Just when Christians are fighting a desperate rearguard action against the headlong advance of science by arguing that there is no incompatibility between religion and science despite the fact that science has answered so many of the 'mysteries' which were once quoted as the main or only reasons to believe in gods, along comes an American Christian fundamentalist organisation and pulls the rug out from under their feet.
Not content with that, they do it in spectacular style by having their Bible-based 'science' declared unscientific by losing a law suit against a university on the basis that what they were teaching in schools was not science. Moreover, this viewpoint was stupidly confirmed by their star 'expert' witness, a leading advocate for the ironically named, 'Intelligent Design' movement, who also inadvertently accused them of child abuse and violating their students' personal integrity and, by implication, their constitutional rights.
The case concerned an infamous two-volume book set, written by Christian fundamentalists, William S. Pinkston, John A. Graham, Greg Kuzmic and Carla Vogt, and published by the Bob Jones University Press, called Biology for Christian Schools on which courses intended as preparatory courses for university had been based. These courses, along with courses in History and Government based on other Bible-based texts, had produced high school graduates of such poor quality that the University of California had rejected them as preparatory courses. The Association of Christian Schools International sued for "viewpoint discrimination" in alleged violation of the constitutional rights of the students.
The plaintiffs had retained none other than 'Intelligent Design expert' Michael Behe to testify on their behalf, a decision which proved to be far from intelligent.
The case was summarily dismissed by Judge S. James Otero who pointed out that Michael Behe's testimony actually supported the defendants. Behe had said,
It is personally abusive and pedagogically damaging to de facto require students to subscribe to an idea... Requiring a student to, effectively, consent to an idea violates his personal integrity. Such a wrenching violation [may cause] a terrible educational outcome.
(Behe Decl. Para. 59.)
As Judge Otero pointed out, that is precisely what the plaintiffs were doing in their schools. He cited page one of Biology for Christian Schools which stated:
- 'Whatever the Bible says is so; whatever man says may or may not be so,' is the only [position] a Christian can take..."
- If [scientific] conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.
- Christians must disregard [scientific hypotheses or theories] that contradict the Bible.
(Phillips Decl. Ex. B, at xi.)
The judge pointed out that the books which Behe approved flatly state that Christians must accept creationist conclusions - unlike our biology books, which don't demand any religious litmus test of their readers - and were therefore perfect examples of exactly the problem he was complaining about.In effect, Behe had accused Christian schools who require their students to subscribe to Christian fundamentalist dogma, of being personally abusive to and 'pedagogically damaging' their students, 'violating their personal integrity' and risking a 'terrible educational outcome'. And this in a case which rested on Behe's argument that, what it transpired they were actually doing to their students, was unconstitutional. And he was on their side!
No sign of an intelligently designed argument there, then.
On January 26, 2009 ACSI filed an appeal on the decision. On January 12, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the federal district court's summary judgement in favour of the University of California. On October 12, 2010, the Supreme Court declined to review the case, effectively ending it.
[Behe is] like the fire ship of the creationist fleet, always being launched into a headwind. But, to be fair, you can’t just pick on Behe: the problem is that the entire creationist position is so bad, and so stupid, that whoever gets appointed to be the front man for it is going to look like an idiot.In addition to earning his living pushing his long-ago refuted 'Intelligent Design' notion, Michael Behe is also infamous for just about scuppering the Creationists' case in the Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District trial when Creationists posing as ordinary citizens concerned to have proper science taught had tried to sneak Bible-literalist Creationism into US public schools by arguing that 'Intelligent Design' was a valid science and so should be taught as an alternative to Darwinian Evolution. Behe, when giving evidence intended to be supportive of the defendants, had been forced to admit under cross examination that:
There are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred.
This admission, of course, blew the Creationist's case out of the water because 'Intelligent Design' quite blatantly isn't science. So, a question for those Christians who still insist that Christianity and/or the Bible is fully consistent with science:
Where is the fault in the theology behind The Association of Christian Schools International's case, and particularly in the declarations in Biology for Christian Schools that "Whatever the Bible says is so; whatever man says may or may not be so,' is the only [position] a Christian can take... If [scientific] conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them. Christians must disregard [scientific hypotheses or theories] that contradict the Bible"?
Is that not what you believe? If not, what else in the Bible do you believe is wrong and how did you reach that conclusion if science and the bible are not incompatible?
Sundays With The Christianists: Home-Schooled Biology So Bad It Lost A Lawsuit.
When The Conclusion Is Sacred Facts Must Be Ignored.