You know about the creationism problems at Indiana’s Ball State University. They’ve got one guy, Eric Hedin, slipping the stuff into his course on the “Boundaries of Science,” and while a controversy was brewing over that they went out and hired Guillermo Gonzalez — a Discoveroid “senior fellow.” Our last summary of the situation was Battle of Ball State: Setting the Stage.
But that’s not the extent of Ball State’s problems. Little by little, as their faculty express themselves on the issue, we’re learning that the whole institution may be riddled with … well, we don’t want to judge them too harshly — not yet. But bear in mind that we previously gave you the opinion of an urban planning professor — see Ball State: Wishy-Washy Squishy. That was pretty bad, and now we have another faculty opinion today.
In the Star Press of Muncie, Indiana they have an opinion column titled College courses should raise more questions. The author is someone named C. Van Nelson, described at the end as: “emeritus professor, computer science, Ball State University.” Let’s see what this computer science professor thinks of the situation. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Are we now at the point where we now allow only Darwin’s theory to be taught in university science classes? Is Professor Eric Hedin only allowed to present the Darwin model in the “Boundaries of Science” course because a University of Chicago professor has declared that the Darwin model is the only model that may be taught?
That’s the “one-sided, Darwin only” complaint, which we often hear from the Discovery Institute. The computer scientist seems to favor a balanced approach, mixing science and creationism in the same course. But that’s not only absurd, it’s also unconstitutional As we all know from Edwards v. Aguillard, a state institution can’t teach Oogity Boogity to balance out its teaching of science.
Then the computer scientist lapses into a creationist classic — the mantra that mistreated creationists are far-seeing, deep-thinking heroes, analogous to genuine science martyrs like Galileo. He doesn’t go so far as to actually mention Galileo, but he says:
What happens when we don’t think about things that we don’t want to think about and blindly accept what we are told? What happens if we don’t push the boundaries of science to extend what we know and either modify or replace the models we have built?
We would still have the ancient Greek model of chemistry with the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Nuclear physicists would not have extended the Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom for a better model of atomic matter.
Right! Only the creationists can lead us out of the darkness! Later on he gives us a bible analogy, which is always helpful in these situations:
In the book of Second Chronicles of the Bible, Solomon asks the Lord for wisdom and knowledge and this pleases the Lord. To me, this means that we are to extend and build upon the knowledge that we have and illuminate unexplored areas with this light.
Ah yes, let us build upon our knowledge by exploring the mysteries of creationism! And now we arrive at his final paragraph:
Professor Eric Hedin appears to be challenging students to think about things that they may not have thought about. This is the real job of a professor. Students need to wrestle with concepts and ideas and come out of a course with more questions than answers.
In fairness to Ball State, this guy may not be typical of their faculty. Instead, he may merely be an example of the Salem Hypothesis, according to which engineering types — and that often includes computer scientists — have a tendency toward the creationist viewpoint.
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