No “Academic Freedom” at Bryan College

We’ve been reporting about the Creationist Chaos at Bryan College in Tennessee, where people on the science faculty who teach theistic evolution or old-Earth creationism are under attack. And we’ve been asking why we don’t hear from the Discovery Institute, who claim to be champions of academic freedom.

The Discoveroids have completely ignored the plight of the faculty at Bryan College. Shouldn’t those professors be encouraged — or at least allowed — to, ah, teach the controversy? The only time we hear from the Discoveroids is when they defend people who promote some form of creationism — like intelligent design — and the only academic situation where they’re currently involved is at Indiana’s Ball State University. But they’ve been totally silent about Bryan College.

Well, they mentioned it once — to defend the actions taken by Bryan College — see this Discoveroid post: Has the Darwin-Lobbying National Center for Science Education Gone Wobbly on Us?, where Klinghoffer discussed the witch hunt against faculty members who dare to favorably consider evolution at Bryan College. Klinghoffer casually threw academic freedom under the bus when he said:

[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.”

It appears that what the Discoveroids call “viewpoint discrimination” is acceptable — but only when the viewpoint being discriminated against is the one they don’t like. We’ve raised this point before — see Discoveroids: Academic Freedom, Not Integrity, and before that “Academic Freedom” for the Inquisition.

Now we have more Bryan College news, about which the Discoveroids will probably remain smugly silent. In the Herald-News of Dayton, Tennessee — the home of Bryan College, named in honor of William Jennings Bryan, one of the world’s biggest blowhards and idiots, and the site where the Scopes Trial was held — we read PROFESSORS SUE BRYAN COLLEGE. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Two tenured Bryan College professors that were notified their employment will be terminated on May 17 after they failed to acknowledge the college’s recent “clarification” on the origins of man in their contract renewal are suing the college in Rhea County Chancery Court.

They’ve got tenure and they’re being fired? M’god — they’re literally being Expelled! None of the creationists featured in that Ben Stein “documentary” had tenure — see Expelled Exposed. Back to the news story:

The lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, states that when the Bryan College Board of Trustees approved a “clarification” to the school’s statement of faith saying that man descended from Adam and Eve and did not evolve from other species, it was effectively altering the Bryan College statement of faith. The school’s charter expressly forbids an alteration to the college’s statement of faith.

Professor of natural science Stephen Barnett and professor of education and chair of the education department Steven DeGeorge are suing the school in the hopes of getting their jobs back in addition to asking the court to declare the “clarification” on the origins of man void.

How can the Discoveroids ignore this flamingly blatant violation of academic freedom? Let’s read on:

The college has come under much public and media scrutiny in the past several months after the Bryan College Board of Trustees passed a clarification to part of the school’s statement of belief that states “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.”

In February, the board of trustees opted to clarify that statement by approving the following clarification: “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.” When annual contracts were distributed to professors in late February, a letter included with the contracts noted that when signing the statement of belief, professors are affirming that they are in agreement with the recent clarification.

That was apparently more than the faculty could accept. We continue:

The lawsuit states that both Barnett and DeGeorge signed the statement of belief but added footnotes that signified they agreed with the original statement of belief but not the recent clarification.

Blasphemy! No wonder they’re being fired. Here’s more:

Nearly two months after returning their signed contracts, the two professors received a letter from Bryan College President Stephen Livesay on April 18 rejecting both of their contracts and effectively terminating their employment as of Saturday, May 17.

So there you are. Bryan College, dedicated to the blessed memory of William Jennings Bryan, isn’t going to allow even a trace of — gasp! — Darwinism to creep into their creationist campus. And this is with the tacit approval of the Discoveroids.

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

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13 responses to “No “Academic Freedom” at Bryan College

  1. William Jennings Bryan, one of the world’s biggest blowhards and idiots

    Y’know, you really ought to do some reading on Bryan before dismissing him in this way. Aside from anything else, he was a nice enough man to pay John Scopes’s fine out of his own pocket.

  2. Oops. [Edited out].

  3. It is dreadfully tempting to drop an email to Klingy and Casey with a link to Curmy’s article here and invite them to respond… 🙂

  4. Please Megalonyx, restrain yourself. We don’t need them here.

  5. It is dreadfully tempting to drop an email to Klingy and Casey with a link to Curmy’s article here and invite them to respond

    I’d second that!

  6. docbill1351

    This is fantastic news! Hey, if you work at a Bible college then you’ve got no complaints when they come a-thumpin’.

  7. The Distortion Institute doesn’t want a individual dialogue with non-wedgies for good reason. They are speech writers, they just keep tossing and hope something sticks to the wall. That’s what they get paid for.

    It’s clear that any opposing thought is simply disregarded or at best held up as an example of persecution or whatever can be shaped to imply the actual existence of a heroic effort on their part. That is what they get paid for.

    “It is dreadfully tempting to drop an email to…and invite them to respond”

    If I was in S.C.’s position, I’d prefer picking my own fights.

  8. It is dreadfully tempting to drop an email to Klingy and Casey with a link to Curmy’s article here and invite them to respond.
    I’m willing to bet they’re here already. SC is one of the more high-profile blogs on “The Controversy”. They’d be really stupid not to check in every so often to find out what people think of them. They’re probably watching as I type this… right now… okay, getting creeped out. Where’s my wolfsbane and garlic?

  9. You’re right, Gary. Gerbil & Flinger are almost certainly regular readers of our Curmudgeon’s insightful (or should that be inciteful?) blog. Same with Ken Ham, who was very likely the author of a string of comments here in the past year or so (although I don’t recall the exact thread).

  10. I often [edited out]. Anyone else have the same problem?

  11. BlackWatch

    I rarely miss the space bar. Also, the excellent pub around the corner is a frequent hang out. 🙂

  12. RSG’s comment reminds me of a joke;
    How do you identify an iPad or iPhone?
    You don’t have to, the owner will tell you what it is!

  13. If they assented to the first statement without comments, why complain about the second one?