Ball State University president Jo Ann Gora stated that to allow physics professor Eric Hedin to present intelligent design as a valid scientific theory would “violate the academic integrity” of the course Hedin was teaching.
In a statement to Ball State faculty and staff, Gora said: “Intelligent design is overwhelmingly deemed by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory .... To allow intelligent design to be presented to science students as a valid scientific theory would violate the academic integrity of the course as it would fail to accurately represent the consensus of science scholars.”
Casey Luskin, an attorney who works as a research coordinator at the Discovery Institute, says the university appears to violate its own policy in the way it has handled the situation.
“If you look at Ball State’s faculty guidelines, it has some very strong protections for academic freedom,” he told OneNewsNow. “In fact, their guidelines say that teachers should be able to talk about controversial or unpopular views. But yet apparently when it comes to intelligent design, they apply a double standard."
Luskin also says to restrict the exchange of ideas in the classroom, even though they are controversial or unpopular, is dangerous.
“Every scientific revolution took place because a non-consensus view was allowed to gain a hearing,” Luskin explains. “And then that view gained popularity and eventually it became a consensus view. So it’s very dangerous, I think, to the health of the scientific community when you shut down an idea simply because it’s not the ‘consensus.’”
In July, Discovery Institute vice president Dr. John G. West submitted a letter the Ball State Board of Trustees, encouraging the university to “guarantee Prof. Hedin’s freedom to teach without the threat of censorship or intimidation.” Attached to that letter was a petition signed by more than 7,000 supporters of Hedin’s academic freedom.
Though Hedin will no longer be allowed to teach “The Boundaries of Science Course,” he will remain at Ball State.