Statement from Ball State University’s President

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.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Statement from Ball State University’s President

  1. docbill1351

    The money quote to be put on t-shirts:

    “Teaching intelligent design as a scientific theory is not a matter of academic freedom, it’s an issue of academic integrity.”

    Right on, sister!

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    TC asks: “So why did they hire Guillermo Gonzalez? Although Jo Ann Gora’s statement continues for several more paragraphs, that subject is never mentioned.”

    Ball State’s endowment fund probably isn’t in any better shape than the typical state U. So, in return for cash from a wealthy alum they will all sell honorary degrees, naming rights to every piece of campus infrastructure from libraries to stadiums, plus endowed chairs for professorships.

    We all know that one of the primal urges expressed in the Wedge Strategy is to install creationists in a few academic positions.

    It’s only a surmise, but I would suspect that in the cases of Heiden and Gonzalez some alum or benefactor made available a stack of cash to sweeten the deal when a faculty opening arose.

    First place I would look for the perps would be the same sugar daddies who funded the production of “Expelled” and got it into a few movie theaters before it flopped in every way possible, including commercially.

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    TC says: “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.” [emphasis mine]

    You are probably one of those egg-heads who never had to rely on dipping into the social science electives in order to maintain an overall grade point average sufficient to keep the dean from sending out kindly notes of encouragement.

  4. Jo Ann Gora sounds like she’s setting the stage for Ball State Apologetics. Philosophical arguments,and social science,human history,worldviews,preaching……er teaching inquiry and speculation into the origin of everything sounds like WLC is her guide to me. We definitely need to be concerned about CARM-like offshoots being established. (I just shivered)

  5. The Dishonesty Institute is already whining about this “gag” on their academic freedom to preach religion in the science classroom:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/ball_state_univ_1075021.html

  6. From Davids link: 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.
    Poor John West seems distraught and in a tizzy that the president had the nerve to suggest that scientists had a good view about the right sciences to teach in science classes. Just a 95-99% majority or something like that. I mean its not the 35% all god,46% god stirred it a little or was never there at all,19% I’d rather not identify my spiritually,landslide they have with social polling,but it’s still something.

  7. Bad stats correction-47% no god,or god guided EVO 46% god did it 7% no opinion. Mess up bad. Caught it. Still bad,less messy.

  8. gnome de net

    SC, I think you mean “It now appears that Ball State is beginning to emerge from the deep coma“, rather than a punctuation mark.

  9. gnome de net tactfully says:

    I think you mean “It now appears that Ball State is beginning to emerge from the deep coma“, rather than a punctuation mark.

    Darn. I knew the word I wanted, but I then went and spelled it wrong. It’s fixed now. Thanks.

  10. VulcanThunder

    Someone needs to look at who the Department Head for Physics is at Ball State. Once you get one creationist in power they will recruit more of their kind. We once had a flaming creationist (who also spoke in tongues!) as the Chair of the Chemistry and Physics department. He later was appointed Dean of Science and Technology. This guy actually led the fight to teach creation science in the public schools. Luckily the biology department was strong enough to fight him when it came to hiring faculty but the chemistry and physics department was not so lucky. They ended up with a couple of faculty (instructors) who espoused creation science. After he retired it took about a decade to clean up the mess he left. Of course this is Louisiana where creationists have a lot of power, starting at the top with Bobby. I would not be surprised if Ball State has a similar situation. As a side note: for some reason physics seems to attract some of the most “anti-science” people. Just look at the few “scientists” who are still fighting the concept of man induced climate change and the ones who said smoking did not cause cancer.

  11. retiredsciguy

    VT: “As a side note: for some reason physics seems to attract some of the most “anti-science” people.”

    Evidently, Gabriel Hannah is no longer tuning in to this blog. He’d be jumping all over that statement. (For newer visitors to SC’s blog, Gabriel is a physics professor in Wisconsin.)