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Professor Refuses Letters of Recommendation to Creationist Students
AP Breaking News ^

Posted on 01/30/2003 7:15:04 AM PST by governsleastgovernsbest

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-evolution-dispute0130jan30,0,713004.story

Professor's Letter Refusal Causes Probe By LISA FALKENBERG Associated Press Writer

January 30, 2003, 9:50 AM EST

DALLAS -- A biology professor who refuses to write letters of recommendation for his students if they don't believe in evolution is being accused of religious discrimination, and federal officials are investigating, the school said.

The legal complaint was filed against Texas Tech University and professor Michael Dini by a student and the Liberty Legal Institute, a religious freedom group that calls Dini's policy "open religious bigotry."

(Excerpt) Read more at newsday.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: creationzealots; crevolist; flatearthsociety; highereducation; michaeldobbs; zzzzzzzzzz
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1 posted on 01/30/2003 7:15:04 AM PST by governsleastgovernsbest
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
"Good scientists would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs," he writes.

Then no good scientist can be a doctrinaire evolutionist, by his definition.

2 posted on 01/30/2003 7:18:14 AM PST by wideawake
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To: governsleastgovernsbest; Dataman
Gee, enlightened, open-minded, scientific, non-religious people don't do this sort of thing! This is... this is a, INQUISITION! Only religious people do that!!

< blistering sarcasm >

Dan

3 posted on 01/30/2003 7:18:52 AM PST by BibChr (Jesus -- not our feelings -- is the truth!)
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
What I've never understood is the fact it takes sooooo much more faith to believe in the (theory) of evolution than it does to accept the Biblical story of creation, and yet the anti-God crowd mocks us for our beliefs and our faith!
4 posted on 01/30/2003 7:19:31 AM PST by borisbob69
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
I sympathize with the student, but no one has a legal right to a letter of recommendation from anyone. In this specific instance, the professor might simply think that a supporter of creationism is not upholding rigorous scientific standards.
5 posted on 01/30/2003 7:21:02 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
This may be a matter of free speech. If the students don't follow what he teaches then he can't very well recommend them, can he? If the situation were reversed I wouldn't expect the Creationist to recommend a student who didn't believe.
6 posted on 01/30/2003 7:21:34 AM PST by Theyknow (Three Mile Island, Flight 93)
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
This may be a matter of free speech. If the students don't follow what he teaches then he can't very well recommend them, can he? If the situation were reversed I wouldn't expect the Creationist to recommend a student who didn't believe.
7 posted on 01/30/2003 7:21:52 AM PST by Theyknow
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To: BibChr
Professor Dini, and his colleagues:


8 posted on 01/30/2003 7:23:39 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Nobody expects the Texas Inquizition!!!)
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
I confess that I did not go to the link. But it seems to me that this issue is not about Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Speech. It seems like its about forcing someone to speak in your behalf even when they feel that you are not worthy of support.

Maybe the Professor should write letter of recommendation like: "Joe does not have the makings of a scientist. He is incapable of logical thought and does not adequately recognize scientific proof versus wishful-thinking. He cannot grasp complex data and jumps to unwarranted conclusions far too rapidly. I suspect he is fit for a low-level clerical job with the government, but nothing more stenuous."

Now, I consider myself a Creationist (or at least an anti-evolutionist) but if this Professor feels as he does, then I think he would be justified in writing such a scathing letter. He is being kind if he is attempting to dodge that task.

9 posted on 01/30/2003 7:24:22 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
Point of Order: AP is just breaking this story that has been around for over two weeks. Nice that they can get on board.

YEC

10 posted on 01/30/2003 7:26:34 AM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: ArrogantBustard
Perfect!
11 posted on 01/30/2003 7:27:43 AM PST by BibChr (Jesus -- not our feelings -- is the truth!)
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To: wideawake
This is bigotry.

It's a variation on the academic left's preconceived notions and biases.

This is worse. There is no reaon he should even know the student's beliefs on the matter, yet he goes out of his way to ask.

12 posted on 01/30/2003 7:32:13 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
My first reaction was to get angry at the professor, because I think the General Theory of Evolution is scientific hogwash.

But given his beliefs, I think he has a perfect right to refuse recommendations.

Just consider the alternative, which would have been to agree to write recommendations, and then secretly write bad ones. That happens all too often. Much better that he is open about it.

How can you force someone to write a recommendation he doesn't believe in? Most courts are very reluctant to get involved in academic matters like this, and hopefully the lawsuit will go nowhere. I sympathize with the students, but this isn't the right answer.
13 posted on 01/30/2003 7:33:17 AM PST by Cicero
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
His career needs to be hung by the balls
14 posted on 01/30/2003 7:33:28 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: ivoteright
Ping! Yet another example of bias in our university system...see, you aren't the only one who suffered!
15 posted on 01/30/2003 7:34:09 AM PST by I'm ALL Right!
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
This isn't about creationism versus evolutionism. This is about freedom. Do you want to force this man to write glowing reports about these students? No matter how you see the theories of evo or creationism, what kind of society would we be if people could force professors to write whatever we wanted them to about students?

What these students and the groups supporting them are doing is a liberal tactic.
16 posted on 01/30/2003 7:34:18 AM PST by B. Rabbit (The world is mine for the taking. Make me king.)
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To: Steve_Seattle
Same argument could be made for any non-materialistic non-atheistic belief held by a student.
17 posted on 01/30/2003 7:36:08 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: tallhappy
I think it's probably a safe assumption that the student's beliefs were probably made well-known throughout the course of the class. If the teacher is trying to teach science and the the student interjects with "creationist" dogma, the teacher hardly would have needed to ask.
18 posted on 01/30/2003 7:37:05 AM PST by helpontheway
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To: ClearCase_guy
>>The Web page advises students seeking a recommendation to be prepared to answer the question: "How do you think the human species originated?" <<

Since the biologist is one of the required recommendations for medicine he is using evolution as a litmus test. He is not asking for a person's understanding of the Theory of Evolution, he is asking for their beliefs on the origin. But of course he is only referring people to his website, he does not want a public debate on the issue...I guess that's free speech without talking.

DK
19 posted on 01/30/2003 7:38:17 AM PST by Dark Knight
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To: Theyknow
No. You are making the mistake that belief is equal to knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.

He had to ask them directly if they believe in a creator or not. It was not apparent from their tests or papers.

It is the same as asking if your favorite color is blue and refusing a recommendation over that.

20 posted on 01/30/2003 7:39:18 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: ClearCase_guy
I confess that I did not go to the link. But it seems to me that this issue is not about Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Speech. It seems like its about forcing someone to speak in your behalf even when they feel that you are not worthy of support.

You have to go to the link. It is clear that what he does is ask them personally outside class if they ask him for a letter.

It answered my question about how would he even know what they believe.

If students were standing up in class making this an issue, then there'd be a good reason not to reccommend them.

As it is in this case it is simple bigotry, plus more.

21 posted on 01/30/2003 7:41:43 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: Theyknow
I hate to say this but you obviously are not very well educated on the issue of evolution vs. creationism.
22 posted on 01/30/2003 7:45:44 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: tallhappy
You have to go to the link. It is clear that what he does is ask them personally outside class if they ask him for a letter. On the one hand, that does seem very intrusive and wrong. On the other hand, I can't imagine how it'd be possible to be a biologist without understanding how evolution works.
23 posted on 01/30/2003 7:46:24 AM PST by helpontheway
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To: helpontheway
I think it's probably a safe assumption that the student's beliefs were probably made well-known throughout the course of the class.

No. Read the article.

I checked to make sure that was not the case.

But he deliberately inquires about a student's beliefs on the issue if asked for a letter. He does not know it before hand.

24 posted on 01/30/2003 7:46:32 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: Polycarp
Have you seen this disturbing report?
25 posted on 01/30/2003 7:49:17 AM PST by Kryptonite
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To: Theyknow
Then he should say, "If they reject what I have taught, then why ask for my recommendation. Let the grade they made in the class speak for itself."
26 posted on 01/30/2003 7:49:59 AM PST by RobbyS
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To: Steve_Seattle
You are correct. However, if letters of recommendation are being prepared for other, non-Christian students, then he has shown a pattern of discrimination.

Really no different from white students receiving letters of recommendation only, but black students who make the request are refused based on their race.
27 posted on 01/30/2003 7:50:49 AM PST by mabelkitty
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To: tallhappy
Islam and evolution use the same methods . . . taliban // jihad // magic carpets // monopolists !
28 posted on 01/30/2003 7:51:59 AM PST by f.Christian (Orcs of the world: Take note and beware.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
No, this is an issue of BELIEF. You mistakenly see it as an issue of knowledge and understanding of a theory.
29 posted on 01/30/2003 7:52:28 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: Theyknow
This may be a matter of free speech. If the students don't follow what he teaches then he can't very well recommend them, can he? If the situation were reversed I wouldn't expect the Creationist to recommend a student who didn't believe.

Typical leftist mind-control thinking. Education is not indoctrination. If this teacher taught the students well, they should be well-versed and able to articulate each position. It's not about whether a student "believes" one or the other, it's about whether that student understands the subject matter.

30 posted on 01/30/2003 7:53:34 AM PST by Kryptonite
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To: Steve_Seattle
AND, to continue your thought, the professor plainly states his conditions for such a letter on his website. Any student should know, prior to asking, what those are. Gotta agree with the prof on this one.
31 posted on 01/30/2003 7:56:09 AM PST by Adder
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To: tallhappy
As a devout Christian I do believe that the Earth and the Universe were gifts bestowed by God to all of us. It is difficult to understand how anyone could think otherwise. On the other hand, I also believe that this happened through evolution. Evolution was God's means and it can be studied scientifically. Similarly, the birth of a child is God's means also and it too can be studied scientifically. The way I read the article, I could get a letter of recommendation from this teacher. His beef isn't with Christians, it is with people who don't accept his teaching. For that reason, the issue is his free speech.
32 posted on 01/30/2003 7:57:01 AM PST by Theyknow
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To: Steve_Seattle
There is nothing rigorous or standard about the theory of evolution my friend. I once tried to reject the Biblical story but fond no substitue that made any more sense scientifically. That was during a period in my life that I was trying to reject God. Strictly from a scientific viewpoint the theory of evolution has actually LESS credibility than creation. At one time it pained me to say that but it no longer does.
33 posted on 01/30/2003 7:57:11 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
An unasked question: Why would a creationist student ask for a letter of recommendation from an evolutionist teacher in the first place? It's like a pacifist asking a letter from the ROTC instructor.
34 posted on 01/30/2003 7:57:44 AM PST by coloradan
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To: helpontheway
On the other hand, I can't imagine how it'd be possible to be a biologist without understanding how evolution works.

There are things called tests and papers and discussions to determine if one knows and understands the subject.

35 posted on 01/30/2003 7:57:57 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: Adder
You assume that this message was posted at the begiining of the class. Bad mistake.
36 posted on 01/30/2003 7:58:40 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: f.Christian
Evolution uses magic carpets?
37 posted on 01/30/2003 7:59:02 AM PST by coloradan
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To: Theyknow
The way I read the article, I could get a letter of recommendation from this teacher.

No. I read it the exact opposite way.

He'd not give you a reccommendation.

38 posted on 01/30/2003 7:59:17 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: tallhappy
There are things called tests and papers and discussions to determine if one knows and understands the subject.

Indeed. If the kid got taught evolution, understands how it works and got an A in the class, there's no reason under the sun he shouldn't get a recommendation. I'll give you that.

39 posted on 01/30/2003 8:00:56 AM PST by helpontheway
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To: coloradan
When you don't know reality - - -

fantasy // fiction // magic from truth . . .

that is called psychosis // insanity ! ! !
40 posted on 01/30/2003 8:01:08 AM PST by f.Christian (Orcs of the world: Take note and beware.)
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To: coloradan
Because a letter of recommendation is supposed to be based on the students scholarly abilities instead of his religious beliefs. It is obvious this student found out about the policy after he joined the class.
41 posted on 01/30/2003 8:01:36 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: Adder
http://www.DRDINO.com/

Download his 7 part creationist series for free. Go to "Seminar Online." You will not regret it.
42 posted on 01/30/2003 8:01:59 AM PST by DeathTaxesNoles
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To: helpontheway
But that was not the litmus test posed by the prof.
43 posted on 01/30/2003 8:03:31 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: helpontheway
But that was not the litmus test posed by the prof.
44 posted on 01/30/2003 8:03:32 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: tallhappy
I can tell you that in Lubbock, Texas, this is not going to fly. The professor better be packing his bags and trying to get a job at UT in Austin. This is a publically funded, public institution where Christian students should not be discriminated against for their beliefs. If university personnel can't live with that, they need to teach at private universities. We are no longer going to pay for our children being abused for their faith in God and His Scriptures, and we will see bigoted professors and teachers in the courtroom if they persist in infringing on the free exercise of our religious freedom. Incidentally, isn't it interesting that scientists such as Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and Albert Schweitzer managed to follow God and excel in science, while our minor, no-name scientists today are so closed-minded in their pursuit of scientific knowledge.
45 posted on 01/30/2003 8:04:13 AM PST by kittymyrib
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To: BibChr
Gee, enlightened, open-minded, scientific, non-religious people don't do this sort of thing!

The evos survive on a raft of double standards:

Two sets of ethics
Two sets of evidence (evos can manufacture evidence)
Two sets of truth (truth for them is declared, not discovered)
Two kinds of logic (their logic is exempt from the law of noncontradiction when convenient)
Two standards of proof (the evo standard is lower)
And, as this article illustrates, two standards of conduct.

46 posted on 01/30/2003 8:05:51 AM PST by Dataman
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To: Adder
The professor requires that students not only understand evolutionism, but believe in it. The question he asks is: "How do you think the human species originated?" It should be: "How do evolutionists use scientific theory to explain the origins of human species?"
47 posted on 01/30/2003 8:07:18 AM PST by Kryptonite
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To: coloradan
>> An unasked question: Why would a creationist student ask for a letter of recommendation from an evolutionist teacher in the first place? It's like a pacifist asking a letter from the ROTC instructor.<<

The student wants to be a doctor and biology is one of the required letters of recommendation. This supposed educator had already screwed up this potential doctor's career by his narrow minded dogma, and now is unhappy that he is nationally famous as a Christian basher. He has NO reason to withhold his recommendation for qualified applicants. The college should be taken to task for taking money from Christian pre-med students. One thing I missed though, is the Theory of Evolution the only aspect of biology anymore?

DK
48 posted on 01/30/2003 8:09:22 AM PST by Dark Knight
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To: kittymyrib
Could you tell me how you really feel? LOL

Keep up the good work.

49 posted on 01/30/2003 8:09:29 AM PST by OperationFreedom
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To: tallhappy
If students were standing up in class making this an issue, then there'd be a good reason not to reccommend them.

When I was teaching college (1970s), this was rather common. At least once a month. The biology courses had more of it.

50 posted on 01/30/2003 8:10:22 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (The world is a solemn place, with room for tennis. - John Berryman)
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