Bullies R-Us: University ID class cancelled because of hecklers. Did the NCSE have a role?
|December 11, 2013||Posted by scordova under academic freedom, News|
Highlights from Casey Luskin’s report which you can read here
The outline of the story is now, sadly, a familiar one. Professor wants to discuss intelligent design (ID). Intolerant atheists throw a fit. College quickly capitulates to the demands of the atheists. Professor is censored.
According to internal communications, campus administrators feared that disgruntled atheists would stage a “disruption” if the ID class went forward. The atheist leader got so “intense” in arguing for Darwinian evolution over intelligent design that college staff called the police on him, apparently potentially concerned over their own safety.
The tale begins when Stanley Wilson was approved by the AC administration to teach a course, “Evolution vs. Intelligent Design,” during the Fall 2013 semester. This wasn’t a science course. It was not a required course. It wasn’t even a for-credit course. In fact, this course was not even for normal students. It was offered through the adult continuing education program. But the mere fact that ID would be discussed in a non-science, not-for-credit, continuing-education course was too much for Jamie Farren, a staff member at Amarillo College and the leader of Amarillo’s local atheist group, the Freethought Oasis.
In any case, Farren’s campaign worked. With the help of the TFN and the NCSE, whose deputy director Glenn Branch he would later thank for assistance, Farren and his group aggressively intimidated AC administrators. And the university caved.
Was the NCSE involved in this?
Now let me point you to a letter Eugenie Scott wrote to me some time ago. In the April 28,2005 edition of Nature, Eugenie Scott was reported as supporting the airing of discussion of ID at the university level. I wrote her a letter to get a clear response on the matter:
Salvador Cordova: Do you oppose the offering of courses on Intelligent Design and/or Creationism in the Philosophy and Religion Departments of secular universities?
Eugenie Scott: No.
They are quite appropriate for such courses. In general, in American universities, Religion departments offer scholarly analysis of religion, rather than devotional study, for which one would seek a seminary. Certainly the c/e controversy is a public controversy that bears studying as a public controversy (that’s why I wrote my book, after all!) Whether ID is a valid scientific or philosophical or theological approach can also be determined at the university level, and certainly is more appropriately determined there than by the local school board.
Now that Eugenie is leaving, the NCSE seems to have a different bent nowadays. Responsible reporting would of course give Glenn Branch a chance to clarify the role of the NCSE in all of this. I invite Glenn the opportunity to clarify.