Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

40% of freshman in UCSD’s sixth college reject Darwinism


Designed to create controversy
(thanks to Casey Luskin for alerting me to the article. Casey was co-founder of the IDEA Center which had it’s beginnings at UCSD.)

At UCSD, which is known for its strength in science and engineering, faculty members are realizing they need to pay more attention to the controversy. Two years ago, a UCSD survey found that 40 percent of incoming freshmen to the university’s Sixth College – geared toward educating students for a high-tech 21st century – do not believe in evolution, said the college’s provost, Gabriele Wienhausen.

The university now requires students who major in biology to complete a course in biological evolution, Kohn said. The policy became effective with freshmen who enrolled last fall. Professors had discussed the change for years, he said, but the Sixth College poll made it more urgent.

California got an “A” (the Fordham Foundation’s top ranking) for teaching Darwinism, yet it didn’t seem to slow down the influx of ID friendly students into UCSD. That’s why I’m optimistic that what happened in Ohio and Dover are, as the article describes, a mere “bump in the road” in the way of ID’s eventual advance.

I hope the effect that these new evolution course requirements have on the students will be statistically measured. I would wager it would have only a small impact in changing student attitudes (recall the outcome of Will Provine’s courses). Perhaps the IDEA chapter at UCSD will run a poll (hint, hint).

Why is it that all of the sudden Darwinism is a requirement for biology majors at UCSD to graduate? Does it have anything to do with their science education? If Darwinism was so fundamental to biology, why wasn’t it a requirement for the last several decades in the first place?

Imagine if all college biology students were required to read an ID book. In a matter of years Darwinism would be in serious decline (if it isn't already). jasonng

Yes it's disappointing the 20% got swayed, but that's not under circumstances I would deem fair. What is comforting however, is even when attempts are made to present Darwinism in the most biased manner, the attempts fall short of being persuasive in the overwhelming majority of cases for ID sympathetic students.

I should point out however, what happens when an IDist has a chance to argue his case:

What Every Theologian Should Know About Creation, Evolution and Design

As a post-doctoral instructor in philosophy of science at Northwestern University I taught an undergraduate course on the creation-evolution controversy. I began this course by having my students read Peter Bowler's Evolution: The History of an Idea (a generally sympathetic historical account of the concept of evolution as it plays itself out from ancient times to the present-day), and followed it with Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Within three weeks no one in the class thought that the fundamental claim of Darwinism, namely common descent through selection and modification, was self-evident or particularly well supported.

-- William Dembski

I think Denton's ideas are actually quite sympathetic to John Davison's

So spending months in Provine's class surrounded by unapologetic Darwinists only changed the minds of 20% of the non-Darwinists? It appears the moral freedom accompanied by ideas such as natural selection aren't that appealing after all. Or maybe the rest of them are getting some information from outside the classroom. Maybe Provine should monitor their internet activity, just in case. And do a public burning of ID literature. jasonng
Hi russ, The outcome of Provine's course: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/10/24/id
In his speech, Rawlings cited a survey done regularly in a biology course at Cornell and noted that it indicated that many students shared some views that are similar to intelligent design. In the interview, he said he was initially surprised to find this level of support among Cornell students and nationally. “I’m surprised at how widespread it now is, and I think it’s particularly a problem right now in the public schools and within certain states, but it manifests itself elsewhere, too.” William Provine, the professor Rawlings mentioned, asks students each year a series of questions at the beginning and end of an evolution course he teaches for non-majors in biology. While only very small percentages endorse the literal truth of the Bible or intelligent design in full, he said that fully half of students at the beginning of his course, and 40 percent or so at its end, say they agree that there is some “purpose” in the way evolution works.
"At UCSD, which is known for its strength in science and engineering,..." I thought "engineering" was the product of intelligent agency. If so, then why do they mention UCSD's strength in engineering in an article about the need for more training in evolution? russ
scordova wrote: "(recall the outcome of Will Provine’s courses)" What was that outcome? russ
The article says a course in biological evolution is required. It does not say Darwinism. Based on how they define evolution or what they cover it could be a very legitimate course. Certainly random mutation and natural selection has some applicability in micro evolution and topics such as homology are very useful. I am not a biologist but from some of the ID material I have read, a lot of topics are legitimate and have a scientific basis that is fairly well established. It would be interesting to see what they say about the evolution of complex organisms, higher order taxons, the cell etc. and see if they stray off the reservation very much. jerry
Darwinian Fails to Indoctrinate If first you don’t succeed try, try, again. Salvador over at Uncommon Descent posted this 40% of freshman in UCSD’s sixth college reject Darwinism. Why is it that all of the sudden Darwinism is a requirement for biology majors at UCSD to gradua... Teleological Blog
We need a college to offer a minor in design theory as a branch of mathematics. Does Dr. D have any opinions on which courses a math PhD student might find useful in assisting the cause? jaredl
"Why is it that all of the sudden Darwinism is a requirement for biology majors at UCSD to graduate?" The unfortunate term for the new policy is "RE-education". The Soviets were famous for it, as are the Chineese, the Cubans, the Taliban.... From wikipedia: "Re-education is to educate again or anew so as to rehabilitate.... "It has been used as a political term, particularly in Maoist regimes, especially following revolutions or successful suppression of counter revolution. The losers in the struggle are sent to work camps for indoctrination under the title of re–education. "Re-education is a term with considerable sinister meaning. Under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, "re-education" generally meant death in the killing fields. The brainwashing torture in Orwell's 1984, though not referred to as such, is another example of "re-education" in the sinister, political sense." Red Reader

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