LSU can’t deny the facts

By Shane Hilde

In May 2009, a letter written to Jan Paulsen, Don Scheider, and Ricardo Graham by Pr. David Asscherick expressed concern regarding “the teaching of evolution at La Sierra University.” The letter went on to say “[i]t is a matter of incontestable fact that naturalistic evolution is being taught at La Sierra University.” Asscherick said he had “seen the class materials with my own eyes” and personally visited with many students attending La Sierra University in 2003 who were concerned about what was being taught in the science classes.

Asscherick’s letter, while intended to be a private communication to church leaders, was leaked through email where it became viral. The cat was out of the bag, and president Randal Wisbey published a public response on LSU’s website. Wisbey said, “‘Naturalistic evolution’ is a phrase that either in code or direct definition implies a perspective of ‘atheistic evolution.’ We reject this implied atheistic charge. Every one of our science faculty share the goal of students experiencing a vibrant Adventist Christian faith while pursuing their education in the sciences.”

There are two things to note about Wisbey’s response: 1) he did not deny that the theory of evolution was being taught as fact, and 2) he diverts attention away from Asscherick’s original charge by rephrasing it. Asscherick never charged LSU with atheism.

So what has happened since then? Has Wisbey ever denied the charges laid out by Asscherick and others? Has the biology department produced any statement or evidence to negate the charges? Exactly how has the LSU Board of Trustees, president Randal Wisbey, or the biology professors responded to the specific criticism of how the theory of evolution is taught at LSU?

It wasn’t till September that we heard from one of the biology professors in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. In the interview he admitted that he did believe in the biblical creation. He said, “It’s very, very clear that what I’m skeptical of is the absolute necessity of believing that the only way a creator God could do things is by speaking them into existence a few thousand years ago. That’s where my skepticism lies.” He also seemed to imply that he was not a practicing Seventh-day Adventist either. When asked if he was, he said, “On record, yes. You can read into that whatever you want.” Bradley is semi-retired and not tenured. These statements coupled with the course material from his classes only confirm the original charges.

Nov. 6, 2009, LSU Faculty Senate voted a resolution affirming their support of the biology department. The document did not deny the charges against the biology department. It accused “persons” of attempting to “dictate to the University–including its administrations, trustees, and faculty–the content of aspects of the bioscience curriculum.” This document did not become public though till Feb. 2010.

A week later, the LSU Board of Trustees released two resolutions. The first resolution affirmed the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s belief in the biblical creation. It said, “The Board of Trustees is fully mindful of La Sierra University’s responsibilities and commitments as a Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher education. This includes whole-hearted support for the doctrines and teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as defined by the 28 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs, specifically fundamental belief #6.”

The Board also acknowledged the “the concern that Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and teachings have not been given appropriate priority in biology curriculum and instruction.” They assured the church the Board was committed “to assuring that the teaching of the theory of evolution takes place within the context of the Adventist belief regarding creation.” The Board of Trustees also did not deny the original charges against LSU.

In April 2010, LSU responded to an article from Adventist Review that covered the LSU conflict. This response did not deny the original charges against LSU. In May LSU reported on its constituency meeting. At the end of May Wisbey responded to the Michigan Conference action. Neither of these responses denied the original charges against LSU.

It wasn’t till during the GC Session in Atlanta, GA, that LSU, at their booth, handed out a statement regarding their biology department. It said, “It should be pointed out that the theory of evolution is discussed, but not promoted, at La Sierra University.” A review of the course material from some of the biology classes presents no evidence that evidence for a recent biblical creation is promoted at all. In fact, if anything, it is relegated to a status far below the theory of evolution. This has been evidenced by at least two professors, Lee Greer and Bradley, in their comments made in publications and to students at LSU in class or at campus worships. When the theory of evolution is the only world view being presented as the most unifying theory of all life, then it is being promoted. LSU administration, so far, has refused to acknowledge there is a problem in how the theory of evolution is being taught, yet they are quite willing to lie about it.

In conclusion, Wisbey has never denied the original charges made by Asscherick and Educate Truth. The biology department has never produced any statement or evidence to negate the charges. The only statement we received from the biology department was from the chair, James Wilson, “The La Sierra biology faculty have faith that God is their Creator and Sustainer.” Not one professor from the biology department has expressed belief in the church’s position on creation as expressed in Affirmation of Creation and fundamental belief #6. There is a good reason for this–many of them believe and promote the theory of evolution over the biblical creation. Here is something you can take to the bank: La Sierra University promotes the theory of evolution fact.

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12 thoughts on “LSU can’t deny the facts

  1. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons of this controversy is how one person, or a small group of persons, can make a dramatic and pivotal impact on a large organization or more. David Asscherick’s one letter, leaked by accident (or perhaps Providence), started the ripple moving. Then this Web site got started, entirely by laypeople. And the result is not only the resolution voted at last week’s General Conference session, but also the proposed revision of Fundamental Belief No. 6, to be voted at the next GC session if we are still on this earth.

    It was Robert F. Kennedy who said, back in the dark days of apartheid in South Africa:

    “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

    In the spiritual realm this is truer still. The Bible asks, “How shall one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?” (Deut. 32:30).

    Let the striving faithful throughout the Advent movement take heart. They need not be a majority, or a large group in any way, to make a difference for the right. Stand up, speak out, unite courage with compassion, gravity with grace, and God will give you victory.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  2. One of the main problems is their blatant duplicity. They teach evolution and tell lies to deny what they are doing.

    There is no way you can impute a Christian motive in any way, shape, or form to their activity.

    Had they simply admitted what was going on and stated their convictions of what they thought was the truth of the matter concerning origins, we would still oppose their teaching as false. But when they claim they don’t teach what they obviously are, we can only identify it as blatant lying.

    Their lying is worse than their mis-understanding of the bible. It destroys any possible credibility in any explanation they may make in the future, or, any claim to correct the problem in the future.

    And some wonder why the credibility of leadership is suspect by those lay people who have found out the lying that takes place to cover their activity in the hope to convey the idea they are in full harmony with church teaching and doctrine.

    Dr. Ford did the same thing in his sanctuary presentations. Hopeing to obscure the obvious and imply his position was not only biblical, but in harmony with EGW and her teaching on the subject.

    It is impossible to respect those who are caught in a blatant lie, and they refuse to admit they are wrong. Let them hold any position they think is correct and we can at least honor their integrity even if we oppose their conclusions. But to deliberately lie to maintain some credibility in the SDA community destroys any confidence in their leadership.

    In her day, EGW stated that some professed to have confidence and support her ministry to maintain influence with the people, when they were working earnestly to undermine her ministry and influence.

    Isn’t this how the devil worked in heaven? Claiming to support God and His kingdom while all the time working to undermine His government?

    The devil’s tactics have not changed, and his followers use the same format.

    We know they will claim the “higher good” justifies the means they use to accomplish their goal. Rome follows the same principle. Any tactic is acceptable to Rome as long as it advances Rome’s authority and power. Claiming the “higher good” justifies the means.

    God uses no such tactics and His followers don’t either.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  3. I stopped by the LSU booth at the GC and was personally told by Larry Blackmer that LSU taught a literal 6 day creation week in both their biology and religion departments, that Professor Bradley was just exaggerating in what he claimed he was teaching as the real facts on origins in class to the contrary. Another helpful LSU rep at the booth said this was all just a big misunderstanding started by an LSU student who did not attend the proper orientation class explaining the way biology lectures on origins are supposed to be interpreted.

    My response was “fine – why not have Randal Wisbey (and presumably Ricardo Graham) say that in print and solve the whole problem now?”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  4. I stopped by the LSU booth at the GC and was personally told by Larry Blackmer that LSU taught a literal 6 day creationweek in both their biology and religion departments, that Professor Bradley was just exaggerating in what he claimed he was teaching as the real facts on origins in class to the contrary. Another helpful LSU rep at the booth said this was all just a big misunderstanding started by an LSU student who did not attend the proper orientation class explaining the way biology lectures on origins are supposed to be interpreted.
    My response was “fine – why not have Randal Wisbey (and presumably Ricardo Graham) say that in print and solve the whole problem now?”.in Christ,Bob  

    Wisbey and Graham will not be making any such statements, since these can be easily checked and documented. They prefer to use their current methods of avoidance, smoke-screening, and closeting.




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  5. There are those who think that David Asscherick, or Shane Hilde, or the student Louis Bishop started this all, and everything is dependent on their single testimonies. However, I can personally say that my interest in this controversy predates any of the declarations from those individuals. Five or so years ago, I knew a young woman (actually my girlfriend at the time) who had been a student at LSU, and she told me herself about how evolution and other unchristian topics were promoted at the school. And she was not the only one. When I read Asscherick’s letter, I was amazed and glad that someone with influence had the courage to say something, but it was not “new information” to me in the least. As others have said on this site repeatedly, this had been going on at LSU for decades. Those who want to “blame” this site, or various individuals, for fabricating something do not realize how much deeper this problem goes than the testimony of a few persons.




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  6. Shane said

    In May 2009, a letter written to Jan Paulsen, Don Scheider, and Ricardo Graham by Pr. David Asscherick expressed concern regarding “the teaching of evolution at La Sierra University.” The letter went on to say “[i]t is a matter of incontestable fact that naturalistic evolution is being taught at La Sierra University.” Asscherick said he had “seen the class materials with my own eyes” and personally visited with many students attending La Sierra University in 2003 who were concerned about what was being taught in the science classes.

    At the “Yes, Creation” event one complaint from an LSU supporter was of the form “Why isn’t LSU given equal time here” or “some time here to present their case”.

    Now in truth very little of the “Yes, Creation” seminar even mentioned LSU by name – it dealt with “creation” vs “Evolution” (and often even theistic evolutionism).

    How instructive that even the LSU supporters themselves recognized that a statement in favor of Creation calls for a counter statement by LSU.

    Given that the speakers included people from LLU, AU, SAU … all of which teach evolution without teaching it as confirmed fact or as actually being the correct view of origins, the LSU supporters were clearly saying that LSU is promoting theistic evolutionism as the right answer for the doctrine on origins and that this is the key that was missing from “Yes, Creation”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  7. Reading the summary article at the top of this thread is very “instructive” for anyone looking for “actual facts”.

    In the GYC video – no GC VP denied that LSU has a problem with evolution. When pressed on the question of why they let the problem drag on for so long – no GC VP said “because they don’t have a problem”.

    The LSU board did not come out with a statement saying “We have researched the allegations and have confirmed that LSU has no problem promoting evolution as fact”

    Erv Taylor listed as a lecturer in LSU’s biology program has come to this very website and promoted evolution as fact AND defending LSU for doing the same.

    LSU’s own professor Bradley has admitted to his creationism-is-junk ideas and that he refuses to teach anything but evolution on the subject of origins.

    LSU’s own Fritz Guy has published in “Understanding Genesis” and other venues – his own firm conviction that evolutionism is the right answer for origins.

    When Larry Blackmer we asked why LSU does not publish a statement saying that their biology and religion departments agree with a “literal 6 day creation week” he claimed that a lot of agreements would need to be signed/approved between faculty and the Admin before they could even begin to think publishing such a statement.

    And then there is the actual coursework and references to pro-evolution all-evolution-all-the-time sources without a single mention or defense of the actual Bible position, or the Adventist position, or what problems the scorched-Bible all-for-evolution model suffers.

    By contrast – look for things like Historical/Grammatical vs “Higher Criticism” in our Universities. There you WILL find support for the fact that they DO argue one against the other all the time instead of “just presenting the fact that Higher Criticism exists and then define what it is”.

    The facts are blatantly impossible to ignore.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  8. Actually, the creation vs evolution debate and the promotion of evolutionary ideas at the clear expense of the Biblical account has been going on at other SDA institutions for many years.

    I have two kids who both attended and graduated from WWC (now WWU). Both told me pointedly that they were taught by profs from the biology and science departments that the Biblical account of creation could not be correct, for modern science supported a form of some type of evolution that included millions of years. This was about 6-7 years ago.

    About 12 years ago, a young person in our church who attended and graduated from WWC told me personally of a professor in once of his science classes who stated that the Biblical account of creation could not be correct, for science supported the long drawn out “millions of years” evolutionary theory.

    I was so incensed at this, I personally talked with our conference president and asked him as a member of the NPUC board and WWC board to address this issue with the then president of the NPUC, Jere Patzer. Other SDA parents were also up in arms over this, and there was supposed to be some type of “reorganization” in the theology and science departments at WWC. However, there was still evolutionary error being taught as truth some 7-8 years later at WWC. Apparently the problem was much deeper then many realized, and must have had “protectors” of the status quo who kept “the housecleaning” from happening at the level it needed to.

    The problem of misguided professors who teach and support evolutionary theory as truth, or engage in downright misleading and untruthful statements about thier teaching and beliefs system is embedded very deeply in some of our schools.




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  9. My daughter and her husband both attended la sierra from 2004-2009. they met in 2005 there in the honors program and both students were highly reguarded by both students and staff. He has gone on to medical school and she on to psychology. Obviously they were both heavily into the biology classes. Their relationship was built on much prayer, but sadly to say now they attend church very little, pray almost never, and are for all practical purposes diests. They feel very alone facing the challanges and responcibilities ahead of them. Of course! They can no longer by faith see that God is right beside them. They think they have to do God’s job all by themselves. Creationism vs Evolution has deep spiritual percussions. How dare this institution rob my kids of the faith they need. Now they think if they have troubles God doesn’t care.




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  10. Actually, the creation vs evolution debate and the promotion of evolutionary ideas at the clear expense of the Biblical account has been going on at other SDA institutions for many years.

    About 12 years ago, a young person in our church who attended and graduated from WWC told me personally of a professor in once of his science classes who stated that the Biblical account of creation could not be correct, for science supported the long drawn out “millions of years” evolutionary theory.
    The problem of misguided professors who teach and support evolutionary theory as truth, or engage in downright misleading and untruthful statements about thier teaching and beliefs system is embedded very deeply in some of our schools.  

    D Burt, Thank you for your personal testimony that this is not “just” a LSU problem. The problem we have in very deep-rooted in other institutions. As you mentioned, getting anyone to actually DO something is next to impossible. I have numerous other stories I will not mention.




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  11. Anita Gould: Creationism vs Evolution has deep spiritual percussions. How dare this institution rob my kids of the faith they need. Now they think if they have troubles God doesn’t care

    Your children were sacrificed on the altar of evolutionism by the administrators and leaders of LSU in their “sacrifice all for evolutionism” agenda.

    Key to their agenda – was hiding that fact from parents ad Bradley pointed out in his Higher Ed press interview.

    How sad.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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