Update: Academic freedom petition for the prof (it seems the trolls have wandered in)
Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF)_ has been raising heck about Eric Hedin, a well-respected physics prof at Ball State U in Muncie, Indiana, teaching an elective course in the intelligent design controversy. And some are listening to them.
The first thing that struck the News desk here, investigating, is that the group complaining is dedicated to “Protecting the constitutional principle of the separation of state and church.”
State and church? An odd reversal. Some of us grew up with the opposite expression, “separation of church and state.”
For centuries in the Western world, it has been the church that needed protection from the state, not the other way around. The First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution reads in part
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof … .
The rest of the Amendment addresses other matters, but the tenor is obvious. The church is the more likely victim; it lacks a police force and an army.
The FFRF hopes, doubtless, to create such an uproar that no sessile administrator would dare lean on the Constitution even if religion were an issue.
But this isn’t about religion or churches, just that one prof decided to teach a course that interested some students, on the evidence for and against design in the universe, which is only a religious topic if you think it is.
But, as Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)’s Greg Lukianoff would likely say, in Unlearning Liberty, the complainers don’t need a case so much as a compliant administration. For more on what is going wrong at campuses (for which you are probably paying), start here.
What’s really interesting is that almost anything can pass for a course these days except something that challenges the intellect.