Today, I noticed an interesting discussion happening by some of our commenters regarding the Educate Truth/La Sierra University imbroglio.
In a comment on the Spectrum blog, Shane Hilde, of Educate Truth, wrote:
I don't think equal presentation is possible, and thus I think the bias should be in favor of a recent creation, which is the church's official position.
I am curious why Shane Hilde (pictured) thinks that an equal presentation is not possible.
Furthermore, setting - conference office, church, or university - plays a role here. Perhaps in the context of a conference office, this bias in favor of a denominational position would have more stick, but to argue that denominational statements have greater weight than disciplinary findings in a university classroom is a radically dangerous concept. And, having just had that question of controlling denominational bias asked of faculty by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), it's a fact that subsuming disciplinary knowledge to what has been revealed in a statement by a General Conference committee would destroy Adventist accreditation.
Furthermore, those supporting Educate Truth might want to think about what this says about their argument. Apparently, Young Earth Creationism cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas. It needs a leg up?
That, in spite of the fact that Adventist scholars have been raised with the truth, even educated in it, so it's not as if there isn't bias going into the search for knowledge already. Thanks to George Price, we've got it in our genes. Bucking ones' received intellectual parameters is not easy. But in fact, most of us do it on some issue. So why don't Adventist scientists get the benefit of the doubt?
The defensiveness that claims a right to bias in the classroom actually works to drive intelligent Adventists from the church on more than just science. This "my-way-or-the-highway approach is what led to the Desmond Ford wound opening in our church.
This also clouds the claims of the Educate Truth folks, to wit: that La Sierra University prejudices one side in the origins debate. The fact is that Shane reveals here that even if both sides were presented equally, that would still not be enough to solve the problem.
It is an idea that goes back to the last couple hundred years of philosophical debate as we moved away from theological ideas for disease and started doing medicine. Bias in favor of church magisteria is as old as the Pope.
I am not sure that some at Educate Truth have really thought out the consequence of the line of argument that they have opened against one institution.
After all, if one takes Shane seriously that the church's official position should be the bias of the classroom, where does the bias for the status quo stop:
- Should all these scholars working on a new Ellen White book get fired?
- Should the scholars in the 70s who advanced our knowledge about her vis-a-vis official church positions have been fired, even though we now accept their findings?
- What about those who challenged the old theologies of legalism?
- What about the variety of theologies of salvation that members express?
- Should the NAD's official position on segregated conferences be normative?
- What about women's ordination?
What bias will they educate the rest of us about next?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2088