Thursday, October 03, 2013

Ball State University: The Backlash Continues

The Muncie Star Press is reporting that now the course purporting to teach atheism that was put in the spotlight by the Discovery Institute is under investigation.  Seth Slabaugh writes:
“You can be assured that the syllabi and curricula of all of the courses you singled out, as well as those of other courses offered by the Honors College and elsewhere at the university, are reviewed and updated on a regular basis,” BSU President Jo Ann Gora wrote in a letter on Monday to The Discovery Institute.

The institute is an anti-evolution, pro-creationism intelligent design think tank in Seattle that maintains supernatural forces shaped the universe.

“Some were undergoing this process before we received the inquiry regarding Honors 296, and others are being reviewed and updated at the present time,” the letter read. “Our intent is to ensure that their content and pedagogy reflect the highest academic standards.”
It appears that Gora is concerned about the allegations but in typical fashion, the Discovery Institute is approaching the controversy in a very ham-fisted way by threatening legal action. At issue seems to be the make-up of the commmittee to evaluate Eric Hedin's class and whether or not equity is being applied across the spectrum. The story continues:
[John] West said, “We gave BSU an opportunity to clarify what it is doing, and to show that it is applying its policies in a fair and legal manner. Because BSU has refused to clarify what it is doing or answer our questions, we will be forced to seek another remedy.”

Gora said she shared the institute’s concerns and demands with the university’s board of trustees before responding to the institute by letter this week.
It seems to me that this can only come out well for the Discovery Institute, despite the fact that I still think that they are providing a mixed message in their protest. The position of the university has always been that intelligent design is not accepted science and should not be taught as such. If the Discovery Institute were protesting the straight teaching of evolutionary theory in biology class, that would be one thing. They have historically argued in an anti-evolutionary vein so that would make sense.

But that is not what they are doing. They are protesting because a strictly theological perspective is being taught in another class and they want that scrutinized. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I am thinking "ID is either science or religion. It cannot be both."

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