Another Student’s Perspective of La Sierra University

I am a biology major who graduated from LSU in 2009. I’ve since moved onto medical school and am about to graduate for there too.

I transferred in from a public university and I remember that my first thought was, “There is no difference in my science classes from the school I came to the school I’m at now.” I was expecting at least a fair shake to be given to Creation but none ever came. My very first biology class at LSU was general biology with Dr. McCloskey who repeatedly would use this famous line while lecturing, “I too believe in a Creator God, but the evidence speaks for itself.” This statement was always used when addressing the facts of an evolutionary outlook on science. I guess it is fair to say that, he never said “Evolution is the only way that things could have happened.” But you better believe that our classes were taught with that slant. I spoke to Dr. McCloskey privately on various occasions and he would present evidence to me that the flood never happened and that I should study the evidence for myself.

I was in Dr. Greer’s break-out session for worship, where he presented a lecture debunking the creation story of Genesis. He went on to say that Genesis 1 and 2 had two conflicting creation accounts and that proved that it was just a story and not fact. He informed us of the literary devices used to structure the story and how it was just that, a story, used by the Hebrews to compete against their neighboring nations, in terms of the origins of the world.

I was there when Louis Bishop asked a question in the break-out session and Dr. Grismer blew a gasket and basically yelled at him, calling Christians “idiots, ignorant and closed minded.”

I was there when Dr. Bradley presented a lecture on the evolutionary history of humans and how we came from apes and how the account in the Bible of Creation is fictitious. Dr. Bradley told our class that to be created in God’s image, means “to develop thinking and functioning minds, that our ancestor hominids did not possess.”

I too was there when Dr. Webster, from the religion department was brought in as a guest lecture and told our class that the Creation account in Genesis was just a story and that it was time that the church catch up with Science.

I spoke to many of my professors about the origin story that they were so staunchly driving us to adapt as our own. Dr. Perumal’s response to my questioning was one that I respected very much. He said, “we as humans will never know the whole truth, we only know a small part. But one day when we see Jesus, He will answer all our questions.” This stood out to me in stark contrast from the other professors (McCloskey, Greer, Grismer, Bradley) who openly told us time and time again (in lecture halls and outside of them) that they believed in an evolutionary origin story and taught our classes from that slant.

As a scientist, I have no problem learning about evolution. In fact, I think that it is essential to know about it to be a functioning member of the scientific community. However, my problem resides in the fact that I paid hard earned money to attend an Adventist school and that school did not present me with a fair view of both sides. I struggled a lot with what I was learning and had it not been for my strong upbringing in my faith, I may have discarded the truths I had been taught as a child. But ultimately I chose to just learn this information for my classes and instead believe what my convictions and the Bible said to be true.

– One Student’s Perspective

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12 thoughts on “Another Student’s Perspective of La Sierra University

  1. I want to thank this person for his report. It certainly backs up Mr Bishop’s story.

    I now want Pr. Graham, the Chairman of LSU Board, to read this report and tell us what he intends to do about it.

    To me, LSU is doing the classic “bait and switch” trick when it advertizes itself as a SDA university. It is deceitful to be doing so.

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    • @Chris Chan: Graham will not be reading anything that forces him to actually see and hear reality in this world. If you think I’m crazy, contact him yourself and try to talk some sense into him. It won’t happen!

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  2. I’m wondering why this student still feels the need for anonymity. How far removed must a student be [edit] before he feels safe to reveal his identity?

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  3. I find curious the statement

    “As a scientist, I have no problem learning about evolution. In fact, I think that it is essential to know about it to be a functioning member of the scientific community…. ultimately I chose to just learn this information for my classes and instead believe what my convictions and the Bible said to be true ”

    Is the anonymous author a medical doctor or a scientist?. They are not at all the same thing. A scientist does experiments to test hypothesis to see if they are untrue and publishes the results in the biomedical literature. A medical doctor may practice evidence based medicine but that is not being a scientist.

    It seems from the statement that “another student” believes that the scientific evidence favours evolution but that creation is a position based only on faith in the bible. A position I agree with entirely.

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    • There’s nothing scientific about the story of single celled organisms eventually evolving into humans over hundreds of millions of years via the Darwinian mechanism of random mutations and natural selection. This just-so story is not supported by demonstration or relevant statistical analysis. It has no predictive value beyond low levels of functional complexity, and it has been effectively falsified by the statistical odds against any kind of Darwinian-style evolution beyond very low levels of functional complexity this side of trillions of years of time (not the mention the evidence that slowly reproducing gene pools are and have always been inevitably devolving, not evolving).

      The fact of the matter is that evolution does not happen and is extremely unlikely to happen beyond the level of systems that require a minimum of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to achieve a particular type of function.

      You yourself base your own belief in the creative potential of the Darwinian mechanism, not on your own understanding of how it works or could have worked, but on faith, blind faith, in the authoritative claims and just-so stories of others. You admittedly don’t understand the nature of protein sequence space or the ratios of beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences at various levels of functional complexity. You therefore cannot predict how evolutionary progress will change at various levels of functional complexity – and neither can anyone else. Where then is the “science” behind neo-Darwinism?

      Really, modern neo-Darwinism is built more on smoke, bluster, and mirrors, a very strong religious-type fervor and a mystical blind-faith in the just-so stories of Darwinists who call themselves “scientists”, rather than on true, testable, potentially falsifiable, science. I’m sorry, but the Biblical claims are far more in line with the weight of true scientific evidence than are the philosophically-based claims of most modern scientists…

      Sean Pitman

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      • @Sean Pitman:


        Thanks for that clarification. I have noted it down. It seems abundantly clear what you think of the scientific tradition based as it has been on methodological naturalism for the last 2 centuries. There seems really little point in responding with specificity and no prospect of meaningful dialog.

        Peace and Grace to you.

        Paul Cameron

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    • @pauluc: Well sir, since the only degree I have right now is a BS in Biomedical Science, I do consider myself a scientist. I have worked in research labs for NIH and was trained in the mindset of a scientist and tutored by them as well; to ask questions, test my questions, and prove them one way or the other.

      I’m not as knowledgeable about this topic as Dr. Pittman is. My point was that during my years at La Sierra we were only shown one side of the argument. Our lectures consisted of hominid evolution, geological fossil records, polar ice caps, and various such topics about how life and the earth have been around and have been evolving for millions of years. So our knowledge base came from a strictly pro-evolution background. We were never shown any data or studies that even questioned the theory. This is an education that I could have received from the public university that I went to previously. Our professors would simply end class by saying that they believed in God and tried to include Him into where they saw fit.

      My problem with their teaching was purely theological at that stage in my life. If that was the theory that they were teaching us then what role did being created perfect, the fall of humanity, death, sin, and salvation play in all of this? Our basis for worshipping on Saturday is the literal 7 day creation week that was instituted in Genesis. How does a million year evolution history explain all that?

      These were questions that I asked in class but were simply brushed aside by my professors. So I kept quiet and talked to my classmates about it, many of whom were just as confused as I was.

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      • @LSU Alumnus:
        I appreciate that if you are contributing data that is appearing in the scientific peer reviewed literature you are functioning as a scientist. I would have thought that if that is so you would have some awareness of what the canonical literature of science is like. Do you think that what you have done in your research at NIH is somehow in conflict with your spiritual beliefs? You will no doubt also recognize that you have not published any observations in the peer reviewed literature for which you have invoked a miracle as the explanation. This is the way science at its core is practised. Seeking to understand the natural world on the basis of natural mechanisms; methodological naturalism.
        It has never pretended to be anything more than that and attempted to move into the supernatural. It makes no claim about the supernatural and is, except in the mind of the atheist or philosophical naturalist, completely neutral on the spiritual life and anything beyond the natural.
        As a Christian I can endorse and practice science on the basis of methodological naturalism and as a process for explanation of the natural but believe that there is a world beyond the natural and live a life where things like faith hope and charity are core values that are rooted in the incarnate God, Jesus Christ.

        I am curious then as to what you want to be taught in Science classes at a Christian institution. Science is not about everything it is extremely restricted in its content. Why would you want to expand it, as the atheists do, and make it the sum of everything by including the supernatural within its gambit. If you are to include the Christian creation narrative as having value for scientific explanation then logically you should accept that Science should also teach other explanations for origins that come from other spiritual traditions. Greater minds than ours have established the scientific tradition as methodological naturalism. When it does not at all claim to impinge on our understanding of supernatural why should we in our wisdom seek now to change it.

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    • @pauluc:

      Apparently you don’t realize that the vast majority of those publishing in medical journals are MD’s. What about conducting randomized controlled clinical trials makes one not a scientist?

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      • A valid question has been raised and that is “what do you want to be taught in science classes in a Christian institution?” LSU, last I checked, is not only representing a Christian education, but teaching an understanding of Seventh-day Adventist values and principles.

        As a Seventh-day Adventist I believe that Ellen G. White passed the test of a prophet, and that she received direct visions, instructions, and messages from God. If you choose not to believe in her inspiration, then I would recommend another church or organization for affiliation.

        If you do, she makes some very pointed remarks and provides direction in how to present science and geology in our “Christian” institutions. With a partial 3rd grade education she was not a “scientist,” not peer-reviewed, and did not undertake an advanced degree or education in this field. If she was however writing under the spirit of direct inspiration, possibly those of us who are Adventists, and are performing as instructors, faculty members, administrators and purporting to be upholding the 28 fundamental doctrines of the church in performing our duties, should be paying a modicum of interest in her recommendations.

        In some other schools they teach geology on the evolution basis. We can teach geology and show that evolution is false. {LLM 427.3}

        The warnings of the Word of God regarding the perils surrounding the Christian church belong to us today. As in the days of the apostles men tried by tradition and philosophy to destroy faith in the Scriptures, so today, by the pleasing sentiments of higher criticism, evolution, spiritualism, theosophy, and pantheism, the enemy of righteousness is seeking to lead souls into forbidden paths. To many the Bible is as a lamp without oil, because they have turned their minds into channels of speculative belief that bring misunderstanding and confusion. {RC 344.5}

        The Bible record is in harmony with itself and with the teaching of nature. Of the first day employed in the work of creation is given the record, “The evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:5. And the same in substance is said of each of the first six days of creation week. Each of these periods Inspiration declares to have been a day consisting of evening and morning, like every other day since that time. In regard to the work of creation itself the divine testimony is, “He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9. With Him who could thus call into existence unnumbered worlds, how long a time would be required for the evolution of the earth from chaos? In order to account for His works, must we do violence to His word? {Ed 129.1}

        Akin to the theory concerning the evolution of the earth is that which attributes to an ascending line of germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds the evolution of man, the crowning glory of the creation. {Ed 130.1}
        When consideration is given to man’s opportunities for research; how brief his life; how limited his sphere of action; how restricted his vision; how frequent and how great the errors in his conclusions, especially as concerns the events thought to antedate Bible history; how often the supposed deductions of science are revised or cast aside; with what readiness the assumed period of the earth’s development is from time to time increased or diminished by millions of years; and how the theories advanced by different scientists conflict with one another,–considering all this, shall we, for the privilege of tracing our descent from germs and mollusks and apes, consent to cast away that statement of Holy Writ, so grand in its simplicity, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him”? Genesis 1:27. Shall we reject that genealogical record,–prouder than any treasured in the courts of kings,–“which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God”? Luke 3:38. {Ed 130.2}
        Rightly understood, both the revelations of science and the experiences of life are in harmony with the testimony of Scripture to the constant working of God in nature. {Ed 130.3}

        In summary, have we wandered so far from our roots, our unique message, and the additional light that has been granted our movement that we have to ask the question, “How should we be presenting the theory of evolution in a Seventh-day Adventist School? Really?

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      • @Ethan:
        Sorry but I do realize that MDs publish in the peer reviewed literature, although I would question if they represent the vast majority.
        My point was not the preceding degree for scientists publishing in the peer reviewed literature but simply that a scientist is one who performs experiments and publishes the results.
        Publishing without doing experiments makes you a journalist. Performing experiments without publishing means you have not performed your role as a scientist since you have not contributed to knowledge. A scientist is one who completes the tasks performed by a scientist. Of course I consider a clinical trial an exercise in hypothesis testing.

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  4. Beautifully written. Thank you, Sean.

    Both require faith, as evolution has never been proved. The choice is ours, whether to believe in disgruntled antagonist theories, or a loving God who has left nothing to chance for our salvation. I choose the latter, and rather relish the HOPE it generates. I have personal value–Thank you, GOD!

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