One College Leader Speaks Out On Intelligent Design

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August 9, 2013 — The president of Ball State University says intelligent design shouldn’t be taught in the school’s science courses.  Jo Ann Gora sent the letter to faculty and staff after a third party complaint that a physics professor was teaching intelligent design over evolution in his classroom.  Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Amanda Solliday reports.

In his syllabus for the course “The Boundaries of Science,” Ball State University Professor Eric Hedin asks, “intelligent design: is it science?”

Andrew Seidel is an attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He says a student taking the class expressed concern with how Hedin was teaching intelligent design.

“It’s the dichotomy between teaching and preaching.”

But Seidel says the student who contacted his organization doesn’t want to be identified.

“No. No, they’re very very afraid of retribution.”

Now Ball State University President Jo Ann Gora has sent a letter to all faculty and staff emphasizing that intelligent design is not appropriate content for science courses.

Indiana University biology professor Roger Innes agrees.

“I think it’s important for students to understand what the scientific process is, and why intelligent design is not a hypothesis that can be tested by the scientific process. So in that context I might bring up intelligent design.”

Innes is not aware of any science course at Indiana University with a focus on intelligent design. He says the material is more appropriate for a religion course or a religious university.

But Gora’s remarks have created some worry about an instructor’s right to speak. Professor Eric Damien Kelly teaches urban planning at Ball State.

He says Gora’s letter may influence course material beyond intelligent design.

“I think every pre-tenure faculty member and every contract faculty member – which is more than half the faculty – will be very nervous about what they teach.”

He says one of the strengths of a university is diversity in viewpoints.

For now, Ball State says a provost is working with Professor Hedin to review his course material.  Professor Hedin declined to comment.

For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Amanda Solliday.


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