August 13, 2008

Academic Standards For The Win

A federal judge upheld the right for the University of California to reject course credits from schools that are not up to their academic standards.

Plaintiffs in the case argued that students should have their credits honored by UC even if the school's curriculum declared the Bible as infallible and rejected current understanding of evolutionary biology in favor of superstition.

The school (rightly, IMHO) argued that it should be allowed to apply the same academic standards across the board, no matter what the religion of the students, and no matter what religion the originating school may be affiliated with. But plaintiffs wanted to frame the situation as religious discrimination against purportedly Christian beliefs. It is nothing of the sort.

"It appears the UC is attempting to secularize private religious schools," attorney Jennifer Monk of Advocates for Faith and Freedom said Tuesday. Her clients include the Association of Christian Schools International, two Southern California high schools and several students.

UC does nothing of the sort. It's as though these self-described Christian schools wish to ignore the consequences of ignoring science, yet their students want to participate in science programs at schools like UC.

Let's be honest, some self-described Christians who are Bible literalists have long declared their struggle a culture war. So it's not surprising that they paint academia with that brush. But it's merely a projection of their own worldview. It is they who imagine that by flooding universities with creationists, they'll gain traction for their superstition. They've been brushed back here, on purely academic grounds, which is as it should be.

If there are problems with evolutionary biology, you cannot solve those problems by being ignorant of it. This is a central problem of all anti-science; it's embracing of ignorance. That ignorance is a result of the fear of what learning can do to faith in things like the Bible's literal truth -- fear of having choices about what to believe -- fear about distinguishing between justified and unjustified belief.

Imagine trying to force a law school to accept credits from a school that refused to teach about any law that was not based directly on something in the Bible. It would be ridiculous.

In any case, the next battle will likely occur as these self-described Christians set up and fund their own universities, and then complain when their graduates can't get jobs in research.

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Posted by James at August 13, 2008 1:08 PM
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Yeah I saw this on Pharyngula. It's fine if you want your students to not be cognizant of reality, but you can't expect reality-based universities to ascribe any value to your students credits in woo-woo nonsense.

Don't like it? Boo-fucking-hoo. You walked away from reality, not the other way around.

Posted by: Chuck S at August 13, 2008 3:48 PM

Wonder if they would be upset if the University denied credits in classes at Fundamentalist Muslim schools.

Posted by: briwei at August 14, 2008 11:43 AM

LOL! Madrassa credits... there's a thought...

Posted by: Chuck S. at August 14, 2008 12:31 PM

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