Tag Archives: Larry Moran

Ball State University sides with Darwinian Inquisition and against academic freedom

Evolution News reports:

In a blatant attack on academic freedom and the unfettered consideration of scientific viewpoints, the president of Ball State University (BSU) in Muncie, IN, has imposed a gag order on science faculty forbidding their discussion of the theory of intelligent design (ID) in science classrooms.

Ball State has been the focus of media attention since an extremist atheist group, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, demanded an investigation into whether Ball State physicist Dr. Eric Hedin had informed his students about the theory of ID. Dr. Hedin’s interdisciplinary honors course “Boundaries of Science” included a “Partial Bibliography” listing books favorable to, and others critical of, intelligent design.

Now BSU’s President Jo Ann Gora has declared that ID is a “religious” idea at variance with “the consensus of science scholars” and may not be discussed in science classes, since that would be a violation of “academic integrity.”

“Students and the public are owed a genuine evaluation of the merits of ID, touching as the theory does on ultimate questions of life’s origins,” responded Dr. Stephen Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “However, when scientific discussion is censored by a university, fair-minded evaluation becomes impossible.”

Dr. Meyer is the author of the recent New York Times bestseller Darwin’s Doubt, a rigorous summary of the current state of the argument for intelligent design.

“In the Orwellian world of Ball State’s president, academic freedom apparently means only the ‘freedom’ to support the majority’s view,” said Dr. John West, associate director of the Center for Science & Culture. “This is exactly how the academic ‘consensus’ against the theory of intelligent design is maintained — by intimidation, fiat, and legal threats.”

ID theorists hold that a variety of features observable and testable in living creatures and in the fossil record are best explained as the product an intelligent cause rather than an unguided process such as natural selection. Dr. Meyer’s book, for example, begins by examining the abrupt origin of complex, diverse animal life in the Cambrian era, 530 million years ago.

Not unexpected, given what we knew about the panel charged with evaluating Dr. Hedin’s course.

But I do have some good news today. Tune in at 2 PM to read my report on yet another new peer-reviewed paper hostile to Darwinism.

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Atheist Inquisition led by Jerry Coyne seeks to censor pro-ID physicist at Ball State University

Evolution News reports.

Excerpt:

There is a very disturbing affair going on at Ball State University that everyone needs to know about. The public university in Muncie, Indiana, has been under pressure from a rabid national atheist group and from atheist activist Jerry Coyne to discipline an assistant physics professor for teaching about intelligent design. Coyne and the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) claim it’s a legal, constitutional matter, no less: teaching about ID violates the First Amendment! “It’s religion taught as science in a public university, and it’s not only wrong but illegal,” writes Coyne. “This will now go to the lawyers.”

Ball State has announced it will indeed scrutinize the situation. FFRF staff attorney Andrew L. Seidel complained in a legally vacuous letter to Ball State president Jo Ann Gora. Amazingly, the university responded with this ominous public statement:

The university received a complaint from a third party late yesterday afternoon about content in a specific course offered at Ball State. We take academic rigor and academic integrity very seriously. Having just received these concerns, it is impossible to comment on them at this point. We will explore in depth the issues and concerns raised and take the appropriate actions through our established processes and procedures.

Being the subject of such controversy, with your employer issuing public statements about how higher ups will be “explor[ing] concerns” about your “academic rigor” and “integrity,” is obviously the last thing an academic in Eric Hedin’s shoes wants. It’s enough to make the blood drain from your face.

Click here to sign the petition to defend academic freedom at Ball State University.

ID critics do not read ID books before reviewing them

From Evolution News.

Excerpt:

As a friend of ours puts it, Jonathan Wells’s The Myth of Junk DNA is in the process of being “Ayala’ed.” To “Ayala” a book is to attack it in review without having bothered to read or even read much about it, simply on the basis of what you think it probably says given your uninformed preconceptions about the author. The term comes from the wonderful instance where distinguished biologist Francisco Ayala pompously “reviewed” Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell for the Biologos Foundation website while giving clear evidence of not having cracked the book open or even looked at the table of contents.

Thus we have several posts from University of Toronto biochemist Larry Moran, criticizing Myth while being totally open about not having read it first. Moran wrote no fewer than four posts on the book in this fashion, claiming as an excuse that Myth would not be published in Canada until May 31. (In fact, the book was available for purchase from Amazon since early May.) And now, as Casey already noted, we have Forbes science writer John Farrell, citing Moran as his source — a “double Ayala,” so to speak, where you attack a book without reading it citing as justification a review by someone else who also hasn’t read it.

Farrell thinks the myth of junk DNA is itself a myth — that “scientists never dismissed junk DNA in the literature.” In other words, Wells has set up a straw man. Of course, not having looked at the book, Farrell can’t have consulted Dr. Wells’s fifty pages of notes documenting his argument. The notes may be downloaded for free here. (Also available in Canada.)

So this is what criticism of intelligent design amounts to… denouncing a book before reading it.

Biophysicist Cornelius Hunter explains why reading the book is not necessary for Darwinists – because Darwinism is impervious to evidential concerns.

Excerpt:

This centuries old framework for naturalism is key to understanding evolution today. Science writers such as Farrell report that scientists have discovered, for instance, “just how not-so-intelligently designed the human genome actually is,” but this is not a scientific conclusion. For unlike the target of his criticism (the ID theory) which refers to complexity rather than goodness of design, evolutionary thought and its underlying naturalism framework refer to the design’s metaphysics. As Farrell explains:

Many mutations are neutral, or can be easily overcome by technology. And some of them cause a great deal of psychological suffering, such as the mutation that causes trimethylaminuria, which is physically harmless but causes the victims to smell like rotten fish no matter how clean they are. But many other mutations are deadly or, worse yet, can cause a person to have a lifetime of suffering. Perhaps the most disturbing mutation is the one that causes Lesch-Nyhan syndrome. This one mutation, of a single amino acid in a protein, causes the victim to have an uncontrollable compulsion for self-mutilation: they chew their own lips and fingers, and find sharp objects to stab their faces and eyes. The victims are fully able to feel their pain and they know what they are doing, but cannot control it.

Obviously to argue such mutations are the product of intentional design is to suggest the deity or intelligence responsible, is something of a monster.

Indeed. Leibniz was concerned about the evil in the world, but he had no idea how deeply it runs. It is truly abominable, and it makes for a moving and powerful argument that no good creator who has the power to create a universe would ever create this one.

Whether by the Epicurean’s swerving atoms, or science’s natural laws, the world must have arisen on its own.

How could anyone deny this obvious conclusion? This and other metaphysical arguments leave no room for debate. Evolution must be true. We may not know how it occurred, but it is a fact.

The powerful theory of evolution hangs on this framework of thought that mandates naturalism. The science is weak but the metaphysics are strong. This is the key to understanding evolutionary thought. The weak arguments are scientific and the strong arguments, though filled with empirical observation and scientific jargon, are metaphysical. The stronger the argument, the more theological or philosophical.

(Emphasis is in the original)

And I recommend you read the whole post, especially if you’ve never read anything by Cornelius Hunter.

So the reason why Darwinists don’t care about evidence is because evidence is irrelevant once you pre-suppose the religion of naturalism. And you presuppose the religion of naturalism because of the problem of evil and suffering. I.e. – “based on my childhood caricature of God as the cosmic Santa Claus, I now see that evolution must be true, because my cosmic Santa Claus God cannot have any purpose for allowing the evil and suffering I see in nature.” Science has nothing to do with it. Nature is not nice, and so God didn’t make nature. And that’s the end of the discussion.

These Darwinian critics of ID are really just close-minded religious fundamentalists whose principal response to experimental science is uninformed religious bluster. You don’t get an education when you take classes from the Darwinbots – you get indoctrinated. And if you dissent you get failed or fired. It’s that simple. They don’t debate you – they censor you. They don’t produce evidence for their views, they insult you. How dare you call their religion into question by appealing to facts? Darwinists don’t like facts. They don’t like evidence.

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