What the hell are they doing?
Ball State University president, Jo Ann Gora’s decision to scrap a science class,”Boundaries of Science” class taught by Eric Hedin, an assistant professor of physics, was her response to complaints that the class was promoting intelligent design, as opposed to evolution. Obviously, that is NOT a scientific take on nature.
Creationist lawmakers have stepped in to question this decision. Wait, what?
State lawmakers are investigating Ball State University’s decision to prohibit the teaching of intelligent design in a science course.
BSU President Jo Ann Gora concluded last summer that intelligent design is overwhelmingly regarded by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory.
Four legislators, including Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, chairman of the Education Committee, say “serious questions have been raised about whether academic freedom, free speech and religious liberty have been respected by BSU in its treatment of professor Hedin, its subsquenet establishment of a speech code restricting faculty speech on intelligent design, and its cancellation of professor Hedin’s … class,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Gora this week.
The letter concludes, “In order to determine if legislative action is required, we feel obligated to investigate whether BSU has acted in accord with state educational policy, legal requirements, and BSU’s own published standards.”
The legislators are acting on behalf of The Discovery Institute, an intelligent design think tank, whose vice president, John West, told The Star Press he is hopeful the legislative investigation will force Ball State to release the report of the faculty review panel, which West called “an ad hoc kangaroo committee.”
“That report should be public so the public can judge whether what happened was fair or biased or whatever,” West said.
What a fiasco! This appears to be another way non-scientist lawmakers are sticking their noses into places it doesn’t belong, a university curriculum, in order to push their ideology of religious belief. Are there any scientists who are complaining that ID should be taught? No, just religious lawmakers. It’s a science class and shouldn’t the university have the say about what is taught in their classes? They have gone the route of the scientific consensus. An argument might be made that they are limiting ideas. There is more to the story than we see here, of course. But it appears to have been a mistake to approve the course in the first place.
Reading further into the article, it is alleged that evolutionary biologist Dr. Jerry Coyne was involved in the complaints against the course:
The institute is seeking access to any emails between any Ball State faculty and Coyne, who was instrumental in getting BSU to crack down on Hedin’s course. The institute suspects a Ball State faculty member contacted Coyne, known for his blogs attacking intelligent design, in an unsuccesful [sic] attempt to sabotage Ball State’s hiring of Guillermo Gonzalez as an assistant professor of astronomy. Like Hedin, Gonzalez is an advocate of intelligent design.
“That’s crazy,” Coyne said of the institute’s suspicions. “I made it clear I didn’t think Guillermo Gonzalez or Eric Hedin should be fired. The question was whether religion can be taught as if it were science. Like president Gora said, it’s not only wrong but illegal to represent religion as if it were science.”
He added, “The Discovery Institute is hurt because they lost, so they’re trying to make trouble. This is a watershed thing, the first time the issue of intelligent design came up in a university as opposed to a high school or elementary school. Ball State was the first time they tried, and it failed.”
I’ll send this to Dr. Jerry to see if he wishes to respond.
Tip: Mike Hill