The Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose mission is to act as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the principle of separation of state and church, filed an objection to Eric Hedin's teaching.If he were teaching these subjects in the context of differing perspectives on origins and creation along with mainstream scientific viewpoints, then the course would probably earn its name. Such would only be the case if the problems of these perspectives were pointed out, however. According to Jerry Coyne, however, that is not what is happening:
In a letter to BSU President Jo Ann Gora, the group claims Hedin's "Boundaries of Science" Honors College class "takes your school motto, 'Education Redefined,' too far."
"BSU appears to offer a class that preaches religion, yet gives students honors science credit," foundation attorney Andrew Seidel wrote to Gora. "BSU appears to have a class with a non-biologist undermining genuine science and scholarship of the Ball State biology department by teaching creationism, a religious belief ... masquerading as science."
"All the books are by creationists, IDers (intelligent designers), or people who try to show that science gives evidence for God," evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, a professor at the University of Chicago, told The Star Press, referring to the bibliography for Hedin's course. "There are no straight science books."First, there is not a single book by what is commonly known as a "creationist" on the list that Coyne produces in his blog. Some are ID, quite a few are theistic evolution in bent and some address the fact that there exist components of life beyond science. It would be more appropriate to call the course "theological ruminations on science," or some such thing but it is pretty clear that nobody is being taught young earth creationism. I think the charge of undermining genuine science might have some merit with regard to the ID books, but given the reputation of people like Francis Collins, Karl Giberson, Nigel Brush and Roger Penrose, it is pretty hard to argue that genuine science isn't being taught at all. It might be taught in a philosophical arena, with musings on the ultimate questions of life's origins and things like that but there is nothing necessarily inappropriate about that. It seems to me that the professor wants his students to try to think beyond the realm of science to address ultimate causes. It is not clear, in the least, that he "wants his students to believe in Jesus."
It appears Hedin "presents a non-view of science in a science class," said Coyne, author of the book "Why Evolution is True."
"The students are being duped. It's straight theology with no alternatives. It's a straight Christian intelligent design/creationist view of the world, which is wrong. It's not science. It's not that it's not science, it's science that has been discredited. It's like saying the Holocaust didn't happen."
In this case, it appears that Coyne has a case of the vapors only because he can't stand religion of any kind. It sounds like a fun course to take.