La Sierra University in California, a Seventh Day Adventist institution, is facing a a bit of a mutiny of the faithful because some of its science faculty are teaching evolution in biology classes without including sections on the “Truth”™, i.e., creationism. Needless to say (but I will anyway) Dr. Jim thinks La Sierra should dump the religion and teach the science.
According to the Press-Enterprise:
More than 5,600 people from around the country have signed an online petition that will be presented to the La Sierra University board of trustees at its Nov. 12 meeting. It states that creation occurred in six 24-hour days, expresses concern that evolution is presented as fact in Adventist universities and calls for the universities to explicitly inform students and parents how evolution is taught.
The ultimate goal of the petition drive is to require Adventist teaching on creation in La Sierra biology classes, said Shane Hilde, the Beaumont man and La Sierra graduate spearheading the petition drive. If that doesn’t happen, petition supporters may push La Sierra to disassociate itself from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he said.
Of course, the university administration is caught, not wanting to compromise the school’s reputation with the non-anti-intellectuals in the world, and maintaining the denominational ties. The article also reports that Hilde is ” looking into allegations of pro-evolution biases at other Adventist universities”.
“Pro-evolution biases”? Holy chattering clam-lips, Batfuck! We can’t have 150 years of intensive scientific research by tens of thousands of highly educated people using the most sophisticated tools in the world create ‘biases’ in the study of Biology! That would be terrible! Oh the Humanity!
(ed. note: That was an editorial)
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The petition does not call for the dismissal of the three La Sierra biology professors who are at the center of the storm. But Hilde said “that ultimately is what happens in these situations.” What a fucking self righteous asshole.
“I would blame the administration for hiring people like this,” he said.
Lee Greer, one of the three targeted professors, declined to comment publicly. In an e-mail, Professor L. Lee Grismer called the matter a “minor controversy” and declined to discuss it further. Professor Gary Bradley did not return phone calls. In September, Bradley told the Web site Inside Higher Ed that he will not denounce or contradict evolutionary theory in his class.
University spokesman Larry Becker declined to reveal the professors’ religious affiliations. About 90 percent of La Sierra’s professors are Adventist, he said. Only Adventists are granted tenure.
“People like this”. My shattered nerves. I really do feel sorry for the profs involved. If they were hired on the agreement that they could teach according to accepted science, then it is a damn cruel thing to change rules after the fact. Hopefully they will be able to find employment at a real university soon, and they won’t have to play with these clowns anymore.
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According to the newspaper, in view of the protests, La Sierra now forces all biology majors to take a seminar on Seventh Day creationist doctrine that includes creation in six 24 hour days. The story doesn’t say if they subscribe to a young earth. Now, apparently there is no move to stop the teaching of evolution per se, but to merely acknowledge in class that it doesn’t fit with church doctrines. Well, whoopdie doo. Scientific facts qualified are facts denied. There is no controversy to teach and the conclusions of scientific experimentation do not constitute a “world-view” as Hilde would have it. La Sierra’s president, Randal Wisbey, didn’t want to interviewed.
In a written statement, he said, “We expect that students will be introduced to the prevailing scientific views within a supportive classroom environment that values the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s contribution to the understanding of biblical creation.”
What a load of diplomatic hooey. Where is the value on the academics that lie behind the “prevailing scientific views”? Does this guy want to run La Sierra as a university or a church?
Worldwide Adventist Church President Jan Paulsen addressed the evolution controversy in June by calling on all Adventist university professors to advocate church teaching that creation occurred during six 24-hour days.
“Faith is certainly not subject to the findings of science,” he wrote.
Paulsen’s got it freaking backwards.
The finding of science–or history, anthropology, religious studies or biblical studies, for that matter-are not subject to faith.
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This kind of thing really pisses me off, and only reinforces my belief that universities that answer to religious belief first and not to the conclusions of advanced research that is subject to open scrutiny are not true universities and should be shunned, blacklisted and mocked by academics around the world. If a school wants to teach science, then teach it, don’t water it down with religion or make excuses for it. If they want to teach religion, then fine, but don’t pretend to be giving your students a good education in something else.
I feel the same way about the study of the Bible, too. Regardless of what seminaries, churches, Bible schools and Sunday Schools teach about it, it is also a subject for secular research into the history of human thought and behaviour. This secular approach to learning ABOUT religion is diametrically opposed to the teaching that any one body of religious teachings represent “truth”.
Hopefully, the board of governors will put academics ahead of appeasing the anti-intellectuals in the Church, and if that means breaking its ties with the Church, so be it. The students will be the ones to benefit.