La Sierra’s misleading PR campaign
By Shane Hilde
In a recent effort to step up its PR campaign against allegations that evolution is being promoted in the biology department, La Sierra posted a video of fourth year Biomedical Science Major, RB, giving her testimony about La Sierra’s biology department.
Ms. B gives a seemingly strong testimony negating the allegations that La Sierra biology professors believe and promote the theory of evolution as the best explanation.
The interview is cut into short segments of Ms. B supposedly answering the questions that are flashed up on the screen. In her segment answering the question “How does the Biology program at La Sierra prepare you for the future,” Ms. B says:
The way that they approach evolution is that this is how it is, this is what it is, a theory, and you don’t have to believe it. But it’s good to know about it so you can argue the creationist view. Because if you’re ignorant about something, it’s really hard to argue the opposite. So its just informative mainly.
Her statement softly echoes a statement from Larry McCloskey’s winter quarter, 2009, Biology 112 syllabus under the section POTENTIALLY CONTROVERSIAL MATERIAL:
It is vitally important for you to realize that this course as a science course is describing evidence from mainstream science, and is not dealing with beliefs. Some will decide they cannot believe the scientific evidence, and it is your right to decide. This is encouraged and supported. If you expect to be competitive in any modern science-based profession, and hope to perform well on standardized or pre-professional qualifying exams, you must simply know what the scientific evidence is, whether or not you believe it.
McCloskey, a devout evolutionist, presupposes that the scientific evidence supports the theory of evolution; however, he reassures his students that they don’t have to believe in the evidence at all. In a presentation from the same class, McCloskey has this on one of his slides:
There is nothing theoretical about the evidence supporting evolution. The research about evolution is ongoing and continues to support and refine Darwin’s original ideas. No data have been found to refute the idea. It is the single unifying explanation of the living world, and nothing makes much, if any, sense outside of this unifying theory. (Periods supplied because the sentences were in bullet points.)
This professor obviously does not approach evolution as just a theory. If any of the biology professors do believe it’s just a theory, then they believe it’s the best theory. Which one of these evolutionary biologists is suggesting that the theory of evolution is good to know “about it so you can argue the creationist view”?
So we’re supposed to believe that McCloskey was teaching evolution so that students could better argue the creationist view? That seems very unlikely considering the above quotations from him. There is no sign that evidence for creationism is even presented in any of the biology classes.
Ms. B’s statement, “So its just informative mainly,” could have packed a little more punch if she wasn’t talking about a biology department that was completely converted to evolutionism. Later, she says:
One of my big things was evolution because at previous institution they taught it as if it were fact. We had lectures from university professors who had lectures like when are we going to get rid of God.
Of course, McCloskey, possibly one of her professors at one point, says otherwise: “There is nothing theoretical about the evidence supporting evolution.” While McCloskey does not speak for the other professors, we can assume that the others, at the very least, believe the theory of evolution to be the better explanation.
When asked how La Sierra teaches about evolution, she said:
They told me, no no, it’s just a theory, it doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s there. Why do you need to know it? If you want to advance in science you need to know these things.
From this statement you would almost think that these professors, while ardent believers in the theory of evolution, are almost apologetic about the idea that evolution could be anything more than a theory. However, this contrasts deeply with Gary Bradley’s statement in an interview with Inside Higher Ed, where he said he wasn’t going to present the theory of evolution to only dismantle it for students. He also called those who believe God spoke things into existence only a few thousand years ago the “lunatic fringe.” Obviously, the theory of evolution is not just a theory for Bradley, and he hardly presents it as such.
In the Biology Capstone class, he gives a 69-slide presentation titled, “Hominin Evolution.” The fourth slide says: “Recent years have shown a dramatic increase in the discovery of hominid species that are intermediate between the great apes and modern humans.” He also has another presentation on the fossil evidence of hominin evolution.
L. Lee Grismer is an expert on the vertebrate life of Baja California, which he argues in his papers has been affected by the “dynamic environmental history . . . over the last 4-5 million years” and that this history “has had a profound effect on the evolution, distribution, and genetic structuring of Baja California’s terrestrial vertebrates.” Check out his book “Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California, Including Its Pacific Islands and the Islands in the Sea of CortÃ©s.”
None of these professors believe in a literal, recent six-day creation. What professors are Ms. B talking about? Can we really believe these evolutionary biologists are just presenting the theory of evolution to be informative and to prepare students to be competitive in the scientific community? When the theory of evolution is being presented with the heavy bias of these professors to the exclusion of all evidence in support of creationism, then they are no longer just being informative. This type of propaganda only reveals La Sierra’s determination to cover up what their biology professors are only too honest not to hide.
La Sierra can spin their biology department anyway they want, but they can’t cover up the fact their biology professors are undermining the church’s position on origins.