Earlier this week, I put up a post about Professor Mohamed Noor, of Duke University, who also runs a free online course entitled, “Introduction to Genetics and Evolution” through Coursera, which “gives interested people a very basic overview of the principles behind these very fundamental areas of biology … and tries to clarify some misconceptions.” People I know who have completed the course have praised it for the quality of its exposition.
In the final lecture of the course for 2012, Professor Noor put up a Powerpoint slide claiming that Hitler believed in Intelligent Design. In my post, I argued that Professor Noor’s claim reflected a misunderstanding on his part of what Intelligent Design actually is.
It takes a big man to publicly admit a mistake and rectify it. So I was deeply impressed when I received the following email from Professor Noor, which I’m quoting with his permission:
Dear Mr. Torley:
I read with interest your recent blog entry:
While I may not agree with your overall perspective, in fairness, you make some good points on that particular statement in that particular slide. I am convinced that you are very right that I inappropriately
conflated Intelligent Design with basic creationism (though I disagree with other facets in that I think he was indeed a creationist). You conclude with, “Let us therefore hope that Professor Noor amends his last slide before his next online course starts in January 2013.” Given your points, I am indeed convinced to amend that slide. I plan for my next iteration to delete the specific reference to Intelligent Design in that slide.
Thanks for diplomatically attacking this point with information, rather than taking on a stance of grandstanding.
I would encourage readers to sign up for Professor Noor’s course here and let others know what they think of it, and what they learned from it.
I would like to conclude by thanking Professor Noor for his kind words. He is indeed a gentleman and a scholar.