Comment on “Autonomy and Academic Freedom”: WASC’s 2010 Review of LSU by BobRyan.
The WASC report states that they will judge LSU on “expectations of CFR 1.6â€”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).
Realities for Adventist Theology in the 21st Century
Furthermore, the available empirical evidence regarding Earthâ€™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 sourcesâ€”radiometric dating, genetics, comparative anatomy, geology, and paleontologyâ€”and it â€œhas convinced virtually all working biologistsâ€ that a â€œframework of variation and natural selection is unquestionably correct.â€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.
BobRyan Also Commented
“Autonomy and Academic Freedom”: WASC’s 2010 Review of LSU
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. 😉
“Autonomy and Academic Freedom”: WASC’s 2010 Review of LSU
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”
Larry Beckerâ€™s view:
This is an excerpt from a handout being passed out at the LSU booth at the GC Session:
â€œOur 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 denominationâ€™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.
“Autonomy and Academic Freedom”: WASC’s 2010 Review of LSU
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!
Recent Comments by BobRyan
By definition, I don’t believe in miracles or apocryphal, anthropomorphic stories about same.Why aren’t scientists observing them today if they occur?
Circular argument. If they were naturally occurring we would expect scientists to see that they are still occurring today. If they are singular events caused by an intelligent being – that being would be under no obligation to “keep causing world wide floods” as if “to do it once you must continually do it”. Armstrong went to the moon.. shall we argue that unless he keeps going to the moon so each new generation can see it … then it did not happen?
Your argument is of the form “all eye witness evidence to some event in the past is no evidence at all unless that event keeps repeating itself so we too can witness it”. Seems less than compelling.
“Could it be that science is better able to detect hoaxes and false claims?” As a rule for dismissing every eye witness account in the past – it is less than compelling. (even when that event cannot be repeated)
Evolutionists “claim” that dust, rocks and gas (in sufficient quantity and over sufficient time and a lot of luck) self organized into rabbits via prokaryote-then-eukaryote-then-more-complexity. But such self-organization cannot be “observed” today.
(What is worse – such a sequence cannot even be intelligently manipulated to occur in the lab)
By your own argument then you should not believe in evolution.
Suppose you were at a crime scene … there is a tree limb on the ground and a bullet hole in the victim — “all natural causes”? or is one ‘not natural’? Those who say that nothing can be detected as “not naturally occurring in nature” – because all results, all observations make it appear that every result “naturally occurred without intelligent design” seem to be missing a very big part of “the obvious”.
What just God would allow an innocent child to be born guilty for the sins of a distant ancestor? …What if there was only One Commandment? Do Good. ‘Kant’ see a problem with that.
An atheist point of view is not often found here – but this is interesting.
1. God does not punish babies for what someone else did – but I suppose that is a reductionist option that is not so uncommon among atheists. The “details” of the subject you are commenting on – yet according to you “not reading” – is that humans are born with sinful natures. A “bent” toward evil. That is the first gap right out of the gate between atheism and God’s Word..
2. But still God supernaturally enables “free will” even in that bent scenario, the one that mankind lives in – ever since the free-will choice of the first humans on planet earth – was to cast their lot in with Satan and rebellion..(apparently they wanted to see what a wonderful result that poor choice would create). John 16 “the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and righteousness and judgment”. And of course “I will draw ALL mankind unto Me” John 12:32. (not “just Christians”). Thus supernatural agency promotes free will in a world that would otherwise be unrestrained in its bent to evil.
3.God says “The wages of sin is death” — so then your “complaint” is essentially “that you exist”. A just and loving God created planet Earth – no death or disease or suffering – a perfect paradise where mankind could live forever … and only one tiny restriction… yet Adam and Eve allowed themselves to be duped by Satan… tossing it all away. The “Just God” scenario could easily just have let them suffer the death sentence they chose. He did not do that… hence “you exist” – to then “complain about it”.
4. Of course you might also complain that Satan exists – and Satan might complain that “you exist”. There is no shortage on planet earth of avenues for complaint. But God steps in – offers salvation to mankind at infinite cost to himself – – and the “Few” of Matthew 7 eventually end up accepting that offer of eternal life. The rest seem to prefer the lake of fire option… sort of like Adam and Eve choosing disease and death over eternal life (without fully appreciating the massive fail in that short-sighted choice).
In any case – this thread is about the logic/reason that should be taken into account when a Christian owned and operated institution chooses to stay faithful to its Christian mission — rather then getting blown about by every wind of doctrine. Why let the alchemy of “wild guessing” be the ‘source of truth’ when we have the Bible?? We really have no excuse for that. As for science – we can be thankful that it has come as far along as it has – but no matter how far back you rewind the clock of our science history – we should always have chosen the Bible over wild guessing.
Perhaps Dr. Pitman would enlighten his readers what on earth “the neo-Darwinian story of origins” might be. Darwin did not address origins.
Origins of what?? the first eukaryote??
Or “origins of mankind”??
Darwin himself claimed that his own false doctrine on origins was totally incompatible with Genesis and that because of this – Genesis must be tossed under a bus.
hint: Genesis is an account of “Origins” as we all know — even though “bacteria” and “amoeba” are terms that don’t show up in the text.
The point remains – Darwin was promoting his own religion on origins totally counter to the Bible doctrine on origins. He himself addresses this point of the two views.
Here we go again.If the footprints upon close examination, are determined not to be from a hominim/hominid, I wonder if Educate Truth (sic) will announce that determination.Or if the date of the surface is determined to be much younger, will there be a notice placed on fundamentalist web-sites.If you believe the answer to these questions are yes, I have a big bridge that I would like to sell you for pennies on the dollar.
Here we go again … hope piled upon hope…no matter the “observations in nature” that disconfirm the classic evolutionary hypothesis
Reminds me of “What we still don’t know” by Martin Reese and Leonard Suskind