The Dictatorship of the Enlightened

Now listen up. This is some major league B.S. censorship nanny-state crapola.

The University of California system is refusing to take students from a Christian high school that teaches unorthodox views of biology and history. They say the students will be “unprepared.”

I’m not sure when I’ve heard anything quite so insincere. It doesn’t matter whether you slept through biology in high school, you will be aware of Darwin. In fact, these Christian students will have heard of Darwin and his theory, if only in the manner of refutation. Having been taught the “correct” version of the theory of origins has zero to do with one’s eventual performance at the university.

Imagine this scenario: Benighted, fundamentalist Christian student goes to a school teaching a highly Christocentric version of history, science, etc. He also happens to be quite intelligent and trots out an SAT score around 1450.

Question: Will this young man have any trouble putting up A’s in the University of Californa institutions? Noooooooooooooooooooooo.

Given that is the case, there can be only one reason for the policy recently announced. Intimidation. Welcome to secular totalitarianism lite.

(HT: Ted Olsen at Christianity Today on the web)

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46 thoughts on “The Dictatorship of the Enlightened

  1. How unorthodox is too unorthodox, Hunter? Can the schools teach astrology instead of astronomy? How about using a textbook written by Kent Hovind? You’ve been to school. You understand what a prerequisite is.

    If this high school is teaching scientific facts which are not true, then they should hardly be suprised when those courses aren’t accepted by major universities. Frankly, I think they’ve opened themselves up to liability — parents paid for their children to be taught biology, and they were not.

  2. I’ll leave my point as made in the original post. You and I both know the hypothetical youngster isn’t crippled by having been taught Darwin got it wrong. He’ll attend his science class at Cal. Berkeley or wherever and he’ll get the gospel good and straight from the priestly class. No problem at all. He’ll learn it and take tests on it and can decide in his mind what he thinks for himself.

    What Cal. is doing is simply screening this kid out. They don’t want his kind there.

  3. If college entrance requirements are meaningless, then why require a high school diploma at all?

  4. Well, L.A. they only accepted the coursework from this particular high school for many, many years. Why the sudden change? If they were documenting inadequate preparation, I’d imagine they’d have to stop accepting many students from poor-performing public schools, even if their grades and SAT’s were strong.

  5. Good Q and A in the previous comments. My comment is on the discrimination aspect. Most employers are required to state that they do not discriminate accoriding to “… creed…” and yet UC appears to have no qualms doing so. No matter how they parse the terms, labeling the students “unprepared” or whatnot, it is discrimination, especially since it is a public university and receives money from tax-payers. Last I checked, Christians pay taxes as well.

    Secondly, if a college refeuses a student because he is unprepared, what is that college for? I thought the goal of education was to prepare (this is a simplistic summary and I know it). Do they only want students whom they do not need to educate?

  6. There is an accrediting body in the state of California that extends or withholds credentials to secondary institutions. Why does the UC system need to place additional course content burdens on top of those standards? I would have no problem with a private institution making such a decision, but UC is supported by the taxpayers of California and the taxpayers through the legislature therefore have a say in how the school is run. I’d like to know how much of this policy was imposed internally, and how much public discussion there was about it.

    The students will be unprepared? What a crock. Over a third of the freshmen entering the UC system every year have to take remedial courses in basic English proficiency. If they’re already coping with that level of unpreparedness, I think they could cope with a few evangelicals who need to sit in the library for a few hours and bone up on Darwin.

    The UC system also has no problem admitting graduates of Delphi Schools, which are run by Scientologist fruitcakes.

    How unorthodox is too unorthodox? Well how orthodox is orthodox enough? Are they going to stop with evolution, or will prospective UC students soon have to be vetted for approved coursework in the history of imperialist hegemony, postmodern nihilist philosophy, and whatever environmental enthusiasm has replaced religious piety this week?

  7. You’re all dancing around the fact that this school is openly teaching students things that are not true in place of science. Frankly, I still don’t see the problem with not allowing those courses to fulfill the very specific coursework requirement that the UC has.

  8. I think the magic bullet in this case is called motivation. Unless the UC System is going to be able to show some link between having attended this school and having performed badly at UC schools, their going to be in big trouble.

  9. Then like I said above, why have any requirements at all? I’m sure that I would have done fine in college had I not taken any number of the courses that they required for admission.

  10. HUnter a student that has “heard” of darwin in a setting that completely mangles the facts of evolution will most certainly be unprepared for a degree in biology. On the other hand they’d probably be fine for any non-science field. Your contention that having heard of something regardless of what you were taught about it making you proficient with a subject is ludicrous.

  11. No, it’s not T. By your logic, the student should only not be admitted if he plans to study biology, but is even that realistic or sense-making? So what if he took a course saying Darwin was wrong? He’ll take the college level bio courses and stand or fall on his performance, not his beliefs. At least that’s how it should be.

  12. “No, it’s not T. By your logic, the student should only not be admitted if he plans to study biology,”

    No I just said he’d be incompetent at biology and less disadvantaged at other subjects. The question is whether the UC system requires everyone regardless of eventual major to have a background in biology and they do. This is from their admissions site talking about the “a-g” courses EVERY incoming student must have:

    “Laboratory Science – 2 years required, 3 years recommended
    Two years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in two of these three core disciplines: biology, chemistry and physics. Advanced laboratory science classes that have biology, chemistry or physics as prerequisites and offer substantial additional material may be used to fulfill this requirement. The final two years of an approved three-year integrated science program may be used to fulfill this requirement.”

    The issue is that this Christian school has a course it calls biology but which doesn’t actually teach biology. That’s squarely their fault, not the UC system’s.

    “So what if he took a course saying Darwin was wrong? He’ll take the college level bio courses and stand or fall on his performance, not his beliefs.”

    The “so what” is that he’ll be set up to fail by going into college with his head filled with nonsense. As LA says above why have any requirements? Why should they only admit those who have a GPA of 3 or higher? Because it’s supposed to be a meritocracy and quite frankly there is no merit in lerning science wrong.

  13. I’ve got a little secret for you, champ. There are millions of stupid fundamentalist, Darwin skeptics out there with advanced degrees. Ph.D’s, M.D.’s, J.D.’s, etc. You just don’t know. They don’t tell you. I met one the other day with a Pulitzer Prize.

  14. “I’ve got a little secret for you, champ. There are millions of stupid fundamentalist, Darwin skeptics out there with advanced degrees.”

    Isn’t that a wonderful argument then for trying to prevent such a waste in the future? If we can encourage kids to understand biology that’s vastly preferable to indoctrinating them with pseudo-science.

  15. What’s really happening here is that a particular view of origins has become part of your little catechism. Unless someone is willing to let go chapter and verse the two of you don’t want to allow them into civil society. This is where we were going with Stalin and Mao. Congrats.

  16. The fact of the matter is that Evolution is part of Biology. Creationism is not. Any course that teaches creationism leaves one fundamentally ignorant of Bilogy even if the school in question lies and calls it “Bio 101.”

    Those are facts Hunter. You may not like that the UC system wants a minimum basic science literacy but theere it is. If these kids wanted to go to a real world University they shouldn’t have gone to a religious school that wouldn’t teach them what they needed to know. Conversely if they want to go to a religious high school then they’re much better off going to a religious university which will foster their illiteracy in biology.

  17. “What’s really happening here is that a particular view of origins has become part of your little catechism.”

    No matter how hard you try to equate science to a religious belief it won’t ever hold, Hunter. Religious beliefs are predacated on faith. Science is based on observation and experiment.

    Does that mean science is superior to Religion? For matters pertaining to understanding the physical world, yes absolutely. If you doubt that then perhaps you should refuse all medicine in favor of faith healing.

    Does that mean science is superior to religion in answering every question? No of course not. Science can and does address only certain things. Period. It does not say whether there is a god or goddess. It doesn’t address questions of morality. It only describes and explains the interactions of the physical world. And it does that spectacularly well. It’s track record for accuracy speaks for itself.

  18. Oh, I think it is all too clear that science sometimes functions on the level of a religious belief. This is a good area for further research, but we could expose quite of record of science being conflated with religion just in the last century and a half.

    Again, I want to see the record that shows the kids from this school have somehow failed in their many years of attending colleges in the UC system. If you can’t show me that (and I’m pretty sure they won’t be able to), then this is just mind control masquerading as “concern” over scientific “literacy” as you say.

  19. On another blog where I wrote about this story, I got a very humorous comment back from and individual who said his AP history teacher used Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States of America.” He expressed his relief the state university was more forgiving than the UC system in this case.

  20. “Oh, I think it is all too clear that science sometimes functions on the level of a religious belief.”

    Not among scientists, no. There certainly are other segments of the population who use or abuse science as if it were a religion. Creationists are some of the worst when they assert falsely that Evolution precludes a creator.

    “Again, I want to see the record that shows the kids from this school have somehow failed in their many years of attending colleges in the UC system.”

    And I want to see the record showing that kids with a 2.9 GPA do substantially worse than a 3.0 GPA. But my guess is both of us will be disappointed because fundamentally they don’t have to explain their guidelines to either of us.

  21. “this is just mind control masquerading as “concern” over scientific “literacy” as you say.”

    No what this is is another example of the giant Christian pity party I mentioned in another thread. The deep down need of american christians to be persecuted even if they have to poorly educate their children to make it happen.

  22. You’ve heard what they say. You aren’t paranoid if they really are out to get you. Unless UC can show some cause of merit that led them to this policy (e.g. badly prepared students), then it will be clear they were involved in punishment, censorship, etc.

  23. “Unless UC can show some cause of merit that led them to this policy (e.g. badly prepared students), then it will be clear they were involved in punishment, censorship, etc.”

    Since it hasn’t sunk in yet I’ll give you my counter-example again: You have to have a minimum GPA to enroll in their schools. Everyone accepts this. And yet no stud would show a significant difference between anincoming student with a 3.0 and a student with a 2.9

    It’s an arbitrary line they’ve drawn and you accept it freely. But when another arbitrary line excludes your pet fallacy it strikes you as punishment and censorship.

  24. It’s not a useful example, T. They also thought the history class was wrong. There is discretionary judgement involved here and it will lose a court case every time. Public officials with discretionary powers mixing in with religion are gonna get the UC System burned. Hide and watch as the mom used to say.

    There is no discretionary judgement between 2.9 and 3.0. It is or it isn’t. Quite different from the case at hand.

    In effect, UC is saying “Stop knocking Darwin” AND “Stop building up the Christian role in history.” To achieve that they have stopped accepting students from this high school. Is it in any way conceivable they’d do this to a school emphasizing certain minority racial contributions (whether academically sound or not)?

  25. “There is no discretionary judgement between 2.9 and 3.0. It is or it isn’t. Quite different from the case at hand.”

    No it’s not diffeent in the case in hand. I know you want to buy the hype about ID but please believe me: it’s garbage. Everyone who knows science knows it’s garbage (although some in the know still peddle it to make money of course, there is afterall an evangelical born every minute). The difference between evolution and creationism/ID is the difference between understanding biology and not. It’s really exactly that simple. It’s a far greater difference than between a 2.9 and a 3.0

    You may be right of course that the college will get burned but if it is it’s not because they were wrong, but because people really hate having their superstitions debunked.

  26. “So much for the all accepting multi-culturalists…”

    Sorry Keith, no. Accepting is one thing. I fully accept that people can believe whatever they want about evolution. But when it comes to meeting a criteria guess what? Delusions lose out every time. You can believe that disease is brought on by sin if you want but I hope to god such ignorance precludes you from medical school.

    It’s not about restricting people’s beliefs, and it never has been. Qualifications however have to be based on a substantial standard. Falling for the latest creationism fad isn’t much of a qualification now is it?

  27. T, you ignorant slut. (Yes, it’s a joke. Anbody over thirty remembers it from SNL.)

    I’ll answer with a very astute comment from another website on the same topic. (T, he’s a biology grad as he mentions.)

    “Publius and Actus, the only two alternatives are that either God played a role in the development of life or He did not. Why should we decide which it is before we look at the data?

    “If we decide a priori that He played no role, what will we do if the data says that He did? I’m not saying that the data actually says so, I’m just pointing out that we should follow the data where it leads, not where we want it to go.

    “ID merely points out that, first of all, life is highly improbable given only randomn, natural processes; and secondly that there are some elements of biological systems, particularly at the biochemical level, that cannot (at this time) be explained by appeal to natural selection. Will we be able to explain them by natural selection given more data? Maybe, maybe not. An ID-er can’t rule it out, and likewise an evolutionist shouldn’t be able to say that we certainly will.

    “ID is not an excuse to stop looking for natural explanations. By all means, keep looking for them. ID is a recognition that there may be a point where natural explanations don’t work anymore. Science is a tool that explains part of reality, not all of it. Asking science students to ignore God in their analyses is like asking literature students to ignore authors when analyzing a book. It just doesn’t work.

    “Also, your concern that students will be unprepared is not borne out. I recently graduated from a a major midwestern university in biology, and ID-favoring students were ridiculed, but not because they were incompetent. The professors just lost their professionalism. One doesn’t have to believe in materialistic Darwinism in order to understand it. On the contrary, one can only criticize it ingtelligently if he does understand it, because it is a robust theory.

    “I agree that the evidence for descent with modification by natural selection is indisputable. What ID criticizes — often from a purely scientific point of view — is the less-supportable assertion made by Darwinism that life began because of random natural processes and that every single element now found in biological systems can have its origin explained entirely by random natural processes.”

  28. “T, you ignorant slut. (Yes, it’s a joke. Anbody over thirty remembers it from SNL.)”

    I just turned thirty but I loved old SNL. It was Dan Akroyd and Kate Russel wasn’t it?

    “Publius and Actus, the only two alternatives are that either God played a role in the development of life or He did not. Why should we decide which it is before we look at the data?”

    His entire pretext is wrong. He presumes that biological science endeavors to answer this question and it most emphatically does not. The existence of God is NEVER a question science addresses, anyone who claims otherwise is a charlatan.

    “”ID merely points out that, first of all, life is highly improbable given only randomn, natural processes;”

    So much for being a biology graduate student. Evolution has nothing to do with “random” processes. The author is either ignorant of evolution or is dishonestly trying to cash in on other’s ignorance.

    “Science is a tool that explains part of reality, not all of it. Asking science students to ignore God in their analyses is like asking literature students to ignore authors when analyzing a book. It just doesn’t work.”

    Bull. It’s like asking someone to diagram a sentence without knowing the author. Science explains the mechanics of how a “sentence” works. The verbs, the nouns, the adjectives, the adverbs, the articles, how they interrelate. It never ever tries to explain the overall meaning of the sentence. Only it’s function. That you can do perfectly well without knowing the first thing about the author.

    “Also, your concern that students will be unprepared is not borne out. I recently graduated from a a major midwestern university in biology,”

    Given how easy it is to demonstrate the author has no understanding of evolution or science in general he should never have graduated. He is in fact a poster child for what UC is trying to avoid.

  29. T … whether you *think* someone should have graduated is irrelevant to the debate.

    The UC system graduates many thousands of students each year that probably should not graduate; the exact number being purely subjective to *whom* you ask and what criteria is used.

    Further, the debate is really *NOT* about creation/evolution; it is about how much autonomy a school ought to be given in its curriculum.

    What the UC system is doing is, in essence, restricting the autonomy of private schools.

    Perhaps you’d complain if the UC system required all entering students to have taken, and passed, calculus?

  30. “T … whether you *think* someone should have graduated is irrelevant to the debate.”

    True, but that guy’s basic illiteracy of his field doesn’t help his case.

    “The UC system graduates many thousands of students each year that probably should not graduate;”

    And we both agree that’s a bad thing, so why are people complaining about the UC system requiring better educated students?

    “Further, the debate is really *NOT* about creation/evolution; it is about how much autonomy a school ought to be given in its curriculum.”

    I disagree with you completely. This IS about evolution/creationism. fundamentally the UC system ahs decided that they can’t give biology credit to a class that doesn’t teach biology. That in no way limits a school’s autonomy, it only gives a real world repercussion to the choice of being a poor educational outlet.

    “Perhaps you’d complain if the UC system required all entering students to have taken, and passed, calculus?”

    No I have no problem with that at all. Why would I?

  31. From the tenor of your post, I’ll have to assume that *any* government restriction (or standard) is OK?

    What about No Child Left Behind?

    Fundamentally, I disagree with ANY governmental imposed (and arbitrary) restriction placed on a private school.

    You are right; a school … *ANY* school … ought to pay the consequences of giving their students a piss poor (sorry, I couldn’t think of a better word) education.

    Ah … but wait, what about government schools? Should they be exempt?

    To explicitly single out a small set of schools … based on a TEXTBOOK … is pretty sad.

    Maybe the UC System should post a list of all books that are OK and then burn the rest?

  32. “From the tenor of your post, I’ll have to assume that *any* government restriction (or standard) is OK?”

    Which government are you talking about? This standard came from the school itself, it wasn’t imposed on the school by some bureaucratic government body.

    “What about No Child Left Behind?”

    The problem with NCLB is that it uses meaningless metrics because it relies on standardized tests which cannot show how good a school is at educating only at teaching test taking skills. It is a perfect example of a stupid government regulation pushed on schools (i.e. the opposite of the case at hand).

    “Fundamentally, I disagree with ANY governmental imposed (and arbitrary) restriction placed on a private school.”

    That’s a fine position. I think it’d be great if anyone who wanted to could join a class. What I find odious is acceptance of some arbitrary limits and righteous indignation at others.

    “To explicitly single out a small set of schools … based on a TEXTBOOK … is pretty sad.”

    They didn’t single out the schools, they singled out textbooks that failed to present the material accurately. Any class that relies on those textbooks can’t be said to be teaching the subject. It’s nop different than if I tried to teach students calculus using a cook book. If I insist on teaching Cooking with Calculus then I shouldn’t be surprised when my student aren’t considered to have taken calculus. People can always choose to be silly, what they can’t do is make others play along.

    “Maybe the UC System should post a list of all books that are OK and then burn the rest?”

    You are being ridiculous. Comparing not giving course credit for a class taught with an inferior textbook to burning said book is vulgar hyperbole.

  33. “Which government are you talking about? This standard came from the school itself, it wasn’t imposed on the school by some bureaucratic government body.”

    I equate the UC system with “government” in that it is a public institution, funded by taxpaters.

    Re NCLB: “It is a perfect example of a stupid government regulation pushed on schools (i.e. the opposite of the case at hand).”

    Quite the contrary. Fundamentally, they are identical; they both use the same means (government regulation) to the same “do-gooder” ends (allegedly better educated students).

  34. CLA is right. It’s the UC system, not any one of the institutions. That’s a governmental authority.

  35. “I disagree with your confounding the school administration with the government in general. There is a definite difference between the two.”

    Some difference, yes. But because it is a public university which uses public funds to hold its tuition rates at a predatory level (ie, well below the true costs), then they become something akin to government.

  36. Interesting side issue. It doesn’t change the fact that requiring fact-based science courses to fulfill entrance requirements is a fundamentally sound admissions policy.

    As Tlaloc said, private schools are free to teach whatever they want in a course and call it “biology”, but to expect a university — private or public — to recognize that course as biology simply because of its title is absurd.

  37. “CLA is right. It’s the UC system, not any one of the institutions. That’s a governmental authority.”

    I don’t agree. It is a public university system and hence supported by government funds but a great many things are supported by government funds without being considered part of the government. The airlines leap to mind.

    As I see it the UC school system is more analagous to an artist working off an NEA grant than say the Department of Defense.

  38. “Some difference, yes. But because it is a public university which uses public funds to hold its tuition rates at a predatory level (ie, well below the true costs), then they become something akin to government.”

    I don’t see how that is remotely connected. Farmers use government money to subsidize their crops, are they then part of the government? Of course not. Are people on Welfare part of the government? No. Government invests in a great many things but that doesn’t mean they automatically own those things.

  39. I stand by my statement. To clarify: When a handful of people have control over taxpayers money, THEY (ie, those in control of the money) are part of “government”.

    Examples: The board of regents at UC, the Dept of Agriculture, or the US Senate.

    Your question regarding farmers and welfare recipients as “part of the government” is a separate issue. I suppose this would be more akin to a UC student being part of government.

  40. “I stand by my statement. To clarify: When a handful of people have control over taxpayers money, THEY (ie, those in control of the money) are part of “government”.”

    By that definition everything and everyone is part of the government. I have control over my tax refund which most certainly comes out of tax payer money. The welfare mom has control over her welfare check which comes from tax payer money. The mother on WIC has control over her WIC checks. The farmer has control over his subsidies. The Airlines have copntrol over their subsidies. The Khazakstani control the tax payer money we pay them to use their airfields. Ad nauseum.

    I hope the point is made, you’ve created a useless definition because it includes everyone within the US and no small number of people outside of it.

  41. “By that definition everything and everyone is part of the government. I have control over my tax refund which most certainly comes out of tax payer money.”

    You’re being silly. Your tax refund is YOUR MONEY …

    I’m sorry, I can’t tell if you are being serious or not … you must be kidding and I fell for it.

  42. “You’re being silly. Your tax refund is YOUR MONEY …”

    No it’s refunded TAX money to make up for excesses of my money taken by the government. Therefore by your definition I am part of the government.

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