Amid controversy BSU hires another creationist astronomer
Ball State University (BSU) administrators have hired a national leader in the intelligent design movement despite an ongoing controversy at the school over whether or not professors ought to be allowed to teach creationism in the classroom.
BSU President Jo Ann Gora approved the decision on June 12, to hire Guillermo Gonzalez as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at an annual salary of $57k according to local reports.
Gonzalez, a well-known proponent for the theory of intelligent design, was at the center of another college campus controversy when Iowa State University denied him tenure in 2008. The Discovery Institute, a pro-creationist organization, alleged at the time that he was facing discrimination for his religious beliefs.
President Gora’s decision comes as the school remains under attack from some scientists for permitting another prominent proponent of intelligent design, Prof. Eric Hedin, to teach a class in which he presents creationism as a plausible theory of the universe's origin.
Earlier this year the Discovery Institute also sent Gora a petition with more than 7,000 signatures asking for Hedin’s academic freedom, to which she has not responded.
Prominent evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, Jerry Coyne, first notified the Freedom from Religion Foundation of Hedin’s class last month arguing that such religion based theories have no place in the classroom.
Coyne argued on his blog on July 7, that adding another professor sympathetic to creationism to BSU’s stable of scientists was a mistake.
“This [hiring] is a very unwise move for Ball State,” Coyne said. “If the university wants to retain any scientific credibility, they should start hiring scientists who will teach real science and not religious apologetics.”
Coyne also implied that the hiring of Gora suggests someone in the administration is behind the school’s shift towards other theories of the universe’s origin.
I am “suspicious that somebody sympathetic to intelligent design haunts the halls of Ball State University,” wrote Coyne. “But of course I have no hard evidence for that beyond the presence of both Hedin and now Gonzalez.”
BSU spokeswoman and Gonzalez declined to comment despite multiple requests from Campus Reform.
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