Ball State Imbroglio Heats Up Again

The last time we wrote about this long-simmering topic was Guillermo Gonzalez and the Ball State Imbroglio. As you recall, this one began last year when Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, started a fuss about Ball State University’s physics professor, Eric Hedin, who was allegedly teaching intelligent design in his course on the “Boundaries of Science.”

After a lot of attention, there was a strong, pro-science Statement from Ball State University’s President, Jo Ann Gora. She wrote: “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’s when the Discovery Institute stopped lurking in the background and got openly and aggressively involved. We posted Discoveroids Issue Ultimatum to Ball State. When the ultimatum’s deadline passed, we posted about the university’s response: Ball State to Discoveroids: “Bugger Off!”

The Discoveroids initiated a letter-writing campaign, and in Ball State Imbroglio Update — 04 Oct 2013, we predicted that:

The Discoveroids undoubtedly have an imbecilic stooge or two in the Indiana legislature. They will introduce legislation to curb the “abuses” of the university, and they will also hold legislative hearings about the university’s “one sided” science policy.

Then we waited. At the end of last year, we posted that the Discoveroids had designated the Ball State Imbroglio as the Discovery Institute’s Triumph #4 for 2013. They seemed determined to keep pushing the issue. And lo, what we predicted about legislative action has come to pass. At the Discoveroids’ creationist blog, they just posted Legislators Demand Answers about Intelligent Design Ban at Ball State University. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Four state legislators led by Senate Education Committee Chair Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) have sent a letter to Ball State University’s (BSU) President and Board of Trustees expressing serious concerns about the university’s treatment of BSU physicist Eric Hedin and its imposition of a speech code censoring faculty speech on intelligent design.

Dennis Kruse? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He’s one of the wackiest creationists in Indiana. We’ve written about his bizarre legislative activities quite a few times, the last being Indiana Creationism: Strange Developments. He’s definitely one of the Discovery Institute’s useful idiots.

Then they give what they say is a quote from the legislators’ letter. It’s got all the Discoveroid bases covered. The wise lawmakers expressed concern:

about whether improper procedures were followed while investigating Professor Eric Hedin’s course, and whether an ad hoc committee appointed to investigate him was filled with persons with conflicts of interest…We are also concerned about the cancellation of Hedin’s class and the policy you announced last summer restricting faculty speech on intelligent design. We are disturbed by reports that while you restrict faculty speech on intelligent design, BSU authorized a seminar that teaches “Science Must Destroy Religion.” Your policy banning professors from expressing their views on intelligent design raises many troubling questions. One of the most important is: Does the policy forbid science professors from explaining either their support or rejection of intelligent design in answer to student questions about intelligent design in class?

Ooooooooh, this could be serious! Let’s read on:

The legislators promised to send additional questions to BSU in coming weeks. The legislators’ letter comes after nearly 10,000 people signed a petition urging BSU to allow academic freedom for Professor Hedin.

Wow — the Discoveroids got 10,000 idiots to send letters! Very impressive. We wrote about their letter-writing campaign here: Discoveroids Increase Pressure on Ball State. One more excerpt:

Senator Kruse and his fellow legislators are to be applauded for investigating BSU’s actions in violating academic freedom and open discussion,” added Donald McLaughlin, Discovery Institute’s Indiana representative and an alumnus of Ball State.

Yeah, they’re to be applauded. Okay, we’ll join in. Hey, creationist legislators: The Curmudgeon applauds your flaming stupidity. Seriously. Without people like you, we’d have nothing to write about.

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18 responses to “Ball State Imbroglio Heats Up Again

  1. Dear Indiana Legislators:

    ID isn’t science it’s religion. Next question?

  2. Indiana Legislators: But, but . . .but . . ID people use big words and stuff, and they use lots of keen sciency phrases . . . they gotta be heard!!
    They have this major think tank in Seattle and they are hugely influential in the scientific world and publish lots and lots of important stuff with complicated titles.

  3. Hey, we haven’t seen McLaughlin’s name in a while. That’s cool, right?

  4. Ok let me get this right. Some senators want to interfere in the internal workings of a university and they are crying about academic freedom?

    and no one is preventing Hedin from expressing his views on Intelligent design. What they are doing is telling him is that the university is not going to allow him to present a coarse on it and that his attempts to bring ID by stealth was not appreciated.

    Whatever happened to that “dangerous ideas” coarse that they were attacking before? Was that ever resolved or did it predictably die out because one was a sociology coarse with a series of essays and the other was a science coarse presenting religion.

  5. I sent a letter to Sen Kruse when he was pushing for creationism to be taught in Indiana schools science classes. The letter I got in return simply said, “Yes, I [Sen Kruse] sponsored Bill XXX [the one for creationism]”. He cannot be reasoned with, only fought. Forget debates, forget trying to change his (or any of his ilk) mind. The only thing we can do is to line up a ton more votes than he has. That’s it. Plain and simple. Kill this idea, and if at all possible, kill any possible future of Kruse as a state senator.

  6. Waldteufel, speaking of the Discovery Institutionalized, writes, “They have this major think tank in Seattle…”

    Waldteufel, your writings are always spot on. However, I believe there’s a spelling error here. When referring to the particular low-rent office in Seattle, the correct spelling is “thimk tank”. Please take care to get this correct next time. Thank you.

    Your pedantic friend and Junior High science teacher emeritus,
    Retired Sci Guy

  7. Spector567 observes, “Ok let me get this right. Some senators want to interfere in the internal workings of a university and they are crying about academic freedom?”

    Well put! I don’t think Kruse has the smarts to have written that letter, nor any of his creationist colleagues. My bet is it was penned by the Discoverrhoids.

  8. @Gary: Aren’t you glad you escaped Indiana? I’m afraid our governor, Mike Pence, is of the same ilk, although he’s too canny to come out and state forthrightly that he’s a creationist.

  9. @d_klinghoffer Indiana pols cry “Academic freedom!” while dictating curriculum at Ball State Univ. ORWELLIAN…

    h/t Spector567

  10. i certainly hope that, once Senator Kruse and his comrades-at-arms have successfully defended Indiana against the Atheist Storm-Troopers of BSU, they will turn their legislative attention to an even more worrying crisis brewing north of the border: Canada: Tax breaks to support Moose Sex Project

  11. i? I’m too modest. Previous post should have commenced with a capital ‘I’, as I am a capital fellow.

  12. Didn’t I read @waldteufel’s comment as “thimk tank,” or am I getting old? I remember thimking, “ha, best mispelling ever.” Methimks it was intelligently changed.

  13. Megalonyx mumbles:

    Previous post should have commenced with a capital ‘I’, as I am a capital fellow.

    At Olivia’s request, we’ll leave it as it is. She says (without explanation) that the small “i” is most appropriate for you.

  14. Our Curmudgeon reports

    At Olivia’s request, we’ll leave it as it is. She says (without explanation) that the small “i” is most appropriate for you.

    And if you pull the string in the back of your ‘Olivia’ doll a second time, she’ll say, “Math is hard!”…

  15. @Mark Germano No, you can relax. it was not a symptom of your dotage. You were probably remembering this post I wrote a couple of days ago at “Casey and Klinghoffer Criticize ‘Cosmos’ ” —

    Waldteufel observes, “I am a bit worried about the Gerbil, though . . . his rantings have been getting more bizarre over time . . . I guess that’s what happens to a brain on creationism.”

    Perhaps his increased shrillness is the result of no one paying any attention to his “Thimk Tank”.

    And yes, the misspelling was deliberate. Thanks for noticing! My personal feeling is that we should always refer to the Discovery Institutionalizeds’ office in Seattle as such.

  16. Curmie writes> “The Curmudgeon applauds your flaming stupidity. Seriously. Without people like you, we’d have nothing to write about.”

    Indeed, we have much to thank them for. Without their comic efforts Cardinal Gary might have never kicked his nasty Mt. Dew habit. Now if we could only get him to stop hanging around Castle Anthrax. 😉

  17. Thanks, @RSG. I guess I’m not getting older. 🙂