Monday, May 27, 2013

Atheists Want Christian to Stop Teaching Science

Professor Eric Hedin of Indiana's Ball State University teaches an elective class exploring the boundlessness of scientific inquiry.  However, when the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) learned that Hedin encourages students to delve beyond the limits of atheist-bound scientific theories, they threatened the university -- demanding such free thinking be terminated.

For background, read University Won't Hire Christians as Scientists and also read University Suspends Christian for Defending Marriage as well as University Student Suspended for NOT Desecrating Jesus' Name

In addition, read
Obama Administration Muzzles College Students' Moral Speech

UPDATE 8/1/13: Ball State University agrees with atheists, limits scientific inquiry - See latest articles below . . .

-- From "Atheist group says course teaching religion" by The Associated Press 5/23/13

. . . Hedin teaches an honors class called "Boundaries of Science," which the [FFRF] foundation maintains teaches creationism rather than science. The foundation is dedicated to "nontheism" and separation of church and state.

Hedin is listed as a member on the Ball State website as a member of the department of physics and astronomy, not biology. The faculty directory says he teaches classes in nanoscience and cosmology.

"Faculty own the curriculum. In large part, it's a faculty matter," Provost Terry King said. "But we have to ensure that our teaching is appropriate. All I have so far is a complaint from an outside person. We have not had any internal complaints. But we do take this very seriously and will look into it."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Ball State professor accused of preaching Christianity in class" by Seth Slabaugh, The Star Press (Muncie, IN) 5/21/13

Hedin and department chairman Tom Robertson declined to comment to The Star Press.

Ronald Kaitchuck, a professor in BSU’s department of physics and astronomy, finds it hard to believe that Hedin teaches strict creationism.

He suspects Hedin is “asking people to think a little broader, outside the box, which causes controversy. It’s funny.”

Ruth Howes, a retired professor from the department, said . . . “Students are not expected to totally agree with these viewpoints, but they are expected to understand them. I think that is probably what Professor Hedin is trying to do, and I would expect the university to back this effort thoroughly. For example, if I were teaching a class on Islam, I would not expect students to convert to Islam, but I would expect them to understand the basic tenets that Muslims believe.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Science or Religion?" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed 5/17/13

[Thomas Robertson, chair of the physics and astronomy department at Ball State, said] "The information provided to me by Jerry Coyne [of FFRF] contains nothing in addition to information that has been in my possession for some time.  The syllabus published was approved by our department Curriculum and Assessment Committee.  We review faculty performance regularly through student and peer/chair evaluations.  I receive complaints and concerns from students familiar with faculty performance in their classes and investigate when appropriate.  Given the totality of information available to me at this time, I do not share the opinions expressed on the [atheist] web sites cited below. We will continue to monitor our faculty and their course materials and practices and take appropriate action when deemed necessary."

. . . PZ Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota at Morris and a prominent critic of those who try to promote doubt about evolution, examined the issue on his blog Pharyngula. Myers called the Ball State course "crap" and "bad science," and endorsed Coyne's analysis of the reasons the course is flawed.

But Myers disagreed that the course should be blocked on legal grounds. "[A]cademic freedom is the issue here, and professors have to have the right to teach unpopular, controversial issues, even from an ignorant perspective," Myers wrote. "The First Amendment does not apply; this is not a course students are required to take, and it’s at a university, which students are not required to attend. It’s completely different from a public primary or secondary school. A bad course is an ethical problem, not a legal one. It’s also an issue that the university has to handle internally."

Similarly, Laurence A. Moran, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Toronto, wrote on his blog that he also agrees with the critique of the course, but not the idea that the professor should lose his right to teach it. "I defend the right of a tenured professor to teach whatever he/she believes to be true no matter how stupid it seems to the rest of us," he wrote. "I'm troubled by the fact that some people are calling for the instructor's dismissal and writing letters to the chair of his department. We really don't want to go down that path, do we? Academic freedom is important and it's especially important to defend it when a professor is pushing a view that we disagree with."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lee Strobel on Atheists vs Ball State U Professor Teaching Creationism" by Alex Murashko, Christian Post Reporter 5/22/13

The reading list for the "Boundaries of Science" Honors College class (an elective) taught by Hedin, who teaches in the department of physics and astronomy,  includes books by intelligent design proponents like Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, and Strobel. World Magazine's Campus edition reports that in Hedin's course description, he says, "We will also investigate physical reality and the boundaries of science for any hidden wisdom within this reality which may illuminate the central questions of the purpose of our existence and the meaning of life."

[Lee] Strobel, whose book, The Case for a Creator, is on the course reading list, says that he doesn't have any specific knowledge about Hedin's class, but said, "In my view, a fair teaching of cosmology, physics, biochemistry, biological information and human consciousness tends to point quite naturally toward an Intelligent Designer. Students should be allowed to draw their own conclusions based on the evidence. I certainly don't see any First Amendment prohibition against free academic inquiry, especially in an elective course like this. I hope students will be able to consider all aspects of scientific evidence and not be unfairly prohibited from considering certain evidence just because some critics don't like its implications."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 7/31/13: "Intelligent design removed from BSU class" by Seth Slabaugh, Muncie Star Press

“Intelligent design is overwhelmingly deemed by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory,” [Ball State President Jo Ann Gora] wrote in a statement issued Wednesday. “Therefore, intelligent design is not appropriate content for science courses.”

Teaching intelligent design as a scientific theory “is not a matter of academic freedom — it is an issue of academic integrity,” Gora said. “... to allow intelligent design to be presented to science students as a valid scientific theory would violate the academic integrity of the course as it would fail to accurately represent the consensus of science scholars.”

“As a public university, we have a constitutional obligation to maintain a clear separation between church and state,” Gora said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 8/1/13: "Ball State University President Imposes Gag Order on Scientists Supportive of Intelligent Design" posted at Discovery Institute

In a blatant attack on academic freedom and the unfettered consideration of scientific viewpoints, the president of Ball State University (BSU) in Muncie, IN, has imposed a gag order on science faculty forbidding their discussion of the theory of intelligent design (ID) in science classrooms.

"Students and the public are owed a genuine evaluation of the merits of ID, touching as the theory does on ultimate questions of life's origins," responded Dr. Stephen Meyer, director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture. "However, when scientific discussion is censored by a university, fair-minded evaluation becomes impossible."

"In the Orwellian world of Ball State's president, academic freedom apparently means only the 'freedom' to support the majority's view," said Dr. John West, associate director of the Center for Science & Culture. "This is exactly how the academic 'consensus' against the theory of intelligent design is maintained -- by intimidation, fiat, and legal threats."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Media Scoff at Christians Advancing Science in Tennessee

The root issue is American Religious Liberty vs. Anti-Christian Totalitarianism