September 14, 2013

Think tank crusades for intelligent design

The Discovery Institute takes its push against the teaching of evolution to Ball State University.


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AP A NY USA Museum Evolution
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A woman walks past an evolution display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The Discovery Institute, which advocates the teaching of intelligent design and creationism, has focused its latest efforts on Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

The Associated Press

None of the four faculty members identified in the letter responded to voice or email messages left by The Star Press.

Among other legal challenges, the letter claims that Gora's policy on intelligent design violate Ball State's Faculty and Professional Personnel Handbook, which states, "Academic freedom and freedom of expression include but are not limited to the expression of ideas, philosophies or religious beliefs, however controversial, in a classroom or other academic setting."

Teaching intelligent design as a scientific theory "is not a matter of academic freedom -- it is an issue of academic integrity," Gora said in July. "... to allow intelligent design to be presented to science students as a valid scientific theory would violate the academic integrity of the course as it would fail to accurately represent the consensus of science scholars."

She also said it's a First Amendment issue.

"As a public university, we have a constitutional obligation to maintain a clear separation between church and state," Gora said. The institute maintains that Gora is not applying her faculty speech code equally to all faculty and courses.

If Gora doesn't respond to the institute's numerous legal concerns, including the procedures she followed in the Hedin case, by Sept. 30, "we will assume that you do not intend to answer our questions, or otherwise cooperate with our reasonable requests, and that we must therefore seek remedy elsewhere," the institute concluded in its letter.


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