I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dover Ain't Over II -- lawsuit against UC can go forward

The Los Angeles Times reported that a judge ruled that an evangelical school's suit against the University of California can go forward. Some more background information is in "Dover Ain't Over -- Darwinists now attacking criticism of Darwinism in private schools" on this 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). Unfortunately, many of the discussions of these two biology textbooks do not say which one is being discussed or if both are being discussed -- please keep this in mind in when reading the following discussions. BTW, it is noteworthy that the complaint listed only three plaintiffs' attorneys of record, compared to the 9-10 plaintiffs' attorneys of record in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case (with 5 volunteer attorneys from the Pepper-Hamilton law firm) and the 6 plantiffs' attorneys of record in the Hurst v. Newman case (which did not go to trial).

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 Wall Street Journal article said,

The university sends out a form letter to any school that proposes to teach biology and physics using one of the two biggest Christian textbooks now in circulation. The courses that assign such books, the letter claims, will not be "consistent with the viewpoints and knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community." Students thus "may not be well prepared for success" in the university's science courses. Chris Patti, the university's general counsel, tells me that the textbooks have many "scientific errors" and the "biggest one is [the way they describe] evolution."

Such a statement is itself far from rigorous. The physics textbook is like any other -- with pure science in it -- except that a verse from Scripture stands at the head of each chapter. Barbara Sawrey, a chemistry professor at the San Diego campus, who advised the university on this matter, told Burt Carney, the school association's legal-affairs director, that the verse appearances alone were enough to disqualify the textbook. (Talk about biased.)
[in original] 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.

At least some of the objection to the BJU biology textbook's "'general approach to science' in relation to the Bible" is based on the book's introduction, which says --

Those who do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling. This book was not written for them . . . . .

The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second . . . . . . . . . To the best of the author's knowledge, the conclusions drawn from observable facts and presented in this book agree with the Scriptures . . . .

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.

The above statements would appear to disqualify the textbook, but the following issues should be considered:

(1) Do the textbooks accurately cover evolution theory and other disputed mainstream scientific ideas, even if the textbooks teach that those ideas are wrong?

(2) Because many areas of modern science were virtually unknown when the Bible was written, the Bible conflicts with modern science in relatively few areas -- mostly just in evolution theory, paleontology, the age of rocks in geology, and heliocentrism.

(3) Contrary to the absurd slogan that "nothing makes sense in biology without evolution," it is easy to study biology in general without knowing or believing evolution theory.

(4) There is nothing to prevent students from getting such religious indoctrination outside of science classes.

Based on what I have seen, the plaintiffs appear to me to have a very good case, both in regard to the science textbooks and the non-science textbooks.

Not surprisingly, Ed "It's My Way or the Highway" Brayton said, "Having seen the biology curriculum and text, I can tell you that at least in that particular instance, the UC is absolutely justified in rejecting those courses for credit."

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

The standards for allowing a lawsuit to go forward are quite broad. The requirements to win such a suit are very different.

It seems like the schools don't have much of a case. They can teach whatever religion or mythology they want. The University of California and California State University require a certain amount of science. The schools can teach both science and religion. What the universities are not allowing is for people to count religion, mythology, or dogma, to count as meeting the science requirement. They also don't allow music or English literature classes to count toward the science requirement. Where is the problem with that?

Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

VIW said --

>>>>>The schools can teach both science and religion. What the universities are not allowing is for people to count religion, mythology, or dogma, to count as meeting the science requirement. <<<<<<

Sigh. Let's go back to what was said in my previous post on this subject --

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.

Also, the specific subjects that UC complained about, evolution and creationism, are covered in just one chapter of the BJU book, Chapter 8 ("The History of Life"). The chapter is about 40 pages long and evolution gets about 15 pages. I find it hard to believe that the whole book was condemned on the basis of just this one chapter plus the introduction (described in my opening post). Maybe this chapter could be covered in one or two weeks. In many biology classes in the public schools, the subject of evolution might be skipped altogether and UC would be none the wiser. Students can master the rest of the material without any knowledge of evolution theory -- Darwinists know this.

Anyway, VIW, my bet offer still stands -- I'll bet you 1000:1 that the plaintiffs will win this case (I just want to see how confident you are that the plaintiffs are going to lose).

Thursday, August 10, 2006 6:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> Anyway, VIW, my bet offer still stands -- I'll bet you 1000:1 that the plaintiffs will win this case (I just want to see how confident you are that the plaintiffs are going to lose). <

I had hoped that you would not back out of this bet. What do you want to bet?

Friday, August 11, 2006 1:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the units? $ZWD (Zimbabwe Dollars)? And is anyone eligible?

Friday, August 11, 2006 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

> Zimbabwe Dollars <

What happened to Zimbabwe Kwatchas?

Saturday, August 12, 2006 6:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

It looks like the dolt has backed off on the bet anyway.

Saturday, August 12, 2006 6:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Zimbabwe Dollars <

<< What happened to Zimbabwe kwatchas? >>

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The kwacha is the name of the monetary unit of Zambia (since 1968) and of Malawi (since 1971). {The Zambian kwacha is divided into 100 ngwee; the Malawian kwacha into 100 tambala.)

The name derives from the Bemba word for "dawn", alluding to the Zambian nationalist slogan of a "new dawn of freedom".
(Yeah, right!)

Since all three currencies are essentially worthless -- MWK/USD=143, ZMK/USD=4126, ZWD/USD=251 -- it is comical that they are "divided" into the equivalent of cents. Even our own cents are looking decidedly 3rd-worldish these days.

ZWD was once quite a strong currency (pre-Mugabe).

The 3-letter abbreviations are defined by the ISO 4217 standard.

<< It looks like the dolt has backed off on the bet anyway. >>

It would be unfair to take advantage of someone who would place a bet at such odds, regardless of the matter being wagered upon.

Saturday, August 12, 2006 9:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

<< What happened to Zimbabwe kwatchas? >>

> The kwacha is the name of the monetary unit of Zambia (since 1968) and of Malawi (since 1971). <

That's twice I have been wrong this week!

I have a friend who won a lawsuit in Zambia. He was paid off in non-convertable Kwachas.

It is a shame that for most of Africa the colonial period seems to have been their "Golden Age". Of course they still blame colonialism for their current problems.

> It would be unfair to take advantage of someone who would place a bet at such odds, regardless of the matter being wagered upon. <

Yes, but Larry(?) has a tendency to bend over while having a sign on his back written in his own handwriting that says "Kick Me!". With such a demonstrated desire on Larry(?)'s part, it might be cruel not to kick him.

It reminds me of a line in the movie "Magnificent Seven". The bandit explains why he took the last nearly worthless possessions of poor peasants. He said "It might be sacrilegious not to do so. If God had not wanted them to be shorn, he would not have made them sheep."

In a like way, if Larry(?) was not

Saturday, August 12, 2006 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

The previous post was cut off for some reason.

As well as Larry(?)'s bet (which he now seems to backing off of), If Larry(?) did not want to be laughed at, he would not act the fool. I can't help but believe that he actually realizes the vapidity of his arguments and operates this blog just for the attention that he is getting. I am willing to provide that attention as long as he continues to entertain us.

Saturday, August 12, 2006 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Larry(?) made a bet. I called him on it and he headed for cover. His cowardice is beyond belief.

Monday, August 14, 2006 12:16:00 PM  

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