“Autonomy and Academic Freedom”: WASC’s 2010 Review of LSU

The following statements are from the WASC evaluation of La Sierra University ending in March of 2010 – specifically dealing with the evolution/creation issue at LSU. Also included is an excerpt from the Commission Action Letter, addressed to Pres. Randal Wisbey, and dated June 29, 2010:

An excerpt from the Attached Commission Action Letter, addressed to President Randal Wisbey (dated June 29, 2010), p. 3-4

Institutional Autonomy and Academic Freedom. As highlighted in the team report, “[o]ver the last fifteen months, the issue of creationism vs. evolution has been the subject of considerable attention at La Sierra University.” The Seventh Day Adventist Church has a historic and current belief in the six-day creation of the world and La Sierra University places high value on critical evaluation and science education. There has been considerable tension between these two principles, and since the spring of 2009, the University and several of its biology faculty members have been the focal point of a major church-related controversy. A critical website gathered more than 5,000 signatures of concern and opposition to teaching evolution as fact, independent of whether that was actually being done at La Sierra University. Articles have been published making these issues a matter of national attention, coupled with concerted efforts to interfere with the University’s ability to establish its own curriculum. This situation involves several basic principles in the WASC Standards: academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and the role of the governing board. Realizing that this is a challenging denominational matter, the Commission is deeply concerned with this external threat to La Sierra’s institutional autonomy and to academic freedom. In your communications with the Commission, both in writing prior to meeting and at the Commission meeting, you expressed the commitment of the board and the president to resist efforts that would compromise academic freedom and institutional autonomy. The Commission’s action, described below, is intended to assure that La Sierra University withstands this threat and continues to meet WASC Standards. (CFRs 1.4, 1.6, 2.2a, 3.8)

Given the above, the Commission acted to:

  1. Receive the Educational Effectiveness Review report and reaffirm the accreditation of La Sierra University.
  2. Schedule the Capacity and Preparatory Review for spring 2018 and the Educational Effectiveness Review for fall 2019. The Institutional Proposal for this comprehensive review will be due in spring 2016.
  3. Schedule a Special Visit in spring 2011, focused on the issues surrounding the teaching of evolution in the science curriculum, including institutional autonomy, the appropriate role of the board and faculty, and academic freedom. The institution’s spring 2011 Special Visit report will be due eight weeks prior to this visit.
  4. Schedule an Interim Report due Nov. 1, 2014, focused on the issues set forth in this letter, including strategic planning, assessment, student success, information technology and institutional research, and any unresolved matters related to the controversy about the teaching of science.

.

In taking this action to reaffirm accreditation, the Commission confirms that La Sierra University has satisfactorily addressed the Core Commitments to Institutional Capacity and Educational Effectiveness, and has successfully completed the multistage review conducted under the Standards of Accreditation. Between this action and the time of the next review, the institution is expected to continue its progress and be prepared to respond as expectations of the institutional performance, especially with respect to Educational Effectiveness and student learning, further develop under the application of the 2008 Standards of Accreditation. The commission reserves the right to issue a sanction if the findings of the 2011 Special Visit team confirm that LSU fails to meet Commission Standards.

Excerpt from the WASC Report:

Integrity (CFRs 1.4-1.9) p. 17-20

The Team paid special attention to CFRs 1.4 and 1.6 in light of a particular series of events on the campus since the Capacity and Preparatory Review. Over the past fifteen months, the issue of creationism vs. evolution has been the subject of considerable attention at La Sierra University. The Seventh-day Adventist Church — the sponsoring organization for La Sierra University — has a historic and current belief in the six-day creation of the world. At the same time, the University places high value on critical evaluation and science education.

As evidence on evolution has accumulated, there has been periodic conflict between those who support the scientific position and those who support the basic Adventist belief that the earth was created in six days. Several times in the past, Adventist scientists and theologians have been brought together to develop a consensus on creation and evolution, with the most recent effort being in 2003. No consensus has been reached and there has been ongoing tension between those who support a strictly creationist view and those for whom evolution provides the most likely explanations for the functioning of the natural world.

Since spring 2009, La Sierra University, and several biology faculty specifically, have been the focal point of that tension. While exposing students to creationist views, faculty members also incorporate evolutionary theory into the curriculum. Although only a handful of students felt that La Sierra presented evolution as fact rather than theory, the issue took on an off-campus life of its own. A website posted class syllabi, PowerPoint presentations, emails between students and professors regarding grades on papers, and letters and articles by church members and church leaders. The website directed a constant stream of criticism toward the faculty, instruction in biology, the University, the President, and the Board of Trustees. The situation became more intense as the website gathered more than 5,000 signatures of concern and opposition to teaching evolution as fact—-independent of whether that was actually being done at La Sierra University or not.

The University responded to the criticism in various ways. The Faculty Senate, after reviewing what was happening in class, passed a resolution affirming support for their biology colleagues:

  • Whereas, the Department of Biology
    has trained at the undergraduate level in biological sciences thousands of students who have become successful professional physicians, dentists, and pharmacists, as well as academic scientists;
    has excelled in the scholarly publication of scientific research;
    is recognized for its outstanding teaching, enhancing the excellence that has long characterized La Sierra;
    has been active in service to the community and to the church; and
  • Whereas certain off-campus persons
    have publicly attacked and circulated a petition against the (biology) faculty for including in their classes the evolutionary aspects of the modern biosciences;
    have attempted to dictate to the University, including its administration, trustees, and faculty, the content of aspects of the bioscience curriculum;
    have not followed the protocol established by Jesus and outlined in Matthew 18: 15-17;
    have thus made the work and lives of these dedicated Adventist professors more stressful and difficult;

.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Faculty Senate of La Sierra University, representing the combined faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Religion, affirm our strong support for our colleagues in the Department and affirm our commitment to the preservation of academic freedom with intellectual and moral integrity in the context of our heritage and service as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian university.

The University President issued a statement rejecting the charge that atheistic evolution was being taught and supported the open exchange of ideas “in a supportive Adventist environment.” The President wrote both a public letter and personal letters to church leaders, made public relations statements stressing the strengths of the Biology program, communicated with other Adventists schools in the state, and made presentations to alumni.

The Board of Trustees has also acted by pronouncing that “both academic responsibility and commitment to Adventist beliefs are important parts of a vibrant university.” The issue appeared on four Board agendas, as the University controversy gained national attention via a number of publications.

Before the visit, the Team reviewed a variety of the websites and articles which referred to this conflict. During the visit, the team met one-on-one with four Biology Department faculty members who were mentioned on the website, the Chair of the Biology Department, biology students, the Faculty Senate, the President of the University and five members of the Board of Trustees including the Board Chair in order to learn more about this issue.

The Team focused its evaluation of these events in terms of WASC Standard 1. Of primary concern was La Sierra University’s performance in relationship to CFR 1.4: “The institution publicly states its commitment to academic freedom for faculty, staff and students, and acts accordingly. This commitment affirms that those in the academy are free to share their convictions and responsible conclusions with their colleagues and students in their teaching and in their writing.” The Team also reflected on the significance of this issue in the context of CFR 2.2 which requires that “Baccalaureate programs ..ensure the development of core learning abilities and competencies .. [and] breadth for all students in the areas of …scientific and technical knowledge expected of educated persons in this society.” The evolution-creation question also triggers the issue of university autonomy and the expectations of CFR 1.6—Does the University operate with appropriate autonomy from the Church?

The Team undertook a thorough review of documents and had multiple and direct discussions with a variety of University constituents. As a result of examining the University’s treatment of the issue from the students’ perspective (of interest to the Team was the fact that not one student mentioned this issue when asked on several occasions for “issues of concern”); interviewing faculty and reviewing the faculty’s responses (including the Faculty Senate Resolution); raising the issue with the President (discussing his handling of the situation); and meeting with representatives of the Board ( and reviewing Board minutes and public statements), the Visiting Team believes that La Sierra University is operating in alignment with Standard 1, CFRs 1.4 and 1.6 and Standard 2, CFR 2.2.

Additionally, the Team found evidence of La Sierra University’s commitment to CFRs 1.5, 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9. The University has consistently positioned issues of diversity as a core component of the institution’s educational mission. La Sierra University has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as having one of the most diverse student populations among comprehensive universities in the western United States. The University communicates its commitment through its public “Statement of Shared Values: Diversity,” which provides for “equal opportunity for all individuals” and defines diversity as encompassing “age, color, ethnicity, gender, national origin, a disability or handicap, race, religion, socioeconomic background, or unique individual style” (CFR 1.5.)

The practices of “integrity, compassion and mutual respect” which underpin the University’s mission also characterize the efforts of all the units on campus: academic, support and cocurricular. Academic policies, programs and services are evaluated and revised on a systematic basis and the student, faculty, and staff handbooks provide evidence of established practices and procedures to ensure an environment of open communication and ethical practices (CFRs 1.7-1.9.)

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54 thoughts on ““Autonomy and Academic Freedom”: WASC’s 2010 Review of LSU

  1. WASC has confirmed where La Sierra’s allegiance lies and it is not to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If this is the standard: academic freedom, meeting the expectations of society, diversity, and autonomy from the church —then there is NO reason not to cut the church strings. Church members are owed a refund.




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  2. What is interesting to me is WASC’s threat against one of our schools with the use of “academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and the role of the governing board”… independent of the Church’s entire purpose for creating a school in the first place. The Church isn’t asking that theories of evolution be removed from the curriculum of its schools. That’s not remotely true. The Church is arguing that these Darwinian and other mainstream evolutionary theories should be explained in great detail; but that our own professors should be able to go beyond the mere teaching of these theories to explain to their students how and why these theories are actually untenable given the overall weight of evidence in favor of the SDA perspective on origins – evidence which should also be presented in our schools in the most eloquent and attractive manner possible.

    Yet, WASC goes on with its threat against our Church Schools with the following statement:

    Realizing that this is a challenging denominational matter, the Commission is deeply concerned with this external threat to La Sierra’s institutional autonomy and to academic freedom. In your communications with the Commission, both in writing prior to meeting and at the Commission meeting, you expressed the commitment of the board and the president to resist efforts that would compromise academic freedom and institutional autonomy.

    What? Is the Church supposed to support the “freedom” of a teacher to undermine the very purpose of the Church school to begin with? – the very reason why the SDA Church built it and supports it? Turning the tables around, “academic freedom” has not protected those who would think to question mainstream evolutionary thinking within public universities or institutions.

    Just look at what happened to Dr. Richard Sternberg, the editor of the peer-reviewed mainstream scientific journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington when it published Stephen Meyer’s paper, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” which questioned mainstream evolutionary thinking. Sternberg’s “academic freedom” did not prevent him from loosing his academic rank and his job at the Smithsonian Institute.

    http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/angry-scientists-publishing-on-intelligent-design/

    What WASC is trying to do is to uphold a state-sponsored religious philosophy of science at the expense of opposing views being presented against the prevailing view. This is not what SDA education should be about. The Church should strongly resist the implications of this WASC review or end up loosing all benefit to the Church’s goals and ideals from owning and operating its own schools of higher learning…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. I am deeply disappointed to see where La Sierra’s allegiance rests. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the OWNER, not the SPONSOR of LSU. LSU is beholden to the Church, and as the church is apparently not interested in taking action, I’m afraid that the University will have to operate autonomously from my donations.

    La Sierra spits in the hand that feeds it.

    Also, Educate Truth has performed an invaluable service to the members of the church (if not to the denomination itself). Over and over again, LSU and even the Pacific Union have acted like the services of Educate Truth made little if any impact and was the work of fringe radicals. That is not the case.

    According to this WASC report, Educate Truth has made an impact, and I believe it was guided to this conclusion by the Holy Spirit.

    Keep up your work Educate Truth!




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  4. Why is it that the University seems to wish so strongly to CRUSH the Free Speech rights of Educate Truth? It is as if the University believes it has the sole prerogative of explaining its actions and that its explanations must not be challenged in the court of public opinion.

    LSU does not respect the “Academic Freedom” of those who believe that it has taken a wrong turn, and has failed to substantively address those who have challenged it. LSU has issued vague and ambiguous statements affirm the fact that it is not atheistic, but has done little to support the stated beliefs of the Adventist Church.

    LSU cannot handle the heat generated by this website. If LSU had a legitimate leg to stand on, it would have issued a response, but instead they run and hide hoping that criticism of its anti-literal 6-day creation bias will disappear.

    LSU is doing its students, particularly in the theology department, any service through this approach. When theology graduates go to their local congregations and preach sermons that the biology or theology departments at LSU would have applauded, they face the sad truth that the church at large is a very different place than the University. Several have had to either abandon the higher criticism taught at La Sierra, or find jobs outside of the local churches.

    Ivory tower or not, La Sierra needs to be grounded in the CHURCH, not in WASC. WASC should stay out of church business and develop an understanding that the church is the owner of the University and has every right to direct the actions of the University.

    LSU and the Denomination should not allow WASC to impose its will on a Seventh-day Adventist institution. If WASC decides to pull its accreditation because LSU decided to stand up for educating truth, then LSU will be better off without them. As it now stands, as far as this issue is concerned, WASC appears more in the business of racketeering than accrediting.

    WASC should keep its hands off the teachings of the church as expressed in its educational arm.




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  5. The issue concerning WASC was NOT the teaching of creation or evolution, it was the EXTERNAL PRESSURE that could threaten academic freedom and autonomy of the institution.

    WASC has NO issue with religious institutions teaching their religious views. WASC only has an issue when the university calves to outside pressure and disciplines or fires faculty members outside of the university’s established policy. The university can certainly discipline or fire faculty so long as they remain with established policy.




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  6. @ Sean Pitman

    What WASC is trying to do is to uphold a state-sponsored religious philosophy of science at the expense of opposing views being presented against the prevailing view.

    You have quite the imagination. WASC has made no such statement.




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  7. It’s sad the way so many of you wish to make a mountain out of a molehill. Take off your tainted glasses and read the actual standards that WASC wanted to make sure that LSU maintained. Note that there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, in the WASC guidelines that prohibits the teaching of SDA beliefs. And the endorsement of LSU by WASC says nothing, absolutely NOTHING, about whether LSU teaches or does not teach LSU beliefs.

    CFR 1.4 – The institution publicly states its commitment to academic freedom for faculty, staff, and students, and acts accordingly. This commitment affirms that those in the academy are free to share their convictions and
    responsible conclusions with their colleagues and students in their teaching and in their writing.

    CFR 1.6 – Even when supported by or affiliated with political, corporate, or religious organizations, the institution has education as its primary purpose and operates as an academic institution with appropriate autonomy.

    CFR 2.2a – Baccalaureate programs engage students in an integrated course of study of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare them for work, citizenship, and a fulfilling life. These programs also ensure the development of core learning abilities and competencies including, but not limited to, college-level written and oral communication; college-level quantitative skills; information literacy; and the habit of critical analysis of data and argument. In addition, baccalaureate programs actively foster an understanding of diversity; civic responsibility; the ability to work with others; and the capability to engage in lifelong learning. Baccalaureate programs also ensure breadth for all students in the areas of cultural and aesthetic, social and political, as well as scientific and technical knowledge expected of educated persons in this society. Finally, students are required to engage in an in-depth, focused, and sustained program of study as part of their baccalaureate programs.

    CFR 3.8 – The institution’s organizational structures and decision making processes are clear and consistent with its purposes, support effective decision making, and place priority on sustaining effective academic programs.




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  8. In the WASC document the position is taken that evolutionism is science – it is in fact the only science that is available and the the SDA church’s doctrine is opposed to science.

    They also state that in 2003 Adventist theologians and scientists failed to reach concensus – implying that the church has no actual position on this subject and so – LSU is free to pick any course they wish in that regard.

    This is misleading – because the “concensus” of those faith and science conferences was that the SDA church educational system would continue to affirm the fact that all genomes originate from the real 7 day creation week – a fact that occured in nature less than 10,000 years ago.

    Apparently there is “another accreditation” process taking place this month with the internal SDA oversight group taking the reigns after so long a time in delay.

    Adventist Accrediting Team
    to Visit La Sierra University
    Biology issues to be on docket, at school’s suggestion

    BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor

    The Adventist Accrediting Association, or AAA, will examine the highly charged debate over the teaching of origins at La Sierra University during a visit the week of November 15 to the school.

    The site visit is expected to bring nine Adventist educational administrators and experts to the Seventh-day Adventist tertiary institution in Riverside, California. Every ten years, the AAA conducts a site visit at the institution, to consider the renewal of the school’s accreditation by the group.

    http://clubadventist.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/409389/Adventist_Accrediting_Team_to_.html#Post409389

    The truth is – this web site is not the accrediting body for LSU. Their real issue is with their own formal chain of command. All EducateTruth is doing is providing a venue for SDAs to be informed about the promotion of evolutionism as science fact – as the right answer for the doctrine on origins.

    One wonders if WASC really thinks it is wrong for EducateTruth to report that the LSU biology department presents “evolutionism as science fact”. They seem to support LSU doing so – so why do they complain that EducateTruth is claiming that LSU is doing exactly what WASC now appears to be INSISTING that LSU should do??!!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  9. @Professor Kent:

    Note that there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, in the WASC guidelines that prohibits the teaching of SDA beliefs. And the endorsement of LSU by WASC says nothing, absolutely NOTHING, about whether LSU teaches or does not teach LSU beliefs.

    WASC’s emphasis on the academic freedom of professors comes at the expense of the freedom of the institution to remove professors from employment who are no longer representative of the Church’s clearly stated goals and ideals. WASC cites a need for the school to have “appropriate autonomy” or distance from the SDA Church – even though it is the Church that built, owns and operates the school. Where does WASC recognize the responsibility of professors toward their employer? the Church in this case?

    This hiding behind the notion of “academic freedom” in order to continue to openly deride and undermine the Church’s most fundamental doctrinal positions in the classroom is sheer nonsense. After all, Catholic schools have recently fired teachers for undermining Catholic doctrine outside of the classroom (and a math teacher no less – see Link). Yet, no accrediting agency threatened the Catholic Church with loss of accreditation of its schools over such infringements of “academic freedom”? Why not?

    To quote the reason for the Catholic school’s dismissal of this math teacher:

    “When students in a Catholic school are running around the school with this survey and it says, ‘Do you believe in God?’ and it says, ‘No,’ well, that’s in conflict with what we are teaching.”

    WASC would have a cow if LSU required its professors to answer “Yes” to questions regarding fundamental SDA beliefs on origins – like, “Do you believe in a literal 6-day creation week where God created all living things on this planet?” Or, “Do you believe in a literal worldwide Noachian Flood that destroyed all land animal life on this planet and formed much of the geologic column and fossil record?”

    WASC is in fact threatening LSU, and essentially all of our schools in the western US, with loss of accreditation if the SDA Church insists that teachers actually support the Church’s doctrinal positions in their classrooms – to include their science classrooms. That’s a problem for the Church… a big problem…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  10. It “seems” to me that WASC is not threatening LSU with anything. It appears that LSU and WASC are in close cooperation on this specific point.

    I urge that the analysis of this report be more careful and detailed. Much more has been said here than some people may realize.

    Given the WASC language and perspective LSU has got a lot of explaining to do in the upcoming Nov 14 AAA meetings for accreditation.

    1. It is irrefutably obvious that WASC came away from their LSU evaluation “believing” that LSU teaches evolutionism as science fact and WASC states explicitly that what LSU is teaching is in fact contrary to the beliefs of the Adventist church.

    WASC’s point is to suggest that LSU be permitted to continue down that course without any hinerance from the SDA organization that owns and operates it along the lines of proven science contradicts faith and “this fine – just as it should be”.

    2. In the past LSU sources (students and others) have come here claiming that the EducateTruth claims that LSU teaches evolutionism as science fact in contradiction to the SDA position on origins, the flood and the diversity of life around us — is false, mean and horribly wrong.

    Well now WASC is claiming that very same thing for LSU’s support of evolutionism as science fact taking the opposing view as already stated in the context of the 2003 faith and sciences meeting. And “yet” not a peep from LSU of the form “Hey wait a minute WASC. You are now accusing us of doing the very same thing that EducateTruth accused us of doing! How mean spirited of you!”. How odd.

    3. Let us say for the sake of argument that BOTH WASC and EducateTruth are dead wrong to dare to suppose that LSU preaches the “birds come from reptiles” doctrine on origins that the 2004 conferences on faith and sciences found to be so opposed to our doctrinal statements.

    How odd that LSU says nothing to correct WASC!

    How odd that WASC visited LSU and came away “believing” that LSU preaches a “birds come from reptiles” doctrine on origins in their biology science courses in direct opposition to SDA doctrines EVEN by WASC’s standards – as stated in their own report!!

    If in fact LSU merely misrepresented themselves to the WASC on that point – then at the very least they would be in the error of Hezekiah who when the Babylonians came to him seeking to see just what made him “tick” such that the sun went backwards to mark his healing, Hezekiah fumbled by showing them his wealth and misleading them into thinking it was his own natural greatness that produced those results. When the outsider comes in and you have the chance to witness for God – but instead you lead them to “believe” you preach the atheist-centric “birds come from reptiles” doctrine on origins in direct opposition to your own denomination’s beliefs!!!

    Is there no limit!??

    4. On the other hand if LSU is doing the very thing that they represented themselves as doing when visited by WASC. Then they are doing nothing more or less than the very same thing EducateTruth has been claiming they are doing this entire time and it is in the very blatant and glaring oppposition to the SDA doctrinal statements as EVEN WASC admits that it is!!

    And in that case – what was all that “noise” about – “This is mean spirited” when EducateTruth dared to “notice” what apparently WASC is documenting for all the world to see in their own report??!!

    ————

    The bottom line is that the WASC is now formally (and perhaps unwittingly) confirming/certifying that LSU is doing the very thing that EducateTruth has documented in that they are taking the evolutionism-is-science fact position IN the context of those 2003 faith and sciences discussions. Thus it is authentic “birds come from reptiles” brand of evolutionism and not merely a watered down “some kind of mutation happens” form of evolution.

    WASC’s concern is that LSU should not be hindered in any way regarding their evolutionism-at-all-costs mission because in the view of WASC that is good science. In the WASC report it is clear that evolutionary science should not be mixed with religion no matter what that religious point of view might be on the subject of origins and the genome diversity of life etc.

    The AAA acreditation process would do well to pay close attention to what the WASC has stated to be the facts at LSU! And so should we all!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  11. Sorry, Sean, but you simply don’t understand academic accreditation issues (because you’re not an academic, though you likely think otherwise) and you don’t know what you are talking about. WASC has no issue with doctrinal teachings, so long as the university makes clear in its policies what is acceptable and what is not.

    WASC might indeed “have a cow” if teachers were restricted from sharing their honest beliefs. And this is where you get upset. Teaching SDA beliefs respectfully is not good enough to satisfy you. As you have made abundantly clear, every teacher must BELIEVE exactly as you insist, for the exact SAME REASONS you insist (scientific evidence, and not because of faith in the Word of God), and TEACH exactly as you insist–that the weight of evidence clearly favors SDA beliefs.

    I have met many highly-educated Seventh-day Adventists in my lifetime, including a handful of scientists, and I am doubtful that many believe as you do that the weight of scientific evidence favors the Church’s position on origins and the flood. If you were to fire all of those who disagree with you, I think that would be a FAR BIGGER PROBLEM for the Church than your paranoia about WASC. The Seventh-day Adventist Church does NOT require that its teachers believe or even teach that the weight of evidence favors its interpretation. And just because YOU insist these should be the Church’s policies doesn’t mean they are or ever will be.

    You’re an angry man.




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  12. The Adventist Accrediting Association, or AAA, will examine the highly charged debate over the teaching of origins at La Sierra University during a visit the week of November 15 to the school.

    This is excellent. But I have a prediction: no matter what the conclusion or recommendations of the AAA, there will be people at EducateTruth who pick apart and find fault in any report that is made.




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  13. The WASC report states that they will judge LSU on “expectations of CFR 1.6—Does the University operate with appropriate autonomy from the Church?”

    Indeed that is a good question to be addressed. Just how far from our Church did we intend our Universities to opperate?

    Battle Creek at one point took a position that they needed to opperate at a significant distance.

    The WASC report clearly identifies the tension between the Adventist Church and LSU –

    WASC report –

    The Seventh Day Adventist Church has a historic and current belief in the six-day creation of the world –

    and La Sierra University places high value on critical evaluation and science education.

    There has been considerable tension between these two principles, and since the spring of 2009

    There is more than a little truth to that statement.

    The WASC report states – this conflict as the conflict between what LSU and WASC consider to be evoltion as “The scientific position” vs the “Basic Adventist Belief that the earth was created in six days:

    As evidence on evolution has accumulated, there has been periodic conflict between those who support the scientific position and those who support the basic Adventist belief that the earth was created in six days.

    This is the classic “science tells us evolution is true” when it comes to an explanation of origins and the diversity of life we see around us – but Adventist beliefs believe something else. The WASC report appears to suggest that LSU is teaching science (ie evolution) in their biology courses – but is free to teach religion (ie 7 day creation week) if they wish, in the LSU religion department. (It is unclear whether the LSU religion department is inclined to take WASC up on that offer or not).

    Fritz Guy

    Realities for Adventist Theology in the 21st Century

    Furthermore, the available empirical evidence regarding Earth’s own biological history is recognized as more compatible with a long scenario of gradual development than with a short scenario of sudden, recent appearance of present life forms.34 The accumulating evidence has come from various sources—radiometric dating, genetics, comparative anatomy, geology, and paleontology—and it “has convinced virtually all working biologists” that a “framework of variation and natural selection is unquestionably correct.”35

    However WASC appears to imply that the LSU religion department is free to teach a belief in a real 7 day creation week if they wish. But the document appears to say that the church should not insist that the biology department stray from the mantra “evolution provides the most likely explanations for the functioning of the natural world” in true and classic “birds come from reptiles” fashion when it comes to the subject of the origins of genomes.

    And clearly WASC does not think LSU is straying from that mantra presently but appears worred that somebody might post an opinion on a website that would suggest that LSU stray a bit from the hardline evolutionist position. Or that at the very least by posting opinions on this website in the past some evolutionists at LSU felt some anxiety about continuing their “evolution provides the most likely explanations for the functioning of the natural world” agenda at LSU.

    As I said before – this is all out of character with the early complaints on EducateTruth arguing that no such promotion of “evolution as the right answer for the doctrine on origins of complex genomes” even existed at LSU and how dare EducateTruth suggest otherwise.

    The WASC document is clear in its message that LSU should be allowed to continue to promote evolutionism in its science classes and that it would interfere with Academic Freedom and the appropriate autonomy for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to suggest otherwise.

    As Seventh-day Adventists we do not believe this church or its institutions is merely the work of man – but the work of God. He alone is the one who has the ability to set things right.

    As Christians – our appeal is to Him alone.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  14. Dear Shane and Sean

    Well, doesn’t look like LSU is going to change it’s tune notwithstanding your considerable efforts. Sometimes academic freedom is going to trump the chuch. That is the history of science, it will not br artificially bound by faith, or non faith for that matter.

    Now you may cause some folks to remove ther tithes or not send heir children to LSU but in the end what will that accomplish. I suppose the extreme is that you could push to disfellowship LSU but do you carry that clout ? Have either of you spoken to Ted Wilson about this matter and if not why not?

    Here is another idea. Pitch your own university where only 6 day recent creationism and the Noachian flood it taught. Should be enough fundamental pillar support for that. Sean could he the first Dean and Shane the Registrar.

    You may think I’m being facetious but not so. I’m being realistic as to where I think you can make your most impact. You are competing for the hearts and minds of Adventist youth and you need to offer them an educational alttrenative if you wish to change the status quo.

    Be bold! Just like Martin Luther, Gandi, Einstein, Darwin and Jesus. No time for faint hearts here if you really want to make a change, not just take cyber pot shots and institutions standing up to attack.

    As always
    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  15. Clearly very few posters here have served on accreditation survey teams. I served as a surveyor for rehab hospital accreditation for several years. I observed that accreditation committees may occasionally respond to an internal request for help on a particular issue.

    This item may have been generated by requests from administration or interviews with certain teachers. This section of the report may have been written as desired by administration or certain departments for leverage to “push back” against pro-creation forces.

    Of course, academic autonomy and freedom is a “straw” man. There is actually no such thing. The Animal Farm with its final rule of “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” comes to mind. No teacher is unconstrained. No school is unconstrained. Far from it. Education, by its very nature, is intolerant. All answers on tests are not regarded as equally valid.

    The very fact of an accrediting committee shows that academic autonomy and freedom is merely a pretense, an empty conceit. Does the accrediting committee want schools to be autonomous from them? Does the accrediting committee want schools to be free of accrediting control?

    From the beginning of sin, there has been a continuous war between truth and error, righteousness and sin. The one cannot tolerate the other. Cain will slay Able, but Abel will not cooperate with Cain in his apostasy. They cannot harmonize. Nothing new here, this is simply more of the same. Shallow minds will be inclined toward harmony with the world. They will be in the majority. They will be confident, demanding, and demeaning toward different views. Those who are highly critical of Educate Truth and call it a critical site are unable to see their own attacks as critical. Those so dismissive of thoughtful arguments made here, are unable to see their own superficial thinking.

    These things neither surprise nor alarm us. We desire to remain both calm and kind. Truth will always triumph. Our confidence is in the word of God and in the blood of the Lamb. When a case goes to court, victory seems to alternate from side to side as the case is appealed up the legal chain. But it is premature to rejoice until it is decided by the supreme court. The real Supreme Court is sitting now. The decisions are even now in process. The day hastens when teachers, administrators, “accreditators”, boards, will be suddenly humbled. And those of us writing are going to be suddenly humbled as well. Lying lips will be hushed into silence.




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  16. As BobRyan so eloquently notes, the very issue is defined by a statement from WASC that LSU has yet to refute:

    “The Seventh Day Adventist Church has a historic and current belief in the six-day creation of the world – and La Sierra University places high value on critical evaluation and science education.

    “There has been considerable tension between these two principles, and since the spring of 2009.”

    In other words, the Church teaches one thing. La Sierra University teaches another thing.

    There is no use in pretending that La Sierra is in concert with Church teachings, otherwise La Sierra would have disputed this statement. La Sierra might be a good school for other purposes, but they are not a Seventh-day Adventist institution.




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  17. Why is La Sierra and WASC afraid of Educate Truth? Because La Sierra refuses to admit what is really happening and the light of truth has been shown upon it.




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  18. @ Bob Ryan,

    The WASC document is clear in its message that LSU should be allowed to continue to promote evolutionism in its science classes and that it would interfere with Academic Freedom and the appropriate autonomy for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to suggest otherwise.

    Another interesting interpretation from someone who has never been employed by WASC or another accreditation agency, participated with an accreditation team evaluating a university, or even contributed materially to an institution’s accreditation. You guys truly believe you can draw on your vast inexperience and understand it all. Sorry, but you don’t get it.




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  19. @ Bob Ryan

    How odd that WASC visited LSU and came away “believing” that LSU preaches a “birds come from reptiles” doctrine on origins in their biology science courses in direct opposition to SDA doctrines EVEN by WASC’s standards – as stated in their own report!!

    “Birds come from reptiles” doctrine? Where was this stated in the report? Was it right after the statement about their concern that LSU promotes premarital sex?

    Do you have a PhD in Hyperbole?




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  20. Ken you seem to have a skewed view of the state of things in the Adventist Church.

    This site is NOT promoting some new agenda for the SDA church and its teaching institutions. In fact when LSU wants to melt into the background and look “like every body else” in the SDA family of Universities.

    Notice the “details”

    From: http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/lsu-pr-department-vs-lsu-biology-professors/comment-page-1/
    Larry Becker’s view:
    This is an excerpt from a handout being passed out at the LSU booth at the GC Session:

    “Our biology curriculum offers a selection of classes with both breadth and depth. It should be pointed out that the theory of evolution is discussed, but not promoted, at La Sierra University.

    We believe that God the Creator is the source of all life. Students examine our denomination’s voted fundamental belief regarding creation and understand the data used to support our faith in creation. We believe that by providing a complete curriculum grounded in biological principles, paralleled and supported by a strong general education curriculum, students will be able to graduate with an integrated knowledge of their discipline as well as a stronger faith and understanding of God as their Creator and Saviour.

    The scientific data are presented just as they are at most other Seventh-day Adventist institutions, often with the same textbook. We believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that students receive a complete and comprehensive education as warranted by their given program of study.

    The evolution “is not promoted” idea above is the effort to make LSU look like they are presenting the same “birds come from reptiles” evolution-is-not-correct model as “most other Seventh-day Adventist institutions”.

    Your suggestion is that Sean go start such a university for SDAs. But even LSU is admitting above that that kind of university IS what you have at our other teaching institutions and LSU appears to want you to think that this is exactly what they offer as well.

    The August GC session that met in Altanta strongly affirmed this position for our denomination including its institutions – which includes its schools.

    This is not the Sean and Shane are out on a limb – offshoot that you are suggesting.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Re Bob’s Quotes

    “Ken you seem to have a skewed view of the state of things in the Adventist Church.”

    “The August GC session that met in Altanta strongly affirmed this position for our denomination including its institutions – which includes its schools.”

    Dear Bob

    Thanks for your comments.

    Actually I think we agree but I may not have conveyed enough context for my suggestion. I don’t fault Educate Truth one iota for suggesting that LSU should be following established church doctrine. But I think academic freedom is going to trump church doctrine and LSU will not change its ways. The issue is how much control the church is going to be able to exert over its learning institutions.

    I think the WASC missive suggests not too much. Doesn’t look to me like LSU is going to be forced to change what it is doing, does it to you? Is PUC going to change after the strength of its response to Educate Truth? I don’t think so. It is in that pragmatic context – not to suggest that Sean and Shane are out on a doctrinal limb as they are all on all fours with the GC – that I suggested they should start their own college. I was not trying to marginalize Shane and Sean just be pragmatic as to how they could best advance GC educational goals.

    I hope that provides more clarification.

    Regards
    Ken




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  22. Ken, my agnostic “friend,” whom I do not know. If you are an agnostic, why do you bother with or care about what happens at an SDA Church owned university?

    Sean and Shane do not need to start a competing college or university to teach church beliefs, that was the reason LSU and all of our schools were started. We just need to get them back on track!

    We should not forget what happened in our history. When Battle Creek College went off track, it was cut loose from the denomination and failed miserably. I believe Andrews and Loma Linda took its place. If the apostate professors at LSU don’t want to return to the denomination, maybe it is time for the General Conference to cut them loose too.

    Unfortunately, we have some very weak administrators and pastors in our denomination who are not willing to do what is right, and are allowing this to go on way too long. They have their reward coming for their lack of backbone and principles.

    EGW says, “The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. Those who have rendered supreme homage to “science falsely so called” will not be the leaders then. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the day time we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster.”

         “The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.”
    5T 80-81




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  23. Ken – thank you for your reply that helps in understanding your POV.

    However as I point out – even LSU recognized the real position of the rest of our Universities when they argued that they are not promoting evolution and that this makes them like the rest of the SDA universities.

    In that quote we saw LSU claim that they are not promoting evolution. And though this may not be true – it does reveal that they know what they are supposed to be doing if they want to be in the mainstream of existing SDA universities.

    And here again they emphasize that point.

    The scientific data are presented just as they are at most other Seventh-day Adventist institutions, often with the same textbook. .

    So the context that even LSU recognizes is that our own universities are “not promoting evolution” and if LSU wants to be in the mainstream it has to make that claim as well.

    So – no need for Sean to start an SDA university that “in reality” is not promoting evolution – because as even LSU seems to know – we have a lot of those.

    But as you say – will the AAA accreditation group from our church scheduled to review LSU this week – decide that the school needs a change?

    That is the real question. And if the AAA group does insist on a change – will inside-LSU-sources appeal to WASC to issue some kind of sanctions against LSU? (As if cutting of your nose to spite your face is “progress”?)

    I really don’t know what will happen – we can only pray that God will make a way for what is termed the “worst form of infidelity” in 3SG 90-91 to cease being promoted at LSU as if it were the right answer for the doctrine on origins “in nature” for all genomes on earth today.

    The SDA position is that the real event that occured “in nature” and produced all the genomes seen today – is the 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago.

    We expect that to be seen in nature – just as we expect to look up in the sky and see “Two great lights” (Day 4 of creation week) a greater one (the sun) and a lesser one (the moond) — instead of looking up and seeing 3 suns or 2 moons and 1 sun. We expect nature to reflect the real events that created it. (As shocking as that may be to some evolutionists. 😉

    in Christ,

    Bob

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  24. Jonathan Taylor says:
    Ivory tower or not, La Sierra needs to be grounded in the CHURCH, not in WASC. WASC should stay out of church business and develop an understanding that the church is the owner of the University and has every right to direct the actions of the University.

    LSU and the Denomination should not allow WASC to impose its will on a Seventh-day Adventist institution. If WASC decides to pull its accreditation because LSU decided to stand up for educating truth, then LSU will be better off without them. As it now stands, as far as this issue is concerned, WASC appears more in the business of racketeering than accrediting.

    WASC should keep its hands off the teachings of the church as expressed in its educational arm.

    Bravo, Jonathan! My feelings exactly! If this accrediation association can’t handle our church teaching its own beliefs in its own institution they should be told to take a flying leap at a rolling donut.

    We so often put too much importance on our status in worldly organizations. Well, this world is not our home, the next world is. And it is sooooo much better than anything this world can offer–including some unimportant standing in some unimportant association that thinks it sets the standards for our church institutions.

    Faith




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  25. There is no surprise with the letter’s conclusion. Not one is surprised. This is the world’s view, is it not? And the condition of the world at the of the second coming of Christ? The argument for academic freedom is not honest in the least any more than is the ACLU saying that the wall of separation between church and state blocks “religious morality” from being legislated.

    If a biology professor at Harvard University decided to teach creation in the same manner as La Sierra is teaching creation, what would happen to that teacher? And, then after he was fired, what would the accrediting body do about it? We do not expect to see honesty in such matters, do we?

    Then where is the problem at La Sierra? It is not with the world, it is with the church. The church board is composed of Seventh-day Adventists. If we have a problem at the school, we look no further than the church board. And, since many conference presidents sit on that board, one may want to consider each of these men before casting woes on a worldly accreditation board. This problem did not just appear out of nowhere and the teaching of evolution is only the tip of a very large difficulty. May we each open our eyes and heed the call by Pastor Wilson for revival and reformation.

    As the letter points out, the fact that evolution is being taught at our schools has been noted nationally. Reproach has been brought upon Christ and His church. How long with the La Sierra board allow this to continue? How will they remove the reproach brought upon the church?




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  26. This is excellent. But I have a prediction: no matter what the conclusion or recommendations of the AAA, there will be people at EducateTruth who pick apart and find fault in any report that is made.  (Quote)

    Dear Professor Kent,

    I understand your frustration with the lack of recognition of the function of accrediting bodies and the very adversarial tone of this site as I’ve stated on other threads. Still, this very much sounds like you are doing the same and setting up the next fight yourself. Can’t we all please just take a step back and looking for loving, unifying solutions to address these issues rather than pouring more fuel on the fire?

    Your Brother,
    Wm.




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  27. Re D Fender’s Quote

    “Ken, my agnostic “friend,” whom I do not know. If you are an agnostic, why do you bother with or care about what happens at an SDA Church owned university?”

    Dear D

    Thanks for your question. My answer: Are we all not children of God in your estimation? If so, do we all not have an interest in truth, origins, salvation, or is this an exclusive domain?

    Hope that helps
    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  28. Biology is a science, and the outcome of the creation, evolution debate will be determined by scientific research. The only way for creationists to “win” this debate is to find scientific evidence to support a short creation and a world wide flood. Currently there is overwhelming evidence from all disciplines confirming long geologic ages, current and ongoing evolution and there is no evidence of a world wide flood. Teachers can only teach the evidence that exists. It is unreasonable to expect a science teacher to teach what is not supported by science. If there is evidence for short geological time and world wide flood, then present the evidence, but so far there does not seem to be any. Since work in genetics the last few years has made genetic evolution an everyday event supporting billion dollar industries it seems unreasonable to deny its existence. Certainly the industries based on it are not going to go away.




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  29. Through double speak, an institution or individual may attempt to portray that it/he/she is in harmony with two opposing groups. God, however, is not fooled. All those who truly love God will be as transparent as the sunlight in expressing their identity as His children and their unwillingness to be attached to anything that is the enemy of God and His truth.

    There is more hope for individuals who are openly opposed to the biblical account of Creation than for individuals who attach themselves dishonestly to a movement and gain a livelihood undermining that movement’s beliefs while claiming to respect them.

    The real question is, if the Word made flesh, the Creator, the Express Image of God, the Son, Jesus, our Redeemer and Lord, could feel honored by what is taught about His act of Creation at LSU, or any other SDA school or university. Perhaps on that day, when all tongues confess and all knees are bowed before the Creator’s throne, those who have been ashamed of the “unscientific” account of Creation as revealed to us in Genesis will remember His words: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32,33.




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  30. Eze 9:6 says judgment should begin “at my sanctuary” with the “ancient men”. There are retired but very active ministers at LSU that wear with honor their SDA Denominational Credential frocks. These ministers have openly stated support of long age evolution. These ministers have published heresy in gay revisionist books like “Homosexuality & Christianity, Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives”; yet mother church is SILENT. These men have leadership roles in the church. Heretical gay revisionist views & mega-evolution views are birds of a feather that flock together.

    HOW CAN THE SDA CHURCH CLEAN THE LSU BIOLOGY DEPT HOUSE, UNTIL SHE FIRST CLEANS HER OWN??? Why are these men not removed from their influential teaching/preaching pulpits? Is this not the hour of judgment?




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  31. It seems to me that the WASCs standards if applied fairly would cause great problems in many institutions. Take CFR 1.4 for example, “The institution publicly states its commitment to academic freedom for faculty, staff and students, and acts accordingly. This commitment affirms that those in the academy are free to share their convictions and responsible conclusions with their colleagues and students in their teaching and in their writing.”

    So if a Christian professor at a public college began to teach hatred for Jews could that institution not discipline him/her for going against the values of the school? Apparently not because the professor is “free to share their convictions and responsible conclusions with their colleagues and students in their teaching and in their writing”? You may say hate speech is not “responsible” so this is apples and oranges, but who defines responsible and by what standard? What Adventists around the world are saying is that contradicting the core values of the institution that hired you is not responsible.

    Also CFR 1.6—”Does the University operate with appropriate autonomy from the Church?” LSU is OWNED, founded and supported by the Seventh-day Adventist church a legal corporation with legal operations in nearly every country on the globe. Who is WASC to say that a company, much larger and with more world influence then itself, has no right to have a say in how it runs its own institution? Public schools are regularly directed by congress to do or not to do a certain thing. And public schools are owned by states not the federal government. I guess any public school which accepts money from federal or state governments with mandates or “strings attached” should have it’s accreditation challenged because it’s not properly autonomous.

    Sounds like WASC needs to review their own policies.




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  32. A good Adventist accreditation plan should detect a consistent imbalance in scientific presentation at LSU. Creation evidence and evolutionary theory objections are scientific, and must therefore be thoroughly presented in any course on the science of origins. LSU has presented the theory of evolution, but seems to have failed to present the fair weight of scientific evidence that supports Creation and refutes evolution. If a teacher’s faith (in long-age evolution) does not allow him to assimilate and teach this scientific evidence for Creation, then he cannot possibly meet the goals of the institution–to fairly present the balance of evidence in science. Even in the absence of theological considerations, these professors may be failing both as scientists and science educators. Of all things Adventists want, we certainly want true science (based on scientific method), not fanciful theories. Let us pray for this accreditation process to by guided by God.




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  33. @Elizabeth Iskander:

    “The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.
    Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth?” Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, pages 204, 205.

    Books of a new order have been written, a system of intellectual philosophy has taken over, the giving up of doctrines is well under way, nothing is being allowed to stand in it’s way, our religion has been changed. What’s next? World turmoil, and then the second coming!




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  34. Ken, yes we are all God’s children. He loves us all the same and wants good for every one of us. No one has a special ownership of God, but some do seek Him more than others and maintain a closer relationship. I hope you will respond to His offer of forgiveness of your sins and offer of eternal life. Jesus is coming very soon. The world is falling apart right before our eyes.




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  35. If there is evidence for short geological time and world wide flood, then present the evidence, but so far there does not seem to be any. Since work in genetics the last few years has made genetic evolution an everyday event supporting billion dollar industries it seems unreasonable to deny its existence. Certainly the industries based on it are not going to go away.

    Ron, if you are a student at LSU I can understand why you would not have discovered all the evidence for Creationism and objections to the theory of evolution, since that has apparently been very little understood or taught by LSU professors. Short-age creation and worldwide flood evidence is abundant and fascinating. Furthermore, no Creationist excludes adaptation evolution from their science. That kind of evolution fits very well in what we know now about genetics. It is long-age evolution that poses insumountable problems when approached from the scientific method.




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  36. @Professor Kent:

    In reading this thread, I have to agree with Sean, who, BTW, I know is not an “angry man”. In fact, reading the responses back and forth, I would have to say that you (Prof Kent) have a chip on your shoulder, judging from your responses. I have to admit that reading your response, I’m a bit surprised that a “professor” would respond this way in such a public forum.

    BTW, I have no idea who you are, or if you’re even a prof at LSU–I’m just going by what is being posted in here. So I’m not some former student or LSU alum with a grudge. I’m a proud alum of AU so I can’t say that I’ve experienced first hand what is going on over at LSU, but I do have a number of faculty friends there and with a 13 y/o who will soon be choosing a college down the road, it will be interesting to see how all this turns out in the next few years.




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  37. @Ken:

    Dear D

    Thanks for your question. My answer: Are we all not children of God in your estimation? If so, do we all not have an interest in truth, origins, salvation, or is this an exclusive domain?

    Hope that helps
    Your agnostic friend
    Ken Ken(Quote)

    Dear Ken,

    Dear Ken,

    Very good answer Ken! I, for one, and delighted you are “on board.” Even though you come from an entirely different perspective your responses and questions are among the nicest and most “Christlike” and considerate of the comments posted on this site. I always look for them the first thing I do when opening a site. Keep on posting! I would really miss you very much if you withdrew!

    Lydian




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  38. Ernie, I stated that the Seventh-day Adventist Church does NOT require that its teachers believe or even teach that the weight of evidence favors its interpretation. There is no SDA university that requires this! Sean recognizes these things, yet he insists that PUC and its scientists and theologians must do this; otherwise, they are stealing from the Church.

    Maybe he’s not angry at LSU, PUC, Ness, and the many others whom he has publicly criticized. Perhaps this is done in a calm normal spirit. I might have been mistaken.




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  39. Re D Fender’s and Lydian’s Quotes

    “Ken, yes we are all God’s children. He loves us all the same and wants good for every one of us. No one has a special ownership of God, but some do seek Him more than others and maintain a closer relationship. I hope you will respond to His offer of forgiveness of your sins and offer of eternal life. Jesus is coming very soon. The world is falling apart right before our eyes. D. Fender(Quote)”

    “Dear Ken,

    Very good answer Ken! I, for one, and delighted you are “on board.” Even though you come from an entirely different perspective your responses and questions are among the nicest and most “Christlike” and considerate of the comments posted on this site. I always look for them the first thing I do when opening a site. Keep on posting! I would really miss you very much if you withdrew!

    Lydian Lydian Belknap(Quote)”

    Dear All

    My head does not know all the answers and maybe none of them! But my heart knows this: Sean’s espousal of the Royal Law of Love, as so evidenced by D and Lydian, transcends the debate about origins.

    Thank you ever so much for your kind wishes and thoughts. I can promise you that I will leave my head and heart open to all that will come.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  40. Re Wes’s Quote

    “@Ken: I second that. You are needed, appreciated, respected — may I say, even more respected, and prayed for, than Christopher Hitchens? wesley kime(Quote)”

    Dear Wes

    A sincere thank you.

    I greatly enjoy your wit and gift with language, even when I might be the butt end of adroit observation.

    Here I am walking along the fence while Christopher Hitchens pulls me one way and Sean the other. I’d be better be careful before I fall off on the side of…….

    Stay posted dear audience to the balancing act on the Fence Sitter’s Reality Show.

    Metaphysical Announcer: “How is the view up there Ken?”

    Ken, with a naive, happy look on his face: “Great, I can see folks all around me going down different roads. Hard to look down at my own feet though, as I walk along this infinite fence stretching into the future.

    Metaphysical Announcer: “Seems like a pretty precarious perch”

    Ken: ” Oh, I just keep my balance by moving along,meeting new people, thinking about new things”

    Metaphysical Announcer: “Ever going to get off and settle down?”

    Ken: “Well never say never, but I like this trip and there always seems to be something new to learn at the next epistemological fence post.

    Cheers
    Ken




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  41. @Ken:
    “…Christopher Hitchens pulls me one way and Sean the other. I’d better be careful before I fall off on the side of….” Isn’t the net weight of evidence, not just the erosion rate of the Himalayan slopes, clearly, not just allegorically, vectoring in favor of Dr. Pitman? Happy landing!

    Meanwhile, as to Christopher Hitchens, as Dr. pitman (and I, both pathologists) would affirm, esophageal Ca is an especially bad thing to have, arguably, but maybe not right here, almost as bad as his stance in the cosmos. So back to your ellipsis …, Cheers! W




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  42. @Richard Myers:

    LSU and the Denomination should not allow WASC to impose its will on a Seventh-day Adventist institution. If WASC decides to pull its accreditation because LSU decided to stand up for educating truth, then LSU will be better off without them. As it now stands, as far as this issue is concerned, WASC appears more in the business of racketeering than accrediting.

    WASC should keep its hands off the teachings of the church as expressed in its educational arm.

    Bravo, Jonathan! My feelings exactly! If this accrediation association can’t handle our church teaching its own beliefs in its own institution they should be told to take a flying leap at a rolling donut.

    Are we really suggesting that La Sierra would be better off unaccredited? If you want an unaccredited school that teaches SDA beliefs, go to Hartland or Weimar. Leave La Sierra for those of us who want an Adventist campus that teaches science.




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  43. Re Wes’s Quote

    “@Ken:
    “…Christopher Hitchens pulls me one way and Sean the other. I’d better be careful before I fall off on the side of….” Isn’t the net weight of evidence, not just the erosion rate of the Himalayan slopes, clearly, not just allegorically, vectoring in favor of Dr. Pitman? Happy landing! ”

    Dear Wes

    So far so good. I just reached the Tibetan Plateau and it doesn’t seem to be eroding too much. Looks like the fence has been here awhile and seems to be rising a little more towards the heavens, which will hopefully give me a bit better view.

    Oh, there is Dr. Clausen of the GRI over yonder. He sure is scratching his head a lot. He is mumbling something about there not being any viable young earth model. Don’t now if you have read his work but it seems quite interesting.

    Well I’ve got to keep moving along, thanks for chatting brother.

    Cheers
    Ken




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  44. QUOTE: “Ken, yes we are all God’s children.”

    I’m not sure that this statement is Biblically accurate any more than it would be accurate to say that God had specially created all of the animals on this planet, dinosaurs included. There are classes of both animals and man that have not descended from God. The Prophet John spoke to the human side of this in writing:

    In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1 John 3:10)

    Paul stated:

    For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)

    As a self-professed “agnostic,” Ken has declared a lack of faith in God. If he has faith in God, he will be a child of God. Until then, according to the Bible, he is not. Even Jesus reserved the term “children of God” for a select group and not for everyone:

    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

    Not everyone is God’s child. Those who do righteousness, who have faith in God, and who are peacemakers–these are His children.

    If I am not mistaken, evolution theory erodes faith in a Creator God. As such, it is engendering many children of the devil, and not children of God.

    Ultimate peace can only be found in the light of truth. I applaud Educate Truth for its work in bringing truth and light to bear upon a darkened corner. Jesus, the Light of the world, was criticized and finally murdered after the spirit of Cain, yet He did not withhold the truth but preached the word of God openly. Paul says:

    Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Romans 9:6-9)

    May we all choose to be the children of God and not merely “children of the flesh!”




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  45. Are we really suggesting that La Sierra would be better off unaccredited? If you want an unaccredited school that teaches SDA beliefs, go to Hartland or Weimar. Leave La Sierra for those of us who want an Adventist campus that teaches science.

    Weimar is to be accredited by the same WASC that is accrediting LSU. Nevertheless, as you have intimated in your statement above, the education received at Weimar will be of an entirely different character to that of LSU.

    http://www.weimar.edu/academics/accreditation/




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  46. Weimar is to be accredited by the same WASC that is accrediting LSU. Nevertheless, as you have intimated in your statement above, the education received at Weimar will be of an entirely different character to that of LSU.http://www.weimar.edu/academics/accreditation/  (Quote)

    The key point is that Weimar is (and let me quote them here):

    “in the process of seeking regional accreditation through WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges).”

    There is a big difference between seeking accreditation and having accreditation, and what I know of WASC accreditation I would be extremely surprized if they give Weimar accreditation. I could be wrong, which I wouldn’t mind at all, but Weimar just doesn’t have the characteristics that WASC typically requires for accreditation.




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  47. @ken: And while prayers are being offered for you, mine is that your Tibetan Plateau not become your Plateau Of Despond (you remember your Psych 101). And something like that for the viability of GRI’s Young Earth Model. May the GRI find its GPS.

    Now that you mention them, shall we turn our meditation to models, research and other kinds? If at church it’s “holier than thou,” in the lab it’s “my model is more viable than thine.” I learned that along with footnotes as a research fellow at Washington U. And inscribed in the plaque over the Morris agency’s door is “My model is more vibrant than yours.” (If not why not?) But the viability of the Morris Model might be as much in question as that of the GRI’s model, considering the Morris girls’ gauntness. “Vibrant” or “viable,” depends on which door the plaque is over.

    The Evo Model seems Rubinesque enough, but by whole body scanning is mostly silicone implants and falsies (in the lab we’d call them extrapolations), as you may be, could be, to your surprise, suspecting, thanks to our Dr. Pitman, the model (only a little tarnished) of forbearance and cosmically rational tenacity, I’d say, since his persona has been offered up for public comment. This time a straw man has not been raised, praise be.

    Meanwhile, for the model of generic and tenacious but all the more irrational indomitability, to the very end and beyond endurance, we have our Christopher Hitchens, cancer victim, soon, alas, to be tenaciously nonviable, and then what? And so what? For that, especially that, you sure have a choice of models.

    Cheers! Wes




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  48. Re Adventist’s Quote

    “If I am not mistaken, evolution theory erodes faith in a Creator God. As such, it is engendering many children of the devil, and not children of God.”

    Dear Adventist

    I don’t take offense to you not considering me to be a child of God, but rather spawn of the devil. I understand and respect your conviction. Moreover, if you mistaken, I forgive you my friend.

    I hope those Adventists that are entertaining thoughts of theistic evolution will do likewise.

    “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1 John 3:10)”

    Great quote. It seems on all fours with Sean’s espoused Royal Law of Love.

    Love
    your agnostic brother
    Ken




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  49. Re Wes’s Quotes

    “@ken: And while prayers are being offered for you, mine is that your Tibetan Plateau not become your Plateau Of Despond”

    “For that, especially that, you sure have a choice of models.”

    Dear Wes

    I feel your love brother and am grateful. It’s free up here on the fence and I don’t see any reason to leap off in fear or despondency. The plateau is rising a bit each year.

    I see your dangling carrot of immortality as well as Hitchens’s cup of despair. But each seems to block the view from my agnostic glasses.

    I really like your poetic, stream of consciousness style. Proof of creation and, Creation?

    Hope you had a good Sabbath.

    Cheers
    Ken




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  50. @ken: Leap from your fence? Oh no, no! Please no! NO! Don’t ever leap off your fence “in fear or despondency,” worse than leaping off the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (the Empire State Building is so outdated). Leap only into joy (Have you ever read C.S. Lewis’s “Surprised by Joy”? That’s the book I’d recommend, along with Sean’s Turtles, for you maybe over it.)

    And, moving right along in my “Free Association” mode, the only thing I’ll personally be dangling in front of you is a preposition.

    Speaking of dangling, I note that as we speak you are interacting with at least six others of my fellow posters, simultaneously playing us all, and so congenially. At least for this site that’s maybe a record. Congratulations and welcome again. And, thanks, somehow my Sabbath was especially good. They get better and better.

    Cheers and dangles, Wes




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  51. Dear Wes

    “(Have you ever read C.S. Lewis’s “Surprised by Joy”?”

    No, but I read the Narnia series to my children. Fine Christian allegory. I wonder if it was an ancestor of his that wrote Genesis?

    I prefer his contemporary and friend J.R.R. Tolkein. Have your read Lord of the Rings? Like the Bible, it is a great classic.

    Waiting for ‘God’ot, thanks for letting me participlepate.

    Felicitations
    Ken




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