Education Evolution Intelligent Design

Iowa State did it to Gonzalez, Now U of Idaho is doing it to Minnich

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U of I president: teach only evolution in science classes

By JOHN MILLER, Associated Press Writer, The Associated Press October 05, 2005

University of Idaho President Tim White has entered the debate pitting Charles Darwin’s theories of life against religious-based alternatives by forbidding anything other than evolution from being taught in the Moscow school’s life, earth and physical science classes.

White’s edict came as a U of I biologist, Scott Minnich, a supporter of the “intelligent design” theory, was set to testify in a Pennsylvania lawsuit brought by eight families trying to have this theory, branded as a new form of creationism, dropped from a school district’s biology curriculum. Minnich was asked to testify on behalf of the district.

Hours after White’s letter reached students, staff and faculty on Tuesday, the Discovery Institute, a Seattle public policy group that funds research into intelligent design, blasted the order as an unconstitutional assault on academic freedom and free speech.

White said in his letter that teachings of views that differ from evolution may occur in religion, philosophy or similar courses.

Intelligent design is the belief that Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection inadequately explains the origins of different life forms. It argues that natural selection fails to fully explain how extremely varied and complex life forms emerged during the past 600 million years. It concludes that guidance from some external intelligence that many interpret as God must be involved.

With Idaho now in the debate, disputes over evolution are unfolding in at least 19 states. In August, President Bush weighed in, saying he thought people should be taught about different ideas _ including intelligent design.

Officials at the National Center for Science Education say White is likely the first U.S. university president to come out with an official position. The center advocates against incorporating theories such as intelligent design into science curricula on grounds they introduce religion into the subject matter.

“Departments have issued statements, and scientific groups have issued statements,” said Glenn Branch, the Oakland, Calif.-based center’s deputy director. “But I can’t think of a university president who’s issued a statement like this.”

White wrote that national media attention on the issue prompted the letter.

“This (evolution) is the only curriculum that is appropriate to be taught in our biophysical sciences,” he wrote. “Teaching of views that differ from evolution may occur in faculty-approved curricula in religion, sociology, philosophy, political science or similar courses. However, teaching of such views is inappropriate in our life, earth, and physical science courses.”

Harold Gibson, a school spokesman, said the views of Minnich, a tenured professor in the school’s College of Agriculture, didn’t prompt the letter.

Rather, White was staking out a position on an issue that’s emerged as a successor to “creationism” after that Biblical explanation was barred from the nation’s schoolhouses in 1987 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Minnich didn’t return Associated Press calls for comment.

But members of the Discovery Institute _ founded in 1990 by Bruce Chapman, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Organizations in Vienna under President Reagan _ lambasted White’s edict as an intrusion into the academic freedom of Idaho professors.

John West, the associate director of the institute’s Center for Science and Culture, said White’s move restricting science curricula to discussions of evolution broadly restricts teaching anything that contradicts Darwin’s ideas on the role of mutation and natural selection in the development of life _ even by scientists not advocating intelligent design.

In addition, limiting classes where evolution alternatives can be discussed violates free speech protections, he said.

“He (White) is saying, ‘If you’re a teacher in philosophy, we may allow you to do this. But in science, it just doesn’t cut it,’ West said. “In any other area, this would be preposterous.”

White’s letter came just a week before Eugenie C. Scott, an activist who’s fought to segregate creationism and intelligent design from science classes, is due to speak at the University of Idaho on Oct. 12.

Scott said the school’s science faculty, who invited her, haven’t explicitly mentioned Minnich as motivation for bringing her for a lecture titled “Why Scientists Reject Intelligent Design.”

Still, “the elephant in the living room is: there is a proponent of intelligent design on the faculty of the University of Idaho,” said Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. “Biologists across the country have examined intelligent design as a scientific model, and found it seriously lacking.”

10 Replies to “Iowa State did it to Gonzalez, Now U of Idaho is doing it to Minnich

  1. 1
    Benjii says:

    Next will be Macosko, Kaita, Koons and so forth.

  2. 2
    jboze3131 says:

    so annoying. a talk titled why scientists reject ID. so then, that means that those who support it arent really scientists. thus, a scientific consensus is what equals truth in the world! great! can we get a list of how many times the consensus of scientists have been VERY wrong? and when those who turned out to be right were fighting the consensus throughout history, were THEY not real scientists themselves?

    arrogance beyond belief.

  3. 3
    Dan says:

    It seems like what needs to happen now is for the ACLJ and other legal groups to sue the President for violation of free speech. The time has come to swat these fascists down.


  4. 4
    dougmoran says:

    Why is there not a backlash from the academic community on this issue? Aren’t they concerned about what freedom is next in line to be squashed?

  5. 5
    Watchman says:

    This is outrageous.

    Was there ever a time that university discussion of anything other than Newtonian physics was forbidden? (Not to elevate Darwin beyond his station by the comparison.)

  6. 6
    anteater says:

    “This is outrageous.”

    I agree. Ironic that this takes place at “Moscow”.

  7. 7
    Charliecrs says:

    “Officials at the National Center for Science Education say White is likely the first U.S. university president to come out with an official position. The center advocates against incorporating theories such as intelligent design into science curricula on grounds they introduce religion into the subject matter.”

    eye-ronic also is that they the NCSE have no problems with the uncontroversial secular humanism from being conjoined together with evolution ?. talk about separating religion and science from class thats so funny. [ inserting imagined visuals here ]

    Macaulay Culkin from the home alone movie [one] where he looks @ the mirror and slaps his face with the shocked look saying AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH………….

  8. 8
    russ says:

    More and more regular Americans have less and less respect for academics and this article is one of the reasons why. Parents and taxpayers are expected to spend ever-increasing amounts of their hard-earned money to finance courses of study that amount to little more than political indoctrination. A quick Google search shows that my own public university alma mater is looking to pay a tenure-track asst. professor $50,000+ to impart the following wisdom to someone’s kids:

    “Additional areas of competence may include queer studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies…”

    I wonder how many parents have any idea what goes on? It took my wife years to grow past the racial resentments that her university and graduate school experience had so carefully nurtured (or at best, done nothing to counteract), and she had to marry a white guy to do it!

    Sadly, the science departments also have their dogmas and are willing to use pressure and intimidation to enforce them on everyone else.

  9. 9
    Jack Golan says:

    President Smith, it seems, now has bigger fish to fry …

    Karen White, wife of University of Idaho President Timothy P. White, reports that the president had a heart catheterization performed late this morning at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

    A stint was inserted into his coronary artery and he is in serious but stable condition in the intensive care unit.

    Hopefully, he will be moved out tomorrow. White had been awakened by chest pains early Friday morning and was taken to Gritman Medical Center in Moscow. There, it was determined he suffered a heart attack and anti-clotting medication was administered. He was then transferred to Sacred Heart Medical Center.

  10. 10
    Jack Golan says:

    Oops — make that President White

    Also, this is his third heart attack.

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