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August 28, 2005

ID, UC, And U

PZ on UC disallowing creationist science classes from counting towards admission requirements:

This is something we have to deal with at universities all the time. We get transfer students, too, and we have to evaluate how their prior classwork corresponds to our requirements—after all, if they transfer to this university, and are planning to get a degree from this university, we're not going to give the degree to them because they met the standards of some other random university. Every year we get several students who want transfer credit from a community college or some other institution, and we review their class syllabus, look at the textbook used, ask whether it was a lab course or not, etc., and make decisions about whether it's good enough for UMM.
Looking at those
excerpts, there's no way we'd accept a course taught with that book here. If this lawsuit isn't laughed out of court, I know what I'm going to have to do: set up a mail-order university in my basement, offer courses in Advanced Molecular Biology and Molecular Genetics taught out of comic books, and tell people all they have to do is give me $200, I give them 100 credits in basic and upper level biology courses, and then they transfer to UC Berkeley, take a few basket-weaving courses, and graduate with a prestigious Berkeley biology degree. They have to accept any ol' trashy transfer credits, after all.

And, via PZ, Daniel Dennett on the mechanism that makes this all possible:

the proponents of intelligent design use a ploy that works something like this. First you misuse or misdescribe some scientist's work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a "controversy" to teach.
Note that the trick is content-free. You can use it on any topic. "Smith's work in geology supports my argument that the earth is flat," you say, misrepresenting Smith's work. When Smith responds with a denunciation of your misuse of her work, you respond, saying something like: "See what a controversy we have here? Professor Smith and I are locked in a titanic scientific debate. We should teach the controversy in the classrooms." And here is the delicious part: you can often exploit the very technicality of the issues to your own advantage, counting on most of us to miss the point in all the difficult details.

I'll be saying much more on this later...

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Comments

PZ's post has nothing to do what this case is about. They are not talking about classes counting as college credits (which is what PZ is referring to). There is a big difference though between transferring classes in and accepting classes as pre-reqs for admission.

The issue is whether the classes that they took at Calvary Chapel high schools prepare them for the college work load. While I very rarely defend anything related to Calvary Chapel, I would not be surprised if students graduating from Calvary Chapel schools are significantly more qualified for college than those that graduate from public schools. If this was true, it would go along with a pattern where most private schools, regardless or religious preference, better prepare their students for college.

Also, as we know, many public school systems are beginning to institute curiculum that challenges Darwninian evolution. Does that mean that the UC system will no longer accept students from these public schools because their science class criticized Darwin?

Posted by: dave | Aug 28, 2005 5:13:09 PM

" I would not be surprised if students graduating from Calvary Chapel schools are significantly more qualified for college than those that graduate from public schools"

Let's see: they have no understanding of basic biology, ie evolution, and have been reared on a textbook that is hell-bent on destroying any sense of investigative and/or critical thinking - hell, science is treated as a bad thing in a freaking science book. And I would be suprised as hell if their other subjects are taught with textbooks that are any less stupid than their biology books. And yet they are better prepared than public school kids? WTF? I went to a public school in the rural South and got a better education than these idiots-in-training* - God was absent from the teaching of evolution, and Mormons were left in peace. Private school does not automatically equate with a better education, especially when the school is run by anti-education morons.

As far as public schools choosing to raise creationalist idiots, I see no reason for universities to take students so obviously ill-prepared for a college education. Hell, after a couple years of watching their kids get wholesale rejected, some of these doofus-factory states might get a clue.

* The amount of nature needed to overcome the "nuture" of Calvary Chapel ("Making Children Stupid in God's Name") would be so staggering as to begger the imagination, so I severely doubt these little moppets are qualified for any job except Pat Robertson's fluffer.

Posted by: Phalamir | Aug 28, 2005 5:40:19 PM

Wow...lots of opinion without any facts.

they have no understanding of basic biology, ie evolution

Have you read their textbooks? From what I understand, they are taught biology. They are just also taught some form of an intelligent design theory. Just because they are are taught to criticize Darwn does not mean that they do not understand "basic biology".

And I would be suprised as hell if their other subjects are taught with textbooks that are any less stupid than their biology books.

Like what? Any examples?

Private school does not automatically equate with a better education, especially when the school is run by anti-education morons.

I never said it did. I never said that private school equated with better eduction. I did say that often these students are better qualified. And what is your basis of calling them "anti-education morons"?

Look...I am no supporter of private education. But at least use valid criticisms. Your comment shows that you know little regarding parochial schools. Very often they offer the best education possible. Very often you will find these students with better test scores. Very often you will these students better prepared for college.

No...these are not true all the time. But it is true often.

Posted by: dave | Aug 28, 2005 5:49:42 PM

Easy, Dave. It is a knee-jerk hate-based reaction Phalamir and those like him have toward private religious-based schools.
The question should be "Are these kids prepared to succeed at this college". Statistics say they are. They are not asking this question.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 28, 2005 6:04:01 PM

And for Ezra:
And here is the delicious part...
"delicious"? That is sooooo.....gay.

"Not that there is anything wrong with it"
---Seinfeld

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 28, 2005 6:11:07 PM

The question should be "Are these kids prepared to succeed at this college".

the true question: a secular education system is under rhetorical attack.

should the institutions thereof sit idly by and allow themselves to be infiltrated? or should they take active steps to preserve their foundations?

option 1, they are weak. option 2, they are bigots.

such is the perverse genius of the retrocrats.

Posted by: the shreeking ape | Aug 28, 2005 6:31:42 PM

a secular education system is under rhetorical attack.

OR you can switch it around and say this: a religious education system is under rhetorical attack.

And this system has been around since the beginning of this country.

should the institutions thereof sit idly by and allow themselves to be infiltrated?

Infiltrated? What are they afraid of? That their views might be challenged.

Again...don't get me wrong. There are many reasons to to support private religious schools. But not preparing them well for college is not one of those reasons.

Posted by: dave | Aug 28, 2005 7:42:58 PM

"They are not talking about classes counting as college credits (which is what PZ is referring to)."

It is, however, the same general process. The UC system has certain requirements for new students who wish to be considered for admission (transfer students just have the added burden of trying to transfer actual college credits as well). My 9th grade media arts class, for example, did not count as an English course. Neither did my 8th grade lanugage class count towards the required two (three?) years of a foreign language - not because I was in 8th grade, but because the class was not rigorous enough.

We are not talking about whether or not some tiny community college will accept these classes for consideration, we are talking about what is still one one of the most selective state university systems in the nation. My friends and I were sweating our applications to UCSD, UCLA, and UCBerkley almost as much as we were sweating our apps to Brown and Georgetown. The UC schools are supposed to be hard to get into.

"The issue is whether the classes that they took at Calvary Chapel high schools prepare them for the college work load."

No, actually, its not. That's the lie they tell you about the SAT, that all it measures is how likely you are to succeed in college, not actual knowledge or anything so mundane as that. The UC system is pretty up front with its prospective students (and their high schools) that their course requirements usually double as prerequisites for the general requirements you will need to take to graduate.

I don't know of any UC that does not have at least one lab science course as a general requirement for all graduates. Just as UC English professors don't feel they ought to be the ones teaching their students what a preposition is, UC science professors expect students who come in knowing the definition of science

Any science class that uses a textbook that flat out states that it does its best to "consistently to put the Word of God first and science second" would have a very difficult time fulfilling any of the two (or is it three?) years of a lab science that the UC system requires for admission. Especially if the textbook comes anywhere close to fullfilling its promise. I'm fairly certain that "How God Communicates with Man" is not on the list of required topics that need to be covered for a course to fufill the lab biology requirement.

"Does that mean that the UC system will no longer accept students from these public schools because their science class criticized Darwin?"

#1 - Darwin and evolution are not interchangable.

#2 - Actually, yes - if what you really meant to ask was "Does that mean the UC system will no longer accept public high school biology classes as fullfilling one of the required years of a lab science if the course material covers religious ideas instead of science or rejects the idea of evolution altogether?"

Its one thing to criticise accepted eveolutionary theory, its another to claim that the complexity of evolution proves that God has been guiding every change, and its something else altogether to claim the complexity of life is scientific evidence of God's existence.

Posted by: Jenny K | Aug 28, 2005 9:11:46 PM

I think scientists should start responding to arguments that mis-characterize their research by saying:

"No, it doesn't. Why are you such a liar?"

So, to the above commenters I ask, "Why do you think people should be awarded academic credit for subjects they've never studied? I would not expect a seminary to accept 2 semesters of Spanish as a substitute for 2 semesters of theology. Why would you expect a college to allow the study of Intelligent Design to substitute for Biology?"

Posted by: theorajones | Aug 29, 2005 11:37:54 AM

The UC schools are supposed to be hard to get into.

I agree with you on this. But again, I can guarantee you that some of these kids from private Christian schools are better qualified than some of the better students from public schools.

I don't know of any UC that does not have at least one lab science course as a general requirement for all graduates.

And I don't know of Christian schools who do not offer a lab science.

UC science professors expect students who come in knowing the definition of science

That is such a mischacterization of a Christian school. Do you truly believe that those students that graduate from Calvary Chapel high schools do not know the definition of science? If this is what you really believe, maybe you should look into these schools a little more.

#1 - Darwin and evolution are not interchangable.

I never said it was. But this is what the LA Times' article stated:

Under a policy implemented with little fanfare a year ago, UC admissions authorities have refused to certify high school science courses that use textbooks challenging Darwin's theory of evolution, the suit says.
That is why I speficially referred to Darwin.

its something else altogether to claim the complexity of life is scientific evidence of God's existence.

That is not what intelligent design says. Just as evolution is a theory, so is ID. These theories - both evolution and ID, are not "scientitific evidence" of the existence of anything.

"Why do you think people should be awarded academic credit for subjects they've never studied? I would not expect a seminary to accept 2 semesters of Spanish as a substitute for 2 semesters of theology. Why would you expect a college to allow the study of Intelligent Design to substitute for Biology?"

This is another complete mischaracterization of what they are teaching. They are not substituting ID for biology.

First of all, ID is not in opposition to biology. It is not even in complete opposition to many aspects of evolution. ID research does clearly use biological (and many other sciences) research, so to say that IS is a substitute for ID is ignorant of any concept of ID.

Second of all, I am assuming what you really mean is that they are substituting ID for the study of evolution. This is also untrue. They would teach ID along side of evolution. From what I understand of most of these schools desires, they would not stop teaching evolution. But they would also teach ID. That is a big difference between what you are talking about.

This is kind of funny that I am sitting here defending the teaching of ID. But in reality I am not saying that we should be teaching ID in the classroom.

But what I am saying is that people need to have a better understanding of what they are talking about in this situation before they sit there and criticize "anti-science", "lying", "Mis-characterterizing", "retrocrat", "creationalist idiot", "doofus-factory" "moppet", "anti-education morons".

Wow...I thought liberals were supposed to be tolerant. Do you really think that calling these people names is relly going to help? Do you really think that you will be listened to when you call them morons and idiots and doofuses?

Posted by: dave | Aug 29, 2005 1:20:01 PM

And this system has been around since the beginning of this country.

no, it hasn't. sectarian education at the national level was started by the catholics in the 19th cent, for largely economic reasons (the inner city schools of the time were insufficient to their needs).

Infiltrated? What are they afraid of? That their views might be challenged.

ID does not 'challenge' evolution, since it does not operate within the dialogue-process of science, rather it infiltrates.

'infiltrates' as in 'permeates under false pretenses with intent to destroy ediface from within'.

ID makes no falsifiable claims, therefore ID is not science, in a true contest ID would be defeated out-of-hand. to pretend a side-by-side teaching is a fair fight is disingenuous.

or put otherwise: the intent of ID is not to find some new scientific truth. the intent of ID is to subvert the dialogue-process of science in an effort to castrate science as a serious rival to top-down theocratic rhetorical processes.

put even simpler: when someone prods you with 'it's only a theory, after all', cover your scrotum and look for the hidden knife, because this person wants to own you.

Posted by: the shreeking ape | Aug 29, 2005 2:28:11 PM

ID = "not evolution therefore designer"

How exactly would you teach that "alongside" evolution, even if you wanted to?

"its something else altogether to claim the complexity of life is scientific evidence of God's existence.


That is not what intelligent design says. Just as evolution is a theory, so is ID. These theories - both evolution and ID, are not "scientitific evidence" of the existence of anything."

That is exactly what ID says. Here's the Discovery Institute's own definition of ID: "The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." The "scientific evidence" ID claims for itself is nature's complexity, not the theory. And complexity is indeed scientific evidence, just not for ID.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Aug 30, 2005 7:05:11 AM

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