or AP approval, and so students who take them have an advantage in admissions.

    If you had done even a little research on the UC admissions page, you would have known this. Instead, you “assumed” a whole bunch of things that simply aren’t true. When you make poor assumptions routinely, on issues that are very easy to research, you destroy your own credibility. After all, why should anybody listen to a person who never bothers to determine the facts before venturing an opinion?

    How about dropping this fantasy that somehow if Calvary Chapel’s biology class isn’t too much worse than biology classes offered in some other state, UC can be forced to accept it as college-prep material?

    Instead, you could explain why you think high school biology classes shouldn’t reflect biology as actual biologists study it.

    Alternatively, you could finally give us your analysis of why the First Amendment prevents UC from holding Calvary Chapel’s coursework to exactly the same standards as it holds coursework from every other public or private school that seeks its stamp of approval.

  330. #330 Larry Fafarman
    October 6, 2006

    Josh said,

    To reject the antecedent, you must refute the claim that a biology class ought to teach biology as biologists practice it.

    I would hope that biologists do not use evolution theory in everything they do.

    Why should an out-of-state private school be treated under in-state standards? Should Harvard treat applicants according to their local standards, or according to Harvard’s standards?

    You are quoting me out of context — I was talking about UC evaluating out-of-state private schools according to the California in-state standards. In any case, I think it would be unreasonable of UC to expect regular courses in private schools and out-of-state public schools to meet the AP standards.

    Mary said,
    So, private schools are not evaluated according to public school standards, from their state of residence or from any other state.

    That’s ridiculous. You’ve told me all along that UC is evaluating Calvary Chapel according to the California standards.

    As far as out-of-state public high schools go, they are accredited by their state of residence, according to that state’s standards. They can also ask UC, or the College Board, to accredit certain classes as college-prep material.

    If UC starts evaluating the standards of other states, then UC could end up discriminating between different states, and that is a very bad idea. Some people have actually proposed that Kansas high school grads be denied admission to out-of-state public universities because the Kansas education standards include the weaknesses of evolution as well as evolution.

    why should anybody listen to a person who never bothers to determine the facts before venturing an opinion?< ./i>

    As I said, a lot of the info is not posted on the Internet or is hard to find. I have provided more quotes and more URL links than all others in this thread combined.

  331. #331 Flex
    October 6, 2006

    I wrote, “As Mary has been asking, why should students from Calvary Chapel have an easier time getting admitted to UC than other applicants?”

    And Larry replied, “No one has claimed that the Calvary Chapel courses are “easier.”

    And neither did I. As is clear above, I was talking about addmission requirements into UC not Calvary Chapel courses being easier.

    I’ll try again.

    Point 1 – It is now clear that the textbook used in the biology course does not teach biology at a level that would prepare a student for college courses in biology.

    Point 2 – UC has not approved this course for ‘a-g’ approval because of the textbook.

    Point 3 – You still maintain that UC should accept the Calvary Chapel biology course as acceptable to meet the required 15 approved courses for admission into UC.

    Thus, you are effectively asking UC to change it’s admission requirements to 14 ‘a-g’ UC approved courses from Calvary Chapel. All other students from other schools would still require 15 ‘a-g’ UC approved courses.

    I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that requiring only 14 courses from Calvary Chapel and 15 courses from other schools makes the requirement for Calvary Chapel students somewhat relaxed.

    Face it Larry, there is no remaining support for any of your fancies.

    The textbooks do not teach biology to the level required for college prep, even if you ignore the religion embedded in them.

    The UC ‘a-g’ course approval guidelines are consistant across all schools.

    The UC admission requirements do not discuss, or discriminate against, religion. They do apply to all students applying for admission into UC.

    And the lawsuit, as best as I can determine, relies on a single word in the course rejection letter that could have been left out without affecting the outcome of the rejection.

    You want to claim that the federal constitution applies to addmission criteria, but have been unable to provide any legal referance (court cases) to support that rather strange viewpoint.

    You haven’t been able to explain why biologists shouldn’t have a say in how biology is taught.

    You haven’t been able to explain why biology students shouldn’t be taught biology in a way that reflects how biologists actually study biology.

    I’m sure I’ve missed some of the arguments from this long discussion, and I’ve got to go home and wire in some electrical plugs.

    But…

    I see a mountain of available evidence supporting UC’s side, and a lot of hot air on Calvary Chapel’s side.

    For someone who claims to rely on evidence, being from Missouri and all, you seem singularly blind to the mountain of evidence supporting UC, and attach an amazing amount of weight to that hot air.

    You say we don’t see your evidence. Well, I’m afraid I’ll I’ve seen from you is rhetoric. Show us the evidence for your claims!

    Cheers,

    -Flex

  332. #332 Josh
    October 6, 2006

    “I would hope that biologists do not use evolution theory in everything they do.”

    Why? It works, and as has been said “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution.”

  333. #333 Mary
    October 6, 2006

    Larry somehow failed to come up with any evidence whatsoever to support his argument when he said, “I would hope that biologists do not use evolution theory in everything they do.”

    Larry, your “hopes” are not evidence of anything, except perhaps that you don’t understand much about biology.

    Every biologist who has entered into this discussion has confirmed that we do, in fact, use evolution constantly in our research. You declined to even try to find biology papers that “paid lip service” only to evolution, despite your claim that such papers are common. That’s strong evidence that dispite your claims and wishes to the contrary, you know full well that biologists in many sub-disciplines really do use evolution as a central organizing principle.

    So, why do you have such a hard time getting your mind around the concept that a top public university would require college-prep biology classes to teach biology as it’s understood by biologists?

    Larry continued to equivocate when he continued, ” I think it would be unreasonable of UC to expect regular courses in private schools and out-of-state public schools to meet the AP standards.”

    To be certified by UC, classes must meet AP standards OR IB Honors standards OR UC standards. All three standards require an accelerated, thorough, in-depth coverage of the subject. The whole idea is to distinguish students who performed well in classes of college- or near-college level difficulty from those who did well because they were never asked to do anything challenging. The standard is deliberately set high enough that courses of average difficulty don’t pass.

    The AP standards are a little tougher than the minimum that UC will accept for certified courses, but the UC standards are plenty tough enough to eliminate something like Calvary Chapel’s Young Earth Creationism course.

    Larry then brought up a serious issue, to wit, “Some people have actually proposed that Kansas high school grads be denied admission to out-of-state public universities because the Kansas education standards include the weaknesses of evolution as well as evolution.”

    Choices have consequences.

    A state or a school that deliberately sabotages its teaching of science is going to have trouble getting its mis-educated students into good colleges and universities. A state that doesn’t teach good science is also going to have a very hard time attracting high-tech businesses, since they depend on a steady local supply of well-educated workers.

    It is completely legal for a college or university to discriminate between applicants based on the quality of coursework taken, as well as the grades earned. If a state or a school orders its teachers to teach bad science, or bad English, or bad history, it’s theoretically possible for that state or school to take its entire student body out of the running for the nation’s top universities, as long as better-educated students are available from other states or schools.

    Oh, and Larry, stop whining about how difficult it is to find things on the Internet. The critical documents at the UC admissions site are just as available to you as they are to the rest of us. They load just find on my slow, dial-up connection, so they’ll load on yours. You haven’t failed to read them because you couldn’t get access to them, you failed to read them because you knew you wouldn’t like what they say.

  334. #334 Larry Fafarman
    October 7, 2006

    Flex said,
    You want to claim that the federal constitution applies to addmission criteria, but have been unable to provide any legal referance (court cases) to support that rather strange viewpoint.

    As I said, this is moot court — no precedents are necessary. Anyway, even if reciprocity between states in regard to education standards is not a matter of the Constitution, it is a matter of practicality.

    You say we don’t see your evidence. Well, I’m afraid I’ll I’ve seen from you is rhetoric. Show us the evidence for your claims!

    I have shown lots of evidence — you folks have not.

    Mary said,
    Every biologist who has entered into this discussion has confirmed that we do, in fact, use evolution constantly in our research.

    That’s ridiculous. When I went to high school in California in the early 1960′s, we didn’t study evolution at all — it was just sort of something that we took for granted. Since then, a knowledge of evolution has become more important in biology, as for the purpose of understanding cladistic taxonomy. But evolution is certainly not important in every area of biology.

  335. #335 Albatrossity
    October 7, 2006

    Larry opined, citing his 4-decade old biology education:

    But evolution is certainly not important in every area of biology.

    Sorry, Larry, proof consists of more that just what you’d like to believe. Evolution is that important. Period. Just about very practicing biologist you’d meet (if you’d try to meet some) would tell you that. Every practicing biologist on this thread (including me) has told you that. You can’t cite valid evidence to the contrary, and you refuse to do the homework (looking at abstracts and papers) to prove your opinion. That is a mountain of evidence staring you in the face, but you have your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears.

    It’s true, evolution is that important. Face it. Accepting reality is the first step back toward sanity.

  336. #336 Larry Fafarman
    October 7, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    It’s true, evolution is that important. Face it. Accepting reality is the first step back toward sanity.

    You folks are the ones who are lacking in sanity.

    Every practicing biologist on this thread (including me) has told you that. You can’t cite valid evidence to the contrary, and you refuse to do the homework (looking at abstracts and papers) to prove your opinion.

    As I said, I have not asked you folks to discuss ten different scientific papers on this thread. And it would prove nothing. Do you actually think that it would be that hard to find ten papers in biology that don’t use evolution?

    So far, Skell’s interview of 70 scientists seems to be about the best source.

  337. #337 Mary
    October 7, 2006

    Larry, “moot court” is exactly that–moot. It isn’t a legal precident, it doesn’t count, it is no evidence that a concept has any validity in the real world. Speculative law review articles are equally useless in determining the state of the law. It isn’t a legal precident until a judge uses the argument in issueing an opinion.

    Although I notice you haven’t provided even such weak evidence as a moot court debate or law review article in support of your novel Constitutional theory that UC is obligated to accept coursework that passes some other state’s standards.

    Let me guess: you made this whole “full faith and credit” thing up yourself? Or are quoting without attribution some other IDiot who’s also grasping at straws to find some way around the clear fact that UC won’t accept courses that teach Young Earth Creationism as biology?

  338. #338 Julia
    October 7, 2006

    Larry,

    I am a graduate student in biology and I can tell you that you will find it very difficult to find 10 papers that do not deal with evolution. While many may not have the exact word “evolution”,they will compare a gene that is known in which ever model organism (i.e. mouse, rat, etc) they are working on to the comparable gene in either humans or other model organisms or both. This is based on evolution, that we all have a common ancestor and this is why the genes are similar and how we are able to apply what is discovered in research to human diseases. So all of biology relates to evolution, even if it is not directly stated.

    And since you say that you learned biology in the 1960s, that shows that you don’t know what is known now about evolution and biology. The amount of information that has been discovered in the last 40 years is astronomical. We now know how traits passed from one generation to the next and how those traits manifest themselves in different people. We know that we can compare genes in animals such as mice to genes in humans and that they have similar functions. You can’t use your 1960s education as a basis for how evolution isn’t important. So much has changed. I think that you would be surprised at the extent of scientific knowledge has now compared to then.

    But if these other posters have not managed to open your eyes, then I’m not sure there is anything that I or anyone else can say to change your mind. I challenge you to find 10 scientic BIOLOGY papers that do not deal with evolution in any way shape or form. You can use this website to help you out: http://www.pubmed.com It will allow you to search for scientific articles from all scientific journals.

  339. #339 Julia
    October 7, 2006

    Larry,

    Just thought I would share this with you. This is the first two articles of a “biology” search at http://www.pubmed.com

    Protein Glycosylation, Conserved from Yeast to Man: A Model Organism Helps Elucidate Congenital Human Diseases.

    The utility of zebrafish for studies of the comparative biology of motor systems.

    Both use the theory of evolution to show that they can use model organisms (yeast or zebrafish) to study different aspects of human diseases and functions.

    Good luck with your search for 10 that do not use evolution.

    (by the way, the total number of hits with the “biology” search is 284,755)

  340. #340 Larry Fafarman
    October 7, 2006

    Mary said –

    Larry, “moot court” is exactly that–moot. It isn’t a legal precident, it doesn’t count, it is no evidence that a concept has any validity in the real world.

    Your ignorance of the law is astounding. Courts often have to deal with issues for the first time, with little or no precedent to guide them.

    Although I notice you haven’t provided even such weak evidence as a moot court debate or law review article in support of your novel Constitutional theory that UC is obligated to accept coursework that passes some other state’s standards.

    You keep changing the subject. Common sense says that under the principle of reciprocity, UC probably accepts public-school coursework that meets the state standards of other states. And I said that it may be more of a practical question than a constitutional question. The Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause just happens to be relevant to the subject of reciprocity.

    Julia said –
    I am a graduate student in biology and I can tell you that you will find it very difficult to find 10 papers that do not deal with evolution. While many may not have the exact word “evolution”,they will compare a gene that is known in which ever model organism (i.e. mouse, rat, etc) they are working on to the comparable gene in either humans or other model organisms or both.

    That’s genetics, not evolution.

    You can’t use your 1960s education as a basis for how evolution isn’t important.

    I agreed that there are some things in biology — like cladistic taxonomy — where a knowledge of evolution theory is important. I never said that evolution theory should not be taught at all in school.

    I challenge you to find 10 scientic BIOLOGY papers that do not deal with evolution in any way shape or form.

    I never asked anyone to present 10 examples of biology papers that make substantial use of evolution theory. And the one example you presented uses genetics, not evolution theory.

    What I am saying is that evolution theory does not have to be in every chapter of a biology text.

  341. #341 Julia
    October 7, 2006

    Larry,

    Genetics and evolution are NOT two mutually exclusive parts of biology. Evolutionary theory is used in genetics to relate genes from different organisms. We are able to relate genes between organisms because they evolved from a common ancestor. Although the two genes from each organism may have different functions because they were exposed to different situations as the organisms evolved.

    Evolutionary theory is the underlying reason why we are able to do the research that we do.

    Larry said–
    Do you actually think that it would be that hard to find ten papers in biology that don’t use evolution?

    If you were not asking for 10 papers that make substantial use of evolution theory, then what were you asking for??

    And I think this has gotten a little off-topic. UC will not accept a class that uses a textbook that states as you pointed out at the beginning:

    “If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.”

    This quote alone is enough to disregard the class in question if it uses this textbook. It is in total opposition to the scientic method. The scientific method is first observations of what is occurring. Second making a hypothesis based on those observations. Third, experiments to prove the hypothesis wrong. Two outcomes are possible:
    1) The hypothesis is proven wrong. Then the hypothesis is revised and tested again.

    2) With as much as is known, the hypothesis cannot be proven wrong.

    These are both based on the observations of the experiements and is how we know all that we know about biology and science. If you ignore the scientic facts based solely on a religious text that totally undermines the scientific method. And without the scientific method the class does not give a proper education of science. Scientists DO NOT disregard a fact because it contradicts their hypothesis or their beliefs. That would be bad science and that is what that book teaches if it says as you quoted before.

    Sorry if this has been explained before, but I do not have the time to go back and read all the posts.

  342. #342 Mary
    October 7, 2006

    Larry went to the fist market for a bunch of red herrings rather than admit that he has absolutely no evidence to present in support of his fantasies, when he said, “Your ignorance of the law is astounding. Courts often have to deal with issues for the first time, with little or no precedent to guide them.”

    Larry, a “moot court” is an excercise in theater. It’s law students pretending to present a case or issue to a teacher acting as a “judge”. It has no legal force, unlike a real court reviewing an issue for the first time when it decides a real case.

    Do you see the difference?

    Citing a moot court argument or opinion, or a speculative argument or opinion offered in a law journal, is not evidence of how a law or Constitutional principle is actually applied by judges to actual cases.

    But this whole line of argument is moot, because you have offered no evidence of any kind in support of your position that the full faith and credit provision of the Constitution requires UC to accept the less-than-stringent standards of other states in judging coursework.

    Since several requests for such evidence have gone unanswered, I have to assume that you are once more blowing hot air, making up fantasies in which Calvary Chapel has a strong case rather than a weak one.

    In the real world, the only outside standards UC has to consider at all in setting its own are the California state standards, and it only has to consider those to the extent that most of its student body must come from the California public schools. As long as that is possible, UC can set its standards as high as it likes, whether or not any students from other states can find enough UC-certified courses at their schools to qualify for general admissions.

    I notice that you aren’t any more eager to take up Julia’s challenge, to find ten articles from biological journals that don’t use evolutionary principles, than you were to take on mine. Since the PubMed database works just fine on a slow dial-up connection, it’s not that you lack the means to do so.

    I have to conclude therefore that your refusal to try is an admission that you know full well you will not be able to find ten biology papers that don’t use evolution in some fashion. You know that evolution is, in fact, central to biological research as it is done by real biologists, however much you wish that it wasn’t so.

    Why, then, should UC certify as college-prep material a biology class and textbook that denies this central truth about biology?

  343. #343 Josh
    October 7, 2006

    “Do you actually think that it would be that hard to find ten papers in biology that don’t use evolution?”

    I don’t know. You might try it.

    “So far, Skell’s interview of 70 scientists seems to be about the best source.”

    And where can I find that interview?

  344. #344 Larry Fafarman
    October 7, 2006

    Mary said –

    But this whole line of argument is moot, because you have offered no evidence of any kind in support of your position that the full faith and credit provision of the Constitution requires UC to accept the less-than-stringent standards of other states in judging coursework.

    Sheeesh, I’ve already said that it may be more a matter of practicality than constitutionality.

    As long as that is possible, UC can set its standards as high as it likes, whether or not any students from other states can find enough UC-certified courses at their schools to qualify for general admissions.

    You have not shown that California does not give “full faith and credit” to the education standards of other states.

    Josh said,
    “So far, Skell’s interview of 70 scientists seems to be about the best source.”
    And where can I find that interview?

    It is discussed on –

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/1675#more-1675

  345. #345 Albatrossity
    October 7, 2006

    The discussion of Skell’s “interview” on Uncommonly Dense only proves that Skell and the Dumbski acolytes who favor that site know as little about biology as you do, Larry. The names of the scientists whom Skell (a chemist) questioned are not given. As pointed out before, the IDiot’s penchant for passing off engineers, physicians, and even lawyers as “scientists” makes it incumbent on you, Larry, to provide those names. I won’t hold my breath.

    And if you manage to do that, then you still have a few other problems to deal with, like “how many bonafide biological scientists in a bona-fide representative sample (not just friends of Skell) would buy the notion that evolution is not an integral part of modern biological research”, etc. But all of these have been pointed out before in this thread, and all of them have been ignored by you, so there is little hope that you will actually follow through and do some real work this time either.

    Finally, please note that Skell’s whiny comment on Uncommonsly Dense

    It is noteworthy that not one of these critics has detailed an example where Darwin�s Grand Paradigm Theory guided researchers to their goals.

    is also wrong. On this very thread I presented an example (the development of taxol, a potent chemotherapeutic drug), which negates his argument. It is one of many in the literature, but you have no interest in visiting that literature, and so you won’t ever know just how wrong you are. But the next time you meet Skell in church or wherever, please pass along that example and see what he thinks about it.

  346. #346 Mary
    October 7, 2006

    Larry showed that he’s clueless about academic priorities when he said that, according to his fanciful “common sense”, “I’ve already said that it may be more a matter of practicality than constitutionality” for UC to set lower standards for out-of-state students than for in-state students.

    First of all, UC’s state-mandated priority is the education of California students. There is no mandate to accept any out-of-state students at all.

    Second, because of that priority, UC actually demands higher standards for out-of-state students applying through general admissions than for California applicants. Higher test scores, and higher grades over the a-g requirements. Out-of-state students applying through general admissions aren’t exempted from the a-g requirements, nor are they classes evaluated any differently than classes in California schools.

    Third and finally, it is never, ever “practical” for a top university to accept ill-prepared students. UC is not in the remedial education business; it’s curriculua assume that all admitted students are very bright, very motivated, and have a solid academic background. Students who can’t keep up, flunk out.

    UC’s reputation rests on the achievements of its students. It already has three well-qualified applicants for every two it can accept. Why in the world would it ever accept a student who is less than adequately prepared for college work?

    It is quite common for academic institutions to pick and choose which of another school’s courses are acceptable for credit. In fact, it is rare for any transfer student to get credit for every course taken at the old school. The exceptions are by prearrangement: students transfering in to UC from the California state college system are guaranteed credit for certain courses taken at the state college if the grades are good enough.

    It’s not just colleges and universities that don’t automatically accept other institutions’ classes as worthy of credit, either. All schools place transfer students by judging how well the student’s previous classes match with the standards of the new school.

    There really isn’t any other practical way to handle such situations. Blind acceptance of another school’s standards is about the worst possible thing a school can do, for itself or for the student.

    So, no, neither the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution nor “practicality” requires UC to automatically accept any other state’s science standards or classes as equivalent to California ones. The fact that standards in some states downplay evolution doesn’t mean that UC must accept their classes, and the fact that Calvary Chapel’s Young Earth Creationism classe wasn’t all that much worse than biology classes in some other states doesn’t mean that UC is obligated to accept it as a college-prep biology class, either.

  347. #347 Larry Fafarman
    October 7, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    As pointed out before, the IDiot’s penchant for passing off engineers, physicians, and even lawyers as “scientists” makes it incumbent on you, Larry, to provide those names. I won’t hold my breath.

    It is obvious that I cannot give you those names — you shouldn’t even ask.

    Right now, Skell’s survey is apparently the only broad survey out there as to whether scientists consider evolution theory to be important in their research.

    Consider, for example, my own narrow mechanical engineering specialty, heat transfer analysis. Mechanical engineering is just one of several important branches of engineering, and heat transfer analysis is just one of many mechanical engineering specialties. And heat transfer is subdivided into three modes — conduction, convection, and radiation, each governed by its own principles. There is no overarching unifying principle even for such a narrow specialty as heat transfer analysis.

    Mary said,
    Larry showed that he’s clueless about academic priorities when he said that, according to his fanciful “common sense”, “I’ve already said that it may be more a matter of practicality than constitutionality” for UC to set lower standards for out-of-state students than for in-state students.

    Mary is putting words in my mouth again. I never said that UC should set “lower standards” for out-of-state students — I just said that UC should give “full faith and credit” to the education standards of other states. For all we know, some of the those standards of other states may be higher than California’s in some areas.

    Blind acceptance of another school’s standards is about the worst possible thing a school can do, for itself or for the student.

    There are so many schools out there that it is not practical to do a detailed evaluation of other schools’ courses. If the other school is accredited, transfer credits are granted as a matter of course.

  348. #348 Josh
    October 7, 2006

    I agree with Albatrossity. I didn’t ask for a “discussion” of the interview, I asked for the thing itself. The data, as it were.

    Of course, I think we’d find that Skell’s sample is badly skewed and almost certainly full of people only vaguely qualified to comment on the topic. Indeed, it isn’t entirely clear what the question he claims to have asked is supposed to mean.

    He claims to have asked people whether they’d be doing their research differently if they didn’t think evolution were true. Do we (or they) assume that the universe is still as it is? The data are all the same, only our subjective beliefs are different? If so, the question is absurd. If the data which convinced them of the validity of evolution in this universe still existed, why would they reject a theory that is an unavoidable consequence of those data? And if the question is simply about whether they’d still draw the same immediate questions from the same data, it isn’t surprising that they wouldn’t expect to be doing radically different things.

    On the other hand, if the question is whether they would do different research if the universe were such that evolution as we know it didn’t happen, we have to ask how these 70 people could possibly know. That would be a dramatically different universe, one in which offspring are not different from their parents, or in which only enough offspring are born to replace those that die, and in which the parents of those offspring are chosen entirely at random from an infinite population.

    If those conditions (infinite population, random mating, random mortality, and no immigration) don’t hold, the laws of this universe say that evolution will happen, via natural selection, genetic drift or gene flow. It’s basic math developed by Hardy and Weinberg.

    I can’t imagine what research I’d do in a universe where those conditions always held, but I expect biology would be an altogether different science, if it existed at all. Without evolution, I have no reason to think that organisms and their environment should fit together in any interesting way, so my ecological research would be of little interest.

    Assuming that different species somehow managed to exist in such a universe, there would be little if any reason to study most of them, since they would have no relationship to the way our biology functioned. All the effort that went into sequencing the fruit fly genome and genomes of plants and roundworms would have been wasted for most of the purposes that scientists wanted those results, and for most of the reasons researchers currently active on those organisms do their work. Common descent gives us a reason to care about all of those organisms. It’s why the X-ray crystallography that showed the structure of DNA could be done on trout semen and calf thymus and still be relevant to humans.

    Skell doesn’t give us enough to assess the merits of his “survey,” but his claims about the discoveries that didn’t rely on evolution are sorely inadequate.

  349. #349 Julia
    October 7, 2006

    Larry, you said–
    Do you actually think that it would be that hard to find ten papers in biology that don’t use evolution?

    Based on this question it seems you don’t seem to think it would be hard to find. This is why I challenged you to find 10, since it’s not that hard, anyone could do it, right??

    And you cannot compare mechanical engieering to biology. There is just no comparision. Just because in one field, such as heat transfer as you mentioned, there is no “overarching unifying principle”, doesn’t prove that there isn’t one for biology. That is a false analogy.

  350. #350 Larry Fafarman
    October 8, 2006

    Josh said –
    All the effort that went into sequencing the fruit fly genome and genomes of plants and roundworms would have been wasted for most of the purposes that scientists wanted those results, and for most of the reasons researchers currently active on those organisms do their work. Common descent gives us a reason to care about all of those organisms. It’s why the X-ray crystallography that showed the structure of DNA could be done on trout semen and calf thymus and still be relevant to humans.

    Wrong. Common descent has nothing to do with it. There are other reasons for believing that DNA structures are similar — e.g., the way DNA reproduces in cell division.

    Julia said –
    Based on this question it seems you don’t seem to think it would be hard to find. This is why I challenged you to find 10, since it’s not that hard, anyone could do it, right?

    I don’t need to prove to myself that there are lots of papers on biology out there that don’t use evolution theory.

    Just because in one field, such as heat transfer as you mentioned, there is no “overarching unifying principle”, doesn’t prove that there isn’t one for biology.

    If we wanted to, we could come up with a “unifying” principle of heat transfer — the Clausius statement of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which says that heat cannot of itself flow from a colder to a hotter body. And that’s a law, not a theory, because we know it is true. But to come up with a unifying principle just for the sake of having one would be stupid. As I said, this thing about having a unifying principle in biology is just a prestige war waged against other sciences.

    I am thoroughly disgusted with this obsession with Darwinism. Some people act like Darwinism is the greatest thing since sliced bread. They even celebrate Darwin’s birthday. They try to prevent criticism of Darwinism from even being mentioned in the public schools. It is sick, sick, sick.

  351. #351 Albatrossity
    October 8, 2006

    Larry summed up the essence of the problem when he wrote

    I don’t need to prove to myself…

    No. You don’t need to prove anything to yourself. You just need to prove it to the rest of us, and even though we all keep asking for evidence, all you can offer is lame excuses and even lamer quotes and discussions on other blogs.

    Julia is quite right, and even though it has been repeated a few dozen times here, it is worth repeating. It is completely irrelevant that your area of expertise has no overarching theory. If that false analogy is the only reason you can’t believe that evolution is an overarching theory in modern biology, you have nothing valid to argue with. Again.

    Finally, I can’t resist. The irony of this statement

    Some people act like Darwinism is the greatest thing since sliced bread. They even celebrate Darwin’s birthday.

    is incredible coming from the mouth of a bibleist. Larry, you will have something legitimate to complain about when Darwin’s birthday is celebrated with a month-long orgy of shopping, parties, and school holidays. Until then, please give this particular argument a holiday. My sides are still hurting from laughing about that one!

  352. #352 Julia
    October 8, 2006

    Larry,

    You do need to prove yourself. I, as a graduate student in biology, read science papers ALL the time. I do not know of any papers that do not use evolution at all. There is absolutely no way that we could use model organisms (yeast, rat, mouse, zebrafish) and apply that knowledge to humans if there is no evolution. We would have had no reason to think that they would be able to tell us anything about humans if that was the case. Also, genetics and evolution ARE NOT mutually exclusive.

  353. #353 Julia
    October 8, 2006

    Larry,

    One more comment for you so you can be on the same page for the definition of a SCIENTIFIC theory:

    “a theory is a general set of principles, supported by evidence, that explains some aspect of nature”

    that quote is from my intro biology textbook.

    theory (according to Merriam-Webster)
    1 : the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
    2 : abstract thought : SPECULATION

    The definition from the biology text is the one that applies to the theory of evolution. The latter does not. In order for science to accept and call an idea a theory, it MUST follow the definition from the biology text. A SCIENTIFIC theory has more weight than say a detective’s theory of a crime. They use different definitions to define the term “theory”.

  354. #354 Dave S.
    October 8, 2006

    Larry says:

    Right now, Skell’s survey is apparently the only broad survey out there as to whether scientists consider evolution theory to be important in their research.

    You have no basis to make that assertion other than the fact you agree with his viewpoint. Doesn’t seem like a broad survey to me, even if we assume he asked valid non-leading questions to a representative sampling of biologists and is accurately and fully reporting the responses – which we have no reason to assume.

    All the biologists in this thread appear to dispute the contention.

    There is no overarching unifying principle even for such a narrow specialty as heat transfer analysis.

    Even if true, so what?

    Chemists have the atomic theory of matter; aetiologists have the germ theory of disease; Einstein spent the latter part of his career trying to unify gravity with the other forces in one overarching theory (perhaps he was merely envious of Darwin). Finding overarching principles is what scienists do, the more overarching the better. At least those actually interested in understanding the processes.

    Wrong. Common descent has nothing to do with it. There are other reasons for believing that DNA structures are similar — e.g., the way DNA reproduces in cell division.

    This is exceeding vague. What “way” are you talking about? Be as detailed as you can in giving us another potential biological means (other than common descent) whereby we’d get the observed patterns. How can we differentiate this from common decent (by which I mean what empirical test can we use)?

    Let me guess … you’re going to tell us now that you don’t have to do any of that.

  355. #355 Mary
    October 8, 2006

    Larry proved he doesn’t know any more about DNA replication than he does about the full faith and credit clause or the centrality of evolution when he said, “Wrong. Common descent has nothing to do with it. There are other reasons for believing that DNA structures are similar — e.g., the way DNA reproduces in cell division.”

    Larry, DNA reproduction works just fine no matter what the sequence is, and no matter how much or little that sequence diverges from any other sequence.

    There is no way to predict the nested hierarchy of sequence similarities we actually see in DNA from different organisms from the structure of DNA.

    And Julia is right: modern genetics is essentially evolution applied to individual generations, just as evolution is genetics applied to multiple generations.

    As far as proof goes, you do have to prove your statements if you ever want us to take them–and you–seriously. You have a long history in this discussion of just making things up as you go along to suit your fancy, and then pretending that contrary evidence is somehow not available when you, like us, could find it at the click of a button.

    That may be considered acceptable over on Uncommon Deceit, but here denial isn’t a way of life.

  356. #356 Josh
    October 8, 2006

    “that’s a law, not a theory, because we know it is true”

    We also know evolution is true. What’s your point?

  357. #357 Larry Fafarman
    October 8, 2006

    Either Philip Skell is wrong or you folks are wrong. You can’t both be right.

  358. #358 Julia
    October 8, 2006

    I’m gonna go with Philip Skell being wrong. I wonder what question he asked and who exactly he asked. Anyone know a way to figure that out?

  359. #359 Albatrossity
    October 8, 2006

    Larry

    For many reasons (already pointed out here numerous times) Skell’s methods and conclusions are suspect. And, also as pointed out here numerous times, since the major US scientific societies are on record affirming evolution as the foundation of modern biology, his (outsiders) conclusions are at odds with the perspective of the vast majority of the folks who are actually working in the field. So the odds are pretty high that he is wrong.

    If you still believe that he is right, however, you have had plenty of opportunities to prove that assertion. Just find those ten papers that Mary asked you about. I’d even be happy to do your research for you (finding ten peer-reviewed papers where evolution was mentioned in the abstract but did not seem to be necessary for the conclusion). Just let me know how you want to set up the Boolean search for that particular outcome, and I’ll use my institutional Web of Science account to do the search and send you the results by email. Free of charge.

    Or, alternatively, you can accept reality.

  360. #360 Larry Fafarman
    October 8, 2006

    Albatrossity said –
    Skell’s methods and conclusions are suspect.

    Your methods and conclusions are suspect. The statement that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is just plain STUPID. I studied biology in high school and it all made sense without evolution.

  361. #361 Albatrossity
    October 9, 2006

    Larry

    Nice dodge.

    And I’m glad to hear (again) about your high school biology class and how this 40-year old knowledge has served you so well in understanding the elements of this debate…

    Back to the questions.

    1) Can you find a few peer-reviewed papers that mention evolution in the title or abstract but in which evolutionary theory is not necessary for the conclusions?

    2) Can you explain, as Mary also asked, why Calvary Chapel students should be able to enter UC using a lesser standard than all other students in California or the other 49 states?

    If you actually answer those questions satisfactorily, you will go a long way toward proving that my methods and conclusions are suspect. If not, you’re just blowing hot air. Again.

  362. #362 Larry Fafarman
    October 9, 2006

    Albatrossity said –
    And I’m glad to hear (again) about your high school biology class and how this 40-year old knowledge has served you so well in understanding the elements of this debate…

    The issue is not even whether the BJU texts include evolution — they do.

    As I said, a knowledge of evolution is more important now in biology than it was when I went to school, partly because of the new system of cladistic taxonomy, which includes the concepts of evolution. But that doesn’t mean that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. That’s absurd.

    A “unifying” principle does not make learning any easier. In a few of my engineering courses, there were a few unifying principles (e.g., Newton’s laws of motion, Fourier’s law of heat conduction), but the material still had to be learned the hard way.

    2) Can you explain, as Mary also asked, why Calvary Chapel students should be able to enter UC using a lesser standard than all other students in California or the other 49 states?

    Not lesser. UC has not shown and has not claimed that the Calvary Chapel students did not learn the core material.

    BTW, if as a non-biologist I am not qualified to have an opinion about evolution, then what qualified Judge Jones to have an opinion about it, aside from the crash course he took in the Dover trial?

  363. #363 Albatrossity
    October 9, 2006

    Larry opined, again based on his 40-year old educational experiences

    A “unifying” principle does not make learning any easier.

    Unfortunately for this latest fantasy of his, it is quite clear that both learning AND retention of factual material are facilitated when there is a unifying principle. Larry needs to quit assuming that his learning skills and preferences are those of everyone else. There are plenty of data to support this (here’s one example), not only for science but also for literature and other humanities disciplines. Everyone who designs a course these days needs to think about those findings. And everyone who writes a textbook should incorporate them as well. Sorry, Larry, but again we can’t simply believe what you say without evidence. And again, the evidence that I am aware of is not in your favor. Please don’t assume that your learning skills represent those of the entire adolescent generation.

    Then you wrote:

    2) Can you explain, as Mary also asked, why Calvary Chapel students should be able to enter UC using a lesser standard than all other students in California or the other 49 states?

    Not lesser. UC has not shown and has not claimed that the Calvary Chapel students did not learn the core material.

    Nice try. Note how “lesser standard” morphs into the straw man “lesser learning”. UC doesn’t judge learning when it evaluates courses. It judges content of the course, and the quality of the textbook is part of that content. The course is substandard, because the textbook is substandard. So again, can you answer the question? Why should Calvary Chapel students be judged by a different standard, and be able to claim that a defective course is as good as the courses that UC wants its applicants to have taken?

  364. #364 Larry Fafarman
    October 9, 2006

    Albatrossity said,
    Unfortunately for this latest fantasy of his, it is quite clear that both learning AND retention of factual material are facilitated when there is a unifying principle.

    Wrong. Knowing the unifying principles of heat transfer almost never helped me solve heat transfer problems. In several years of working in the field of heat transfer analysis, only once did my knowledge of Fourier’s Law help me solve a heat transfer problem: knowing that isothermal and adiabatic surfaces are orthogonal in solids with isotropic coefficients of thermal conductivity, I developed an integrative method for calculating steady-state heat conduction in orthogonal curvilinear coordinate systems — e.g., cylindrical coordinates, spherical coordinates, ellipsoidal coordinates, toroidal coordinates, etc..

    Anyway, so far as I know, UC never criticized the books for not using an “integrated” approach.

  365. #365 Mary
    October 9, 2006

    Larry,

    Your talent for dodging the issue is amazing.

    However, I notice that you still haven’t offered any evidence whatsoever that biologists don’t use evolution as a guiding principle for research. I admit that since I’ve spent the past few days reviewing four journal articles, all of which use some aspect of evolution, I would probably be difficult to persuade. However, the fact that you haven’t tried to offer evidence to back your statements suggests that you don’t have any, and furthermore that you don’t think there is any.

    So, you are not only well into the blowing-hot-air state, but you are advancing perilously close to outright deliberate prevarication.

    I also notice that you haven’t come up with any reason why Calvary Chapel students should be the only students in the country who can substitute a course on Young Earth Creationism for a rigorous, college-prep biology class and still qualify for UC general admissions. To me, it seems far less discriminatory for UC to use the same, secular standards for all biology classes that it certifies.

  366. #366 Larry Fafarman
    October 10, 2006

    Mary said –

    However, I notice that you still haven’t offered any evidence whatsoever that biologists don’t use evolution as a guiding principle for research.

    I have offered evidence — Skell’s interviews of 70 researchers.

    I never said that biologists don’t use evolution at all as a guiding principle for research — I just doubt that they use it all the time or even most of the time. There must be a lot of biological research where evolution is simply irrelevant — that’s just common sense.

    I simply don’t have the time to do my own research on the subject. I have to set priorities — I have to write articles for my own blog and I also comment on other Internet forums.

    What Skell says makes sense to me — what you say does not.

  367. #367 Albatrossity
    October 10, 2006

    Larry dodged the issues again when he told us that knowing a unifying theory didn’t help him learn at all. As pointed out before

    1) Larry’s learning style may not be representative of all learning styles (actually, I sincerely hope that it is not!)

    2) Published evidence indicates that learning and retention are improved when the material can be overlaid with a unifying theory.

    Once again, he relies on the “pull a notion out of my butt” mode of argument, mislabels this as “common sense”, and ignores real evidence.

    He also dodged another issue when he refused for the nth time to “come up with any reason why Calvary Chapel students should be the only students in the country who can substitute a course on Young Earth Creationism for a rigorous, college-prep biology class and still qualify for UC general admissions.”

    How about it, Larry? Any more notions up there?

  368. #368 Dave S.
    October 10, 2006

    Albatrossity says:

    2) Published evidence indicates that learning and retention are improved when the material can be overlaid with a unifying theory.

    And it should be stressed that unifying theories in science aren’t simply pulled out of some scientist’s hat for the sake of having one, nor are they simply invented for pedagogical reasons. They arise as the natural result of explaining a body of facts in a related field, and are tested again and again as to their veracity. In the field of biology, evolution is the explanatory framework that ties the entire field together into a coherant whole.

    That Larry may have been able to draw a paycheck for a while in his particular non-scientific field without applying a unifying theory (or so he says) proves nothing. And we certainly don’t need a poll to tell us that the vast majority biologists accept evolution, just as we don’t need a poll of chemists to decide if they really accept the existance of atoms. They already speak elegantly and forcefully in the papers they publish. They USE it. If ID was in the slightest way useful, they’d use that too. But ID not only does not illuminate nature, by it’s very design (pun intended), it can’t do so.

  369. #369 Larry Fafarman
    October 10, 2006

    Albatrossity said –

    Published evidence indicates that learning and retention are improved when the material can be overlaid with a unifying theory.

    OK, so maybe — and I mean maybe — the Calvary Chapel students did not get the best biology educations, but that doesn’t mean that their biology educations were not satisfactory.

  370. #370 Mary
    October 10, 2006

    Larry finally conceded that the BJU textbook and the course Calvary Chapel wanted to teach from it are inferior to the standard approach UC requires–well, almost– when he said, “OK, so maybe — and I mean maybe — the Calvary Chapel students did not get the best biology educations, but that doesn’t mean that their biology educations were not satisfactory.”

    Satisfactory to whom, and for what purpose? One can assume that Calvary Chapel would have granted science credit towards high school graduation requirements for the course, and Bob Jones University would probably have accepted it as a biology class. The local community college wouldn’t have cared, either.

    On the other hand, UC demands a little more from the courses it certifies as meeting college-prep standards, and the College Board demands even more from AP classes. The course didn’t meet either of these two standards.

    So the education the Calvary Chapel course would have provided would have been satisfactory for some purposes, but unsatisfactory for UC admissions purposes.

    There are plenty of courses offered by high schools that count towards one purpose but not another: phys ed is required for high school graduation but not for UC admissions, while UC wants more math classes than the minimum required for graduation. Students have to pick and choose to make sure the courses they take will count towards their own particular goals.

    You haven’t yet explained to us why Calvary Chapel students should be the only ones who “did not get the best biology education” who can still apply that substandard class towards UC admissions. After all, public school students can’t apply their uncertified classes towards UC admissions. What makes Calvary Chapel different?

  371. #371 Josh
    October 10, 2006

    “I have offered evidence — Skell’s interviews of 70 researchers.”

    Can you show me where I can view those interviews? Because all we have right now is his own summary, no identities or other indication of who these people are. Nor is it clear what he asked them. The question he claimed to ask is simply not coherent, as I’ve shown.

    “I simply don’t have the time to do my own research on the subject. I have to set priorities — I have to write articles for my own blog and I also comment on other Internet forums.”

    Shorter Larry: I don’t have time to investigate this because I spend too much time talking about it.

    “OK, so maybe — and I mean maybe — the Calvary Chapel students did not get the best biology educations, but that doesn’t mean that their biology educations were not satisfactory.”

    But the latter is what UC determined. Since they actually … like … read the textbook, what gives your uninformed opinion any credence? They don’t think the book is satisfactory, and have good secular reasons for doing so. End of story.

  372. #372 Larry Fafarman
    October 10, 2006

    Mary said,
    Larry finally conceded that the BJU textbook and the course Calvary Chapel wanted to teach from it are inferior to the standard approach UC requires–well, almost– when he said, “OK, so maybe — and I mean maybe —

    I didn’t concede anything. I only made an assumption for the sake of argument.

    Anyway, UC never argued that the Calvary Chapel texts lacked an “integrated approach.” This “integrated approach” thing is one of the most ridiculous ideas I ever heard.

    Josh said,
    Can you show me where I can view those interviews? Because all we have right now is his own summary, no identities or other indication of who these people are.

    So why doesn’t someone conduct a formal opinion poll of biologists, asking them how much they use evolution theory in their work?

    What Skell says makes sense to me — what you say does not.

    Shorter Larry: I don’t have time to investigate this because I spend too much time talking about it.

    What good would it do for me to do my own investigation? How much weight would my opinion carry? You yourself would just say that I am unqualified to judge the textbooks because I am not a biologist — and there is a lot of truth in that because I would have to independently verify a lot of material in the textbooks. It would be like me asking you to judge a heat transfer text.

    A classic book on heat conduction was written by two mathematicians, Carslaw and Jaeger. The book repeatedly erroneously refers to convection as “radiation.”

    But the latter is what UC determined. Since they actually ? like ? read the textbook, what gives your uninformed opinion any credence?

    I find UC’s reasons for rejecting the textbooks to be unsatisfactory, regardless of the textbooks’ contents

  373. #373 Albatrossity
    October 10, 2006

    To sum up:

    1) Larry thinks that integrated approaches to teaching and research are “ridiculous”. He offers no evidence for this other than his opinion, and ignores documented evidence to the contrary, as well as the testimony of the working biologists who have commented here. Score 1 for reality-based folks, 0 for Larry.

    2) Larry doesn’t think that biologists use evolutionary theory in their research. He offers the biased small sample generated by the “friends of Skell” as evidence. He ignores the problems that others point out re the Skell numbers, refuses to research this further to rebut those arguments of others, and ignores both logic (as presented by many, most elegantly by Dave S) and the testimony of the working biologists on this thread, preferring instead his own “common sense”. Score 1 for reality-based folks, 0 for Larry.

    3) Larry refuses to do further research, and even ignores offers of help, citing various excuses (time, slow internet connection, lack of background) for this feeble effort. Others on this thread have researched the available web material and even purchased the book in question in order to examine the evidence with their own eyes. Score 1 for reality-based folks, 0 for Larry.

    Bottom line – at least 3 to zip in favor of the reality-based folks. Larry’s only arguments revolve around ignorance masquerading as “common sense”, and his only effort is focused on talking about things and making up arguments that often contradict arguments made by him in a previous comment. Furthermore, rather than doing any research and thinking about the evidence in order to overcome that ignorance, and possibly changing his mind based on that evidence, Larry maintains a literally fixed position on all of his preconceived notions. He has shown this to us numerous times. Clearly he has no intention of doing anything that might threaten thos notions, including thinking about the arguments presented to him here.

    Is there any reason to continue this head-bashing?

  374. #374 Josh
    October 10, 2006

    Shorter Larry: I don’t have time to investigate this because I spend too much time talking about it.

    What good would it do for me to do my own investigation?”

    My issue is less that you haven’t investigated it than that you feel qualified to disagree with people who have investigated it without yourself having any germane knowledge about it. You say “What Skell says makes sense to me — what you say does not.” I offered evidence, I explained why I – as a professional biologist – disagree with Skell (not a professional biologist). Project Steve lists 763 scientists (about 2/3 of them biologists) who agree that “Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle

    “How much weight would my opinion carry? You yourself would just say that I am unqualified to judge the textbooks because I am not a biologist — and there is a lot of truth in that because I would have to independently verify a lot of material in the textbooks.”

    Then why do you feel qualified to judge it without that background. Being a biologist isn’t about certification, it’s about knowledge. Get the necessary knowledge, and it’s worth having this conversation. So long as you prefer to sling ignorant attacks on people who make their decisions on the basis of actual knowledge that they have, I can’t treat you as credible. But if you’d get the background, read some books before judging them, etc., I would take your opinions seriously.

    Mary asks “Is there any reason to continue this head-bashing?” The answer is “no.” Larry has shown himself to so intellectually dishonest as to criticize people who read a book for judging it differently than he thinks he’d judge it if he were actually to read it. That defines hackery.

  375. #375 Mary
    October 10, 2006

    Larry asked, “So why doesn’t someone conduct a formal opinion poll of biologists, asking them how much they use evolution theory in their work?”

    Larry, why don’t you cut out all the potential problems attached to opinion polls (sampling, question design, response rates, and so on) and just look at the actual work biologists are doing? PubMed lists over 200,000 biological research publications, as Julia pointed out. Go look through them, and see if you can find ten that don’t rely on evolution for interpretation of data or experimental design.

    Admittedly, 10 out of 200,000 would still be a very small minority that doesn’t use evolution in some way, but all of the biologists here are skeptical that you can find even that many.

    Still, you say you accept Skell’s undocumented claim that there are plenty of biologists who don’t use evolution in their research at all. If you’re right and we’re wrong, you should be able to find some of their publications on PubMed.

    Larry then claimed, “I find UC’s reasons for rejecting the textbooks to be unsatisfactory, regardless of the textbooks’ contents.”

    So it shouldn’t matter to UC whether the textbook is accurate, up to date, and covers the material at an appropriate level? That’s why UC says it rejected the course, remember: it used an inadequate textbook for primary instruction.

    What DO you think UC should judge the course by, if it shouldn’t use what is being taught and how it’s being taught? It doesn’t seem to me that there’s any other basis on which to make a fair and informed decision.

  376. #376 Larry Fafarman
    October 10, 2006

    Larry doesn’t think that biologists use evolutionary theory in their research. He offers the biased small sample generated by the “friends of Skell” as evidence.

    Once again I am being misquoted. I didn’t say that they never use it — I only said that they don’t use it all the time and maybe not even most of the time.

    Larry refuses to do further research,

    Why should I spend my own time and money doing research? Who would believe me, anyway?

    I have not asked anyone here to find 10 research papers out there and show that the they use Darwinism and that using Darwinism was necessary in each case.

    Project Steve lists 763 scientists

    Project Steve is a joke. I want a formal opinion poll.

    Then why do you feel qualified to judge it without that background.

    I said that UC’s reasons are wrong regardless of the books’ contents. Also, I am as qualified to judge the books as Judge Jones was to judge the scientific merits of ID — maybe even more so (he got a very narrow range of opinions in the Dover trial).

    why don’t you cut out all the potential problems attached to opinion polls

    You folks think that Project Steve is great but don’t like formal opinion polls.

  377. #377 Albatrossity
    October 11, 2006

    Larry opined

    I am as qualified to judge the books as Judge Jones was to judge the scientific merits of ID

    As Larry is fond of saying, “Wrong.” It is true that Judge Jones had no background when he started the case. But unlike Larry, he apparently has an ability to listen, to learn, to do hard work, and to change his mind. Training in the area of interest is useful, but there is no substitute for intellectual effort and the ability to change your mind after being presented with new evidence or logic. Judge Jones has that ability; Larry does not. End of story.

    As for “formal opinion polls, I am aware of none. But there is a list of scientific organizations who have adopted language similar to that of the AAAS, affirming evolutionary theory as the foundation of modern biological research. The list is pretty extensive, and the combined memberships of these groups is many thousands.

    That’s all for me here, folks. This thread is nearly two months old, and Larry is no closer to accepting reality than he was on the first day. It’s been fun, but I have papers to write, based on work that I have done. No more comments from me here, but feel free to carry on if it is still fun for you!

  378. #378 Dave S.
    October 11, 2006

    Albatrossity sez:

    As Larry is fond of saying, “Wrong.” It is true that Judge Jones had no background when he started the case. But unlike Larry, he apparently has an ability to listen, to learn, to do hard work, and to change his mind. Training in the area of interest is useful, but there is no substitute for intellectual effort and the ability to change your mind after being presented with new evidence or logic. Judge Jones has that ability; Larry does not. End of story.

    And in addition, we ought to stress that Judge Jones actually looked at and evaluated the evidence presented in that case and did not simply hold tenaciously to a fantasy of what the evidence might hypothetically be while steadfastly refusing all entreaties to read.

    Indeed, the ID advocates had the opportunity they had been salivating for to present their case to the world in open court, but instead most like Dembski cut-and-ran (with a sneaky attempt to get his expert opinion in through the back door as a parting shot); and of those that didn’t like Behe, they simply revealed ID for the vacuous sham it was and still is. That doesn’t end it of course. Some like Larry are satisfied with attacking the judge, others simply morphed to “critical evaluation” language, or some other euphamism to attempt to pry their ID creationism into the classroom. Most recently this tactic was tested in Michigan, where it bombed big-time.

    As for “formal opinion polls, I am aware of none. But there is a list of scientific organizations who have adopted language similar to that of the AAAS, affirming evolutionary theory as the foundation of modern biological research. The list is pretty extensive, and the combined memberships of these groups is many thousands.

    Neither can I think of a single scientific field that’s decided using opinion polls. How rediculous would it be to refuse to accept the reality of the atom until we see the poll of chemists? It’s telling that Larry demands a formal opinion poll while simultaneously uncritically accepting the “poll” of Skell, which does not even rise to the level of informal.

    There’s little more to say.

  379. #379 Josh
    October 11, 2006

    “I am as qualified to judge the books as Judge Jones was to judge the scientific merits of ID”

    Except that Judge Jones actually researched the issue. He heard testimony, read written reports and amicus briefs, and then made a judgment. You haven’t gathered any information, indeed you refuse to do so.

    You say Project Steve is a joke. Perhaps, but that doesn’t make Skell any more credible. Project Steve at least gives us names and a very specific statement that they endorsed. Why do you consider those 763 scientists less credible than Skell?

    Of course, I know the answer. Skell is telling you what you want to hear, while biologists all tell you the opposite.

  380. #380 Mary
    October 11, 2006

    It is indeed telling that Larry is calling for an opinion poll as the definitive measure of whether scientists use evolution in their research, rather than looking at the research itself.

    An opinion poll measures just that: opinions. By its nature, it’s a “he said, she said” sort of excercise, with no evidence asked for or examined. That puts evidence-free creationism/ID in the best possible light. Looking at the actual research generated, of course, one would find that creationism/ID has generated exactly none.

    It is easy to skew the questions and interpretations in an opinion poll to get the most favorable answer possible for your side. For instance, if you were to ask scientists if they “believe in God or a spiritual force” you’d get about half of them to agree, and Larry and his like would be trumpeting this result as evidence that scientists use religious concepts in research. On the other hand, if you ask scientists whether a literal interpretation of the Bible trumps the evidence in a research program, which is what Larry and his friends are really demanding, you’d get a handful of active scientists agreeing, if that.

    Most importantly to Larry, no one is going to spend the money to commission a polling organization to sort-of-confirm badly what everybody already knows, so Larry is free to imagine any result he wants coming out of such a nonexistant poll. On the other hand, the actual scientific research is readily available for free on the Internet at the click of a mouse, even to people with a slow dial-up connection. That means it is theoretically possible for Larry to actually examine a portion of it himself, and see how evolution is used in actual scientific research.

    Of course, Larry knows as well as we do that if he were actually to start reading some papers, he’d find exactly what we’ve told him he’d find: that evolutionary concepts are ubiquitous in biological research. That, of course, would destroy his pet fantasy that evolution is not a unifying principle of biology, and can therefore be omitted from the curriculum without doing much damage to the remaining material.

    So, let’s look at what Larry has tacitly conceded, by refusing multiple times to look at evidence he knows is of superior quality to his own, but contradicts it:

    1) He has conceded that evolution is, in fact, the central orgainizing principle of biology, even though he wishes it wasn’t.

    2) He has conceded that the BJU textbook contains numerous scientific inaccuracies, and does not present biology using evolution as the central organizing principle, even though he claims that accuracy doesn’t matter in biology (but not chemistry).

    3) He has conceded that the Calvary Chapel course didn’t meet college-prep standards, through his absolute refusal to look at what college-prep biology coursework contains, in particular the treatment of evolution as a unifying principle in the California state standards and the AP standards.

    4) He has conceded that UC actually did reject the courses for academic reasons, rather than because they mentioned a religious viewpoint, through his adamant refusal to look at UC’s position statement while quoting an op-ed piece from an out-of-state newspaper.

    5) Finally, he has conceded that UC’s course approval process is fair and unbiased, and that it does not discriminate against religious schools, through his repeated failure to venture a reason why Calvary Chapel should be the only school allowed to sneak a substandard course through the approval process.

    Frankly, I don’t see anything left for Larry to concede in this discussion. He will no doubt be quick to deny that he conceded anything, but that hardly matters. His denial of his own actions is part and parcel with his denial of everything else that contradicts his uneducated opinions.

    Larry, if you wish to prove me wrong on any of these points, all you have to do is show that:

    Point 1) Most scientists really don’t use evolution in their published research. This can be done by presenting examples of published research papers that don’t use evolutionary thinking. Sorry, Skell’s anonymous poll doesn’t count, since Skell doesn’t provide any documentation of who he polled or what he asked them.

    Point 2) High school students learn just as well from inaccurate textbooks with lots of extraneous material as from accurate, up-to-date textbooks. No, your own supposedly evolution-free biology instruction doesn’t count, since you demonstrably did not learn much about biology. If you want to dispute this point, you’ll have to find a published study in an educational journal. Try PubMed for starters.

    Point 3) The BJU textbook meets either AP or California State biology standards for accuracy and academic rigor. Of course, to do that, you would have to argue from what these standards actually require, rather than what you wish they required.

    Point 4) UC actually didn’t have issues with the academic content of BJU textbook. To show this, you need a statement to that effect issued by UC, not Charles Haynes or Calvary Chapel’s complaint. And, no, UC doesn’t have to issue a page-by-page critique to reject the text for bad academic content. All it has to do is say, “We don’t like the academic content/rigor/approach.”

    Point 5) UC admissions standards really do discriminate on the basis of religion by requiring academically rigorous science classes. To answer this one, you’re going to have to finally bite the bullet and explain how UC’s academic standards for secular subjects like English, history, and biology count as unfair religious discrimination that is entitled to relief under the First Amendment.

    If you’re not willing to offer any new evidence on these points, of the type I’ve outlined above, then you’ve lost the argument. Albatrossity is right, it’s been fun and educational. I would never have believe a single person could carry on a two-month conversation consisting almost entirely of logical fallicies.

    However, I’ve got a grant proposal and a paper to get out (yes, they both use evolutionary concepts) and I can’t spare any more time trying to educate someone who refuses to learn. Perhaps we can reconvene when the Calvary Chapel case is decided, and discuss how the judge viewed the matter.

  381. #381 Dave S.
    October 11, 2006

    Mary says:

    Perhaps we can reconvene when the Calvary Chapel case is decided, and discuss how the judge viewed the matter.

    As far as the science textbook is concerned the ruling doesn’t seem to present any problems. Of course the case also concerns texts from some other courses (History, English and Social Studies), and those might be less cut-and-dried.

    One quote from USA Today (1/12/06) I found was interesting:

    Ken Smitherman, president of the 5,400-member Association of Christian Schools International, contends that the Constitution bars a state university from denying applicants credit for courses that cover “standard material” but add a religious viewpoint.

    “We’re not teaching that water boils at a different temperature, or that the periodic table of elements doesn’t have some of (the elements),” he says.

    But as we’ve seen, the text in question in this thread does not cover “standard material” while adding a religious viewpoint. Instead it ignores the standard material in favour of a religious viewpoint. Wherever the 2 clash, the standard view loses. They make no bones about that. IOW, they certainly would be teaching that water boils at other than 100°C or that neon and titanium do not exist, if the Bible indicated this was so.

  382. #382 Dave S.
    October 11, 2006

    Ahhh…I see the latter point I made was already covered right at the beginning of the thread. We really are going full circle. :)

  383. #383 Larry Fafarman
    October 11, 2006

    It is true that Judge Jones had no background when he started the case. But unlike Larry, he apparently has an ability to listen, to learn, to do hard work, and to change his mind.

    Judge John E. “I am not a lousy judge” Jones III is a crackpot. Most of my voluminous criticisms of him do not even concern his judgment as to whether ID is science.

    As for “formal opinion polls, I am aware of none. But there is a list of scientific organizations who have adopted language similar to that of the AAAS, affirming evolutionary theory as the foundation of modern biological research.

    Two important ideas behind formal opinion polls are: (1) they are normally anonymous, so there is no pressure to conform, and (2) non-conformists have a voice.

    Neither can I think of a single scientific field that’s decided using opinion polls.

    I am not talking about deciding scientific questions — I just want to get scientists’ opinions.

    Most recently this tactic was tested in Michigan, where it bombed big-time.

    The state republican candidate for governor is in favor of teaching ID alongside evolution but thinks that local school districts should decide. Is that your idea of “bombing big-time”?

    For instance, if you were to ask scientists if they “believe in God or a spiritual force” you’d get about half of them to agree

    That’s not the question — the question is whether or not Darwinism guides their research — and I don’t mean bringing in Darwinism after the fact.

    no one is going to spend the money to commission a polling organization to sort-of-confirm badly what everybody already knows

    That is a very unscientific attitude.

    1) He has conceded that evolution is, in fact, the central orgainizing principle of biology ….. 2) He has conceded that the BJU textbook contains numerous scientific inaccuracies, etc.

    I have conceded nothing — and stop putting words in my mouth.

    But as we’ve seen, the text in question in this thread does not cover “standard material” while adding a religious viewpoint.

    I don’t know about the A Beka Book text, but the BJU text has a section on evolution.

    It was bad enough that you Darwinists have been trying to keep criticisms of Darwinism out of the public schools, but now you are trying to keep them out of private schools as well.

  384. #384 Mary
    October 12, 2006

    Sorry, Larry. “I want a public opinion poll” does not address Point 1. It isn’t evidence of anything, much less that evolution isn’t central to guiding biological research.

    Nothing you said addressed any of the other four points with actual evidence, either.

  385. #385 Dave S.
    October 12, 2006

    Larry says:

    I am not talking about deciding scientific questions — I just want to get scientists’ opinions.

    And they have already told us what they think of evolution, in statements formulated by many major scientific organizations representing thousands of scientists and in their work, which is exclusively evolutionary and refers to no other scientific model, and the biologists in this thread have told us. Even Project Steve, a poll conceived as a joke (against similar polls put out the anti-evolutionists) provides evidence. Non-conformists do have a voice, but what they don’t have is evidence – hence the silence.

    Larry clings to the absurd notion that there is some kind of vast silent body of scientists out there who both reject evolution but are too shy to express their disagreement on the matter. This only goes to show he has never actually met a scientist. He is unable to show us the slightest evidence of this, so he simply assumes it to be the case until it can be proven to him otherwise, and even then … This is typical of his style throughout.

    The state republican candidate for governor is in favor of teaching ID alongside evolution but thinks that local school districts should decide. Is that your idea of “bombing big-time”?

    Now look who’s putting words in peoples mouths.

    I was talking about the Michigan Board of Education, who flatly rejected the attempts of some Republican legeslators to include ID friendly language into the education standards. The state board in Ohio also similary slapped back such attemps.

    ID continues to have no science supporting it, and its advocates are shooting blanks in their attempts at sneaking it in the back door by stealth. Dover was only the worst defeat so far.

    That’s not the question — the question is whether or not Darwinism guides their research — and I don’t mean bringing in Darwinism after the fact.

    And biologists have told us it does guide their research. All you have to counter that is the views of Skell, whom you find “makes sense”, apparently because you agree with him. You have certainly offered us no objective reasons to believe him. Or you.

  386. #386 Larry Fafarman
    October 12, 2006

    Mary said,
    “I want a public opinion poll” does not address Point 1. It isn’t evidence of anything, much less that evolution isn’t central to guiding biological research.

    Wrong. If a large fraction of research biologists say that evolution does not guide their research, then that shows that evolution is not central to guiding biological research.

    Nothing you said addressed any of the other four points with actual evidence, either.

    Your points were ridiculous, e.g., the following –

    UC doesn’t have to issue a page-by-page critique to reject the text for bad academic content. All it has to do is say, “We don’t like the academic content/rigor/approach.”

    So you are saying that UC is free to reject texts for arbitrary, capricious, and unexplained reasons. Hopefully that idea will not go over big with the courts.

    This obsession with Darwinism is sick, sick, sick.

  387. #387 Josh
    October 12, 2006

    “Wrong. If a large fraction of research biologists say that evolution does not guide their research, then that shows that evolution is not central to guiding biological research.”

    Wrong. If evolution is central to a large fraction of research in biology, that shows that evolution is central to biological research. The research is out there and speaks for itself. And what it says is, evolution is central to biology.

  388. #388 Mary
    October 12, 2006

    Larry still hasn’t provided any evidence to dispute the five points I said that he had conceded, by repeatedly failing to provide evidence to back up his contrary position.

    His first try, aimed at Point 1, is a red herring. Yes, IF THERE WERE a large fraction of biologists who don’t use evolution in their research, it WOULD BE evidence that Larry is right. However, until Larry can provide evidence that there ACTUALLY IS such a large group of biologists, all he’s doing is blowing hot air.

    Then he pretends to take a stab at Point 4 by quoting from my post, and then claiming directly underneath that I said the exact opposite. Sorry, Larry. Bad academic content, lack of rigor, or an inappropriate approach to the material are definitely NOT arbitrary, capricious, or unexplained reasons to reject a textbook.

    How about responding to the five points I set out with actual evidence next time, instead of with content-free bluster?