Thursday, August 14, 2008

Judge Rules High School Courses Can Be Rejected by Universities

A federal judge has ruled that the University of California can reject an applicant as insufficiently prepared for college by denying course credits for science classes that do not teach modern science. The article, in SFGate, notes:

Rejecting claims of religious discrimination and stifling of free expression, U.S. District Judge James Otero of Los Angeles said UC's review committees cited legitimate reasons for rejecting the texts - not because they contained religious viewpoints, but because they omitted important topics in science and history and failed to teach critical thinking.

Great Googlymoogly! Unless this ruling is narrowly rendered, the ramifications are staggering! If other universities and colleges are paying attention, they can put incredible pressure on local high schools to teach concepts of evolution, modern astronomy, modern geology and palaeontology—all anathema to the creationist movement—effectively rendering the "academic freedom bills" irrelevant. This also places some of the local school boards over a barrel in that, if they support creationism in science class, they know that the local and state colleges and universities will reject those classes. How could they be seen as serving the needs of the students in those instances? Given the emphasis on state testing and college preparation, classes that teach creationism may become "one with the snows of yesteryear" as Isaac Asimov put it.

This ruling also puts added pressure on homeschoolers and homeschooling publishers who produce textbooks that are almost universally written from a recent creation perspective. To be sure, there is still a market for private universities that may hew to a YEC perspective, but there may not be enough of those to justify the continued teaching of creationism or ID on a widespread basis.

The ruling is being appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which may prove fruitless since that particular court seems to not have a conservative bone in its body. This ruling could be a watershed.

2 comments:

  1. To be sure, there is still a market for private universities that may hew to a YEC perspective, but there may not be enough of those to justify the continued teaching of creationism or ID on a widespread basis.

    More would be built. There would be a fortune to be made.

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  2. I suppose that's possible but as far as a public education argument, and assuming this is not narrowly rendered, it may be dead. Additionally, if you are correct, there will be even more polarization on the topic.

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