Unfortunately, I greatly fear that Dr. Eric Hedin will not be treated fairly by Ball State University and panel of four professors charged with investigating his teaching of the honors symposium titled “The Boundaries of Science.”
University of Chicago evolutionary biologist and avowed atheist Dr. Jerry Coyne and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose complaints spurred the investigation, are ideological bullies with plenty of influence and financial clout. They have threatened legal action if their objections to Dr. Hedin’s teaching are not validated.
Across our land, we’ve seen variations of this “movie” before and it does not bode well for Dr. Hedin. Let’s be realistic and honest. Faced with the threat of an long-running and expensive lawsuit, the quiet but primary aim of the panel and the university will be “how do we make this go away?” It will not be “let’s do what is right and principled.”
The right and principled answer is simple. Dr. Coyne and the FFRF are wrong and are bringing a frivolous charge against Dr. Hedin. Dr. Hedin should be exonerated from all charges of wrongdoing.
The claim against Dr. Hedin is that he is in violation of the First Amendment for teaching religion.
They should be rebuffed because nowhere is Dr. Hedin charged with talking about the Bible or Jesus. That would be discussion of religion. Through his class, he has simply raised the possibility of intelligent design of life and our cosmos. That is not teaching religion.
This matter is not complicated — but resolving it fairly would require a tremendous amount of courage on the part of the university.
Dr. Hedin has done nothing wrong and deserves support. Fair-mined people need rise up and apply the pressure needed for the university to muster the courage to stand up to Dr. Coyne and the FFRF and tell them to “get lost.”
Eric A. Ether
BSU Class of 1972
University Place WA 98467