Discovery Institute letter and petition (signed by 7000) reaches Ball State

Today’s Muncie Star-Press reports that Ball State University has received a 5-page letter and a petition organized by the Discovery Institute, both designed to show support for professor Eric Hedin, accused of proselytizing for Christianity and pushing intelligent design in his honors science class at Ball State University.  The petition, signed by 7,000 people, includes 1,200 “Hoosiers” (American slang for residents of Indiana), some of which are interviewed by Star-Press reporter Seth Slabaugh.

As expected, the signers praise Hedin and decry BSU for trying to curtail his academic freedom.

Many others who signed the petition don’t know Hedin, including Cathy Schulert, Muncie, a part-time receptionist at a Richards Restaurant.

“I don’t understand why the education system is threatened by an opposing viewpoint,” she said. “It’s a shame our educational system can’t consider two different viewpoints.”

Another signer, Spencer Locke, who until recently was outreach director at Muncie’s Temple Baptist Church and Christian Academy, told The Star Press: “If they’re going to take away every last bit of Christianity out of the schools and only promote an atheistic agenda, that’s a bit one sided. I just feel like the argument from the other side is, they want kids to make decisions for themselves, but if you completely almost criminalize any discussion of Christianity, theism or religion, you’re almost making the decision for them by almost saying it’s wrong to talk about it.”

Locke calls himself “a believer in a young Earth, and that we are created beings too complex to have just evolved. I am not convinced by any argument that has to do with millions or billions of years of evolution. It has too many holes in it.”

Monte Poling, the city manager for Union City and a lay minister, signed the petition because “this is more than just spiritual, it’s censoring what people can say, especially in a university setting. Wow, if there are things you can’t talk about in a university, I get a little concerned.”

He recommends the 2008 documentary hosted by Ben Stein called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” which documents the plight of scientists and scholars who dare to question the claims of Darwinian evolution. The American Association for the Advancement of Science described the film as dishonest and divisive propaganda.

Once again, the newspaper’s coverage deals not with the facts of the case (what was in those textbooks that Hedin assigned?), but with the people defending him. The article, in fact, sounds as if it could have been written by the Discovery Institute itself. The single statement from the “other side” is the note that “the American Association for the Advancement of Science described [Expelled] as dishonest and divisive propaganda.”

And I suppose the University’s reaction to the letter and petition is a bit heartening:

BSU spokeswoman Joan Todd said of the petition, “There’s really no new information here, and nothing to add to what we’ve already said.”

I reproduce the letter, from John G. West, vice-President of the Discovery Institute, below. If you want the petition, I’ll send it to you, but you should have a good reason for asking for it.

Note that the letter claims these things:

  • The Hedin campaign is based on “falsehoods.” I’m not sure what these falsehoods are. There’s ample evidence that Hedin’s syllabus was stacked with pro-religious propaganda, that there was no material espousing an opposing, purely naturalistic view (e.g. pieces by Krauss, Dawkins, Stenger, Carroll, Weinberg, and so on), and that some students complained about Hedin’s pro-Christianity views (“it’s not as if the world could have been created by some Hindu monkey god”).
  • “Prof. Hedin does not teach ‘creationism’ in his course.” But of course ID is creationism: it’s simply old-earth creationism (except for young-earth IDers like Paul Nelson), and I believe even William Dembski has described himself as a creationist. The Discovery Institute likes to pretend that ID is not creationism because it doesn’t involve a young earth (see letter below). But whether God created new species or new mutations now or several billion years ago is irrelevant. Creation is creation.
  • The letter includes several comments from students who liked Hedin’s course, but neglects to mention those complaints on RateMyProfessors.com that Hedin was proselytizing Christianity in his class. That is dishonest.
  • The DI complains that the committee investigating Hedin doesn’t have expertise in his area (“the relationship between science and faith”), and is stacked with professors associated with scientific bodies oppposing the teaching of intelligent design.
  • At the end of the letter, the DI also asks a lot of intrusive questions about how the investigation is being conducted, who else has been investigated, and what standards the committee is using to evalaute Hedin’s teaching.

Judge for yourself:

Picture 1

Picture 2Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

76 Comments

  1. NewEnglandBob
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Sub

    • abandonwoo
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      this wretch also

  2. Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    It seems as if the Discovery Institute wantonly violates the Seperation of Church and State. What part of, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” do they not understand.

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      “What part of ..”

      It’s the entire principle that completely escapes them.

  3. Alex Shuffell
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Hedin is accused of reaching Intelligent Design inspired Creationism and promoting religion in a science class, so the Discovery Institute create a petition to support Hedin for teaching ID inspired Creationism and promoting religion in a science class. Once again their logic escapes me.

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:56 am | Permalink

      *teaching. Not “reaching”.

      • docbill1351
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        You got it right. They’re reaching, not teaching!

        And the rest of us are retching.

        • Diane G.
          Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          LOL!

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Yes, having the DI defend you is rather incriminating for Hedin’s case. I think I recall that Dawkins agreed it was probably a good thing he didn’t appear in the Kitzmiller v Dover case, since the world’s most recognisable atheist comes with some baggage attached. The DI have got a cargo load.

  4. Hempenstein
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    The Discovery Institute has neither discovered anything nor is an institute. Discuss amongst yourselves.

    • Notagod
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      It’s a USian Destitution.

  5. Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    This one-sided news coverage by journalists is dangerous. Uninformed readers will easily become mislead by these one-sided articles. Without the facts of the Hedin-case, it’s impossible for people to understand what’s going on and why Hedin is a problem.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Sad isn’t it? Remember when news was actually balanced and journalists dug for the truth instead of promoting a pet view? It is sad how misinformed these petition signers are!

  6. Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    It is amazing how stupid people can be when faced with facts and good explanations. They feel their personal, family, and social structure would be destroyed if they gave an inch on evolution, and for some, it would be. For others, it is quite easy to live with contradictions.

  7. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    The University’s response is perfect!

    Sorely lacking in DI’s apocrypha is the relevance of DI militancy to science. It also lack the 1st Amendment issue that Hedin is facing.

    Above all, it lacks acknowledgment of the unanimous agreement that Hedin should have “freedom to teach without the threat of censorship and intimidation”, as soon as his course is properly declared as the non-science nonsense it is and separated from the science curricula.

    One may even add that this change is not hurtful to anybody involved, since such an action will increase the quality of BSU education. (Even more quality increase would result if Hedin would willingly remove such a one-sided course altogether. Alas.)

    But this is also rich:

    “I don’t understand why the education system is threatened by an opposing viewpoint,” she said.

    Education is threatened by calling a falsehood a possible “opposing viewpoint”. Creationism is regularly covered in biology and cosmology as erroneous ancient belief.

    Conversely, one may wonder why Hedin was so threatened by the science involved that he didn’t mention it.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      I too enjoyed the university’s response. It politely says,”who are you? Go away”

  8. Sines
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Just to remind, “Some kind of Hindu monkey god” is still only hearsay at this point. I must admit a bit of skepticism about the quote as it’s almost a bit too perfect a quote to hear about, and (IIRC) it only came out after the whole incident started in the first place.

    The RateMyProfessor quotes dating from before all this began and his clearly biased syllabus are enough to win this case. No need to bother with unsupported sound bites.

    I’m not saying I disbelief the quote, but I have no reason to believe it either. If other students can corroborate, especially if those other students aren’t Christian, then we have something that can end the case right then and there. But for now, it’s just a claim, one I think Jerry has been using a bit too often given it’s dubious factual nature.

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but the evidence for these quotes is stronger than you think. And I suspect some of it will come out soon. These students all have names, and several of them have complained by name, including the Hindu monkey god student, who wrote a complaint under his/her name to Ball State. They are rightly afraid of identifying themselves given what happens to students who object to religious proselytizing in a place like Indiana. It is no more unjustified than the claims that the students who name themselves give, because in fact I know the names of several of these students, and they are real. If you say they are making stuff up, why won’t you say the same about the other students?

      For the nonce, take my word that these students are real and have names, but are petrified of what will happen to them if they complain publicly. I suspect that a couple of the brave ones will.

      And given that complains on RateMyProfessor are anonymous, why would students write those complaints long before this fracas occurred? What motiviation could they have?

      But in the end, complaints must be associated with names, and I think we’ll have that. Remember how much easier it is to defend Hedin publicly than say that you objected to his public profession of Christianity in the classroom!

      • ladyatheist
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        The panel that is looking into this would have student evaluations, I would think. Those would also be anonymous but students don’t make stuff up in those. Their comments are colored by their own academic ability or personality style, but the committee members will have read so many student evaluations during their careers that they can interpret them well.

      • Sines
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Sorry Jerry, I think I came off wrong.

        First off, if you’re willing to say you have better proof that you can’t provide due to privacy, I have no problem believing you. I hope it comes out in support of this case.

        Also, I said that the complaints on RateMyProfessor that came out before the whole shebang was good proof. Since what you’ve shown is not particularly attack-ey or offensive, just standard students complaints. It sounds like exactly what you’d expect to hear if Hedin was up to what he’s supposed to be up to.

        I forgot the context of the Hindu Monkey God quote was in one of those private admissions you got. As I said, I have no problem trusting you there. I recalled the incident coming from a more hearsay source. But that’s human memory for you.

        Sorry to bring this up then.

    • Yiam Cross
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Hindu monkey god? Why not teach the controversy? Some think the god of the bible is real but others, for equally valid (or invalid) reasons, think that some other god did it.

      Every church should be forced to give equal air time to all the other religious viewpoints. Seems fair to me and we want to be fair, right?

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Bing-bong… hour’s up for today’s science class. Tomorrow we examine the cosmology of The Nation of Yahweh, Swedenborgian Church of North America (General Church of New Jerusalem faction), The Prince Philip Movement, and the Landover Baptists. Study hard, kids. ;-)

  9. Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Quite a bunch of demands there from the DI.

    What makes them think they’re a party in this issue (and have a right to be responded to)?

    Had I been the BSU spokesperson, I would have had trouble suppressing the response:
    “And who are you?”

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Yes I wonder that myself – I guess they are used to the privilege majority Christians enjoy and are so used to lying and bullying to get their way that they think the same rules apply when engaging a university. Really, they are doing Hedin no favours.

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        True: I wonder if they actually talked to Hedin about their involvement .. he may not be very interested in all this hoopla.

  10. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    This bugs me:

    cosmic design

    There are two types of large scale structures (LSS) in the universe.

    – The first LSS are the baryonic acoustic oscillations that one can see in the cosmic microwave background and today as density variations on the scale of ~ 0.5 billion ly.

    Those reflect the gas dynamics of the primordial hydrogen (mostly) plasma cloud that temporarily trapped the cosmic background radiation.

    I don’t think DI would want to claim their brand of magic is involved in the movements in those gas clouds anymore than the gas clouds we see today.

    – The second LSS are the primordial fluctuations that seeded the star clusters that eventually built galaxy clusters.

    Those reflect the quantum field fluctuations of the inflaton field before it started to piecemeal go over the edge of its potential to create today’s low energy vacuum.

    I don’t think DI would want to claim their brand of magic is involved in the movements in those fields anymore than the quantum fields we see today.

    All the remaining structural detail emerges out of particle field behavior. That is, if DI want to push their brand of magic into some imagined gap here, it isn’t theism that remains but deism.

    And I don’t think that DI would want to claim their brand of magic is deist, since religiosity is very rarely founded on deism.

    “Cosmic design” is as vacuous as “intelligent design”, it is proselytizers having the vapors.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      “There are two types”, or at least that is my understanding. I can mess that up, because I’m trying to study it now.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      “All the remaining structural detail emerges out of particle field behavior.”

      I meant that all the remaining structural detail emerges out of behavior constrained by particle parameters. That is the connection to deism, through the idea of preset parameters (“laws”).

    • docbill1351
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      That was a typo.

      It should have been: comic design.

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      There are two types of large scale structures (LSS) in the universe.

      Torbjörn, Torbjörn, Torbjörn.

      “Cosmic design” as Christians use the term has nothing whatsoever to do with anything so crass as actual real physical structures.

      It has everything to do with your after-death accommodations, especially whether you’ll be permitted to grope Jesus’s guts through his gaping chest wound, or whether his brother Satan will be shoving red-hot pokers up your ass to probe your own guts.

      I mean, like, duh! So totally obvious, dude, you know.

      b&

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        I have seen the term “cosmic design” used as an alternative to “intelligent design” when creationists are appealing to the apparent cosmological fine tuning of constants & the beauty of the physical *laws* of the universe as evidence for their beliefs

        Or are you using sarcasm & I’ve not detected it?

        • Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          Sarcasm, yes — and, besides, all the theological arguments boil down to reasons to maintain the status of the believer’s after-death accommodation reservations.

          …ergo Jesus, and all that.

          b&

          • Diane G.
            Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

            “Or are you using sarcasm & I’ve not detected it?”

            Michael, Michael, Michael…

  11. Robert Bray
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    The people at the Muncie newspaper, from publisher and editor down to the lowest stringer, very probably know the facts of the Hedin matter, and at least some of the employees understand that Hedin has violated not only the truth but the U.S. Constitution. Yet the owners’ and publisher’s sense of their demographic pushes them to slant stories away from facts and toward beliefs that they think local readers hold. In so doing, the Muncie ‘Star-Press’is upholding the ‘best’ tradition of yellow journalism. For shame! The Discovery Institute follows the same path, lying in the interest of a ‘higher truth,’ for monetary gain, and for social authority. Doubly for shame! As for the paper’s readers and the DI’s petitioners, one can only lament that willful ignorance equals stupidity.

  12. Emerson
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    “… contrary to claims by FFRF, prof. Hedin’s course syllabus includes a bibliography of additional materials reflecting DIVERSE THEOLOGICAL and…” really? Which one of these materials presents Brahma (pantheistic) and not allah or trinity (theistic gods) as the world’s creator? And where is proven that monotheism and not polytheism, pandeism, panentheism,etc… is the correct version about the supposed creator (and one do not need to talk about the others)? Nowhere. Discovery Institute is lying or betting on others ignorance regarding the dozen contradictories versions of god(s?).

  13. Mattapult
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    “I am not convinced by any argument that has to do with millions or billions of years of evolution. It has too many holes in it.”

    Our knowledge of evolution has moved far beyond speculation, research, and experimentation. To varying degrees, we engineer evolution.

    Evolution is basically the by-product of random mutations and natural selection. It is a high-level effect of how DNA works.

    Domesticating crops and animals was possible when humans became a selection pressure. In a loose sense of the word, our ancestors engineered the plants and animals. They surely didn’t know how it all worked, or the specific outcomes they wanted; but by choosing the most preferable of the groups, the groups became more beneficial to humans.

    Of course, they couldn’t cause speciation. Their methods were crude, and only a fraction of the generations required have lived.

    We can do a lot more with the today’s technology. Now we can speciate bacteria in an afternoon. Now we engineer rats and insects with specific genetic properties for laboratory testing. We engineer bacteria for bio-fuel production and clean-up of toxic chemicals. We engineer medications and treatments based on our understand of genes and chromosomes. As flu strains evolve and mutate, we try to predict the most viable strains and the direction they are going, then engineer a vaccine against them. To the dismay of many, we engineer disease and insect resistance into our crops.

    Have we engineered a dog into a cat yet. No, and we probably won’t. It would take thousands if not millions of years breading a population of hybrids to get the number of generations necessary. Ethically, we probably shouldn’t start.

    Mr Locke may think evolution isn’t possible, but try telling that to the people who create products based on it.

  14. Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    “Atheistic agenda” has become a DI dysphemism for the word formerly known as reality. “Opposing viewpoints” shouldn’t be pluralized because DI has only offered one “alternative.”

  15. Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    When I read such things the question always comes to mind, would these folks force their “teach the controversy” attitude on astronomy (sun revolves around the earth) and geology (earth has four corners and therefore flat) courses–and if not, why not? I’m wondering if Jerry has ever seen those questions addressed by ID folks?

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      That is a question which is often asked, and rarely answered.

  16. Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    “Locke calls himself “a believer in a young Earth, and that we are created beings too complex to have just evolved. I am not convinced by any argument that has to do with millions or billions of years of evolution. It has too many holes in it.””

    And it’s comments like that that demonstrate exactly why people like Hedin need to be stopped from pushing this kind of nonsense in science lessons.

  17. Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    As expected, the signers praise Slabaugh and decry BSU for trying to curtail his academic freedom.

    Shirley, this must be a thinko?

    b&

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      I meant “Hedin,” of course. Fixd, thanks.

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        No worries. I’m sure I’ve done worse myself already this morning….

        b&

        • Diane G.
          Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          “Thinko” is so good.

  18. ladyatheist
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    The Discovery Institute is inserting itself into this and making “news” with its own agenda at the center. I don’t blame the paper for reporting on this, but how hard would it be to find scientists who could give an opinion about what the DI is up to?

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      They have. Seth interviewed Jerry not long ago and reported on it.

      The decision of how many column inches to give to each “side” is clearly an opinionated editorial one, not one of the results of research or the skill of the researcher.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • ladyatheist
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Eugenie Scott has spoken out about the DI’s latest tactic of screaming “academic freedom” whenever their agenda is challenged, which is pretty much what is happening her. I wonder if they attempted to call her.

        • Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          I doubt it. It wouldn’t do much to further the narrative the Star Press angling for.

          b&

  19. Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    It’s not a good sign for your side of the argument if you say (1) the charges are spurious and untrue and (2) even if they were true, it’s no big deal.

  20. Notagod
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    From the petition:

    First and foremost, Prof. Hedin does not teach “creationism” in his course.

    The Discovery Institute petition claims that the special committee is stacked against the Professor and his course. Their support for that statement includes, that one of the special committee members was a scientific consultant for a group in a debate over intelligent design. Another member served on an executive committee that issued a denunciation of intelligent design.

    Any reasonably intelligent person would necessarily need to categorize intelligent design as a form of creationism. It is very childish, rude, and demeaning for the Discovery Institute to package and sell their product as not creationism. It is akin to a child claiming that they didn’t steal, it was their hand what done it. It is rude and demeaning because the receivers of the petition are expected to pretend that they can’t comprehend it.

  21. Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    To a very high level of certainty, I am confident that the two student letters cited by the DI were not written by actual BSU students.

    They were written by the snakes at DI to look like they were written by BSU students.

    I have a question about this mess: why would BSU have even a smidgen of concern about anything coming from the morons at DI? What power or authority does DI have at BSU?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Yes. I wondered how the DI could even be aware of these student letters.

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        I can see someone at a Campus Crusade for Christ or the like at the campus getting DI involved through this sort of shenanigan, though.

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      I agree that the “students’ letters” appear manufactured. They are written in the same style and both have exactly one word in all CAPS. Smells fishy.

  22. Taylor M. Brown
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I find their article sickening. And the religious fervor of Indiana gives Indiana Jones a bad name–which, needless to say, truly saddens me.

    “[T]he special committee appointed to evaluate Hedin… seems to have been stacked with professors with clear conflicts of interest who are likely to… be hostile to Prof. Hedin’s course.”

    This would be their strongest point, had they been suggesting a legitimate scientific view to be taught in tandem with actual science. Of course, teaching a long discredited “theory” is not that.

    And, given that such a theory (ID) has been discredited, you’d be hard-pressed to find many scientists who thought there was something to it. I heard Jerry liken it to trying to find scientists who doubled as apologists for the flat-earth “theory.”

    Of course the scientists they got to evaluate Hedin’s course were hostile to Intelligent Design, you’re likely not a good scientist if you aren’t. If he was teaching that the Earth were flat, would we go out and find the Flat-Earth Theory’s staunchest apologists to to evaluate his claims? Or, would we hire some people with actual scientific credentials?

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      As a native “Hoosier”, I too find this sad, but feel compelled to stick up a bit for my home state (especially now that I live in the Bible Belt and know what real religious fervor is like). I grew up in Indiana, and attended Indiana University-Bloomington, only two hours or so away from BSU. In all that time, I knew many religious individuals, but never once met anyone who admitted to being a creationist or hinted toward skepticism of evolution. I know those people were and are there, but I’m just pointing out it’s not an official doctrine of the state or anything. Many in Indiana recognize the absurdity of teaching ID in a university level science course.

      Does anyone know of any petition going the other way? Maybe it’s best to leave it alone, but I’d happily try to recruit some signatures.

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        I don’t think there’s anything to do at this stage in the process. If you really feel compelled, a brief but thoughtful and well-evidenced letter to the committee might be in order, especially if you think you have something for them to consider that wouldn’t otherwise be on their radar.

        Based on the committee membership, it seems pretty reasonable to predict that this will soon end with reason prevailing. If so, a thank-you letter would not be inappropriate, but, again, only if you feel particularly moved to do so.

        But if they somehow permit Hedin to commit such violence against academic standards of professionalism, then I’m sure there will be ample opportunity for additional civic input at that time.

        In the mean time? It’s fine if you just chill out and hang ten. Things are (finally!) working as they should.

        Cheers,

        b&

      • Taylor M. Brown
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        I’m by no means condemning the whole of Indiana. I’m sure it’s a pleasant place to live aside from the occasional encroachment of religion in the schools.

        But reading about things like Indiana’s infamous Bill 89–where their senate tried to pass a bill where “[t]he governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation”–kind of bum me out.

        We just can’t shy away from criticizing bad ideas, wherever they may lie.

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Indiana_Senate_Bill_89

        • Posted July 5, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

          Criticism certainly due! I don’t think I clarified my age, but I meant to argue that there’s likely a large generational divide on these issues in Indiana. I cannot imagine anything but a tiny minority of my peers – those now in their early-mid-20’s – siding with creationism in school.

          • Diane G.
            Posted July 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            You know what? My peers & I felt the same way back in the late 60’s/70’s.

            • Posted July 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

              Good – and slightly demoralizing – point.

              • Diane G.
                Posted July 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

                More than slightly, sigh. Fighting creationism is like playing Whack-A-Mole.

              • Taylor M. Brown
                Posted July 6, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

                Ha! I second your point, Diane.

                It’s much like what Christopher Hitchen’s said in the first chapter of ‘god is not Great': “you may not get the point of all this faith now,” describing a lecture given by his Sunday school teacher. “But you will one day, when you start to lose loved ones.”

                He then goes on a long diatribe about how religions are all “equal glimpses of the untrue,” or something like that.

                But yeah, I think it’s more common to acquire faith late in age, because, I mean, c’mon, what straight minded teen is gonna give up sex for an obviously imaginary god?

              • Posted July 6, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

                Fighting creationism is like playing Whack-A-Mole.

                Whack-a-Mole I could live with.

                It’s this Whack-an-Hydra that’s killing me….

                b&

  23. Chris
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Again and again and again I find it amusing, to put it mildly, that an organization pushing _so_ hard for “teaching both sides” at every opportunity constantly leaves out or distorts the other side’s view when promoting their own propaganda…

  24. Greg Esres
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Surely the fact that the Discovery Institute is interested in the case at all is evidence that religion is being promoted, since that’s their reason for existence.

    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      That much is plainly evident. And stop calling me Shirley.

      • Posted July 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        That’s Greg. He’s on line three. Shirley — who still insists she’s from the Mayo clinic — is on line six. And I’ve got a Mr. Hamm on line five.

        Which one did you want me to put on hold, again?

        b&

        • Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          I’ll take the Mayo, and hold the Hamm.

          • Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

            waitaminnit.. I think I got that backwards…

            • Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

              That’s good, because I wasn’t looking forward to the awkward moment where you were going to explain what you wanted a jar of mayonnaise all by itself for….

              b&

  25. Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    This seems more a competency and curriculum issue than it is a religious or academic freedom issue. Though, it seems that “academic freedom” seems to have been a creationist rally cry for the last 5 years or so. Academic freedom does not release instructors from maintaining minimum standards.

  26. Posted July 5, 2013 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    I Live in England, so cannot get a counter petition going. 7,000 signatures with fact bases science, and religion in church and religious studies classes.
    Come on they think there is strength in numbers, even if what they are petitioning is rubbish!
    Wake up and get organised US.

    • Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      You realize this would impinge greatly on our busy “American Idol” and “The Bachelorette”-watching schedules, don’t you?

  27. René
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    It seems like a lot people here have the same reflex: endorsement by Discovery Institute means the case against Hedin is justified.

    And though it seems to escapes Alex Shuffless’ comprehension, i think i have a clue.
    It is their godgiven hubris of knowing, better said, feeling, being right, thereby shutting óff their logic. (e.g. Philippians 4:7)

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+4%3A7&version=NIV

    When they wake up and realize their numbers, they call on democracy as bringing truth and being right.
    “Come on, so many of us feel like the two sides should be taught.
    When so many agree, who is there to oppose?
    Isn’t that what democracy is all about?!”


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Academic freedom vs “Intelligent Design” […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28,622 other followers

%d bloggers like this: