Attention Kansas High School Students

You might want to pay attention to this:

Cody Young is an evangelical Christian who attends a religious high school in Southern California. With stellar grades, competitive test scores and an impressive list of extracurricular activities, Mr. Young has mapped a future that includes studying engineering at the University of California and a career in the aerospace industry, his lawyers have said.

But Mr. Young, his teachers and his family fear his beliefs may hurt his chance to attend the university. They say the public university system, which has 10 campuses, discriminates against students from evangelical Christian schools, especially faith-based ones like Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, where Mr. Young is a senior.

Mr. Young, five other Calvary students, the school and the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents 4,000 religious schools, sued the University of California in the summer, accusing it of “viewpoint discrimination” and unfair admission standards that violate the free speech and religious rights of evangelical Christians.

And what was this ‘viewpoint’ discrimination? The colleges refused to accept a few of their classes:

The university maintains that under the state Constitution, the Board of Admissions and Relations With Schools, a faculty committee, has the authority to set academic standards for admissions. Ravi Poorsina, a spokeswoman for the university, said the goal was to ensure that entering students were well-prepared and competitive.

“This is not a viewpoint issue for us,” Ms. Poorsina said. “Teach whatever you want. We don’t want to be in the position of dictating what is taught. But we do have a right to set standards for admission, and ours are not unreasonable requirements.”

A lawyer for the Association of Christian Schools International, Wendell Bird, said the Calvary concerns surfaced two years ago when the admissions board scrutinized more closely courses that emphasized Christianity. In the last year, the board has rejected courses like Christianity’s Influence in American History, Special Provenance: Christianity and the American Republic, Christianity and Morality in American Literature and a biology course using textbooks from the Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, conservative Christian publishers.

The officials rejected the science courses because the curriculum differed from “empirical historical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community,” the suit said. Calvary was told to submit a secular curriculum instead. Courses in other subjects were rejected because they were called too narrow or biased.

For texts, Ms. Poorsina said, the university wants comprehensive and instructive overviews. A university fact sheet says publishers sometimes acknowledge their books are mainly to teach religion. The sheet has this excerpt from Bob Jones’s “Biology for Christian Schools,” used in unapproved courses, “The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second.”

First, let me express my utter joy in the notion of white christians who attend private school being redefined as a ‘victims group.’ The ‘man’ is just keeping these poor religious folks down!. Second, what is really going on? Is it just a nasty secular university system trying to stamp God out of existence again? In short, no, and the NY Times article today went for so much ‘balance’ that we don’t know the whole story.

It is, on the other hand, a university system that refuses to certify students as competent in science and ready for admission when they are taugh using textbooks that deny evolution:

The Association of Christian Schools International, which represents more than 800 schools, filed a federal lawsuit last week claiming UC admissions officials have refused to certify high school science courses that use textbooks challenging Darwin’s theory of evolution. Other rejected courses include Christianity’s Influence in American History.

And remember what happened in Kansas in the past few weeks:

Risking the kind of nationwide ridicule it faced six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.

The 6-4 vote was a victory for “intelligent design” advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

Critics of the new language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state.

They aren’t ‘risking’ anything, really, because the ridicule is a certainty. At any rate, the Commisar wrote up a long piece on this several months ago, including a link some screen shots of the actual texts in question. I suggest you go check it out. In short, these folks are not being persecuted for their religion. They are being ‘persecuted’ because they are teaching their religion in place of science and other subjects.

59 replies
  1. 1
    Sojourner says:

    This is definitely good news. At last some consequences for playing games with curricula.

  2. 2
    Grotesqueticle says:

    Well, this is petty and small of me, I’m sure, but what kind of job does this kid want in the aerospace industry? Designing a rocket to find heaven?

    Of course, this will all be easily dismissed because, of course, only a liberal state like Cally would do something like this. I wonder what would happen if this same kid applied at Georgia Tech or Texas Tech. He’d get turned down there too. Science is science. Sending your kids to a school where they teach superstition in place of science might make parents feel all warm inside, but it ain’t doing the kids any favors.

  3. 3
    Nikki says:

    But isn’t this one of the goals of the theocrats, to not only get religion taught in grades K-12, but in the universities as well? Isn’t this part of why we’re having the fight for justices? Wouldn’t sympathetic judges eventually move this lawsuit to the Supreme Court?

    Am I being paranoid?

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    When it comes to the prosyletizers, no. You probably are not being paranoid.

  5. 5
    ppGaz says:

    what kind of job does this kid want in the aerospace industry? Designing a rocket to find heaven?

    Again my keyboard is drenched in coffee.

  6. 6
    Paddy O'Shea says:

    There is a form of Darwinian selection taking place in Kansas. Any kid with any ability whatsoever is getting the hell out.

  7. 7

    Again, I am reminded of The Onion’s story on “Intelligent Falling” versus the theory of Gravity.

    As far as Paddy’s reference to Darwin, I am not concerned about those individuals who are taught to be ignorant of facts so much as the overall negative effects on our country. Science curbed by dogma has in turns helped to hinder all sorts of societies and nations. Bad thing. My question is whether those running this country are intentionally destroying it by backing the Christo-paranoid beliefs of these nimrods, or they’re just doing it for their immediate gain.

  8. 8
    StupidityRules says:

    what kind of job does this kid want in the aerospace industry? Designing a rocket to find heaven?

    Maybe he wants to do what certain pharmacists are doing, shutting down the system from within. Or maybe he wants to look for more things like this?

    How about ‘Left Behind 101’?

    I’m guessing all this will end with something like this.

  9. 9
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    I’m telling you, my Thar’ Be Dragons proposal could work. Let’s find out how badly we can fuck up the minds in Kansas. And it really would be fun to be able to travel to, say, Wichita, and see a real live witch trial.

    If we work together, we can make this happen.

  10. 10
    Sojourner says:

    If we work together, we can make this happen.

    Sign me up!

  11. 11
    stickler says:

    I think the next big thing — after Darwinism is expunged — will be in space. The whole “heliocentric” “solar” system is definitely un-Biblical.

    That’s why the kid wants to build rockets. To prove that the Sun revolves around the Earth, just like the Bible says.

  12. 12
    Walker says:

    As someone who has to teach mathematics and science to these students (and I worked at an ultra-conservative Catholic university for many years), I say this is right on. The practice of science requires the acceptance of basic principles, and if you do not accept these principles, you are wasting your time and mine.

    However, to be fair, we should also be denying credit to courses that teach these kids postmodernist crap; that is equally harmful to science. You would not believe the number of students I have had that say logic is not a reliable tool and that all truth is a social construction.

  13. 13
    a guy called larry says:

    what kind of job does this kid want in the aerospace industry?

    To be serious, and non-coffee-spewing, the aerospace industry includes all fighter and bomber planes, as well as missiles, cruise and otherwise. One can smite the living shit out of some infidels with these tools.

  14. 14
    Jcricket says:

    Ah, consequences. Of course this will just embolden the wing-nuts to start attacking public funding for universities.

    The other thing I just love is how the wing-nuts are attempting to redefine the words discrimination and bigotry to mean “any attempt to deny me the right to impose my bigotry and discrimination on others”

    Reminds me of a recent court case that an employee filed against HP. HP had an anti-discrimination policy, diversity training and posters. One wing-nut employee got angry that the diversity included respecting gay people’s right to exist and be gay. So he put up anti-gay posters/signs from his religion and say it was “his duty”. He was counseled and ultimately fired when he refused to comply with company policies regarding respecting other employees. He then claimed discrimination. The court disagreed, stating that the HP policy was “pro respect” for all employees and was fairly employeed. IOW, a gay employee has the right to exist, and talk about their spouse. The gay employee does not have a right to say “the Bible is a fraud”

    We as a society have two choices. Let the wing-nuts use their “majority status” to impose their beliefs on us, or continue to move forward as a society that respects everyone, including the wing-nuts rights to do what they want in their own homes and churches (but not in schools and companies).

  15. 15
    Stella says:

    I’m confused. Wouldn’t a college placement exam or SAT scores measure a student’s knowledge of science? If the kid was serious about wanting to be accepted in a science program at a UC school, wouldn’t he need to have stellar scores He’s got pretty stiff competition in CA. And, why can’t the the high school have students sit for AP exams to show that their knowledge of science is comprehensive?

  16. 16
    Walker says:

    The other thing I just love is how the wing-nuts are attempting to redefine the words discrimination and bigotry to mean “any attempt to deny me the right to impose my bigotry and discrimination on others”

    Santorum gave the commencement address at my aformentioned ultraconservative Catholic university a few years ago. The above quote is essentially a paraphrase of his commencement address.

    While most of the faculty remained seated, the families gave him a standing ovation.

  17. 17
    Walker says:

    Wouldn’t a college placement exam or SAT scores measure a student’s knowledge of science?

    Where to begin? The short answer is “no way in hell”.

    SAT scores where originally meant to be an aptitude test. It was supposed to determine potential, like an IQ test, and not cover any subject material. While this has changed over the years so that no one really knows what the purpose of the SAT is anymore, the content-agnosticism still remains. There is no science and no mathematics above trigonometry. The verbals section tests for vocabulary and reading skills, but there is no attachment to the specific ideas learned in a history or English class.

    Perhaps the most potentially useful thing about the SAT these days may be the writing section. Students do need to know how to write before coming to college. But statistics done by a professor at MIT demonstrates that essay length is the factor most correlated with the score.

    Because of all this, the SAT is used only to weed out the absolute worst. However, its importance in admission other than as a cut-off level is minimal.

    There are achievement tests offered by the ETS in specific subjects, but schools typically only use them for language placement. All colleges determine credit for entrance requirements according to syllabi.

  18. 18
    Jcricket says:

    I’m confused. Wouldn’t a college placement exam or SAT scores measure a student’s knowledge of science

    SATs don’t measure familiarity/knowledge of science beyond the fact that math (which is tested) is on the SAT. Yes, the AP exams for physics, chemistry and biology would offer some test of a students knowledge in those areas. But that is not what’s at issue.

    In this case the issue is that UC refuses to certify the religious-themed science courses that students take as valid pre-requisites for UC science classes based simply on the fact that those “religious science” classes explicitly deny the validity of the fundamentals of modern science.

    IOW, those students that take a “religious-themed science course” will have to take an actual science course (“pre-college science for dummies”) before UC system allows them to take a college science course at a public university. That’s all.

    You are free to teach your kid lots of things, in the course of home or parochial schooling. Those kids are free to apply to public or private colleges. Both public or private colleges are well within their rights to set standards for which high-school level courses are valid prerequisites for the college courses.

    An example is that colleges often say calculus is a pre-requisite for any 100-level science course. That discriminates against students that don’t like math, don’t take math, or high schools that don’t offer calculus. The solution is for those students to take calculus at summer school or at the college before they take the science classes. If they refuse, no science for them.

    These wing-nuts will be laughed out of court. And they will take those results as more proof they should only go to religious colleges and home-school their kids, thus worsening the problem (American kids falling farther behind the rest of the world in graduating engineering, math and CS students).

  19. 19
    Walker says:

    JCricket said:

    These wing-nuts will be laughed out of court

    The article said:

    The university has approved courses on Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and gender and counterculture’s effects on literature, he noted

    This is the one thing that has me concerned. California is also the land of ethnic mathematics. African contributions to mathematics are minimal and they de-emphasize the importance of proof. So this is equally harmful to science. But California doesn’t play hardball against them.

    As I said, this is an important stance for universities to take, but they have to be consistent with both religion and postmodernist multiculturalism.

    Of course, if the lawyers really try this angle of argument:

    Discussing the university, he said: “They certainly have a right to say the student needs to take foundational courses. That’s fair. But when you get into the business of saying how a particular subject is taught or if it has too much of a religious overlay, then I think you are crossing a line.”

    then the universities of have nothing to worry about. By this argument, I should be forced to take any course simply because they called it by the right name.

    Hell, it has reached the point in schools that I cannot accept a 4 on the Calculus AB AP test for credit anymore because of the way in which “the particular subject is taught”.

  20. 20
    docG says:

    Has the expansive overreaching of social conservatives hit the tipping point yet? Thinking people from across the political spectrum MUST identify these people and vote against them, regardless of party affiliation.

    Politicans of any religious persuasion should use their faith as a moral compass in determining policy. Those that use their religion AS policy cannot represent a broader constituency, and represent a danger to our society, the above post as a good example.
    Voters finally got sick of the extreme social liberals (remember such delightful bon mots as “all heterosexual sex is rape”) and the mainstream Democrats’ failure to call these folks on their bullshit, expediting defections to Republicans. The wheel has turned again and the results will show at the ballot box soon.

  21. 21
    Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    In another few decades, the Chinese will be eating our lunch when it comes to science.
    The U.S. fundies are launching Crusade v2.0 and burning heretics. Meanwhile, China is ramping up its sapce program. I’ll bet they’ll be the first to terraform Mars.

  22. 22
    SoCalJustice says:

    Never been more proud to be from California and not from Kansas.

    Cody Young = future engineer who believes in magic. Cool.

    Enjoy Bob Jones U/Oral Roberts U/[Weirdly named Evangelical Figure] U, etc…

  23. 23
    apotheosis says:

    As a Kansas parent, all I can say is this: it’s always been necessary for parents to pay close attention their kids’ schooling in order to counter pernicious influences from the far left.

    This changes little, except now it’s a pernicious influence from the far right.

  24. 24

    Doc G, I don’t remember “all heterosexual sex is rape.”

  25. 25
    tzs says:

    As I mentioned on another thread, we just sold a $200K instrument for use in nanotechnology and biotechnology to a Chinese high school. *A Chinese high school.* Think a little about that again.

    These anti-science idiots will make us a third-world country. Hope you like watching your grandchildren trying to live off subsistence farming, Mr. Young.

  26. 26

    […] For once I’d like to see a blog discussion addressing the ramifications of Intelligent Design upon the education system that doesn’t turn into Christian-bashing. However, this thread at Balloon Juice ain’t it. John Cole links to a NYTimes article on an evangelical high school student in California who is suing the state university system for denying him course credit. I’m agnostic about ID in public schools — as any true federalist should be — but my eye-rolling reflex got going at the identity politics overtones of the lawsuit. That said, I feel sorry for the kid, and everyone taking the piss out of him in the comment thread has conveniently ignored the fact that the article doesn’t explain his personal beliefs about science. […]

  27. 27
    whatsleft says:

    Science is NOT about “personal beliefs”. That would be philosophy. You can look it up!

  28. 28
    SoCalJustice says:

    That said, I feel sorry for the kid, and everyone taking the piss out of him in the comment thread has conveniently ignored the fact that the article doesn’t explain his personal beliefs about science. […]

    If he’s upset about the fact that good, public schools won’t recognize his hocus pocus coursework, he should sue his parents instead of the University of California.

  29. 29
    Fledermaus says:

    Thinking people from across the political spectrum MUST identify these people and vote against them, regardless of party affiliation.

    Unfortunatly it takes a majority to get elected.

  30. 30
    SeesThroughIt says:

    To be serious, and non-coffee-spewing, the aerospace industry includes all fighter and bomber planes, as well as missiles, cruise and otherwise. One can smite the living shit out of some infidels with these tools.

    Bwah! The phrase “smite the living shit out of some infidels” is comedic gold.

    Anyway, I agree that this lawsuit is bullshit, the whole thing is a complete overreach by the wacko religious right, and if logic and rationality prevail, this lawsuit will get laughed out of court.

    It’s nice that this kid has laid out a path for himself, but as the great sage Denis Leary said, “When I was a kid, I wanted to be the starting center fielder for the Boston Red Sox. Life sucks–get a fuckin’ helmet.”

  31. 31
    Ancient Purple says:

    For once I’d like to see a blog discussion addressing the ramifications of Intelligent Design upon the education system that doesn’t turn into Christian-bashing. However, this thread at Balloon Juice ain’t it. John Cole links to a NYTimes article on an evangelical high school student in California who is suing the state university system for denying him course credit. I’m agnostic about ID in public schools — as any true federalist should be — but my eye-rolling reflex got going at the identity politics overtones of the lawsuit. That said, I feel sorry for the kid, and everyone taking the piss out of him in the comment thread has conveniently ignored the fact that the article doesn’t explain his personal beliefs about science.

    I can’t decide if this is more prattle or drivel, but in any event, it is crap.

    This thread is not Christian bashing. This thread is bashing people who cannot understand the difference between religion and science. In the U.S., that tends to be the Dobson-and-Robertson-loving denizens that believes that God is going to smite them and their family for generations if they even suggest that evolution has some validity to it.

    As for the fact that the article didn’t mention Mr. Young’s personal beliefs about science, who cares? They are irrelevant to the lawsuit and the discussion.

    Kudos to Mr. Young for having convictions and faith and principles and all that. He still has to meet the standards for getting into and completing the coursework for any university.

    If he is unwilling to do that, there are many wonderful vocational schools that will be more than happy to teach him a trade.

  32. 32
    Steve S says:

    For once I’d like to see a blog discussion addressing the ramifications of Intelligent Design upon the education system that doesn’t turn into Christian-bashing.

    It bothers me that we have idiots like this running around claiming that only they speak for Christianity.

    The fact that he claims to speak for me and my faith and claims that the people here are bashing my faith simply because they are pointing out people acting with very anti-Christian attitudes, is deeply offensive.

  33. 33

    You know, according to WordPress spec, a pingback will send an excerpt of a post nestled around the link in question. In other words, it sends only part of the linking post. It bothers me that you two comment on something without actually, erm, reading it.

    Also, Steve, which ecumenical council convened and appointed you judge of what constitutes Christian-bashing? This kid is obviously very smart, and there’s no reason to mock him for his beliefs, which people in this thread certainly have. The lawsuit is eminently and rightly mockable as victimization bullshit, which is one of John’s points. Attacking him personally is very different from attacking the lawsuit or even his school’s questionable curricula, and it’s rather sad that people here cannot separate the chaff of personal insults from the wheat of intelligent criticism.

  34. 34
    Mr Furious says:

    Ah, shut the hell up and make sure you get your app. out to Bob Jones as a back-up school. I hear they’ve got a great aerospace program…

    This is all on this kid’s parents, they set him on the path for this bullshit confrontation years ago. He can get some actual college science under his belt somewhere else or in another program and transfer into aerospace or he can choose another field. I feel bad for him if he really wanted to go into this field and is being hamstrung by his dumb-ass high school and ‘thumper parents, but what is the University supposed to do? He can’t demonstrate the proper background with his transcript. Period.

  35. 35
    Pb says:

    Matthew J. Stinson,

    I’m appalled that you aren’t taking my personal views about WordPress into consideration in your analysis. I trust that you’ll be more considerate about other’s personal beliefs in the future.

  36. 36
    Ancient Purple says:

    You know, according to WordPress spec, a pingback will send an excerpt of a post nestled around the link in question. In other words, it sends only part of the linking post. It bothers me that you two comment on something without actually, erm, reading it.

    Consulting your crystal ball, Mr. Stinson? That’s a big no-no in Christianity. But that is all that I can surmise you did because I did, in fact, read your entire blog entry with the section I quoted in context before I responded.

    I then returned to Balloon Juice to offer a response on what you had written in regards to two issues and two issues alone: Christian bashing and Mr. Young’s personal beliefs about science. That is all I wanted to comment on and nothing else. Luckily, it was all contained in the one paragraph that was pinged back to Balloon Juice.

    I will reiterate again that there is no wholesale Christian bashing here. There is bashing against the right wing of the Christian Church that cannot distinguish between religion and science. Since you claim there is wholesale Christian bashing going on here, perhaps you could enlighten us by indicating exactly how we are bashing the following: Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, the United Church of Christ, the Coptic Church, the Eastern Rite Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church or the Russian Orthodox Church.

    As I said before, I respect Mr. Young’s beliefs. But those beliefs do not trump standards for admission to colleges and universities. Good for him that his faith is bolstered by his belief that evolution is a sham. He still has to follow the rules for admission.

    Mr. Young has taken the first step in discovering that sometimes life is a veil of tears.

    I wish him Godspeed on the rest of his journey.

  37. 37
    Brian says:

    Go read Rosenberger v. Rectors of U. of Virgina, a Supreme Court case from 1995 That case will tell you all you need to know why this is pure viewpoint discrimination.

    Here’s the link to the case.

    C’mon, no need for the sarcasm. Of course white Christians are the most discriminated group going. Just go to any college today. For example, at my law school, you would not believe the open hostility to Christians. Our moot court tryout problem was ahypo based on Reverend Pat Robertson and all of the Christians he commanded to go on a rampage to commit murder and arson. And why not say that crap? It isn’t like anyone is going to discipline you for your bigotry. (Goes for Jews too) Of course, if you dare say Islam isn’t a peaceful religion, you’ll be hauled up in front of the “hate speech” committee in record time.

  38. 38
    Tulkinghorn says:

    Of course white Christians are the most discriminated group going. Just go to any college today. For example, at my law school, you would not believe the open hostility to Christians. Our moot court tryout problem was ahypo based on Reverend Pat Robertson and all of the Christians he commanded to go on a rampage to commit murder and arson.

    Instead of condemning the hypo in your law school, ask why this might be considered a relevant and credible hypo to begin with. Then again, I went to an explicitly Christian Law School, albeit one outside the definition of Christian according to many bigotted Evangelical Christians. Since it was topical, our “write-on” hypo involved the Taliban. I can’t recall any Muslim students considering this to be discrimination.

    You are not talking about discrimination here. You are just whining that conventional definitions of political correctness do not extend to include your favorite group. Tough shit.

  39. 39
    Tulkinghorn says:

    Oh, I just read your citation. It does not relate to science standards, just the funding of student affinity groups. Your not persuading anyone with it.

  40. 40
    Mike says:

    And yet, you for some reason failed to mention “the rest of the story”.
    They decided not to accept courses such as “Christianities influence on history” (yeah…religion has had NO influence on history right?), but they DID accept courses concerning Budism, Judism, alternative lifestyles, Islam, etc. This is prejudice against Christian education, nothing more. Only an idiot would think otherwise.

  41. 41
    Tulkinghorn says:

    Out on a limb here, because I don’t know what exactly was in the ‘Christian’ texts that may have made them unacceptable, but,

    is there not a distinction between a text that is about religion (eg comparative religion, or about the history of religion(s)) and a course that seeks to explain history based primarily on religious theories?

    A history of American religion would not be questionable, but a history of America explicitly from one sectarian viewpoint would be insufficient.

    Again, the problem is not the academy’s discrimination against Christians, but a refusal to accept Christianist political correctness.

  42. 42
    Shygetz says:

    A history of American religion would not be questionable, but a history of America explicitly from one sectarian viewpoint would be insufficient.

    In order to get into most colleges, you have to have taken certain classes in high school–American History, some math, some science, etc. This student is trying to use what are basically religion classes to fill these requirements. The University is absolutely doing the right thing here, and the court case is laughable. It seems the Christian persecution complex enjoys getting pasted in court.

    This kid is obviously very smart, and there’s no reason to mock him for his beliefs, which people in this thread certainly have.

    Since the recent re-energization of the fundamentalist movement in America, this has become one of my pet peeves. Why does religion get a free pass when it comes to mockery? If I believe that Karl Marx was absolutely right about society and economy, people will ridicule me mercilessly. But if I believe some ancient collection of books is absolutely right about Life, the Universe, and Everything, my beliefs must be respected. If Jerry Garcia talks to me in my head, I must be a looney, but if Jesus talks to me, I am very spiritual. How nuts does a religion have to be before we can mock it? People seem to have little problem mocking the Scientologists, but Fundamentalists are ok?

  43. 43
    Krista says:

    Good point, Tulkinghorn. It’s the same argument that many are using against ID being taught in science class. If one wants to learn about religion, and if a school offers a class about religion, then great. The problem is that other classes are having factual information skewed through the lens of religion. It’s hard enough to learn history objectively, as most of our history is taught with a bias towards the North American experience. If you teach history from the Christian viewpoint, it becomes even more distorted. And as for science…well, for those who are extreme in their faith, many aspects of science are incompatible with religion. The university has every right to ensure that all students coming in are starting from the same base point of knowledge.

  44. 44
    Walker says:

    They decided not to accept courses such as “Christianities influence on history” (yeah…religion has had NO influence on history right?), but they DID accept courses concerning Budism, Judism, alternative lifestyles, Islam, etc. This is prejudice against Christian education, nothing more. Only an idiot would think otherwise.

    While I agree this is the only leg the plaintiffs have to stand on, there is a problem here of not knowing the whole story. The university’s stance on science and humanities have been mixed in this article. It is very possible their is viewpoint discrimination in the humanities while not in the sciences. But in those cases the dismissal is because the courses were “too narrow”. I cannot make any judgement on this without seeing the syllabi, and neither can anyone else here.

    However, the opening quote from the Bob Jones biology text alone is good enough for me to dismiss it.

    If the religious right really have problems with modern science, they need to make a text that has a section distinguishing methodological naturalism from metaphysical naturalism. This would allow students to hold their beliefs while properly learning the basic principles of science.

  45. 45
    SoCalJustice says:

    That case will tell you all you need to know why this is pure viewpoint discrimination.

    Sorry. Student clubs and a university’s admissions policies are not analogous.

    Cody, or anyone else, has a right to his religious education. But most people go to something called “Sunday School” to learn their Bible – and those classes do not count towards college admissions.

    And since it seems every day is “Sunday School” for Cody, that’s something his school and parents should have thought about earlier.

    The overwhelming majority of Christian/Catholic parochial schools teach science classes in a way that doesn’t conflict with University of California admissions standards.

    Maybe the future Codys of the world, instead of going to “Sunday school,” can go to “science school” on the weekends.

  46. 46
    BIRDZILLA says:

    And i,ll bet that its the infamous UC Berkeley

  47. 47
    Larry says:

    Why the angst about this kid getting into college?

    He has The Air Force Academy drooling.

  48. 48
    Brian says:

    Tulkinghorn – Thanks for making my point. By equating the Taliban (true killers) with Christians (imagined killers) you make my point about the bias against Christians in law schools. Thanks genius.

    Also, SoCal Justice – I see your point when you say that “Student clubs and a university’s admissions policies are not analogous.” In fact, I never saw how the right of married couples to use contraception equates to the right to stick a scissors in a baby 1 minute before its born either. But, if you read the case again, you’ll see the definition of viewpoint discrimination. The school funded the clubs except those with a Christian viewpoint. Here, the univerisities approve of state-approved school textbooks except those with a religious viewpoint. This is perfectly analagous when this case goes to court I guarantee you that the lawyer will point to Rosenberger again and again. If you don’t agree, fine. Just keep your eye on the briefs and you’ll then see I am right.

  49. 49
    Brian says:

    I just noticed this:

    Tulkinghorn Says:

    Oh, I just read your citation. It does not relate to science standards, just the funding of student affinity groups. Your not persuading anyone with it.

    You must have went to a really great law school to not understand why I pointed to Rosenberger. Probably too busy teaching you every day that any criticism of gays, affirmative action, or illegal aliens is hate speech deserving of 35 years in jail.

  50. 50
    Walker says:

    Here, the univerisities approve of state-approved school textbooks except those with a religious viewpoint.

    They may try to make the argument, but it will still fail. This argument is a Slippery Slope fallacy that relies on philosophical relativism to equivocate belief systems. This is a standard tactic of the postmodernist left, and we scientists have fighting it for years. It has now been embraced by the religious right in their support of ID, just like Sokal predicted would happen in Fashionable Nonsense back in 1996.

    As far as science is concerned, there are objective means for evaluating one “viewpoint” over another. Students that do not learn this do not understand one of the basic principles of science. To claim that a university must accept coursework whose primary purpose is to forward unscientific theories (Which includes creationism and ID — I have read Behe and Dembski and can trivially point out the logical fallacies in their arguments, including Dembski’s sophisticated random walk theorems) is tantamount to saying that the university must have no admission requirements in the sciences. By this argument, a unversity must also accept a course on the teachings of Ludwig Plutonium as an acceptable “viewpoint” of physics.

    There is a clear categorical difference between extra-curricular organizations and academics in the mission of the university. The primary purpose of the former is to support cultural communities within the university and is only auxilary to the educational mission. The purpose of the latter is to teach students to evaluate ideas and philosophies, determining which ones are superior to others (and some are superior to others). This has been the primary goal of universities since the Enlightenment.

    To say that public universities do not have the ability to deny the efficacy of certain “viewpoints” because they are public, is to deny the viability of the public university in general. No judge, especially no judge in California, is going to buy this argument.

    You must have went to a really great law school to not understand why I pointed to Rosenberger. Probably too busy teaching you every day that any criticism of gays, affirmative action, or illegal aliens is hate speech deserving of 35 years in jail.

    And if you expect to be taken seriously you should make rational arguments and avoid contentless ad hominem attacks.

  51. 51
    SoCalJustice says:

    I guarantee you that the lawyer will point to Rosenberger again and again.

    He might point to it again and again, but he will still lose, because again funding for student groups is different then the ability to set admissions standards based on generally accepted academic and accreditidation standards. And since it is different, the same legal test will not apply.

    If someone were to set up a school for wiccans based on witchcraft, and science classes there taught that potions made with eye of newt and wolfsbane cured leukemia, and some kid got an A in the class, the University of California (or any other school) would not have to treat that “A” like the “A” of someone who took an accredited chemistry class.

    Now, if some wiccan had already gotten into the University, and that wiccan had a club with a newspaper as part of the student activities program, and the University then refused to pay for the printing costs of the newspaper – while they were paying for those of other clubs – because of this group’s “beliefs,” then yes, that wiccan’s lawyer would win the case.

    In short, the University saying to some high school or high school student that their science class is not a science class, but rather a “science” class, and thus they will not be prepared to attend the Univesity, is not “viewpoint discrimnation” per Rosenberger, but rather the permissible, necessary and fair setting of academic admissions standards.

    If not, anyone could set up any school – even home schooling – give themselves or their school kids “A’s” in “Physics: the sky is blue because it’s Jesus’ favorite color” – and everyone could get into the University of their choice.

    As I said before, the overwhelming majority (I can’t emphasize this enough) of Christian and Catholic parochial high schools teach science classes in a manner fully compatible with California public university admissions standards. Here, we are talking about a rather tiny minority who refuse to do so.

    From the story:

    A lawyer for the university, Christopher M. Patti, called the suit baseless. Acknowledging the university does not accept some courses, Mr. Patti said that more than 43 courses were recognized and that university campuses had offered admission to at least 18 Calvary students since 2002. “Calvary students are perfectly free to take whatever courses they like,” Mr. Patti said. “All we are saying is that unapproved courses cannot be submitted to satisfy the requirements for entry.”

    And their lawyer is suing on behalf of a group which has had members make it into the Univesity system anyway (because, gasp, they satisfied the academic requirements).

  52. 52
    SoCalJustice says:

    Here’s the complaint (pdf).

    It’s 107 pages of fun. If my search function is working properly, the word “viewpoint” is mentioned 149 times. Rosenberger is cited exactly ZERO times. (Because it’s not analagous).

    I see Mr. Young is trying to get in to my undergrad. It would have been much better had he taken courses they required rather than tried to sue his way into school.

    By the way, I had a handful of extremely religious Christian friends while there – most of them were in fact engineering students – just like Mr. Young wants to be. They had no problem getting in.

  53. 53
    scs says:

    Well I think it all depends on what the highschool courses actually teach, as it’s all a matter of proportion. I would hope the college has an outline of the class and/or looked at the textbooks. For instance, if 95% of the class was regular info, and 5% was religion, then I think that would be discrimination not to accept it. In other words, if the class at least teaches the same basics that other schools do, and then sticks some religion on top of that, I think that would be okay. Probably the best way to solve this is to give students who challenge the rejection of their coursework an exam to test how much they really know and see if it passes the minimum for that course.

  54. 54
    scs says:

    what kind of job does this kid want in the aerospace industry? Designing a rocket to find heaven?

    Religion can coexist very well with science. Some famous chemistry professor around here, who won a lot of science awards, I believe his name is John Schaefer(?) is also a big-time fundamentalist Christian and goes around giving lectures on Christianity and the sciences. (Sorry I don’t remember more details on him at the moment, but you get my point). Even Albert Einstein was religious, wasn’t he? So I’m sure this student can turn out to be a very good engineer. Just because you’re religious, doesn’t mean you are stupid. I really do feel that there is an anti-religious bias in some people. It’s kind of the Euro attitude infecting the attitudes of people here who at least like to think of themselves as ‘Continental’. Just because it’s European, doesn’t mean it’s better people!

    P.S. I’m not even religious, but I hate to see the recent hysteria heaped upon religious people.

  55. 55
    Don says:

    Religion can coexist very well with science.

    Absolutely, so long as religion allows science to co-exist along with it. And many religious schools do not allow it.

    One of my closest friends has a PhD in physics and went to a christian school down in Homestead, Florida. He graduated top in his class (we like to joke that he himself was the top 11% of his class as he was one of 9 in a graduating class) but still had to take several introductory level science classes at a community college before starting at Carnegie Mellon Univ.

    That wasn’t discrimination because his school was of a religious bent, it was because they simply did not offer appropriate science classes to allow him to enter school competitive with his classmates. Additionally, many of these more competitive universities simply do not offer the lower level classes that are pre-requisites because the majority of their entering freshmen have those requirements already.

    As far as examining the content of the course, the suggestion that this is inappropriate is just silly. Even within their own university they likely examine the course content to determine suitability. The requisite courses for my computer science degree required several science classes that had to have a “sufficiently rigorous qualitative process” and chemistry was accepted but environmental science was not. These were not courses from a high school or another university, they were internal offferings that had been examined and determined to be insufficient for the required purpose.

    If the schools feel they are being discriminated against can demonstrate that their literature courses are applying a rigor and challenging and actually evaluating the content of the texts they are reading similar to those secular classes, they should do so. I am willing to bet that the level of critical analysys we applied to the work of Keats isn’t echoed in their Bible readings. I’d be happy to be proved wrong.

  56. 56
    scs says:

    If the schools feel they are being discriminated against can demonstrate that their literature courses are applying a rigor

    I agree. It’s really all a pretty cut and dried decision, I believe. If a course has the basic rigor, even if mixed in with a little religion, then it should be accepted. If not, then no. And I’m not sure if you meant me when you wrote this “As far as examining the content of the course, the suggestion that this is inappropriate is just silly”, because I suggested they SHOULD examine the coursework.

  57. 57
    Don says:

    Oh, I merely quoted you because I had been thinking about the fact that so many religious organizations that complain about being discriminated against in the secular world work so hard to keep the secular world away from them. That’s fine if they want to do it when it’s their life, but to suggest that it’s discrimination when they’re not preparing their students to function in the world they claim they’re being kept out of… Someone IS keeping your students out of better schools and it’s their current teachers.

  58. 58
    Mike Public says:

    I have two suggestions:
    * All geology texts should be required to bear a label stating that plate tectonics is a theory, and that earthquakes might be caused by some intelligent designer deciding it’s time for San Francisco to slip into the ocean.

    * All religious texts, including the bible, should be required to bear a label stating that not everyone believes the stories contained therein.

  59. 59
    An Unbiased Opinion says:

    *All biology texts should be required to bear a label stating that Darwinism is only a theory, and sould therefore not be considered fact.

    Just how many of you know anything at all about science? Let me put it this way, chemistry is the basis for biology, and in chemistry, whenever we think we know how something works, we propose a mechanism. We all know that this mechanism may or may not be correct, but we go with it until another mechanism surfaces that provides a more complete answer to our original question. And to be honest, Darwinism leaves far too many holes for me to take it as fact. Do I know the answers? Probably not. But I know what the answer isn’t.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] For once I’d like to see a blog discussion addressing the ramifications of Intelligent Design upon the education system that doesn’t turn into Christian-bashing. However, this thread at Balloon Juice ain’t it. John Cole links to a NYTimes article on an evangelical high school student in California who is suing the state university system for denying him course credit. I’m agnostic about ID in public schools — as any true federalist should be — but my eye-rolling reflex got going at the identity politics overtones of the lawsuit. That said, I feel sorry for the kid, and everyone taking the piss out of him in the comment thread has conveniently ignored the fact that the article doesn’t explain his personal beliefs about science. […]

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