of interest re: Kenyon

Huxter4441@aol.com
Sun, 30 May 1999 12:28:27 EDT

The following is a (unfortunately) lengthy exchange involving 2 of those
actually involved in the Kenyon flap. The original article can be found
here: http://www.megabaud.fi/~tsand/miscevo.html. I have pasted it here, in
its entirety.

Article 49410 of talk.origins:
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From: lippard@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu (James J. Lippard)
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Subject: More on the SFSU/Kenyon controversy
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Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1993 15:33:19 -0800 (PST)
From: hafernik@sfsuvax1.sfsu.edu
Subject: evolution/creation controversy at SFSU
To: lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Message-id: <9312082333.AA19714@sfsuvax1.sfsu.edu>

Genie Scott suggested I forward this information to you. Please pass it on to
any one who might be interested. Thanks. John Hafernik

Some Information Relevant to the 1992/1993 Science vs
Creationism Controversy
(Prepared by John Hafernik)

The Past

In 1980/1981, the Department of Biology had its first Creationism
Controversy. This controversy centered on the presentation by Dr.
Kenyon of creationism, then called "scientific creationism," in
Biology 337 Evolution. At that time, Dr. Kenyon challenged anyone
on the faculty to a debate on the merits of evolutionary theory
versus "scientific creationism." There was much discussion in
faculty meetings as well. Eventually the faculty voted (none
opposed, seven abstentions) not to alter the description of
Biology 337 to include creationism. The precedent set, in the
context of the 1980 discussions, was that the Department did not
support teaching creationism.

When the controversy arose anew in the fall of 1992, I acted in a
way that was in line with the views of the faculty expressed in
1980.

The Present

The present controversy began when students in Dr. Kenyon's
Biology 100 class complained to me that he included unscientific
material (creationism) in his lectures. They also complained
about other aspects of Dr. Kenyon's class.

Some points to keep in mind are as follows:

1. The Department of Biology, through its chair and biocouncil,
is not saying that there should be no place for the discussion of
Dr. Kenyon's philosophical views within the University's
curriculum. No one is attempting to restrict the expression of
his views in his personal professional endeavors. What is being
said is that students in an introductory general studies science
class should learn the ways of science. To mix science and the
views of oneUs religion together does students a disservice.

2. The University Guidelines for Academic Freedom and
Responsibility include the following statement: "Students have the
right to the instruction promised them in official University
publications." In this case instruction in science and not
religion. Students are entitled to truth in advertizing.

3. The topic of evolution, as used in the course description of
Biology 100, is not generally considered synonymous with the topic
of "origins" as used by Dr. Kenyon and the Academic Freedom
Committee. "Origins" is a more politically correct term used by
creationists for special creation.

4. "Intelligent design" as used by Dr. Kenyon is a concept
historically associated with "creationism."

5. If there is a dispute as to what constitutes science or
appropriate application of scientific standards, the dispute
should be resolved by those who are most knowledgeable, peers
within the discipline.

6. Decisions about the specifics of the class schedule for the
Biology Department must be made by the Department not by a
committee composed of faculty members from other departments, nor
by upper level administrators.

The Published Record

In their book Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of
Biological Origins (first edition 1989, second edition 1993)
Percival Davis and Dr. Kenyon present their views of evolutionary
biology, point out difficulties they have with modern theory, and
present the intelligent design paradigm as a scientific
alternative. This book provides a written account of Dr. Kenyon's
views on the topics he covers in his Biology 100 lectures on
"origins." In my discussions with Dr. Kenyon, he suggested I
read his book to learn more about his objections to modern
evolutionary theory and about the scientific support for the
"intelligent design paradigm." Although the words God, Creator,
and creationism are never used in the work, it has been
extensively criticized by biologists and philosophers of science
as: (a) presenting a religious view, special creation/intelligent
design, as science; (b) presenting an inaccurate and distorted
view of evolutionary biology, genetics, and other areas of
biology; and (c) being seriously flawed in its philosophical
underpinnings.

Background Information

The AAUP: Creationism and Academic Freedom

1. At its 1981 annual meeting, the AAUP endorsed a resolution in
opposition to an Arkansas law that called for "balanced
treatment" of "creation science" and evolution in public schools.
The resolution includes the following:

a. "This legislation by requiring that a religious doctrine
(sometimes disguised) be taught as a condition for teaching of
science, serves to impair the soundness of scientific education
preparatory to college study and to violate the academic freedom
of public school teachers."

b. "Members of college and university faculty in Arkansas and
elsewhere should be able to teach and criticize freely in accord
with professional standards".

c. In the March-April issue of Academe, devoted to the issue
of creationism, Matthew Finkin writes that the resolution allows
that "The idea of special creation can be treated extensively in
courses in religion, anthropology, intellectual and social
history."

d. In the same issue of Academe John Moore clearly shows why
the claims of "scientific creationism" do not meet the test of the
professional standards of science.

Would the AAUP now take the position that it's okay to teach
creationism as science in a general studies biology class in a
public university, as long as it's taught by a tenured professor?
I don't know, but it seems they would have to assess their
previous stance.

2. In July-August 1993 issue of Academe, Cass Sunstein Professor
of Jurisprudence, University of Chicago Law School and Department
of Political Science discusses Academic Freedom issues on
University campuses. In his article, he points out "Subject
matter restrictions are part of education. Irrelevant discussion
is banned. Students cannot discuss the presidential election, or
Marx and Mill, if the subject is math. Schools are allowed to
impose subject matter restrictions that would be plainly
unacceptable if enacted by states or localities." Professor
Sunstein does not specifically address the issue of teaching a
religious belief as science, but the parallel to the point he
makes seems clear.

Legal Rulings

1. Judge William Overton in his 1982 ruling overturning the
Arkansas equal time law made the following points:

a. Creation science is not science but a religious belief. It
is not science because it does not meet the essential
characteristics of science. These characteristics of science are:
1) It is guided by natural law;
2) It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law;
3) It is testable against the empirical world;
4) It conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily
the final word; and
5) It is falsifiable.

b. "The emphasis on origins as an aspect of the theory of
evolution is peculiar to creationist literature."

c. "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology...Any
student who is deprived of instruction as to the prevailing view
of scientific thought on these topics will be denied a significant
part of science education. Such a deprivation through the high
school level would undoubtedly have an impact on the quality of
education in the State's colleges and universities including the
pre-professional programs in the health sciences."

d. "The application and content of the First Amendment
principles are not determined by public opinion polls or majority
vote...No group, no matter how large or small, may use the organs
of government, of which public schools are the most conspicuous
and influential, to foist its religious beliefs on others."

Judge Overton is clear Rcreation scienceS is religion and not
science. In public institutions, students are entitled to be taught
science in science classes. Teaching religion is not appropriate
under the Constitution. Science, the leading journal of science in
the United States, published Judge OvertonUs decision in full as a
major article.

2. In 1987 the Supreme Court overturned a Louisiana Law requiring
that "creation science" be taught on an equal basis with
evolution science (sic) whenever evolution is taught in the public
schools. The court found this statute unconstitutional because
the statute had no clear secular purpose, but rather was designed
to promote one particular religious view. The decision appears,
to the layman, to be narrower in scope when compared to Judge
Overton's ruling. The lower court used Judge Overton's decision
in striking down the Louisiana law without trial. Justice Powell
in his concurring opinion makes some interesting points based on
previous court decisions. "[C]oncepts concerning God or a supreme
being of some sort are manifestly religious... These concepts do
not shed that religiosity merely because they are presented as
science or philosophy." 'Creation ex nihilo' means creation from
nothing and has been found to be an 'inherently religious
concept'. The argument that creation from nothing does not
involve a supernatural deity has no evidentiary or rational
support. To the contrary, 'creation out of nothing' is a concept
unique to Western Religions."

The case brought against the statute included an Amici Curiae
brief filed by 72 Nobel Laureates et al. refuting the claim that
"Creation Science" was science.

Justice Scalia in his dissenting opinion relied, in part, on
testimony from Dr. Kenyon that "Creation Science" is a strictly
scientific concept that could be presented without religious
reference and that it was accepted as valid by "hundreds and
hundreds of reputable scientists."

3. In 1987, an exercise physiology professor at the University of
Alabama referred to his religious beliefs in his exercise
physiology course. He also organized an optional after-class
meeting for his students and other interested persons wherein he
lectured on Evidences of God in Human Physiology." His lecture
included the notion that man was created by God and was not the by-
product of evolution. The University told him to stop expressing
his religious views in class or in class meetings associated with
his class. He sued citing infringement of his First Amendment
rights. In 1991, the United States Court of Appeals for the
Eleventh Circuit ruled, and the Supreme Court allowed to stand,
that the University of Alabama could instruct a faculty member
that he could not interject his religious beliefs into class
lectures. In that decision, the court made the point that "free
speech does not grant teachers a license to say or write in class
whatever they may feel like, and ... the propriety of regulations
or sanctions must depend on such circumstances as the age and
sophistication of the students, the closeness of the relation
between the specific technique used and some concededly valid
educational objective, and the context and manner of
presentation."

Jim Lippard Lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Dept. of Philosophy Lippard@ARIZVMS.BITNET
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721

Article 49418 of talk.origins:
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From: lippard@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu (James J. Lippard)
Newsgroups: talk.origins
Subject: Re: More on the SFSU/Kenyon controversy
Date: 9 Dec 1993 12:34 MST
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I didn't offer any comment on Eugenie Scott's letter when I posted it,
but I should say that my posting things on behalf of others does not
necessarily indicate my agreement with it. I think it is pretty clear
from some of my past discussions regarding naturalism and science that
I question the first paragraph of Scott's letter where she argues that
science, by definition, requires natural explanations and that this
is sufficient grounds for excluding creationism from science classrooms.
I do think that science strongly prefers natural explanations, and that
it may make sense to restrict what we call science to natural explanations.
If we take the latter position, though, then it is possible that in any
given case there is no true scientific explanation. (To deny this is
to maintain, a priori, that there is nothing non-natural.)

I have a few comments on what I just posted for John Hafernik.

In article <9DEC199311370232@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu>,
lippard@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu (James J. Lippard) writes...
>Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1993 15:33:19 -0800 (PST)
>From: hafernik@sfsuvax1.sfsu.edu
>Subject: evolution/creation controversy at SFSU
>To: lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
>Message-id: <9312082333.AA19714@sfsuvax1.sfsu.edu>

>1. The Department of Biology, through its chair and biocouncil,
>is not saying that there should be no place for the discussion of
>Dr. Kenyon's philosophical views within the University's
>curriculum. No one is attempting to restrict the expression of
>his views in his personal professional endeavors. What is being
>said is that students in an introductory general studies science
>class should learn the ways of science. To mix science and the
>views of oneUs religion together does students a disservice.

It's not entirely clear to me what, exactly, Kenyon was teaching,
or that it was religion.

>2. The University Guidelines for Academic Freedom and
>Responsibility include the following statement: "Students have the
>right to the instruction promised them in official University
>publications." In this case instruction in science and not
>religion. Students are entitled to truth in advertizing.

I agree with this, but again, it is not clear to me what exactly
Kenyon was teaching that is religion.

>3. The topic of evolution, as used in the course description of
>Biology 100, is not generally considered synonymous with the topic
>of "origins" as used by Dr. Kenyon and the Academic Freedom
>Committee. "Origins" is a more politically correct term used by
>creationists for special creation.

This last sentence sounds like a crock. Is _Origin of Species_ about
special creation? Is Robert Shapiro's _Origins_ about special
creation?

>4. "Intelligent design" as used by Dr. Kenyon is a concept
>historically associated with "creationism."

This sounds like guilt-by-association to me.

>The Published Record
>
>In their book Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of
>Biological Origins (first edition 1989, second edition 1993)
>Percival Davis and Dr. Kenyon present their views of evolutionary
>biology, point out difficulties they have with modern theory, and
>present the intelligent design paradigm as a scientific
>alternative. This book provides a written account of Dr. Kenyon's
>views on the topics he covers in his Biology 100 lectures on
>"origins." In my discussions with Dr. Kenyon, he suggested I
>read his book to learn more about his objections to modern
>evolutionary theory and about the scientific support for the
>"intelligent design paradigm." Although the words God, Creator,
>and creationism are never used in the work, it has been
>extensively criticized by biologists and philosophers of science
>as: (a) presenting a religious view, special creation/intelligent
>design, as science; (b) presenting an inaccurate and distorted
>view of evolutionary biology, genetics, and other areas of
>biology; and (c) being seriously flawed in its philosophical
>underpinnings.

Each of these reasons seems to me both legitimate and individually
sufficient for the action taken. I would be interested in seeing
the evidence, though. (a) seems particularly subject to interpretation.

>The AAUP: Creationism and Academic Freedom
>
> a. "This legislation by requiring that a religious doctrine
>(sometimes disguised) be taught as a condition for teaching of
>science, serves to impair the soundness of scientific education
>preparatory to college study and to violate the academic freedom
>of public school teachers."

This is irrelevant to the case at hand, which involves neither
legislation nor a legal requirement that some doctrine be taught.

> b. "Members of college and university faculty in Arkansas and
>elsewhere should be able to teach and criticize freely in accord
>with professional standards".

This is highly relevant to the present case, especially the last three
words.

[deletion]
> d. In the same issue of Academe John Moore clearly shows why
>the claims of "scientific creationism" do not meet the test of the
>professional standards of science.

I'm sure this is right, but it is not at all clear to me that Kenyon
was teaching what is known as "scientific creationism." Where's
the evidence?

>1. Judge William Overton in his 1982 ruling overturning the
>Arkansas equal time law made the following points:
>
> a. Creation science is not science but a religious belief. It
>is not science because it does not meet the essential
>characteristics of science. These characteristics of science are:
> 1) It is guided by natural law;
> 2) It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law;
> 3) It is testable against the empirical world;
> 4) It conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily
> the final word; and
> 5) It is falsifiable.

Overton's decision has been criticized by philosophers of science, and
for good reason. (See the critiques by Larry Laudan and Philip Quinn
in Michael Ruse's _But Is It Science?_.) Points 1 and 2 can be
questioned for their appeal to "natural law." Point 4 has to do more
with the practice of scientists than with the content of science.
The importance of point 5 has been exaggerated. (See Imre Lakatos'
criticisms of Popper, as well as Duhem, Quine, and Philip Kitcher's
comments on "naive falsificationism" in _Abusing Science: The Case
Against Creationism_.)

> b. "The emphasis on origins as an aspect of the theory of
>evolution is peculiar to creationist literature."

This is not entirely true. Creationists certainly promote a confusion
of the two things, which are distinct, but there *is* some relation
between them.

> c. "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology...Any
>student who is deprived of instruction as to the prevailing view
>of scientific thought on these topics will be denied a significant
>part of science education. Such a deprivation through the high
>school level would undoubtedly have an impact on the quality of
>education in the State's colleges and universities including the
>pre-professional programs in the health sciences."

Kenyon does teach evolution, doesn't he? If so, this is irrelevant.

> d. "The application and content of the First Amendment
>principles are not determined by public opinion polls or majority
>vote...No group, no matter how large or small, may use the organs
>of government, of which public schools are the most conspicuous
>and influential, to foist its religious beliefs on others."
>
>Judge Overton is clear Rcreation scienceS is religion and not
>science. In public institutions, students are entitled to be taught
>science in science classes. Teaching religion is not appropriate
>under the Constitution. Science, the leading journal of science in
>the United States, published Judge OvertonUs decision in full as a
>major article.

As Taner Edis has pointed out on the SKEPTIC mailing list,
taking this line makes impossible the most devastating criticism
of creationism--that it IS falsifiable, and HAS been falsified.
(At least, this is true of individual creationist arguments and
theories, e.g., young-earth arguments, flood geology, impossibility
of beneficial mutations, etc.)

Jim Lippard Lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Dept. of Philosophy Lippard@ARIZVMS.BITNET
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721

Article 49790 of talk.origins:
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From: lippard@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu (James J. Lippard)
Newsgroups: talk.origins,sci.skeptic
Subject: More on Dean Kenyon/SFSU controversy
Date: 12 Dec 1993 23:48 MST
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I've discussed the Dean Kenyon issue with Bob Schadewald recently,
and he's given me permission to post the following:

Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1993 13:20:18 -0500 (EST)
From: Bob Schadewald <71426.463@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Of Pandas and People
To: LIPPARD@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Message-id: <931212182017_71426.463_BHA58-1@CompuServe.COM>

Jim,

Creationists have tried to portray the controversy over Dean Kenyon's
teaching of creationism (disguised as "Intelligent Design") to
introductory biology students at San Francisco State University as a
matter of freedom to teach minority opinions. It is true that science
is filled with controversies about nearly everything, and some minority
opinions will ultimately prove correct. But what are the "minority
opinions" involved? Kenyon reportedly cites a book he coauthored, _Of
Pandas and People_, as representing his views. But _Pandas_ contains
more than minority opinions. In many cases, it misrepresents science
and scientific evidence to the point of outright falsehood. Consider an
example from the 1989 edition.

Page 117 shows profile drawings of the skulls of a dog, a North American
wolf, and a Tasmanian wolf. The dog and wolf are canids, but the
Tasmanian wolf is a marsupial. The accompanying text states that the
skull of the American wolf is "nearly identical" to that of the
Tasmanian wolf, although it is supposed to be more closely related to
the dog. The claim that the American wolf and Tasmanian wolf skulls are
"nearly identical" is an egregious falsehood. For openers, a competent
comparative anatomist would instantly see (though it is not very clear
in the drawing) that the dentition is different. (The number of molars
is not a matter of opinion!) Also, even in the crude drawings, which
seem designed to conceal details of the bone structure, several
processes (bone projections) are visible on the canine skulls that are
not found on the marsupial skull. Moreover, a skull is made up of
numerous small bones with ~50 names (needless to say, the suture lines
are not shown in the drawings). By this criterion, the wolf and dog
skulls are identical, and they differ substantially from any marsupial.
I would venture to guess that a good comparative anatomist, speaking as
fast as he or she could speak, could rattle off a dozen diagnostic
characteristics shared by the canine skulls but not exhibited by the
marsupial skull. The most charitable interpretation of this passage in
_Pandas_ is that the writer is totally ignorant of elementary anatomy.

This is only one example. Soon after _Pandas_ came out, zoologist Frank
J. Sonleitner of the University of Oklahoma (Norman) wrote a
chapter-by-chapter (almost paragraph-by-paragraph) demolition of it
entitled _What's Wrong with Pandas_? What was the creationist response
to Sonleitner's criticism? I just called him and asked. El zippo! Not
a word of refutation has he heard! Sonleitner's critique of _Pandas_ is
available in manuscript form for $11.25 postpaid from the National
Center for Science Education, P.O. Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709. I
don't have a copy in front of me, but I think it runs about 80 pages.
[JJL comment: There is now a 2nd edition of the book which supposedly
takes into account all criticisms.]

Kenyon wants his objections to evolution judged on the basis of this
book? That seems reasonable to me. What judgment can we make when
confronted with a book that is absolutely riddled with
misinterpretations and misrepresentations, all of which just happen to
support the authors' pet theory? I think we are entitled to make an
Argument from Design. In any case, whatever the real reason for the
nonsense in _Pandas_, academic freedom does not give Kenyon the right to
inflict falsehoods on freshman students.

You may post this message if you wish.

Bob

Jim Lippard Lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Dept. of Philosophy Lippard@ARIZVMS.BITNET
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721

Article 49905 of talk.origins:
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From: vstr18a@sfsuvax1.sfsu.edu (Kathleen Anderson)
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James J. Lippard (lippard@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu) wrote:
: I've discussed the Dean Kenyon issue with Bob Schadewald recently,
: and he's given me permission to post the following:

[much deleted]

: In any case, whatever the real reason for the
: nonsense in _Pandas_, academic freedom does not give Kenyon the right to
: inflict falsehoods on freshman students.

: Bob

Well on this last point there seems to be substantial disagreement. The
following is my (admittedly biased but striving to be objective)
eyewitness account of the situation:

(This is a slightly edited copy of my response to an E-mailed
question from someone on t.o.)

I don't know about the general consensus re: the Kenyon flap, but I can
give you a couple of pieces.

Last Tuesday the Academic Senate officially received the report from the
Academic Freedom Committee, and after a couple hours of debate, voted
25 to 8 (with a couple abstensions) to pass a motion to recommend
Kenyon's reinstatement, "in light of the AFC's report."

This happened over the objections of James Kelley (Dean of School of
Science), John Hafernik (Chairperson of Biology), Michael Goldman
(Professor of Genetics), Paul Barnes (Professor of Physiology) and me
(senior majoring in Biology). In addition to Dean Kenyon (who at one
point stated "I teach the truth" according to one observer), one other
person from the department, Janis Kuby (Professor of Immunology) spoke
in favor of the motion. There were many other speakers, most of whom
waxed eloquent about (1) science has no call to apply different standards
to itself, here including some rather snide asides (IMO) about science
considering itself "above" the standards applicable to other academic
realms, and (2) the danger of **ever** restricting what a professor can say.

The focus of the issue may now shift, because according to several people,
including Dr. Kenyon, "due process" was not followed in his removal from
Biology 100. I don't know exactly what this entails, but I expect that
Dr. Kenyon will be returned to the classroom next semester; I could be
wrong about this though.

In terms of general opinion, the student newspaper has followed this
issue, and in an editorial column supported my view (which they printed as
a letter) that science classrooms should be reserved for teaching science,
and that science is a definable entity distinct from non-science, i.e.
creationism (although Kenyon insists he does not teach creationism, but
instead "intelligent design paradigm, which is based primarily on molecular
biology and information theory.") - quote taken from his letter to Gater
10/14/93. However, the following week a front page story concluded that
since "many want both sides of biology debate presented [in class]," it
should be so done.

My take on the conflict is that people are using identical words to mean very
different things (e.g. "theory") and that most folks do not understand the
difference between science and non-science. Further, everyone keeps talking
about the "prevailing view" as if an idea's prevalence somehow lent it more
credence - I guess they think science should be a democracy?

In a P.S. I clarified my last sentence:

My point about science not being a democracy only acknowledges that it doesn't
matter how prevalent an idea is in terms of whether it is scientific or not.
Even if *everyone* believed in special creation, it still would not belong in
a science classroom; even unanimity would not make it science. I have
nothing against so-called fringe ideas being presented in science classrooms,
as long as they are scientific, i.e. based on observable and falsifiable
data. (I admit that mine is perhaps an overly simplistic stance; I do not
by any means consider myself to be an expert.)

--
Kathleen Anderson         "Until the lions have their historians,
vstr18a@sfsu.edu           tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter."
                                                           - African proverb

Article 50180 of talk.origins: Path: klaava!news.funet.fi!sunic!EU.net!uunet!organpipe.uug.arizona.edu!math.arizona .edu!news.Arizona.EDU!skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu!lippard From: lippard@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu (James J. Lippard) Newsgroups: talk.origins,sci.skeptic Subject: More on Kenyon/SFSU Date: 16 Dec 1993 12:59 MST Organization: University of Arizona Lines: 14 Distribution: world Message-ID: <16DEC199312592878@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu> NNTP-Posting-Host: skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu News-Software: VAX/VMS VNEWS 1.41 Xref: klaava talk.origins:50180 sci.skeptic:47607

After collecting additional information, I have shed my skepticism about whether or not the biology department did the right thing in removing Kenyon from the intro biology classes he was teaching. It is apparent that he was teaching demonstrable falsehoods and nonsense, which is a question of competence, not academic freedom. Specifically, he was giving standard bogus young-earth arguments--the earth's magnetic field decay, moon dust, and even speed of light decay. Further, he has used his classroom as a pulpit from which to argue against the morality of abortion.

Jim Lippard Lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU Dept. of Philosophy Lippard@ARIZVMS.BITNET University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721