I don't really know David Asscherick. We've corresponded via e-mail a few times. We have a number of mutual friends and acquaintances. And, in the grand scheme of things, I am just a "nobody" whose voice is hardly heard. But I do want to voice my support for him.
By now, many people have, no doubt, read the letter he wrote to Jan Paulsen, Don Schneider, and Ricardo Graham about his concern that La Sierra University - a Seventh-day Adventist institution - is openly teaching and promoting Darwinian evolution. It is not that they are presenting it as one scientific theory. They are presenting it as the authoritative theory, with little mention of any alternative views (ie., intelligent design or creationism).
Asscherick never meant for the letter to get a public viewing. And it is too bad that it has seen the light of day. But now that it has, his thoughts and sentiments are open to debate, I suppose. And many people have and will address them.
What he basically argues is that it is unethical and dishonest for a professor at a Seventh-day Adventist university to be paid to teach one thing, and yet teach another. When people sign their name on a piece of paper that says they will uphold the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (with number six being the belief in a literal, six day creation), and then they turn around and teach the opposite, such is a grossly unethical practice which would be grounds for dismissal or legal action in any other corporation or setting.
And, contrary to popular opinion, the idea of a literal, six day creation (which, as mentioned above, is officially affirmed by Seventh-day Adventists in our statement of 28 Fundamental Beliefs) is not a "minor" issue. We are not talking about women's ordination here, or whether or not a person should be able to wear a wedding band. The belief in a literal, six day creation is foundational to our Adventist identity and mission.
Of course, there will be many who try to claim that Adventists are a people of "new light" and progressive truth - and if this weren't the case, we would still be practicing indulgences and worshiping on Sunday. Fair enough. But we want "new light," not some stale scientific theory that is heralded by a community whose agenda is to do away with God.
And, aside from that, though I am no scientist, the more I understand about Darwinian evolution, the more I realize it is simply bad science, fraught with philosophical and theological agendas and presuppositions. And it is hardly "objective" at all (Darwinian naturalists declare, before they even begin, that there can only be "naturalistic" answers. Limiting the field by 50 percent before one even starts can hardly be classified as "objective." Excuse my gross analogy, but it would be like a detective, starting on a murder case, declaring that only a Canadian American could have committed a murder before he even looks at one shred of evidence).
Since Assherick's letter has gone public, the president of La Sierra sent out a formal letter addressing his concerns (click here for a text version of the letter - which is below Asscherick's letter) four days ago. Essentially, what I got from it is that, at La Sierra, they are baptizing a number of students this year, and they go on a lot of mission trips, but there was scant mention of the issue at hand. The only thing that seemed to come close is that, for some reason, professors at universities are allowed the privilege of so-called "academic freedom."
But I wonder: is it really "academic freedom" when you're simply regurgitating what 98% of biologists in the world are already saying? It sounds more like "academic slavery" to me than freedom. Of course, if those same biology professors would ever dare try to teach intelligent design in a biology class at a secular university, they would find out just how quickly "academic freedom" is not a two-way street (see Expelledas Exhibit A).
All in all, what Asscherick is hoping is that someone in a position of significant influence will step up to the plate and say "enough is enough." And I applaud him. He has put himself out there - especially now that his letter has become public. But we need more people who are in positions of influence within our church to confront this issue. It is not going to die quietly in the night. Unless it is addressed head-on, the teaching and promoting of Darwinian evolution is just going to gain more and more momentum. (And, again, we are not talking about shutting down the teaching of good science. We're talking about putting an end to the promotion of bad science that is saturated with subjective presuppositions.)
So will someone step up to the plate? Someone? Please.