You all remember the recent fuss about which we wrote Ball State University Hires Guillermo Gonzalez. It now appears that Ball State is beginning to emerge from the deep coma. In the the Star Press of Muncie, Indiana we just found this: Ball State President Gora calls intelligent design religion, not science.
After summarizing the controversy over complaints that Eric Hedin, an assistant professor of physics, was teaching intelligent design in an honors science class titled, “The Boundaries of Science,” and also the university’s refusal to release the findings of the faculty panel appointed to review the course, the newspaper quotes Jo Ann Gora’s “President’s Perspective” issued to faculty and staff. Here are some excerpts from her statement, with bold font added by us:
Intelligent design is overwhelmingly deemed by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory. Therefore, intelligent design is not appropriate content for science courses. The gravity of this issue and the level of concern among scientists are demonstrated by more than 80 national and state scientific societies’ independent statements that intelligent design and creation science do not qualify as science.
We’re aware of that, but why is Ball State so late in recognizing this? Let’s read on:
Creation science and intelligent design represent worldviews that fall outside of the realm of science that is defined as (and limited to) a method of inquiry based on gathering observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.
We know that too. It’s good to see that Ball State is suddenly waking up. Uh oh — they’re not fully awake. Here comes a clunker:
Creation science, intelligent design, and other worldviews that focus on speculation regarding the origins of life represent another important and relevant form of human inquiry that is appropriately studied in literature and social science courses.
Creation science is important and relevant? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! She continues:
Such study, however, must include a diversity of worldviews representing a variety of religious and philosophical perspectives and must avoid privileging one view as more legitimate than others.
Well, whatcha gonna do? But then she clarifies things a bit:
Teaching religious ideas in a science course is clearly not appropriate. Each professor has the responsibility to assign course materials and teach content in a manner consistent with the course description, curriculum, and relevant discipline.
Yes, but if, out of all the qualified applicants for a vacancy (we assume there were many), they decided to hire an astronomy professor from a bible college, and if — like Guillermo Gonzalez — he’s also a Discoveroid “senior fellow” — it’s not difficult to foresee that there may be problems. There may even be a “worldview discrimination” lawsuit in the university’s future. Then she says:
As this coverage has unfolded, some have asked if teaching intelligent design in a science course is a matter of academic freedom. On this point, I want to be very clear. Teaching intelligent design as a scientific theory is not a matter of academic freedom – it is an issue of academic integrity. … Said simply, 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.
That sounds lovely. So why did they hire Guillermo Gonzalez? Although Jo Ann Gora’s statement continues for several more paragraphs, that subject is never mentioned. Did she solve any problems with her statement? We don’t think so. In fact, we think the stage is set for some big problems in the future. We’ll have to keep an eye on the situation.
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