“Academic Freedom” for Creationists Only

This is a follow-up to our recent post, The Reality of Creationist “Academic Freedom”. Two new items help to illustrate the point we made, that the Discoveroids — who pretend to be champions of academic freedom — scream to the sky when a creationist is disciplined for promoting his religious views in a science class; but they’re always silent when someone is stopped from teaching evolution at a creationist school.

The first story we found appears at the website of Pat Robertson’s Christian News Network. Their headline is Controversy Erupts After Christian School Affirms Commitment to Literal Creation Account. It says, with bold font added by us:

Were Adam and Eve historical people, specially created by God? This simple question has created a significant rift in a small Christian college in eastern Tennessee.

We wrote about that controversy three weeks ago — see Creationist Chaos at Bryan College. Because you’re already familiar with it, we’ll give you only a few excerpts from the new story:

As a Christian school, all faculty and staff members must subscribe to Brian College’s 8-point Statement of Belief, which lays out the college’s theological stance and scriptural interpretation. Included in the 80-year-old Statement of Belief is a reference to the creation of man:

“[We believe] that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death,” the statement says.

That’s lovely. So what’s the problem? We’re told:

In order to remove any ambiguity with Brian College’s position on the creation of man, the school’s Board of Trustees issued a statement late last month, clarifying the Statement of Belief. “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve,” the Board explained. “They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

That’s the flip side of the Statement from Ball State University’s President, when their retiring president, Jo Ann Gora, said:

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 Discoveroids went berserk after Gora’s statement. At their creationist blog, they posted #4 of Our Top-Ten Evolution Stories of 2013: Ball State President Imposes Gag Order on Intelligent Design. A gag order! And what have they said about the situation at Bryan College? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The CNN news article is long, and it’s good, but that’s enough for our purposes. Now for the other item we found. It’s an editorial in the Star Press of Muncie, Indiana, where Ball State is located. It’s titled Intelligent design issue still dogs Ball State.

You already know what’s been happening there. We recently wrote about it in Ball State Imbroglio Heats Up Again, so we’ll just give you a few choice excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Now, four Republican lawmakers, including creationist proponent and chairman of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee Dennis Kruse of Auburn, have given Gora until Monday to answer a letter asking, “Does the policy forbid science professors from explaining either the support or rejection of intelligent design in answer to student questions about intelligent design in class?”

An inquisition by the creationists in the legislature! What does the editorial say about that? Here it comes:

Let the witch hunt begin, and woe to those whose answer is not pleasing to the powers who control the purse strings.


Intelligent design is an interesting proposition. And it merits discussion — in a religion or philosophy course. It has no business being taught as valid scientific theory. Science explains the world around us as it is, not the world as others would wish it.

Nicely said. Let’s read on:

In the dichotomy that is Indiana government, Ball State finds itself facing the threat of reduced funding at the hands of a few lawmakers for not teaching religion in science courses. On the other, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education is pressuring the university to turn out more graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).


We wonder whether those degrees will have as much value if Kruse and his cohorts have their way.

So there it is. Bryan College is suppressing its faculty who dare to teach science, and the Discoveroids are silent. But when Ball State says intelligent design doesn’t belong in science class, the Discoveroids encourage their stooges in the legislature to initiate a witch hunt. And all the while, they claim to be in favor of academic freedom.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to ““Academic Freedom” for Creationists Only

  1. Richard Olson

    I’m grateful to Curm for hounding creationist “authorities” like the DI, AiG, that Ham fellow, etc. Sometimes an outraged reaction by Klingwinger or one of the others seems to be a direct response to an SC post. The academic freedom assertion in this particular post is one I don’t expect the Christian media slither faction to even acknowledge, though. (My apologies to the noble Serpentes for this unflattering comparison to the religiously deranged. You’re the good snakes.)

  2. Richard Olson says: “Sometimes an outraged reaction by Klingwinger or one of the others seems to be a direct response to an SC post.”

    It seems that way, sometimes. Yet they’ve only mentioned me once. I prefer it this way.

  3. Acadamic Freedom the IDiot way means two things:
    1. Freedom to teach creacrap wherever and whenever they want;
    2. Not learning Evolution Theory where ever and whenever they want not.

    Plain and simple.

  4. Stephen Kennedy

    This is why we need to Federalize all public school education under the management of the Department of Education that will establish a national curriculum and be responsible for managing the schools. The time has long passed when we can allow individual states and school boards to meddle in something as important as the education of our children.

    The fact is that there is no end in sight of various creationist cranks and crackpots getting elected to local school boards and state legislatures and they will never give up trying to get creation into schools from the K-12 level through the university level. They may or may not know that they will lose in court, but they have found out that through threats and intimidation in the form of legislation, creationists can force teachers and professors, who generally are not looking for a confrontation, to simply stop saying anything in their classes about Evolution, the age of the Earth and the Big Bang theory. No other country where the central government operates the schools suffer as much as we do from the never ending attacks on our schools by radical creationists.

  5. Amen, Brother Stephen, Amen!!!

    That creationist clowns, who lurk in large numbers in state legislatures, can dictate science curricula from the dark corners of their demented minds, is a crime against reason.

  6. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the Discoveroids’ mask seems to have slipped down around their bony knees to reveal an ever more transparent religiosity; except for the terminally incompetent and delusional Casey, of course. The poor Gerbil’s science envy shines brightly.

  7. @Stephen Kennedy: I’m sure you know by now that I agree with you completely that creationism by any name (Intelligent Design, for example) has no place in the science classroom in any school, and no place in any classroom in a public school.

    However, there is a major danger in your proposal to federalize our public school curriculum. The way it is now, creationists have to fight their battle in 50 state legislatures and tens of thousands of local school districts. That’s a lot of work, and there will be many states and local school boards that will have none of it.

    On the other hand, if the public school curriculum becomes federalized, they only need to win one battle. And if they have a sympathetic administration, they won’t even have to fight very hard at all.

    And even if we did have a federal curriculum, there will still be creationist teachers and principals who will not follow the “Govmint lesson plans”.

    We are probably safer with what we have. Even if a local school board here or there pushes creationism into the classroom, only a few thousand students will be affected. On the other hand, if creationists get control of a federal curriculum, well… we can all do the math of that prospect.

  8. It’s not true that the Discovernaughts were silent on the topic of the Bryan College speech ban. Klinghitler wrote a piece defending the ban on evolution, saying that religious schools “inevitably draw lines.”

  9. Crazy people are motivated to run for school boards because they hate secular education and want to destroy it or ultra-Christianize it. They play the long game. Rational people don’t want to run for local school boards. This must change.

  10. retiredsciguy has a point, but if the creationists had to battle the National Academy of Sciences or other major national science groups openly at a national level, the playing field would be much different than in a rural southern backwater school district. Just throwing that out for thought.

  11. My apologies if this posts twice. I tried posting earlier, and things froze up.
    I’ll try again:

    Diogenes: “Crazy people are motivated to run for school boards because they hate secular education and want to destroy it or ultra-Christianize it.

    Rational people don’t want to run for local school boards.”

    Yes, school board elections do draw those with an axe to grind, and they often have a strong network of the like-minded to get out the vote. Speaking from my own experience teaching in SW Ohio, hot-button topics were creationism, prayer in school, and sex education.

    Fortunately for my own children, the district in which I lived had a rational majority that quickly got on to what was afoot and spread the word. Strong PTAs are good for this. (Not necessarily PTOs, which are just local groups with no national affiliation.) Likewise for the district in which I taught.

    To be called a PTA or PTSA (Parent – Teacher Association; Parent – Teacher – Student Association), it legally needs to be affiliated with the National PTA, which is a very strong advocate for rational, secular public education and children in general. A PTO is just a single-school organization, often controlled by the school’s principal, rather than the PTO’s members themselves, as a PTA is.

  12. Richard Olson

    Elections at the local and state level are where most school policy is determined. I’m not going to go to the effort of providing links to news items in recent years detailing how the privatization movement in public education (just one component of the end-the-commons movement that is a disaster in the making) is succeeding in taxpayer education budgets diverted from public schools to charter schools, some of them only barely camouflaged religious academies that teach all kinds of Christian Revisionist misinformation, and sends kids off with Sunday School notions of reality. It’s not hard to google and find out how pervasive this practice presently is.

    These private schools are often more expensive per student, the teachers are poorly paid because so much of the grant money is skimmed for profit distribution to owners/investors, the curriculum varies from outstanding to 18th century, and too many have more in common with private prisons — another failure of privatization — than with public education. In many Red states, legislatures are defying their own constitutions in terms of meeting public school funding requirements, as well as directing payments from state treasuries directly to religious schools. Heavily Red districts in some Blue states are working similar sleight of hand with funding, also. The GOP masterminds of this policy hope that federal justices appointed by the Reagan/Bush presidencies placed the “right” kind of people to rule favorably at lower levels in contested cases, so as to bring the “right” kind of ruling up for review by SCOTUS, where they fully expect to win.

  13. Richard Olson

    I wrote those two paragraphs above. The text filled my iPad screen, pushing the d*#n identity box down & out of sight. Sorry.

  14. Another thought on a federalized curriculum — it would likely just be a recommended curriculum, rather than a mandated curriculum. The federal government has no constitutional authority to mandate a national curriculum, as the constitution leaves the matter of education to the states.

    In other words, without a constitutional amendment, the states would be free to adopt or reject any federal curriculum recommendations. That battle is being played out now with the federal core curriculum. (The Indiana legislature just voted to reject it, by the way.)

    Good luck passing an amendment giving control of education to the federal government.

  15. Pope RSG moots—

    “On the other hand, if the public school curriculum becomes federalized, they only need to win one battle. And if they have a sympathetic administration, they won’t even have to fight very hard at all.”

    Assuming just for the sake of argument that it would be possible to “federalise” US schooling, surely any endeavour to substitute religion, however surreptitiously introduced, for science in schools must sorely fail constitutional muster. Wouldn’t such federal matters be much more intensely scrutinised for potential or actual conflicts or violations with existing statutes? Is there really a genuine danger that there are enough federal US lawmakers blind to such legislative incongruities that such regulations might actually pass? And aren’t the judiciary and the executive independent of each other, or at least supposed to be? Or are you saying that such a battle will not be fought in your Congress or a court of law?

    Here in South Africa, the state curriculum for basic education is widely failing children, but not due to any squabbles over content. The mounting failure is largely the result of inefficiency, incompetence and corruption on the part of local authorities delegated to implement the government’s policies, although many seasoned teachers also seriously doubt the worth of the mandated outcomes-based education methodology. Moreover, a sizeable number of experienced teachers, especially in maths, science and English, were purged from the system by offers of early retirement about a dozen years ago to make room for younger ones, mainly in order to expedite the achievement of affirmative action targets set by the government. The steep decline in South Africa’s functional literacy and numeracy rates testifies to the severity of the problem.

    As in the US, we have here a small but strident faction of anti-evolution proponents that repeatedly attempts to undermine the science lesson plan for schools. Their usual tactic is to find sympathetic teachers and urge them to teach YEC as more plausible than evolution in biology class. There have also been a few instances of teaching the Dissembler Institute’s hooey about Intestinal Duh-sign and Irreducible Credulity. Fortunately, there seem to be enough parents monitoring what their children are taught and who are prepared to make a fuss about such shenanigans. While unlikely, a far less pleasant alternative is that this problem is actually much more pervasive and well concealed than appearances suggest.

  16. First, thanks again for highlighting the Discoveroid double standard that’s so bizarre that most self-described creationists would object to – if they ever heard about it. Which won’t happen as long as our side keeps referring to “creationism” as a belief instead of the scam that it is.

    But note that the statement “evolved” from:

    “[We believe] that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God…”


    “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve…They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

    While the original statement is, technically, not mutually exclusive with evolution or common descent, the revised one does suggest a testable independent abiogenesis hypothesis.

    If the Discoveroids were serious about “academic freedom” they would certainly object to the first statement at least as forcefully as they object to “Darwinists” who demand that only that which has earned the right to be taught be taught. But given their pretense at being scientific I would expect them to come to the defense of the second statement. Heck, even an arch-“Darwinist” like me ought to encourage it. Why? Because it’s a testable statement, and comes with all sorts of opportunities for research and critical analysis – the real critical analysis, not just the misrepresentation of evolution that Discoveroids pretend is “critical analysis.”

    If the Discoveroids had a shred of honesty they’d be specifically applauding the change in wording, and surely offering them the Biologic Institute to test their exciting new independent abiogenesis hypothesis. They’d be excited to know when this blessed event occurred, whether it involved existing matter, or new matter created from scratch, whether or not billions of years of other life existed before then, etc.

  17. Well, Curm, to give you an update on Muncie and BSU…it appears Discovery Institute hooked their wagon to the wrong horse. Outgoing Pres. Gora invited them to lunch so they could chat about this issue in private and Senator Kruse folded up his spine and agreed. So much for the demanded answers and the crusade…