News: Christian College Denied Accreditation

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Bugman, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. Bugman

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    Christian College Denied Accreditation
    Agency troubled that Patrick Henry College teaches creationism in biology classes.
    By LaTonya Taylor | posted 07/01/2002

    A national association has denied accreditation to a liberal arts college that requires six-day creationism to be taught in a biology class. Patrick Henry College, a 150-student school in Purcellville, Virginia, is appealing the decision.

    "We teach about evolution," Michael Farris, founder of Patrick Henry College, told Christianity Today. "We just think it's bogus—bogus science, and bogus as a matter of faith."

    The college, created for homeschooled students, applied for accreditation with the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) when the college began accepting students in the fall of 2000. The AALE sent the college an April 30 letter denying accreditation, saying the biology course does not satisfy the academy's basic knowledge requirement, and limits "liberty of thought and freedom of speech."

    "From our perspective, [the denial] was completely out of the blue," said Farris, also founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association. "None of this had been raised at all. "

    The college's Statement of Biblical Worldview says, "PHC does not intend to limit biblically based discussion of [origins]; provided, however, that evolution, 'theistic' or otherwise, will not be treated as an acceptable theory."

    Education vs. Indoctrination
    Jeffrey Wallin, president of the AALE, said his group does not object to member schools teaching creation in their theology classes, but it is not acceptable in biology classes. He says the organization has accredited colleges that teach creationism in theology classes.

    Wallin says creationism is not science. "When I went to school, I took a theology course," Wallin told CT, "but we didn't sit around with test tubes and experiment and try to convince ourselves it was science."

    Mark Noll, professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College in Illinois, said the situation raises complicated questions about matters of faith and academic freedom. "It's never a simple question of an ideal that everybody agrees to."

    Most accrediting groups tend to ignore matters of theology, says Darryl Hart, author of The University Gets Religion: Religious Studies and American Learning Since 1870. "Patrick Henry may have crossed the lines in some ways because of the question of evolution and creation, which is a subject of biology," he says. "I think that's where Christian institutions maybe are forced to comply more with the general guidelines in the academy."

    Robert Andringa, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, was recently appointed by Secretary of Education Rod Paige as the chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the Department of Education on accreditation matters.

    Andringa said the CCCU's 101 member schools do not usually face problems with accrediting agencies, which tend to honor a school's stated mission. Still, some policies by CCCU institutions against hiring homosexuals sparked challenges this year from the American Psychological Association and the Council of Social Work Education.

    At least two other small Christian colleges have had run-ins with the AALE over creationism and other issues. The board of New Saint Andrews College, a nine-year-old Great Books institution in Idaho, voted in May to withdraw its application for accreditation after learning about the Patrick Henry College denial.

    Terry Stollar, director of admissions and development for Gutenberg College in Oregon, says administrators have concerns about whether they will be accredited because the college requires professors to sign statements of doctrine and methodology.

    Patrick Henry College does not accept federal funds, but the Commonwealth of Virginia requires colleges and universities to be accredited. Farris says some students have declined to enroll in the school because it lacked accreditation. The school also stands to lose money from corporate matching programs. The school has an annual budget of $3.5 million.

    Patrick Henry College is filing new accreditation applications with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Meanwhile, it is appealing the AALE decision, saying the academy presented no substantial evidence and "departed significantly from its written procedures and protocols."

    Wallin stands by the process: "The real issue, from our standpoint, is whether the institution is providing a liberal education." Farris disagrees. "What they're asking us to do is commit intellectual schizophrenia," he says. "It really is an effort to try to divorce Christianity from what they consider the secular areas of life."

    [ October 11, 2002, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: The Squire ]
     
  2. Johnv

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    I don't think this school should be accredited.

    Religion does not belong in science classes. If we're going to insist that science books pass through a biblical filter, what's next? Passing history books through a biblical filter? I suppose next they're require the teaching of Jesus' resurrection in world history class, while omitting any reference to Islam in those same history classes. Let's take it a step further. Let's teach in World History that Gandhi was an evil man because he wasn't a Christian.

    For years, the ultraconservative right has been insisting that creation be taught alongside evolution, yet here is an example where they refuse to do it.

    Science belongs in the science classrooms, and religion belings in the religion classrooms, and not the other way around.
     
  3. Brother Adam

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    Well John,

    I suppose it all depends on the way you look at it. If you believe in theistic evolution instead of the truth, then there is no problem revoking any idea of placing God in the classroom.

    However, many of us trust God, when he inspired Genesis, and believe that there is nothing wrong with looking at science through a Christian lense.

    Why teach something that is false? There is no reason to teach evolution.
     
  4. LadyEagle

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    Well religion is already in science classes. It goes by the name of evolution but it is secular humanism in reality.

    A minor point about world history. Jesus Christ is the point of historical reference (Muhammad is not). B.C. and A.D.

    Oh, that's right, the secular humanists have changed that too now. Instead of B.C. (Before Christ) it has been changed in recent years to mean Before the Common Era.

    :rolleyes:
     
  5. Candide

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    Actually, Jesus is taught in any World History course that discusses that era. Christian or not, Jesus is a vastly important person in history.

    As is Muhammad or Gandhi. If they are not taught in World History courses that address their respective times, then that is a poor World History course.

    In regards to this particular case, evolution needs to be taught (and not just briefly addressed and quickly refuted) for the simple reason that it's the prevailing scientific theory with regards to the origins of the universe. Whether or not it's true or not is irrelevant. Alternative theories can be provided, but without a firm grasp of evolutionary theory, the students are lacking basic knowledge. I don't like the Crusades. I think they are a terrible time in our history. If I'm a history professor, does that mean I can ignore them? No. It's an integral part of understanding European history. Likewise, as an economics professor, can I ignore Socialism if I don't think it's right? Can I ignore Plutonium if I don't like it as a chemistry professor? No! If this college chooses to exclude the most basic theory in biology, then it doesn't deserve accredation.
     
  6. Johnv

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    You confuse the word "truth" with "fact". No one is saying evolution should be taught as fact. Evolution should be taught because it is the prevailing scientific theory. Branding the teaching of evolutionary models in science with "secular humanism" is tantamount to 50's McCarthyism. If it's not Godly, label it a Communist.

    The whole idea opens up a can of worms. Do you teach a six day creation? If so, what about all of those faithful Christians who disagree with a six day creation, but belive in a creation over six distinct periods.

    Since Baptist contregations are generally conservative, would it be acceptible then to teach in Social Studies that Jimmy Carter is a heretic because he's a democrat? Since Baptists are generally anti Catholic, will you then not teach anything abou the Kennedy administration? Or will you only teach the bad stuff? Since Baptists generally don't like Rev Robert Schuller, will you then also ban the constibutions of Martin Van Burin, since he and Dr Schuller are of the same denomination? Oh, don't forget about the Pilgrims. They were also of the same denomination that Robert Schuller is a member of, so make sure we include a statement that they were all misguided.

    Don't forget to include the fact that the earth is flat in Earth Sciences, because Jesus talked about the four corners of the world. Of course, we'd have to teach geocentrism, because the Bible talks about the sun, moon, and stars going around the earth, and not the other way around.

    I agree with Candide: "If this college chooses to exclude the most basic theory in biology, then it doesn't deserve accredation."
     
  7. InHim2002

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    If you don't teach scientific method then why should you be acredited?

    er? what?

    It is the prevailing scientific theory, schools are supposed to teach people to think in certain ways (logically) if you ignore scientific theory and method then you are really going to be no use to industry (the people that use qualifications to determine your ability)

    If I was going to employ a chip designer I would expect him to understand the scientific method and the process of logic at the very least, that is why accreditation exists - to demonstrate to employers that individuals have at least a basic understanding of these concepts.

    that is absolutely true - it is not science. Science, by definition, tries to find natural causes for events - theology is deliberatly excluded from the scientific standpoint.

    Like it or not, it is that world view that enabled the creation of the computer you are reading this on and the networks that allow you to access this board. They are based on a totally logical and 'scientific' principle.

    so I suppose the real question must be: why does this institution want to be accredited?

    [ September 13, 2002, 08:14 PM: Message edited by: InHim2002 ]
     
  8. Mark Osgatharp

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    This denial amounts to government restriction on the free speech rights of the college involved and a government declaration that correct biology cannot possibly be taught from a creationist viewpoint.

    "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  9. stubbornkelly

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    Er, no. The college can teach creationism all they want . . . outside of a science classroom. The day may come when science proves a six day creation (although that's not the view I personally hold), but it's doubtful. Even if that day does come, how could science prove a specifically Godly creation? Faith and Biblical evidence is what holds creationism together. Without belief in God, you have no creationism, not really, and how to prove the existence of God in a classroom? That's certainly not science. Besides, that'd be getting into dangerous territory. If you have to prove it, it ain't faith. I'd rather no one even tried to prove God exists, because what would my faith be then? Pretty worthless. It would no longer be faith, but philosophy. Or is that what we want? :confused:

    The point is, there is no way to scientifically prove a Godly creation, as its very premise is founded in faith. And again, even if a six day creation were eventually proved, how to prove God did it, outside the context of religion?

    I see no problem with this school being refused accreditation, if they are trying to teach creation as science. There is no possible way it can be.
     
  10. Mark Osgatharp

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    StubbornKelly,

    I would agree that teaching "six-day" creation is not, strictly speaking, a matter of science, and, though I don't know all the details, I doubt that there is any school anywhere which claims they can scientfically prove a six day creation apart from the biblical revelation.

    However, the fact of creation is scientifically provable. "The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood from the things that are made" (Romans chapter 1).

    Apparently the objection to this school is that they don't allow their biology teachers to teach biology from a non-biblical perspective. This is no different than other schools which do not allow open investigation of other subjects.

    This is a case of blatant discrimination against a school because of it's faith based perspective.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  11. MHolmes

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    How is this denial of accreditation "government restriction" on the free speech rights of a college? Accreditation is a voluntary process engaged between a school and an accrediting agency. The particular accrediting agency involved in this situation is private, as are most accrediting agencies.

    I attended a reputable Christian college that taught that evolution was just a theory and that the Genesis account of creation was true, and it was fully accredited by one of the largest, well known regional accrediting agencies. There are hundreds of Christian colleges who teach the truth of Genesis creation that are also accredited. Perhaps in this case the problem lies with the blend of college and agency, and the school might look elsewhere for accreditation. The agency mentioned in the article is one I've never heard of. The school needs to look at a regional accrediting agency in the state or area where they are located.
     
  12. Mark Osgatharp

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    [/qb][/QUOTE]How is this denial of accreditation "government restriction" on the free speech rights of a college? Accreditation is a voluntary process engaged between a school and an accrediting agency."

    MHolmes,

    The government does not accredit schools, but it requires them to be accredited to havd the legal right to grant degrees. If the school cannot obtain accreditation, then the government has effectively restricted their free speech rights.

    Actually, the whole concept of the government granting schools the right to grant degrees goes back to the days when the Papacy sought to control free flow of ideas. When the Papacy and her daughters lost control of the state to the infidels, the infidels kept this part of the system in tact, and now it is the infidels, instead of the Pope, who police the free flow of ideas.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  13. post-it

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    If the history department could only teach all history courses based on the Bible and no other text, then I would assume that college would also not get accredidation, at least I would hope it wouldn't.

    To accept a 6 day creation,( but old earth creation should be accredited) you have to reinvent the entire science department. Even geology and biology would suffer. Physics, chemistry and more all must go back to circa 1900 in content. Who wants to hire a student out of college, that ignorant?

    No accredidation is certainly called for here.

    [ September 15, 2002, 06:40 PM: Message edited by: post-it ]
     
  14. MHolmes

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    You're kidding, right Mark?

    The government does not give permission to schools to grant degrees. It does not even give permission to schools to operate. It has limited ability and control over them, and has nothing to do whatsoever with accreditation.

    Accreditation is a process within the educational community itself to set standards which basically state to prospective students that the courses taught and the education received in that school will be of equal quality with that found in other schools, or that at least a minimum standard has been agreed upon and that coursework can be transferred to another school without difficulty. Schools can offer classes without accreditation and can grant degrees without accreditation.

    There may be some schools, particularly on the college level, who choose not to accept credits or coursework from unaccredited schools, and there may be some employers who do not hire students with degrees from unaccredited colleges but that would be the only setback to students who are in the unaccredited schools. I transferred from an unaccredited Christian college to an accredited Christian college with absolutely no difficulty. The registrar at the school I transferred into (Baylor) was familiar with the school I came from, since quite a few students come from there every year, and even had a copy of the course descriptions. I received full credit for everything I had taken, and finished my degree without any difficulty.

    I hope your "government conspiracy" theory is just a joke, and you are not really serious. You probably need to check out your information more carefully before you post stuff here.

    By the way, the Christian school where I work just completed a five year accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) which is the regional accrediting agency that accredits all public and many private schools in the state of Texas. At our request, they sent administrators and teachers from other private, Christian schools that are SACS accredited to our campus. Our science department has clear objectives stating that we believe in the Genesis account of creation. We received a "highly commended" ten year program accreditation which is, to my understanding, the top level a school can achieve. And we didn't have to change a single Christian, Biblical principle to do it.

    [ September 15, 2002, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: MHolmes ]
     
  15. Mark Osgatharp

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    MHolmes,

    You are wrong, the right to grant degrees is given by the state government. Not too long ago, some schools in Texas were fined for granting degrees without government authority.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  16. post-it

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    I believe that Mark is correct here. The State "controls" the "process."

    What lab would want a scientist from such a college? Not understanding any of the basics of the evolutionary process and principals, what geologist could find employment from such a college?... I can hear the interview now. Yes, there is a perfectly fine reason why no vertebrae species is found at the same layer as the non vertebrae... ahhhh when the flood happened, the slower moving shell fish couldn't swim fast enough as the earth dust settled on them.... No, at the time of the flood every fish was alive and able to swim out of this first layer. And so forth for each class of animal.

    We'll call you Mr. Stewart when we have a janitor's position open in the research lab. You seem to know more about dust settling than science.

    [ September 15, 2002, 11:58 PM: Message edited by: post-it ]
     
  17. rlvaughn

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    It would appear from THIS SITE, that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board oversees the granting of degrees in the state of Texas. I also remember some incident of non-accredited schools in Texas being denied the right to award a "degree". This issue probably came up in the late 70's (if memory serves), and these schools simply had to change their terminology to something like Bachelor's diploma instead of Bachelor's degree, for example. I have recently heard in the news that possible loss of accreditation by Grambling U. in Louisiana would result in the inability of their students to receive student loans, grants, etc. (maybe not all such, I don't know). I am not familiar with all the details on degree-granting, but it would seem that Mark's and post-it's contentions are correct.
     
  18. go2church

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    I guess they will have to decide if it really is worth doing. I find it odd that at one hand they scorn the accreditation process then reapply with a different agency. Bob Jones believed so much in their "cause" they gave up their tax exempt status and have stated that they will not reapply anytime soon. Though I would hardly agree with BJU, I do admire the stand that they have taken. Also I'm not sure, but I think there are some big name colleges that don't have accreditation but because of their reputation, graduates still do very well. I will look around and get more info on that.
     
  19. MHolmes

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    The "state" authority that you quote on your post is Texas Economic Development. The right to grant degrees is based on the fee paid by the institution, not by their accreditation status. The two are unrelated. There are dozens of "colleges" (and I use the term loosely here) in Texas that are not accredited, but are able to grant "degrees", including a couple of diploma mills that do it by correspondence. The number of secondary schools granting "diplomas" without accreditation would boggle the mind.

    The first college I attended was not accredited and the administration could argue all day that it was because it taught certain things based on Christian beliefs and the accreditation agency was biased against them. After attending there for a year, I believe that was just their claim. No accreditation agency would have touched that school, the professors and quality of education was so poor, the methodology so outdated and they were constantly scraping the barrel for money, that they had no means of updating their technology.

    There are many, many Christian colleges who stick by their convictions and beliefs and receive full accreditation.
     
  20. Rev. Joshua

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    I agree that accredidation and a license to award diplomas are two different things. Bob Jones - for instance - offers all sorts of legitimate-sounding degrees, but to my knowledge they aren't even accredited by Billy Bob's Bible Shack.

    Joshua
     

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