We have recently posted a series on the hypocritical, one-sided approach to the topic of academic freedom taken by the Discovery Institute. Starting with The Reality of Creationist “Academic Freedom”, followed by “Academic Freedom” for Creationists Only, and then “Academic Freedom” for the Inquisition, we’ve pointed out 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 state school’s science class; but they’re always silent when someone is stopped from teaching evolution at a creationist school.
The one time the Discoveroids ever mentioned the other side their embarrassing moral dichotomy (without even recognizing their inconsistency) was in this Discoveroid post: Has the Darwin-Lobbying National Center for Science Education Gone Wobbly on Us?, where Klinghoffer discussed the creationist witch hunt against faculty members who teach evolution at Bryan College. There he casually threw academic freedom under the bus when he said:
Now, as a matter of pedagogy, exposing students to varying perspectives is a winning method. On the other hand, a private institution like Bryan with a religious or philosophical mission inevitably draws lines for its teachers. If you want to retain the mission, you can’t at the same time tell faculty that “Anything goes.”
Today the Discoveroids are once again promoting their own version of academic freedom. This new post appears at their blog: In Twin Cases, “Academic Integrity” Is Newspeak for Speech Code. It’s written by Joshua Youngkin, one of their staff lobbyists.
He mentions “twin cases.” Are the Discoveroids finally dealing with both sides of the issue? Alas, no. Youngkin says, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
If you’re familiar with the news we report at ENV [the Discoveroids’ creationist blog], you probably know that Indiana’s Ball State University and Texas’s Amarillo College each cancelled a course treating the subject of intelligent design.
You’re familiar with the situation at Indiana’s Ball State University. The last time we posted about it was Ball State Imbroglio Heats Up Again. We previously wrote about the other case at Amarillo College — see Discoveroids Suffer a Crushing Defeat, which was followed by Discoveroids’ Crazed Reaction to Amarillo College. As expected, neither involves a creationist school that discriminates against science. Youngkin goes on:
You probably don’t know that critics of the courses on both campuses dismissed concerns about academic freedom with a cursory appeal to “academic integrity,” a noble-sounding phrase that has been used in these twin cases to mask less-than-noble behavior.
This is good! Youngkin is going to trash the concept of academic integrity. And why not? They don’t care if someone is hired to teach biology at a state school, and he spends his time lecturing about Adam & Eve. The instructor’s freedom should prevail over his obligation to teach the subject. But if someone teaches evolution at a religious school, then: Off with his head! Youngkin continues:
Academic freedom doesn’t just sound noble. It has long made higher education capable of good. …
[Blah, blah, blah]
“Academic integrity,” on the other hand, has neither the pedigree nor utility of academic freedom. The American Association of University Professors has never used “academic integrity” to limit the protective reach of academic freedom. The law, too, has never recognized “academic integrity” as a counterweight to the burdens its doctrine on academic freedom places on school administrators.
There’s no doubt about it, freedom sounds good — except in those cases where “Darwinists” dare to each science at creationist schools. No freedom for them! Here’s more:
The use of “academic integrity” as a constraint on academic freedom is unprecedented, exotic, and suspicious. It is risky, too. As the Adams case illustrates, judges and juries will take a keen interest in a school’s departure from the requirements of academic freedom and due process as written into a school’s handbook, particularly when specific promises in a handbook are made binding on school administration by the strictures of contract and employment law, as is often the case. Such departure from established procedure is made all the more risky when coupled with anything that looks like administrative retaliation against a teacher for expression of a minority viewpoint, such as class cancellation or denial of tenure.
We don’t know much about the Adams case, but Youngkin’s link, which we omitted, indicates that Adams was represented by the the Alliance Defending Freedom. We wrote about them in Alliance Defense Fund Changes Its Name, where we noted that they’ve been involved in assisting creationists like David Coppedge, John Oller, and Ray Comfort. They describe themselves as a “legal ministry.” Back to Youngkin’s post:
Ball State University and Amarillo College were each pressured by a militant atheist group to cancel a class based on its subject matter. Both schools cancelled the targeted course as advised. Both received letters outlining concerns for academic freedom. Each school defended on the grounds of “academic integrity” though neither school has replied in writing as requested to the points raised in the letters.
Those letters were undoubtedly from the Discoveroids. How else would Youngkin know about those schools’ unanswered mail? Moving along:
This not only creates impasse; it signifies disrespect.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Another excerpt:
The president of each school, Dr. Gora for Ball State University and Dr. Matney for Amarillo College, each announced their respective intent to resign about six weeks after receiving letters about academic freedom.
Jeepers! What are the odds against that? On with the article:
These resignations may not be a bad thing. Dr. Gora’s and Dr. Matney’s curious reliance on “academic integrity” to justify imposition of a speech code suggests a dangerous unfamiliarity with academic freedom literature. Even so, Discovery Institute has never suggested in its letters or other communications that either president should resign as a consequence of the impasse on academic freedom or even as a consequence of class cancellation.
Ah, so they were Discoveroid letters. What’s Youngkin’s point — that the Discoveroids are so powerful and feared that a mere letter from them is sufficient to make a school’s president resign? Somehow, we doubt that a letter from Youngkin, or Casey, or any of them, has the same terrifying effect as a letter from the Spanish Inquisition — not yet, anyway. Here’s the finish of Youngkin’s post:
In the end, what matters is not which school president we work with, but that we get these things right.
The Discoveroids won’t begin to get things right until they show enough integrity to address the flip side of their concern for academic freedom. We refer to the freedom of professors to teach science at creationist schools. Or, more logically, the institutional freedom of both secular and religious schools to determine what their schools’ curriculum should be. For some reason, we doubt that the Discoveroids care about anyone’s academic freedom except those who teach creationism. The others are headed for the Lake of Fire anyway.
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