Nowhere do academics more obviously show their outright hostility towards academic freedom than they do in the battle over whether or not intelligent design can be taught alongside evolution in schools.
The public, by a three-to-one margin, supports the teaching of both schools of thought, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. School administrators might be on the short end of this ratio but still control curriculum in classrooms and lecture halls.
“The Association of Christian Schools has filed a federal lawsuit against the University of California system, charging that the institution’s high school course requirements for applicants violate the constitutional rights of students from religious schools,” Sean Cavanagh reported in Education Week. “The lawsuit, filed in U. S. District Court in Los Angeles, charges that UC unfairly rejects science courses that use textbooks casting doubt on evolution and espousing creationist beliefs.”
Recently, a theology professor at Iowa State University (ISU) circulated a petition criticizing the course content used by a science professor. The twist: Hector Avalos, an associate professor of religious studies objected to the inclusion of intelligent design in the teaching of assistant professor of astronomy Guillermo Gonzalez.
But Avalos is the faculty advisor to the ISU Atheist and Agnostic Society. As for Gonzalez, the astronomer writes, “I am often misrepresented by the press and certain ideologues at ISU.”
“First, I am not a fundamentalist.”
“I don’t believe the Earth is only a few thousand years old or that a global deluge created most of the geology we see today,” Gonzalez explains. “I am convinced that most of the mainstream theories in geology, physics and cosmology are a pretty good representation of reality.”
Both evolution and intelligent design advocates require leaps of faith in their calculations. Evolutionists will point to sheep that got woollier over one generation but cannot show a fossil record that demonstrates that species evolved. When they attempt to do so, their efforts can be embarrassing: Several years ago, the editors at National Geographic had to explain away a dubious story that it ran on dinosaur birds which was illustrated exclusively with artists conceptions of what such critters might look like.
For their part, intelligent design sympathizers point to complicated cell structures and conclude that such arrangements could not have happened by chance. Evolutionists, of course, argue that they could have.
The other key distinction is that intelligent design adherents seek a debate with evolutionists. Evolutionists, conversely, want to shut down the intelligent design school, or at least keep it out of the ones Darwin’s theories have been taught in for generations.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.