President Jo Ann Gora released Ball State’s position that intelligent design is a religious belief, not a scientific theory Wednesday after an investigation of an assistant professor of physics and astronomy.
“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,” Gora said in a statement.
A panel of four professors, overseen by provost Terry King, examined professor Eric Hedin and his courses for intelligent design. Hedin will continue to teach at the university after adjusting the course’s content.
“Discussions of intelligent design and creation science can have their place at Ball State in humanities or social science courses,” Gora said. “However, even in such contexts, faculty must avoid endorsing one point of view over others.”
Academic freedom has been a keyword for many of the interest groups and media attention surrounding the investigation, but Gora doesn’t agree that it is an issue.
“[Academic freedom] cannot be used as a shield to teach theories that have been rejected by the discipline under which a science course is taught,” she said. “Our commitment to the best standards of each discipline being taught on this campus is equally unwavering. As I have said, this is an issue of academic integrity, not academic freedom. The best academic standards of the discipline must dictate course content.