Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fighting Reality

One of the many reasons that pro-science people will give against teaching Intelligent Design and other pseudo-science, is that giving students a warped version of science does not adequately prepare them for college. As such, it's possible in some cases that colleges may refuse to admit students who aren't adequately prepared.

Just as was predicted, just such a scenario came true last year in the California system of universities. Unfortunately, those with wasted educations have decided that it's not their fault they haven't met the minimum qualifications, but that *GASP* it's religious discrimination. As such, they did what any good American would do and filed a lawsuit. After reviewing the case, a federal judge has decided to let it go forward.

The lawsuit alleges that the UC system is somehow abridging their right to free speech by not accepting it as magically valid and academically sound. The judge said that the plaintiffs showed that they had evidence that they had been forced to choose between teaching courses that met the qualifications and ones preaching their religion.

Perhaps I'm a bit confused, but if they knew full well what the minimum requirements were, and then intentionally sidestepped them to teach religion, how on Earth did they expect to be taken seriously for admissions? Can I make up a crackpot theory that doesn't meet the fundamental level of understanding and claim that my free speech is being stifled if I don't get accepted?

Furthermore, how is it oppressing free speech to require that such things be taught for admission. It doesn't prohibit the school from teaching their religious views as well.

The lawsuit seeks to force the school to accept and endorse science classes that don't include science and instead promote Christian ideology. Should they win, I forsee another lawsuit on first ammendment grounds arguing that the endorsement of such religious classes violates the seperation of church and state.

Meanwhile, the school maintains that it must "be able to reject high school courses that do not meet its standards or that provide more religious than academic content."

Sounds reasonable to me.

6 comments:

Joshua said...

Sometimes, judges will accept a case on the grounds that they want to establish a precedent in their ruling. I suspect that's partly what's going on here.

With any luck, we'll end up with a second Kitzmiller. Hell, there's been some chatter wondering what strategy Creationists will try next now that they failed in their attempts to push ID or "teach the (manufactured) controversy" in public schools. This must be it. The public schools are closed to them, but they still have their private ones. It'll be a major coup for Creationism if the judge strikes down the UC system's standards, but no judge in his right mind would do that. Colleges have to have some basis for weeding out applications. SO I fully expect the judge to rule in favour of UC, but we'll see how it turns out.

Yuvi Panda said...

Atleast, it's a bit better than Colleges over here in India: If you belong to this caste, you can get into the college with just 60% marks, while another guy with 97% marks doesn't get in because he belongs to a "high caste"... Nice Qualifications, I guess:D

Jon Voisey said...

I can't imagine any sane judge ruling against UC either. But it's still another thorn in the side of common sense.

Jesse said...

Jon, I'm going to play devil's advocate (ironic pun) and suggest that there may be substance to this lawsuit. I know of many private Christian schools that have academic standards more rigorous than many public school systems, so the implication that being a private Christian school automatically means lower standards is false, and to maintain it is indeed discriminatory. The question is; does such discrimination take place, and if so, what should our response be?

Jon Voisey said...

Jesse: I agree that many private Christian schools have higher standards, and to even assume for a second that just because they're Christian would automatically disqualify them would be ridiculous.

However, the UC system seems to have singled out this one school as not meeting the minimum qualifications but I haven't heard anything about them not deeming other schools worthy. Thus, I'm inclined to believe that there is something different about this Christian school.

I think the important quote from my original post is the last one in which the school says it must "be able to reject high school courses that do not meet its standards or that provide more religious than academic content."

It would seem to me that they are reviewing the material and find it didn't fit with the minimum requirements, or it was so trivialized that it was not properly taught.

I've seen a few articles on this lawsuit and thus far, I've never seven seen the Christian school try to argue that their courses actually meet acceptable standards (or at least the media's never reported on that aspect), but instead, only harp on the "help help! We're being oppressed!" tactic.

Jon Voisey said...

Jesse: I agree that many private Christian schools have higher standards, and to even assume for a second that just because they're Christian would automatically disqualify them would be ridiculous.

However, the UC system seems to have singled out this one school as not meeting the minimum qualifications but I haven't heard anything about them not deeming other schools worthy. Thus, I'm inclined to believe that there is something different about this Christian school.

I think the important quote from my original post is the last one in which the school says it must "be able to reject high school courses that do not meet its standards or that provide more religious than academic content."

It would seem to me that they are reviewing the material and find it didn't fit with the minimum requirements, or it was so trivialized that it was not properly taught.

I've seen a few articles on this lawsuit and thus far, I've never seven seen the Christian school try to argue that their courses actually meet acceptable standards (or at least the media's never reported on that aspect), but instead, only harp on the "help help! We're being oppressed!" tactic.