RE: Viewpoint discrimination or careless reading.

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Fri Oct 07 2005 - 18:16:28 EDT

When a question is being asked or raised, the foremast issue is to determine the nature of the question and, in particular, to what discipline(s) it belongs. Different disciples have different ways of establishing the truth or falsehood of given propositions. For instance, the question, what is the mass of an electron, is clearly a scientific question. The comment made in the Cosmos TV series by Carl Sagan, that the earth is an insignificant planet, is clearly not a scientific statement. It may be that the question of origins may not be a scientific question and, if so, not in the purview of science. Scientists may suppose the existence of living entities and tinker with that, say as in dog breeding. However, it may be that the question of how life came into being, although approached as a scientific question, may be more a theological question addressed by supposing a Creator.



From: on behalf of D. F. Siemens, Jr.
Sent: Fri 10/7/2005 4:24 PM
Subject: Re: Viewpoint discrimination or careless reading.

On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 11:06:00 -0700 Pim van Meurs <>
> Ted Davis wrote:
> >Pim:
> >
> >IMO, there are prima facie reasons to think that the Univ of Idaho
> issued
> >this statement at this point in time precisely b/c they want to
> discredit
> >Minnich before he testifies in Harrisburg. The combination of the
> content
> >of the statement--which appears to be a clear violation of
> Minnich's
> >academic freedom--and the timing, suggest this as the obvious
> >interpretation. Releasing such a statement precisely now,
> however,
> >certainly appears to be politically motivated. Do you not agree?
> >
> >
> >
> The thought had occurred to me. But why could it not have been
> scientifically motivated? And why does this statement violate
> Minnich's
> academic freedom? What is this 'academic freedom'?
> >The facts behind this are not clear yet. At this point, however,
> I'd say
> >that this appears to be part of a smear campaign. If it happened
> to me, I'd
> >sue the university.
> >
> >
> Smear campaign for asking science to be taught in science classes?
> >Saying that it's ok for faculty in many other disciplines to talk
> about ID,
> >but not for faculty in the sciences to do so, is simply outrageous
> and
> >unjustifiable. Do you not agree?
> >
> >Ted
> >
> >
> Is that what the statement said? My version seems different from
> yours
I'm thinking of a colleague who taught political science. His ancestors
came from India. Had he spent the semester in PS101 demonstrating yoga,
would his academic freedom have been curtailed if the dean jumped on him?
What if the math prof, a devout Christian, had spent the semester
discussing baptism and the eucharist rather than integrals? You're
assuming that ID is a proper part of biology. I find that it has no more
place in science than the atheism of Dawkins. Both ID and atheism may be
discussed in philosophy, but not necessarily in every class. Aspects of
the acceptance of belief in these may be part of sociology, but not their
truth claims.

As for the timing of the statement, neither of us knows why it occurred
at the time it did. Was it because some student complained to the
administration? because some faculty members made a fuss? because this
was a good opportunity to skewer the prof? because of a combination of
these or other matters? You assume the worst motives. Is this warranted,
or is it prejudice?

I just read a news report on the testimony of Barbara Forrest that the
predecessor to /Of Pandas and People/ consistently used "creationism" and
"creationist," which was replaced with references to ID following the
Supreme Court decision prohibiting creationism in the classroom. See:
Hope I got that right.
Received on Fri Oct 7 18:19:49 2005

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