by Carmen Holland

Open Letter Regarding the Teaching of Creation at La Sierra University

La Sierra Report – complete summary of Board findings


Re: LSU Releases Open Letter and Report on the Teaching of …
On March 11th, 2011 CherryAshlock says:

Find your wings and soar!

I found this very interesting and I appreciate being able to read the whole report. I encourage everyone to read the attachments. It gives a more details then this short post does………..there are things that LSU biology department is encouraged to do to make a few changes to become more transparent. Job well done!

Re: LSU Releases Open Letter and Report on the Teaching of …
On March 11th, 2011 BobRyan says:

Agreed – thanks to AToday for publishing this information.

A few conclusions based on that report.

1. The demonizing of the student whistle-blowers and condemnation awareness web sites such as EducateTruth appears to have been wrong.

2. The matter of "insightful leadership and oversight" of LSU is still an issue. It appear that the board and Admin at LSU are capable of admitting to some fraction of a problem once enough years go by with students complaining, parents complaining, internet websites complaining, and finally the AAA report complaining that they are working at cross-purposes with SDA doctrine on origins in both their religion and biology departments.

Question: is that the level of "insightful leadership" that is needed to adequeately manage an SDA university?

3. In the content from LSU it "could be argued" that what we see is two organizations working at cross purposes. LSU vs the SDA denomination and that the LSU administration has taken a very conciliatory and gracious position in response to this increased level of pressure via the AAA agency review. This it is indeed kind and gracisou of them to finally conclude that they would like to be "considerate of STUDENT's beliefs".

Imagine for a moment a public university receiving large donations from SDAs – and said university then promises to be more tolerant, more considerate of the beliefs of SDA students that happen to enrole there

I think we can all see that LSU's response is indeed gracious and kind in such a context.

3. Oh but wait! That is not the context that LSU is "supposed" to be operating under. Their goal SHOULD not be simply to tolerate and respect SDA "student's beliefs" — their goal is supposed to be to educate ADVANCEMENT of those beliefs – solidifying, establishing, enhancing promoting them beyond what those students would be able to do "on their own". Equipping the students to defend their beliefs well by actually MODELING the solutions, the arguments, the facts, the presentation of actual science that is to be used in such a defense. (Or maybe LSU is leaving that up to the "University of Parenting".

The message is the mission.

in Christ,


Re: LSU Releases Open Letter and Report on the Teaching of …
On March 12th, 2011 gessoart says:

Someone once wrote "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still'. Biology professors are subjective human beings like us all. Simple telling them to not ridicule Adventists who have fundamentalists beliefs when, in fact, they desire to do so, is rather naive, in my view.

These issues run deep. I wish solving them with conciiiatory statements was a possible or realistic path to take. There is a spiritual dimension to this and there will be some that consider that the last place to look for a solution.

Re: LSU Releases Open Letter and Report on the Teaching of …
On March 12th, 2011 klriley says:

I presume some notice will be taken of the parents and church members of a more liberal persuasion who also contribute money to LSU. In recognition of that, can I presume that fundamentalist ideas won't be taught, and liberal interpretations of SDA doctrines will continue to be respected? In fact, just how many conservative members would be making large contributions to LSU? And, for that matter, why would they? Yes, I understand all members contribute via the union, but surely the view that members' money should not be used for teaching views the members don't approve of should cover all views members hold, and not just those of a particular group?

I can't help wondering just how much 'support and encouragement' a student of liberal persuasion would get at certain other institutions.


Re: LSU Releases Open Letter and Report on the Teaching of …
On March 13th, 2011 HgOlaf says:

I, too, thank AT for sharing this document. I was grateful to read the apology when surveys showed that 50 – 60 percent of biology graduates left thinking that the "Adventist" viewpoint had either been under represented or unsupported (my paraphrase). Our universities should be a place to expand ideas, but should not be a place where a person's core beliefs should come under attack.

Safety from attack, especially by professors, should be true for Seventh-day Adventist young people, but it should also be true for students of other faiths who elect to attend our courses. And, as one comment says, it should also be equally true for young (and older) Adventist students whose beliefs are from different ends of the spectrum.

I admire EG White's analogy that our schools should be "cities of refuge" for our students, not war zones from which they must enter rehabilitation. (cf Education, Ch. 34 "Discipline") This is a good opportunity for professors in all our institutions of higher learning to recommit to modeling the caring, equal-handed ideal we treasure whenever we find it in the local congregation!

And I agree with the AAA goal of "restoring the reputation" of LSU. I just pray they will not seek to be known as a school where questions and doubts cannot be raised or explored. Let LSU keep its reputation for openness, but enhance (or build) its reputation for being the safest most caring place for students of any persuasion to come.

Re: LSU Releases Open Letter and Report on the Teaching of …
On March 14th, 2011 Professor Kent says:

Perhaps the greatest and most overlooked irony in this debacle is that the primary instigator, who has accused LSU administrators and faculty (and Geoscience Research Institute scientists) of heresy, has promoted heresy himself. Check the thread:

Re: LSU Releases Open Letter and Report on the Teaching of …
On March 22nd, 2011 Shane Hilde says:

The memorandum includes an interim report, accepted by the board Nov. 2010, that states the biology department “generally” supports and respects the faith of students, explains the strengths and weaknesses of evolution, but should make a greater effort to present and support the church’s view of creation. This report is in significant contrast with the Adventist Accrediting Association’s (AAA) findings, which was given to LSU Feb. 2011.

The Adventist Accrediting Association’s visiting team reported the biology department disrespects and marginalizes some students for their position on creation, supports and teaches evolutionary processes as the plausible explanation of life, and inadequately presents the church’s position on creation. Without AAA’s findings, the ad hoc committee’s memorandum would have had little substance, as it relied almost exclusively on a student survey created by the university provost.

Shane Hilde