Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Professor Disciplined For Teaching Evolution

As the troubles for Baylor simmer, you might have guessed that it would happen in reverse in other places. Courtesy of Eugene Volokh by way of Instapundit:

[Richard Colling]'s a professor at Olivet Nazarene University, in Illinois, who has been barred from teaching general biology or having his book taught at the university that is his alma mater and the place where he has taught for 27 years. A biologist who is very much a person of faith, these punishments followed anger by some religious supporters of the college over the publication of his book in which he argues that it is possible to believe in God and still accept evolution.

I suspect he had to sign some sort of agreement with the university when they hired him. How transparent that was should be examined. It is disappointing that the university did not attempt to determine whether Prof. Colling's arguments had merit or not. The AAUP seems to feel the same way. The AAUP's Johnathan Knight states:

“If a private, church-related institution says that to be a member of this faculty, you must believe in the inerrancy of the biblical account of the origins of life, we would scratch our heads on whether it’s going to be very productive in terms of science education, but we wouldn’t say that they have violated academic freedom. They are entitled to set out the rules of the game, and they have done so, and so be it.”

As much as I think that their position is obscurantist and regressive, it is their right to hold it. I do not think this argument can be applied to the public schools, however, since they are government-run institutions and that is where students begin to learn about science. The schools need to be scientifically up-to-date. If college-bound students make the choice to then reject that teaching, so be it.

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