Bob Jones University Responds

Posted at WSJ…

Just one brief comment.

Pres. Pettit states, I “can offer no evidence in asserting that Bob Jones University grants degrees requiring course credits in “creation science.”’ In fact, I can, and did so in my third party comment to CHEA. The evidence is Bob Jones current course catalogue, which requires, for example, all biology students to take Bio 300.

I understand addressing these concerns about their curriculum head on will be controversial, which is why I recommend a cooperative approach. Let’s find a principle compromise together on this one Pres. Pettit.

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This would be a good time to bring up the flat earth test.

From the BJU response…

S. Joshua Swamidass (“A Compromise on Creationism,” Houses of Worship, March 5) can offer no evidence in asserting that Bob Jones University grants degrees requiring course credits in “creation science,” because there is in reality no such thing. We simply teach science.

From the Tenets of Creation, to which BJU is a signatory…

We affirm that no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history, archeology and science, can be considered valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.

It is not possible to reconcile those two statements.

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https://www.facebook.com/peacefulscience.org/posts/905043026937436

Dr. Steve Pettit of Bob Jones University responds to my recent OpEd in the The Wall Street Journal concerning CHEA - Council for Higher Education Accreditation decision on TRACS (an org that accredits BJU).

I called for a principled compromise that would support their academic freedom to teach young earth creation science, as long as they do this with transparency. More importantly, I also called for academic freedom for faculty and students at BJU that dissent from scientific creationism.

Pres. Pettit states, I “can offer no evidence in asserting that Bob Jones University grants degrees requiring course credits in “creation science.”’ In fact, I can, and did so in my third party comment to CHEA. The evidence is Bob Jones current course catalogue, which requires, for example, all biology students to take Bio 300, a class that the catalogue indicates includes creation science.

Notably, in his response to me, Dr. Pettit does not assure us he will protect the vulnerable dissenters at BJU. Academic freedom is a two way street. Why is BJU asking [for] freedoms that they are unwilling to offer their own faculty and students?

I understand addressing these concerns about their curriculum head on will be controversial, which is why I recommend a cooperative approach. Let’s find a principle compromise together on this one Pres. Pettit.

S. Joshua Swamidass MD PhD
Associate Professor, Washington University in St. Louis

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Bio 300 Evolution & Origins - course description

Philosophical and biological evaluation of the theories of evolution, the intelligent design movement and special creation. Topics include natural selection, genetic drift, adaptation, genetic variation, speciation, macroevolution, geological time scale, historical Adam, and the beginning of life. Theological implications of each theory are discussed and a creationary model of the diversity of life is explored.

Bio 306 - Systematics - course description [Bold mine]

Taxonomic techniques and philosophical assumptions of various natural and artificial approaches to classification including baraminology. Natural history of vertebrate taxa with emphasis on mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Classification of vascular plants. Use of identification keys, experience in recognizing plant and animal species in the field, techniques used in collecting and preparing herbarium/museum specimens, and consideration of relevant scientific literature.

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Pettit: “Dr. Swamidass’s “compromise”—excluding credit from courses presenting evidence for multiple models—would marginalize outstanding scientists with biblical viewpoints about origins.”

??? I don’t recall there being any restriction on teaching multiple models, only that Creation Science should not be counted for science credit towards a science degree at other institutions. If I took a course in Art Appreciation, I would not expect that to count as a math credit at other institutions.

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This is the same BJU that lost at the Supreme Court about its ban on interracial dating and marriage.

I really don’t like his equating YEC with “Biblical,” implying that any other view is non-Biblical. Plenty of people who accept evolution also believe in the authority of the Bible.

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He’s hardly alone in this. It’s fairly commonplace for YEC advocates to present their view as the only truly Biblical view of the world. Ken Ham seems to say such things nearly every time he opens his mouth. Such rhetoric would not seem to be particularly conducive to dialogue, but one would assume it serves a purpose in keeping the YEC flock from looking too closely at other viewpoints, by branding them as “non-Biblical”.

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